SDOS Episode 48 – Walk Yourself Wealthy, The Pet Business Special Edition

Episode 48 – Today we stick a pin in the dog training because Dom and Alex are discussing Dom’s new book ‘Walk Yourself Wealthy ‘ Which is available on Amazon and Audible now. Go to for the full episode transcript

Dom talks us through the five marketing secrets you need to know if you want to have a profitable ad enjoyable pet business.

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Full Transcript

Dom:     Hello me bonny bairns and welcome to the Superhero Dog Owners Show. I’m your host, Dom Hodgson and I’m joined by my very good friend, Alex the video guy.

Alex:      Hello.

Dom:     I’ll tell you when to sing, all right?

Alex:      All right.

Dom:     And so this is episode 48 Alex, and in this episode we’re going to put a pin in the dog training.

Alex:      Okay.

Dom:     And we’re going to talk about my brand new book

Alex:      Mm-hmm (affirmative). I think we should.

Dom:     So this is an episode that will, oops, that will be particularly useful for dog trainers, dog walkers, dog groomers, doggy day care owners, who want to grow their business more.

So people remember my first book, “How To Be Your Dog’s Superhero”. And I was very much into, well still into dog training, but very much a dog trainer then, you know? But the business has developed and now I’m doing a lot more pet business coaching. We did the UK Tour last year, didn’t we? Went right round the UK, 17 dates doing the, “How To Be Your Dog’s Superhero”, and the Grow Your Pet Business Fast Seminars. We did the two day boot camp in Sunderland.

Alex:      Yep.

Dom:     The Poodle to Pet Bull Pet Business Boot Camp. And we’ve done a number of different products and stuff since then. And the latest thing is the, is the new book.

We touched upon this in a previous episode of the podcast about how dog training is actually quite similar to how we have run a business, wasn’t it? And I said you need to find out what your clients want. Same way as you need to find out what your dog likes. And then you need to start building a relationship with the client. Same as you do with the dog.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     And over time, this is how you build a business. Rather than just expecting the dog to do what you want him to do, and expecting the client to buy your stuff.

Alex:      Absolutely.

Dom:     Yeah, that was the analogy that we painted.

Alex:      Yeah, yeah.

Dom:     Which is an analogy, Alex that was, and heres a little bit of a top secret today. Little behind the scenes for you here, is that’s the subject of a book that I’m writing with my good friend, Vicky Fraser.

Alex:      Ah, cool.

Dom:     So more on that another time.

Alex:      Exciting.

Dom:     We’ll get Vicky on the show, if we can squeeze her in here. She might have to sit in the ashtray.

Alex:      She’s only quite small.

Dom:     She’s only a little one, yeah. But she packs a punch.

So yeah, so there’s a lot of similarities but what I thought we would do now is, so if you’re just a pet dog owner, you might not be getting a lot of interest from this book.

But if you’re a pet dog owner who loves his dog and you might think to yourself, “You know what? I would love to be a dog walker one day. I would like to leave my job and start a dog walking business.”

Or you’re really interested in dogs, you’re a dog enthusiast and you want to, you think about you might want to be a dog trainer one day. Yeah? This book will help you to do that. This book won’t give you any dog training advice per se, but it will help you with the business side of things.

So what I’ve done in this book, I’ve shared five marketing secrets. What I think are five marketing secrets that anybody can implement in any business really, can’t they? But I’m specifically talking about dog businesses with this.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     And I though we’d quickly run through those five things now. How does that sound?

Alex:      Brilliant, yeah.

Dom:     And give a little again, insight into the book. If you’re too bit of a tight ass and you don’t want to buy a copy, you can just listen to the podcast instead.

Yeah? How does that sound?

Alex:      Sounds good to me. Yeah, let’s do it.

Dom:     So number one marketing secret number one, is to be premium.

Alex:      Be premium, okay.

Dom:     Right? It’s a strange kind of quirk of pricing that the more expensive something is, we deem it to be better value. Better quality.

Alex:      Yeah, yeah.

Dom:     You know this from sort of, if you go to Harrods you expect things to be expensive. They’re not necessarily as expensive, you know you buy a cup of coffee or a cake from Harrods, it might be ten or twenty times the price of a cake you would buy from a low-end supermarket or something.

Alex:      Yeah, yeah.

Dom:     Is it ten or twenty times better? Well, you know a cake’s a cake. Isn’t it? It may be, it may be made with all kinds of wonderful ingredients and stuff but essentially it’s the price, the price denotes the quality of the thing.

Alex:      Yeah, it does.

Dom:     And there are very few things that you buy that, if you’re expecting quality, I’m talking about real high quality things. Like Rolls Royce’s and shopping in Harrods, all this kind of thing. You can give your business the, you can position your business as the best. Simply by increasing your prices.

Alex:      Yeah, sure. I totally agree. And like you said, you can think of countless examples of this in any kind industry, really. Whether it’s like a product or an actual service or something. Like I film a lot of music stuff and there’s guitars and there’s a massive difference between a 200 or a 100 pound guitar that’s mass manufactured in China or somewhere. It takes about 10 minutes to make, you know? And it gets sent over. And then you can pay 10 or 20 grand for something that is 40 years old and it’s been handmade …

Dom:     Yeah, yeah.

Alex:      It’s been restored and made with all kinds of wonderful materials. As you said, they’re the same thing in a way.

Dom:     Definitely.

Alex:      But the perception of it is so much different just with that price tag.

Dom:     Exactly and that perception you can place that perception upon your business by being premium.

I often hear people say, “Oh I can’t do that in my town. I can’t do that, my clients won’t like that.” What I would say is, that is a lie because if you look around your town you’ll see people driving the expensive cars, the Range Rovers, the Ferrari’s. There’ll be an expensive high end, three star Michelin restaurant and there’ll be a greasy spoon café that’s knocking out breakfast for 99 pence.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     And hair dressers, there’ll be a high end, there’ll be a low end and a middle. And it can be exactly the same for dog training and dog walking as well.

Alex:      Yeah, totally.

Dom:     All you really have to do is just claim that high end.

Alex:      Exactly and like you said, every town. It’s … in every town it might not seem it at first but there is certainly, like you said, there’s kind of a top, a middle and a bottom and all these …

Dom:     Yep.

Alex:      … sort of categories in between, for absolutely everything.

Dom:     Definitely, definitely.

So that marketing secret number one, be premium.

Alex:      I like it.

So just quickly before we move on, Dom. I imagine that to be premium, you need to be pretty good.

Dom:     For sure, yeah. No, for sure, but you don’t … it’s not necessarily down to experience per se, you know?

Alex:      Right.

Dom:     Because often another, when I’m recommending that people increase their prices, another thing that I hear … something that holds people back is that they say, “Well, I haven’t got as much experience as that person. Or I haven’t been running the business as long as this person, therefore I’m going to pitch my prices a bit lower.”

Well, that person is always going to be 10 years more experience than you. So you, if that’s the way you’re going to approach it, you’re never going to be able to catch up to them and charge the kind of prices you deserve.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     If you think you’re doing a fantastic job of dog training, or dog walking, or dog grooming, then you should charge the price you can get for it. This is assuming that you’re good as well, obviously.

Alex:      Sure.

Dom:     I’m assuming that people who … if you’re not good you can easily get good at it. By learning how to, more about dog training and stuff. Or dog grooming, or whatever.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     But yeah you can, if you’ve got enough you should be charging the best prices. And if you don’t think you’re good enough you should be questioning whether you should be charging them at all.

Alex:      Yeah, yeah. No, cool that makes sense. Yeah.

Dom:     So should I move onto marketing secret number two?

Alex:      Yes, let’s move on.

Dom:     Is be specialised.

Alex:      Okay.

Dom:     Right. Now this is something else that people shy away from a lot with their business because they feel like they have to offer, every single service.

So if they’re dog walkers, they’ll think they have to offer puppy visits. All dog walks, 15 minute, 30 minute, 45 minute and hour long walks. Pet taxi service, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And so it goes on.

What happens then is you, well for starters, everybody’s doing that. Everybody’s advertising everything.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     If everybody looks the same, then the only thing that differentiates them is the price. So a far better way to market your business is to specialise in one particular thing. I would make this the thing that you’re particularly good at. The thing you enjoy doing, and just weave that all through the whole of your marketing.

So we did this with my business, didn’t we? Pack Leader Dog Adventures, we didn’t do the 15 minute and the 30 minute walks, we just do one hour and a half, Dog Adventures. Where we take the dog somewhere different every day, we play with them. We interact with them and we give them an experience, every single day.

That immediately differentiates me from everybody else.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     Not everybody wants that service but that’s totally fine. Because I don’t want everybody wanting my service. We want just the best people, who want the best for their dogs.

Alex:      Yeah. I think that’s the common misconception as well is that people want to appeal to everyone because they think, well I want as much business as I can possibly get. I think it always comes from a good place …

Dom:     Yeah.

Alex:      … people want to help as many people as possible. But the kind of reality is that you can’t, really.

Dom:     Nope, nope.

Alex:      It’s not good, it’s not going to be good for you. It’s not going to be good for the clients either because there’s all kinds of things that could happen. You could end up over-stretched …

Dom:     Yep.

Alex:      … and have too much going on.

Dom:     That’s often what happens, they run out of time in the day.

Alex:      Yeah, exactly.

Dom:     They try to squeeze in 15 minute walks here and pet taxis here.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     Puppy visits here and cat visits there and it’s like …. oh, oh, oh.

Alex:      That’s it, whereas if you decide on this one particular thing that you are going to be absolutely ace at, then you know that you can pretty much guarantee you’re going to do an excellent job of it, aren’t you?

Dom:     Exactly, yeah you can serve those people a bit better. It’s much easier to systemize and scale that kind of business as well.

Alex:      Yeah, and what would you say about picking what thing to be specialised in. Like you said, it should be something you’re good at and that you enjoy. Is there anything else you need to think of, before you decide that’s what I’m going to do?

Dom:     Yeah, well obviously something that there’s a demand for. An example I give in the book is that you can, rather than just having dog walks, if you were into gun dogs, then you were called Caren. Your business could be Caren’s Cocker Adventures. And you could specialise in taking Cocker Spaniels out.

Now you should know, it’s probably easy to find out which dogs are popular in your area. So it’d be pointless doing Afghan Adventures if there was only two Afghan hounds in your whole town.

Alex:      Sure.

Dom:     As long as there’s a bit of demand for it and dog people, dog owners they want the best for their dogs. It’s not as difficult in the pet industry, as it is in some other industries to create a niche. Because the dog industry is growing year on year. It’s getting bigger and bigger, it’s almost recession proof. Especially the high end service and product industry side of the pet industry as well.

Alex:      For sure.

Dom:     There’s virtually no downside.

Alex:      Excellent.

Dom:     So the next marketing secret is,

be the expert. And there are a couple of sneaky ways that you can, not sneaky, they’re completely legit. There are a couple of ways that you can instantly position yourself as an expert in your town. And the reason why you want to position yourself as an expert is that experts get paid more money. Their opinions are sought after, they normally have a waiting list of people that want to work with them. They’re generally considered to be the top of the tree. The best in their town.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     There’s a couple of things you can do to position yourself as an expert and I go into them in the book. And the book is one of the ways you position yourself as an expert.

So I …

Alex:      I see what you did there, very clever.

Dom:     So last year I brought out, no year before last, sorry. I brought out my first book, “How To Be Your Dog’s Superhero: Transforming Your Dastardly Dog Using the Power of Play”. There’s me when I was all bulky and Barry when he was alive.

This book did exactly that for my business. Don’t get me wrong, I wrote this book from a place of wanting to help people to have more fun with their dogs. That’s why I share all of my cock-ups, and my mistakes and all the lessons that I learned with my own dogs.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     And in my business and that’s probably why the book’s been so well received, I think that’s one of the reasons.

But the book definitely helped position me as an expert as well. Along with the podcasts and other things that we do. It’s helped to sort of raise my credibility status.

And I would imagine this book will do a very similar thing as well.

Alex:      Absolutely, yeah.

So I imagine this is the point where a lot of viewers to, “Oh my god, I can’t possible write a book. I haven’t got the time. I don’t know what to write about.”

What’s your experience having done it twice now?

Dom:     Well, it is hard work without a doubt, and don’t you be getting all shy on me. You’re currently in the process of putting together your first book, aren’t you?

Alex:      Yes and it is almost there. As it stands at the moment, I’ve got about 19,000 words.

Dom:     Brilliant.

Alex:      Which when I think about it now compared to when I started, that number just kind of appeared one day and it was like, “Oh my god, I’ve got pretty much a book here.”

So yeah, I can sort of agree with that as well. It is hard but once you get going, it’s easier than you think as well.

Dom:     And its being consistent with it. It’s a big, hairy goal writing a book. You do need to be committed to it and I do give a couple of examples of ways that you can choke it down so it’s less of an onerous, huge, hairy, frightening thing to do.

Which like we talked about last week with my streak of, my walking streak.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     With the book, writing 500 words a day. Anybody can write 500 words a day, or 300 words of day, even.

Alex:      That’s the thing. It’s chunking it down, isn’t it?

Dom:     Yeah, chunking it down and over time and all these words add up. You need to be building a list, I think of people that you’re going to sell the book to, as well. Which is something that you’re doing and something that I’ve done too.

So chunking it down is the main thing.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     It’s hard work without a doubt, but it’s definitely one of the most powerful things that you can do to position yourself as an expert.

Alex:      Cool. Definitely.

Dom:     So marketing secret number 4 is to be polarising.

Alex:      Ooh.

Dom:     Now as a small business owner, or even a medium size business owner I guess, but we’re talking mainly the small business owners. Usually one man band type people.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     You can’t afford to market like Coca-Cola and stuff. And Tesco’s and all these kind of big brands.

Alex:      Mass-market stuff.

Dom:     Yeah, you have to, you’ll go broke anyway for starters, trying to do that.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     But as a small business owner one of your most powerful, secret weapons is your personality. And putting your personality into your business and being polarising as well. Not being frightened to, if there’s something that you’re passionate about, if there’s something that you hate about in your industry, talking about it.

As an example in my first book, when I first started with my own dogs and to a degree when I first started the business too. I didn’t realise how damaging it could be to my dog’s behaviour to allow them to play with other dogs and encouraging them to play with other dogs even, which is what I used to do.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     If that’s, it doesn’t happen all the time but in many, many cases and we’ve heard about and talked about it on the show, with dog reactivity. In many cases, if playing with another dog is the main thing that your dog remembers when he goes to the park. That’s the thing that he’ll want to do when he goes to the park.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     So I kind of said that if you want to have a dog who listens to you and loves you and thinks the sun shines out your ass, you need to be the thing that he wants to play with and you shouldn’t let him play with other dogs.

That’s quite a polarising statement in the dog world. That’s what I talked about in the book too. It’s one of the reasons why a lot of other fluffy, bunny dog trainers don’t like it. But that wasn’t my point, that wasn’t why I did it but that was a nice little by-product of it.

That’s because the book wasn’t written for them. The book was written to help me to pull the people towards me who, I know that the book can help. You know what I mean?

Alex:      Yeah, definitely. You could definitely sort of see why would immediately feel like resistance to doing something like that because naturally, most of us anyway want to please everyone. Avoid conflict and all the rest of it, but I think as you say, the fact is that if you want to stand out and be known for something and be the expert in that field, then you’re going to have to have whatever kind of opinions you’ve got. You’re going to have to put them front and centre.

Dom:     Definitely, yeah, and people respect it.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     People respect people with a spine, with an opinion.

Alex:      That’s it, it’s not about being polarising or upsetting people for the sake of it, is it? It’s more just saying, no these are my values. This is what I think.

Dom:     Definitely, yeah it’s a very honest way to run your business.

Alex:      Definitely.

Dom:     I talk in my, “Walk Yourself Wealthy” books, very similar. I talk about stuff that I’m passionate about and I swear in both books. Again, some people don’t like that but you know I swear in real life. So I couldn’t give a shit, you know, what they think.

Alex:      For sure, yeah.

Dom:     And I don’t want people coming along to my seminars and my boot camps and my courses or buying more things from me and being shocked by my language. Or shocked by the way that I talk about things. I want them to know up front, that’s why I talk about this in the emails and my books and the podcasts and everything. It runs right through the business.

Alex:      Yeah, exactly.

Dom:     Whether they like you, or they don’t like you that’s where you want them. You want them liking you and pulled in, or cold and moving away from you.

Alex:      Yeah, definitely.

Dom:     The fifth marketing secret, Alex is to be inaccessible.

Alex:      Inaccessible?

Dom:     Mm.

Alex:      Okay, what do you mean by that then?

Dom:     By inaccessible, I mean, you know when you go … let’s say you’re wandering around, you’re away with your good lady for the weekend in Amsterdam.

Alex:      Okay.

Dom:     Yep. You’ve both had a doobie, you’re nice and chilled out, walking around Amsterdam and you’re looking for somewhere to eat. In one bar there’s a, in one bar restaurant there’s a, it’s empty. There’s a couple of people inside sitting at a table picking at the food. Doesn’t look very appetising. And the waiter’s standing at the door and he’s doing that thing where he’s trying to beg you in.

Alex:      Gosh, yeah.

Dom:     Come in. Come and eat here. He’s waving the menus at you, kind of thing. And the restaurant next to it, is crammed inside you can see it’s heaving. People are having a good time. And there’s a little rope outside as well and the waiting time as well. It depends on how hungry you were, I guess but, which one would you want to go in?

Alex:      Well, by the sounds of things the one that everyone else is enjoying.

Dom:     Exactly, yeah. You would want in.

Alex:      The one that I’ve got, almost a literal barrier to entry.

Dom:     Yeah.

Alex:      It’s like surely that must be …

Dom:     If you have to wait for an hour, surely it must be worth waiting.

Alex:      Yeah, exactly.

Dom:     At the same time, the waiter who’s kind of trying to pull people in off the streets, that strategy does work as well. But it does look a little bit desperate.

Alex:      Ah, big time

Dom:     Doesn’t it?

Alex:      And it’s really off-putting.

Dom:     And a lot of people run their businesses that way. They have no barrier to entry. They have no, they’re accepting phone calls, left, right and centre. And sending replies to messages and emails and all this kind of thing. If you do that you end up with a business that’s actually run by the people who are wanting the service. It’s not a business that’s run by the business owner.

Alex:      Yeah, yeah.

Dom:     You can make your business far more attractive by putting a virtual, velvet rope around it. And having some sort of barriers to entry in there. Even if it’s just something as simple as making people fill out an application form, or having a consultation Skype call with you that they have to pay for before they become dog training client. Or before they become a dog walking client.

These little things like that, that’s immensely attractive to people.

Alex:      Yeah, it seems counterintuitive at first again, doesn’t it? But the more you think about it, the more it does make sense and the more examples of it you can find in all other kinds of walks of life as well.

Dom:     Yeah.

Alex:      It’s like a very human nature thing, isn’t it? You always want the thing you can’t have.

Dom:     Exactly. Like when you’re sitting in second class and the people in first class.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     Whether you admit it or not you want to be in that first class place. Of if you’re in a concert and you’re sitting at the back and you’re enjoying yourself and there’s two hundred people in that little VIP, you know the golden circle thing? You want to be in there. You can create that kind of feeling, to make people want to come into your service.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     Using the secrets that I give away in the book.

Alex:      Yeah, definitely.

Dom:     So what did you think of those?

Alex:      I think it’s great, yeah.

Dom:     They’re easily applicable to like I said, any kind of business. That’s not just what the book’s about, in the secret sixth chapter I share about lead generation marketing. I tell people how and why they need to start doing some lead generation marketing in the business. Which it kind of ties in with the last podcast that we did, wasn’t it? The business of dog trainer?

Alex:      Yeah, for sure.

Dom:     So my advice would be if you’ve got a dog business or even if you’re just thinking about starting a dog business, get yourself a copy of “Walk Yourself Wealthy”. You’ll really enjoy it. You can get it from me, by going to Or you can buy it on Amazon, Kindle version, the audio version’s available on Audible too, as is the audible version for “How To Be Your Dog’s Superhero”.

But that’s if for this week’s podcast, Alex.

Alex:      Cool. Awesome, something for the business minded people out there.

Dom:     Definitely, yeah.

Alex:      People who are running a business or would like to.

Dom:     Yeah. I’ve had a couple of comments from people who’ve read the book and wrote reviews and stuff, and people who weren’t even in dog businesses, who had other businesses as well, but they were still …

Alex:      Oh yeah.

Dom:     … learned lessons they could apply.

Alex:      Totally, it’s all applicable. Obviously you and me talk about this kind of thing a lot and for my businesses, this is exactly … you can follow it. It’s a bit of a road map and kind of set yourself up to be …

Dom:     Yeah and I didn’t invent any of this stuff. Dan Kennedy teaches it. My mentor John teaches it. I’ve just applied it to the pet business and now I’m showing other pet business owners how to start doing their own business.

Alex:      Yeah, yeah.

Dom:     So, Alex, on next week’s podcast, we’re going to be talking to Craig Ogilvie.

Alex:      Cool.

Dom:     Excellent. Craig’s got a book out, he’s been doing seminars all over the UK. I think he’s been abroad doing his stuff as well. But he’s got some really interesting stuff going on with playing and interaction with your dogs. So we had a really cool interview with him, didn’t we? And we’ll be showing it next week.

Craig Ogilvie fans, of which there are many, I know. Make sure you tune into next week’s episode. And if we don’t see you through the week, then we’ll see you through the window.

Alex:      Bye-bye.


Meet the Author

Dom Hodgson