Tracy: What was your entry point to Entrepreneurialism?
Alanna: I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of a steep learning curve. The training I had for my last corporate job was no exception. It was the largest learning curve I have ever faced, but I worked extremely hard for months on end to succeed, and I did. In the end, it gave me a boost in confidence. It showed me that I had the ability to learn, grow, and take on any challenge and succeed.
I kept seeing entrepreneurs in the news who were pushing the limits and building empires. It must have been my newfound confidence that sparked the thoughts, why should I work hard building someone else’s business? Why not my own? At first, those thoughts shocked me and I experienced a little fear. But as I considered this strange new alternative, everything else became more clear.
My favorite quote is from Eleanor Roosevelt, who said, We gain strength, courage, and confidence by each experience in which we stop to look fear in the face. We must do that which we think we cannot. That became my new path. Not one to do anything halfway, I quit my corporate job and devoted my time to my new business, PawHaven. It became the perfect union between my passion for animals and my skill for their caregiving.
Tracy: Can you think about a time or event when you caught the bug and told one short story or two as examples?
Alanna: I listen to John Lee Dumas’ Entrepreneur Podcast every day when I workout. About a month after I started my own business, I remember listening to an episode that featured Dane Maxwell from The Foundation. He is an incredible entrepreneur with an amazing worst entrepreneurial moment story.
My business wasn’t doing as well as I’d hoped it would at that point. I only had a couple of clients and was thinking that maybe this had been a bad idea. Dane was talking about the small voice in our heads; the one that tells us what to do next. He said it was a sacred voice and one that is too easily silenced. I realized that voice was in me. It had spoken to me, and I had listened. To go back would be to deny that voice, and that is something I would not do.
Tracy: Tell the story of your rise from green entrepreneur to where you are now?
Alanna: I think I’m still very green. In fact, the business world is so challenging that I may always be green! But I’ve already learned so much in the process of starting a business.
Once I quit my corporate job, I had to navigate the legal and financial waters required to get PawHaven up and running. I was up until 2 a.m. and then up again at 7 a.m. I had to get things in order––my LLC, insurances, bank accounts, commercial safe (for client keys), memberships and business cards, etc. The list seemed to go on and on.
My greatest learning curve by far has been in the area of marketing. I knew that would be the case, though, so I’ve been putting a lot of time into learning the marketing ropes.
It has all paid off, because my clients love me and today are booking up to six months in advance. I’m now working on getting exposure through educational meetup groups and referral programs. I’m excited to see the results!
Tracy: What was the crossover point from “I’m going to be” to “I am” an entrepreneur?
Alanna: That’s a funny one because everyone has a different opinion on what an entrepreneur is. I have friends who think only tech startups are entrepreneurial! That’s ridiculous. I became an entrepreneur the moment I wrote my first business plan. My goal is not simply to create a job for myself; my goal is to build a pet care organization that celebrates and honors the sacred bond between people and their pets. It’s important to have a community that allows that bond to nourish and grow through knowledge sharing and high quality care.
Tracy: What is your current offer and what is your magic?
Alanna: I currently offer pet sitting and daily exercise programs for pets. The terms, cat whisperer and dog whisperer come up a lot with my clients and friends when they talk about my services. I’m able to approach and care for animals that are usually picky about people. It is especially helpful with older and fragile pets, as they can become selective about who they allow into their space.
I also enjoy teaching pet parents about pet care and nutrition. Soon, I’ll be creating courses that cover these topics, and a book about helping your pets grow old gracefully .
Tracy: What is it you can look a business-owner in the eye and say “I can help you” and how did you discover this magic?
Alanna: If you’re afraid to go on vacation because your older pets don’t like just anyone coming to your home, I can help. I discovered this magic when I adopted and successfully socialized with a wild cat. He now sleeps on my bed, loves being brushed, and even plays with feathers on a stick.
Tracy: What is your prospects biggest or most common problem?
Alanna: Many people have problems finding a pet care provider who they can trust and who their pets will accept. There are a lot of options around, but a professional pet sitter is usually the best solution. They can stay home and avoid interaction with animals who they may not be familiar with. They can follow a routine, which is important to maintaining health and wellness in pets.
Tracy: What are two or three most common questions your prospects ask?
Alanna: I’m often asked why I began a pet sitting business. I have always had a great love for animals, large and small. I’m the one who leaves the party to pet and sing to the cows outside; the one who gets up at 5 a.m. to feed a colony of feral cats.