Tell us about your business
The purpose of our council is to provide education and examinations for certification as well as continuing education that reflects and upholds the highest professional standards of practice for animal naturopaths. To that end, the examinations are available to natural animal health consultants and practitioners. In addition ACAN is a front-runner in providing affordable, high quality distance learning education courses in animal naturopathy and holistic/natural health care.
Animal naturopathy courses have become popular today among those seeking a better understanding of natural health for their companion animals as well as natural animal care professionals looking for a more comprehensive education and certification. Our courses prepare and qualify members/students to take the board certification examination to become certified in that field of study as well as being a prerequisite and qualification for doctorate level courses at Kingdom College of Natural Health.
Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?
It means the liberty to work, live and share my passion. I became an entrepreneur out of necessity because I was not content to work at a job for someone else, not fulfilling my life’s purpose. I collected a paycheck at at times more than I’ve made as an entrepreneur, but the determining factor for me was to live my life on purpose with passion. Anything less would be the equivalent of watching a cut rose die, rather than watching a rose bush in full bloom!
What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
I would say both of my grandmothers. My maternal grandmother never worked a traditional job during my life. She ran her own cotton candy stand from her home when I was little and if we wanted to eat any we had to help her! She also worked our annual state fair with her own food stand. My paternal grandmother ran her own restaurants. She told me she did not want to be a secretary being chased around the office by a boss but since she wasn’t educated she didn’t know what to do. The man who loaned her the money to start her first restaurant asked her what she knew how to do. She said, “I know how to cook and well”. So that’s what she did and her business thrived! She paid back the loan in one year. She subsequently owned six more restaurants in the New Mexico area at one time. Both of my grandmothers ran their businesses during a time when women did not own and run businesses as the norm like today.
Both encouraged me to pursue my dreams. My paternal grandmother actually told me to never be content working for someone else, and supporting their dreams instead of my own.
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
I’d say working towards and receiving my degrees. I have a bachelor’s in holistic nutrition (human health), a doctor of naturopathy in human health, and my doctor of veterinary naturopathy. The next greatest professional accomplishment was facing the daunting task (to me and my business partner) of organizing and instituting this council. It wasn’t something we sought, it sought us and we just stepped up and ran with it….well sometimes we have crawled and even back pedaled, but we knew once we went forward there was no turning back. Sink or swim and we’re used to being salmon!
What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?
Years ago I was going to a local gym. And the times of day I always went – either in the VERY early morning or at noon – the business people were always the ones there at those times. The movers and shakers. I stood in awe of their desire to just work and yet fit in time to keep themselves in shape as well. At any rate there was one guy who owned his own “Gung Fu” school. He was different – he stood out from the crowd. He was an African American man who wore a wig. But he sure did look fit and I liked him. He was honest and straight forward and something about him set him apart from the herd or pack . We became friends and one day while doing our workouts I asked him how he got started in his business. He said he just did it. I said, “Well could you elaborate on the HOW?” And he said very matter-of-factly, “Just do it.” I’ve never forgotten that. He was right! If you have a desire, a passion then the best thing you can do is just do it! Nike got that right.
This business isn’t the first one I’d owned and operated. In fact right now I have two I am running. If I had thought too hard and long about all the “what to dos” before launching I’d never have done either. So my friend’s simple answer was the best piece of advice I believe I’ve been given and so that is the advice I am giving. No fear, just do it!
What has been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?
Without a doubt it has been aligning and working out partnerships with other like-minded businesses, especially those who have the same philosophy. We are each filling a different need and niche so rather than being competition, we are collaborators. The competition isn’t something I think too much about. I often admire them and want to model some of what they’re doing but rather than frustrate me they inspire me to raise the bar and continue going forward.
What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?
Build relationships. There is an old saying that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. I don’t push my business at others. I share my viewpoints, feelings about animals and SOME of my knowledge (grin), but I listen to and read what others are sharing and learning. One of the things that is taught in natural animal care is rather than train animals, one is encouraged to build relationships with them. By doing that we build trust so the animal will want to work with you. People are the same way.
Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you run your business? .
I’m a DIY sort of person, so I read a lot. I started blogging before the average person even knew what a blog was – in 2004. And most certainly the animal and natural health world had not caught on yet. So I look for innovative tools to get my message and work out in as viral a way as possible. Of course social networking is the big thing these days also. I don’t use any tools per se, I just keep my eyes and ears open for opportunities to partner with and network with like-minded people who have the same interest and goals in helping animals and the people who love them.
Do you have any new projects coming up? If so, please tell us about it.
Our ongoing project is to keep growing our school. I’d like to see our school become approved for continuing education by a New Mexico educational organization. That is one project and milestone we hope to accomplish!
What do you do for fun/relaxation?
I love to be outdoors (which I don’t get to be as often as I’d like) and work in the garden, breathe the fresh air and just watch the wildlife around me. They teach me much. I love to read too as I’ve always been an avid reader. I’m not much of a social butterfly although at one time that’s all I was! My husband and I like to get together with a couple of friends, have dinner, and just TALK. People don’t talk to each other anymore like they used so that’s what we like to do. But of course my favorite thing is to hang out with animals.
Cookouts in the summer are one of my favorite things to do!
What is Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?
To grow our educational program – which is something we’re already working on. We have enlisted the help of those we consider the best in their area of expertise in natural animal care. My hope is that by this time next year we’ll have a very diverse and unique offering of certificate courses along with certification testing made available.
You want to write a book on … my dog AND also one on animal naturopathy.
I’ve already co-authored a book on natural dog care with a homeopathic veterinarian back in 2006, Whole Health for Happy Dogs. And my second book is Animals Taught Me That which was published in December of 2009. It is my personal memoir of the important life lessons I’ve learned through the love and companionship of animals.
Our beloved dog, Shadrach, recently passed away on April 5, 2011. Because he is the reason I went headlong into animal naturopathy, I think writing a book about him is something I need to do as much as want to do. I’m planning on turning his blog, http://www.Bark-N-Blog.com into a series of short books with the best of the best on certain topics. I’ve been asked by the readers though to continue blogging there in “first person” rather than “first dog” until such a time as a canine successor can take up the mantle where Shadrach left off.
My business partner and colleague, Dr. Jeannie Thomason, has been writing a book on the basics of animal naturopathy and hopefully one day she’ll get it finished and published! But the book I’d like to write is on the philosophy of animal naturopathy. A wise holistic veterinarian told us this year that without the philosophy all one is learning is the mechanics – which leaves a lot of room for error which can then cause harm. So over the past couple of years I’ve been collecting wise sayings and information on animal naturopathy I’ve learned to one day take it all and put into a book on.
That’s what we now focus on, on our weekly internet radio show – animal naturopathy philosophy. I LOVE it!
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Don’t listen to tiny frogs and also be sure to share your stories. There is a quote I use in the introduction of my book, Animals Taught Me That ,that says, “Give people a fact or an idea and you enlighten their minds; tell them a story and you touch their souls.” ~A Hasidic Proverb.
So let me tell you the story of the tiny frogs.
Once upon a time there was a whole town of tiny frogs. This particular day there was going to be a competition. All the town gathered to watch the competition. The tiny frogs that were in the competition all were eager and ready to get going. The challenge was to climb to the top of what was to them a high building. No one thought it could be done, it was just too hard. But nonetheless the competitors lined up ready to at least try and give it a go.
The whistle blew and up the tiny frogs went! Before long one after the other started falling back, it was just too hard. They could hear all the other tiny frogs below yelling things such as “stop, come back, it’s too high, it’s too hard”. Eventually all but one tiny frog had dropped out of this seemingly impossible task of climbing the building. One little frog never looked back and made it all the way to the top.
Later when he was interviewed, he was asked how come he could make but none of the others could. And he said, “What’s that you say? I can’t hear you, I’m deaf.”
The moral of the story is to not listen to all the tiny frogs around you that say it can’t be done.
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