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Sometimes it's hard to be Grateful

I'm generally a positive person, I pride myself on being a realistic optimist- if there ever was such a thing.  When life seem to be traveling in the right direction it's easy to be grateful.  When my life is on fire and I'm watching everything crumble I have the peanut gallery letting me know, "the universe has a plan" and "it's bad luck".  The harsh reality is that sometimes it's my own fault.  My less than perfect self has led me to a potential string of bad luck.  Bad planning, over estimating what I can get done or not thinking about what would happen, like a game of Jenga with my life scattered on the ground.  I find myself taking a deep breathe in and giving myself the mercy I would give someone else.  I'm my biggest critic, we all generally are our biggest critic.  All we can ever do is be our best, that bar can be set reasonably or unreasonably. 

When I'm in the thick of struggling with gratitude the last thing I want to hear is...

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Run your Own Race

"Run your own race", the middle aged gym teacher would tell us moments before blowing the whistle.  We knew we didn't want to be the last girl to cross the finish line, that person would have some menial task to perform.  Collect 100 cones, make sure all the soccer balls were filled, or some other task that made teenagers groan.  

As a sprinter I would dash quickly ahead of everyone, knowing someone would quickly be following at my heels.  I wanted to be first.  I'd push myself, feeling myself losing steam, yet people started to pass me.  First one, then two and three.  I'd feel my legs grow heavy, and my lungs begin to burn as I desperately tried to hold for middle of the pack.  By mile two I was exhausted and burnt out; I would fall further and further back.  I'd never be last but I would never never be first, or even the top 50% of my soccer team.

I would tell myself they were more talented, have longer legs, they were simply...

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Ask Yourself 3 Questions Before Hiring an Assistant

Ask Yourself These 3 Questions Before Hiring an Assistant

Hiring an assistant can be a great way to expand your business and your services. While she’s taking care of the administrative portion of your business, you can focus on your clients and the money-making tasks. However, don’t jump into the interview process without first asking yourself these five questions:

1. What kind of person do I want to hire?

Do you want someone who is just starting out so you can train them in the way you like things done or do you want someone with experience who can just run with a job until it’s complete? Do you want someone who will work only for you or are you willing to hire someone who has multiple jobs?

2. Can you afford an assistant?

If you’re overburdened with your own work and business isn’t moving forward, hiring an assistant is a smart move. Look at your books and realistically determine a budget for this assistant and stick to it. Keep in mind, the more...

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The Emotional Heimlich

No one is here to tell you what to do with your life; that's not the purpose of Savvy Groomer.  The goal is to be your Jiminy Cricket, and always let your conscience be your guide... To be that little voice to ask you "is this what I need right now?".  I needed an Emotional Heimlich today, I needed to admit I was choking, drowning in tasks, to do lists, stress.  I am relentless on myself:

"you should have done that yesterday, now you'll have to squeeze it in today"
"there's no reason this should take so long"
"this looks like garbage"
"why aren't you done yet?"
"if they can do all this and run 3 other businesses why can't YOU?"
"you're pathetic"
"you're weak"
"no one cares what you have to think"

There is this terrible rabbit hole I find myself often staring down, like Alice about to fall into Wonderland.  If I let myself fall down it, the cycle will continue tomorrow, worse, because that hesitation will just make it all the more built up, all the more...

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A Piece of the Pie

This blog post was originally published in Perfect Pointers Magazine, and on the National Cat Groomer's Institute Blog.


The idea of going feline-exclusive with my business scared me to death.  As a dog groomer I had the luxury of seeing potential clients dragging their owners around the local park.  I saw them ‘shopping’ with their owners at the local pet store, accepting cookies and belly rubs.  I saw dogs hanging out car windows, tongues flapping in the wind.  There are rarely any cats being walked at my local park, and I don’t see many kitties getting belly rubs or cookies at the pet store.  If I ever see a cat hanging out a car window, tongue flailing in whimsical glory, I promise to take video. 

As a cat groomer I may see cats roaming my neighborhood, but they are not attached to a customer.  There is no other end of the leash to hand a business card to and start a...

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Bite Gloves for Procrastination


Procrastination is a dirty word when you’re a groomer, especially if you're a business owner. If you procrastinate over doing tasks, then no one is left to complete them, which leads to a feeling of overwhelm, which leads to you questioning why you started your business in the first place. Sound familiar?

Business owners who also groom in their businesses have the added pressures of completing their clients in a timely manner and then all the day-to-day background work. A business takes SO much time after the dogs are done to run smoothly.  Often in my case, procrastination is a synonym for laundry build up, paperwork over flow, growing list of clients to call back and stress at home.  I'm literally one person and I can't do it all.

Put on your bite gloves to wrestle with your procrastination habits and find your motivation.  I'd love to see your business implement these simple strategies. Just because they’re simple doesn’t mean...

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Customer Service Tips, even when Fluffy is a Psycho

Have you analyzed your customer service practices recently? It’s not enough these days to just be an outstanding groomer; if someone is unhappy with their groom, or can’t reach you with a question or for an appointment...  They will be quick to bash you on social media or online review sites. Often these bad reviews are what people notice over the good reviews.

If you want to develop a reputation for being the “Danelle German”, or "Sue Zecco" of customer service, here are three tips that will ramp up your reputation:

1. Be Responsive

Frustration will set in quickly for customers who can’t get a quick answer to their questions or new appointment times. Have a process in place for answering emails or phone calls quickly and how to handle weekend inquiries. If you are grooming alone or have crazy days, have specific office hours, make them public on your website, have them listed in your email signature, and certainly mention those hours on...

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3 Tips for Gaining More Time in your Day



No matter if you are a salon or mobile grooming business owner, have employees or groom solo you often bemoan the fact that your to-do lists are miles long...  You wish you had more time in the day to get all your tasks done.  Now let's add in the number of clients vying for your attention, the long days of backbreaking groomings and the stress can become overbearing. Even though we all have only 24 hours in each day, here are some strategies for working more efficiently so it feels like we’re gaining extra time.

1. Use the Time Blocking Method on Your Calendar

For those of you grooming one a pet at a time (like I do in my mobile unit) already get the concept.  Time blocking simply means assigning a block of time to one particular client, project, or task. For instance, if you have to voicemail full of return calls, block that time off on your calendar and focus on those calls. If you need time to update your website or schedule out your month of...

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Starbucks Customers

A Starbucks grooming business focuses on high-end clients who may be more fussy but they are dealing with less of them.  They focus more time on customer service and making the client happy. These clients may, or may not require complicated, technical haircuts... but they DO require a solid haircut, no hack jobs will be accepted.

Customers may proclaim "do whatever you want", which is misleading because what they really want you to do is figure out the most flattering haircut on their dog.  High end clients vaguely expect you to magically know their preferences and ideals. When these customers have healthy boundaries they respect your time, and your schedule. They tend to work jobs where they are under a lot of time / pressure so luxury or convienant grooming options like Mobile, start to finish cage-free or grooming where their dog can go to daycare beforehand is generally best.

Depending on location I'd assume a shih tzu haircut would be $55 - $85 at this salon.

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Dunkin Donuts Customers


I would say this is about half of the grooming industry, Dunkin Donuts reminds me of the typical local shop. Their work is good, maybe there is one or two amazing artists who can preform specialty skills but for the most part the customers are here for their "coffee and doughnuts". Customers are ordinary people, they want their pet clean, well groomed but most owners don't expect a hand scissored finish.

A 4 all over so their dog can swim in the family pool and go camping all summer. Depending on the owner of the salon these customers can be loyal, or fickle. Customers may or may not be on a regular schedule, the ownership would have to set healthy boundaries with clients to create that sense of urgency. These shops tend to be one or more employees, sometimes they are mobile but it is hard to charge lower prices and afford a top of the line grooming van.

Sometimes they're at home groomers or house call groomers. Semi-retired groomers who just want to flex their scissor...

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