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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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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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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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McDonald's Coffee Customers


We all know these shops.  The chop shops.  The "sure you can come in now, or later, or whenever" shops.  The area's "oh God tell me you didn't pay someone to do that to your dog" shop.  Now, if this is your business model please remember it is not realistically a sustainable model.

McDonalds can sell a cup of coffee for $1 because they're trying to get you to buy other things.  Their $1 cup of coffee is called a "loss lead" which means they lose money on one item to get you in to hopefully buy more items.  If grooming is your main service, having a loss lead grooming operation is never going to last.  When you're grooming 2-3 dogs compared to Dunkin Donut's and Starbuck's one dog, you are burnt out waiting to happen.  

Petco and Petsmart use their grooming as a loss lead to sell their dog training, food and other retail.  That's how they can afford $10 - $15 bath specials.  The ONLY way this works is if the groomer is a Hobby...

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They're Not all your Customers


Starbucks.  Dunkin Donuts.  Mcdonalds.
They all sell coffee

The product is the same.  The branding, ideal client and price point is totally different.

Photo credit: Business Insider


Known for its high-end brand, elaborate lattes and particular customers. Standing in line the orders are for extra wet, no foam, red eye, breve, with soy or hold the whip lattes.

Dunkin Donuts    

Focusing on everyday people getting their coffee and getting to work. Medium Iced Regular, Large Hot Extra Extra, Double chocolate doughnut, Bacon Egg and Cheese on a Croissant. While recently they've added lattes; their main focus is the daily commuter getting their coffee and breakfast.


McDonald's coffee is known as "surprisingly good" for it's price point and the fact that it's, well, McDonalds. Hungry commuters or weary travelers can get a cup of coffee, a breakfast sandwich...

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Groomer Burnout is Real- Trapped

I knew when I was running my dog grooming salon I was becoming burnt out. I was working 60-80 hours a week, I had 5 employees that were finally amazing but needed a lot of guidance. I was trying to take time off to spend time with my young son, so I decided to take off my first Christmas eve off since owning my salon, which turned into a disaster when I came back:

 I'm sure you can relate!

I felt exhausted all the time, I had worked so hard to build this life with my son so we could do better... I wasn’t happy.  I felt like something had to give.  I wished someone had talked to me about groomer burn out because it is so real.

Re-evaluate your life and business

Is your business style or current employment right for you?
Mobile? In-home? House call? Salon? Salon with employees? Are your co-workers super catty assholes? Do they do a LOT of big dogs? What is your ideal client / ideal situation? Are you there now? Can you work towards or change your current...

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Groomer Burnout is Real- Financial

I knew when I was running my dog grooming salon I was becoming burnt out.  I was working 60-80 hours a week, I had 5 employees that were finally amazing but needed a lot of guidance.  I had opened my salon 4 days before my son was born, I lived in that salon with a newborn baby (which is completely illegal!) till he was 6 months old.  Going from being so broke that I used to eat ketchup sandwiches to having a large paycheck in less than 5 years made my finances get completely out of whack.  At this point I was making great money but I spent SO much money on crap that I didn't need or really want.  I would spend my money on things to make my life easier.  I averaged $1200/month on quick easy food because I was too tired to cook.  I felt like I deserved a home cooked meal after sacrificing for so long.  I paid for a laundry service even though I could have simply had an employee use our washer/dryer but I was too crispy fried to argue...

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Groomer Burnout is Real- Physical

I knew when I was running my dog grooming salon I was becoming burnt out.  I was working 60-80 hours a week, I had 5 employees that were finally amazing but needed a lot of guidance.  I was physically feeling awful.  My body HURT which was terrifying considering I was in my mid-20s.  I got to the shop around 7 am and sometimes I didn't get home till 9 pm.  If I was lucky I could send one of my employees for a lunch run, but it was more likely to be a coffee run.  I was running off sugar, caffeine, and I could feel my body aching... I would spend my days off trying to catch up on some much-needed sleep. When I dragged my lazy butt out of bed I ended up laying on the couch waiting for my lower back to stop throbbing.

 I'm sure you can relate! 

I felt exhausted all the time, I had worked so hard to build this life with my son so we could do better... I wasn’t happy.  I felt like something had to give.  I wished someone had talked...

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