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What can I offer Clients?

Have you ever been scrolling on social media and you come across a post from another dog professional sharing their successes? Maybe they've won an award, gained a great qualification or reached thousands of followers. You want to be happy for them but you see how many followers they have and how great their videos and posts are and deep down, it can leave you feeling really inadequate in comparison.

While we obviously have personal goals, we may feel like giving up because we feel we can't catch up with other professionals. We know where we want to be in our career but getting there seems like a long and challenging journey. These feelings can be even worse if the other dog professional is local because you are both providing services to the same client base and it makes you feel that you need to compete. This pressure, as well as a fear of failure, can stop us even trying to gain clients, because we may conclude that another dog professional can likely do a better job than we can. These thoughts gnaw away at us slowly and it can really destroy any hopes and ambitions we may have.

While all these feelings are normal, common and completely valid, I'm going to now tell you to stop comparing yourself and appreciate what you have to offer. I understand that is easy said than done and I am just as guilty of these feelings too. I know from experience that we can be our own worst enemy and we confuse our thoughts about how we perceive ourselves with the actual facts. We may view our personal achievements as flukes or unimpressive because it doesn't fit with our self-perception. If our mind is only looking for evidence that proves our negative self-perception is true, all our past achievements will be disregarded.

So while you may struggle with how you feel about yourself and your abilities, you need to regularly remind yourself of everything you have achieved so far. It doesn't matter how big or small. It can simply be changing a neighbours mind to stop using E collars or it could be achieving a qualification. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be better. In fact, it proves how humble you are and you'll definitely be a better dog professional for it. But don't allow your drive to do better, convince yourself that you currently aren't enough. You are.

Don't let another professional’s achievements stop you from achieving your own goals. We each have gifts, therefore what we can offer is always going to be unique and different to others. Sometimes we don't know what our passions are, but you usually find that your passion finds you, as long as you are open to learning new things. When you know how you want to help dogs you discover that there's hundreds of ways you can achieve this goal. Sometimes it's helpful to try different things and see what you would like to specialise in. If you work as a trainer, your niche could be working with a specific breed or behavioural issue, meaning other trainers may refer cases to you.

I am lucky to have so many friends in the industry that specialise in niches, such as reactivity, separation anxiety, imposter syndrome and rescue dogs. Rather than seeing others in the industry as ones to compete with, we can network with them and support each other in each other’s careers. We can all learn something new from each other, regardless of where we are on our career path. If you appreciate fellow professionals niches you will feel genuine happiness when they reach personal goals, rather than allowing yourself to criticise your own achievements.

If you have specific talents or expertise, (I really should say when you discover your specific talent) such as working with children, producing art, counselling, graphic design, business coaching, marketing or writing, you could pursue these in the dog industry. The sky is the limit, so don't hold back from offering something entirely unique to you. It's never too late to try new things, so don't hesitate to experiment.

Although it may feel that the competition is fierce and you feel like your portfolio can't compare, remember that each and every professional started as a student. In fact, most continue to be students for the rest of their lives because there will always be more to learn. If you want to have more qualifications, go out there and pursue them, but do it for you and the dogs you work with, not to compete with someone else. The more you study, the more you begin to identify what particular areas of canine welfare and behaviour you are interested in.

You don't have to specialise in the same things as other local professionals, but if you do consider how can you make it unique. You'll find that you will always do something differently to others, because you will bring your own version and creativity to it and that's what will ultimately make you special.

In addition to your qualifications, your personality and personal experiences may make you a better fit for a client than another local professional. You may be more empathetic and/or have experienced the same difficulties they have, whether that be with dogs or life in general. Who you are as person should be counted in what you can offer clients. If you have a true passion to help dogs and their people, this will shine through. Qualifications are no doubt important, but no college can teach compassion, kindness or empathy. If you feel you have these qualities (and I'm sure you do), remind yourself that these make you special in your line of work. When you truly care about your clients, they recommend you to all their friends and family. Before you know it, you will have a huge client base and a great reputation as well as true friendships with other professionals in the industry.

Finally, consider that while your scrolling through social media, you are only seeing the highlight reel of other professionals. You aren't seeing their personal struggles or true quality of life. Other professionals are more than likely experiencing the same emotions and may even be comparing themselves to you, regardless of what awards or success they have achieved. We also have to remember that our worth is not dependent on how many likes or followers we have. While a huge following is desirable, it doesn't define who we are as a person or professional. Our success should only be dependent on the dogs we help each and every day.

So please, don't hold back from pursuing your goals because someone else beat you to it. I promise that you have something special to offer and you can use your qualifications, experience, personality and creativity, to offer something no one else can.


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Thank you; I needed that x

Replying to

So pleased you found it comforting. We all need to hear it.

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