Stephanie and I met years ago on a soccer field when our boys were young. In fact, they continued to play sports together for years, which left us sitting on the benches cheering them on and talking about life/work balance, dreams, and family. She embraces family like most people do careers. She has invested herself for the benefit of her family and all the animals that lived on their farm. So I wasn’t surprised when I heard she’d become a dog walker! The spirit of ‘let’s do this’ lives deep within each cell in her body. With a quick laugh and ready smile, we could all emulate her ‘grab life with two hands’ attitude.
In her words, “I am a Christian, a wife, a mom and grandma and the owner of two rescued dogs. I live a blessed life and am thankful.” We applaud you Steph!
1) What exactly is your business and what made you get started?
Besides my full-time job in a public high school, I am an independent contractor for a dog walking company that connects dog owners with dog walkers/dog sitters through a cell phone app. It works sort of like Uber but for dogs. I got started earlier this year on a whim. One of my Facebook friends posted information about the dog walking app. and after years of jokingly answering folks who asked what my plans were when I retire with “I’m going to walk dogs” I clicked on the post and began the hiring process. I had been trying to discover something that would ease some of my stress, give me the opportunity to get more exercise and to spend time outdoors. I love the outdoors, and dogs so dog-walking seemed like a natural fit for me. While I am a few years away from retirement I decided to try on my resolution to say yes more often and to jump at the opportunity when it presented itself.
2) What one thing do you do every day to move yourself forward and stay focused? Where do you find your inspiration?
I start every day with a cup of coffee in a bubble bath. I use the alone time to pray and go over the day ahead and start prioritizing the day’s tasks.
3) What do you do regularly to take care of yourself?
I’ve been a type 2 diabetic for 9 years and have been able to avoid taking medication by paying close attention to my diet, drinking lots of water and staying active. In addition to the activity from dog walking, my husband and I have recently taken up kayaking. We camp often enjoying the beauty and wonder of paddling around the beautiful lakes and reservoirs in Oregon.
4) How do you keep yourself emotionally balanced while you are pushing forward?
There are people within my circle that would question my emotional balance–LOL. I learned at a very young age that the Lord always takes care of me and to trust that at any given point in time I am exactly where I am meant to be. After our son survived being struck by lightning it was crystal clear to me that the important things in life are natural, God-given and irreplaceable. I learned to not sweat the small stuff and to not be guided by what others think is important. I am comfortable in what I believe, that is emotional balance for me.
5) What’s the best part and the worst part of your job?
The best part is I love it as much as I thought I would and I am helping people and dogs with each walk. The worst part is dog poop; (ha ha ha) not really the most uncomfortable part is going into the homes of people you have never met when they’re not home and addressing their dog for the first time.
6) What failure taught you the most and what was it?
My biggest failure was not pursuing higher education. I have learned over the years that all of my 42 years experience in the workforce is not as valuable as an Associates degree held by a 25-year-old.
7) If you had to do something different, what would that be?
I would have to get educated in a field that would allow me to be outdoors and work with animals. I dreamed of being a veterinarian as a kid but made decisions to get married, have children and pursue work that would allow me to basically be a stay at home mom. I do not regret the best work I will ever did. I, alongside my husband, have raised two adult biological children and one adult child who picked us to be her parents. All three of our children positively contribute to society which I am very proud of. We also have three young grandchildren who are the icing on the cake of my life. Dreams change and I’m glad my dream of having a close family came true.
8) If you had advice to give to someone else who was thinking of becoming an entrepreneur, what would that be?
Figure out what you love and when an opportunity reveals itself to you, say yes! I recently read a story somewhere about a man who had drowned and was asking the Lord why He didn’t save him. The Lord’s answer was “You kept ignoring the help I sent.” When the man didn’t understand, the Lord explained that He sent a ship but the man denied the help offered because he was waiting for the Lord to save him. The Lord listed other examples for the man but the man always chose to wait for the Lord to save him. Suddenly I understood you have to choose to help yourself. My advice is to be open to helping yourself before the ship sent by the Lord sails away without you.
9) What did you have to overcome personally to be able to do what you do?
I have let my world get pretty small. I am uncomfortable driving to new locations. I do not naturally trust new people, so driving to the homes of new clients I have never met and entering their homes while they are away or meeting them at their front door and walking away with their dog is way outside my comfort zone. But, I’m doing it and I’m loving it. It’s been worth it to be uncomfortable with these new experiences while at the same time enjoying the time outdoors with a variety of dogs.
10) Any last parting words?
I would encourage every woman to spend time alone to get to know herself. Spend time with the Lord so you can actively participate in his plan for you. Lastly, know you will be taken care of.
Become a Dog Walker/House Sitter <–Click to read more…