Embracing the Journey: Five Years as a Full-Time Entrepreneur

It's a surreal feeling as I sit down to write this blog post. April marks five years since I decided to leave behind the corporate world and dive headfirst into my passion for dog training, making it my full-time gig. Reflecting on this milestone brings a whirlwind of emotions—gratitude, exhaustion, pride, and apprehension.

They say that most businesses don't make it past the five-year mark. 21.5% of small businesses fold before the end of their first year. 50% of small businesses survive for five years and a third get to celebrate ten years in business. But here I am, defying the odds and living to tell the tale. It's like being the underdog in a movie—except instead of fighting villains, I'm wrangling unruly pups.

Leaving the security of a corporate job was no easy feat, especially as a single woman. The uncertainty of income, no pension, no benefits (free massages, how I miss thee), and the daunting task of managing every aspect of my business solo—it all feels overwhelming at times.

Running a dog training business isn't all belly rubs and wagging tails and building a business from scratch is no walk in the park. It means long days filled with training sessions, content creation (full-time job in itself!), learning new apps and softwares, Facebook ads, Amazon ads, plus the dozen of other programs I’ve needed to learn. Followed by evenings spent juggling household chores and property maintenance—all on my own. There were moments when exhaustion threatened to take over, when doubts crept in, but hey, at least I get to spend my days surrounded by adorable furballs who think I'm the greatest thing since sliced hot dogs! “The treat lady is here!”!

These past five years have been a wild ride, filled with more ups and downs than a rollercoaster at a theme park, especially during the pandemic. Closed, open, closed, open. Sigh. I’ve never experienced stress like that. I should have bought stocks in Ruffles Chips. Each day brought something new. There is never a dull moment in the life of a dog trainer. Adapting to change became second nature, a necessary skill in the ever-changing landscape of entrepreneurship.

Being a full-time entrepreneur demands sacrifices. It means sacrificing stability for the pursuit of passion, and trading comfort for the thrill of chasing dreams.  I wear more hats than a dog in a costume contest. But for me, the rewards far outweigh the sacrifices.

Sure, there have been moments when I've questioned my sanity—like that time I tried to teach a bulldog how to do yoga (spoiler alert: downward dog is not their forte). But through it all, I wouldn't change a thing. Because at the end of the day, there's nothing more rewarding than doing what you love, even if it means occasionally getting drooled on….or peed on.

So here's to the next five years, and all the adventures that lie ahead. Here's to embracing the chaos, finding humor in the madness, and never losing sight of the joy that comes from following your passion and also finding new passions like being an author! And most importantly, here's to having the courage to chase your dreams, even when the path ahead seems uncertain. Because in the end, it's the journey itself that's the real treat. And all those slobbery kisses.

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