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Bubble Baths and the Holiday Grooming Rush?

If you have a reasonably busy salon and have been at this for a few years, you know the holidays mean crunch time. You’ll be grooming most of your regular clients in days instead of weeks. Do you have control of your schedule?

main image tubYou may find yourself racing to juggle the demands of your business and your family. Keeping your customers happy is crucial to the health of your salon, but not at the expense of those you love. Don’t let the insanity of the holiday season put a damper on your festive mood.

I learned the hard way. Grooming super long hours up to 14 days straight before Christmas left me totally exhausted and spent. I was definitely a Scrooge throughout the entire holiday season. I knew I had to make a change when one Christmas I literally slept through the entire day.

Here are a few ideas from myself and my team of seasoned grooming pros to help you make the most of the holiday rush. Read the rest of this entry »


Do I Really Need to Learn Anything Else?

(Welcome to my blog!  This week, my marketing expert, Joelle Asmondy, will be filling in for me.  Joelle is a whiz with marketing and is a firm believer in education.  Enjoy!)

handI was at one of our industry’s amazing trade shows recently and had a brief but memorable exchange with a lady that walked past our booth. I wished her a good morning and without turning her head, she glanced at the table in front of me and the many books we had on display. Never breaking stride, she dismissed me with a quick,
“I’ve been in this business for 28 years – I’m good.”

“How wonderful that she has been in business that long!” I thought. “AND that she still comes to trade shows! She must really love the work she does!” I was so impressed that for a second I didn’t realize the subtext of our “conversation.”

“I don’t need to learn anything else.”

Wait – what?!

It was such a quick encounter, but I can’t stop thinking about it. I’ve replayed it over and over in my head. This morning I finally realized why this struck such a chord with me.

ramirez-bored-yawnWhen I was working my way through college, I worked for several months in a plastics assembly plant. The work wasn’t hard and I actually enjoyed working with my hands, but I could see the lifeless glaze in the eyes of my co-workers who had been at the job for years – and would probably never leave. They had done the same tasks at the same stations for years. There was no challenge in it for them anymore. They would fall into trance-like states while working. This was not the same look I got when I lost myself in a painting I was working on, when time fell away and I lost track of my surroundings until I came up for air. This was different. For them, everything was the same, with nothing to stimulate or relieve the mindless repetition until lunch time. There was no joy and no pride in what they were doing. It was just a job – something to be done for a paycheck.

Dog grooming, like anything else, has routines. It’s how we maintain consistency, quality, and safety. However, I just can’t imagine being satisfied with doing things the same way, every day, for the rest of my life. After all, technology changes. Breed standards evolve. Styles change. People certainly change. How can anyone in an industry as rich and diverse as ours possibly think that there is nothing more to learn, nothing to be gained by looking at something anew?

“I’m good.”learning-priorities-Development

Anyone in sales or who works a trade show will tell you that you have to accept hearing, “no” more than you hear, “yes.” Was this person just telling me that she didn’t want to spend her money with us? Possibly. Maybe she had other priorities – shampoo, sharpening, new shears – that needed the cash in her wallet. I respect that. The difference is the deferral she gave. It wasn’t, “I already have that,” or “No thanks,” or even, “Leave me alone.” I have a very strong feeling that, had I offered the books for free, I would still have been met with, “I’m good.”

“I’ve been in this business for 28 years….”

I love it when people stop by to tell us how long they’ve been grooming – and that they still love learning new things. I love it because I know they’re happier in their lives. There’s something about trying new things and embracing change that stimulates us and makes us thrive, not just live. Think about the last time you experimented with a new technique. Maybe you tried Asian Fusion for the first time and your customer LOVED it? Maybe you learned a different scissoring method that saved time and effort which enabled you to groom another dog each day – or to go home a little earlier? Maybe you tried a new shampoo that reduced the amount of time you had to spend brushing a tangled pet and your arms weren’t so tired every night?

13178553_10154208688333593_7385084264050383064_nWhatever it was, it happened because you were open to learning something new. Does that mean you HAVE to go out and buy our books? Of course not (although we wouldn’t mind!). Don’t automatically short-change yourself because you’ve been at it for years. There is always something new to be learned and so much more to life than just slogging through the days.

Successful people know that learning is the key to their success. If you settle back and decide that you’ve learnt everything you need to know about running a business, about succeeding in your career or about managing and motivating your team … you’ll lose out to competitors who have a passion for learning.”

So true.

It may not be easy or convenient to learn new things. It takes time to adapt to new things until the change feels natural – but isn’t it worth it? Best friends were strangers at first. Think of all the movies you might have missed, the books you’d never read, and the amazing food you’d never have experienced if you’d never tried anything new. I try new things every day and I can honestly say that because of it…

“I’m good.”

Make it a great week!

~ Joelle Asmondy

Are YOU still learning?  What inspires you to keep educating yourself?  Jump over to the Learn2GroomDogs Facebook page and tell us about it!

8 Steps to Overcoming Professional Burnout

Finding Passion in Your Work Again 

How in the world do dog groomers and pet stylists get burned out?

Come on… We get to play with sweet, charming little puppies all day – right?

What could be stressful about that? For most folks, grooming dogs all day is a “dream job.”

I’m here to tell you – it isn’t all fun and games with puppies. I still remember the day when I hit the burnout wall myself.

I had six mobile grooming vans out on the road as well as a salon. I had employees to manage. Budgets to make. Goals to set. Bills to pay. Marketing strategies to create. Accounting records to review. There always seemed to be an endless list of tasks that went along with running successful businesses. Plus, I was still grooming five days a week in my grooming van! I was running as hard as I could while burning the candle at both ends. It’s a typical recipe for disaster.

The moment that I hit that wall happened in June. We were booked out weeks in advance. Not a day passed without our dispatchers trying to squeeze in another dog. I was routinely grooming 10 to 12 hours a day plus doing all the other stuff too. On that fateful day I just lost it.

I had been on my way to my last client. I just totally broke down. I hadn’t even pulled into the client’s driveway yet. I was so overwhelmed. I was physically and mentally exhausted. I pulled over to the side of the road in the subdivision, unbuckled my seat belt, and walked over to my tub. I took a few deep breaths to get a hold of myself. I could do it. Just one more dog…

But then tears started to flow. I slowly slid down in front of my tub and just cried.

Have you ever had one of those days?

There are lots of ways to experience personal burnout.

So what is burnout?

Burnout is when you are at the point of physical and emotional exhaustion. It can occur when you experience long periods of stress in your job, when you are overworked in a physical or emotionally draining way for an extended period of time. You can also experience burnout when your efforts have failed to produce the results that you expected. If you are approaching a point of personal burnout, it’s time to reassess what you’re doing.

Understand what is creating the burnout.

This takes some soul-searching. Take the time to identify what activities that got you to this point. You need to get to the root of the problem. Once you have identified what is causing your distress, look for ways to lighten your load. You are going to need to remove, delegate, simplify, or find new meaning in those activities that are causing the stress.

Once you discover the underlying cause of your burnout, you can uncover ways to resolve it.

In the pet grooming world, there are some options:

  1. Reduce the number of pets you groom in a day. Many busy pet stylists have found that by simply raising their prices, they can reduce the workload without losing any revenue.
  2. Eliminate difficult clients. That might mean dogs or cats you don’t enjoy grooming due to size, haircut, or attitude.
  3. Delegate tasks. Focus on those skills that ONLY YOU can do for your business. Analyze any item that could be handed off to someone else – even if it’s only part-time to start. Accounting. Bathing. Grooming. Cleaning. Marketing. Sales tracking. Reception. Inventory. Errand running. You get the idea.
  4. Get out of your rut. Do whatever it takes to rekindle your grooming spirit. Learn new skills. Find a mentor you can learn from and who will help motivate you. Discover new, better, and more efficient ways to do your job. Read books and magazines to expand your horizons. Attending industry trade shows, joining an online job-related community, watching videos with inspirational industry leaders, or even hooking up with local groomers a couple of times a year can do wonders to ward off burnout.
  5. Set a realistic goal. The target could be related to reaching a sales goal. What about a customer satisfaction goal like improving client retention rates or rebooking appointments at checkout? Look at sprucing up and reorganizing your salon so it’s more pleasant and easier to work in. Maybe you want to be officially certified in some area that would lend credibility to what you do professionally. Enter a grooming competition – or work toward becoming a consistent winner in the contest area. All of these are super goals, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Finds goals that motivate YOU.
  6. Change up your own personal job description. When you’re wearing too many hats, simply stop. Change gears. Select another role in your own company if you can. Or maybe it’s time to totally step away altogether, seeking out another career or life choice.
  7. Take time for yourself – daily, weekly, monthly, annually. Take time away from constantly dealing with pets, your business, or the numerous other tasks that are always nipping at your heels. Taking time for yourself, even if it’s only a few minutes a day, will allow you the distance you need to relax. When was the last time you took a vacation? Come on… a real vacation?
  8. Learn to say “no.” It’s a powerful word. It’s a simple action that could save your sanity when pushed too hard. Learn to use it in a conscious and responsible way.

In order to avoid or reduce burnout, you need to think about what gives true meaning in your work – the why of what you do. This self-analysis will give you a deeper understanding of what you find most important. It will also allow you to uncover elements, if any, missing from your life or your work and make adjustments.

When I hit my own personal wall, I did much of the soul-searching listed above. I made many changes to positively affect my daily workload and my personal life. The changes I made allowed me to contribute in a much more rewarding way to my companies, the industry itself, to my life, and to my health.

Always remember, life is ever-changing. Just because you successfully avoided burnout at one point in your life, does not mean you will not encounter it again. However, if you’ve overcome it once, you know you’ll be successful at overcoming it again in the future.

Question: Have you ever faced burnout? If yes, what did you do to overcome it? Jump over to the Learn2GroomDogs Facebook page and tell us about your experience!

Happy trimming!

~Melissa


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