Why did you become a dog trainer? If you’re like most of the trainers we work with, you probably discovered the benefits of R+ training with your own dog, you love helping dogs and their people, and you’re passionate about animal welfare. Your dedication to making the world better for dogs probably extends well beyond your paying clients. And this may sometimes feel like a dilemma. There can be tension between the goal of building a profitable business and the desire to share your skills with dog lovers who may struggle to access them.
The good news is that it is possible to do both, without giving all your time away or feeling like you’re only serving a small portion of your community. Here are some of our favorite ways to build your business and share your expertise with a wider audience.
- Create Online Resources
These days there are a plethora of options to make your dog training knowledge accessible to everyone. Consider creating online resources such as video tutorials, blog posts, or downloadable guides. These resources can cover basic training techniques, common behavioral issues, and tips for dog owners. By offering free, easily accessible content, you contribute to a more informed and empowered canine community while sharing your expertise with potential paying clients.
Running webinars or virtual workshops as a ‘taster’ for your services is another way to use your knowledge to serve a broader audience while serving double-duty as a marketing project. These sorts of projects can be particularly powerful if you have a specific training niche to highlight.
- Develop Online Courses
While your premium services may cater to a specific audience, you may also want to create online courses for those on a budget. These courses could cover fundamental training principles, basic behavior modification techniques, and management strategies. Modern learning platforms offer a user-friendly way to structure and deliver online courses, making them easily accessible to a wide range of dog lovers.
- Utilize Social Media For Bite-Sized Tips
Harness the positive side of social media by sharing bite-sized training tips, including short videos or posts that provide quick insights into dog training. While it’s important that this work doesn’t take over your entire schedule, it can be a helpful way to share and democratize your expertise. Schedule these posts as part of your marketing strategy so you can ‘set and forget’ while you focus on other parts of your business.
- Collaborate With Your Community
Reach out to local community centers, libraries, or educational institutions to organize dog training workshops or seminars. Many people may not have access to formal dog training classes, but by partnering with community organizations, you can bring your expertise directly to them. Are wandering dogs a problem in your local neighborhood? Or tension in elevators and tight hallways? Your events can be tailored to address common issues in the community, fostering a sense of shared responsibility.
You could also explore partnerships with animal welfare organizations dedicated to community outreach. Many of these groups are eager to provide educational resources as part of their programs. By collaborating, you can contribute articles, provide advice, or share your knowledge through their channels, reaching dog lovers who may otherwise not have access to a professional dog trainer.
- Offer Services To Those Needing It Most
Consider setting aside a certain amount of time each month to offer subsidized or pro bono services to individuals or organizations in need. This could involve volunteering at animal shelters, providing free consultations to rescue organizations, or assisting community projects focused on dog behavior and training. By giving back to the community, you contribute to the welfare of dogs and build a positive reputation for your business.
- Establish a Mentorship Program
If you love supporting aspiring dog trainers or enthusiasts, consider developing a mentorship program. This program could involve periodic mentorship sessions, access to exclusive resources, and opportunities for hands-on experience. By nurturing the next generation of dog trainers, you contribute to the growth of the R+ community as a whole.
Giving back to the community and sharing your knowledge can take many forms, and it’s crucial to balance these options against your day-to-day business activities and costs. Done right, it can be an energizing and rewarding way to make dog training more accessible, as well as a great way to get your name out there.
We’d love to hear about approaches you’ve discovered to bridge the training gap!