Dog Walking Business Musings and Learnings THINKTANK: Phase One

It must have started when I began to volunteer heavily at Pets Without Parents.  

(Which if you live the Clintonville area in Columbus Ohio and love pets please consider donating money, time, or energy to this great local non profit.)

My idea was to tap into my passion and love volunteering at a dog shelter, which started purely as a passion project, and to contemplate the idea of turning this volunteer passion project into a possible side hustle (job which makes you money but is not your main source of revenue) and then a full on business if it made sense.

I believed this could be worth pursuing because of a few reasons:

  1. I love volunteering with animals so it would naturally be something I enjoyed.
  2. I live in a neighborhood where people rarely have yard space for dogs to roam during the day and be able to come and go.
  3. German Village (the neighborhood in Columbus that I live in) is also a hot bed for people who work long hours in their professional careers and it’s difficult for some of them to come home during lunch or late afternoon.
  4. My friend Blake hires a dog walker in San Fran for his dog Dunbar and the guy walks multiple dogs at once and does an incredible job at posting pics of the dogs and curating a relationship with the dog owners.
  5. Another friend Britt actually pays someone in German Village who does something similar to my concept to walk their dog occasionally when she can’t get home.  
  6. In between flyers, grassroots marketing, and some good old fashioned digital networking on Instagram and other social media accounts I felt I could get the word out about my side hustle at little to no cost.

I did some preliminary homework the dog walking idea and the above intel was why I think it is worth exploring.  Out of curiosity what do you think about it?

Is there an opportunity for an idea like this?  Would you pay someone to walk your dog?

Phase one of any THINKTANK project on this concept starts likes this: List out the valid business reasons to consider doing something like this and then do digital marketing searching/testing on your own and also start talking to your family/friends/community about it.  You will get great feedback I promise, no matter if they like your idea or not!

Here is my phase one feedback on the dog walking idea from a digital and business side:

  1. With all of the hashtags people use for dogs on social media that are localized in Columbus and pictures people post on Instagram and on Facebook I could definitely connect with people who are dog owners and perhaps in the market for little to no cost on my end.
  2. It would take at least one to two hours per day of my time on social media marketing to make these connections.
  3. Building a website would be an expense that would have to be incurred and purchasing insurance is also something that would be needed.
  4. I would be asking people to trust me with letting me enter into their homes when they aren’t there and then taking care of “Man’s Best Friend”.  That’s not a small order to ask of people!

Then I started talking to a few of my friends and their feedback was very constructive, albeit tough to swallow.  My friend Keita gave me the pricing of a doggy day care facility that charges by the day what I would most likely want to charge in an hour with a dog.  Uh oh that’s not good!

My friend Phil also told me that his dogs are not very trusting and he enjoys walking them so much that it wouldn’t be something that he would want to pay someone else to do because he likes it so much.  

Remember that this is only phase one.  From what I have learned so far there is definitely a market opportunity for this, further exploration in the digital arena is worth it, the feedback from my focus groups tells me it is not a full on business but perhaps a side hustle, and there are a lot more details involved than just setting up a website and saying I’m available to walk dogs!

This THINKTANK is about you learning what works and what doesn’t work in a testing phase that causes you minimal harm from a time or financial standpoint.  There’s no downside.

Tap into your passions to discover what could be passion projects but then what I have seen way too often is people jumping straight from an idea into a business.  Do some more homework, conduct a phase one, and consider if this passion project is a side hustle prior to it becoming a business.

I will report back in the coming weeks on what phase two of the dog walking concept brings, a financial revenue calculator, and my overall process and direction should I choose to move forward.

The bottom line is it’s fun to explore your passion projects and see if they are worth spending more time on.  If I can make a decent living walking dogs all day long in my neighborhood I would most certainly consider it.

The important part in my eyes though is because of the power of digital marketing and feedback from others to explore prior to jumping without a safety net.

Do you have any questions about a phase one passion project that you might want to turn into a side hustle?

I’m here to support!  Email mike@MarketingFunWithMike.com and don’t forget to get on the inside by joining the crew HERE!

Thanks for reading, be sure to comment, and let’s impact the world in a positive way by all of us doing more of what we love for work each and every day.

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Spread Good Vibes, Demand the Best from Yourself, Carpe Diem

Mike