And Why Every Entrepreneur Should Have One
I have a dog named Arlo. He’s a border collie and man, I love that guy but honestly, there are days when I’m picking up pieces of something that he’s destroyed or down on my knees, well, cleaning up after him, that I momentarily question why I got him in the first place.
That’s not to say that Arlo isn’t a valued member of the family and I do adore him, but there are times where I just need a bit of a reminder as to why we got a dog, recall his more appealing qualities, and the overall benefits of having him in my life.
Whether you’re running your own business or working for someone else’s, it can be a bit like having a dog. You start off with boundless enthusiasm and excitement, but there will always be times when you’ll have to sort out little (or alarmingly, not so little) messes. You’ll get bogged down doing tasks you don’t like just to keep the business running and at times you’ll struggle to recall your earlier enthusiasm and excitement, let alone why you got yourself into it in the first place. Working in the business can feel like a grind and dealing with the intricacies of it all can feel draining and lonely.
Financially, having a pet is like owning a business because you have the startup costs and ongoing costs. Think of the startup costs as what you will be spending in the first year of having a dog. Whether you adopt or shop, you’re going to need to sink some capital into acquiring the dog in the first place, then you need to consider the ongoing expenses including their food, treats, toys, annual registration and visits to the vet. In your business, you’ve got the ongoing costs of paying the rent, salaries, utilities, and of course treating your team every once in a while. Plus, whether you’re talking about a dog or your employees, you need to keep them motivated, engaged, and excited about what comes next.
There will be good times and not so good times – owning a dog and owning a business can be a wild ride with lots of ups and downs. Being ready for challenges, dealing with them, and knowing that they won’t last forever gets you through them. But remember that just like the lows, the highs won’t last forever either.
Plus, you best be prepared to deal with some sh*t – literally and figuratively. There are times where you feel like it’s always hitting the fan. Whether you’re having a tough time with a client, dreaded technical issues, or there are interpersonal issues within your team, you’re bound to run into challenges as a business owner, like a dog owner. It can be a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it. And if you have a little faith and patience, it will be worth it in the long run.
You may still be hesitant, but here are a few reasons why having a dog (and a business) is worth it:
The lifestyle changes are worth it
You might be saying “I don’t have time for a dog!” and I was in the same boat as you for years. I knew that I wanted to have a dog as an adult but I just kept putting it off. My list of excuses ranged from “I’m swamped with work” to “maybe next year when the company stabilises” but then the first lockdown hit and I was out of excuses.
The adjustment to being a dog owner as a stressed out and busy business owner was remarkably straightforward. Of course I had to make some changes to the way I operated but Arlo didn’t exactly flip my world upside down.
Plus, it’s not brand new information that having a dog increases your happiness and companionship, and decreases stress. Likewise, owning your own business gives you a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment which is hard to replicate when working for someone else.
Companionship in a furry package
Your commitment to your business can lead to self isolation as it can force work to be your top priority, even above family, friends, and yourself. I know first hand that the presence of a dog can raise spirits and boost morale.
So whether it be in the office or at home, the companionship of a dog can be a remedy for the worst of times. My office is dog friendly which means that the benefits of companionship extend into the workplace. On any given day, we have at least two furry friends scampering about with the outcome being that both staff and our clients love coming in.
New friends (and business opportunities)
When you take your dog to the beach or dog park, you inevitably end up striking up a conversation with the other dog owners (if you take your headphones out, of course). I’ve met business contacts and even clients simply based on the fact that we have something in common, our dogs.
Bringing your dog to work benefits everyone
Having a dog in the office can be a huge stress reliever, both for you and for your team. Plus, your dog is bound to have an amazing time playing and getting scratches from a whole new captive audience.
Dog friendly workplaces can also improve morale and boost employee fulfilment all while fostering an environment of positive communication and teamwork. It also has the added benefit of improving your company image because for all those animal lovers out there, a company that allows dogs in the workplace is a great selling point. Ultimately, a pet friendly business may make itself more appealing to both customers and premium talent.
So, why not consider making some space in your home, business, and heart for a dog. It can be daunting at first, but if Arlo is anything to go by, you’ll wonder why you didn’t take the plunge sooner.