Dancing Porcupine – Pet Business Interview

Excited to be back with another unique business to highlight. Today I am interviewing Stacy Lewis owner of Dancing Porcupine Tellington TTouch Practitioner and author.

Stacy describes herself as a “Creature Teacher” and uses TTouch to overcome dog behavior problems. She is also an expert in Shamanic healing and Animal Communication and holds workshops, does consultations and is a speaker and author.

I was curious to find more about TTouch so I visited the TTouch website. On the website they describe TTouch as :

Using a combination of specific touches, lifts, and movement exercises, TTouch helps to release tension and increase body awareness. This allows the animal to be handled without provoking typical fear responses. The animal can then more easily learn new and more appropriate behaviors. By using the TTouch and a variety of other tools, like the Confidence Course, you can assist the animal in experiencing self-confidence in previously frightening situations. Even the most difficult problems are often eliminated. You can also learn how to apply the Tellington TTouch to assist with recovery from illness or injury, or just enhance the quality of your animal’s life. The Tellington TTouch can help cases of excessive barking, leash pulling, jumping up, aggressive behavior, extreme fear and shyness, resistance to grooming, car sickness and excitability and nervousness.

1. What type of pet business do you run?

Dancing Porcupine - Better Pets, Better People. Better Planet. Tellington TTouch - Shamanic Healing - Animal Communication

2. How long have you been in the pet business?

5 years

3. Why did you choose to start a pet business?

I had a wonderful and challenging dog show up in my life who nudged me to move in another direction. Java is the reason I do what I do for a living. On another level, I do this work because it is my way of giving back and there is a definite need for balance among pets, people, and the planet.

4. What advice would you give someone about to launch a new pet care business?

Be clear on what your mission is - why you’re doing the work, who your competitors are, and what your niche is - do your research!

5. What has been the greatest challenge in growing your business?

Having the time to grow it while working as an Art teacher. So, I let go of my full time job this past June to pursue my passion full time - working with animals and people together. It’s amazing what a difference that has made!

6. What are the pros and cons of your profession?

People want their animals to be “fixed” but want fast results with very little work on their part. If I could wave a magic wand, I’d have double the business. But what I love about what I do is that it’s thorough, it works, and it helps to balance creature on all levels - mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The best part about this profession is that the level of consciousness is rising so there are more people interested and aware of holistic methods.

7. What daily tasks do you enjoy most?

Every day is different, so there is not a specific task each day other than making sure Java and I have some playtime together in some way. I absolutely love teaching classes and doing private sessions. Depositing money in the bank is really wonderful too!

8. If you could have done anything differently what would it have been?

I’m not a person who looks back with regret. I’m incredibly pleased with the way things have gone in my life and career with animals and people. But, if I had to pick one thing, I would have put Java in a different place the day she was attacked by a group of dogs so that I still learned the lessons of life but she didn’t have to suffer the consequences for a lifetime.

9. Did you have a mentor or business coach? If so, how did they help you?

I’ve had a number of coaches and I wouldn’t be where I am without them. I worked with two professional life coaches and business coaches to get me to the place of letting go my “day job” in order to live my passion, and have also worked extensively with one of my coaches on internet marketing and promotion. Their input has been a goldmine!

10. What form(s) of marketing have you found the most effective in reaching pet owners?

I have a large mailing list with a sign-up on my website. That’s been the greatest source of getting information to animal lovers. I’ve also done teleclasses, written a number of articles, done some television and radio spots. And then, there’s the tried and true tactic of handing out your business card at the gas station or Target.

11. Do you offer clients incentives for giving referrals?

Yes, I do. I think it’s really important to acknowledge people who are referring. I give my clients a free shamanic healing or animal communication session when they send new clients to me.

12. At what stage of your business growth did you choose to take on help?

I’m not there yet in the big sense, but when I teach large classes I hire an assistant to help me out. This started happening after about 2 years - when the business was growing and the need was growing.

13. Did you choose to use employees or independent contractors? Why?

Independent contractors because my need is sporadic.

14. What have you found is the best way to find new staff members?

I work with other Tellington TTouch practitioners as independent contractors for my TTouch classes. They are familiar with the basis of the work that I do and are able to offer their expertise. My shamanic healing and animal communication work doesn’t call for added help from contractors.

15. What have you done to differentiate your business from your local competitors?

My niche is working with extreme cases. I won’t turn a person away or an animal away and believe that if they came to me, they came for a reason. From a marketing standpoint, my business stands out because I keep myself in front of people. My truck has my business name on it and many people notice my truck all over town. I send out a newsletter and updates to my mailing list a few times a month, and I write articles and also lecture about my work in a variety of venues.

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