The Leashed Mind Podcast, Mental Health & Dog Training

Finding Joy In Your Business w/Veronica Boutelle

April 11, 2023 The Leashed Mind by Woof Cultr© Season 1 Episode 2
Finding Joy In Your Business w/Veronica Boutelle
The Leashed Mind Podcast, Mental Health & Dog Training
More Info
The Leashed Mind Podcast, Mental Health & Dog Training
Finding Joy In Your Business w/Veronica Boutelle
Apr 11, 2023 Season 1 Episode 2
The Leashed Mind by Woof Cultr©

In this episode, I'm speaking with the very lovely Veronica Boutelle of Dog Biz!  Veronica is most known for how she helps R+ dog trainers within the industry find confidence & joy in running their businesses.

We talk about so many things in this episode, I'm so excited to share this with you guys!

 We talk about burnout, self-doubt, imposter syndrome, and feeling alone in an industry that has, historically been very isolating. Veronica and her business partner Gina, have actively worked to change that narrative and we talk about how creating their membership Thrive has actually helped so many R+ dog trainers out there find more joy in their business, and feeling more confident while doing it.

“Prioritize your own joy, nobody else will do it for you.” - Veronica Boutelle

Links mentioned in the episode:  - to join the Thrive waitlist!

Support the Show.

If you are new to The Leashed Mind Podcast, Mental Health & Dog Training then please don't forget to like, follow and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts!
@theleashedmind on Instagram
@theleashedmind.pod on Facebook
@theleashedmind on YouTube

Support the show & help us continue making great content for listeners everywhere - cancel anytime, no commitment!

Think you might have some great advice, experience or story you'd like to share with our audience? Head on over to and scroll down to our guest application!

The Leashed Mind Podcast
Help us continue making great content for listeners everywhere.
Starting at $3/month
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, I'm speaking with the very lovely Veronica Boutelle of Dog Biz!  Veronica is most known for how she helps R+ dog trainers within the industry find confidence & joy in running their businesses.

We talk about so many things in this episode, I'm so excited to share this with you guys!

 We talk about burnout, self-doubt, imposter syndrome, and feeling alone in an industry that has, historically been very isolating. Veronica and her business partner Gina, have actively worked to change that narrative and we talk about how creating their membership Thrive has actually helped so many R+ dog trainers out there find more joy in their business, and feeling more confident while doing it.

“Prioritize your own joy, nobody else will do it for you.” - Veronica Boutelle

Links mentioned in the episode:  - to join the Thrive waitlist!

Support the Show.

If you are new to The Leashed Mind Podcast, Mental Health & Dog Training then please don't forget to like, follow and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts!
@theleashedmind on Instagram
@theleashedmind.pod on Facebook
@theleashedmind on YouTube

Support the show & help us continue making great content for listeners everywhere - cancel anytime, no commitment!

Think you might have some great advice, experience or story you'd like to share with our audience? Head on over to and scroll down to our guest application!



[00:00:02] Hey, welcome to the Leashed Mind Podcast, mental Health and Dog Training. I'm your host, Mandy Boutelle. In today's episode, I'm speaking with the very lovely Veronica Boutelle of Dog Biz , Veronica is most known for how she helps r plus dog trainers within the industry find joy in running their r plus dog business without it

[00:00:25] taking over their lives because as I know, a lot of us struggle with prioritizing ourselves within our business. Hello. That's why I made the podcast . But Veronica and her business partner Gina, have formed Dog Biz so that the business side can be less daunting, less overwhelming, and more enjoyable for the individual running it We talk about so many things in this episode. I'm so excited to share this with you guys. We talk about burnout, we talk about self-doubt, imposter syndrome, and feeling alone in an industry that has, ya know, historically been [00:01:00] very isolating, and how Veronica and her business partner Gina, have. Actively worked to change that narrative and how creating their membership thrive has actually helped so many r plus dog trainers out there find more joy in their business, and feeling more confident with running a business essentially.

[00:01:18] So I'm not gonna keep talking about it because I want you guys to hear this episode. Let's dig in.

[00:01:23] Hi Veronica. Thank you so much for coming on the Leash Mind podcast. I'm so happy to have you on. It is so wonderful to be here, Mandy. Thank you for having me. I think we might wanna point out, because I know people will notice our last name is the exact same . We've met before . Veronica is my aunt in-law and she is the reason my mental health has gotten more in check with my business, and that is the reason.

[00:01:50] She is gracing me with being on this podcast as well. Well, that means a lot to hear. So for those that may not know you, I feel like that is [00:02:00] very hard. Your career in the dog training industry, but can you give us a little background on how you got started and how you got to the point you are now? Yeah, well, it's sort of fun to tell the story, um, because this is actually our 20th anniversary this year.

[00:02:16] Oh my gosh. Congratulations. Yes, yes. It's amazing. Um, so , I stumbled into the dog industry a little bit by accident. I was exploring a career change. I was in between, I was in between careers and I was out walking my dogs every day. And I kept running into this one dog walker, uh, this is in, um, in Berkeley, in, uh, the San Francisco Bay area.

[00:02:43] And I, I kept running into this one dog walker and we just kept having conversation and we ended up walking together quite a bit. And, um, one day she says to me, you know, I only come out to this trail because there's this one. who lives all the way out here. And, um, it's really kind [00:03:00] of a long walk for me and I've been meaning to let the dog go.

[00:03:02] Um, you should take him . And the next thing I know, I'm building a dog walking business. It was completely by accident. And so I, um, I started, you know, asking around about, um, schools for dog walkers, which didn't exist back then because, you know, you start, you start walking other people's dogs and you realize maybe you don't know as much about all of it as you think you do.

[00:03:26] I ended up getting directed over to the Academy for Dog Trainers, uh, which was in San Francisco, just across the bridge. And had only just started, you know, less than a year before. You know, gene, gene Donaldson had just started it. And so I thought, well, if I'm going to do this, I should know what I'm doing.

[00:03:40] So I went and did that. I ended up director of behavior and training for the San Francisco s Sp c a out of that Jean asked me to, to, um, to, to, uh, run the department. And then for the next three years. I watched as we graduated class after class of amazingly talented dog [00:04:00] trainers into the world, and then watched them fail because they didn't know how to do things on the business side.

[00:04:06] And I kept saying, they should do something about that. And then finally after three years, I decided, well, maybe I should do something about that. And so, I started Dog Biz, which is called dog tec back then. Uh, explicitly with the idea of helping dog trainers to run the business side of things, to learn how to, how to do that part, and ideally to learn to do it with the same kind of engagement and joy that they feel on the dog training side.

[00:04:32] Even if like the vast majority of positive reinforcement trainers, they come into it without, you know, without really an entrepreneurial bone in their bodies. It's just, you know, they want to train dogs and so what choice did they have? And our job is to teach them to love that side of things because it's a big part of what they do also.

[00:04:50] So, let's go back really quick to when you started. I didn't know that's how you started dog walking, that is hilarious. Yeah, it was really [00:05:00] quite funny. And. Yeah, so I, I took on this one dog and then decided, yeah, you know, I kind of liked it and my thought when I did it at first was like, oh, just make a little bit of side money

[00:05:10] but it worked well for me because my original career is in education and I really love the teaching part of it, but I had, I had burned out on the politics of school reform and, and all of that. And so the wonderful thing is 20 years later, I find myself still teaching. It's just that I'm teaching dog professionals and instead of either high schoolers or at that point I had, I had been teaching teachers, actually, I've been teaching education, so on that note of wanting to help professionals kind of just not feel so intimidated by the business aspect, because it's overwhelming. And I know that many dog trainers, dog walkers are neurodivergent as well.

[00:05:50] So getting set up with the business in general is daunting and staying on top of it is just a whole other thing. with that, you [00:06:00] started Survive and Thrive in 2020, and what was the premise behind why you wanted to start that? Were you guys seeing a lot of people struggle with their businesses during that time?

[00:06:12] Yeah. Well, so when the pandemic hit, uh, , when the pandemic hit, you know, the dog shining field just came to a screeching halt and it, it was practically overnight. Oh, myself included. And yeah. Yeah, yeah. And it was, you know, just people's incomes were just gone in the blink of an eye. And because of who we are and what we've done and, and how we've, you know, led this part of the industry for so many years, of course we felt tremendously compelled to do something to help, you know, we had all these clients out there struggling and all of our students and, and you know, and just, and just all of the dog trainers lives that we, that we touched over, you know, those years.

[00:06:50] And so we had, you know, as you can imagine, you know, some, some pretty intense emergency meetings, and trying to figure out, you know, how do we. , [00:07:00] how do we help? What can be done? Um, how do we do it as fast as possible? And what can we do that is going to help the most number of positive reinforcement dog professionals as as we can, you know, the, the how, how, how do we have the largest impact?

[00:07:17] And so we spent, uh, you know, the better part of a week throwing a whole bunch of ideas around. And, uh, and, and it was, I mean, I can say it, it was frightening, right? I mean, it was frightening because here's this industry that we love, that we've been invested in, you know, for so many years. Um, all of these people who we care so deeply for.

[00:07:35] And we really felt, you know, everyone was looking at us, you know, like, what do we do? Right? And we didn't have the answers. We didn't know, and, you know, we like everybody else, we had no idea there's new territory. What was going to unfold over the next weeks or months or years? You know, we, we, you know, we really didn't.

[00:07:49] it's hard to, um, it's hard to remember now with the, the hindsight of several years, but you think about those early days of the pandemic, none, none of us knew what was going to happen. And, um, and so [00:08:00] we thought, well, you know, sometimes you don't have all the answers. Sometimes you have to just, you have to just start moving and find them as you go.

[00:08:07] And so we thought, well, you know, we had, we had some notions of things that we wanted to see trainers not do, and some ideas about things that maybe they could do. Um, and we just thought we just have to start. So we decided that the way to have the widest impact was to do, uh, some sort of a group coaching, uh, approach.

[00:08:29] And then we decided that the another way to have the widest impact was just not to charge, for it, to have no barrier to entry at all. And so we decided that we would start with a six week. Uh, program, and I think the first week or two we did a couple times a week, and then we did weekly. We put the word out everywhere.

[00:08:50] We just reached out to all of the dog training schools, all of our friends there. And at the, um, at associations, uh, professional associations around the world, [00:09:00] we thought, well, you know, we, we'll probably have, you know, two or 300 people, . We had, um, over 2000 people sign. . Oh my god, I don't remember that.

[00:09:10] That's crazy. . It was, um, speaking of overwhelming, right? Oh gosh. And so, so we, we, what we ended up doing of course, was, was adding several, uh, classes. So, you know, we, we, we taught it several times, um, each, each week and, and you know, sort of across time zones to try to help. I'm, I'm in Australia right now at the actually.

[00:09:31] So we were, we were hitting obviously all the US time zones and then all of our trainer friends over here on, you know, down at the bottom of the world. And we were trying to hit Europe as well. And then we were creating the content as we went. You know, we started off with some of the things that, you know, we, we had in mind to begin with, and then we just responded as the weeks unfolded and, you know, learning what questions people had and what they were struggling with.

[00:09:54] And, you know, as the pandemic started to unfold and we had a better idea of what was happening, just sort trying to [00:10:00] respond to that. Sometimes you just have to jump in and go, that's what we did. I feel like that is the best advice you have ever given me. Anytime I've been afraid of starting anything with work or a personal life, you're just like, just, just do it.

[00:10:12] Yeah. Survive and Thrive ended up turning into, into a program called Thrive. And one of the. The big tenets we have in that program is "Done is better than perfect.". because I think that there's this, there's this real fear sometimes to put yourself out there. I think there's the fear of failure.

[00:10:27] , I think we suffer a lot in our industry from imposter syndrome for various reasons as well. Yes. And sometimes we, we hold ourselves back because we feel like, well, I have to have all the answers and I have to have all the ducks in the row, and I have to have all the details worked out ahead of time and all the, all the possible things that could go wrong.

[00:10:44] And the, you know, the, the contingency plans, a, B, and C. And the reality is that we all do this work for a common reason, which is that we want to help, right? We wanna make lives better for dogs. We wanna make lives better for the people who love dogs. And we cannot do that if we are not out [00:11:00] there taking action.

[00:11:00] And. , I mean, there's, there's no such thing as perfection anyway. It, it's something you have to let go of. It's not achievable. And it's not, it's not worthwhile, I don't think. It's where most of the learning happens anyway. And I don't think it's where most of the good happens.

[00:11:13] So if you, if you can make a difference and you can make a difference without doing harm, then you have to be out there making a difference. I love that. And I think, so there's two parts to my question here. So I think one of the biggest things that I've noticed myself as well is that whole, you know, but it's already been done before there, there's already this podcast, they've already done this.

[00:11:34] But you have planted it in my mind of Yeah, but you're not, it's not you, it's, you're not, you know, it's not you doing it, so why can't it be different? So with that, um, where have you seen that change? From Survive and Thrive and from Thrive, have you noticed people kind of just like, kind of battin' that thought away now more lately?

[00:11:56] You know, it's fascinating. It really is interesting because I think about the [00:12:00] trainers and thrive, and what's really interesting if you think about it, is you have all of these people who have a really pretty amazingly strong sense of what the others do. I mean, one of the things that happened in Survive and Thrive and it happened partly, I like to think because of deliberate actions we took about the kind of culture we wanted to create , in that program.

[00:12:21] But also I think partly because at that moment, When the, the playing field was level and everybody was down in the mud that, um, there, there was a vulnerability and openness that I think we really hadn't had in our industry before. People were ready to say that they were scared in front of each other and, that they didn't know what to do in front of each other.

[00:12:42] And we tried to create a really, really safe space for that, that when we moved into, uh, when, when trainers started asking us to, to please keep going, and we transitioned into the, into the paid program that we really, really worked hard to maintain that culture. It's, [00:13:00] for me, in my 20 years, unlike anything that I have seen in our industry in terms of that kind of openness and sharing.

[00:13:06] Oh completely.. And, um, and the community , and the, you know, the vulnerability and so what that means is that you have all of these trainers who know a lot about each other's businesses and who are sharing their best ideas with each other and creating even better ideas in the process of doing that and to get around to your question, I think it really has made a difference in that and that trainers have come to realize.

[00:13:32] there are so many different ways to do things and that they each bring their own spin and personality, but also that it's okay for many of us to be doing much the same thing because there are a lot of dogs and people out there Yeah. Who need us. And, and you know, training is not really a volume game.

[00:13:52] You know that there are, there are ways to, there are ways to increase capacity in your business, certainly. But, but the reality is that it takes [00:14:00] a lot of us to serve all of the dogs of the world. Um, and that we each bring, and I think one of the things that's been really fun and exciting about Thrive is that there I see a lot more difference between businesses now than I ever have, partly cause of all of the sharing of ideas.

[00:14:16] And because it's made us so much more creative and so much more innovative, that one of the things that we've been sort of fighting against. all of these years is you don't have to do it the way you see everybody else doing it. That there's a lot of copycat stuff that goes on in our industry and not, because most of the time we're copying good ideas or effective ideas, but we're just doing it because the fear of stepping outside of the box and we just like, oh, I guess everyone else is doing it that way.

[00:14:43] So that's the way it's supposed to be done. And I think what we're really finding in Thrive is that when we step outside the box, fold it up and put it in the closet and just stop worrying about what other people are doing, it's amazing the way the ideas begin to [00:15:00] flow. And the level of innovation in the last three and a half years, partly because in the beginning we had no other choice with the pandemic, but now I think because we've just caught fire of it, of the incredible possibilities.

[00:15:12] We, one of the other things we say and thrive is Marbles everywhere, which we stole from you and, every year it, I, I just keep thinking like, well, you know, surely this is gonna slow down. It's gonna slow down. But it doesn't, it doesn't, I am, I'm blown away by, you know, we call it kind of like the hive brain is the, the members and Thrive started calling themselves the hive.

[00:15:31] And it's just the incredible innovation coming out of these, trainers, because they have let their walls down and said, I'm not going to be afraid of being part of a community. I'm not going to be afraid of saying when I'm afraid or afraid to share an amazing idea that I have, because I know that all of that's going to come back to me tenfold.

[00:15:50] And it's incredible in there. I just, feel so honored to be part of it every day. That's incredible that, because I feel like for me, I would [00:16:00] feel. hesitant in sharing ideas because I would automatically go to the thought of what if someone tries to take this idea? But I think what you just said, right, that's how it always was in our industry, right?

[00:16:10] But it's not that self-centered selfish approach anymore, if that's even what it was. I feel like now it's just like, I have this idea and what do you guys think about it? And then they'll get feedback. You know, we think about our industry for so long, there's the fear of failure and the fear of judgment, I think have kept us so small for so long.

[00:16:36] Oh yeah. Yeah. And I think what Thrive members find is that the joy that they have in seeing other people succeed is as deep or even deeper than the joy they have over their own success. I love that, that it just keeps building and building and building. And 

[00:16:54] you know, members will come in and say, oh, I had this idea. and they're [00:17:00] sharing it. Yes. Partly to get, to get feedback and to get help with it and you know, to grow it even bigger, but partly out of the joy of seeing maybe what somebody else might do with it too. Oh. You know that, that if several other members say, oh gosh, that's great.

[00:17:13] I'm gonna go do it also, and then they have these other spins on it and I think we've just, inside of there, we've really let go. The notion that the success pie is not finite. That if you have a certain amount of success, it means I must have less. Like we've just let that notion go, that it's actually the more success that everybody has in there, the more success that everybody has in there because again, We're building on those ideas and pushing each other to new heights and supporting each other and realizing that there's really no need to worry about competition.

[00:17:44] And, and it's funny too, cuz we always said, even, you know, well before Thrive, one of the trends that we noticed, it's an interesting position to be in when for, you know, multiple decades. You are working with trainers individually all around the world and you see trends, [00:18:00] right?

[00:18:01] And one of the trends we always saw was that the trainers who actively worked with cooperated with had strong open relationships with other trainers in their areas. They all did better. than those who kept things close to their chest and worried about competition and worried about, you know, what other trainers might think of something that they were doing 

[00:18:21] And so what's interesting now is when you have a group of trainers come together this way, they get to see the trends that we were the only ones privy to before. That's interesting. And we used to try to tell trainers that, you know, cuz you, can imagine working one-on-one with people, you know, this is a really, it has been a very isolating industry.

[00:18:40] Oh yeah. It's, but, and it's one of the things that we heard so long, but one of the things that was difficult is that most trainers only knew how they were feeling. They only knew their own sense of isolation or their own sense of fear or their own, feelings of doubt or imposter syndrome.

[00:18:55] They weren't hearing their own feelings of overwhelmed other stories and, right, [00:19:00] right. And so in a community like Thrive, one of the things we hear from people is that one of the most valuable parts of being part of Thrive is knowing that they aren't alone. And it's not alone with the business overwhelm, not alone with, the pretty intense learning curve that is involved in learning how to run a business, and especially to learn to run it with confidence and joy.

[00:19:26] But they're also not alone in, feelings of doubt or imposter syndrome. Whether that's an occasional thing or something that some battle all the time. We have a lot of members who now realize that they are not alone in their neuro divergence. Um, members who realize that they're not alone , in anxiety about various aspects of the business or interacting with clients or, whatever it might be.

[00:19:47] And, so I think that's been such a powerful piece because it, even just the knowing of that, I think makes a difference for a lot of us. But in a community like this, there's the knowing of it and then there's the actively getting [00:20:00] support in it too, of people who are experiencing similar things, people who have experienced them in the past and figured out how to push through.

[00:20:06] Um, people whose experiences are totally different, but who are still, really sympathetic of each other and connected to each other. It's made an enormous amount of difference . And one of the things that I can say is in the 20 years of doing this work, and we've always prided ourselves on innovation and, always trying to figure out how to do it better and to, we have, I can just say hands down, we have never been as effective as we've been in Thrive.

[00:20:32] Like the, results that we're seeing, the, accomplishments, I, I've just, I've never seen anything like it. It's what, people are doing with their businesses and the strides that they're making. It's, and whether it's members who are coming in order to start a business or whether members who are joining after having run one for 20 years.

[00:20:50] I just cannot believe the difference that we're seeing. And that's because they have that community to bounce off, of. I think it's a, and be vulnerable. That's, I think it's a huge part of it, [00:21:00] but it makes sense. I mean, yeah. Cuz there's all the, there's all the education we're doing and the sort of the step-by-step process of the curriculum and all of that.

[00:21:06] But it's not like we're not teaching things we've always taught, I mean, we're getting better too, and we're innovating , and that sort of thing too. But I really do think it's the community aspect of it. I think if we took this exact same curriculum and we taught you by yourself, it wouldn't apply the same.

[00:21:21] It would not be the same. Yeah. I mean, think a huge part of the success in there is what members are doing for each other. It's interesting. Did you guys ever, you and Gina, um, who is the co-founder of Dog Biz, dog Tech with you, did you guys ever consider doing this outside of the pandemic before this ever happened?

[00:21:41] Did you ever consider doing a membership? Really? We did. Oh, that's hilarious. We, this was on our, so, you know, we, we have this big planning meeting every year where we, you know, we look forward and thinking what are we, what are we going to do in the next year? And we usually do it somewhere around June or so.

[00:21:57] And that, this notion of a [00:22:00] membership or a group coaching program? Oh, I mean it was, I'd have to check this Gina cuz she has a better memory than I do . But I would say that was on that list of possible things. for, a good five years running before really the pandemic. Yeah. We'd have this big conversation about all the different things we could do and we had, the pros and cons about, why we would do it or why we wouldn't do it.

[00:22:20] And it just wasn't the right time, wasn't the right time, wasn't the right time. Just took a global pandemic. That's right. . That's right. Took a global pandemic to just, and I actually think, that that's , a, I think a really good, you know, sort of learning moment too.

[00:22:34] And it is something that we talked a lot about since then, which is that, I think part of it for us looking at a program like that is we'd sit down and we'd think about, okay, what would need to be involved to launch that? And Oh, and that sounds daunting in itself.

[00:22:48] Oh yeah. Right. You start making the big list and then we'd, cuz we did sketch it out a couple of times and then I think about the fact. , I think I'd have to go back and look at the calendar, but I think we threw Thrive, uh, survive and [00:23:00] thrive together in a matter of maybe two weeks.

[00:23:02] You did it really fast. yeah. Three or, yeah. And then we got three or four weeks into it and the members in there started saying, please don't stop, , at the end of the six weeks, , please keep going, so then, we had to sit down and have , this really fast pivot conversation about like, well, what does it look like if we keep going?

[00:23:18] And, we didn't want there to be any break in the service because, , people, really needed that Right. At the time. And , while we were doing Survive and Thrive, , we threw Thrive together, , in a matter of two or three weeks and just put it out there.

[00:23:31] When we did that, our initial launch, we launched only to survive and thrive. We just said, Hey, we're just gonna do, just give survive and thrive members the opportunity to stay with us in the paid program. And then we just kept working on it as we went.

[00:23:43] I think it's a really great lesson cuz I think early on when I, when we first started the company, we were much more like that. We were, we were just doing things, trying them, throwing them out there, okay, we have an idea, let's put a draft together and start it.

[00:23:57] And at some point along the way we started getting much [00:24:00] more deliberate, and planning's great, you will want to do some planning. I think we just, started falling into that, that piece about having to have everything all set up before we started and everything completely pan out before we started.

[00:24:13] And, I, and I think that this just reminded us that there is a sweet spot, where you do some thinking and you do some planning and you put some place some things in order, but then you jump. and that you don't have to be able to see 50 steps down the road to start down the road.

[00:24:27] You can just see two or three steps and then go. and so it's been a good reminder for us in terms of, regaining that responsiveness and that fleet footedness , that got us to start a company like this in the first place, and I think that when you think about things too hard, the fear sets in sometimes you just get going.

[00:24:43] I'm guilty of that one. Um, yeah, it's an easy one to fall into . So curious with Survive and Thrive With Thrive, how do you feel like that has affected. Your career and your job, do you think that's helped you prioritize how you tackle work? Or [00:25:00] have you just been tackling it the same way you have been?

[00:25:03] You said that, , you were getting more deliberate and then with when the switch happened, it was kind of more like, all right, less planning, more doing. Did you notice that shift with your career and yourself and did that kind of make things easier? Yeah, yeah. It reminded me to, I mean, it, it got me to go back to, I sort of think about it as like a younger way of thinking in a way.

[00:25:24] just, yeah, we do still think about things very deliberately. We know what we're about, we know what our mission is, we know what our goals are, and so when we have an idea, we stop and have a really serious conversation about how does this idea fit. , does it really serve those things?

[00:25:38] Or is it, you know, make sure it's not a squirrel. There's not just some shiny thing that we could do just to do it, cuz it was exciting for a moment. . But I think that we've, regained that, um, that earlier excitement of running with an idea and seeing where it takes you.

[00:25:51] I mean, I have always loved what I do. I've never seen you more excited when you're doing thrive, though, I gotta say. Yeah, I, it's true. I mean, I feel so lucky to be [00:26:00] 20 years in and still loving what I do. But you're right. I mean, I think the last three and a half years have really, really regained that, you know, that initial energy and joy

[00:26:10] From the beginning of, of the business too that and I think a big part of that is because, , I'm back to doing what I love the most, which is teaching. Oh, I love that. It's full circle. Everything, Yeah!. And, I've been teaching the last 20 years, you know, we teach classes and, different one-on-one consulting is teaching in a way too- Different angle though

[00:26:30] but Yes. I mean, right. That, that so much of my day-to-day existence now is about developing curriculum and thinking about, um, you know, what Thrive members need and where we can take the program. And, so there's been a real joy in that. But I think also because, um, I'm part of the community too.

[00:26:48] Yeah. And I love it. I love it. You know, that it's, it's not just about standing in front of a classroom and teaching, right? It's about being part of something that, that this is teaching at its best [00:27:00] where the teacher is also a learner. And, that we are creating knowledge together.

[00:27:05] and maybe I have a leadership role in that, but it's, not a one way street. And that was one of the things that I loved most about teaching, , school too. That I always conceptualize that the best teachers are learners we are, making knowledge and we are discovering together with our students.

[00:27:22] And it's not just about, oh, I already know everything and here, let me impart it to you. That's the kind of teaching that, makes you wanna go to sleep and, because everybody wants quit school early, right? So, , yes. I mean, it's had an incredible impact for me too to be, interacting with the people we serve in this way, to, be part of a community with them rather than just being the service provider.

[00:27:41] And, it's been incredible. Well, and I feel like it's also a matter of like, you guys wouldn't have even created Thrive if it wasn't for the members in Survive and Thrive saying like, yes, keep doing this. Yes, we need this. Like, I just, it's that community. Hive, mind! It's a hive mind. . Yeah, right. You're right.

[00:27:58] Exactly. Exactly. [00:28:00] This is awesome. Okay, so with Thrive, and even with Survive and Thrive, were there significant moments or changes that you either heard or discussed with some of the trainers or professionals that are in the memberships that you were just. . Okay. We're onto something. This is helping you know, prioritizing their mental health with their business, prioritizing, getting things done, learning to delegate.

[00:28:26] Were there any, oh, I guess wins that you would say that just really stood out to you when it got going? Did that make sense? I think one of the things is that we sort of talked about this a bit earlier,

[00:28:38] was the pushing through the fear, I think a lot of times people, one, that there's often a perception when you're afraid that, um, that other people aren't. But the reality is, a lot of times people just hide it, we don't always, people are good at, at hiding, don't share. Yeah, yeah. We don't always share that.

[00:28:56] and so then it, keeps us from trying things. [00:29:00] It keeps us from. , you know, like we were talking about earlier, stepping outside the box. This is an industry that, to my eyes and to Gina's eyes changes and moves really, really slowly, really painfully slowly. And some of the things that we've been teaching, you know, we, we had been teaching for 15 plus years trying to get change in the industry.

[00:29:20] Oh. It was just, it was so slow. And when the pandemic hit, I think that there, the necessity was so strong. I think we would've gotten here eventually. I think, Gina says this a lot that, there was some movement, a bit here and there toward beginning to use, uh, things like Zoom, like what we're doing now.

[00:29:40] Mm-hmm. , uh, as part of training and. Probably we would've gotten there eventually, but it was gonna be a long time. And then all of a sudden we just had to do it. But there was no choice. Like, you know, you were just gonna have to get on that learning curve bandwagon or you weren't gonna have a job.

[00:29:57] And I think that that [00:30:00] moment of all of us collectively being pushed into this new era, opened up space to get braver about trying new things. And so I think that that was really powerful. . And so a lot of the, the other lessons we've been trying to teach about more professional fees, about, um, selling larger packages for both business sake, for revenue sake, but, primarily for the sake of efficacy of actually making sure that the services that we create are robust enough to make the change that people come to us for, to really make a difference in dogs, right.

[00:30:40] And, and people's lives and the relationship between them. And also, quite frankly, to cut down on burnout, on trainer burnout, because I think that, that, for so very long, I think a huge contributor to burnout was lack of, safe, reliable revenue, but also, the [00:31:00] profound emotional disappointment in knowing you could have made a bigger difference, but not having been allotted the time to do so.

[00:31:07] You know that right. Disappointing case outcomes are, you are a huge part of, of burnout. And I think that that's something that we're seeing a lot less of now because, you know, people are creating their businesses in such a way to protect themselves from that and simultaneously to better help dogs and their people.

[00:31:28] So there are a lot of, of things like that, that we're seeing shift that we, we were making that change with our individual clients one at a time. But it's so wonderful to be seeing it, among hundreds of trainers. It's a ripple. Yeah. Yeah. And, and that, that being part of a community makes it.

[00:31:45] Safer for them to try these things because they're like, okay, well, it's almost like a pinky promise. Okay, if you do it, I'll do it and let's go do, see how it goes. And then, seeing other members do it and the success that they're meeting with it and, and ha and hearing them say, I was really scared too, but oh my [00:32:00] God, I will never go back.

[00:32:01] You know, that's one of the ways that the hive mind works is that, we bolster each other's courage. Because one of the things that I, don't remember who said this, but I've always loved this quote, is that courage isn't the absence of fear. It's, it's taking action despite the fear.

[00:32:16] I think that, that's just easier to do as part of a community than it is to do on your own. Oh yeah. It's, it That's hilarious. I feel like you were just in my brain because I was just gonna ask you about burnout. Um, I'm curious. What advice do you give? I mean, I know what you've told me all these years, but what advice do you typically give when people are saying they are either feeling burnt out every week or they've been in a burned out fog and they have not been able to get out of it, or just ways they would like to prevent burnout?

[00:32:49] What do you usually say or what steps do you tell them to take to do that? I think it depends a little bit on, I always like to dig a little deeper [00:33:00] and, and get a sense of where the burnout's coming from, because for some people it's the exhaustion of feeling financially scared all the time, right?

[00:33:10] Right. I was just gonna say maybe for constantly, for our listeners, let's keep it sim well, not simple, but let's keep it on the track of just the mental exhaustion and overexerting, which I know is why I quit dog training because that is what I did.

[00:33:27] Yeah. Yeah. And that, that's something that, um, has been a, an enormous component of thrive because for us, although we're sort of seen as the, the business people mm-hmm. , and that's a big part of what we do. But our definition of business success isn't just financial.

[00:33:45] It's about financial success. It's about making a real difference for the people that you serve. And it's about actively enjoying having a business. What's important if you don't actively enjoying, right. Yeah. Right. Exactly. And the [00:34:00] actively enjoying part of a business requires balance. We used to call it work-life balance, but , one of the hive members started calling it business life balance and that sort of stuck, and that's what we, how we see it now.

[00:34:12] A big part of what we teach and thrive is how to run a business without all of that overwhelm. that there are ways to do things more efficiently. And that whether you are at the very beginning, where you're looking at starting a business or whether you are in the middle of startup or whether you are five years in or you're 20 years in balance, is absolutely critical and key.

[00:34:33] And, so a huge part of stepping back from that kind of overwhelm, fueled burnout. is figuring out how to get that balance back in is, is recognizing that the time that you spend outside of your business is every bit as important as the time you spend in it. And it has to be valued and prioritized with at least the same level of care, if not more.

[00:34:55] Then we also start to look at, at the business itself and say, what's [00:35:00] inefficient here? What are the parts of the business that are causing overwhelm? And there are so many different ways we can look at it. I mean, it might be that it's about changing rates.

[00:35:08] It might be that it's about overhauling the services. A lot of it for our members, one of the big, big themes that we've had is about working with ideal clients and not working with clients. we wanna work with the clients who are a really good fit for us and for each trainer and their program.

[00:35:24] The kinds of clients who fuel them , who leave them feeling energized at the end of the day, instead of the kinds of clients who drain the energy or who, um, you know, for, for whatever reason, whether that's lack of compliance or, uh, they just want their dog trained just. Yeah. Whatever it is. But it's, you know, it's not a, it's not a good fit.

[00:35:44] Right. And, I think one of the biggest positive impacts on, general mental wellbeing of our members is this really, really, , concerted, uh, focus on building a business that draws the, the ideal clients for that business. [00:36:00] Um, so, so that you really, because you can only work with a finite number of people and their dogs anyway.

[00:36:05] And so it just makes sense that those people and dogs you're helping are the ones that you actually can help the most because they're the right fit for you. Right. And that are gonna keep you in the game the longest because they're the right fit for you, which means then you've helped more dogs over the course of your career because your career is longer and you enjoy it more.

[00:36:20] So the pieces on the business side, but then there's also the, the pieces on that balance side Fact we're doing something in a couple of months, a bit of an experiment in Thrive. Each month has a theme. The topics that we, that we move through, now like three and a half years in are, are relatively set.

[00:36:37] Like we've really kind of figured out our formula of these are the pieces that makeup running a successful business. And this is the order we think it makes sense to teach them in, and so we've sort of have that a bit set, but we still do a lot of innovation inside of that.

[00:36:49] And a lot of that is, responsive to ideas that members come up with and things like that. So we're always adding new things. And this month, uh, this year we decided to try something in May where we're kind of [00:37:00] taking a little bit of a break in the middle of the year. Cause our curriculum runs, uh, December through November.

[00:37:04] And May, is all about, finding and keeping balance. Cause that balancing, it's a theme that runs through our whole year. We do a little bit on it all the time, we're doing this whole month where we're just kind of like taking a break, um, from the, the regular programming, to just to where specifically on now we're coming at it from several different angles.

[00:37:23] We're really excited about it. We're doing some fun stuff, but that's how important we think it is. That's awesome. That we, we really, we begin in December with goal setting. setting up master schedules, basically all the setup that allows us to be successful. the idea that we wanna put mindsets , and certain structures in place so that when January comes, we hit the ground running and we actually have the space to do the work and the thinking and implementation.

[00:37:45] There's no, no point learning a bunch of stuff you can't implement. Like we've all had that frustration of going to a conference and coming back and just going back to business as usual. Right. When members join Thrive, we want them to experience an actual difference. It can't just be here's more information, here's more information, here's more information.[00:38:00] 

[00:38:00] So much of this is called like where do what I do with it, right? Yeah. I mean, so much of it is about, , actual implementation and change for the better. Yeah. So we're excited about it. We're looking forward to, to that month and seeing how that goes. That sounds awesome. I love that.

[00:38:12] Yeah. That's so cool. Um, . Wow. We have talked about so much. so before we wrap up, I would like to ask, how do you Veronica Boutelle prioritize your mental health Because I know for a fact that you have some firm boundaries with work, and you have rippled those down to me because I am so firm with my work now.

[00:38:37] I like, mainly people will ask me, and I'll let you answer in a second, but I do want to add that, like, people always ask me what to do and I'm, I've always, first thing I say is, take your work, email off your phone. And they're like, why do you say that? I'm like, I don't know.

[00:38:48] My aunt drilled it into my head for like three years , and now I, I don't have that. Um, but yes. Besides the taking work email off the phone, how do you prioritize your mental health. There, there's quite a few things. [00:39:00] Um, one is, I, I do have some hard boundaries, like you say, and I have, I have literally never had email on my phone.

[00:39:06] Because I really, really do believe in balance. I mean, we, try really hard to practice what we preach and that, I think one of the reasons that I still love what I do 20 years later is that I don't do it all the time.

[00:39:19] Yeah. I think from, I think from the outside, I, I think I sometimes appear to be a workaholic, but I'm not I work hard, but I play hard too. And. I think that they're both so important. So I don't want to, I don't want to have even the temptation to check on work stuff while I'm not playing.

[00:39:38] Right. And so I just don't bring it with me. I just, I don't set myself up, you know, for that to happen. I also do not do social media. I don't do it, uh, for business, and I don't do it personally. You know, for me, I, I want, and I don't, I don't talk about this very often because I'm always worried that will come off as, as judgemental, which I don't mean it to be at all.

[00:39:58] I am, I think there are pros [00:40:00] and cons. I am aware that I miss out on things because I don't do social media. . For me, part of being just sort of a well grounded content person is, and this is a lesson that I had to work really, really hard to learn in my late twenties, early thirties, but I really believe in being really present in the moment and in my life.

[00:40:22] And if I'm working, I want to be really joyfully focused on what I'm working on. And if I'm playing, I wanna be really joyfully focused on what I'm playing at and who I'm doing it with. And, so I just find that having, , all those other things happening it's, to me, it's just too much.

[00:40:37] It takes me out of the, it takes me out of the moment. I don't think that that's not necessarily the right choice for everybody. . It's what works for me. Right. Um, another big part of it is doing what I love, I mean, When I decided to start this company, it, was interesting because I was telling you about being at the SPCA and all that, and my time there had come to an end and I did some really hard thinking, but I had been kicking this idea around [00:41:00] for a while, but I also spent a little bit of time job searching and, really thinking about what I wanted to do next.

[00:41:06] There were some cool positions out there. I thought, oh, I could, do some good work in those. But ultimately I decided to start the company partly because I couldn't let go of this idea that somebody needed to do this thing, right?

[00:41:18] to help positive reinforcement dog trainers. I wanted to see them, outcompete, the traditional trainers. They weren't gonna be able to do that if they didn't learn the business side of it. But part of it also was because I've worked really hard to build a life where I do what I want. I do what I love, and then, and that part of my mantra is that I wanna spend as few moments of every single day doing something I don't want to do as I possibly can. I mean, I'm an adult and there's some part of we all have to do a little bit of stuff.

[00:41:46] We don't want to do , but I, part of the reason that I personally decided to create my own company instead of going and, and taking another position, was that I didn't want people telling me what I couldn and couldn't do. , what I [00:42:00] couldn't, couldn't accomplish. Mm-hmm. , I didn't, yeah. I didn't want somebody else setting my schedule for me.

[00:42:04] I didn't. And so that's part of what we really try to teach and thrive too, is that you're in charge. So why do things you don't like, why work with clients who don't feel you? Why offer services that you don't enjoy? Why take cases you don't love? Why spend time doing your bookkeeping when that could be delegated out like,

[00:42:21] That is a huge part of whether inside your, your business or inside of your life, is to try as much as possible, to, to build a life that you really love. And I think the other piece of it for me is about not, this doesn't sound sort of funny about not striving, accomplishing Yes, but not striving about finding, the way I like to think about it is about like, not delaying the joy.

[00:42:44] Okay. That we tell ourselves these stories all the time that like, oh, if I could just get my business to this level, I'd be happy if I was just making this much money. I'd be happy if I were just, if I could just launch this program, if I just had my website. Or if I just, and we do this in our, in our personal lives too.

[00:42:57] If I just lost this much weight or if I, [00:43:00] whatever, it's woke up earlier. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And the thing is, um, , if you believe, whether consciously or subconsciously, that you can't be happy until you've arrived at whatever that thing is, whatever you're striving toward, whatever that accomplishment piece is, then you'll never be happy.

[00:43:17] You wanna find it in the journey. And I think part of that is just about being excited about whatever you're working on instead of only being excited about being finished with it. Yes. And that's a huge piece because otherwise you have that little bit of dopamine at the end when you finish, and then you're just onto the next thing you want to accomplish.

[00:43:35] Right? So you're, you're always living in that big, I'm not there moment as opposed, you know, just these little tiny moments of, of being there. Right. So I think that that's a big piece. And one of the ways that I do that, and I have to say I have to, I actually have to, I credit my, um, my husband for this, which 

[00:43:50] it's just to, to find, to make every day special. It just something to look forward to every day. Something to find exciting and joyful, whether that's a, a [00:44:00] dinner or a sunset walk with the dog or, you know, whatever it is. But I think so often we just, we go and we go and we go and we go and then we punctuate all that going with an occasional weekend off or a little trip or, you know, something like that.

[00:44:17] As opposed to saying every day is a wonderful, joyful thing. Like, how do I fully enjoy today? Partly it's by building a business that in which you are spending the majority of your time doing things you enjoy , and then, yeah, just make every day special in some way. Like it. You don't know how many we have, so make them all count in some way and just like, whatever, whatever that little piece is.

[00:44:48] But, that there's something every day that you wake up going, oh my God, I can't wait to do this, or I get to do that, or, and, and that get to thing to you. I said, that's one other thing is that every once in a while I'll find myself saying, oh, I have to do X today. Yes. And I [00:45:00] try really hard stuff saying, you know, shift, I get to do it today.

[00:45:03] Yep. And you drill that into me. You did. You did. Because I was getting to a point where I was doing the same thing. I would be like, oh, I have these meetings. Oh, I have to make this design. And it's like, no, I get to, I get to work from home. I get to run my own business. I get to make my schedule. And you're right, we are not good at remembering that because there's so much going on in the background that we lose any train of thought to focus on any of the good.

[00:45:30] For sure. Yeah. Yeah. thank you so much for coming on. I, this has just been so helpful. I hope that our listeners find this beneficial and they take something away from this. And I hope you guys take your work email off of your phones, . If you've learned nothing else from this phone, just take it off your phone.

[00:45:53] Okay, well I wanna thank you for doing this podcast cuz I think it's something that is likely to, [00:46:00] to touch and to help so many. And if you are out there listening, take heart. I mean, just know that the very existence of this podcast is proof that you are not the only one feeling. Whatever it is that you're feeling that, that, , we are all human and we all.

[00:46:17] You know, , we, we all have, you know, tho those hard moments and sometimes hard days and weeks and months and you know what, whatever it is. But I just, I think it's so wonderful that you are starting this conversation in such a positive way in our industry, because I really do think it's something that's gonna benefit so many people.

[00:46:36] Thank you so much. If you are listening and not watching, I got a little choked up there. Um, . But no, I, I thank you so much for saying that because I have doubted myself the entire time I have been trying to start this podcast. So, and yet there you are, and yet there I am and I'm doing it and I'm talking about mental health and I don't think it would be, [00:47:00] what is the word?

[00:47:01] I, I don't think it would be right if I was talking about mental health, if I wasn't working through my own mental health in doing this. So, , you guys are not alone because I am totally in this journey with you. So thank you so much for coming on, Veronica. Are there any last words you'd like to share, whether with new trainers, old trainers, you guys have anything fun cooking up with Thrive?

[00:47:25] Will you be opening up membership anytime soon? Possibly? Um, we open membership in the fall. Um Oh, okay. But if it's something and we, we open just once a year, um, great. Which partly we hate because we know when people find us, we want but bring them in right away. But we do that because the culture inside of Thrive is so important and we do a whole lot of work , onboarding new members, really support them and get them integrated into the community.

[00:47:50] The community is amazing. I love our members do so much work welcoming. New members in. And so, so we'd really like to focus on that once a year. But [00:48:00] if you join the wait list, which you can do at, dog biz, I'll put the link, you'll find other resources there. And we, we do engage with our wait list, and share things along the way while you're waiting.

[00:48:12] And so you get some resources taste of come from us that way. Yeah, yeah. Taste of Thrive. And so I actively and actively, um, invite positive reinforcement trainers who would like to be part of a supportive community of fellow positive reinforcement trainers, to come join us on that wait list.

[00:48:29] And then the last thing I would say is just prioritize your own joy. nobody else will do it for you. You matter, you make, you matter so much. And I think so often dog trainers don't stop to think about. that, that your, one of the reasons that your happiness and mental health matter so much is that there are all these dogs and people out there depending on you, and you have to, I always think about it as, you know, when you're on the plane, I mean, they say you have to put your own oxygen mask on [00:49:00] first before helping others.

[00:49:01] You have to prioritize yourself because, um, you know that taking care of ourselves means that we can better serve others. And Yes. Um, so, you know, if you, if you're not quite ready to do it for yourself yet, do it for the dogs, um, and then hopefully come around to doing it for yourself because you know, the, the work you do out there is amazing and tremendous and, um, you deserve to be cared for too.

[00:49:26] I think that is a perfect way to end this. Thank you so much for coming on, Veronica. It's been a pleasure. Thank you so much for having me, Mandy. It has been a pleasure. I really appreciate it. Awesome. Well, I'm sure I'm gonna have you on another episode because I love picking your brain on everything . I will look forward to that.

Podcasts we love