BEHIND THE BUSINESS: Paw Pad’s owner shares simple secret to success

Jayme Whisman, the owner of the Paw Pad, a local pet grooming salon, says individuals need to love what they do to run a successful business.

“You have to be willing to really work for it. I mean, a lot of people think when you work for yourself that you get to make your own hours and you do to an extent, but you really work all the time,” Whisman said.

“I mean, I’m constantly thinking about what I can do to bring in business or to make dogs more comfortable or to make owners more comfortable, and it’s an all the time (thing). I think about it all the time,” Whisman said.

As with most businesses, COVID-19 has been an obstacle Whisman has had to face and since she has an autoimmune disorder, she has to be very careful about exposure.

When the pandemic was at its peak, Paw Pad had to find new ways to do things, she said, noting, “We did most of our check-ins outside; we would go to people’s cars to bring their dogs in, they would wait for me to bring them out.”

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Whisman said the Paw Pad had to adjust the way they did business. Money is always an obstacle, she said, and people will want to do more than they can afford.

“And of course, when I started, I just wanted to do all the things, and you have to learn that you have to do a little bit at a time and people see that, and they appreciate the hard work that goes into it, and the constant changes and improvements,” Whisman said.

“There’s always obstacles, whether it be family stuff, we homeschool our kids so that a lot of times is an obstacle. Sometimes I need to be in three places at one time, but we all work together; we make that work somehow.”

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Primarily, Whisman works solo at Paw Pad, but her family does help from time to time.

Whisman works Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but noted she has flexible hours most of the time since she lives next door.

“Being the boss, I get to make my own hours. Sometimes, we do early drop-offs, 6:30, 7:30 (a.m.) — same thing with pickups,” she said. “Sometimes people work late, and they don’t pick up until 6:30 or 7 (p.m.), but we just make it work.”

Whisman said her main priority is keeping dogs happy and healthy. If they struggle with certain things or are nervous about certain things, Paw Pad tries to make adjustments.

“I don’t feel like I always have to do things the same way with every dog. They all have unique needs and personalities, and what works for one doesn’t always work for another. So sometimes it’s best to just do things as quickly as possible and get it done, and it looks how it looks, and the dog goes home and is happy, and it feels good,” Whisman said.

“And then other times dogs need to go slow, and you need to do just a little bit at a time. And so we’ll do a little bit, and then we’ll play, and then we’ll do a little bit, they can hang out and take a nap while we’re on somebody else. And then we just do a little bit more. And puppy parents are really appreciative of that. And they usually give me as much time as I need. And we just try to work around with the dog,” she said.

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Whisman said the most rewarding part about her job is when a dog has a lot of anxiety or has had a bad experience at another place, and it’s just scared to death, and after a couple of times, they’ve learned to trust, and they relax.

“And before you know it, dogs that wouldn’t even let you touch their feet are standing there wagging their tail while their toenails get done. And that’s the best thing is learning the personality and the needs of a dog and getting them to trust me and let me do what I need to do because if you force a dog for anything, it’s just harder the next time,” she said.

Whisman’s advice to anyone who wants to open a grooming service or a business, in general, is that they have to be willing to let their lives revolve around it, and it has to be a big part of their lives.

“You have to be willing to make sacrifices, and you can’t always plan your business around your life; sometimes (you) just (have) to plan your life around the business. You really have to want it because it takes everything,” she said.

The grooming area at The Paw Pad. - Photo by Richard Rasmussen of The Sentinel-Record

The grooming area at The Paw Pad. – Photo by Richard Rasmussen of The Sentinel-Record

Jayme Whisman, the owner of the Paw Pad, said individuals need to love what they do to run a successful business. - Photo by Richard Rasmussen of The Sentinel-Record

Jayme Whisman, the owner of the Paw Pad, said individuals need to love what they do to run a successful business. – Photo by Richard Rasmussen of The Sentinel-Record

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