How to scale your dog training business and escape burnout

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

Meet the 80/20 rule. When it comes to scaling your dog training business, this way of managing your time will transform how you operate. If you’re in the earlier stages of your dog training business, implementing this way of organising your time from the outset will lay solid foundations for the business journey ahead of you.

Right now, you’re probably run ragged and feel like you’re heading for burnout. Whether your time is spent serving rafts of clients or you’re working two jobs while you begin to grow your dog training business, burnout is looming on the horizon.

The thing is, there is only so much time available to you. And if you fill it all actively serving others, then you’ll be left with no time for developing and scaling your business.

Once you hit the ceiling of full books and you realise you still don’t have enough income to fulfil the life you dream of, you’ll be stuck wondering how you can get more money flowing in.

So, let’s discuss a powerful and effective way to manage your time so that you can serve people and their dogs magnificently while also leaving space to create a healthy income.

Introducing the 80/20 time management rule

The 80/20 rule is defining how much time you're spending in your business versus time spent on your business.

For the majority of people, the split is usually 80% of time spent in fulfilment. This is active service delivery with clients. And if you’re lucky, you’re spending 20% of your time on your business.

To develop and scale your business, this needs to be flipped the other way round.

Let’s imagine you work a 40 hour week on your dog training business.

Working in your business is your service delivery. So that includes consults, classes, emails to clients, answering the phone, writing reports and everything you are doing to deliver your services. This should be 20% of your time spent each week. So in a 40-hour working week, you should be spending just 8 hours in active service delivery.

And 80% of your time should be designated to working on your business. That’s 32 hours each week spent working on your packages, marketing, and sales.

Don’t panic if that’s backwards for you right now.

When most people join us in our coaching programmes, this is usually backwards. In fact, most people are not working on their business at all. They’re fully working in it.

You might be thinking, ‘Well, okay, this doesn't apply to me just now,’ but if you want to do a really great job of serving and supporting, then this is what you're shooting for.

You don't have to go to 80/20 overnight. Nobody does that, and I certainly didn't do that. But it is something for you to pay attention to.

What's all this other mystical stuff that I should be paying attention to?

You might be thinking, what on earth would I be spending these 32 hours a week doing?! Well, in order to scale and grow, you need to be marketing your business, designing your packages and developing your leadership so that you can overcome the blocks that will pop up in your way.

Let’s start with getting clear on your marketing.

Marketing for dog trainers

You need a marketing plan. And if you don't have enough clients, this gets to have your immediate attention.

Your marketing is made up of three areas.



Content strategy


In order for you to have more clients, people need to see you! Visibility is about deciding where you’re going to show up and doing so consistently.

You might choose Facebook as your main marketing channel, either via a page or a group. On the other hand, maybe email marketing is your primary focus. Or perhaps your website is your focal point for new clients, in which case you need to be putting in the work to show up on the first page of Google. Finally, you might decide to dedicate time to blogging and promoting your blogs to increase your reach and deliver value.

Identify the best way for you to reach your target audience in a way that you can commit to and make it a priority.


You need to develop a really firm positioning. It’s everything for having people trust you.

Positioning is about creating a mighty voice that's authentically yours, and that's where you develop authority. Positioning is really standing in your truth. It’s standing for something you feel really powerfully about.

Your positioning is informed by the things you feel most passionately about. For example, you might think that dogs intrinsically need breed specific outlets to be fulfilled and content. This would influence the type of content you create. Your content would share your position on the topic, help your audience understand it, and put it into action.

If you don’t feel a strong position on something, then you won't be able to lead effectively.

How do you find your positioning? Think about the conversations you have behind the scenes with your nearest and dearest. What's the area that you feel complete conviction about. What gets you fired up and geared to create change?

Your positioning comes from your opinions. Scrap the idea that you have to be politically correct or that it’s not professional to take a strong stance on something. In reality, having an outspoken view will compel your ideal clients to follow you.

Your positioning is the thing that will create a connection. It can lead to people feeling love and trust for you.

And it's the thing that will fill your books fast. sell out.

Content strategy for dog trainers

Your content strategy is founded on ensuring you stay consistent with your visibility. It takes away the burden of on-the-spot decision making.

You map out your positioning. You figure out your passion, precisely who you serve, and the problem you solve for them. You get a clear picture of your target client personas.

Then, you decide how many times you’ll show up each week, when and where, and what you’re going to talk about.

You’re no longer sat in front of your laptop trying to decide what to talk about. Instead, you refer to your content strategy, and you have a plan for what you’re talking about, and you put it into action.

Developing a non-sleazy sales process for your dog training business

Even if you think you don’t have one, you have a sales process that you are currently using in your dog training business.

When I first started dog training, my sales process was founded on doing absolutely anything to avoid talking about money. Financial conversations made me wholly uncomfortable.

So, I would shift enquiries to email as quickly as possible to avoid the money talk. In fact, in the beginning, I didn’t even have somewhere to send people to pay. I’d ask them to bring cash to the session.

This created two problems.

I still had to talk about money because I had to ask for the cash.

I wasn’t protected against cancellations and no shows.

At this point, I realised I needed to put terms and conditions in place, and I had to take payment upfront.

If you don’t yet have solid terms and conditions in place, visit this blog about how and why you need a dog training contract. <link to>

But, I still didn't have something in place that made sure people could see the value of what they would be investing in.

I wasn't having a full-on conversation with potential clients because I felt so awkward talking about money.

It was then that I understood I needed a process that focused on consultative sales. People need to be held inside of a conversation and a structure that allows them to truly see what we can do for them.

But I still had a problem. Two, in fact.

I still didn’t want to have a conversation about money

I didn’t know how to communicate the value

I knew that I could change things for people when we worked together. But I struggled with how to communicate what I knew with the dog owners I was talking to before they became clients.

I felt like I didn't have the language to translate my understanding of dogs and what they need in a way that the dog owner could understand. It felt like we were on two sides of a massive canyon, and I didn't know how to create the bridge of language.

That bridge of language is your sales process. I now have scripting, formulas and structures that can take people on the journey of undoing what they know, so they can learn something that will be in service to them. I can help them see the value that’s on offer.

Once you nail your marketing, you’re going to have a lot of people reaching out to you. And if you're not very good at sales, they’ll reach out, but not many people will book into work with you.

You’ll lose them. Just like I did before I learned exactly what consultative sales is. Once I had a solid understanding, and then I developed my own consultative sales process - System C.

Learn more about my System C sales process and how to use it here.

What do you do when you hit a ceiling?

Once you develop a successful sales process, you’ll start closing more and more sales. And suddenly you rapidly have a fulfilment problem.

You fill all of your one-to-one slots, and it feels great.

And then you’re hit with the realisation that you’re still not earning enough money. Or you still don't have the free time to do all the other things you want to do.

At this point, you need to look at how you want to serve people. Do you want to create a signature programme and move to serving one-to-many? More on that here. <link to>

Or do you want to stick with one to one sales at a consultancy level? If you do, then you have to charge the appropriate amount of money.

Remember, you've got eight hours of service in a week.

So now you crunch your numbers. You look at how much money you need to charge to have the life you want, and what will probably come up for you then is all the money and self-worth feels.

Look at how much you want or need to earn in a year and factor in how many weeks off will you take over that period.

Now times the number of working weeks by the number of working hours in a week, and then divide your annual salary by that number.

For example:

I want to take 6 weeks off per year, so I'll work 46 weeks a year

I'm working 8 hours seeing clients per week

I want to earn £30k per year.

So 46 x 8 = 368 hours

30,000 divide by 368 = £82 per hour

Don’t forget to account for tax deductions too! How much net profit do you need?

You might be scared of upping your prices because you don’t feel it’s worth the price, or you might be scared of the conflict it will create with clients.

If you experience blocks around ‘I can't because of XYZ’, then that's an area you need to focus on.

These aren't reasons why you can't run an incredible business. These are things that you can overcome. And this is where working on your leadership comes in.

Whether it’s that you need to get over your money stories so you can confidently declare your prices and feel comfortable, or you have a fear of showing up on camera. Whatever it is standing in your way, you need to make time to tackle it.

If you want an incredible business that serves both you and your clients, then the leadership piece is the process of personal development and healing yourself so you can achieve your dreams.

Are you ready to take the next step and begin overcoming those hurdles that stand in your way?

Book a discovery call with one of our amazing business coaches now, and begin your journey towards the life you dream of.

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