Thanks to you – we did it!!

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I’ve always said that we have the best community in the world.

And it’s thanks to this community that we were able to meet – and exceed – our goal for the Republic equity crowdfunding campaign.

  • 217 investors
  • 222% funded
  • $111,161 raised

I won’t lie to you – the last four months have been a roller coaster of emotions and soul-searching. Just getting to the point where we could launch the campaign was a hard, tough slog (and boy did we learn a few things along the way). But the rewards of the campaign go far beyond the funding – we’ve tightened up our processes, met amazing investors and pet industry pros, and drilled down to our core values and company mission.

And now – after a weekend of catch up and, yes, a nap! – we’re back at it with new ideas and new perspectives on how we can make FetchFind an even better tool for pet pros across the world.

We wouldn’t be here without you.

With love and endless gratitude,

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It’s all about the community

Moe and Mia
Our wonderful community will help these cuties find a new home. Moe and Mia will be available for adoption (via Chicago Canine Rescue) at our Come for the Pets, Stay for the Tech event on Tuesday, July 11, at 1871 Chicago. 

By Jamie Migdal, CEO of FetchFind

First off, thank you for the outpouring of love for my girl Whisper’s passing. Your emails, Facebook notes, texts, calls, cards, flowers, and gifts will be forever remembered by me and my family. I have said it before, and I will say it again. – I love the pet industry and feel gratitude every day I get to work in this community.

Which brings me to my next point: the three things I appreciate and cherish most about the pet industry are: the people, the innovation, and the passion. And it seems that every day I see more and more of all three things, all wrapped in one gorgeous package of community.

To that point, here’s a lovely blog about some of the ways we have created a pet+tech community here in Chicago. And, by the way, out of our 158 current investors, 80% of the investment has come from you, my community.

I want to challenge, remind, and/or inspire you to think about our industry as a community because in a community all the best things happen.

But you already knew that. 🙂

Together,
JM Sig copy

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Campaign ends July 14 ! Learn more – and invest – here:  https://republic.co/fetchfind

2017 Pet Age ICON Awards announced

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By Jamie Migdal, CEO of FetchFind

I am thrilled – and deeply honored – to be one of the recipients of the 2017 Pet Age ICON awards. The awards recognize pet industry professionals who have demonstrated a long term commitment to the success of the pet industry based on experience, integrity, and leadership. A full profile of all the recipients (listed below) will be in the September issue of Pet Age magazine (you can get your subscription here.)

Side note: if you want to get a good idea of how many opportunities there are in the pet industry, browse through the links below. And believe me – this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is something for everyone in the pet industry, with so much scope for innovation.

 

Jim Bradley, Bradley Caldwell, Inc.

Andrew Darmohraj, American Pet Products Association, Inc.

Bob Fountain, Fountain Agricounsel, LLC

Dave Friedman, Health Extension Pet Care

Dr. Bob & Susan Goldstein, Earth Animal

Rob Jackson, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance

Edward Kunzelman, Petland, Inc.

Aaron Lamstein, Worldwise & Pawscout

Mariah Leal, Mariah Leal Author

Louis McCann, PIJAC Canada

Jamie Migdal, FetchFind 

Peter Muhlenfeld, Champion Petfoods

Nina Ottosson, Outward Hound Nina Ottosson AB

Dave Ratner, Dave’s Soda & Pet City

Elwyn Segrest, Segrest Inc. &  Segrest Farms Inc.

Thomas Somes, Pet Tech Productions, Inc.

Beth Sommers, Pura Naturals Pet

Kurt Stricker, Pedigree Ovens & The Pound Bakery

Richard Ticktin, SynergyLabs

Sylvia Wilson, Bark Busters Dog Training

Secrets to pet business success

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This article was originally published in the dog*tec blog. 

We’re asked often by clients and workshop attendees as we lecture across the country for the secrets to success in this industry. Here’s what we tell them.

Get and keep yourself educated

Whether you are already or wish to become a dog trainer, walker, sitter, or daycare or boarding facility owner, you owe it to yourself, your clients, and the dogs in your care to know everything you can about dog behavior. We have an unfortunate habit of assuming we understand dogs because we’ve lived with them all our lives. The truth is we suffer from a host of often damaging misconceptions and pieces of conventional wisdom about why dogs do what they do. Ridding yourself of these myths will make you a more effective dog pro.

Start by attending a scientifically-sound program based on positive reinforcement, then keep up your education through seminars, reading, DVDs, and professional conferences.

Learn how to market yourself

A lack of or poor marketing is the number one reason for failure in our industry. Too many dog pros rely on a “build it and they will come” approach, or a few brochures or fliers spread around town. This rarely gets the job done, especially in a busy market like the Bay Area. I also see dog pros waste precious money on passive advertising that rarely works—Google ads, yellow pages ads, direct mailers, etc. Marketing doesn’t have to be expensive or stressful, but it needs to be done and done smart.

My focus when working with clients is to develop inexpensive community-based marketing plans that play to personal strengths—good writers can write an ongoing column or newsletter, for example. I also recommend finding a way to stand out. Look around at other service providers in your area. What can you do differently, better? There are lots of pet sitters– is anyone focusing on animals with special health or behavioral needs? Anyone sending video report cards to clients on vacation? There are lots of dog walkers—is anyone focusing on small dogs? There are lots of daycares—what will make yours special? Small playgroups and a well-crafted daily itinerary? Special monthly event days?

Work ON the business, not just in it

I can’t stress this enough. To be a successful dog pro, you have to do more than see clients and care for dogs. You have to be your own secretary promptly returning phone calls and emails, your own admin assistant handling paperwork, your own accountant managing your books, your own marketing manager executing your marketing plan, and so on. Though you can (and should) get help with many of these tasks, the reality remains: You have to actually run the business. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day demands of client needs, but if you don’t work on the business itself it won’t grow.

Keep to a master schedule

Working on and in the business demands efficient use of time. I teach my clients how to create a smart work schedule that allows them to effectively run their businesses while also enjoying plenty of down time and flexibility. After all, there are supposed to be perks to working for yourself. Whether you’re the type to flounder under a lack of structure, getting little done without the external pressures of a job and boss, or the type to work yourself to the bone when there’s no one to tell you to knock off for the day, a master schedule creates a sustainable balance.

This approach to scheduling involves setting aside specific days and times for each business activity, as well as protected personal downtime. When there’s a specific task to be done, it’s assigned to its logical spot in the weekly schedule, rather than relegated to a post-it note, intimidating to-do list, or a hopeful “I’d like to get to this someday when I have time.” A master schedule operates on the concept of “do dates,” listing when something will actually be accomplished, instead of “due dates” that simply cause stress. When everything has its place things get done—and that means success and peace of mind, too.

Though running your own dog business can be challenging, few who do it will tell you they’d rather do something else. Working with dogs and dog lovers is a great way to make a living, especially when combined with the freedom that comes with owning a well run business. So be bold. If you already own a dog business, take it to a new level. If it’s been a long-standing dream, give yourself permission to pursue it.

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Save time and money with the new annual FetchFind Monthly Pro subscription! Learn more here.

 

When your business is your significant other

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By jamie Migdal, CEO of FetchFind

I like being in the office at night.

I like listening to music and drinking tea while I get stuff done.  My office is less than a mile away from my home, but I take at least one night per week to stay here and do a marathon session of catching up on email and looking (and marveling) at our new customers’ pet companies.

Being here at night is a peaceful and powerful feeling. I use the time to connect with my business on a deeper level, practice some self-compassion, celebrate the wins (e.g., the amazing traction we are getting through our equity crowdfunding), and reframe the challenges (e.g., not enough time in the day. Never enough time in the day). 

It’s in those moments that I realize I am in a real relationship with FetchFind. And, just like any relationship, it needs nurturing, attention, and occasionally whatever the biz analog to “Netflix and chill” is. 

Do you need to schedule a “date night” with your business? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

 

Think big,

JM Sig copy

 

Dogs, discernment, and doughnuts

This article was originally published on the Republic blog, 5/31/17. Learn more about our equity crowdfunding campaign here. 

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Founder Series: Dogs, doughnuts, and discerning investments

Meet Jamie, CEO and founder of FetchFind, and Stacy, mentor, angel investor and entrepreneur. FetchFind, Jamie’s fourth startup in pet services, unites the nearly $70-billion fragmented industry by connecting pet parents with trusted resources.

How did you two meet?

Stacy: My dog, Jameson, was enrolled in one of Jamie’s pet training programs. Jamie happened to be the tester during Jameson’s “Good Canine Citizen Test” (he passed!).  

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What was your inspiration for FetchFind?

Jamie: During my 25 years in the pet industry, I’ve personally witnessed its transformation from a $17-billion industry in 1994, to its current state, with almost $70-billion in consumer spending. While pet parents increasingly look to professionals for advice, the fragmented nature of the pet education space often leads industry professionals to make up their practices as they go along. This opens an opportunity to make pet services more accessible to pet owners, while also equipping professionals with relevant skills and knowledge at scale.

This is your fourth startup; is building companies still as exciting as when you first started?

Jamie: It’s more exciting! By developing expertise from working in the pet industry and building communities, I’m able to enjoy everything else that comes with running a business. I’ve also overcome various mental blocks, including becoming comfortable talking about money.

What three things do you look for when deciding to invest in a company?

Stacy: When deciding whether to invest, I consistently look at three things:

  1. Social good. I want ideas that are more than just money making ventures.
  2. The person I’m dealing with. They need to be someone I want to spend a lot of time with, even when things aren’t going well.
  3. My excitement for the company. I need to feel a personal connection, otherwise I question my value as an angel investor for that particular startup.

As an example, Public Good Software excites me as it makes it easy to contribute to social causes. I’m also interested in political tech mix-ups, which build tools to mobilize voters in the face of a fragmented political system.

How does being a founder help when choosing companies to invest in?

Stacy: As someone with experience on the other side of the pitching table, I can gauge the authenticity of any pitch I’m given. I know which parts the presenter is comfortable with, which parts they’re testing on me in the hopes that I may like it, and which parts they’re making up.

It also allows me to empathize; you owe it to your entrepreneurs to invest with your heart. When an entrepreneur calls to tell me it’s been a rough day, I prefer to encourage them to take the rest of the day off and have a doughnut.

Jamie: It’s so valuable to have a mentor with experience running a company—Stacy is truly with me in this journey. She’s also right about the doughnuts: the other day, I had one of those “crazy days” founders have. Stacy helped me take a step back by taking me out to eat doughnuts and talk it over.

There’s so much going on in the process of building a company, how do you prioritize?

Jamie: People first, money second, everything else after. I begin every morning filling out three columns (‘people, money, stuff’), reviewing each category to keep the day’s priorities in check.

Why did you decide to do equity crowdfunding?

Jamie: While I’ve already raised $500k from professional investors, FetchFind is an idea that millions can personally relate to. I’m building this company for people and their pets and I love the idea of opening it up to more than just accredited investors.

How do you achieve balance outside work?

Jamie: The truth is that you don’t really get balance. When you’re running a company and putting in 90-hour work weeks, that is the reality. It helps to surround yourself with people who understand that.

Stacy: While what Jamie said is true, it’s also important to practice radical self-compassion. You have to accept that this was the journey you chose and not feel guilty about the opportunities you gave up as a result of that choice. Also, doughnuts help.

What tips do you have for anyone who wants to become an angel investor?

Stacy: Five tips:

  1. Just do it. You don’t need huge sums. I would recommend starting with small investments, which is now so much easier with equity crowdfunding.
  2. Connect with relevant groups and ask experienced investors for advice.
  3. If an idea sounds too good to be true, specifically due to scale or proportion, walk away.
  4. Be wary of companies pitching a service that already exists. I prefer companies offering a new idea.
  5. Look for entrepreneurs with a solid background in the industry they’re building their company in.

Head here to learn more about how FetchFind is disrupting the pet services industry.

– by Caroline Hoffman, Republic team

We’re on a mission from Dog

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We’re on Day 10 of our equity crowdfunding campaign raising $750K in capital. 

We are building FetchFind for pets and the people who love and care for them, so we want to open up the investment opportunity to more than just traditional, accredited investors. We want to grow our company with AND alongside the people who wholly understand the emotional connection between some 80 million US households and their collective 200 million pets. 

Equity crowdfunding has been made possible only recently under new laws, and it’s exciting to be part of this leap forward in democratizing the startup investment market. Republic, a spinoff out of AngelList, is hosting our campaign where anyone can invest as little as $50 in exchange for a part of our company.

I’m thrilled to say our funding is going strong, and picking up even more steam as our investors tell their friends and colleagues, who then tell THEIR friends and colleagues, and so on. The power of a crowd is truly amazing.

The power of one can be just as amazing. A recent investor, Jason Feldman of Chicago Pet-Friendly Real Estate, asked that the FetchFind Monthly Pro subscription he received as a perk be donated to a new business or animal rescue organization. (Because that’s how Jason rolls; if you don’t know him, you should. He’s a real mensch.)

For investors who are already in the pet space, this is pretty valuable perk (and a great way to onboard and educate your employees.) But if you or your friends/colleagues aren’t in the pet industry or super-interested in the online education, the FetchFind Monthly Pro subscription is a transferrable asset, and a wonderful way to give back to local businesses and the animal rescue community.

If you’d like to become part of the future of quality pet care, join us as an investor.  We’d love to welcome you to the FetchFind family.

If you can’t invest right now, please consider helping us to spread the word by sharing the link: https://republic.co/fetchfind.

With great appreciation and love,

JM Sig copy

Jamie Migdal
CEO, FetchFind

A lesson in authenticity

Pet pro week
We’re so proud that these outstanding pet professionals are FetchFind clients! Top row, L-R: Jenna Gotch of Passionately Pets, Lauren Cora of Dogs Deserve It, Yvette Gonzales of As You Wish Pet Sitters.  Bottom row, L-R: Barbie Klapp of 2 Paws Up, Karen Levy of Laughing Pets Atlanta, Lisa Tesch of Best in Pet Services.

By Jamie Migdal, CEO of FetchFind

As you know, March 5-11 was the 23rd annual Professional Pet Sitters Week. Since pro pet sitters are right in the center of our FetchFind Monthly Pro wheelhouse, I decided to feature one of our clients on social media each day (see above for a collage of all that awesome). Not just to honor the week, but also (and primarily) because they’re the reason we exist.

It felt great to give a shout out to our peers, and if that had been the sole benefit, it still would have been a win for FetchFind. But when I looked at our weekly Facebook insights (stats) I saw that our genuine display of love and support for our clients resulted in an immediate increase in FetchFind’s most relevant metrics.

Page views: up 113%. Page likes: up 900%. Post engagements: up 467%. 

The moral of the story: Keep it real. Keep it genuine. And always tell the people (clients, colleagues, partners) who inspire you and make you want to do your best work every day that you love and admire and appreciate them… because they are the reason you get to do what you do.

This inspired me to reflect on how that same thinking applies to other areas of life… how when I am fully in gratitude and commitment, valuable outcomes result. Case in point: my mom was in the hospital this week, so  I had to cancel my trip to St. Louis for the final full week of PWE. I had to reschedule investor activities, as well as several other important meetings and calls. During the week when I was tending to my mom’s care, I was stressed and resentful that I had to make the choice between my family and my career – a career which includes supporting staff, clients, and partners.

And then I remembered what happened on Facebook: by following my heart and staying true to my vision, the results were unexpected and fantastic. And, as it turns out, the same thing happened by choosing to put my family first.

So I will meet the rest of this week/month/year with a deeply renewed sense of trust in myself, the process, and the outcomes.

With love, admiration, and appreciation for all of you,

JM Sig copy

 

How to rock Global Pet Expo – like a Boss!

 

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With Wendy Jones from Walk-e-Woo, and a drool-free spokesdog from The Wipe It. 

By Candace D’Agnolo, Founder of Pet Boss Nation & CEO of Dogaholics 

Are you going to Global Pet Expo next week? I’ll be there, so I hope we can connect!

Even if you can’t be there in person, you can still experience the excitement! Just search #globalpetexpo on all social media platforms during the show (3/22-3/24) and you’ll be sure to come across loads of photos and videos of everyone sharing their experiences and product finds. And you’ll have access to all the awesome vendors who will be exhibiting by looking at the exhibitor list online.

Global Pet Expo is of the biggest pet trade shows in the world! With that being said, I want to share some of the tricks I’ve learned over the last decade of attending these types of shows myself. My tip in the video could save you HOURS on the floor!  

For Bossin’ Buyers

There are thousands of ways to spend all your money and all your time next week. I had many years where I left a show thinking “What just happened?!” So just stay true to what your business stands for. See every product and service you’ll come across through your business uniqueness. Don’t fall for an offer too good to be true, and don’t give in to a pushy sales rep.

#1 – Before you write an order, think about if the product aligns with your brand. Would your customers value it? Will it help you stand out from your competition?

#2 – Trade shows are not just about buying products and taking advantage of show specials. It’s about creating opportunities for yourself and your business when it comes to pricing, strategies, and partnerships with vendors. Build relationships and work together!

#3 – Have a plan of attack! It will likely be impossible to walk the whole show floor. Remember that it’s about the journey, not crossing the finish line. Have a list of things you want to find, instead of impulse shopping. Identify your top 10 current vendors you want to make sure you see for specials and new releases, then work the room discovering all the new stuff.

Here’s a quick video on how I like to plan my route, utilizing the show’s website.

For Bossin’ Exhibitors

Having had my own booth at two trade shows last year, I got to see the other side for once. I could not believe how exhausted I was!! At least buyers get to walk the show and take breaks from talking, but not exhibitors! It’s the same message and conversations, over and over and over again.

Here are a few things to consider, from the viewpoint of a seasoned buyer: busy exhibitors who make eye contact, smile, and say “I’ll be with you in a moment”, go a long way with a retailer. Being acknowledged and treated with the same high quality of care that we give customers in our own shop is fantastic.

And it is even more impressive to us when an exhibitor is still able to have great energy at the end of the day or the end of the show…I know it’s not easy. But you never know who might be walking by and ready to place a big order – or better yet, become a lifelong customer!

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candace-dogsCandace D’Agnolo, Founder of Pet Boss Nation and CEO of Dogaholics, started the Pet Boss Nation community because she knows the value that support and coaching can provide to a business. In her own company, she took the initial concept of a brick and mortar location and turned it into multiple revenue streams – up to three locations, offer services (as in dog walking, doggy daycare, grooming), online informational products, books, merchandise, and now pet business consulting. She’s employed over 150 people, led a team as large as 30 and still runs a successful 7-figure business. 

Learn more about Candace and Pet Boss Nation on the Pets Mean Business podcast!

 

Reciprocity and gratitude

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By Jamie Migdal. CEO of FetchFind

While contemplating a topic for this week’s Pet Industry Insider newsletter, it dawned on me that the answer was right in front of me (as it so often is).

The collage above is me with a bunch of different people. The top left is a lovely FetchFind customer, the top right is a women in technology colleague, and the bottom pic is me talking with Maxine Clark,  the founder of Build-a-Bear, at her home during a dinner party for the current PWE cohort. If I’d remembered to take a pic (!), you’d also see a photo of me with the women  who run IBPSA when they were in Chicago for the Pricing for Profit workshop.

Why am I talking about my social calendar? 

Well, that’s because it all represents two key principles of my life: relationships and collaboration. Every single picture here not only represents a relationship that I’m proud of, but also one in which I actively participate in reciprocity of thought and experience.

There are times that I feel so overwhelmed with gratitude that I trick myself into wondering whether I deserve all of this collaboration, support, and love. Then I remember that you get what you give, and I feel better. Honestly, my day isn’t complete unless I know there were at least three times during my waking hours where I gave of myself, whether with advice and expertise, with a professional recommendation, or with an introduction to help someone on their journey. It really means a lot to me to be able to help someone’s world be a better place and enhance their career or personal life in some small, hopefully meaningful way.

To that point of gratitude, at the end of the week I like to look at my calendar and write thank you notes to the people who helped me. I don’t always get to all of them (and definitely not on time!), but I do my best. And since dogs can’t receive thank you notes, I always make sure to dedicate some time to think about the animals that I am able to impact through my work and relationships. 

 Drop me a note about the things that you do to recognize and thank the greatness of the people and animals in your life.  As always, I love hearing from you.

With gratitude,

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Jamie

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