What Can Dogs Teach You About _________?

You already know that at 1 point in my life I started a Dog Walking and Training Company in New York City…

Since then I have gone onto create very successful businesses for myself and others — but I have to tell you a secret…

The best lesson I EVER learned about marketing was back with the dog walking company, when I knew NOTHING about marketing and business…

Here’s the deal…

No matter what you are doing, you need to know about marketing…

I can just hear some of you yelling at me that you are employees so I must be crazy…

I’m not kidding…

No matter what you are doing you have to know about marketing…

If you are an:

  • Entrepreneur
  • Artist
  • Athlete
  • Employee
  • Business Owner
  • Real Estate Investor
  • Actor
  • Singer
  • Coach
  • Consultant

etc. etc. etc.

We can talk about why at another time — BUT — right now, let me share with you that first and best lesson I learned from my Dog Walking Business…

Here’s the lesson…

Know your target market and go directly to them and forget about the rest!


Get efficient and stop wasting your time on people who don’t care about what you are doing because it doesn’t solve a problem or need they have…

Here’s how I learned this lesson…

When I got started, I knew I wanted to walk and train dogs in my East Village area of NYC…

  • There were dogs everywhere, so I realized there was a market…
  • I made up some flyers, recruited 2 AMAZING friends…
  • And we set up outside the Astor Place Subway station at rush hour…
  • In 19 Degree weather…

19 Degrees is COLD and in New York City, the wind whips around the buildings and feels like it is slapping you in the face…

So here’s what happened…

After 2 days of doing this, I was disheartened, didn’t have a single person that had called me, had spent more on flyers than I could afford at the time and I was unwilling to ask my friends to continue helping me – for OBVIOUS reasons.

I wasn’t ready to give up…

So I had to get creative…

I only had about 100 flyers left (of the 2000 that I started with) and I needed money coming in FAST…

So this is what I did…

The next night I waited until 6 pm and I took my 100 flyers and I hit all the parks and dog parks in my immediate area…

I watched the OWNERS who had come home to walk their dogs to see which ones weren’t crazy…

Then I walked up to them, introduced myself, and asked them if they had a dog walker…

If they said “No” I gave them a flyer —

If they said “Yes” I asked them if I could give them a flyer in case they were looking in the future —

What do you think happened?

I got clients!

By the end of the week I had 5 clients and by the end of the month I had 15…

Within 3 months I was working by word of mouth only and never had to hand out a flyer again…

Did I get rich from Dog Walking?


Did I learn the best marketing lesson of my life from Dog Walking?


How can you use this lesson to make your marketing efforts better?

Leave me a comment — I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

Go Big!


31 Responses to “What Can Dogs Teach You About _________?”

  1. Leila says:

    Hi Kristen, thanks for your post. I love the practical example of targetting your market. What I get from this is that you can’t sell dog walking to people who haven’t got dogs. Luckily for you spotting people with dogs isn’t so hard 🙂

  2. Naomi says:

    Hi, Kristen…thank you for the wonderful advice…I’m a singer/writer, etc and marketing isn’t my long suit…I’m also introverted…love people, but don’t approach first…I’ve known that marketing is vital no matter what you did, but thank you for the different perspective…I appreciate yo…Naomi

  3. Claudie says:

    This is a very valuable point which I will keep in mind.
    Too much info, too many balls in the air is not getting me anywhere fast.
    So targetting the right audience and being single minded is the future.
    Thank you for this.

  4. Rosemary says:

    Great advice, Kristen, but where do I find my target market for tenants in my beautiful executive office suites? Everyone wants something for nothing or for so little that what they want to pay won’t even cover my expenses. Hm-m-m! Now, if I could solve that problem, without going bankrupt in the process, I’d be rich.

  5. Kevin Jeeps says:

    Easy – know what your market and then go and get ’em!
    Best wishes,

  6. Thanks Kristen; I have been trying to sell my self help book STRATEGIES PROGRAM YOUR MIND FOR SUCCESS! on Twitter with very little success.The book is fantastic;but I think I have targeted the wrong market. These people are already successful and need my book the least.So your dog business story has helped me.I need to reach out to the people who need my book.Now how I do that; will take some more thinking.

  7. Mimi Stiegel says:

    I’ve been reading and listening to your stuff for months now. Not all of it hits home. I am an educator in the public schools which I realize has been a huge mistake. I am still pouring money into keeping my certification, knowing that my district in Michigan is bankrupt and I’m going to most likely lose my job within the next 2 years and face total bankruptcy.

    I noticed on your list of professions in this e-mail, you did not include “educators”. You always ask for a comment. I’m giving you one. Just one. There are tons and tons of educators in the public school system who are facing this crisis (did you listen to Obama’s recent education policy reinvention?).

    It seems we must all relearn our professions to be entrepreneur like yourself, which really does require first a mindset of belief and lots more education to learn to do it (and money also).

    I have invested in the last 7 years since my divorce, $15,000 into getting re-certified in order to teach in this God-forsaken state. And where has it gotten me? NOWHERE. I identify with your history and biography. I just don’t know HOW to get there!!


    P.S. This is your “market” also. People like me who are confused and stuck and feel like they are being used to help YOU make more money doing what YOU have figured out to do!

  8. Mimi: Consider relocating to Fla.Ga.or SC. Cost of living cheaper; and the winters are mild.It is not how much money you make; it is the kind of life you live that is important.People in Fiji are poor but they are happy; and do not feel poor. People in New York make piles of money but how much does it cost to live there? You have the power;You make the decisions.Best2u!

  9. Tom Justin says:

    Hi Kristen, This is a terrific example for anyone in marketing. It’s truly about finding your niche or the one you want to attract to you. It also shows your innovative side, even in your earliest stage of marketing.

    Write on!
    Tom Justin

  10. jerie centeno says:

    very inspiring it best describes what creativity is about

  11. Liz Martin Dickison says:

    Hi Kristen. Love your story! My marketing teacher said “Fish where the fish are biting”. Always do that first.
    Fish? Sit quietly and imagine the sort of buyer who would want your product. If you come up with more than one type of person or reason for buying -> person/group of buyers (or target markets) promote to one group at a time. Ask everyone who even just makes contact how they heard about you, and keep simple stats after each marketing campaign. That’s how you know if you’re wasting your time/money in that market or method. Put an incentive/offer on your flyer, email or other initial contact device e.g. discount or freebie. When you’re starting out and unsure about your market this is both an icebreaker and an easy way of keeping track of response volume. If you’ve exhausted your first potential market get onto the next and so on. It may take time to get a good result – don’t give up! You’ll usually have to find a way to get yourself “heard” above the advertising competiton. I feel sure that some of your success was due to your personal approach in the park.
    Most important – make sure you deliver at least what your promotion says. And keep delivering! That’s your ongoing marketing – it’s free & it stimulates word of mouth promotion from your existing clients.
    IMHO everyone needs to know about marketing – even if you’re just up to writing your resume for a job.
    Even singer/songwriters who want paid work … record companies,agents and venues generally can’t be relied on to do the best marketing job for your work. Pick a method that suits your personal style or enlist an outgoing friend to talk you up.
    Keep writing, Kristen! Love your work!
    Liz in Oz

  12. Rosemary says:

    I don’t walk dogs, in fact, I love cats, but this gives me an idea on how to fill my beautiful office building. The Sparks Chamber of Commerce has meet and greets and ribbon cuttings all the time. I just got new cards with our services on the back. Voila! I’ll go to some of those (even though I don’t have the time and no one to help me do that, well, except my wonderful assistant who so desperately wants to help me).

    Things are pretty desperate right now: Notice of Default from the Bank and all, three of my very few tenants moved out at the end of their leases (typical of an executive suite format), and I’m feeling time, as well as financial, bankruptcy. Not the best frame of mind, but I’ll just concentrate on Power Question 1 and see what happens.


    • Kristen says:

      Hi Rosemary!

      Yes…use the Power Questions and remember, although we want to see exactly how things are going to go to get us to our goals…all we ever really need to know is the NEXT STEP!

      Go Big!

  13. Valery says:

    Hi Kristen,
    what I learned is that to get started having clients for your business you have to approach people personally, not to rely only on advertisment which is pretty much anonymous.The problem could be than not everyone has such skills and sociability.

  14. Andy says:

    Thanks Kristen, this is very useful information. I’m still trying to fihure out my target market for my artwork which has’nt been easy lol. But I’m pretty sure that I’ll figure it out soon like you did Kristen with dog walking. ^_^

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Andy!

      Whenever you are trying to discover your target market, ask yourself what solution you are offering (and yes, you are offering a solution even with Artwork) — then ask what kinds of people are looking for that solution — then ask where you find those people!

      Go Big!

  15. Christine Pirkey says:

    This is for Mimi Stiegel. Mimi, I just read your post to Kristen today concerning her information on how important marketing to a niche audience is for success. I well understand your unhappiness at the present time with the upheaval that is going on in the public school system nationwide. You mentioned how much money and time you have invested into getting re-certified and, it seems, you wonder if it has all been for naught. Well, if you are looking for some way to reinvent yourself in order to succeed going forward from the point you are at now, may I offer a suggestion? I’m sure you have heard the expression, “Think outside the box.” This does help, but my suggestion is to take that saying and redo it as, “Think from inside-out your position as an educator.” I’m sure somewhere along the line, you have learned valuable, specialized information that you desperately want to impart to students. Why not take a niche part of that information, set it up as an e-book or an e-course on the Internet, and offer it to a segment of the population ready and willing for your help–people who home school their children. This is the niche I intend to market to when I get my web site up soon. No, I am not a specialist, but some parts of essential learning I am particularly suited to teaching about. And, yes, i do expect to succeed financially with my marketing as soon as I am online as I, also, adhere to Kristen’s advice of marketing to the right people. Good luck to you as you pursue your strengths forward.

  16. Andrew says:

    Thank You Kristen, your advice helps alot! I’ll do some research & find my target market for my artwork. ^_^

  17. Greyford says:

    I am an Artistand i am busy painting pictures at the moment. This dog story will help me make a good target for my works!!!!
    Thanx Kristen,

  18. AK says:

    Thanks so much for your piece of advice. I gave been in the financial industry for a decade now but still haven’t figured out a way of having abundant of clients. Every step I take seems to be taking me further away from my goal and am so lost and don’t know what to do!!

  19. Obed Appiah-Danquah says:

    Indeed everyone needs marketing.Some practice marketing without realizing it.If you can win someone’s heart,then you’ve practiced marketing.

  20. Hi Kristen This was an excellent story with a simple but powerful message. Makes perfect sense. Focus on the people who need your product or service. Thank you 🙂

  21. Caryn says:

    What a simple but truly great lesson. I have a few different things I do but most are online. Would you say keywords are the best way to market to my target audience?
    Cheers, thanks for sharing. I love receiving your emails.

  22. Milton says:

    Approach:This is where flexibility comes into focus…

  23. linda bradley says:

    Hi Kristen,
    The lesson I have learned from your passage is never exclude anyone; Becoming successful is just about thinking success,its about putting forth effort taking action……Girl you know what I mean….I totally agree with you, YES I do…. You are awesome Kristen…

    Much To Your Success,


  24. Alex Gabriel Vu says:

    The road we walk every second of our life is called “faith”. The questions are: are we still in faith? Are we willing to decrease our mind and let our heart increase?

    Alex G. Vu

  25. Rosemary says:

    Just re-read this post and my two responses. Well, I’m happy to report that my beautiful executive suites are all but full (only 3% vacancy). I stopped worrying about the rent per suite and concentrated on getting as many tenants as I could. Now, I am in a better position to ask a bit more the next time I have a vacancy.

    The lesson you talk about here is very valid. Concentrate on those who really need what I am selling (er, renting). It works.

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