Parenting as a Business Owner – Dogma Pet Services

Our first interview in our new “Parenting as a Business Owner” series is Tricia Jacoby. She is the founder and sole proprietor of Dogma Pet Services.


Q: How long have you been in business?

I have been working at Dogma Pet Services for 12 years; 9 years at 1880 Crosby Road, in Kelowna.

Q: What challenges did you face when you first opened?

My first challenge was getting my head screwed on tight. My second challenge that I really had from the get go was convincing those around me, those I was living with, that the space that I had was worthy of the business I was wanting. I had to make all sorts of reasons and validate why this had to be done this way, and that had to be done that way, so it was really about establishing a true sense of self, was the biggest challenge.


Where I was going to take this company within this market and industry was the first challenge. I wanted to be different, I didn’t want to be a cookie cutter. So I had to really think about what it meant to be outside of the box, and to really do things differently than everybody else in this industry. That was a big deal for me.

I also started Dogma when I was thinking of moving on in my relationship, and then I got pregnant, and became a mom, and evolution took over and I had to make decisions not based on what I would want, but what I thought was best for not just my family, my child, my future, and I had two children now. I had my children and I had the business. And they’re both very demanding children.


Q: How long had you been married before you started your business?

I was married in the summer of 2009, while pregnant, and had started the business in October of 2008, so you can imagine the back to back. Much of the concept of the business was constructed in September of 2008. I really wanted to be a stay at home mom, and originally thought of the business as being a stay at home mom position, with my husband looking after the finances. But then I got pregnant, and things weren’t so simple after that.


But when I started dealing with the business, it was really to become independent so should anything happen to my husband, I didn’t want to feel like I was dependent on anything. That was my motivation for having the business, but for continuing, especially when I was 6 months pregnant and leaning over a tub, the last thing I wanted to do was wash dogs. I didn’t want to go on, but I thought this is what I need to do to secure a future, and that’s what I did. The biggest challenge was trying to break the mold.

Q: What successes have you had in your business?

One of the things, the biggest success has nothing to do with my business, it has to do with me, and the fact that this taught me that YES, I CAN! There is no, “oh, I can take a sick day”, there is no “oh, I don’t feel like it”, YES I CAN is the only answer I had for every obstacle that came after Morgan while I was working. Yes I can, because I have to, there are no options, you have point a, point b, to point c, and you just keep moving forward. My biggest success was in learning about myself and the fact that I can do it.

With how far I’ve come, I know that I can go further. The second biggest success is the people I’ve met along this journey of entrepreneurship. Positive numbers coming at me, from people who are supporting me. That’s my second biggest success, to know that my company is being validated in more than just the financial but that it’s being bolstered up by people that want to see me succeed.


Q: Your daughter has been raised with a mom as a business owner. Have you noticed that she is affected by that in any way?

One of the biggest differences that I have noticed with her is she has become more independentand far more attuned to other people. She wants to help, she’s become more involved and far more sympathetic to other people’s issues than I think the average kid who doesn’t necessarily know what mom or dad does on a daily basis. The fact that she she sees how hard I work makes her want to work just as hard.

And when she asks what can I do during the day, especially in the summer time, you have to ask of them to be more tolerant. She’s been incredibly sympathetic, she knows that I am guilty for working so hard. And she’s proud, I see this drive when she talks about…she was asked by one of her teachers what she’d like to do when she gets older, and she said she’d like to be like mom.

Q: What was your reason for starting your business – your “why”?

Dogma had kind of been a dream of mine for a while, I didn’t want to work for somebody else, I knew I could do it better, with more compassion, and I wanted it, I had so many ideas, I knew I could do better. I ultimately, you think when you go through life that you’re stumbling along and you just pick up what’s most convenient. I truly believe this is my purpose.

Every time I try to veer away from animals, I keep coming back in some respect. This is beyond just logic. It’s beyond what can make me money, it transcends any of that. When I started doing it, I knew I was meant to be doing it. And it’s made my life complete.

Q: What advice would you give to somebody who is a mom, dad, or not even necessarily a parent, but somebody that says I’m sick of working for somebody else, I have a great idea and I want to start a business.

Do your market research. Make sure not only that you want to do it, but it’s an industry that you can be successful at and that you can start seeing results quickly. Nothing motivates people faster than seeing results. So anything that’s going to get you some level of results that you’re looking for, great, keep going, don’t stop, don’t let anybody tell you what you can or cannot do. Especially when you become a parent, they’re going to say your first priority is to be a parent, your first priority is to yourself.

Don’t give yourself nothing – you’ll get burned out. Don’t lose yourself when you’re a parent or struggling to be this entrepreneur. Be all of it, but don’t lose yourself in it. Always have a back door. It doesn’t mean that you’re not committed, you need to be smart. If you go balls to the wall and it doesn’t work out, some businesses don’t work out, if it doesn’t work out have a back door. Don’t commit 100%. I never committed 100% because I knew there was a fraction that needed my attention should something fail. I’m a parent, if I was single, with no children or other people I was needing to look after, sure, my business would be my everything. Spread it out but don’t spread it too thin.


Early risers


Are you among the many early risers? My mother used to wake at 5 am for the sole purpose of enjoying her cup of coffee in peace and quiet before waking myself and my siblings.

As I age, I see the wisdom in her practice. There is something so peaceful about the early morning hours – the stillness allows my mind to focus. I like to take advantage of the quiet to review the day’s business goals, as well as celebrate the previous day’s accomplishments. Celebrating each step reached motivates me to continue the climb.

Are you someone who rises early?

Want to work from home? Consider these challenges…

computer-15812_640As a freelance writer and editor, I have the ability to work from home. I frequently have deadlines, which I can typically meet. There are times, when I’m struggling with a particular piece, that the deadline seems closer than it is. It seems to be during those times when my children require the most attention. It’s as if they sense my level of stress rising and they wish to push it over the edge.

If you’ve ever considered working from home, take some time to reflect upon a few things. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. How do you react to stress? Do you reach for ‘comfort food’ to soothe your soul? If this is the case, working from home could lead to tremendous weight gain, depending on your level of self-discipline.
  2. Speaking of self-discipline, how do you rate? If you have an important project that requires attention and your favourite tv show is on, where does your priority lie? Keeping focus on the big picture is a major aspect of being your own boss.
  3. If you have young children likely to be around while you’re working, how do you plan to keep them occupied? Timing also comes into play here. Avoid beginning a project near your children’s typical breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack times. In the case of my children, they can eat their weight equivalent in food (maybe only a slight exaggeration, but not much). I won’t even look at my projects until each of my boys have had their fill. Even then, my window of opportunity is approximately two hours, so I must work quickly and furiously.
  4. Are you a Social Media addict? While working on an article, sales letter, email reply, whatever your business requires, keeping that Facebook tab open may be a bad idea. The temptation to check and see if anyone’s responded to your last post can be difficult to resist for some people.

These are only a few aspects of the work at home experience that must be considered. Are you someone who works from home? What challenges have you faced?




Confessions and reflections on change

water swirling

When 2012 ended, it wasn’t necessarily on the best note. I was overweight and unhealthy, both physically and mentally. I loved my new job but missed my previous one. I realized it was time for a drastic change.

I decided at that time to create my own business.  I finally realized that my passion could generate an income for my family.  

I also decided to create Food for Gifts, which I’d talked about doing but never put any action to. Knowing that other people were in a similar financial situation as we were finding ourselves, it only made sense to reach out in whatever way I could to help my community.

When 2013 began, so did my new eating habits. A new relationship with my body began to develop. I had spent 23 years abusing my body. If I felt fat, I would simply not allow myself to eat. If I made a mistake at work, in my parenting, whatever, I would tell myself I didn’t deserve food. You can imagine this left me with digestive issues, which I still occasionally deal with. A little reminder of who I was.

In the midst of all this, I was flying solo. I had chosen to take myself off of anti-depressants (cold turkey. DON’T do that!!). I hadn’t been off of medication in 7 years. Why I chose to take myself off, I have no idea. Perhaps I never will. Or perhaps it’s none of my business. I don’t need to know all the facts behind His plan for me – I just need to trust the process J

I now find myself here, on the last day of 2013, feeling incredibly blessed, relatively healthy and fairly strong. I am still flying solo, though I would go back on meds if I felt the need. My business is growing steadily, due to client referrals and social media. Receiving positive feedback about my abilities from clients (and colleagues) is still somewhat difficult for me to accept. All part of my continued personal growth.

I am blessed with amazing children and a husband who has stood by my side through this past tumultuous year. He’s done his best to understand why I do the things I do, even when I’m not sure myself. We both reached the ripe old age of 40 this past year, on top of everything else. I’m beginning to believe that age is just a number, though.

I wish all those who read these words an amazing 2014, filled with revelation, challenge, success and health. If there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, DO IT. If you know you need to take better care of your body, DO IT. If you have been experiencing mental health issues and think you might need to talk to your doctor, DO IT.

Take care of yourself – physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. You cannot be a good parent, spouse, friend, employee or  business owner – really, whatever roles you find yourself in – without first being healthy and whole.

Happy New Year everyone!