Ines McNeil, founder and CEO of The Modern Dog Trainer, is dedicated to helping dog trainers build sustainable and profitable 6-figure businesses.
Learn more about The Modern Dog Trainer:
Visit their website at https://www.themoderndogtrainer.net/
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My name is Inez McNeil and you’re tuned into the animal innovations show, you’ve tuned into the animal innovation show where we feature people, products, services and ideas that are helping animals and the people who care for them live better lives. If it’s innovative and if it helps animals, you can find it here first. So get ready. Here comes this week’s newest innovation for animals. Very nice. I like the way you did that. So thank you for coming on and ask, tell us who you are and how you’re innovating and helping animals. Well, I am the founder of the modern dog trainer and I help great dog trainers create profitable and sustainable, six figure businesses. Nice. So you’re taking it beyond just being a dog trainer, You’re like trainer of the trainers. Yes. Yes, exactly. I found that there was really just not enough business information on the business end of things of being a trainer. You know, people go to school and they spend thousands of dollars investing in there, how to train dogs education and then you know, they get out there in the community and they don’t know how to really turn that into a solid career. That is profitable that you can, you know save for retirement with like you know anything you would expect from a normal career. Yeah, I wanted to help people out with that. I think that’s really cool. So tell me a little bit more because I I really don’t know anything about how to run a dog training business. I mean certainly we’ve had dogs and we’ve gone to trainers and stuff, but I’ve never really thought about the business aspect of it. So kind of what are the things are going to this? Well that’s that’s a really opening the question. Um you know, I really help people with marketing. You know, I guess we could start there how to attract clients that want to pay for training that are going to do the work that you ask of them that are happy to invest in training for their dog to how to create dog training packages that are more profitable that are not going to nickel and dime your customers that are really going to attract customers that are happy to pay more training so that you can really deliver an even better basically customer experience, which then turns into referrals and more training and all that good stuff. Yeah, I would think that being in a dog training business, one of the hardest things is it’s like your customers are not sticking around forever, right? They’re coming for you a period of time. And so you’ve got to be constantly attracting new customers. Yeah, and that’s the irony of it. Right? So growing up, you know, my mentors always were like, well training never stops, The dogs always learning. You know, we do, we’re always learning. So then, you know, I found that it just didn’t make sense for training programs or packages to stop, you know, usually are used to like traditionally in the industry, people sell, you know, of three lesson package or five lesson package and then you’re done and then you’re needing more clients trade when we’re over here talking about how training never ends. So we are kind of flipping the script on that and creating programs that people love to go through and then graduate from and then continue training with. So now do you guys have online courses or is it more consulting? Like tell us more about? Yeah, I started out with just 1 to 1 coaching really helping people on an individual level. And it just got to the point where I was repeating myself a lot because everybody was going through the same thing. So I created a group program and that has evolved into the modern dog trainer academy program um and it’s it’s doing really, really well and I’ve had so many graduates from it that are seeing so much success. So it’s really, really exciting to see such great trainers, you know, they’ve, they’ve got the skills to train dogs, you know, science based methods also rewarding themselves with a really good paycheck at the end of day two, that’s got to feel really rewarding knowing that you’re helping them to be successful at something that they’re passionate about helping people have a better relationship with their, with their dogs. Yes, exactly. In my opinion, you know, not only is the more profitable business going to allow you to reinvest some of that, right? Don’t go at all, some of that into your own education, but you’re also able to set up more efficient systems so that you can help more clients or even higher other trainers to expand your business and then again help more clients than their dogs now. And I love that because all of us have a passion, right? And everybody needs money to live and so right, teaching them how to combine those two that it’s an effective business because otherwise, I can imagine it’s hard running a small business. It is, it is, and there’s so many things you can do to make it easier on yourself. You know, I think we really need to let go of the work hard mentality, it’s very prominent in the industry and, you know, for good reason, like we we want to make sure we do good and we want to make sure we serve people and their dogs well, but there’s no reason that you have to, you know, scrimp barely make ends meet or not be able to save money and and live in a house that you enjoy living in or, you know, take time to raise your own puppy. Like those are the things that I’ve helped people do. I’ve had so many students now tell me, and it gives me to those phones that they’re able to put a down payment on a new home. They’re able to take a month off to raise their own dog. You know, because of the way they’ve kind of shifted how they’re running their business and serving their clients. So that’s, that’s what it’s all about for me. Yeah, that’s got to be a nice boost to you to want to keep going and keep improving and keep doing more when you see the received. Yes. Yes, exactly. So now do these trainers come to you already certified as dog trainers? I mean is your focus more on the business side of things or is there also some additional training tips or stuff in there as well? I stay away from how to train dogs. There are so many academies and schools out there that are really good at that and I I just want to help you get the most use out of that education basically. So, you know, we really focus on the business, the marketing, the sales, the customer journey, like those kinds of things that are going to help you earn a lot more from that expertise and create a really, you know, sustainable business. Because I know that’s the other thing, it’s it’s profitable and sustainable. The dog training industry is not known for sustainability. So, so many future burnout. And to me, you know, if you burn out, then that’s that so many years and decades that you could have been helping dogs in the future that are being missed out on and people are missing out and working with you. So I really want to highlight that, it’s it’s about being profitable, it’s also about being sustainable, and I think that you can’t really have one without the other because a lot of people are running businesses that are unsustainable and not profitable right now that I want to help, you know, and I really like that, and I like the values that I saw on your website, and this isn’t all about making money, this is to your point about making it sustainable, having that place right, where you’re part of that community, because these dog trainers are, and as you said, if they’re not there, there’s a gap, there is a void, right? Right? And then it you know, sometimes it means that less qualified trainers with just better marketing and sales skills are more visible and attracting more clients when really the really amazing trainers that I’ve worked with are not necessarily the best marketers are the best, you know, business savvy people, but they are absolutely the best highly skilled trainers that I’ve ever seen. So that’s what I want to help. We know you love animals, but maybe you’re not sure how you can get involved to help save the hundreds of thousands of cats and dogs needlessly euthanized every year. Did you know, there’s one place you can go to to sign up as a volunteer transporter foster or even social ambassador for rescue animals, Joubert dot com is custom built by animal rescuers for animal Rescuers, You simply create a profile and choose the ways that you can help. Joubert is proud to support more than 5000 rescues and shelters and more than 30,000 duper tears just like you working to save animals join us and you can save lives, simply go to www dot google dot com to get started today. So how would things change in the last year with dependent that have you seen real change and what’s going on with these businesses? Yes. Yes. I think 90% of trainers went virtual for the first time. That was fun. Yeah, yeah, I threw together a workshop right? You know when the shutdown was announced I was like okay like This week we’re going to just do a workshop and I’m going to walk you through like what this looks like, because I was doing virtual lessons back in 2014 I had a whole online course in dog training, so I knew what they were up against and I knew kind of some of the technical questions they were going to have in all of that, so that was definitely challenging. But a lot of trainers have actually really enjoyed it because it’s basically eliminated travel time to people’s homes, so yeah, they really enjoyed it. Surprisingly. Yeah, I would think it would be different to go online and to a zoom class or something like that, right? When everybody’s their home with their dog and trying to kind of manage that, I guess it would take a different approach towards how are you going to run your class? Yeah, it really takes just being authentic and just being human and just saying, you know, we’re going to figure this out, you know, this is me doing it the first time, you know, there’s going to be glitches is going to be issues, but let’s just promise to have fun in the process. Dog training is supposed to be fun. It’s about building a really great relationship with your dog, so there’s no need to, you know, be grumpy about it, you can really turn it into something fun and engaging for the whole family, right? Because the whole family may not have been able to go to the group class, especially when things were up and going, you know, they may have been busy often soccer practice here and there, but you know, now everybody’s home so they can all participate in the training at home. No, I like that. I like just press is about how to pivot it and how to make it engaging and, and you said it perfectly recognize royal human, you know, as I said before, it’s like there’s seven billion of us and we’re all experiencing the same thing, right? So just embrace it and just recognize it, it’s okay, right? So fine, we’re gonna, we’re gonna do this virtually and it’s gonna be a little bit different and like you said, it might be a little bit clunky and I might have to repeat something or you will be able to see it real well. So me move my, move my camera or whatever so that you can get a better angle. Yeah, exactly. You know, I think we tend to get caught up and I think this is something that our parents have taught us just to be professional and you know, trying to put up a front a professional you are and that’s something I’ve personally had to overcome. You know, I had in my head that if I wasn’t Uber professional that nobody would like respect me when in reality is the opposite, When people really genuinely get to know you and realize how human you are, they can really relate to you. And I’ve had so many people literally my, I messed up this week and I missed my monthly call with my assistant coach Megan for the academy and she was like, honestly makes me feel better knowing that you’re human, you make mistakes to not infallible, right? Yeah, exactly. So that was so funny. Yeah, no, it is that human side of things and it is hard because we are, you know, like you said, you try to be professional and everything and sometimes it is nice to let your hair down, let your guard down and just just be, people can see that software side of you. Yeah. And that’s what really helps people commit to you, commit to working with you in particular versus just anybody they find out google right right now, I know you’ve got a background in dog training. So take us back to the point where you decided that you need to do this at a different level. You said everything is not enough. I really need to help these other people to run their businesses. Yeah, well it came out of necessity. First of all, I’m a crossover trainer. So I started out with not so positive methods and gradually transitioned to science based positive reinforcement based methods and I did that with the help of a mentor that I had locally and so luckily I had access to a mentor and got to see how she did things, how she taught classes, how she ran private less and she let me shadow her. She was amazing and it’s still amazing. But you know, I’m a millennial, I use the internet google things too. And I just could not find this kind of information like online. You know, I could only see that. I basically was resorting to just asking questions and random facebook groups and hoping that it was good advice. And so what I wanted to do was just create a, an online platform where anybody anywhere could learn how to teach a group class, how to run a private lesson, how to onboard new clients, like those kinds of things that aren’t necessarily discussed on a regular basis because they’re not topics that you necessarily enjoy trying to figure out, especially when you’re learning how to train dogs, that’s much more exciting. But for me, I was like, you know, I need this information, I can’t believe it’s not out there. So it started out as a blog and has since evolved into courses in the now the Academy interesting. So now because this all didn’t exist, I mean it sounds like you had to create a lot of the content and the methods and the practice and I mean that must spend a journey for you. Yeah, well, I have to say I wasn’t alone. I I was a hardcore like kind of online networker. I had multiple people as lined up as contributors to my blog. And so they were experienced trainers, they were contributing to the blog as well. And then I had the podcast, I was kind of interviewing people to share their story and their expertise. And so I definitely did not do it alone, but I I built the site myself. I was editing my podcast initially myself. So I I definitely figured it out as I went, Yeah, that’s part of it. Right? It’s just a journey. And I think that’s what makes a lot more authentic as you said. I mean you got to kind of learn on your own and figure out what’s going to be the best thing for your, for your customers. So when did you actually found, you know, the academy, what year did you do that? The academy came after a few rounds of kind of less formal group coaching sessions. So the academy was founded in july june or july of 2020 was when it officially launched as the modern dog training academy program. Very nice. So it was an evolution, like you said after the election and then when the pandemic at, I guess you had a lot more time at home, you said, forget it really during academy now, you know, I just saw it as, you know, people would take one course and then they would be like well do you have any information about this? You know, it’s a natural progression of questions so I was like okay well this is like the road map now, you know, let’s like put all these pieces together in the proper order that’s going to get you, you know, to your goals as quickly as possible. Have you seen amazing animal foster videos on facebook and instagram and wondered how you could create videos for your foster cats to highlight their true personalities and get them adopted? 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It’s for trainers that are already at six figures that have facilities that want to make it multiple six figures and much more sustainable. So have a really solid team behind them so just keep growing and and expand. I’m actually going to be partnering with the new software coming up called bobby with josh Tyler and he is putting together basically an all in one platform for dog trainers. So right now, dog trainers are using many, many Softwares to juggle all of their clients and scheduling informs and all of that. And uh, we’re basically putting all of that into one place so that it’s really easy to use and easy to connect with your clients in a more modern manner. You know, that people, people kind of expect that today, don’t they? They’re always looking for something. They just expect that online experience. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, very cool. So what have you learned about yourself through this journey? I mean you’re never done growing, which is fine. It’s actually one of the things that is important to me as you saw, I think on the values on the website and so it’s just continuing to see, learn about things that you are not even aware of, that you need to learn about. And for me, the most important thing has been mindset and really getting to the point of allowing good things to happen and that’s okay, right? And I think that’s something that’s really the whole industry can benefit from embracing and it’s something that I’m try and all of my facebook lives in my group, my facebook group that, you know, I try and touch on mindset a little bit as well because it’s something that’s really the whole dog training industry needs to work on. No, I love that and I love that you’re bringing that personal side into things because it is a journey, you don’t always have it all figured out, right? And sometimes people look like what’s the answer? And I don’t know, I’m just right, learning like you are right. Right. Exactly. So yeah, I look forward to helping many, many more trainers that value education, that value science based training, take their business to the next level and you know, be more visible, be the go to trainer in their industry, in their community so that they can help more trainers, more people and their dogs. So if there’s a trainer this listen to, this is a tip, something you can tell them. I mean what’s your one tip that will really get their attention and say, hey, you guys should look into this. I will say that I have spoken to hundreds of trainers over the last few years and one thing that I say all the time is that I have not spoken probably to a single trainer that I didn’t think couldn’t double their rates and not have a problem. So yeah, get my attention. Yeah. So yeah, it’s time to time to level up the yourself, your business and as a result the industry, right? Because you know what is it saying goes with a rising tide, lifts all boats? So yeah, I love that. And I love the fact that you’re there supporting them and it’s like a pay it forward type of a thing. You’ve been doing this for years and now you’re trying to help others. You keep that success anything that’s really cool. Yeah. I mean their success is my success. Like I am, they’re cheering and crying along with them as they’re reaching their new goals personally. You know like I said, putting a down payment on a house or just being able to have evenings off. That’s a huge win for a lot of them two evenings at home with the family weekends that you’re not working all weekend. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I totally get that. So if people want to learn more, where should they go? Yeah, I mean you can go to my website, the modern dog trainer dot net, you can go to my free facebook group. I’m doing a free live pretty much every week in april live training. It’s called Business Support by the modern dog trainer. And then I have lots of freebies on my side. I have free books, free downloads, free templates, so have at it. Yeah, that’s really cool. You’re sharing all that, all that stuff for free that you can pay for anything but no, no there’s plenty plenty for free for sure. Very cool. Well I’m really excited that it came on. Is there anything else that you wanted to share before wrap things up today? No, no, I’m just really excited about the future of the industry. I think when really great trainers are able to make more money from their expertise, it’s going to only open up opportunities right there, going to be able to offer, to contribute to more resources or build more resources for the general public to have access to for free or, you know, there’s just so many things you can do when you have money in your pocket and you’re you feel safe and secure financially, you’re able to really step up and do more. No, I really love that. I really love the fact that you’re focused on trying to help them and we all know how important it is for people to have a bond with their, with their dogs. And these trainers are real part of it and they need to have a sustainable business and, you know, they can’t be here today and gone tomorrow, otherwise they’re not there to support me when I need it. Yeah, exactly. Well, thank you so much for coming on. I really appreciate. It was really good to talk to you awesome. Thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure. And as a reminder to our viewers and listeners, if you’ve got an idea for a person, a product service, anything somebody that I should talk to just go to innovations dot show and let me know about it. We’ll get them on the show. So thanks again. And thank you. Thanks for joining us for the animal innovations show. If you want to volunteer to help animals check out Dilbert dot com where you can join tens of thousands of do for tears, supporting rescues and shelters around the world to help animals. And if you know if something or someone innovative that’s helping animals let us know by going to www dot innovations dot show