New Year, New Goals: Make this year your best year yet!

Let’s face it, pet grooming is hard! It can be physically and mentally taxing. Grooming is hard on our bodies, and most of us do very little to make it better. Continuing to grind it out seems to be a common mentality from groomers across the country. We are all also at risk of experiencing compassion fatigue which many times leads to anxiety and depression issues. I don’t know about you, but when a dog comes in pelted, full of parasites and underweight, it takes everything in me not to intervene. There are dozens of cases of neglect that we see each year. Unfortunately, some groomers see them more than others. 

My name is Elli. I help run a chain of 12 grooming salons and four mobile grooming units across Indiana and Kentucky called Smoochie Pooch. I have spoken around the country at trade shows, and the one question I hear at every show is: 

"How do you get excited about grooming again? I'm so burned out!"

This question makes me so sad because I’ve been there! First, let's break it down. What is burnout? My favorite definition that I feel really hits home is:

"Burnout is a form of exhaustion caused by constantly feeling swamped. It’s a result of excessive and prolonged emotional, physical and mental stress. In many cases, burnout is related to one’s job.

Burnout happens when you’re overwhelmed, emotionally drained and unable to keep up with life’s incessant demands." - WebMD

Many of us wake up, prepare our families for the day, commute to work, groom multiple dogs, deal with less than ideal situations, go home, get dinner (probably eating out), maybe watch TV, then finally go to bed. It’s the same every day. We leave no room for self-care moments such as eating lunch! 


What I have learned in my 15 years of grooming is, there is time! Absolutely, there is time to take care of yourself throughout the day! Take those 15 minutes and eat lunch! I challenge you to do it for 30 days! I promise, you will find that you are much more efficient and you’ll see your mood improve. Stop spending your day being hangry! Those 15 minutes are not going to put your day off track.


This may sound cheesy, but it is important to stretch everyday! I recommend taking 10 minutes at the beginning of the day and 10 minutes at the end of the day to stretch. Your body will thank you. Take it from someone who has had surgery on both wrists and elbows, you will find more longevity in your career if you do this very simple step. 


When you walk through the door to work every morning, make it a practice to leave your personal life outside. This is much easier said than done. It can be a challenge to have your home life not affect your work headspace. However, separating the two can do wonders for your attitude, productivity and teamwork. Even your customer service will improve!  


Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about the difficult, aggressive dogs you come in contact with during your workday. One thing we can do is make sure we are encouraging our preferred customers to reschedule their next appointment. When your schedule is filled, there is little-to-no room for those less-than-desirable clients. It is important to remember that just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should


To actively continue education may seem like a time-consuming goal. I challenge you on that. There is no way to know everything, especially in an ever-evolving industry like pet grooming. Taking seminars and classes is the best way to get reinvigorated and reignite your passions for your work. 

I recently heard, "If you’re not growing, you’re dying". This statement was made in relation to business growth, but it really resonated with me. The statement may come across slightly harsh and dramatic, but there is truth in it. If you’re consistently doing the same exact thing, what is the person next to you doing? Are they learning and continually improving their craft? What is stopping your favorite customer from seeing that and saying, “Wow, that looks amazing! May I book with _____ next time?” 

Learning new things can sometimes be hard, but it is so worth it! I challenge you to go to a trade show or look into upcoming seminars near you! Go to at least one each quarter! That's only four for the whole year! You can do it!


My final piece of advice for making this your best year ever is to prioritize personal growth. I hate reading, but there are some books I highly recommend (I didn’t read them - don’t be fooled. I listened to them on Audible). Try reading (or listening to) "Passion to Purpose" by Amy McClaren. This is a phenomenal book and gets you thinking about what you really want in life. The writing has less to do with making more money or how to create better habits than it is the author guiding you in discovering what your “why” is and how to prioritize what is truly important to you as an individual.

Another option is listening to motivational podcasts! Not those murder mysteries you like, even though they are an interesting listen. Instead, focus on expanding your thoughts and knowledge. What we fill our minds with is what we offer the world! 


Elli Bultemeier

Elli Bultemeier NCMG, CPAe, PTI 2592