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Every issue in our column Dog Biz, we proile everyday people who quit their corporate world jobs to start a dog-centric business. So it’s not a surprise that there’s an organization out there for these pet professionals — American Pet Professionals. We spoke with Nancy Hassel, president and founder, to find out more.
Dogster: Could you tell us a little about the organization?
Nancy Hassel: American Pet Professionals is a business networking group for the pet industry started originally as Long Island Pet Professionals in February 2009. We officially went national in 2014. I created the organization to help pet professionals work together, learn from each other, network, grow, and show how working together we are stronger as a whole community versus competing with each other. The stronger our community has become over the years, the more animals we can help, which I love. The mission of our organization has grown with the growing pet industry, but at the core it is helping pet professionals be better, more successful, and to be part of a community.
What are some of the member benefits?
Members can participate in networking events, which are in-person and online (webinars, private educational Periscopes, courses, and teleseminars), and members also have access to our Private Group page on Facebook, where they can interact, ask each other questions, and so forth. To date, I have hosted more than 75 in-person networking events, with expert speakers in and from outside our industry. Our events make sure members are up to date with new trends, happenings, laws, and new business tools.
Can you share a success story?
We have had businesses meet some of our nonprofit groups and then end up working with them by helping them monetarily, donating product to the rescue, and so forth. Awareness is a big thing within our networking organization. Many people are so busy running their own business or organizations, then they attend to one of our events and make new connections, lifelong friendships, and collaborations. I love, love, love hearing from a new member, “I wasn’t sure what this was all about or what to expect, but I am so glad I joined and attended tonight’s event — it was just amazing. I found my group!”
How has the organization impacted you?
The organization has changed my entire life! I had freelanced and done other things in the pet industry, and still have a few PR clients, but when I started this organization I had no idea where it would take me. It’s incredible to be doing what you love, travel the country, make amazing friends, meet wonderful pet pros, and be able to help animals in many different ways. Owning your own business takes a lot of work, guts, stamina, and persistence, and if you’re on the fence about being a pet business owner, our organization can help you!