Jill Page of ‘Tiny-Paws Dog Walking & Pet Sitting’: “Take inventory of your interests”

I can dream. You can too. Take inventory of your interests. What is it that you enjoy? Challenge yourself with the “If money were no object, I would…” game. Does anything come to mind of what’d you like to do? What interested you as a child? Did you ever get so engrossed in doing something […]

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I can dream. You can too. Take inventory of your interests. What is it that you enjoy? Challenge yourself with the “If money were no object, I would…” game. Does anything come to mind of what’d you like to do? What interested you as a child? Did you ever get so engrossed in doing something as a child, that you lost track of time? These are all ways to discover what your interests are and where your passion may lay.

Many successful people reinvented themselves in a later period in their life. Jeff Bezos worked in Wall Street before he reinvented himself and started Amazon. Sara Blakely sold office supplies before she started Spanx. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a WWE wrestler before he became a successful actor and filmmaker. Arnold Schwarzenegger went from a bodybuilder, to an actor to a Governor. McDonald’s founder Ray Croc was a milkshake-device salesman before starting the McDonalds franchise in his 50’s.

How does one reinvent themselves? What hurdles have to be overcome to take life in a new direction? How do you overcome those challenges? How do you ignore the naysayers? How do you push through the paralyzing fear?

In this series called “Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life “ we are interviewing successful people who reinvented themselves in a second chapter in life, to share their story and help empower others.

As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jill Page.

Jill Page is the Owner of Tiny-Paws Dog Walking & Pet Sitting. She is a former business executive who turned her passion of animals into a successful business and rewarding career. She is committed to understanding pet behavior and sharing that knowledge with pet owners to provide for the long happy life of their pets.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

Absolutely. I was an only child raised just outside of Boston in the days when kids were told to go outside to play and not to come back in until the street lights were on. I’m convinced this set me up in life for what I consider some of my best qualities; how to be creative and observation — I had to keep myself entertained and, I had nothing else to do but learn how to observe what was going on around me. I’d go home with stories of what I’d done and observed during the day and discuss all my new discoveries with my parents.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Yes, my favorite “Life Lesson Quote” is; “If my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it.” I believe the philosophy is from Napoleon Hill, but has been quoted by Mohamed Ali and Jesse Jackson among others. It’s relevancy to me was it’s simplicity in how to build confidence.

You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

1. I can dream. You can too. Take inventory of your interests. What is it that you enjoy? Challenge yourself with the “If money were no object, I would…” game. Does anything come to mind of what’d you like to do? What interested you as a child? Did you ever get so engrossed in doing something as a child, that you lost track of time? These are all ways to discover what your interests are and where your passion may lay.

2. Confidence. When I started to my own business, I first had to quell my own doubt. I built up my confidence by recognizing that I’ve survived 100% of my days thus far and I’m pretty good at changing course when needed to adjust successfully to circumstances that life throws at you. This gave me the confidence I needed to take the first step in opening my own business which was researching the viability of my business. Is there a need for it out there in the market?

3. I have patience / perseverance. You have to be willing to work through difficult times. Covid-19 has had a world-wide impact on everyone. Our lives are different now than before the pandemic. How do you survive this from a business standpoint? What can you modify in your business to help people and create good will? What will life look like after we are through the pandemic? Are there services that you could provide that will still speak to your passion and be of benefit to others?

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?

Yes, I would love to tell you about my career experience before I started my Second Chapter. I was a Director of Customer Financial Management for one of the top health insurance companies in the United States. I had worked in Accounting for pretty much my entire career but didn’t feel like what I was doing made a difference in people’s lives. It was a way to make a living but not something that sparked my soul.

And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?

As luck would have it, I was laid off from my executive position at the age of 54. I made a vow to myself that in the next chapter of my life, I would take a risk and do something I loved and was drawn to; working with animals. I decided to start a dog walking and pet sitting business because I’ve always had a passion for animals. I not only wanted to start this business, I wanted to thrive in this business. I wanted to be the leader in my field. I wanted to be synonymous within my field so that when you thought about someone in my field, I was the person you would think of first. That’s the goal I’m working towards.

Can you tell us about the specific trigger that made you decide that you were going to “take the plunge” and make your huge transition?

I was at a point in my life that I was unhappy in my career. When I got laid off, I looked at it as a gift. I had been given the opportunity to make a decision if I wanted to continue on in the Accounting field getting paid very well but being unfulfilled within my profession. I decided that I wanted to give myself the opportunity to start my own business because the thought of not doing so was something I could no longer live with.

What did you do to discover that you had a new skillset inside of you that you haven’t been maximizing? How did you find that and how did you ultimately overcome the barriers to help manifest those powers?

I observed what brought me joy. Being with animals filled my soul with joy in ways that my corporate life never could. I reached out to others that were in the field to find out what they thought made the biggest impact to their success. I listened to them, their advice and I followed it. From speaking with people already in the pet industry, I learned what I didn’t know. I invested in myself in terms of learning safety procedures such as Pet CPR and First Aid. How to become insured, bonded and licensed in my field and when funds were low, I educated myself with online courses through EdX and Coursea.

How are things going with this new initiative? We would love to hear some specific examples or stories.

I found that because I was doing something related to my passion, I was very good at it. My clientele began to build simply from word of mouth. My business began to grow financially year after year. When Covid-19 hit, I had down time like everyone else. I used this time to reassess my goals; what new services I could offer, how could I market myself, what areas were my skill sets lacking in and how can I improve them? I just kept trying to think outside the box and determine what next step I could take.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Yes. Shortly after I had made the decision to open my own business, I was at a Christmas party at one of my neighbors. There were over 100 people there. My spouse had struck up a conversation with a woman who turned out to be a dog trainer with her own business. This woman’s name is Donna Culbert and the business she owns is Donna’s Do Right Dogs LLC. Donna may not even know this but, she gave me so much information in that first quick conversation we had, it started me down a path of success that I’m forever grateful for.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?

After being laid off I was speaking with my next door neighbor and she said she was very stressed because her pet sitter was retiring. My neighbor was going away for Thanksgiving with her family and didn’t know where to find someone else reputable to sit her dogs. I was dumbfounded by the coincidence. When I told her that I was starting a dog walking / pet sitting business her mouth dropped open and she said “I’m a web designer. I can help you build your website and get some business cards for you.” My neighbor was my most ardent fan and spread the news about my services and before I knew it, I was turning down customers because I didn’t have a staff to support multiple clients.

Did you ever struggle with believing in yourself? If so, how did you overcome that limiting belief about yourself? Can you share a story or example?

There have been times that I struggled in believing in myself. What has worked for me during those times is looking up positive affirmations that spoke to me about how I felt. I also found it helpful to write down these positive affirmations in a journal so that I could/can look at them everyday. I repeated these affirmations to myself so much that I began to feel them in my soul. The limited belief in myself started to dissipate and was replaced by a healthy confidence.

In my own work I usually encourage my clients to ask for support before they embark on something new. How did you create your support system before you moved to your new chapter?

I started telling family and friends what I wanted to do in my next chapter. I was encouraged by many people in my life but also came across some naysayers that looked at my second chapter as if I was becoming semi-retired or gave me the impression that while they thought starting my own dog walking/pet sitting business was “nice”, it certainly wasn’t a real job or calling. To create my support system, I networked with other people in this field and found that together with their help and input, I could build a successful business.

Starting a new chapter usually means getting out of your comfort zone, how did you do that? Can you share a story or example of that?

In starting my own business, I was definitely outside my comfort zone. I didn’t know how to start this business, what I needed (other than a dog to walk), how to get clients and, if I could make enough money to live.

I overcame these obstacles by telling people what I wanted to do for the next phase of my life. Through this, I found people that I could interview (other dog walkers / pet sitters / doggie daycare owners), organizations to join (Pet Sitters International) and learned what I needed (to become licensed, insured, bonded and trained in Pet CPR and First Aid). I volunteered at a local pet shelter (Scituate Animal Rescue in Scituate Massachusetts) after someone told me I needed to get experience with animals.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Take inventory of your interests. What is it that you enjoy? What sparked your interests as a child? What activities did you get lost in when you were a child?
  2. Research. Once you’ve determined what you have an interest in, do some research to see if there are others out there already doing what you love.
  3. Network. Reach out to others who are already doing what you’d like to do. Ask them for an informational interview. Ask questions like what would you have done differently? What do you think made the biggest impact to your success? Listen to them, their advice and most of all, follow it.
  4. Learn. Now a days, information is at our fingertips. Learn what you don’t know. Invest in yourself. If funds are low, there are websites like EdX or Coursea where you can learn information that can directly help you reach your goals.
  5. Picture it. Belief that you can reach your goals helps you get there. Picture yourself as having your dreams every day. You will begin to bring about a great transformation.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Be kind and thoughtful with one another. Have patience with one another. We’re only on this Earth for a short amount of time, don’t waste it with anger, frustration and hate.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. 🙂

Yes. I would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with Robin Roberts because she is just so positive, strong in faith and business and someone who I believe holds other people up to shine the light on them and what good they’ve done in this life. That is what I wish to be for others so she is someone I look to as a role model.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

You can follow my work online at www.tiny-paws.com. I will be on Twitter and Instagram soon so check my website out for updates.

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

Thank you! I wish the same to you and thank you for taking the time with me today.

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