I’ve always appreciated a good challenge. In fact, I love a good challenge almost as much as I love my dog. I’m sure I’m not alone. My girlfriends and I treat our dogs and cats like they’re our children. I’ve always been a pet lover and have a soft spot in my heart for rescues.
When I first rescued my Jack Russell Terrier Chihuahua mix, Russell, I thought his severe travel and separation anxiety was just a nervous transitional phase of bringing home a shelter dog. I learned the hard way that is wasn’t.
As I did more and more research I learned that over 10 million dogs worldwide suffer from anxiety disorders – like many of us women. Just kidding (kind of). There is no doubt in my mind that Russell’s previous owners gave him up because of his severe anxiety. “Don’t worry Russel, mommy won’t do that to you.”
Growing up on a farm in, Salinas, CA, I’ve always been passionate about animals and their wellbeing. I felt called to find a way to help my four-legged best friend and other small animals suffering with separation and travel anxiety. When I realized there was nothing on the market to help I did what any strong woman would do – I took matters into my own hands.
I’m a huge proponent of women kicking ass and not waiting for someone else to come to the table with a life-saving or life-changing idea. Why can’t we be the ones to do it? For those of you who need some inspiration to jump start any project you’ve been sitting on, here’s how I took matters into my own hands for me and my dog:
1) Research: I researched every product on the market that existed to help pets with travel anxiety. I found the thunder belt, a dog vest that squeezes the body in certain places to relax the dogs to give them the holding sensation of being hugged. I read articles about how hugging is the one thing you can do to any animal (EVEN HUMANS) to alleviate anxiety. I learned that carriers on the market had hard bottoms (many of us wish we had those). Unfortunately hard bottomed bags prevent pets from being tossed around. I wanted to provide the relaxing feeling of a comfortable hammock for small pets. You see where I’m going – I knew I had to design something that can achieve multifunctional methodology and still provided a look of “style.” Most importantly I wanted to provide people with a safe, convenient way to help small pets.
2) Built a Concept: Once my research was done, I didn’t sit on my idea and hope it would magically come to life. I drew and designed this product and called as many friends as I could that would point me in the right direction of this dream becoming a reality. I’m blessed to have great friends in my life. Without the strong group of people around me I couldn’t have made it past the ideation phase.
3) Built my Brand: Where do people go these days when they want to research products? They hit the Internet. I knew I needed a web presence, a logo and great social media pages: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter were my social platforms of choice. There are so many ways to do this on your own, online, for free. Don’t let the lack of budget stop you, ladies. It didn’t stop me. I designed my logo and hired someone from elance.com to sharpen it up. Once my logo was ready, I took the rest from there! My social pages, my website, all me. I knew I was ready to commit to making this all happen as soon as my online “storefront” was ready.
4) Committed to a Launch Date: Let’s face it ladies, some of us have trouble with commitment. That could be why the best of us are still single. With this particular case, I had no problem with committing to this project and myself. Commitment can be powerful and I felt the power when I set a date for making everything real and sharing my amazing product with people all over the US. My website and social media channels all went live a little over a year ago and I even hosted an event to invite my awesome friends like Thom Beers, Mel Gibson, Shiva Rose, Bart Baggett, Leslie Durso, and Tamar Geller into the fold.
5) Realized I Needed Funds and Took to Kickstarter: Once I committed and launched my company, I was slapped with the reality that it costs a lot of money to create a product to properly put it on the market. As a self-starter, I didn’t let this minor set back get to me. Thankfully there are awesome means of raising funds that also help benefit others. Namely, Kickstarter! Thank goodness for Kickstarter, I may be able to put hundreds of ZuGo Pet bags in the hands of hundreds of people who need them.
My Kickstarter campaign is launching today, April Fool’s Day, to encourage pet owners NOT to be foolish when it comes to the safety and wellbeing of their small pets. The Kickstarter is set to go for 30 days and my wish is that everyone with a small pet or anyone who owns a pet will take advantage of pre-funding these great bags.
Here’s the link: bit.ly/ZuGoPetLive Happy to answer questions in the comments below if you have questions about ZuGo pet or about your personal passion project. Us ladies need to stick together!
Guest Post by Juls Bindi, CEO and Founder of ZuGo Pet