5 Dog Lovers Jobs for Self-Starters and Side Hustlers
Living life on your terms? Doing what you love? Ah, yes. The aspiration of every man, woman, and child. And while not many people believe in their heart that it's achievable, we think it is. Particularly when it comes to dog lovers jobs.
Now don't get us wrong. We're not saying it will necessarily be easy - several of the dog lovers jobs we list are better suited to the bold and the brave - but success in any one of them can be extremely rewarding (even if it can also be elusive).
And while that all sounds slightly dramatic, there are almost always ways to mitigate any sort of risk. There is truth in the adage: the greater the risk the greater the reward. But risk is not necessarily something to shy away from. It is, however, something you should learn to manage. Particularly if you’re looking for something more from life.
We provide tips for each of the dog lovers jobs we’ve listed to get you thinking about how you might best go about them. And anyway, if you are going to fail, you might as well do it doing something you love.
And don't forget - if taking chances is not your thing - there are dog lovers jobs out there where you can earn a decent salary, with little or no risk. We’ll cover these in part two of our dog lovers jobs series.
But for now, let’s delve into the 5 dog lovers jobs best suited to those with an entrepreneurial spirit.
Dog Lovers Jobs #1: Pet Store Owner
What Is It: When we say pet store owner we’re referring to the traditional bricks-and-mortar, local mom and pop style store. Those selling animals, pet accessories, toys, and other pet supplies such as dog food, supplements and pet body products. And you’re the, er, owner.
The Good: You get to be your own boss. You choose who to hire, who to fire, what products to sell … and how nicely you treat your customers.
The Not So Good: It requires quite a bit of capital to get started (assuming you don’t have a rich aunt). And, as with any business, there’s no guarantee of success. Not to mention all the admin you get to do after hours.
Entry Requirements: Nada, zilch (apart from the aforementioned capital). Oh, and whatever licenses and approvals you need to operate in your particular locale and jurisdiction.
Commitment: Unless you’ve got fantastic staff, are making a packet, or are happy to be more hands-off, the commitment is not insignificant. Especially when getting started. It takes time to build a business … and a reputation
Earning Potential: It depends. At the lower end of the scale, you’d ideally make enough to cover your costs (not so bad if you love what you’re doing). At the higher end, and assuming you create a national (or international) pet store chain, you might end up becoming a multi-millionaire. Hip hip, hooray!
Our Tip: If you like the idea of working in a pet store, without the heavy burden of ownership, you could always become a Pet Retail Store Assistant. The wages aren’t going to set the world on fire … but the satisfaction is high. And, who knows, if you work for a large chain you might end up in senior management, or even owning your own store one day.
Dog Lovers Jobs #2: Pet Supplier / Pet Product Creator
What Is It: Someone needs to supply pet stores with products. Both bricks-and-mortar and online stores. In our definition, a pet supplier could be a wholesaler or creator of pet products. Just google ‘dog harness’, for example, and you’ll see both suppliers selling an entire range as well as single (or niche) product companies.
The Good: You get to run your own business. And, if you’ve designed or created your own product, you get to see it come to life and make its way into the hands of millions of dog lovers everywhere (cue fireworks).
The Not So Good: Mr. Market is a fickle beast and it can be hard to compete with the ‘big boys’. Any small business owner or designer will tell you it’s tough to a) find your brand voice and b) get brand recognition in an already saturated market. The solution? Become one of the big boys!
Entry Requirements: Just a dream and an entrepreneurial spirit.
Commitment: Again, it depends. On average we’d say there’s no free lunch when it comes to running a business (of almost any sort). Be prepared to roll your sleeves up and hustle. Breaking through in a crowded market is going to take grit and determination (sustained, of course, by the knowledge that you’re actually doing one of those dog lovers jobs we can only dream of).
Earning Potential: Anywhere from significant losses, to living on your dream yacht. It all depends on you. Like any good hustle.
Our Tip: You could always learn the market by starting as an employee of one of the bigger pet supplies players such as Chewy or Petco. In parallel, kickstart your own business as a side hustle and build it up to a full-time gig.
Dog Lovers Jobs #3: Pet Blogger / Dog Social Media Expert
What Is It: As far as dog lovers jobs go, this one is a little more nebulous. Particularly when we come to the dog social media expert part. So, we’ll start with pet blogger. This is where you either start your own blog in the dog niche, or work as a freelance writer for other pet blogs and publications. As for our social media expert, we all know one of the best ways of driving traffic to your blog, or doggy store, is via social media. It’s also one of the most effective mechanisms for engaging with your audience. Dog social media experts know how to skyrocket your followers, your traffic, and connect your brand to your audience in a way that’s most relevant for the dog niche.
The Good: Writing, influencing and creating imagery that attracts customers to your brand are incredibly creative and fulfilling processes. Those who start normally end up becoming addicts. Talk about satisfying dog lovers jobs!
The Not So Good: Most people only manage to make this work as a side hustle. Of course, if you can build your reputation as the ‘go-to blog’ or ‘go-to social media expert’ for dog related topics and businesses, then you can certainly make some decent coin.
Entry Requirements: One of the best ways to get new clients and readers is to be able to showcase some of your (already) stellar work.
Commitment: It’s totally up to you, but will work better for most people as a side hustle.
Earning Potential: There’s not normally a salary as such, but you can get paid on a per article basis or as an influencer, for example. The rate varies greatly, depending on the nature of the work and who’s paying. If you do manage to make a name for yourself, you can start to name your own price. Bring it on!
Our Tip: This one can be a real slow burn. Reputation (and traffic) takes time to build. If you can, start it off as a side hustle and grow from there.
Dog Lovers Jobs #4: Dog Chef / Pet Treat Baker
What Is It: This is one of those dog lovers jobs with real impact. Dog chefs can work in a variety of places, including doggy day spas, restaurants, pet hotels as well as for gourmet dog delivery services. Pet food companies and subscription services also employ them for meal planning and product development. Basically, wherever there’s a need for an expert on nutrition for dogs that can create a healthy, flavorsome menu for discerning tastes. They can also be found teaching dog moms and dads how to avoid processed foods and prepare their pooch pals healthy meals at home. A pet treat baker has the option to create their own store or work for someone else. Think traditional human bakery store (with all it’s myriad goodies), but catering to pets.
The Good: Preparing, cooking and creating food is a creative process. You can also choose to start your own online store or pet food business when once you've become and master of your craft.
The Not So Good: Not all dog food, or dog food ingredients, are appetizing to the average human. There are unique smells and textures you’ll need to be comfortable with if you decide to make a career out of preparing canine food. If you make a business out of it, you’ll want to think about the caveats we’ve mentioned above on business ownership.
Entry Requirements: You’ll want to have a pretty good understanding of nutrition and, more specifically, canine nutrition. Particularly as a dog chef. What to feed, what not to feed (and when) are all basic requirements for any chef worth their salt. Same goes for a pet treat baker, although they can generally get away with a more superficial understanding.
Commitment: Unless you’re running your own pet treats business or bakery, or working as a consulting chef, this one tends to have structured hours. Sites such as payscale.com and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics are good places to search for salary statistics on dog related occupations.
Earning Potential: Again, there’s a big range because there’s a range of options. In theory, the sky’s the limit. But you can always end up below ground (from a financial perspective) if you decide to make a business out of it.
Our Tip: As with the other jobs on this list, we recommend you learn your craft and then think about whether you could make a business out of what you know or do (better than anyone else). There’s always room for new and tasty dog treats as well as organic and naturally nutritious food lines for our pooch pals.
Dog Lovers Jobs #5: Dog Spa Owner
What Is It: This is pretty much the same as a Pet Store Owner, but instead of selling physical products, you’ll be selling services. Specifically, pet pampering services.
The Good: There’s a lot of flexibility when it comes to packaging up what services you offer as part of your Dog Spa. You could go wide or narrow (see our tips below). One thing’s for sure, it’s a great business to meet a lot of like-minded (and potentially influential) people. Plus, you get to make fur-BFFs feel special.
The Not So Good: There’s a lot of organization required, staff management, administration and all those other things that distract you from the focus of your business – doggos (and their owners).
Entry Requirements: Understanding the basics of running a business is always good. Where you lack specialist skills (such as pet grooming), you can always hire. But sound management and business skills are harder to find (and likely something you’ll want to be responsible for).
Commitment: Be prepared to make this your life. Again, as with a pet store, there are ways to outsource and be more ‘arm’s length’, but if you’re doing it for the love you’re probably going to want to be pretty close to it anyway.
Earning Potential: We know, we’ve been pretty non-committal on this. But that’s just the nature of self-starter and side-hustle gigs. Plus, we don’t want to scare you off before you even give it a try. The idea is to approach any of these through a risk minimization lens (so you don't end up losing your shirt) and without losing sight of the opportunities to scale and grow.
Our Tip: Service based businesses don’t need to stop with Doggy Day Spas. There are other specialized services you can offer to cater to a whole host of canine whims and fancies. Such as offering support to luxury hotels offering deluxe dog packages, or incorporate training and boarding options into your service.
And that's a wrap.
We’ve sadly come to the end of our list of 5 dog lovers jobs for self-starters and side-hustlers. We hope you enjoyed it and learned something new in the process.
Stay tuned for our second in the series of dog lovers jobs posts coming soon and don’t forget to visit our store for unique and stylish gifts for dog lovers and their prized pooches: www.poochandpoodle.com.