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Name: Lauren Pietrocarlo

Business: Dogs Deserve It LLC, a dog walking and pet care service

Industry: Other — Pet care 

Location: Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

Reason for starting: I have always known that I was meant to be an entrepreneur. After working in political strategy for more than five years, I decided it was time for me to branch out on my own. I spent six months figuring out what type of business I could be passionate about for years to come. My answer turned out to be sitting next to me the whole time. I realized that a life spent with dogs would be something I would love. In 2009, I created Dogs Deserve It, filling a niche in the pet care industry.

Related: Becky O’Neil: Turns Passion for Pets into Major Business 

How do you define success? Success is being able to support my family and being happy while doing it.

Biggest Success: My biggest success came in a small gesture from one of my long-time managers. Leaving after four years of wonderful work, she sent me an email detailing why her work at DDI was so important. She told me that she felt constantly supported, encouraged and appreciated. This is what I always aspired to do. I wanted to achieve success without bringing negativity into the workplace. I have succeeded at business using kindness and honesty with both employees and clients.

Related: The Secret to Better Hiring 

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? Our top challenge has actually been dealing with this winter’s inclement weather. We were not prepared for the effect it would have on our business. We had to close for the first time in four years and took a significant revenue decrease. As a result, I made a risky financial decision to hire a new manager to increase our revenue by focusing solely on new business and employee retention. This has helped to give me time to develop crisis communications plan and be better prepared for the future.

When I first started my business, I experienced inexplicable hair loss. Within two months, I lost all of my hair. As a young woman in a looks driven society, I was devastated. At the same time, I was trying to get my business off the ground. It took me more than three months and over a dozen different doctors to diagnose me. It was a struggle to be the face of my company when I had experienced a great loss of confidence. Luckily, my family supported me and DDI flourished.

Who is your most important role model? My mother. She taught me that you should always exude kindness, forgiveness and patience regardless of how the other party is treating you. She also taught me to be grateful even when confronted with adversity. Each time I run into an obstacle, I remind myself to be grateful for the lesson that I will learn. Each problem allows me to grow as a business owner and improve my business acumen.

Twitter   @DogsDeserveIt

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Edited by The Story Exchange