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  • Topic: Questioning my resolve to keep grooming... feeling burned-out...

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    • April 24, 2016 7:16 AM CDT
    • Questioning my resolve to keep grooming... feeling burned-out...

      I've been a professional groomer (dogs and cats) for 15 years. I've had my own shop based out of my basement for 8 years. It's always been a low-volume salon, which has been fine, so far. When I'm not grooming, I'm looking after my toddler, and my 6 year old (who is high-functioning autistic), when he gets home from school. I get very little time to myself, and I feel like I'm burning out. I've always loved being a groomer, but it feels like it's losing its luster.

      I should take a vacation, but I feel tied down with the daily routine. Grooming's starting to pick up, and my son's not done with school yet. I can't take a vacay without the kids... my husband also runs a retail shop from home, too, and can't afford to take vacation time either. Finances are (always have been) tight.

      What's been the average number of years other people here have made grooming their career? How did you battle burn-out?

      At this point, I'm wondering if I should see about hiring an experienced groomer to take over for me during the week (I'd still take request grooms), and help bring in more business, so that I can devote myself to being a full-time mom...

      Insights? I took a vacation (with the kids, and my mom) for the first time in at least 4 years last summer. 2 weeks of mix between relaxation and stress... As much as I enjoyed the sun, sand and beach time, 2 weeks was too long to take a vacation with young kids. Even my mom was starting to look forward to heading home! lol
    • April 24, 2016 7:48 AM CDT
    • Questioning my resolve to keep grooming... feeling burned-out...

      It's easy to feel burn out in this profession. I think it's even easier when we work alone, and out of our homes. When home and work are the same, it doesn't give us much of a break to get away from either of them.


      I've been going at this for over 30 years now.  I hit burn out bad about 20 years ago. I quit grooming and took an office job. I sucked at it. LOL

      I had former clients beg me to groom for them and so I would as a favor. I had no set up so I did it in my living room. Then a few more clients and a few more and I set up a little space off the kitchen. Just for the occasional favor you know..... ;)  Then eventually, I realized that I was grooming again regularly. I quit the office job and made it official.  It was slow at first and I was married then, so I was in no hurry to build it quickly.  I was doing 2-3 days a week when I got a call from a Vet clinic about 20 miles from here. They needed a groomer.


      I decided to do both. I am at home on Tuesday and Thursdays and the clinic on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It's great. They are SO different that the burn out feeling is rare.


      Two years ago a groomer friend had major surgery. Her business was only a couple years old and she was really worried how she was going to keep it going during the recovery.  I remember when I was in the same spot. It's terrifying.  I offered to groom 2 nights a week and on Saturdays to help them keep up with the business and to be able to continue to bring in income for them while she couldn't work.


      It was fun. Again, it was totally different than what I was doing. At home, it's just me, in a small little shop. At the clinic it's busy and hustle and bustle, but again, really it's just me. I'm the only groomer and I pretty much do my own thing. There I worked with other groomers. We get along great and have a lot of fun.  As Gia started slowly back to work, they asked me to stay on. They wanted me full time. I couldn't do that. I love my home shop and I love working at the clinic, but I loved working there too. :)  It's an hour drive away, so even with liking it so much, it wasn't practical to stay full time.  We compromised and I work there on Saturdays and a couple of Wednesday evenings a month.


      Changing it up like that, working in 3 totally different places, has kept me loving my career. I also speak for Barkleigh and now at the Mardi Gras show, and attend every seminar I possibly can manage. I usually do Atlanta, Tacoma, Ohio, Chicago and Hershey. This year I'm not making Tacoma or Ohio, but added in the New Orleans show.  I know it's not really possible to travel that much when you have little ones at home, but if you can do one a year it can really boost the pride in your profession. If you plan it out with other activities, you can turn a family vacation into a tax write off. :)


      Do you think you could find another shop that would hire you even one day a week? It would get you out of your space and with like minded people, while still getting paid. Or maybe if finances allow it, you could volunteer a day a week to bathe and groom dogs at a local shelter?  A Vet clinic without a groomer may even like the idea of you coming in once a week as a convenience to their clients? 




      If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place.

    • April 28, 2016 6:43 PM CDT
    • Questioning my resolve to keep grooming... feeling burned-out...

      I know this isn't probably as helpful as Barb's but I have been grooming 30+ years also.  My husband is on disablilty for severe arthritis and osteoporosis so supporting us in my job now (the kids are grown - I am the other side of 55!)  I groom 4 days a week (I have an 89 year old mother that I take out and to appointments etc on Tuesdays.  I groom from my home and have a nice salon and am really busy 6-9 dogs a day just me.  A few years ago I felt trapped and the thought of another 10 years of this was making me want to scream, I mean you can only do so many hundreds of Shit zu's a year without loosing it!  Anyway, for me I found a solution that makes me enjoy the shop again.  I got myself an ipod and downloaded books from my local library system, One Click Digital, now I can groom and listen to great stories, and it really helps make the day pleasant and pass quickly, works for me maybe it will help you.  Pat

    • April 28, 2016 6:49 PM CDT
    • Questioning my resolve to keep grooming... feeling burned-out...

      That's a great idea Pat!


      For a long time I didn't think I would like audio books. My mind tends to wonder easily. I didn't think I'd be able to pay enough attention to enjoy them. On a road trip to a show last year, I decided to give it a try. I loved it! I really was able to keep following it and it made the trip go by so fast. I now make sure I have one for every road trip.  

      A friend rode with me to Chicago last year.  I know she was not really looking forward to 9+ hours in the car listening to a book. She was polite though and made plans to have headphones to listen to music on her phone. To her suprise, she enjoyed the audio book as much as I did. :)





      If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place.

    • April 30, 2016 10:17 AM CDT
    • Questioning my resolve to keep grooming... feeling burned-out...

      I've been grooming since 1989, and am almost 60, have felt burned out several times in my career.

      a change in your set up to make things easier and prettier helps.

      setting  your hours and sticking to them helps. I do not work past 2pm, no evenings no weekends, and only 4 days a week.  

      I feel burned out at times, until I get to work, then I feel ready and happy.

      what eats me most is the phone, so I do not answer the phone after 4pm, or on weekends.

      what helps the most is having a helper a couple times a week. someone to laugh with and lift the dogs and help clean the poop and hair up. with that, you can do the extra dogs without the extra time.  

      I take a LOT of Fridays off in the summer so I can go have a long weekend.  or you could take Monday off, and DO NOT do Saturdays!

      getting new equipment helps, a new pair of clippers, do you have a vac system?  you learn new things with new equipment and it makes it fun!

      check you tube for grooming videos, that can be fun to see new styles and techniques.

      I paint my salon (which is a 1/2 of a garage finished on my property) about every other year, with a new color and rearrange things if I can.  I got the fancy duck tape last year and spruced up my crates and picture frames, it was cheap and looks refreshing.

      but I think the #1 thing to prevent burn out is a helper, and having the kinds of dogs you enjoy and people you like for clients.  Don't be afraid to weed out those that you dread.

        I groomed from my kids in Kgarten through college and grooming helped pay for all of that. It bought my building I groom out of, cared for my family when my husband lost his job, and keeps me young and in touch with others in my profession.  I love dogs and know you do too!  you won't make this kind of money or have this kind of appreciation if you are ringing up groceries, so make it fun!  you can do it! and you can email me if you want to  it helps to talk to other groomers , we are all in the same boat.

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