Updated: Jun 10
Welcome to the second blog post of many where I go into each and every interview from the 2019 Empowered Petpreneur Interview Series, where I chatted with pet industry experts and business owners all about how to feel at ease while confidently running and growing a successful pet business.
For those of you who missed the series, I still wanted to share with you a snippet from the interview, some of the important takeaways I learned from each interview, and some other things you can learn by watching the rest of the interview!
This blog post will go into Wendy’s interview on compassion fatigue, client loss, and burnout, because, as is discussed in my Facebook Group, this is something a lot of you are facing. I hope this blog post and interview will shed some light on how to handle these more difficult situations in the pet industry.
This post is part of Pet Marketing Unleashed’s Blog Series on The Empowered Petpreneur Interview Series. Click here to access the full interview series.
Interview 2 - Wendy Van de Poll, MS, CEOL From The Center For Pet Loss Grief On...
Handling Compassion Fatigue, Client Loss, & Burnout
Wendy is an expert and pioneering leader in the field of pet loss grief support, international bestselling author, and the founder of the Center For Pet Loss Grief. She is a Certified End-of-Life and Grief Coach, Pet Funeral Celebrant, a Licensed Massage Therapist for humans, horses, and hounds, and a tested animal communicator/medium.
As pet industry entrepreneurs, there’s no avoiding pet loss. And, it’s a heavy thing to cope with as service providers or even sellers of pet products. Not to mention, the pet industry has some of the highest burnout rates, which I don’t know about you, but it seems completely counterintuitive to the reasons we get into this industry, to begin with.
I knew that Wendy would have some great advice for us on the topic, and boy did she ever!
Watch this two-minute snippet of the interview:
The Major Takeaways
1. Active Listening Is Key
When clients need to vent, the best thing you can do is simply listen to them. Place 100% focus on what they have to say. Don’t interject. Don't apologize. Just be there. Tell them you'll get coffee or that you're here to listen.
2. Number one rule for burnout? Take care of YOURSELF.
I asked Wendy what self-care strategies you can utilize as a pet care professional to avoid burnout. Meditation and yoga are big ones obviously, but Wendy reminded me that, even if it's just playing ‘Solitare on your iPhone,' that totally works. Do you and honor what your body needs.
But, as I mention NUMEROUS times in the whole interview series, if you can't be there for your clients at 100%, then why would they show up for you? This starts with taking care of yourself. The rest will take care of itself - I promise. In fact, when I begin scheduling my day around my priorities (i.e. my pilates classes, lunch breaks, walking Wilson), the more wins in my business I also experience. Funny how that happens...
3. Acknowledge that your client’s pet loss can also be a loss for you, and that’s okay.
We LOVE the pets we care for and it’s okay for it to be our loss, too. Take some time to grieve. Part of the reason we get into the pet industry is because of how much we love pets. When we see clients' pets regularly, they become an extended part of our family.
So, know that it's perfectly normal to feel the loss, too.
The rest of this interview goes into:
Why saying, “I'm sorry” may not be the best method when dealing with the death of a client’s pet
What training is involved to make sure you can be prepared for client loss
Some things you can do to show clients you care when it comes to grief and loss (things that honestly can even help your business grow at the same time!)
Pstt...by signing up for this interview, you'll also get access to her freebie, The Pet Professional's Pet Loss Grief Packet - a resource list on how you can help your clients!