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Meet Jacob Venter of Denver Dog Joggers

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jacob Venter.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My wife and I adopted a wonderful Border Collie form the Denver Dumb Friend League in 2008. She needed more exercise than what a regular dog walking service provided. So I started running her in the evenings after work. However, I knew what she really needed was a run midday while we were at work.

This got me thinking that surely there were other dog owners in Denver with the same problem/need.

So I did a little bit of research and found that no other company offered a running service. I did, however, find a dog running service in Manhattan. I contacted the guys at Running Paws in New York and they agreed to show me how they ran their business – for a fee of course. So, I took the leap and resigned my job headed to New York and absorbed information as much as I could. Seth and Josh of Running Paws were great. They really opened the doors of their business to me. I still to this day will shoot them an email to thank them for helping me get set on the right course. I am really grateful for their help.

Their mentorship helped to give me the confidence and vision that I needed. If I did not see firsthand that a dog running business can be successful, I might have thrown in the towel during those first few years when the lack of income and abundance of uncertainty made it hard to stay focused.

Quitting my job was an important step in committing 100% to the success of Denver Dog Joggers. For some people starting a side, hustle is the way to go. For me, I knew it had to be all or nothing.

In 2010, the economy was not doing great. So it did not seem to be good time to start a business. Looking back I think it was the perfect time to start a business. The slow growth of DDJ during the first couple of years allowed me to refine the service, our policies, procedures, and marketing. Since I did not have lots of money to outsource, I had to learn about all the various facets of the business. But I had time since I did not have a ton of clients. I think it would be difficult now to put in as much time researching SEO, Webdesign, Labor Law, etc. as I did back then.

Has it been a smooth road?
I started the business thinking I was going to work with dogs. Turns out I had to have or needed to develop people skills! This was a challenge for me. I am not naturally a people person. Back then I was very quiet and lacked confidence. So meeting new clients and interviewing candidates was very uncomfortable for several years. It is only recently that I fully feel a sense of excitement whenever I meet new clients or interview a runner applying for a position with us. Being in that uncomfortable place really helped to develop areas of my personality that were lacking.

Another struggle was the internal dialogues during the first few years. When I was not contributing to our household income, and my wife was carrying most of the load, my self-worth hit an all-time low. But she was supportive and never resented me for cutting our household income by half to start the business. She is pretty amazing.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Denver Dog Joggers LLC – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We specialize in dog exercise. Our flagship service is Dog Running, but we also cater to dogs that cannot run by providing Fast Paced Walks and Leisurely Walks. Also, watch this space, we are starting the testing of new and exciting service which we hope to make available in the near future. I predict it is going to blow the minds of some of the high drive, high energy dogs.

I am humbled by the people that choose to work for DDJ. I tell our staff this at almost every get-together. I have a ton of gratitude because they decided to work for DDJ. They are fit, disciplined, kind to dogs and amped up on dopamine and serotonin – what a great group of people to work with.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Oh, the fitness culture and love for the outdoors and dogs that reside in Denver is some the best thing(s) about Denver. People move to Denver to run! Seriously! I have interviewed several candidates that moved from somewhere out east to take their running to the next level.

From my experience, it seems like Denver is a fairly business-friendly city.

What do I like least about Denver, that is a hard one. I guess I would say the lack of cultural diversity.

Pricing:

  • Running Services Start at $29 per 30 minute session
  • Fast Paced Walking Services Start at $25 per session
  • Leisurely Walking Services Start at $18 per session

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Christopher Kimmel

Getting in touch: VoyageDenver is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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