REDS Member Highlight: K9-Kind
Updated: Dec 2, 2020
Meet Aileen Hodgson, owner and Head Coach of the dog training business, K9-Kind. Aileen spills the beans on why she set up the company back in 2013 and talks about some of the challenges she’s faced with the business over the years.
How long has your business been on the go?
K9-Kind Ltd was originally K9-Kapers Ltd and was set up in Aberdeen in 2013. I moved to Highland Perthshire in 2018 and so essentially started all over again from scratch.
How many people are in the team or is this a solo venture?
It’s just me myself and I...although, when we run classes my long-suffering husband assists and I also have a junior mentee (13 years old).
What was your inspiration for starting the business?
I love soft skills training and dogs, so when I was miserable in my 9-5 job my husband asked what would I do if I could do anything, I said train people and play with puppies all day...and that’s essentially what I do now.
How did you get your business to where it is today?
Study, Determination and speaking to everyone - you can never underestimate the power of word of mouth recommendations. During lockdown I ended up with half a dozen customers from Edinburgh, each one had referred the next.
What is one of the hardest challenges you have had to overcome (or are still overcoming) to run and sustain your business?
People don’t always know they need my services and they also don’t realise how well the online training works. This can make advertising to them tricky, I have to put myself in their shoes and think about what would trigger them, then I can educate them further about what they actually need once I have them through the door, so to speak.
What are some of your favourite elements of running a small rural business here in Scotland?
I get to visit wonderful places I never knew existed while living in the most beautiful part of Scotland.
Do you think it's important for rural businesses to work together? If so, why?
Oh my gosh, it’s so important! I regularly share local business posts both on my personal FB page and business one and it would be great if we could all do this. I know these people I’ve met them at their businesses or through GrowBiz and I think saying, ‘Yes, I know this person and their product or service is good’, gives them credence and helping to promote their business hopefully means they’ll think of me the next time they hear someone say they need a dog trainer.
What are your ambitions for your business?
I never wanted to expand or become some big empire. I just want a regular income and great work-life balance - contentment is my ambition really. Peace of mind, knowing I’m doing a great job, helping people and earning a regular income.
Why do you think REDS is a useful platform for Scotland's rural business community?
I think it’s a great way to get people to spend locally rather than on Amazon. Hopefully, it will also strengthen our business network so that we can help each other reach a bigger audience.