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Anna chats with Academy student Heidi from Dogmanship Training, about her journey of starting and growing a successful online membership for dog owners.


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  • How to make money doing something that you love
  • The importance of a service-based business having a one to many strategy
  • Why you should let your clients tell you what they want and need
  • How to use 20 mins blocks to advance your business
  • The potential of a subscription-based model for your business
  • The importance of trialling and testing different marketing initiatives to drive the results you want 



Heidi is a dog training and behaviour problem solving expert. She has been dog training for about 10 years and started Dogmanship Training in 2015 because she really wanted to be able to train her own way. Her business has continually evolved to what is now known as the Dogmanship Training Academy. The Academy is an online training program that provides an on-demand blueprint to dog training success, expert help at anytime and a tribe of supportive dog parents all bundled into one affordable program. Her mission is to help people have an amazingly well behaved family dog who is a joy to have around which in turn means dogs are spending less time stuck in the backyard or re-homed because of their behaviour.





Facebook: @dogmanshiptraining
Instagram: @dogmanshiptraining



Anna Jonak [00:00:51] Welcome to Episode 49 of the Raising Her Game Podcast. Anna Jonak is here today with one of our amazing students. Yes, I am gonna call you amazing Heidi because you absolutely are. And, I'm so excited to connect with you, and interview you. And, as I said before just catch up with you because it's been a little while, and I have no doubt that you're going to throw down lots of bombs for me because your business has been evolving and moving so quickly, which is actually one of the reasons I wanted to bring you on. But, let me tell everybody a bit about you. So, you are a dog trainer and behaviour problem solving expert, and have been doing this for about 10 years now, and started your business Dogmanship Training back in 2015, because you wanted to train your own way. And hello, that's what this is all about, right? Doing your own thing. And, as we just discussed prior to coming onto this, your business has evolved so much since like we started working with you, I guess. How long has it been? A year?

Heidi Hamilton [00:01:47] Yeah, a bit over. Just over a year, a year and a bit now.

Anna Jonak [00:01:49] A year and a bit. God just watching you trudging through, with babies and newborns, and completely evolving your business has been absolutely phenomenal. And, I really can't wait to share more about the journey you've been on. And right now, you've ended up at a point with a Dogmanship Training Academy, which is very exciting where now you're doing online training programs. And, you basically, I love it, you're there to support your dog parents in lots of different forms to bring happy dogs and happy people together. And, well, look you tell me a little bit more about things from your end.

Heidi Hamilton [00:02:23] So, hi everyone I'm Heidi and I live in Victoria, and I live here with my husband Luke, and I've got a little daughter who is two and a half, and a son who is one and obviously my dog. So, I've got Snickers who's a labradoodle and he's just had his 11th birthday so he's getting a bit old. And Savvy my rotti. And so, Dogmanship Training. I've always loved dogs. It's been like a passion since I was a kid. But, ironically enough I was told dog training would never be a career as a young person. So, it sort of didn't really occur to me until a bit later on and I'd tried a few other jobs and careers, and then it sort of started flowing on once I had Snickers, and then I started working for other dog training companies, and I really got the experience and really did sort of hands on work working for somebody else, and then it really just kind of got to the point where I was, I loved what I was doing and I was really passionate about it, but I was learning from all these different people, and I kind of had my own way of doing things, which is kind of always been me anywhere, sort of like to do things the way I want to do them. And so, I started my own business, Dogmanship Training. And originally, I just started doing one on one private lessons, doing group classes, puppy schools in my local area. And, it really started most of my clients were just word of mouth. And, I was just loving it like it was just awesome. I was you know making a difference for seeing all of these people out walking their dogs when normally they wouldn't because of their behaviour. And, it was just awesome. And, then we got married and all of that jazz and we started trying for a baby and that turned out to be a lot harder than what we expected it to be. We ended up having to do IVF. We had quite a few miscarriages, and I was running my business while I was doing that. So, it was challenging but at the same time, we were grateful for the business that really gave us the flexibility when we needed it. I ended up doing IVF, and we did IVF in my first year of business. So it was a pretty hectic. [Anna says "wow!"] Yeah. But, as I said it fitted in seamlessly because the business could be so flexible, and I could work around all the appointments, and all of that sort of stuff. And, then along came Eliza. So, we were lucky enough that our first round worked and we got pregnant with Eliza and then I was really sick my whole pregnancy. And so, the business again sort of, it was still growing, and I was still working, but it was just awesome to be able to work it you know in the afternoons when I wasn't so sick, and all of those sorts of things so it really worked well. But then after having the Eliza, it started to become really evident that this wasn't going to work as well doing, seeing so many clients, because it was so time consuming and a lot of the dogs that I work with have aggression issues or severe anxiety, and so it's not like a safe place to take a newborn baby. And, so it started to become how am I going to do this? How am I going to do getting so many inquiries like loads and loads of people messaging me, and emailing me, wanting private lessons, and I felt terrible because I'm constantly turning people away. And, as much as I love being home and being with Eliza, I still had this calling that I needed to help, and I really wanted to help these dogs and these people. And so yes, the business started evolving from there until what it is today.

Anna Jonak [00:05:34] What a journey, though. What a journey I guess to have been doing it for so long. Well I love the fact that very right from the beginning is that you know it's what you wanted to do. And, that in spite of being told it wasn't a career you were kind of like you found your way into it anyway, and then not only did you kind of make it your career but you were like OK, fingers up people, I'm now going to turn this into my business and I'm going to be really successful. Just watch me. So good on you for following that, because so many people do get you know told not to do something or to follow their dreams, and then they don't. And, I think that you trusted your gut.

Heidi Hamilton [00:06:09] I think especially when your dream is partly your hobby. Like people have dog training as a hobby, or something they do on the side and on the weekends and that sort of thing. And so, to turn that into a career and for people to take it seriously as a career, is a totally different ballgame. And so, I guess I didn't even realise that it could be a career until I started working for other dog trainers who were doing it. And that was amazing because I had phenomenal mentors along the way, who without seeing them do it, I wouldn't have been able been in that realm of thinking that happens. So, you know I was lucky enough that happened to take my dogs to a dog training school, who were able to, I was able to follow through and see where they were going and be a part of their journey as well. So, yes, I think when once I realised hang on a minute you can actually do this for a real-life job. [Anna says "I'm in, let's do this."] I’m in, that's it, right. Let's do it. Because, even when in high school like straight out of high school I went in to study animal science, thinking that like I had a passion for animals and all of that sort of thing. And then I like I left in less than a year because it just didn't fit with what I wanted to do, but I knew that it was something that I was really interested in. So, then I went into teaching which I also loved and I also did about a year of that, and left that then when I became a dog trainer I was like, Oh my God! I've merged teaching and dogs into one. How did I do that? [laughs]

Anna Jonak [00:07:32] Exactly. Everything has come together. Hashtag winning. Oh my gosh. Well look hats off to you like I've said for following your purpose, and seeing it through and now obviously we're seeing like an amazing product at the end of it or service which you've kind of created for people, and the fact that as you said you've kind of had it on and off for a while or in and around kids and it's giving you that flexibility around your family is amazing. And, again like going through the IVF journey, the difficulties obviously of going through that has been full on, to have continued despite that. And then having a little one. I hadn't even thought about the fact that you would be in a position when obviously, teaching aggressive dogs and baby. Did you think about that? Did you kind of like, did you like you know when you’re kind of in the zone of just being you know, being pregnant and then doing your thing. Did you miss that bit? or did you just kind of like think I'll be fine? [both laugh]

Heidi Hamilton [00:08:19] That'd be right. It should be fine. Yeah I kind of did. I guess, I had probably a bit of a blurred vision of how much the babies would be there. I’d be able to put them done for a nap and then during that time I'll be able to do something. [laughing] And so, neither of my babies are good sleepers. They're both still breastfeeding and it's so like, I'm there a lot and we don't use daycare. They go to nannies one day a week and I work a weekend day. And so, there wasn't like this time where they nap that I could have, even now like older one he still has most of his naps lying on me. So, you know baby in one hand, lap top in the other hand, and that is pretty much how my business is being built, with a baby on me in some degree. I remember, in the very early days that they would only sleep in the carrier on my chest, and so I'd stand at the kitchen bench with my laptop and bobbing around, and typing, and trying to get something done while they were napping. But, in saying that, it's that's what having a business has afforded me to be able to do [Anna agrees] You know like that is something that is really important to me. I love being there for my kids, and I really want to be a part of that and I'm fine with them sleeping on me and I'm fine with them feeding, and all of those sorts of things. That is something that I really value. So, it's been awesome to be able to bring those two worlds together, and kind of make them merge into a bit of a messy thing that kind of works for us.

Anna Jonak [00:09:42] I think we all feel a bit like that. It is a bit messy and it's a bit crazy and you kind of go through the guilt, and the juggle, and this and that, but ultimately, you're kind of right where you want to be and you're kind of you're there for them on your terms, whatever that is and we're all a bit different. And, you've also got this amazing outlet and, in your situation, you’ve got it to a place now when is becoming very fruitful, and it's growing for you and it's turning into something for you guys for the rest of your lives which is just amazing.

Heidi Hamilton [00:10:06] Yeah absolutely. And for the kids too though like I really want them to look back or you know see videos that we've got this photo of me sitting in the office, like surrounded by washing, and chaos and me working and I really want them to go if I'm passionate about something, I can do that. I can be that person, too. I don't have to let what the world thinks should happen happen. You know like I can do what I want to do.

Anna Jonak [00:10:32] Totally. Well, you're being like the most amazing role model, because you are showing them that anything's possible and they don't have to follow tradition and you've done that in terms of following a career that you love, and also then creating in something and breaking you know every rule. I mean how many people should you go back to work and you should do this and this. You should go to corporate, and why you doing this. But, it just shows you though that you can do anything that you set your mind to that you really want. And, yeah, I mean who cares about the frigging washing and all those kinds of things. As if the kids are going to remember that, right? It's just part of the chaos. If you're loved and you're providing, then you know then they see that you're happy, then that's what it's all about right? [Heidi agrees]Well, I’ll wanted to talk first of all with you a little bit about the fact that on the kind of motherhood side of things with, because when you joined us you were pregnant. I think you said you're due in a few weeks with number two.

Heidi Hamilton [00:11:18] Yeah. Two weeks I think I was. Yeah. I remember the moment I signed up and I was lying on the couch, with this gigantic belly feeling like I can't move. And I was like no, I'm just going to do it. I'm Just going to jump in.

Anna Jonak [00:11:32] So, you did literally. I think I remember you kind of saying like oh my god, I've just done it and I'm so due a baby. And it was like that's okay man we can make this work. Let's just focus on where you want to go. So I didn't realise your age gap was the same as mine. So, 18 months between the two. [Heidi agrees] Yeah. So cra-crazy crazy times, right? But this is a thing. This is what I love about you is that you basically joined us a year ago you know, and you did have two weeks to go to popping, and you had your business in one form and look at what you've done in the last year in spite of that. I think it's absolutely phenomenal. And, I would love for you to share I guess how you got your headspace, into the game in and around having a newborn, and managing the business and an 18 month old especially if you got no support at home, like WTF [both laugh] share more so people can like understand.

Heidi Hamilton [00:12:24] Well, massively thanks to you, I guess. You know, there were so many times... I guess the best I could be described is a massive roller coaster. You really do have massive highs and then you're like oh my God how am I going to survive. But, the biggest thing that you did at the very start, and probably one of the main reasons I decided to work with you guys was doing my big picture vision, finding my why, finding the how is this going to look eventually, what do I want my life to look like in five years, what's important to me what do I value. Because all of those things then on the days when it was like you know nobody slept or everybody's sick or you know chaos has just broken loose in the house. And then, I was like, I really need to get something done today or I really need you know emails to reply to or whatever. I've actually stuck my big picture vision on my wall, in my office and I would go back and go this is why this is important to do this today, and it really kept me on track. And then from there, it really helped when we did breaking that down so taking my big picture vision, and making it into years, and then months, and then weeks and then days, and then 20 minutes block [both laugh] when I have like 20-minute nap time. And so, taking that. And so, then I started saying that if I just did those little 20-minute blocks and I actually did something productive in that time that was getting me closer to the big picture vision. I was seeing progress and then that really kept me going and kept me motivated, and made me grab those moments, because it's so easy to just you know the baby's asleep, and you just sit there and you just you know you flick through Facebook for 20 minutes, or you sit there like me yesterday you sit there and eat your kid’s Easter eggs or whatever [both laugh]. And so, it's so easy to do those things and so knowing that I had these tasks already pre-prepared in 20-minute blocks of what could be done, it was so good, because then I'd go in and I tick one thing off and then even if I'd literally only had one 20-minute block during the day, and some days it was like a 20-minute block but, you know it might have been broken down eventually to two-minute blocks, you know the kids wake up and you go to go re-settle or whatever. But at the end of the day I could, always say I did something. I'd got us a step closer to that big picture vision and where we want to be. And, I guess the other thing that kept me motivated was getting people's feedback. So, getting feedback from my clients that they're loving what I'm doing, and that you know it's making a big difference, and all of those sorts of things like within The Academy, we have a tribe which is our Facebook group for members, and they're like the best people on the internet, I swear. They're just so awesome and seeing their feedback and then posting videos and even on the days where they were having a crappy day you know, something had happened and you know they're having trouble or they're just feeling unmotivated or whatever to see them post that and see everybody else jump in, and say we've been there, all of that sort of stuff like we can't stop the momentum. When you say that you know you can't go, I'm not going to do 20 minutes today because you're like... That 20 minutes that if I don't do something means that somebody else is missing out on having this awesome relationship with their dog and all of this joy that can bring to them. So, I guess that the biggest thing and when you know other mums ask me like how do you get that done or whatever. The 20-minute blocks is like the best thing I've ever done. It's just breaking it down into those small little goals. And so, you feel like you've just ticked one thing off and then if you do that every day for a week or five days a week, you don't realise how far that will get you.

Anna Jonak [00:15:59] Totally. I totally agree. It's just the small incremental steps and I think so many people get caught up in the big picture and it seems overwhelming. Whereas if you do have those little things and like that's it, I literally have a to do list every day as well like these are key things that need to get done. You're not going to get everything done. But there's key things that need to happen. And just by making sure that those things happen, everything starts to build. And I mean gosh how quickly was it from when you started? I know that you dove in and you get into the material, but I'm pretty sure you launched something quite quickly.



Heidi Hamilton [00:16:26] Yeah. So it was January. I think late January when I signed up and then the membership launched on the 1st of July. So, yes it was a few months. And in that time I'd already had some footage filmed, and it was just a matter of just doing it. And, again like that's another thing was that getting over with this has to be perfect and this has to go out like this finished product with everything looking miraculous and everything. And, obviously, it had to be good you know. I wanted it to be something I could be proud of and that obviously people were going to love. But, like I just had a baby and I'm doing all these videos, and you know a lot of the time in your head you're like, should probably have you know done my hair, or you know got the spew off my shoulder, and all those sorts of things. And, in hindsight like nobody that is looking at it is going oh my God look at that bit of stray hair, like I can't possibly take her dog training advice with that hair. So, it just seems like in hindsight it's so stupid, but when you're actually in the moment, and you're doing it, you do have to fight those thoughts that are coming up about this isn't exactly how I want it to be. And, something that you said to me was like it's great now, and you can change it and that was massive. I was like Oh yeah. Of course, you can. You can refilm this. You can like when it grows I'm like the plan is to get like a professional videographer, and come in and do all of it you know, make it look that way better. But, for now it's great. It gets the message across people obviously learning something from it. And so, just get it out there. Don't sit on it because you're worried about somebody thinking something about you, or what you look like, or the way that you said something, or that you had to sneeze halfway through a video or whatever.

Anna Jonak [00:18:05] It's so true. And, you know I was talking to someone just before you, another one of our students, and she's kind of looking at creating a program, and I said exact same thing. It's just like, just get it out there. Start with something. It's not going to be perfect and it's an evolution. You keep changing it. You can upgrade it. You're going to find that some things don't work, and you're going to remove them and you're going to add something else in. And, you'd also kind of find your tribe I think just by being natural. [Heidi agrees] It's really interesting. I remember listening to a podcast with James Schramko, and he had a guest speaker on who actually said that he did guitars, which is a bit off track, but he did guitar playing and teaching guitars, but he found that the professional videos drew less traffic, than the ones that were more natural of him just jamming and doing his thing. And, I do think that it's... [Heidi agrees] It's right. Yep. It's the reality. You see authenticity, just being you in the moment, and people feeling like they can relate to you rather they're having this whole polished product.

Heidi Hamilton [00:18:58] Yeah. One of my live videos that I did that got the most traction, I was talking away. And in the background, my dog is like rolling around in the grass with the ball like throwing it up in the air like being an absolute noodle behind me, and that like whilst I was filming I'm like stop doing that and like what are you doing. But, everybody loved it. And like people like, I've just watched these three times because I didn't actually hear the second part. I was laughing at your dog. And then had to go back and listen to what you were saying. And so, those sorts of things that you think in your head oh my God, how could this happen, like I'm in the middle of this. One time I was on a lesson, and my daughter ran in like half dressed, and she said "Mummy!" runs through the front door, and ran into the room. They just laughed and they know what it's like, and all you have to do is, excuse me a second, deal with that, come back.They're not going oh my God the world's over, because a little girl ran into the room like those things in the scheme of things we try and make everything perfect, but like if you're perfect you're never going to get anything done. So, you really just need to get something out there. Get it happening because people want to see the real you and the real version of what happens, and how this works. And for me that's my audience. That's why I created this for them was, because as soon as I had my kids I was like, how on earth is anybody ever going to get to dog training with this lifestyle? You know like, you can't have a dog trainer over the whole time my daughter is just going to be going why do you do this. How do you do this and asking them questions I'm never going to get a chance to get anything out of it. Then if I go to group classes I'm going to be trying to wrangle kids while I'm trying to listen and trying to handle my dog. And so, when I created the online program, like most of the people who do it have busy lives and busy families, and they just need to be able to watch it in that little blocks, do a little bit at home. Same thing, like while the kids are napping or you know, when everybody's asleep or get the teenagers to sit and actually watch it, because on a screen they'll do it. So, it means that they can actually get the results without having to be everywhere and you know doing all of the things getting to training, going to private lessons, and that sort of thing as well.

Anna Jonak [00:21:08] You just found a way of bringing you and your kind of like your life to other people, and other people, it resonates. [Heidi agrees] People are just like yep we're in the same boat, totally get it. It's hectic, but you're giving, you're empowering me with the tools to facilitate a change of pace that works for me. [Heidi agrees] How did you test the concept of the online membership? Did you go through this? Did we go through the surveys?



Heidi Hamilton [00:21:30] Yes. So, we did surveys and I surveyed some people who had never heard of me. And then I surveyed some of my clients who had worked one on one with me. And, we sort of came up with the concept of how it was going to work, and that you know a lot of people are on maternity leave. So, they didn't have huge budgets to be able to throw at dog training. And so, that's where we went from a course to a membership because they could do one month, and get everything if they wanted to. And then, if they wanted to stay on they could stay on. So, it meant that it was kind of accessible for everybody. We asked them what their biggest barriers were to hiring a dog trainer or getting help. And it was just time, mostly time and convenience. They can't find somebody close enough, or somebody who's available when they're available, and all of that sort of thing getting to classes especially if they've got primary school kids you know like most dog training is on Saturday or Sunday, and you're trying to get to basketball, and football, and you know all of those sorts of things. So, yes. So, those were the barriers and so when that came up, and I kind of already had this idea in the back of my mind, it was like yes. This is it. This is what's gonna help them. [Anna says "validation"] Yeah. That's right. And so, it was really, I already had the concept there, but it was really good to know that people would actually be interested in something like that. So, I guess the biggest barrier that we've come up against these people thinking that dog training isn't something you can learn online, you know that I need somebody in person, and that's where you know getting those first few people in. And, just like doing my thing for them has helped because then we see their results. Other people see their results, and then you can get that flow on effect from that, but that was probably in the very early stages the biggest barrier was people lack, or I don't know if this is possible. So, getting those people to say we've done it. And that's something I always you know, telling people now when they are unsure I'm like well you can say you know, you don't know if this is possible, but every time you say that I can show you another person who is doing it. And, I remember you saying that to me the very start about the business is about you know, you may think I can't do this or whatever, but somebody else is doing it so it's possible to do it. You've just got to do that, to be that person, and do the work and you're there so yeah.

Anna Jonak [00:23:43] And you are there. So, talk to me about what you've done I guess to start to grow your membership from when you first launched it. So, it was July you said you launch it in its first format. So, talk to me a bit about the evolution that you've gone on from there like.




Heidi Hamilton [00:23:55] When we first opened doors, we had a foundation membership. So it was just discounted fee that you'd pay each month and you would lock in that fee forever. And that was mostly because I had quite a few people who had been really loyal clients and like people I've already just loved working with. And so I really wanted them to come in and I really wanted them to be a part of it because I knew I could help them, but also I love hanging out with them. So that was really cool to see them jump in and I'd had a few people waiting a while. And so for those people who had been like registered their interest I really wanted to let them know, thank you for waiting. That was really cool. So I got them in. And then it kind of started like it grew a little bit and then it sort of started dwindling because I wasn't really doing anything to actually get people in and up until that point because my business had been so local, I hadn't really done a lot of like actual marketing like I had a presence on Facebook and all of that sort of stuff. But I haven't really looked into how to actually get people in because people were just coming to me because I was getting referrals from vets and other people and you know word of mouth. And so I didn't have to worry about it up until that point. And so when that happened that was when I was like guys, how do I get this, how do I make this happen? What am I missing here? And then we started organising the challenge. So the challenge was the first time that we sort of... We changed it. We closed the doors a little while before it and then we reorganised the challenge around a free 5-day challenge and then off the back of that we got about 45 new members. So that was amazing. The people that we got like you're always harping on to us about target audience and making sure that you're getting the people that you want,the right people who were going to love what you do and who you're going to love working with through the door and like that just was amazing. Like it was just like how did I like it felt like a handpicked these people. But I didn't like, anyone could sign up, but it felt like I'd just really handpicked them. And that was just so validating to know that what my message is attracting the right kind of people that I want to work with and who want to work with me. So the challenge was really good. It was really, it's exhausting [Anna agrees] because especially it felt like the first one because it wasn't like I had already email sequences or slides or anything like that pre-prepared. So it was like getting everything done from scratch was really, really exhausting but in a good way because like during the challenge even the people who didn't sign up, they loved it. Like I surveyed all the people afterwards who did the challenge and 100 percent of people said they would recommend me to somebody else. And so that was just so like oh okay this is good. Even the people who didn't sign up, there were legit reasons it wasn't just you know I don't really like you. Your method was crap or anything like that. And so it was just yeah, that was really awesome to see. And then after that we closed doors again. Then my second launch I did a workshop. So it was just like an hour webinar style workshop. And that was really good. And obviously much less work in the run up partially because I'd done the challenge I had a little content already there and it was kind of a condensed version of the challenge really. And that went really well. I think we got about 20 people after that so that was great. But, in saying that I really, I liked running the workshop but because I didn't spend along with the people, I liked the challenge format better because I got to know them and they got to know me. And, before people jump in like I want them to know that this is for them. I don't want just anybody to jump in like I'm not here trying to get everyone ‘throw me money’. I want people to really want it and need it and know that it's a good fit. So it was good and the people that came in were still awesome but I really like the connection that I got with people through the challenge. So, I think if we do that again that I would go back and maybe make a tiny bit shorter. But yeah I really like that connection. And now we're trialling leaving the doors open for a while and having a, I've done a free mini course that people can just watch at any time and partially that's because there's a few other things going on at the moment and life’s just a little bit crazy and so I wanted to sort of not launch for a while and just give people a chance to jump in. Also, because we've just launched workshops so when I'm kind of working on getting one day workshops so I can get it quite a few people in and work together so that the people who are in the membership or in the Academy can come and do some in-person stuff as well. So that's kind of happening now. So while that's happening we're leaving doors open so people who do the workshop can jump on to the Academy as well. So that's yeah. That's pretty exciting we can't wait to start though.

Anna Jonak [00:28:33] Well just wow on multiple levels so I think that you need to like just take a moment because [both laugh] it's like holy crap. Yeah. Because we did the challenge launch with you in January. It's friggin' just good. It's May. It’s three months like we just did this, we just did this, we just did this. But that's it. It's when you kind of like get into it and I think you try and you start to get the results and you build, bring on a group of people. And again it's not perfect and there's a lot that goes into running a challenge and we obviously went through a lot with you kind of getting that up. But, once you know the format you know, you change up a little bit that you've kind of got the foundations there to improve upon. I love that you've tried a webinar, an online workshop basically and gotten feedback from that. But this is part of the process now is it is trying all these different things, isn't it? It's seeing what you like doing, what brings in the best clients, what delivers the best conversions and having some fun with the marketing like.

Heidi Hamilton [00:29:27] Yeah absolutely. And I think that's the thing too like so many times I've messaged either you or Flori I'm like should I do like should run a like a workshop or a challenge. And like every time I don't know why I still ask you but every time you've got to try it like you've got to get out there and have a go because you need to see for one if you like that format, if your audience likes that format how it goes, how it converts, whether you get the right kind of people off the back of it. So yeah like just getting out there and have a good shot and that's what this year for me was really about was let's just try, see what's going to work. Just be as present as we can for the people that we are trying to chat with and talk to them a lot. Spend a lot of time engaging with what they want and how we can change it to suit them a little bit better. And, I guess one of the big focuses too was the people who were already in the Academy was really making sure that they felt like they have everything all the tools that they needed there and if they're not then because we've set that foundation now I can build on it. So, like making new content for them and finding out what works for them has been so good and that's probably my favourite part of my whole job is really working with them. I did a like a live coaching and we do a live coaching every twice a month. And so we did one last night and like it went for nearly an hour and a half but it literally feels like 15 minutes because like it just comes and they just answer it. They ask such good questions and everybody is helping each other. And it just like flows and it just feels like after I get off those calls I just have this massive rush. I'm like on this high. Like yes look we could do this kind of thing and that is just like oh this is why I'm doing this. I want to do more of this. So I want to do more of helping people as a group. And I guess doing one to one a lot, I didn't realise the power of having that group, like the power of them supporting each other. And at the start I kind of had the battle in my own head like am I going to be able to serve them as well if I'm not doing one to one. And now I'm like I was depriving them all this time of each other. You know like each other is half the thing and especially because it's quite emotional like people's dogs are their family. And so that can be quite an emotional thing especially if your dog is like aggressive or anxious or something like that it can be like why are they like this. I'm doing everything I possibly can. And so then when they jump in and there's other people who are in that same boat and doing the same thing, I didn't realise how valuable that support for each other was going to be. And that has really blown me away since I started.

Anna Jonak [00:32:06] Community is absolutely such a big part of it. Like I think what it can bring to any kind of like program or something like that especially if you've got the right people in there and I think you know from our community again the kind of the constant feedback and giving to each other is just phenomenal and the value like you can't put money on that because everybody's got such a collective of experiences and walks of life and to bring that together into a space and let people lift each other up is amazing. Wow. I can't believe you've done that much in three months. That's amazing. [both laugh]

Heidi Hamilton [00:32:36] Know that I’ve said that out loud I’m like wow that was kind of busy but in the moment like as I said I'd try and break it down. It doesn't feel as chaotic as it sounds. And I remember somebody saying that to me at the very start that like it looks like you know you see all these people online and you're like oh my God how is this person doing all of this stuff like I feel like I can barely clean the floor you know, do the washing and all of that sort of stuff. And then if you just break it down you're there before you've even realised you're there. Like when I was halfway through the challenge I was like how the hell I'm running a challenge. What's going on. I was looking at other people running a challenge you go wow that'd be really cool for dogs you know and then you're there and it's just all of those tiny little things just build up.

Anna Jonak [00:33:21] Well you see you've learned just so many skills as an entrepreneur either in terms of things to apply from the marketing to the mindset to the kind of application like it's absolutely amazing. Do you have anything I guess from thinking about sharing with people listening, is there anything that you can think of as a turning point or a moment that kind of really kind of solidified everything for you to kind of go yep I'm on the right path or you know this little insight really kind of drove me to the next step or whatever it was?

Heidi Hamilton [00:33:49] Well there was one moment that I can remember quite vividly and it was one of those days you know those days like nothing going right and the kids are feral and everything is just chaos. And I remember sitting on the couch and I had like I'm breastfeeding, the house looked like a bomb had gone off and it was just shocking. And then my phone went off and it went off twice and it went off once and it was somebody had joined up. So somebody had decided to become a member and then the second one was somebody who was already a member. And they were sending me a message and they were just saying like how blown away they were. And their dog was amazing and they’ve started doing all this stuff and their dog used to spend most of life in the backyard and now they're not. They're part of the family. And I was just sitting there on that couch and I'm like this is it. I'm like this is why all of this is worth it like who cares if everything's messy and everything is a bit chaotic because my babies are here and I'm able to love on them as much as I want whenever I want to do it. They're having a hard day and I'm able to be there for them and I'm also helping all of these people out and all of those things that kind of seem like a big deal when you've got a new baby you know like they've got to be nice clothes and you've got to have all this cleaning done and all that stuff. I remember the night before I had my baby I was scrubbing my microwave like what the hell. [Anna laughs] It's like my baby is going to come home and worry about the microwave being dirty you know like just all these little things. And I was like you know what, I'm really going to start prioritising what makes me happy. And that was my business and my babies and so everything else just sort of started that doesn't matter. You know it's not going to matter if the washing is there tomorrow. It will get done eventually. And so, all of those sorts of things that moment was like a real wow this is the priority here. I don't worry about the other stuff and don't stress in it because I'd been spending a lot of time trying to do everything and doing nothing well. And so when I started going something's got to give. And if anything is going to give, it's going to be all the crappy stuff that doesn't really matter and I'm not gonna remember in ten year’s time and these are the things that matter. That was a big turning point because then I was like right, let's go. Let's get into it.

Anna Jonak [00:35:54] Let's just do what makes me happy and focus on the things that are important to me. So true. Just getting you off like as you said it comes back to that why and what I to achieve and why I'm doing this for and allowing that to be enough and be like yeah I'm exactly where I need to be. [Heidi agrees] Well what a journey. Well before we wrap up where to from here?

Heidi Hamilton [00:36:14] Oh so many things. I think one of the biggest things that I'm focusing on at the moment is trying to make the experience for the Academy members even better. So, doing some in-person things, we're wanting to like do them around Australia. So there'll be workshops in different states and things like that. And so really improving on that experience is going to be really important. Hubby is just cut down a day of work so I'll be having a little bit of extra time which means that I can do things and make things much more personalised and that sort of stuff as well. So I'm just going to be around more. So I guess short term, that's the biggest thing is just making this as awesome as it is so that the people who are actually there love it, get heaps out of it and want to stay. And yeah. And making the most of the people who are already in there and already awesome.

Anna Jonak [00:37:01] It's amazing and I think that this is a key point about that whole thing about client retention and serving people not just constantly looking to get the next load of people in. It's about creating something that people want to stay in and giving them constant value so they become your biggest advocates and you know that's a huge thing when people are talking about you and also like it sounds like you're just really enjoying the process of what you're creating and taking it to the next level. I love the idea of you touring around Australia and kind of having these kinds of hubs and get togethers and kind of taking it to that next level and it's so exciting.

Heidi Hamilton [00:37:32] It's very exciting. It's one of those things where I feel like you know you've sort of found your thing when you talk about it and you start like you know you get a bit of butterflies and that's like just something where you're like oh my god imagine if this is real and that's been one of the things like one of our dreams is that we really want to travel in our caravan with our kids and spend like a lot of time on the road away. As I get older, we want to do that a lot. And so like even thinking about that it's like I actually like that is a reality. Like people would do that you know, they might have inherited a million dollars and they can do that. But like for normal people that doesn't happen now it's like oh my god that could be me like I can actually take my kids, work, still help people and dogs along the way. And like still be doing the best job I can for them and for my family like what the hell, how does that happen. It's just. Yeah.

Anna Jonak [00:38:22] That happens because you make it happen, lady. [Heidi agrees and laughs] Own that. You're the one driving it. And this is a thing you need to stop and celebrate is all that you've done. And I think that that's what I really want to get across is that you owned it. You stepped into it. You said like a year and a bit ago I want to make something. I want to do something. Yeah I'm scared. It's crazy and I'm pregnant and so we've stuff going on. But every single stage, you've stepped into it and you've tried it on and gotten uncomfortable and you've pushed through some hard times. I know that. Like you know when it comes to family, finances, we all go through this really s**t moments where you're like oh my god can I keep going. The low is that low. It's breaking point. And you keep going anyway. And then when you do, you finally get to this realisation point when you see it all starting to come together and what it can become and where you can go. I'm so excited for where to from here for you and I can't wait to see.

Heidi Hamilton [00:39:15] Well, thank you. It feels like it's really without that support of you guys being there. When I first signed up with you guys, I was sort of muddling along and it just gave me that like a kick up the bum in some ways but also that like hand holding just for certain times where you just like I don't know if I can do this. I don't know if this is right and I like to have a chat with you or especially you know when I have a chat with you and it's like getting me that motivation back a bit like why can't you do this and just questioning and flipping around what I'm saying. So I actually look at it from an outsider's point of view and go yeah you're right. One thing I remember you saying to me is you would never say to your daughter or your son like you can't do that. You're not good enough to do that. So why would you talk to yourself like that. So that was a massive shift and having the whole community there like just knowing that you're not the only weirdo who's sitting at home at one o'clock in the morning working on your laptop while the kids are sleeping and you know because it isn't like it's not the mainstream way of doing things and people who are going back to work in my mother's group and other mums I knew this wasn't what they were doing so it was just it's just so good to have that there knowing that you're not the only one doing this and that other people are in the same boat and the other people are killing it too and that's really important.

Anna Jonak [00:40:31] All right. Totally is. I love it. Well, let me tell you or let you tell everyone where people can find more about you. I'm sure there's going to be people who are like oh my God I need to get me some of that for my pet.

Heidi Hamilton [00:40:42] So you can find me on Facebook or Instagram at Dogmanship Training and on YouTube now also Dogmanship Training. My website So pretty much everywhere as Dogmanship Training

Anna Jonak [00:40:54] We'll make sure we put links up in the podcast notes so people can go and find more at And as you know, we wrap up with a parting thought which is totally something I'm handing back to you. Give them some inspiration or a couple of lines on something that you want people to walk away with as they end this podcast episode.

Heidi Hamilton [00:41:17] I would say just jump in. Don't overthink it don't worry about the what ifs or what happens next. Just give it a shot. The worst that can happen is you fail and you fail quickly and then you just try again.

Anna Jonak [00:41:28] Yes, you just do it anyway. I love it. Do it anyway because you're going to learn. You can't not learn from it and the learning is where the golds at. You gotta learn. [Heidi agrees] Awesome. It's been a pleasure, lovely. Thank you so much. And let's wrap it up and say to everybody. Remember, she just said "just do it". Heidi said go for it. All right. And, be brave in your business.



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