Sabrina Iliopoulos - Paws at Peace
Tell us about yourself
I knew I always wanted to pursue a career in healthcare, and part way through my Bachelors of Bio-Medical Sciences, I decided that my passion really was for veterinary medicine. I attended the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph and then moved to Ingersoll with my husband to start my career. Initially I worked in a rural clinic providing vet services to all types of animals, and eventually took a position with an emergency hospital. As any new business owner knows, spare time is minimal, but I like to spend mine outdoors on the trails, the rivers, in the snow, and in the sun, whenever I can.
Tell us about your business
My business officially launched in November 2018. Currently we offer in-home euthanasia, quality of life consultations, and cremation services for dogs and cats to London and the surrounding communities. I presently run the majority of the operations with some smaller jobs contracted out. We are looking to hire on additional veterinarians and technicians over the next year to help increase our availability for clients who need these services.
What led you to start this business?
Having four furry pets of my own, I understand that our dogs and cats are not just pets, they are part of our families. Having worked in veterinary clinics for over 15 years, I recognized that we needed to do better for our families when it came time to that last appointment. I started to attend more lectures on end-of-life care and started to see that the best way is to provide these services is to remove the hospital - and go to my families during these difficult times. The rest was all the natural progression of growth.
What advice would you give someone starting a small business today?
Be open to suggestions and ideas from those that have been there before you. There is no reason to re-invent the wheel - seek mentorship and learning opportunities from those who have built successful businesses before you. Don't be afraid to try new things, don't be afraid to fail, and most of all - stay true to your values.
What were some of the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
For every challenge you anticipate, about 10 more challenges arise that you couldn't have forecasted. Of all of the technical challenges, the bigger challenges were getting out of my head. It is far too easy to compare yourself to others, and to self talk yourself into believing that no one will be interested in what you are offering, no one will be willing to pay for your services, that perhaps you're not good enough... For me, this challenge is met daily by surrounding myself with like minded people, getting a business coach (which helped me tremendously), working with the SBC, listening to the right podcasts, and following the right people and groups on social media.