It doesn’t matter what you sell, you’re always dealing with humans and should talk to them like you would a friend. Anyone can just sell a product, but we want customers to buy into who we are and what we do and that builds loyalty.
Dana Scott is the Founder and Editor in Chief at Dogs Naturally Magazine, an online and print publication that helps pet owners give their dogs a better life through education and resources about natural canine health care. Dogs Naturally covers everything from nutrition to vaccination to behavior. Dana’s mission is to empower an online community of breeders, trainers, holistic veterinarians, and dog owners so they can maximize the life and well being of our four-legged friends. Today, Dogs Naturally is the fastest growing dog publication and one of the largest homeopathic magazines in the world. The company’s website and social media pages are viewed more than 10 million visitors each month.
In addition, Dana also manages Dogs Naturally Market , an online store that sells supplements for dogs such as organic shampoo, flea and tick protection, and heartworm medicine. Dana has been an entrepreneur for more than 20 years and holds degrees in physiotherapy and kinesiology.
Where did the idea for Dogs Naturally come from?
Dogs Naturally began as a newsletter for the Natural Rearing Breeders Association. We never got around to doing the newsletter because we started dreaming about one community and one source for natural living for dogs and we felt this would bring more credibility and clout to holistic vets, products and services.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I usually start work around 5-6am. I’m most productive in the mornings and try to get my jobs done before the team gets in. Once they arrive, my job is to coach and help them. Right now our organization chart is pretty flat because we’re growing so rapidly and that takes a lot of my time to help them grow in their roles.
How do you bring ideas to life?
We encourage all team members to bring growth ideas to the board. Every month we rank them based on how many levers they pull, how much time and how many resources they require and the level of confidence. Every month or two, we commit to the best ranking ideas and we hold ourselves accountable to complete them in the next 30-60 days.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I’m excited about the change in SEO with voice search. This is the wild west and I’d like to be an early adopter to get ahead of our competition.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I really like to just work on one project at a time. It’s tough to jump from one project from another so I work a lot of hours on the weekends to get my projects done without interruptions.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Invest more in my growth.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?
The team always has difficulty talking to our customers as they would friends. As soon as they write an email or sales page, they stop talking like a human and more like a salesman. It doesn’t matter what you sell, you’re always dealing with humans and should talk to them like you would a friend. Anyone can just sell a product, but we want customers to buy into who we are and what we do and that builds loyalty.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I write and I’m generous with the content. Video and social are important, but our website generates free organic traffic that would cost me millions to buy if I were to use Adwords. I think content is the best investment you can make in your business.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I think it’s very important to sell continuity products. Not only does this deliver guaranteed income every month, it increases the value of your business if you decide to exit. Every business should figure out how they can use autoship or memberships to grow.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I’ve had several failures! Probably the biggest one was thinking I wasn’t big enough for really good employees and settling for the wrong people. Today, my interview process focuses more on the person and not the skills. I won’t keep any employee who doesn’t treat the business as their own. I can’t train people to “give a damn”.If they don’t want to take accountability, they don’t get to stay here. Company culture is critical to our success and one or two bad employees can kill that culture.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’m biased but the pet industry is consistently growing (especially in Latin America) and it’s recession-proof. But I would hope you come to market with a product that really helps animals and isn’t just clever marketing. We need more ethical companies with healthy, natural products.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I have a snack subscription for the team here that you can get for $100 a month.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
We love software and have shiny object syndrome. But we just moved our CRM to Ontraport and we absolutely love it. It’s been hard to have good reporting and reliability and it does a great job of combining them. It wasn’t easy moving 300,000 contacts over, but we’re really glad we did.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Be Like Amazon” by Jeffrey and Bryan Eisenberg. It tells you how putting relationships first can help you grow as a business and reveals how the most successful brands got that way.
What is your favorite quote?
“He who can spend the most to acquire a customer, wins” -Ryan Deiss
- Entrepreneurship is different for everyone
- It’s helpful to learn from the experiences of others
- Your daily habits and routines can have a big impact on your productivity
Dana Scott on Linkedin:
Dogs Naturally Magazine on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DogsNaturally
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.