The power of positive thinking is rubbish. Success as an entrepreneur takes hard work and determination. You can’t just sit around and think good things all day and expect it will happen. It takes getting up and out of your comfort zone, working long hours and having a go.

 

Dr Sue Samuelsson is the CEO and Founder of i-Vet, an innovative new veterinary experience that is designed to provide access to real veterinary care for people that live in remote areas or pet owners isolated by disability. This first of its kind tele-vet medicine service utilises video conferencing and the internet to provide consultations for your pet. Several smart phone apps help with heart and lung sounds and how-to videos help guide the pet owner through holding the pet effectively for the consult and how to take temperature and show the vet what they need to know. Where this service can never replace a hands on veterinary consultation it can definitely provide peace of mind to the person who simply can not drive to a vet and can help with valuable treatment and management strategies.

Dr Sue’s “local” community spans vast distances, but this determined vet has never let that stop her. Working in the Northern Territory, Australia, Dr Sue’s video conferencing service reaches out to the people of the remote Aboriginal communities around East Arnhem who are cut off from many traditional services.
Samuelsson has faced some crazy situations in her role as a Top End vet: treating crocodiles that have been hit by cars; searching by helicopter for sea turtles stuck in ghost nets on remote Arnhem Land beaches; and calmly instructing pet owners via Skype on how to get life-saving IV fluids into their dog at midnight when any vet clinic that might have been accessible to them is closed.

Dr Sue serves as a board member for the RSPCA Darwin Regional Branch, an Innovation Mentor for the Questacon Smart Skills Initiative, and is an active supporter of Vets Beyond Borders.

Where did the idea for i-Vet come from?

I felt frustrated that there were so many pet owners that lived in towns or communities that were needing veterinary care but could not access it – either because they didn’t have a vet in their town, or flooding or weather isolated them such as during the wet season. These people would call me and try to describe what they thought their problem was but I found people often could not see all of the issues needing to be addressed. I then started video calling and found that if I had treated their pet based on what they described over the phone I would have got it completely wrong! Hence, i-Vet was born.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I own a bricks and mortar practice as well as the tele-vet service, so I am always busy juggling between the two. Plus, I’m a mom. I get up early to answer emails and get ready for the day then after taking the kids to school I am straight in to consulting. It may be a video consult with a dog on a remote island in Northern Australia or a housebound elderly lady with a problem with her cat’s skin. I will also get stuck into any surgery that might come in to the clinic between consults, then afternoons are often taken up when emergencies come through and I have to triage.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I love being creative with ideas – particularly with tools to make my job easier. However, I always need to run them past someone as at times I get carried away. My family are great at grounding me! But when I get an idea that I am really passionate about I am lucky that they get behind me and support me. Ideas are only as good as the team you have to help you implement them. I make sure I align myself with the right people.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I love the pet wearables! These are like fitbits for pets where it measures your activity, pulse and breathing. I see the use being great for home monitoring of seizure patients, or itchy dogs where you can see how much they are scratching whilst you are at work. Also for heart patients to measure how your pet is coping. This information can be wired directly to your vet and can be really useful for people who find it hard to get in to a vet clinic.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Determination. I don’t like to give up.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t be afraid to fail. We all fail at various times but it is the best way to learn how to make something work.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

The power of positive thinking is rubbish. Success as an entrepreneur takes hard work and determination. You can’t just sit around and think good things all day and expect it will happen. It takes getting up and out of your comfort zone, working long hours and having a go.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I am always researching the market trends of my industry and trying to stay on top of what is happening. It’s easy to get carried away with an idea, over-invest in it and be blind to the fact that people are wanting something different. Paying attention to the trends means you can adapt quicker.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Facebook marketing is a very powerful tool. I’m from an era before social media so it has taken a bit for me to embrace, but learning the power of social media and how to use it to promote your business has been very successful.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

When I first tried to create a video consultation platform it was called a different name and the website was poorly constructed. I was a bit clueless about how these things worked and I didn’t trademark the name or understand that I needed more links on the page. Needless to say, another company took the name and created a similar logo and trademarked theirs. So I lost a lot of money as I needed to create new branding and a new website.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Pet insurance point of sale machines for pets. Similar to the human form, pet insurance would be much easier if you could swipe your card and get your automatic reduction. Vets would have less work to do and clients would find it easier to claim.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Fuel for taking my kids camping. Work/life balance is really important to me.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Xero – I love to keep on track of everything.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a BEEP” by Mark Manson. It puts a reality check on self doubt.

What is your favorite quote?

“What will be will be”.

Key learnings:

  • Success is hard work, you can’t just dream about it to make it real, you have to do it.
  • Failure is necessary, without it you will never work out how to succeed.
  • Keep on learning but know that you will never know everything.

Connect:

https://www.i-vet.com.au/
Sue Samuelsson on Twitter : https://twitter.com/Susannasamuelss
i-Vet on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/IVetAustralia/
i-Vet on Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/ivet_au/
Sue Samuelsson on LinkedIn : https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-sue-samuelsson-78667199/

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