And we’re live! On February 15, 2019, exactly three months after BFRB Dogs was born, I shared this passion project with the world for the first time.
I’m assuming you have some questions, and I want to help answer them in this series of posts, It’s All Dog Business (this is the first post in the series). What am I actually doing? What will BFRB Dogs actually be? How are you making this happen and reach the entire BFRB community? Who can apply for a dog? And, more importantly:
When can I get my BFRB service dog?
We’re in kickstarter mode, friends. Remember: this is a five year plan started in November 2018, and I’m just starting out. I’ll post an update when service dog placement begins—promise! I would love to place my first dog within two years, but there’s a lot to this (read on). What you CAN do right now is join the waitlist. You can learn more soon in the post It’s All Dog Business: Letting the Dogs Out
What have you done so far with BFRB Dogs?
When I say I’ve launched this project, I mean I’ve already completed, acquired and/or paid for the following expenses:
- BFRB Dogs social media launch (and ongoing promotion) on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!
- Created a waitlist for potential BFRB service dog partners
- Initial BFRB Dogs logo: $200
- BFRBDogs.com domain registration: $20
- BFRBDogs.com WordPress website hosting ($4/mo personal plan): $48
- BFRBDogs.com initial website and blog creation/setup
- Fostered and trained a (now less) dog-aggressive, people loving doggo
What are the next steps in your business plan?
Out of my initial $7,000 fundraising goal on GoFundMe, the first $264 raised will go to website hosting and optimization. My background is in search engine optimization (basically making websites awesome so you can actually find them and use them easily), but I can’t make this website and blog better to reach more people until I pay WordPress more money to use my advanced skills (I’m on the cheap plan).
The bulk of my fundraising (about $3,500) is to cover my enrollment in the Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer Program. I need a credential like this to hone my fledgling dog training expertise, for the sole purpose of helping more dogs find partners with BFRBs as expediently as possible.
Over the last six months, I’ve practiced my dog training skills with a now-adopted foster dog, Annabelle (Bellie). I plan to foster another dog soon through ARNNE (Animal Rescue Network of New England) and continue gaining real world experience as I enter into ABC’s Dog Trainer Program. I’d like to start the program within the next three months (by mid-May), depending on how quickly I can fundraise with the help of beautiful people like you!
Along with enrolling in the 1-year dog trainer program, my next step during this time will be to establish BFRB Dogs as an LLC in the state of New Hampshire (for-profit endeavor; $100).
As the next chunk of funds are raised, I’ll submit a trademark application for the company name (about $1,000).
Why are you launching for-profit and not non-profit?
This is an excellent question and one that deserves attention. The short answer: there’s a lot more red tape involved in setting up a non-profit, which would actually delay my goal of helping dogs help people with body-focused repetitive behaviors, like skin picking and trichotillomania.
I’m already so familiar with the for-profit sphere, and I know how to raise money online with my background in digital marketing (you can look at my experience on my personal LinkedIn). And to be brutally honest, at this stage, I don’t want to spend time writing non-profit grant proposals when I could be using my strengths to build effective digital ads, blow up social media, optimize my website to snipe attention, and/or promote on podcasts to raise funds instead. Grassroots.
Work to your strengths and do what you love, right?
Speaking of love and passion, I started this project because I wanted to provide another resource for people with dermatillomania, hair pulling, etc. I’ve already talked about in my experience with skin picking, treatment options have been hard to come by.
That means access to BFRB Dogs is truly important to me, and I do NOT plan on charging $20,000 per dog or something. It can’t be free, because as you’ll see, there are more expenses involved, and unfortunately, I’ve never won the lottery (there was that $4 once). I’ll talk about the cost of getting a BFRB Dog later, when I reach that stage in the project (hang tight). Just remember: this project is for all of YOU! 🙂
What’s coming for BFRB Dogs?
Here’s how I have the project phases laid out, with (estimated) costs, basically in chronological order (also generally outlined on my GoFundMe campaign):
PHASE 1A: BFRB DOGS LAUNCH
$220 – logo design for BFRB Dogs
- $264 – annual website hosting cost (WordPress)
- $0 – optimize BFRBDogs.com website
- $3,500 – service dog training education (for myself, for you)
- $100 – establish LLC for-profit business in New Hampshire
- ~$1,000 – trademark BFRB Dogs and BFRB Stories podcast (see below) with logos
PHASE 1B: PROMOTION & PODCAST
- TBD – social media promotion
- $85 – annual BFRB Stories podcast hosting fees
- This podcast will help promote the project and also provide an additional resource for the BFRB community. More on this in the next post in the series, It’s All Dog Business: But Actually Here’s A Podcast
- ~$140 – BFRB Stories podcast logo (in progress)
$140 – initial podcasting equipment investment
- ~$1,000 – initial swag investment (merchandise) to sell, including design costs
PHASE 2: THE DOGS
- TBD – raise/evaluate, train and place the first 3-5 dogs with BFRB partners (and really elaborate on this)
- TBD – develop cost structure
PHASE 3: SCALE DOG PLACEMENT — NON-PROFIT
- $425 – create separate nonprofit entity (in New Hampshire) to certify other dog trainers
- TBD – develop training program for established dog trainers to become certified in BFRB service dog training
- TBD – recruit additional dog trainers willing to specialize in this cause
Still intrigued? Stay tuned for details on Phase 1B (podcast) in the second post in this series (the podcast).
Thanks for your support to help me make this happen!