Promoting your business can feel like a full time job along with creating your product or delivering your service.
And imagine what it might be like if you had TWO businesses to think about?
This week’s podcast guest is Louise Humphrey from Paws4Running and Studio 44 Pilates and that’s exactly what she does.
Two sets of social media, newsletter subscribers, websites and communities, plus a podcast and lots more.
Louise takes it all in her stride and in this episode we chat about how she juggles this, and the impact of raising her profile on both of her businesses.
You can listen in on the player link below or read the key points covered as a blog post.
Hi Louise, tell me about your different businesses?
“I have two businesses, one is Studio 44 pilates, where I teach Pilates for runners and have an online membership.
“And I also have Paws4Running which is my local Canicross business that I run in Leicestershire.
“I have a podcast, Canicross Conversations where we talk about running and dog behaviour and health, with runners and guest experts.
“I co-host it with another instructor Michelle Mortimer, and we love doing it. We’ve learned so much and it’s so inspiring.”
Tell us about your background and how you came to be in the pet industry?
“I’ve worked in health and fitness all my life, I started off as the Harrods tennis racket stringer – my claim to fame is that I strung Roger Moore’s tennis racket!
“I’ve always run on and off since my 20s and I’ve had dogs all my life, my last dog didn’t like to run too much.
“But my Labrador, Pickle, has a very high prey drive, she failed gun-dog school and as soon as she gets a scent she’s off!
“So my idea of nice long walks in the countryside was shattered but then I found Canicross on Twitter.
“I went for a taster session and loved it. I started racing, and then I had a lightbulb moment and thought, ‘I can do this alongside my Pilates for Runners.’”
How do your two businesses fit together?
“I see a lot of people running with their dogs, holding the leads or with waist belts on which can be really bad especially if they have strong pulling dogs.
“So I try to encourage people to come for an hour taster session.
“I offer ‘kit try on’ sessions and teach them the basic commands for Canicross in a safe way. Then we do courses together, such as couch to 5k.
“I’ve built up a group of regular social runners, it’s both of the things I love, running and being with my dog.
“I’m the only Canicross instructor in my area – I’m in Leicestershire and people travel to see me.”
Tell me some of the ways you get the word out there about your work?
“I’ve got a website and I blog on that, which is helpful locally but also helps me reach a wider range of people which is really important because I want to be known as expert in my field.
“I’ve also done guest blogs for other people with UK Run Chat, K9TrailTime and other pet industry professionals.
“I’ve been in my local paper a few times with Canicross, I’ve been on the local radio which is really important and I’d love to get into the local magazines.
“I was in Trail Running magazine with a big article on Canicross where I featured on the front page!
“This came from speaking to a local journalist who was a runner. She really wanted to try Canicross but she didn’t have a dog – so I lent her Pickle and she loved it.
“She wrote a huge piece which had my website in and because I had professional photos, we made the front cover! I loved it.
“Because Canicross is still relatively new, the more I can tell people about it, the happier I am!”
What was the impact of getting in the press for your pet business?
“I get so many more enquiries, I had an influx following being in the paper. My website traffic also really increased. You can see the hits.
“Right at the beginning of the first lockdown, I was in the Telegraph for my Pilates business and I got loads of enquiries and new members.
“I became a lockdown hero with Bryony Gordon, and it has such a huge, positive impact. I know I should be doing more and speaking to you, I always come away with ideas.
“Being an expert in different magazines all helps for your credibility, sometimes it might not get results straight away but people see what you’ve done and you reap the benefits.
“I’ve become an ambassador for a chocolate bar company, 80Noir Ultra, I’m their first Canicross ambassador and that’s come from all of the press.”
Can you share any of the other opportunities you’ve had?
“I’m so excited about this – it’s a bit daunting. I had an email out of the blue from Goodwood asking me if I’d like to do a Pilates for Dogs class for Goodwoof dog festival. (It’s happening 28th to 29th May 2022 and you can find out more here.)
“This has all come from what I put out, the press, the social media, it all works together.”
What’s helped with your confidence?
“Imposter syndrome can come into play but if you know what you doing, you’re qualified and know exactly what you do, just go for it.
“Once I get talking about what I love, I can talk for ages. And it does have an impact, if you can get yourself into the press.
“It’s taken me a while to realise that not everyone is what they seem, we all struggle with this, and everyone is going through the same feelings as you.
“Even the journalists you speak to because they have to get the right information from you.
“We all go through doubting ourselves, but my advice is to get yourself out of your comfort zone and just go for it, what’s the worst that can happen? They say no, and that’s ok.”
It’s about being bold, isn’t it? Any tips for people who to get into the press?
“Just get yourself organised. Having been in your membership one of the best things that you taught me is to get my press kit sorted.
“It’s got high-quality photos in and a short bio, so I can reply to journalists quickly when they post a request. It gives a professional-looking and journalists are more likely to speak to you.
“When you’re pitching to stories I would say think about emotional stories that people can understand and connect with.”
Where to find out more about Louise:
Learn about Louise and Canicross: www.paws4running.co.uk
Find out about her Pilates business: www.studio44pilates.com
Tune in to her Canicross podcast: www.canicrossconversations.co.uk
If you enjoyed this episode, you might like In the spotlight with Sarah Jones from My Anxious Dog or In the Spotlight with Katie Gwilt, the Kat Lady