Take The Leap and Join a Start-up: An interview with Ron Iverson at DogSense Unleashed by Mahieu Spaid

How many of us think about starting our own company or leaving our "day job" to join a start-up?  I think a lot of you probably thought about it during your morning commute to work in the plummeting temperatures of Minnesota.  Even in this cold winter climate there are some us who caught the entrepreneur fever.   We asked Ron Iverson, former corporate commuter and manager how he leapt into action.  He was one to brave risk and leave his "day job" for a new start-up, DogSense Unleashed.  This company puts the fun back into training your pet and his new position traded stresses of upper management for "dance breaks" when tensions run high.  How many corporate work places have those?  Join him in this interview as we follow his journey into the start-up world.  

1.  Tell us your name and title in your new role?

Ron Iverson and I am the Marketing/Production Director for DogSense Unleashed.

2.  Tell us more about what your company does?

We provide force free dog training that is simple, effective and fun.  We offer three different products, DogSense Accelerated Daycare Academy (a month long 3 day a week program designed to speed up training results), Personal Training (we come to you to work privately on you and your dogs specific needs), and DogSense Online (a cost effective video subscription service that will walk you through exactly how to train your dog for the behaviors you would like to see in your dog...  launching soon).

3.  What is your role in the start-up and why did you join?

My role is to develop the creative around all of our marketing, keep the website and social media up to date as well as film, edit and direct the online videos.  I will also will be doing face to face marketing to gain more clients. I joined DogSense Unleashed to use all my skills with video and challenge my creative mind.  I feel most alive when I am contributing my creative gifts!  I believe in the expertise of my good friends and partners around providing the best and most effective dog training methods.  It's a blessing to believe wholeheartedly in the services offered.

4.  How did you know it was the right time to take the leap and join?  Is there anything you did to prepare for the job transition?

My frustration level in the corporate life made for a very unhappy boy!  The constantly growing workload and lack of concern for life balance of it's management employees I felt it was time to 'follow my bliss' and take a risk to create a more joyful life.  In discussions with my life partner Dan... we determined we could afford to live on his income until our new company became profitable... and much time will be needed to complete the video library.  We realized we needed to downsize our expenses and luxury lifestyle... it's been a challenge... but one we feel is a great trade off that will create a happier future.

5.  Looking back, is there any advice you would give to someone thinking about doing the same thing?

Be sure you  know what you are getting in to!  You need to understand that the insecurity of when 'profitability' happens in a start up can be stressful... so have a personal plan in place to make sure you can weather any storms.  You have to also understand that much time and effort must be dedicated but in the long term worth it for your personal happiness.  When you are a business owner... there really is no 'down time' during the start up... so make sure you LOVE doing it!

6.  What are some of the ups?

Working from home!  I love my home environment... and now I get to enjoy it's beauty fully!  Emotionally... know I am committed to the product and the value of our philosophy.  I'm working with great friends and learning how to push my learning curve in many ways.  Also... I love working with the dogs... joys surrounds me on a daily basis.

7.  What are some of the downs?

At least for now... the lack of person/person interaction was a rude awakening.  I'm a social animal and have missed the daily contact with the people I loved in my corporate job. Everyday I received affirmation through fun and frolic! Being my own boss was a difficult adjustment as far as self motivation... I have it but felt a little 'floaty' at first when making my own daily goals and follow ups.  It has fallen into place after just about a month... I'm on it!

8.  Are there any resources you would like to recommend for those thinking about creating their own start-up?  (Books, blogs, or things that help you get through your day?)

I've been blessed to be partnered with Jody Karow and Jeannie Bingenheimer that have worked for years in developing their start up plan... and I trust their insights.  We also work collaboratively when differences in opinion/direction arise and eventually come to 'the best' compromise.  If it ever gets to tense.... we crank the music and have a 'Dance Break'!  It's fun.

9.  Any closing comments you would like tell our readers when it comes to being creative?  Anything they would need to know about business that will help them?

Stay open to challenging yourself to be more creative and learning new skills. Learning is key to keep it fresh and rewarding.  Collaboration is key to keeping your creativity fresh and fun.  When in doubt... put your project aside, rest, play games, laugh and love... when you come back to project that answer appears!  I also recommend taking personal time to do spiritual and self discovery work to achieve a healthy life balance contributes to your enrichment and serenity.

I think we could take away some key points in following our passion by listening to people like Ron.  He realized he was "most alive" when he was using his creativity.  Instead of drowning in stacks of reports and a loaded inbox he listened to those feelings.  He also made his own exit plan.  I call this smart action.  While I encourage entrepreneurship and action, I would never encourage mortgaging the house or draining your accounts.  He took what he learned from the corporate world and examined his financials.  Yes, we need to take risk but be smart about it. 

When you can make the final leap, then know there are other people in the community willing to encourage and support you.  There are local meet-up groups for our kind right in the heart of downtown Minneapolis.  You can sing on the way to your meet-up while other people honk their horn in the traffic because they are going to sit at their desk for 9 hours.  You answer to yourself.  This can be our greatest strength and our greatest weakness.  Set scheduled meetings with your team and know just because you joined a start-up doesn't mean you can play all day.  A true entrepreneur might put in more hours than they did before but this time it's not because of the boss above you.  It's because you enjoy what you do.  

Listen to other people who took the journey before you.  As Ron said, challenge yourself, create, learn, and most of all have fun.  That was the point before anyway, wasn't it?  Some of your most creative moments will come from taking a walk down the street, or having a dance break with your new team.  Know your limits and bring balance into your life.  Have your community of fellow minds keep you in check if you feel yourself moving in the wrong direction.  


-Interview by Mahieu Spaid at MahieuStudios.com


We would like to take the time to tell Ron and everybody at DogSense Unleashed, "Thank you!"   We truly appreciate all you had to share in your new endeavor.  Visit at www.DogSenseUnleashed.com or on their Facebook Link (click here).

DogSense Unleashed 

350 University Ave East 

St. Paul MN 55101

Appointments or information at ph: 651-686-9059


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