Today’s guest came all the way from across the pond to become a local business owner. But she didn’t stay satisfied as a local business owner for long. She’s now a global online entrepreneur. And she’s got a topic that really hits a soft spot for me. If you’ve listened to any of the past shows, you hear me talk about my dog, and you know my love for animals in general. So today, we’re going to talk with Julie Naismith, who has not only a pro program for dog trainers, but even a membership program for dog owners whose dogs are suffering from separation anxiety. So before I babble on for too long, Julie, welcome.
Julie Naismith 0:47
Thank you so much, Barb. It’s great to be here.
It’s a pleasure to have you here. Yes. So tell us a little bit about how did you go from being a local business and they think you were a dog trainer to now training folks from around the world?
Julie Naismith 1:03
Do you think it might, it might think back to my, my career before as a dog trainer, so dog training is career 2.0. For me before that, I work for a global company as a management consultant. So I can only have had the view of the world that I had that sounds really highfalutin, but basically, I was used to working in different countries. But and also, I live in a really small town. So combination of having seen the possibilities of you know, I’m comparing myself to a 40,000 person management consulting firm. Yes,
Julie Naismith 1:35
I was used to working globally, then I moved to a beautiful small town, which I love. And then where you’re limited with the local business, and you know how passionate I am about local, I’m always telling my trainers about local business. But so then I thought, Okay, so how can I make this business grow? I’ve got to go beyond where I live, and then that becomes Canada, then that becomes, hey, well, why don’t we just like, look and see whether we can get people in the UK or the US? And obviously, because I’m from the UK had a ton of connections there, too. So that’s kind of how it happened. It was necessity. I thought I’d be exciting to do it that way.
Exactly. And you know, sometimes, if you don’t try and do something you never actually know if you can. And I think that’s one of the things that a number of local businesses get they they reach that finish line, or they reach that line where they go, Oh, if I cross this line, then I’m not local anymore. And I think many businesses can succeed by stepping over that line getting out of their comfort zone. Now, you and I talked a little bit before we got started today, when you launched your online program, it was right around the same time as COVID. Can you tell us that story?
Julie Naismith 2:44
Yeah, well, so 12 months? Well, 13 months ago, and I had had it all planned and all mapped out and then you know, kept listening on the news. It’s like, Okay, what is this COVID thing? That’s sort of February. Okay, I’m supposed to be launching in March, but time will just keep going. And then was it March 12, the World Health Organization declared the pandemic and everybody just went up for all that didn’t?
Julie Naismith 3:10
I just thought, well, there’s no way I can continue on with this for so many reasons, like who’s going to want to buy anything now who’s going to be to fine? I actually felt really icky as well, Bob, about selling at that point. Who am I to be putting offers in front of people when they’re, you know, just worried about where they’re going to get loo paper from tomorrow, but you didn’t feel like the right climate to be selling him? Luckily, I did have a fantastic bunch. And I still do have accountability partners who will work in the online space. Yeah. They said, just go for it. Even if people are ready to buy and they want to buy, they’ll appreciate you. And if not, then they’re locked out that week and you know, go lighter, maybe then you would have been if that’s what you feel comfortable about in the launch.
Julie Naismith 3:54
Yeah. So I did. I did it. And I I was just telling you wasn’t I had all these webinars or numbers, tons of people books, but nobody turning up. And that is not like me on my webinars. I get really good show up, right? Because everybody’s watching the news. Like what’s happening? You know what, which lockdown is? Yes, the war that was going on? But anyway, I’m so glad I did it. Because it turns out, there were some people who thought, right, well, I can’t go out. What am I going to do with the next two or three months? Hey, I’ll take an online course.
Yes. And you heard those stories. So often, you heard stories of people who were you know, they wanted to learn, they wanted to improve themselves. They wanted to grow their business. And, you know, it was kind of this time period where we could we were locked in anyway. So what could we do to improve, you know, things around us? And I heard wonderful stories of you know, people learning languages, and you know, people taking these courses. I used to laugh because I said, Well, my kids did wonderful. They learn to bake. The problem is I ate!
Julie Naismith 4:57
Now I’m paying for it.
Exactly for two or three months, my kids baked every single day, it was just like, Oh my goodness.
Julie Naismith 5:07
You got all the baking powder in the end!
Yes, yes, I was totally the flour shortage. I was looking after Western Canada.
Julie Naismith 5:17
Just to add actually about this horrible feeling of why am I doing this? Now this is ridiculous. So I help trainers and owners get dogs over separate anxiety. Separation Anxiety is a condition that manifests when people leave the house. So I offer this thing that people need when they go to work. Okay, so who is going to be interested in separation anxiety training right now? No one. And interestingly, that did actually pan out with my own emember owner clients, okay, weren’t going in separation as it is the last thing on their mind. I have a book, my programs and book sales work, boom, in March in April in May.
Julie Naismith 6:00
We’ll come on to I’m sure what happened after that. But for the trainers, it’s like, Okay, well, I’ve always wanted to learn about this. And as you said, I’ve got some time to do it. And thankfully, they did. Because my own and I just go, I don’t need to train my dog to be home alone, because he isn’t gonna be exactly.
But don’t you think when we when we truly come out of this, don’t you think there’s going to be an overwhelming demand for your knowledge, because dogs have not been by themselves for two years.
Julie Naismith 6:27
Started in June, as soon as any restriction was, was loosened anyways, it went like this, because, you know, even if you weren’t going back to work, or back to the office, they were now allowed to go and you know, depending on where they were to do things to do to socialize again. And we’ve seen that, you know, ebb and flow for the last 10 months, I’m going,
Yes, our dog doesn’t have separation anxiety, and we’ve never had any problems with him that way. But what’s interesting is when we leave him now, like he’s just crushed, like, What do you mean, you’re leaving me You never leave me?
Julie Naismith 7:02
Well, or equally, when you go, I thought you always took me with you. Because one of the pieces of advice, certainly in the UK, people were getting was you can only go out once a day to exercise. So people are walking their dogs, like, I got my exercise. And then my dog gets a bike. That was the only thing they were doing. So the dogs are all going great every time you go out the door come with you. And then they’re like, whoa, wait a minute, I think you might have forgotten me. There were lots of crazy things going on. And it was just like a, you know, I look back and think I was that close to not doing it like that close, not launching, but I so glad I did.
So hindsight hindsight, it was 110% the right thing for you, wasn’t it?
Julie Naismith 7:40
But you were talking earlier, think about trying things and he’ll know me well enough by now. I try lots of things I really do. And I fail a lot. But I am one of those people that believes that, you know, trying, and failing is the way that you find the things that work in this in this world.
That’s right. Yeah. You know, I think you told me one time and maybe I’m asking a question I’d returned here. But what originally brought you to Canada?
Julie Naismith 8:05
Adventure. It’s like, yeah, yeah, we just wanted to do something different and living in a different country is I mean, it’s so different from traveling, it challenges you in a whole different way. We live in a country that seems kind of similar. So we wanted to do something, you know, that challenged us.
Yes, exactly. So it lay person like what is dog separation anxiety. I used to be a member of your group, and I heard lots of the story, but let’s explain it for everybody else. What is it?
Julie Naismith 8:35
It’s a condition which about 20% probably more now of dogs have. And two things are going on. We can’t exactly diagnose because they can’t tell us but either they have some dogs have a morbid fear, they have enormous phobic response to being alone. They just cannot handle it. And other dogs just get really frustrated that you didn’t take them with you. Yeah, for the most part. It’s a fear of being isolated.
Julie Naismith 9:00
So it’s that first category could be genetics, it can be any life experiences, it can be dogs that have just never learned how to be alone. Because the thing is, and you know, if you haven’t got a dog, or even if you have you might think that’s ridiculous. Why on earth would a dog struggle with being alone? Because if we look at the history of the domestication of dogs, we spent 30,000 years selecting and breeding dogs who want to be with us. We have chosen traits in dogs. That’s all that are all about affiliation to humans.
Julie Naismith 9:30
Dogs are used to hanging out with other dogs. The pack theory not so much. But dogs do form dyads they form connections and so that day we get the puppy on the Friday we go to work on the Monday, the puppy goes, What just happened that’s around and they can have we do know that genetics is passed out that fear is passed down genetically with these dogs. So some of them come hardwired to be frightened to being alone. We just need to teach them that it’s okay Simple as that. Okay, forget Is that?
Right? So it’s almost a safety thing then to like I try to, you know, think about kids. And lots of kids nowadays have anxiety. And it’s usually tied to fear, security and safety. So they do feel safe in their environment.
Julie Naismith 10:14
Yeah. And it’s actually, there are some analogies to separation anxiety and kids. You know, it sounds. I know, some people would think that that’s ridiculous. How can dogs and children have the same conditions? Well, because you know, brains work in a very similar way. And so there are some similarities. And interesting you said, these days. I just think that kids probably have always had this. And also probably had, this always had this, we’re just more aware of neuroscience now. And the fact that brains don’t always work the way they should.
Exactly. Or they work the way they should. But it’s okay, that we’re all different.
Julie Naismith 10:50
Yeah, yeah, that’s true. That’s true. But then some people I think, do struggle more in ways that can be helped.
Yes, yeah, absolutely. Yep. I think back to, you know, when I would have been in elementary school, or in high school, if you had anything that was different, yeah. You know, like you were segregated, you were were put off aside. And I remember one time explaining this to my kids, because they’re in a very integrated school and a very integrated classroom. And I remember having this conversation with them about a couple of the kids in their class would regularly have seizures, yeah, and fit to anger and different things that were happening in their lives. And when I was in school, those kids would have had their own classroom, they would have been segregated. So we explained this to the kids, one of them, just a general conversation about how things have changed. My kids were mortified, you absolutely agast that we used to treat kids this way. And of course, as a child at the time, you don’t know any different, right? And so we see how all of this is changing is
Julie Naismith 11:56
A good point. And now we know that it isn’t normal for people to suffer from mental health conditions. There are things we can do to help people it doesn’t have to be suffering. Silence. So yeah, I’m with you.
Yes. And you know, the funny thing is, so here we are comparing, you know, but yet we’re isolating ourselves right now. Yeah, it’s so tough on all of our mental health.
Julie Naismith 12:16
It’s so is and how many people are saying you see articles in the newspaper all the time saying, I forgotten how to socialize. So you know, we’re all gonna go through it to a degree.
Yeah, exactly. Well, and it’s funny because I have a girlfriend who used to work in radio, and she always, you know, kind of jokes. She hated hugging like, hey, did hugging you people touched her. She was one of those people, if you like, right now. Oh, yeah. She’s like, I just want to warn you when COVID done, like, I’m a hugger.
Julie Naismith 12:43
You don’t know what you got till it’s gone.
Yes, exactly. So let’s talk a little bit about your owner membership program first, and then we’ll talk about your trainer program. So just quickly tell us about the program. And you know, how, how do you support all of those owner members, because I presume that there’s probably a lot,
Julie Naismith 13:03
Yeah, they work away on training. So any dog training, you can, you can hire a trainer to come to your home, or you can go to a class, we’re separate as a trainer, because training because we’re trying to teach dogs to be home alone, the trainer shouldn’t come to your home, because it’s not going to be home alone. So it lends itself to an online training method. And what my owners do is, rather than have one to one support, you know, one zoom with a private trainer, they get support from me and my team. So we give them you know, classic stuff, they have videos to follow, they actually have a really cool custom app, but that’s something you know, completely different. And they’ve got a great supportive Facebook group, and they get lots of support from my pro trainers who are now moderators in that group. So it’s, I want to work on my own, but I need a little bit of help. That kind of membership.
Yeah, until they would hop into the group. And they would say, Okay, what do I do? This is what Charlie’s doing today. And yeah,
Julie Naismith 13:59
When you have a look at this video of what he did, what did you think? And so they get expert advice, but they don’t have to pay for one to one training, which can be expensive, but have great value.
Yes, exactly. Definitely. Okay, and then how does that parlay into the pro trainers program? Because if they’re in your group as well, and they’re supporting folks, so how does that work?
Julie Naismith 14:19
I realized when I actually I kept getting asked because I wrote a book a few few years back about separation anxiety, and lots of people said to me, oh, you should teach trainers how to do this. Because whatever reason lots of trainers will deal with lots of complex behaviors and dogs but hate separation anxiety. So I’m not sure I’m not sure which is why the the course came about last year because people kept saying, Oh, you should do it, you should do it. And I thought okay, 2020 is the year to do it.
Julie Naismith 14:43
So, so I teach them my third eye and it’s not my method is based on the science is based on how we get any brain to overcome a fear. So we teach them teach the dog gradual exposure to the thing that scared off but in tiny amounts. The best analogy is to think about something like getting over fear of heights. Or if there are spiders, you just you go in gradual, gradual steps until you can deal with a full blown version of the thing that scares you. So I’ve taught my trainers, not just that, but how to engage with clients, how to get them through a very difficult training protocol, how to use technology to support that, how to find clients online, which you and I talk about, because you have brilliant component in the course. So it’s how to run, how to be successful separations, it trainer, the whole thing.
You know what, you just totally made it click for me. So I am totally afraid of heights, like don’t be afraid of heights. And as I get older, that height, or that fear gets worse and worse, like so. turn that into a dog. Well, they might be a little bit nervous when mom and dad leave in the beginning. As I get older, it gets worse and worse until it gets to a point where, okay, I’m the owner, I either need to surrender my dog, I need to find a trainer that can help. And do you think that as a pet parent do they recognize my dog has separation anxiety? Or do they recognize the destructive behavior? And do the research to realize oh, this is separation anxiety? How does that work? Do you think?
Julie Naismith 16:16
I it’s changing so when I look back on my childhood, I now hindsight 2020 vision, I’m sure that we had a dog then who had separation is that Id 10 years ago, my dog, my dog then develop separation anxiety. I wasn’t Charlton years ago talking about another dog now. And he I didn’t really know I think I’d heard the term. That’s kind of what catapulted me into dog training was we had this thing and knowing you had to fix it. Now people are much more aware, which is great. I think because people are much more aware that dogs can any sentient being can suffer with issues related to fear. In fact, fear is a natural state for animals, that’s kind of how they are.
Its a mechanism to for them, isn’t it?
Julie Naismith 16:59
Yeah, it’s better to assume that the lions gonna eat you and be scared of it than think the lions your best friend, and you get eaten for lunch. So, so I think people are much more aware. And now, the last 12 months, or certainly last six months, every single day, there seems to be a new article and separations it. So people are much more aware. And I do see that it helps them when I use that analogy that we’re using the exact same scientific approach. And it’s been tested on people and on animals, to help them get over something that they’re scared of. So for you if I wanted to help you, you know, if you went to see, so I need to get over a fear of heights, they could say, Okay, what you’re gonna do is you’re going to climb to the top of this tower, you’re just going to do it, Bob gets to the top, you’re going to tell yourself, you’re going to be fine. And that can work. But it comes with massive risk. You might freak out so badly. You never even want to go up a set of stairs again.
Julie Naismith 17:52
When you’re at the top, you have to have counseling and help that makes you go Okay, fine. I got to the top and I got down and I survived. And we can’t do that with dogs because they can’t do the rationalization, but they can’t do that. Oh, I was exposed at full, you know, full force to the thing that scared me and I’m fine. So we use the other version, which people with fear of heights we do is like you step on, you know something a foot high. How do you feel about Yeah, I’m great. Okay, now we’ll go two feet, maybe we’ll go five feet. And every time you’re okay, you got to move on.
So okay, so that’s really interesting. Just a really quick story. Before my husband and I got married, we traveled down to the states and we went to Yellowstone National Park. And somewhere in the park, there’s this great big, like, I want to say wire metal staircase, right until the staircase goes up and up and up. If I was to do that exact same staircase in the Calgary tower, which is enclosed, perfectly fine with the fact that I could see through this middle staircase, my just talking about it, my palms are sweaty, like that’s how it kicks in.
So I could see through this staircase, so we’re going back up, I’ve made it all the way to the bottom, that was the easy part. And the top is now actually ground level. So I’m not crawling up into a height, okay? But we’re on the way back up and the staircase is very narrow. It’s meant to be one person at a time. So I’m walking up, I’m moving my hands up the, you know, one step at a time. And I must have been falling behind for my husband’s liking, because he kind of prodded me from behind and just like Hurry up, hurry up, because there was people behind him. He remembered turning around and like just being like, like, just Medusa gonna, like like, Do not touch me. The guy behind him goes, Oh, I wonder if that wedding is gonna work out.
Julie Naismith 19:46
Right? He’s it was just did you use this third head and you’re like to not touch me?
Julie Naismith 19:54
And like even now if I watch a show Where they’re like cliff diving, my palms will start to sweat. We were watching something not too long ago with the kids. And yeah, they were just fascinated by it. And I like had to turn away. I’m like, No, I’m good. Yeah, look at it.
Julie Naismith 20:15
Yeah. And that is the The only real, like fear or phobia i have i’ve never fallen from a height. I have no rational explanation for it. But guess if I’m in a building, I go all the way up no problem.
Julie Naismith 20:34
And sometimes we just don’t know why and why doesn’t always help us anyway, if we know what helps people to get over it or dogs to get over their fear. We just do that rather than constantly trying to work out why so? Yeah. So I think people are more aware of this stuff. Now, for all the reasons that you’ve just been talking about there. We understand phobias, we understand that fear is a natural state. And we understand that dogs have brains to good chance that they’re going to be frightened and stuff. Exactly.
So you mentioned a couple of times that you wrote a book. So talk a little bit about this book that you’ve written, what inspired you and and I really have to, like, I just I so admire that the thought of writing a book, even though I love to write, she’s like, Oh, my God no.
Julie Naismith 21:15
So what made you do that? Well, um, do you all know, this audience is all entrepreneurs, isn’t it? write a book, write a book, just write a book? Because I wrote it. I thought it would, I thought it would do two things I thought would be good for my business. I thought it would help lots of people. So you know, 10 years ago, when I was really struggling, my husband and I really struggling with actually it’s this guy. Okay, picture my dog behind. There we go. So we, we felt really isolated, we felt really alone, it was really difficult to get good information. So my model has always been get information out to as many people as possible, in an affordable way away as possible. And that’s a book, you know, it doesn’t get much more affordable than that.
Julie Naismith 22:02
And some people will say to me, like my trainers, for example, today, well, why would anybody come and work with me? They will say, why would anybody come work with me, Julie, when they could buy your book? Well, because some people buy the Diet book. Some people go to Weight Watchers, some people hire a nutritionist, you know, there is some product for everybody, depending on what they want. So, you know, the book doesn’t stop people getting private training. In fact, it opens the door to it. So but but now having written it and seeing the comments on it, and how it is changing people’s lives, it just fills my heart. And that’s why I’m writing writing a second one. And then that’s coming out in June. And then there’s a third one in the pipeline that’s coming out in January, I finished the first book in 2019, saying that’s it. I’m never writing a book again. But there you go. I’ve obviously forgotten the pain.
Julie Naismith 22:57
There you go. But no, it’s not as, it definitely isn’t as daunting as I thought it was going to be. And I just use tips and tricks like, you know, 1000 words a day, or 500 words a day. If you think about it, and cork boarding. So you just like that’s how we work in our business. We have a board full of ideas. Pick a post it note write about it. Don’t think I’m writing my book today. So do everybody if you’ve got a book, or even the idea of book, do it.
How long did it take you to write?
Julie Naismith 23:26
The first one’s about two years? second one’s been about well, it’s practically finished now. I started it in October.
Oh, wow. Okay, and how many words if when you think about words per day, how many words would be in the average size book?
Julie Naismith 23:42
Um, for nonfiction e type book, you’re looking at about 60 to 80,000 words. So does not many days to get that that number of words, if you just sit down and take half an hour in the morning, and don’t edit just right, just right, right? You know that you know, that roll, and then we’re about editing, get yourself a really good book coaching and get that Oh, and so the other thing is I did indie publishing, self publishing a few years back was seen as the poor relation now honestly, unless you are, you know, Donald Miller, or you know, Marie Forleo, and you’ve got a seven figure book deal. Indie publishing is the way to go. You’re in control, you can get the best cover cover designers. You can get the best editors, it’s a very different world. So do it. Do it. Do it. Do it, Barb, I know you’ve got a copy. You know, I
Honestly, I don’t mind doing the videos and stuff. But I don’t think I have a book in me. I have no at this point in time. I have no burning desire to write a book myself changes. So quick. True. Yeah, would be out of date. By the time I hit Publish.
Julie Naismith 24:45
That is such a good point. Because the next book that’s coming out in January is going to be a trainer handbook. And I’m like, Oh, do I put any of this marketing e stuff in? Well, the hat stuff is gonna be like you say in six months, it’s going to be out of date. So I get you. I hear you. Exactly.
Yeah. So we are almost at a time we mean under so lapped I know it goes so quick. Um, tell folks how they can find you which websites which social media how do we find you?
Julie Naismith 25:11
Yeah, so they can check out my website sub threshold training, which is my company name for now. I’m rebranding this. Yeah, subthresholdtraining.com. And I’m really big on Facebook. That’s my social, my big social channel. So, Julie Naismith is my sub threshold training is my Facebook page. And I’ve got a big Facebook group. So if you’ve always got separation anxiety, and you want to hang out with me, that’s where you can find me.
Awesome. So and if I recall correctly, the there’s a group that you can join for free,
Julie Naismith 25:40
Yes. Free group on Facebook, just put separation anxiety group on Facebook and you’ll see my group pop up.
Okay, that sounds awesome. So thank you so much for being here. Julie. It was a pleasure to talk with you. I know we get to talk quite often, but it’s nice to have you on the podcast. If you’d like to be a guest on the show, you can email me at Barb at Googlegirl.ca or reach out on Facebook and Instagram at abovethefold.ca. Just a reminder, you can even submit questions in advance of our show just on our Facebook page. I’m your host Bob McGrath, local business owner and Google girl. Remember, you were charged for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.
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Local Business Owner to global entrepreneur…
Today’s guest, Julie Naismith, hails from across the pond and came to Canada for “adventure.” She got a little more than she bargained for when she chose 2020 to launch her online business. While many entrepreneurs pulled back during the pandemic, Julie forged ahead and says, she’d do it all over again.
Tune in to learn about her journey from authorship, to being a trainer and now an entrepreneur who sees mistakes and failure as a sign that success is on the horizon.
Connect with Julie @ SubThreshold Training
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