I had the pleasure of meeting Kandice Marks when she attended the Run Wild Trail Running and Wellness Retreat in Colorado in August 2011. In fact, the retreat was a birthday gift from her husband (what a guy!).
During the retreat, Kandice, a stay-at-home-mom, spoke about her dreams of starting a business that let her be home with her young son, work part-time with a flexible schedule and run daily. A few months after the retreat, Kandice had made her dream come true by starting Run Champ, a dog-exercise business in her home town of Las Vegas, Nevada. Here’s how she did it:
Kandice Marks: Run Champ is a business I started a few months ago to address the problem of dog obesity. The idea came to me one day while watching TV when I saw a commercial for a dog diet package, sort of a “Jenny Craig for dogs.” Discovering that dog obesity was a big problem inspired the idea that I could run with dogs.
Knowing how well running helps people lose weight, I figured it must help dogs lose weight, too! My two dogs run with me regularly and my vet often compliments me on their great condition.
RWR: Do you take dog owners running as well?
KM: For dog owners who also want to start running, Run Champ offers a fantastic eight-week Mutts & Masters program, in which we train you and your dog to be lifetime running partners and to get healthy together.
We encourage people to run with their own dogs, but many people are just too busy or are unable due to handicaps or age, in which case, we take their pooch for a 30-minute to one-hour run.
RWR: Why did you start your own business?
KM: I used to work in human resources before I became a stay-at-home mom (my son is now 4). I want to always be home when my son is home, but very few companies offer the flexibility and part-time schedule I would want. Besides, the prospect of going back into an office for eight hours a day made me miserable. I wanted to do something active involving fitness and thought that personal training would be the right career for me.
RWR: What does running mean to you?
KM: When I need time to think, I go out for a long run, and when I’m upset I run fast and hard. I love to run and couldn’t imagine my life without it.
Speaking to everyone got me so excited about my idea that I went into my room, closed the door, got out a paper and pen and emerged hours later with a business plan.
If it wasn’t for going to this retreat and meeting all these incredible people, I would still be trying to figure out if starting Run Champ was something I could even do.