As I sat in the third row in church Sunday morning, I had an expectation in my heart that God would speak to me through my pastor.
Pastor Marty was on fire that morning. As she preached, she moved across the room with exuberance.
“This is your year!” She was boisterous. “2006 is your year! God is going to inspire you to start a business!”
My heart rate soared. I felt inspired. I had just spent three years in the active duty Army as a veterinary technician and was now a cadet in the Green-to-Gold program at the University of Louisville. In that moment, this prophecy entered my mind and dropped into my heart. Yes, I would start a business. I just didn’t know when or how.
Later that year, one of the brothers at the church stopped by the house and told me that he was going to be managing a coffee shop that Pastor Marty planned to open.
“Wow, that’s really great,” I said. “We could use something like that around here. I used to work at Panera Bread before I was in the Army.”
“Wow,” said Felix. “Are you looking for work? We could use your experience.”
At the time, I wasn’t actively seeking work. “I will think about it.”
Not long after that discussion, I applied and became an assistant manager at the coffee shop.
I still believed that I was to start a business. The fact that my pastor opened the coffee shop only fueled my desire to start something of my own.
With the year nearly over, I sat down at my computer. It was an old desktop computer with a tower case and a CRT monitor. I logged onto the internet and searched for business start up ideas in Google.
I found my way to Entrepreneur Magazine‘s web site. The page was organized by industry. When I saw the pet businesses heading, I clicked through to the next page. I was shocked to find in big bold letters:
YOU COULD BE A PROFESSIONAL POOPER SCOOPER
In an instant, my mind flashed back to my arrival at the Osan Air Base Veterinary Clinic in South Korea. My sergeant commanded me to clean up waste from the outdoor dog run along the side of our building between the two entrances. We often let the stray dogs out into this run during the day to showcase them in hopes of getting them adopted.
Then, I saw the stray animal facility inside the Fort Knox Veterinary Treatment Facility at my last active duty station. The vet techs participated in an on-call rotation. During our rotation, we were responsible for cleaning up the waste in the dog and cat kennels at the stray facility.
Then, I remembered a time when the MPs asked me to accompany them to a soldier’s home. They were investigating a possible animal neglect case and wanted an expert opinion. When we arrived at the housing area, I observed large amounts of dog waste in the yard and the dog was tied-out to a tree. Both of these instances were direct violations of Army regulation.
Then, I recalled a parvo outbreak that seemed to come out of the Van Voorhis housing area. All evidence pointed to soldiers’ failure to clean up after their dogs.
All of this flashed before my mind in a matter of seconds. I realized, this is what I was called to do. Nobody likes cleaning up after their dogs, nobody likes stepping in dog waste, and I had plenty of experience cleaning up after animals.
The only problem…
I didn’t know anything about business.