CEOs / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Colleen Wilson, Founder & CEO of Pets On Q

Colleen Wilson is the founder and CEO of Pets on Q, a socially responsible animal media and booking company.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I always knew I wanted to be in business. I went to a business school ( Bryant University in Rhode Island) and finished early to start working as soon as possible. I got into private mortgage banking in NYC while also building Pets on Q as a part time fun hobby.

Ultimately, by working both, I saved up to be able to make the full time flip to make Pets on Q my full time job. The hobby started as training animals for set work in Manhattan. I saw a niche in animal influencers and started with proof of concept by helping a few influencer animal owners and through word of mouth we expanded.

I am the founder and CEO of Pets on Q. I managed the careers of many influencers until our roster became too big for one person to handle; so then I developed a tech platform to help brands and people looking to hire animal influencers a more streamlined process.

I usually handle the sales for a select few accounts that have been with us a long time, strategic partnerships, and funding of the company while Melissa manages my campaigns and operations.

2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

I am up and start working between 4-6 am so that I can get through as many emails as I can before I get to a to-do list. Most of the mornings start with working on platform bugs and tech issues.

I am always working towards developing a more streamlined process; as a small company that just got a lot of publicity through Netflix, we have a lot of new accounts and brands joining us and my first priority is to always make sure everyone gets a fair shot.

This week, I am speaking at a conference for one of the largest companies in the world, casting for a small TV show and approving animals to be temperament tested for it, while also managing a bunch of campaigns on our team.

I also am about to hit 9 months pregnant, so slowly I am taking time to get my team ready for maternity leave. I don’t think it will last that long without me checking emails and updating something. I have a great team to rely on and I fully trust Mel to step up and handle everything!  

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Pets on Q is a small company and we represent people all over the world. On the daily, we have employees all over the country and set up video calls to all stay on track with tasks and much more.

Everyone pre-COVID had the ability to work from home most of the week (only coming in once or twice). We are a flexible small company so at this time managing a small team is easier and allows for remote working.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

I am a person that has a lot of energy but I do know my limits and sleep a lot. My body, now that it’s super pregnant, will also shut down if I push myself too hard.

Luckily for me, everything we do from emails to working with animals is so fun that it is hard to burn out. Melissa did get me into meditation so I do that a couple times a month and it is so relaxing ( I am still not great at it).

I also take time to spend with my dog, long walks, and spend every weekend with my husband where we do date nights and relax. When I started this company my goal was to change the industry for working animals to make it better and safer. I very clearly saw the path and how it can be easily achieved.

Working with famous animals has taken us to so many great places but it also put me off track in changing the industry or at least made it harder since it took up more of my time. It’s etched into our mission so we are still working to achieve a better and safer environment and have made some major progress in the industry.

I knew that goal was a long term 10 year + time frame, so we have little goals on our mission and business plan that we keep checking off in the meantime.

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

My entire life changed when my husband and I found out we were expecting our first child – my dog actually knew first and that adjusted a lot of little things. I do volunteer with animals and there are some I cannot work with now that I am expecting and have to hire out more jobs.

Also, I have made less dog park trips with Charlie due to COVID and have taken more long walks. I still work a lot and, luckily, not much on that side has changed due to COVID. Actually, we had our busiest year during COVID – even before the show aired!

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I am a big audiobook fan and am almost always listening to a finance or business book (however right now it’s been a lot of pregnancy books and I realized I know too much about business and animals and not enough about what I am about to go through ).

The most fascinating true story that I have ever read was about Sir Ernest Shackleton, called Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage. Even though I read it maybe 20 years ago, I always think about it. I always take something small from each book I read. My lesson from this one is that if he can get through that and keep his crew, I can accomplish anything. 

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

My phone and computer. I am always attached to them for work as well as Spotify and Netflix (I use them on a daily basis!). For products, my dog needs mental stimulation and I have a lot of gadgets to keep him entertained. Also, I could not live without my crock pot. I love to cook!

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?  

Nelson Mandela.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

I strongly recommend having people in your life that remind you about the important things so you don’t get off track. Melissa and my husband are those people for me. Running a company can put a lot of pressure on your body, mind and soul.

There are a lot of good and de-stressors that are built into what we do naturally but everyone needs to be able to take time for themselves, whether it be kickboxing, walking, getting a good night sleep or just fully unplugging.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.