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EpisodesGuest InterviewSeason 3

Your Dog Knows How To Set Boundaries

Episode 49 | January 9, 2024

Denise Heroux, The Ambitious Groomer, talks about long term business success, setting boundaries with the same ease as your dog, and prioritizing what is important to YOU.

Join us with Denise Heroux, successful business owner who has accepted the life of teetering (giving more to something one day and something else the next) talks about setting boundaries and goals to give yourself balance.


Welcome to “That’s a Hard No”the podcast about learning to say no and set boundaries to live our best lives. 

Follow along with me as we learn from fellow strugglers and experts, so that you too can start saying no without feeling fear, guilt, or FOMO. 


Denise Heroux, The Ambitious Groomer, has been in the grooming industry since 1997, is an educator and speaker, and owns Awesome Paws Pet Salon; a Cleveland-based chain with 3 locations with active plans for expansion. While managing all locations and a staff of over 25 employees, she has learned the importance of setting boundaries to create a thriving business and healthy environment for her team and customers alike. She shares her expertise to support other business owners in finding success.
Key Takeaways

[00:02:13] Challenges of being a business owner and managing a team

  • Keeping up with the times
    • Everchanging demands from society
  • Remaining transparent but not oversharing
  • Learning to lead your team during transition and growth
  • Remembering you are the entrepreneur, your staff doesn’t have the same constant thought about the business as you do
  • Learning when and how to communicate to your team

[00:05:40] Managing employees from different generations

  • Teaching employees to relate to each other
  • Slowing down, taking the time to explain
  • Doing your best to understand your employees and their strengths/weaknesses
  • Give people support and direction where they excel
  • Educating on communication according to the recipient

[00:12:37] Where do your priorities lie?

  • Building a foundation and setting goals/plans
  • Deciding what is most important and choose items accordingly
  • Instead of – yes to everything, say yes to what works
  • What have you had to say no to?
    • Networking
    • Co-projects
    • Scaling before having a plan in place
    • Grand ideas – pulling these apart to digestible pieces

[00:13:39] Not being afraid to communicate limitations to clients/customers

  • Keep your team on the same page and consistent with all expectations
  • Communicate and often having specific details in writing (a place to refer to)
  • Create structure, default to managers
  • Prioritizing quality over delivery

“People are the ones that I’ve been conditioned to be like, please trample all over the boundaries. I don’t care. I want you to like me. But not dogs, not cats, not other animals.”

[00:20:45] Balancing the demands of business ownership and personal life

  • Removing people pleasing from your life
  • Trying to recognize when you are doing too much
  • Listen to those you trust
  • Utilize your time in a way that makes you feel productive
  • Get space, take a breath, make room to organize your thoughts
  • Revaluate priorities
  • It’s okay for things to be tiered
    • Life overruns sometimes
    • Business overruns sometimes

[00:24:17] Practicing self-forgiveness and letting go of guilt

  • Counterbalance – similarly, realizing that some days things will have more of your time and energy than others, and that can still count as balance

“I feel guilt if I’m not working, and then I feel guilt if I am working. You just can’t win. And for me, I have to just let that go. I just have to let it go.”

  • Learning about teetering, the back and forth

[00:30:46] Business focus

  • Staying proactive, not reactive
  • Traveling and taking on more once with structure
  • Wanting more is just as good as feeling as though you have enough
  • Finding what you actually want

“Yes. It doesn’t have to be big and grand and huge gestures. It really is just those little things that keep your spark going.”

“Learn from my mistakes and go make your own. Make your own new mistakes.”

Where to Find Denise
Credits and Thanks
  • Many thanks to our friends and families (our “villagers”) for listening, and for your continued support.
  • That’s a Hard No is a production of Clever Girl Marketing
  • Marketing and Production Coordinator, Maura Del Rosario
  • Production Support, Evergreen Podcasts, Noah Foutz, Producer
  • New Rock Anthem Music: Written by Noah, and performed by his band, The Big Leagues
  • Videographer, Kae Holmberg