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Entrepreneurs with Disabilities: Strategies for Success

Entrepreneurs with Disabilities: Strategies for Success

Are you an aspiring entrepreneur with a disability? If you are, more than likely you’ve overcome challenges in your life in a unique way. So now that you have the vision and dream of small business ownership, it’s time to tackle the realities of running a small business day-to-day. Here are a few strategies to help your new business achieve lasting success. All these strategies and more are Mark Dogman Castillero approved and he wants to encourage you to live your dream. It’s not without hard work…so grab a cup of coffee and listen up.

Find and Retain Customers

No business can survive without a customer base to keep the cash flowing in. But to be successful today, you need more than a good product and word-of-mouth advertising.

The first thing you should do to market your business is create a solid online presence that’s informative, well-designed, and consistent across platforms. Hire a web designer or use a website builder to develop a mobile-friendly website, cultivate an engaging social media presence, and ensure information like hours of operation is accurate in search engine results.

Craft a succinct elevator pitch that showcases the unique aspects of your business, and pull it out when you’re networking with local business owners and potential clients. Ask customers to post reviews on Google, Facebook, and Yelp, and offer incentives for doing so. If your business relies on local customers, get involved in community events by sponsoring 5K races and children’s sports teams, or setting up a booth with free samples, gifts, or coupons at local events.

Disabled veterans can attract customers by advertising their business as veteran-owned. Depending on the industry, you may also choose to register as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business through the Vets First Verification Program to receive preference for government contracts.

Once you get people in the door, find ways to turn one-time customers into loyal clients. Build client relationships by showcasing the values of your business, like diversity and inclusivity, and showing a genuine interest in your customers. Reach customers at home through email marketing campaigns and blog posts. Blogging gives your customers insight into the workings of your business and develops your authority in the industry. Email marketing lets you offer deals and keep customers up-to-date on your business happenings.

Hire Great Staff

If your business needs employees, take time to find the most talented and enthusiastic people for the job. If you can’t afford to provide benefits like health insurance, find other creative perks to attract quality staff like ample time off, a flexible schedule, and professional development opportunities.

As an entrepreneur with a disability, you may be interested in providing opportunities to other community members living with a disability. Reaching out to a local Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Veteran Integration Center, or disability advocacy organization are great ways to find talented staff looking for a new career. Beyond bringing in creative, motivated employees, hiring staff with disabilities can benefit your business by making it eligible for tax credits and creating a positive, inclusive brand that attracts customers and workers alike. Plus, when you recruit talented, trustworthy staff, you can delegate work so you’re not struggling to manage every aspect of running a small business on your own.

Prevent Burnout

One of the biggest threats to a budding small business is owner burnout. Your business is your brainchild, and you want to be there to manage every detail. But if you’re looking for long-term success, it’s important to take care of your mental and physical health. While this is true for every small business owner, it’s especially true for entrepreneurs with disabilities who have health care needs to attend to.

Manage stress by scheduling downtime into your daily schedule. Carve out 30 minutes to take a walk or practice mindfulness meditation, and set an end time for your workday so you don’t neglect self-care and relationships with others. Acknowledge that some days will be bad days, and take time to rest and recuperate when you need it.

Learn how to let go of complete control and delegate tasks. Create a quality product or service, but avoid getting hung up on perfectionism. The last thing you want is for your small business to become a source of anxiety that exacerbates your disability.

Running a small business isn’t easy, but when you focus on the health of the whole business, not just the bottom line, you can build a strong company that provides a rewarding career for years to come.

Service Dog Training Done Right…and Custom Tailored to the Specific Individual

Service Dog Training Done Right…and Custom Tailored to the Specific Individual
service dog training, disabled persons

Becoming a certified dog and handler takes work…but it’s worth the reward.

Local Animal Expert and Behaviorist DogMan Mark Castillero Helps People Gain their Independence

Independence means different things to different people. For Carol Stoveken, who suffers from post-polio syndrome, it means trusting in a mixed breed rescue dog named Hendrix. Carol, a Connecticut native who transplanted to San Diego due to her disability, is among the estimated 53 million disabled Americans. In the United States, one out of every five adults has a disability, according to a new study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The most common functional disability type was a mobility limitation – defined as serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs.

So, when Carol moved to San Diego’s downtown area some fifteen years ago, she quickly found that she would need the help of a service dog to help with her daily routine and to act as a protector. She had great success with her first service dog, a German shepherd named Barry. Hendrix, like Barry, was service-dog trained by DogMan Mark Castillero, owner of Pro-Train Innovative Dog Training in Vista, California.

service dog training, rescue dog, disability

Hendrix and Carol at the local mall getting ready to pass round two of the exam.

This past Independence Day Weekend, while a majority of Americans were gearing up for a weekend of summer BBQ’s and trips to the beach, Carol and the staff at Pro-Train were at the local mall proving that Hendrix is certified as an official service dog. From simple things like helping grab a shopping cart to riding in the glass elevator, Carol and Hendrix worked hard to pass their final exam with flying colors. And, after roughly two hours of testing, both Carol and her beloved canine had successfully completed the requirements of a certified dog and handler.

“When we found Hendrix at a local shelter, he didn’t respond to a name or any commands,” says Carol. “He’s come a long way in a relatively short time.” Hendrix is approximately 1 year old and was trained for four months as a service dog specifically for Carol by Castillero and his Crew at Pro-Train. “My first dog, Barry, passed at the end of last year and I was heartbroken. But I knew I needed another helper and I knew who to contact.”

service dog training, rescue dog

They passed the exam with flying colors.

service dog training

The Pro-Train Crew says Congratulations to Carol and Hendrix!

Animal Specialist and Behaviorist, Mark Castillero of Pro-Train Innovative Dog Training has trained over 9,000 dogs in his 40-year career. His center specializes in service dog training and will custom-tailor the training specific to the individual. A California State Licensed Guide Dog Instructor, Castillero offers a lifetime guarantee and allows for service dogs to have “brush-up” skills training and recertification of service dogs as required by local and state law.

In fact, on that hot summer day last week, Devora Exline a Navy veteran was having her dog Daffy, an 8 year old golden retriever recertified by the Pro-Train Crew. Devora, who spent 25 years in the Navy and served overseas in Kuwait, suffers from PTSD and other medical issues. Daffy was trained specifically for her Devora’s disability.

“Working with Mark has been a learning experience. Despite his rough exterior, he’s a big teddy bear whose only aspiration is that your working animal does the things that your animal needs for you to do,” said Devora. “I wouldn’t be golfing or surfing or attending my high school reunion had it not been for Pro-Train. I’ve been given me my life back,” she exclaimed.

Do you know of a disabled person who could benefit from a service dog? Pro-Train is a trusted partner of Red Basket, an online fundraising platform that seeks to fully fund individuals with great needs like Carol and Devora. Mark and his team will help the client launch a fundraising campaign, including writing the backstory and including photos.

For more information on service dog training, contact Pro-Train at or call Mark directly on his cell at 760-809-9148.





Summer Camp 2016 at Pro-Train

Summer Camp 2016 at Pro-Train
good dog training

The grass is always greener outside the kennel.

Take me to Summer Camp at Pro-Train!

Take me to Summer Camp at Pro-Train!

Summer is here…and that means many of you will travel. But where will your beloved dog stay while you are away?

Pro-Train Dog School is a great alternative to a traditional boarding kennel.
Your dog will get trained while you are gone…all in a safe and beautiful environment.

Located in beautiful Vista, California, amidst acres of avocado groves, Summer Camp 2016 includes exposure to everyday activities like:

-Play time in the community
-Out and about time in town in shopping centers and other public places
-Social time with other dogs in a natural, outdoor environment

How It Works

We Start with an initial consultation of 1-2 hours to evaluate, train, instruct you and customize a training program for your specific needs.

Your dog stays at our facility for 2-3 weeks. We then schedule training sessions to familiarize you with the techniques used to ensure the dog behaves well for you in your home.


Limited Offer, Limited Spots Available!
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