Ari Ende

Ari Ende

“The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.” ~ Charles de Gaulle

DIEDERIK: So, I’m here with Ari Ende today. Good morning.

ARI: Good Morning.

DIEDERIK: Ari, tell me, what ignited your passion to become a vet, and at what age did you made that decision?

ARI: I made that decision more as a school student. I grew with large farm animals, and we had animals growing up, and I remember my father always commenting on how brave I was with dogs on walks. I’d stick my hands through gates and pat dogs and things like and was never worried about getting bitten. I never really thought of it, it was just something that I did naturally. And when I graduated from school, I was enrolled in electrical engineering, which was more the thing to do rather than what did I want to do. I sat down with my dad before that to try to work out what was a good career plan, and I’ve come from a family of Medicals, and he did his best to talk me out of doing medicine. And he said you got to have a good solid stable job and a good financial career and engineering is the way to go.

So, I left engineering after four weeks realizing very quickly it wasn’t my passion, and at that point I did a lot of soul searching. So, I would have been about 19 or 20 at the time, I took a year off after school and did a lot of soul searching. I actually went and saw some career advisers, and I remember one lady in particular who was the turning point, and I never forget her. After looking through lists and lists of names of things to do, it’s just basically a list of jobs, thinking about what I like the most. Well, the health industry like the medical side of things was obvious, and also, I was passionate for working with animals. And so, it sort of came together then after a sort of well-thought out process rather than just this innate knowledge that I wanted to be a vet. So, it was good, I actually worked towards getting into vet science as a mature age student. It’s a bit of harder career path going that way because it’s harder to get in once you finish your HSC, but I did manage to get in. I finished a science degree first, got in and, so I was basically a professional student for the 90’s, and graduated in 2000 a vet. 

And since there and then, I haven’t really looked back. I’ve had some tough times, but it does really matter]. Although I have had quite key questions along the way, and you’ve got some questions in this interview later on that might address that, about our concerns as we get along.

DIEDERIK: Interesting, thank you.

So, looking back now, what didn’t teach you at Uni that you know now is absolutely crucial to being a successful vet?

ARI: Alright. It’s a really interesting question because I’m not quite sure that this problem of graduating students really changes over time, but I know that they’ve probably tried to address a few things. I graduated 17 years ago, I think things have changed, but when we graduated, we graduated as technicians essentially. We’re trained to be medical technicians. And, the ability to function in the real world when you leave university and put your medical knowledge into real practice in real people’s live, I think that’s not great. What’s important is the effort you put in is what you get out. It’s true for everything. So, when you’re at university, you know, the harder you study, the more you learn, the more your knowledge grows. The medical knowledge is a very, very steep learning curve when you graduate. So, you actually learn a lot more once you graduate, about the medical and technical things because you’re actually applying it. But, what you have to learn on your own is how to actually make that medical knowledge work for your clients and for your patients. Handling animals, handling people’s emotion, more of the communication side of things. What is it really about? Communicating to someone in a consultation, and make those people feel like they’ve actually been heard and getting a good service for that pet. There’s a lot of emotions running high, and it’s one of the scariest things when you graduate, to be thrust into a consult room on your own. Suddenly you’ve got to apply all this knowledge and really, you actually don’t know what you’re doing. The public probably doesn’t want to hear that, but I think it’s true to a large degree.

So, the technical side of things are there, and you can’t teach someone to apply that technical stuff, you have to just learn how to make that work in practice. But, the other side of stuff about working within a business, working with people’s emotion, communicating, that’s really tough to teach, and that’s probably one of the scariest thing.

DIEDERIK: Cool, and the other side of the coin, what did they teach you at vet school that now you know is not true?

ARI: What did they teach that I now know is not true? That one is a harder one, I’m not sure I’ve gotten to the bottom of that one yet. But, University – this wouldn’t have necessarily been direct teaching, but you learn in a referral setting, you learn medical practice of the highest standard, so they teach you how it works and you think everything is going to be like that when you graduate. Then you get into the real world then suddenly, you’ve got people that can’t afford the practice, you’ve got tests and diagnostic pathways that aren’t so available, and suddenly you actually have got to rejig how you offer your medical service because you can’t offer everything when you live and work in the general practice world.

So, they teach you to the highest standard they can, and so they should, but you quickly have to unlearn some of those expectations and make it work in the real world.

DIEDERIK: Cool, thank you.

Based on your experience, what are three things that a new graduate needs to do as soon as possible to really turbo charge their career?

ARI: Three things they have to do as soon as possible. They have to make sure they get into a really supportive practice. Actually, hold on, let me step back. I did write this in my notes, I rushed down a few notes this morning.

I don’t know how many people do it, but if you can do this, you need to actually put some effort into that and make a plan. I didn’t do this so much, most of us had jobs just before we graduated, so we had something to go into, or at least we knew what we can do at the start. I went into mixed practice straight up. I was more mature other than most of the other people, so I sort of was able to put a bit more thought into it and I went into mixed practice knowing that if I didn’t like it then, then I wasn’t at a dead end. So I wanted to get out there and do something that I wouldn’t ordinarily do. So that was a real challenge and I spent the first six months crying, but it was an amazing experience. But, if you can sit down for a few minutes, a few hours, whatever it takes, and just have a bit of a think about what you want to do. And that’s true for everything in life, really, which I’m learning more now when I’m only 47.

First of all, it will help you get an idea of where do you want to start. Once you’ve got that in place, let’s say you want to get into private practice, or maybe you want to do a bit of zoo work, or maybe you want to do something completely different. But, if you’re going to go into clinical practice, you want to make sure you go into the most supportive practice you can. Everyone leaves University feeling very uncomfortable and very self-conscious, don’t be afraid to interview the practice. They’re interviewing you to seal your place, you interview them back. It will make sure that it’s where you think you’re going to get the best support.

The worst experience for most new grads that get into a practice, is they’re on their own, and they are struggling. So, that’s (one) plan, (two) serious support, genuine support, and that makes for the less fear you have at the start.

Everyone’s scared, but the less unconstructive fear that you have, the better off you’ll be. We had a few people that just couldn’t, just didn’t deal with it at all and left, and that’s a shame, but at the same time, that opened probably other doors for them.

DIEDERIK: The planning one is interesting. No one’s brought that up so that’s really interesting, and I agree. I haven’t even thought of it, so thank you for that.

The other side of that coin, based on your experience, what are two or three things that a new graduates have to avoid doing to turbo charge their career?

ARI: Avoid being arrogant. Avoid thinking that you have to know everything. One of the things that we do as graduate is we want to make our stamp. We want people to think we know what we’re doing. Don’t be afraid to show that you don’t necessarily know what you’re doing, which is really hard for a 21 or 22-year-old to do; it’s easier for a 30-year-old to do, and even easier for me now as a 47-year-old to do, and I think honesty is always the best policy. So don’t go out there and just pretend that you can do everything. You might have some medical skills, or knowledge rather, but it takes a while to get those skills together and let people know that you’re not actually good in that. So, that’s a really important one, but don’t be that arrogant new graduate that thinks that they can do anything.

I was going to say don’t rush, don’t rush into taking the first job that’s offered to you, unless you know that it’s right. Go and put yourself out there, have a few interviews. Feel like you’re just looking around with care. Don’t like you might not get a job. Don’t be hard on yourself, give yourself a chance and meditate.

DIEDERIK: Thank you.

So, if you were starting again, would you in fact be a vet?

ARI: To be honest I really don’t know. But at the moment, no I meant…and I know what my answer is but I don’t believe if it’s true. For me now, I probably would have done medicine. That sounds odd, and I think I’m probably a better vet than I’d be as a doctor, maybe. I mean I do love working with pets, and I love every day. You probably have had this before Diederik, but so often, I just think half through the day, how lucky am I to be quite a vet. But, financially, it’s very tough.

Being a doctor, if you’re prepared to do it, because I’d say you need even more communication skills, or at least the same anyway, you have a better career path.

DIEDERIK: Okay. Thank you.

So, what were three major challenges that you faced in getting to where you are?

ARI: Myself, I was probably the biggest challenge. I was a kid that grew up with a pretty easy life. I didn’t really have to look after myself, and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, and then it was hard for me to figure that out. I turned out to be a vet, but that felt really good. None of my friends thought I’d finish Uni—no, no, sorry I got that wrong. None of my friends thought I’d get a job because they all thought I’d be a student for the rest of my life. And God, getting work after the university, I can’t imagine it being that, which I did immediately, and I haven’t looked back, but it might be because of my own fear, and I’m still challenged by that, absolutely. Even right now Diederik, I mean this is a very timely interview, to be quite frank. You heard good feedback about me in the industry, which is fantastic, which definitely helps. And my confidence is definitely higher than it ever has been over all, just in my ability to provide the service that I’m providing. But I still have my fear every day, and I’m still at a bit of a cross roads now, trying to work out what I want to do with my business at this point in time. So, that’s a big on. Learn about yourself as well as you can, and try to work out how to work with your own emotions as best as you can.

And then, other challenges, the biggest challenge at the moment is managing my work life, my work and family balance. How to be a dad and a husband, and how to be a businessman, and how to be vet all at the same time. I started my business seven years ago, it was a major turning point, and that’s been amazing. But, it’s a real challenge to make it all fit together, and I’m hoping I can try and make some more of that right now.

DIEDERIK: Cool, thank you. You’ve answered two questions in one. The next question was about balancing family, career, fatherhood. So, thank you.

What does success look like to you?

ARI: Another good one. So, success to me has many facets to it. People commonly look at financial success, and I’d like to have financial success. I don’t actually think I’m there yet, but we’re doing okay. Success for me has a few heads on it. My personal success with my chosen career, and that’s about how I feel as a vet. And right now, I can see that what I’ve put in place has hit the mark, and I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback from my clients, which makes me feel good about myself. So, that’s a very strong successful commentary on my career. And my confidence; a measurement of my success is also my confidence and my ability to do that. So, that’s a more internal emotion on what success is, which I think is extremely important.

Other successes can be measure in terms of the business outcomes, which are still changing all the time. At the moment, I probably don’t think that success is there yet, but I’ve been able to provide the service. And my biggest success to me is that I’ve actually got something that I built up, I’ve got a big data base now that I’m working with. And the feedback, it’s more positive than it is negative, and I guess, for me, that’s a big story. Then all other successes will hopefully follow as well once I can really work out how to get that work properly, that life-balance together.

And then, success, if I have to postulate, and I’ve have done a lot of soul searching around this, in terms of owning a business, because not every vet runs a business, in fact, most are employees. And, running a business, a successful business would be the point where you can step out of your business and be able to work in it in the way you want to without it falling apart without you, and I’m not there yet, and that would be one of my real success points, which may or may not come.

DIEDERIK: What do you think have been the keys to your current successes? The successes that you’ve got at the moment, what are those keys to those achievements?

ARI: Yeah. I guess just, firstly, the ability to tolerate tough times. Everyone talks about overnight success. But everyone has a little tough time to their own success story. People very easily don’t tolerate tough feelings; tolerate the time it takes once you put a plan in place to actually make it happen. So, that’s what it’s about and it’s really tough.

And then also, I think it’s important to be able to have the right people around you. That doesn’t relate to any specific area of business, just whatever you think you need for your career path, to be able to turn to for advice, or turn to for a shoulder to lean on. Having the people around you that are supportive. Have the right support in place. I’m still learning that. I think that it’s easy for some people just to get mindset of having to do it all of his own, … the longer I work, the longer I realize that that’s certainly not true.

And, work to your strengths. My key strength is my relationship building, essentially. We graduate as vets, we’ve all got technical skills, some are slightly better than others, but we’re all smart enough make things happen. My key strength would be being able to communicate with people.

And also to have the right empathy for my patients, of course, and people and all of that. So, my industry and platform is veterinary health care, so you got to be able to use that.

DIEDERIK: Cool thank you. So, what have you found are the best methods for you to keep you motivated, keep you focused?

ARI: Another tough question. You’ve got all the good questions.

Firstly, outside of the vet industry, and outside of business, one of the biggest thing to keep yourself motivated, is an outlet for your yourself. For me, it’s physical outdoor activity. Whatever it is for you, do it so that you’re not a grumpy man for the rest of the day. So, I think that that’s really, really important.

Another motivation would be just the knowledge that I’ve got a beautiful family, and I need to just keep doing what I’m doing for them. Sometimes that gets tough to you know, because you sort of get down on yourself; but that’s, again, my own emotional stuff that we talked about earlier.

And then another key motivation comes from work itself. When you can see I’ve chosen to be a vet, my work is providing health care, but when you can see the impact with your job has on so many, sometimes that’s all it takes for you to keep going because on some days, you don’t feel like you’re doing any good at all, and you realize you got to keep going.

And at the end of the day, you’ve just got to keep doing it. So, you got to have a mantra for yourself. But I think, for a lot us, for the people that I’ve talked to, we all have such amazing stories, and I think the stories that we’ve come across in the vet industry, it’s so amazing and it’s so diverse. And some days, I just think this is amazing, I just love what I’m doing, and that sometimes that helps me get through…try to keep going on the days people just want to throw it away.

DIEDERIK: So, if we move on, and you said earlier that if you were doing it again, you may not be a vet, but if you were being a vet, and you had the chance to do it all again, what would you do differently if anything? You’ve ended up in a really unique niche as a house call practitioner.

ARI: That’s right. Look, the only reason I said that I probably wouldn’t be a vet, and without trying to take anything away from that, is that I’m not a businessman; my wife can say that. I’m not a businessman, and financially, it’s a struggle. Obviously vets have medical prowess, but that’s the industry, so that’s the only reason I said I’d be a Doctor, but to be honest, I’d probably would be a vet again.

And, what I would do differently though…in terms of my veterinary career, I probably wouldn’t do that much differently in terms of the steps that happened. I think I was mature when I graduated, and as I said before, I knew I wanted to do mixed practice. I knew I’d be a city vet, a city slicker, so I’d come back eventually, but I wanted to get that out of the way, so I’m really glad that I did that. And then I came back and had two or three jobs in a row that were quite high level performing jobs which were great, and that set me up with a really good base. And then mobile kind of just happen by chance.

So on that side of it, I probably wouldn’t change, and you have to just go with the flow, you’ve got to put yourself out there. But what I’d possibly do differently is just continually being aware of myself. I’ve talked about it before about what are my main challenges, and I said one of the main challenges, and I said one of them biggest challenges for me was me, my own fear, and I’d probably just not be as hard on myself. And I think I probably would have had a few different experiences if I hadn’t had been as hard on myself, and to listen to what’s going on. I was having a chat to my sister yesterday about some stuff, and one of the things—anyway, we’re talking about a particular client who was very difficult in the most extreme sense—and I should have handled that differently. And I said to my sister, “You know, when there are alarm bells ringing, listen to them,” and that’s one thing that I’m learning, to listen to things around you. Listen to what’s going on in your body, listen to what’s going on around you, don’t ignore them, and don’t feel like you have to prove a point to anyone, or prove that you’re the best. I’d probably do that a bit differently if had the ability to do so, and be a bit more mindful of that kind of thing.

DIEDERIK: Thank you.

What do you think stops most vets from—you know, what holds them back, what prevents them from achieving their goals?

ARI: What holds vets back from achieving their goals?

You know, every vet…you know that’s a very broad question Diederik, largely because every vets’ goal…you know, you put ten vets in a ring, you’d probably have a hundred different goals. And so, there’s a few that’s out there that are really good, they can just head start towards their goal. Most of us, I think, from the discussions that I’ve had over the years, I think one of the biggest thing that holds us back is our lack of self-confidence in our own ability—not ability, that’s not the right word—in our own position in the work place, in society in general.

We cop a lot of criticism from people about charges and fees and not being available, all this kind of stuff that leads to a lot of mental health issues, which I’m sure you’re aware of. And I think one of the biggest challenges for vets as a whole is the ability to—self-respect, you know, being able to put ourselves out there as “This is who we are. This is who I am. This is what I’m going to provide you, and I’ll do it to the best of my ability.” And I think we too often feel like we just have to overreach, and if we don’t overreach, people are going to run away. They’re going to think they’re bad, or they’re going to go to the vet down the road. And the ability to really just put ourselves out there as the best practice. “This is what I do, I do the best job that I can. this is what it’s going to cost you”, or, “This is what it’s going to look like”, or whatever it is, “And if you don’t want it, then don’t take it, but this is what I am and this is what I offer.” Just our sense of self-respect and not being bullied into doing something that either we’re not capable of doing or don’t want to do if you don’t feel it’s okay. I think that that’s probably quite a common thing.

DIEDERIK: Cool. Thank you.

Do you think that tragedy or luck has played a part in achieving your success?

ARI: That is a massive question Diederik because you can talk on a small-scale or a largescale.

Luck, yes, absolutely. I mean, being the right people at the right place at the right time getting that job is the answer about the universe providing it. Obviously, you also need to be putting yourself in that place at the time, and if you didn’t do that, you wouldn’t be there. But, you know, the job that I got at Sydney University, which was my second job, and I was there for three years, was largely because they all go through some philosophical changes, I put myself out there as wanting a job, and I got the job. If I’d done it a year earlier, I probably wouldn’t have gotten the job. And then changing to becoming a mobile vet was…it was luck to some degree because I have to think what was happening at my current job at the time where negotiations on the practice weren’t moving forward, it was obvious we weren’t going to work together and then eventually they restructured the thing and I left. And at the point, I got a kick in the pants by my wife and said, “Come one, we’ve been talking about this mobile thing for a long time. Just do it.” So, I did it, and the circumstances where right.

Tragedy, that’s a big question, Diederik. I come from a very traditional Jewish family, and I probably have to say amongst some other things, but tragedy probably has shaped my life. And in terms of my overall mental health and just perceptions of the world, my own capacity as a human being, that’s been largely shaped by tragedy, to be quite honest. And that in itself has brought me towards the occupation that I’m in, health care, emotive. And I think also that for me, a lot of us introverted types and they just want to work behind the scene, in the hospital; they don’t want to see people. We’d laugh about it all the time in various forums that there were some vets that if they could do anything— “Get away from the consult, great. Just put me in the surgery, and I’ll just operate.” And there are others that wanted to stay at the front the whole time.

You know, I’m not afraid of working with people, and I think that’s probably one of my fortes, and to shaping the successful path so far of my mobile business, it’s been built on my relationships, and I think that that’s been largely shaped by tragedy. So, that’s a bit more of an indirect thing.

DIEDERIK: When did you start to look at the business side of veterinary practice, and separate it from the clinical side?

ARI: Yeah, I was starting to look at that a little bit in the job that I had before I started my mobile business. I said it a short time ago, I’m not a business man, and perhaps I’m being hard on myself, but saying that to myself doesn’t help me become a business man I guess, so that’s probably where I was coming from. I was looking at more management stuff in the previous practice but I didn’t really get very far with that, and really, I had to look at it when I started up my mobile business. We wanted to have a business to learn at least so I knew the business myself, run the mobile and shape things and have more flexibility in the system.

So, that was really when, I guess, the business side of things came to the fore, out of necessity more than anything else. And that’s one of the biggest challenges for me, that’s been probably the single biggest challenge in running my veterinary career from the time I started the mobile business, and it’s still an ongoing challenge for me.

DIEDERIK: Our industry, as you eluded ago, has an ‘reputation’. What do you think has kept you sane?

ARI: What’s this ‘reputation’ that you’re talking about there?

DIEDERIK: The ‘reputation’ is high rates of mental illness, suicide, divorce, those sorts of things.

ARI: I guess I touched on that briefly two or three questions ago. It’s seems to be becoming a bigger and bigger issue now. Maybe partly that’s also just awareness as well, it’s becoming greater, which is good.

What’s kept me sane. I think there’s two components to that. There’s an internal factor, that you either have more or less of, and because some people just have a predisposition to running themselves down into the ground. And you know, you’ve got to be able to get yourself out at the end of the day.

And there’s the external factors. What’s kept me sane, I think, is partly just my drive, wanting to perform, wanting to be the best vet that I can be, or having this thing in my head that I have some ability and I get such satisfaction from doing the job that’s helped me to keep going in times of struggle. And I also had a fantastic mentor when I graduated, I had two fantastic mentors. One was my partner—well, she actually wasn’t my partner at the time, we were sort of on and off a bit, now my wife—and the other was a vet mentor, who was the head of Vet school at the time.

Having her on the end of the phone and having my wife on the end of the phone absolutely no doubt kept me sane. I would have gotten burnt down without those two, there’s no doubt about it. As I said, I spent the first six months crying, going to the country, sitting myself on my own. And Diederik, I was 31 when I graduated, and I still spent the first six months crying. But you know, perhaps, there’s a difference, like a 21 or 22-year-old, they’d probably struggle, but maybe not so many of them would start crying because at that age, you’ve still got this ‘I can do anything attitude’, and also you’ve got this ‘I want people to think I can do anything-attitude’. So, at 31 years old, I was able to have that support, and then I guess I’ve always been able to see the bigger picture, and that is that the bigger picture is that you do what you can, and you’ve got a life around you and I’ve got a beautiful family.

For the first half of my veterinary career—it’s actually been two halves. My Mobile Vet probably started with the kids being born, roughly. So, the first half of my veterinary career was on and off with my partner, and now wife, and just life. Learning the ropes as a vet, and just being able to enjoy time outside of the big challenges. And then second half has been married, my wife and my family and just being able to see the bigger picture. 

DIEDERIK: What’s the biggest thing you’ve given back to your community?

ARI: Right, so, your community being community? Or are you talking about vet?

DIEDERIK: I’m talking about non-vet actually. So, I’m talking about the community at large.

ARI: I don’t really know the answer to that. Just give me a few more seconds. Because the other way that I see it, there are people out there that have a really big picture idea. They’ve got a big obvious mark that they leave on the community. And then we’ve got everyone else, or you know, you’ve got other people who get on with their lives and do what they need to do in their own small community, whether it’s family or extended friends or local community, without really thinking of the big picture; and I certainly fit into that latter category. And, other than the obvious stuff, support various causes and blah-blah-blah, financially and other wise.

I think the biggest thing I’ve given back is just to be a thoughtful caring person in the community, and trying to actually make a difference on the little world, by smiling at people and by engaging with people and not shying away from trying your hardest to…just be a thoughtful person. I don’t think I’ve actually given much more to the community other than that, but I ought to think because that’s actually quite a big thing.

DIEDERIK: And that’s a perfect answer. I don’t believe that anyone needs to ‘dent’ the universe to have given back. So, thank you, that’s great.

What’s your vision for the future of the veterinary industry?

ARI: That’s a tough one.

DIEDERIK: Look, if you don’t have one, that’s absolutely cool. We don’t, obviously, have to go through every question.

ARI: Well, I mean, I don’t know what the veterinary industry is going to look like in time. No one does, but it’s seemingly changing. I think that…

My ideal vision for the veterinary industry is one where there’s a lot more respect in the industry and where actually vets as a whole are given much more credentials to provide services both in the veterinary world and non-veterinary, which is definitely… Some very well-known people that are vets that are providing to their human capacity. There’s a large movement called One Medicine One World, and what have you. So, that’s growing and I’m sure that’s going to take up. But I don’t think…

I think the veterinary industry will always have the small providers for the people down the street who just want to have pets in their family and get on with their lives and have beautiful large extended families, with furry and non-furry members. And, I see…one of my biggest fears for the veterinary industry are these large corporate entities who moved something from the system; people who can start-up businesses. Obviously, businessmen are trying to make a living and trying to make the most they can, and I’m envious of that to a large degree because I don’t think I have that capacity. But, I certainly can’t stand and tolerate when I hear a lot of people give feedback to me that “So and so’s place has just messed me around, doesn’t treat us as individual people anymore” and that kind of thing, and that’s a common thing with the corporate entities, and I don’t know whether that’s regional exclusive. I have a feeling that that’s going to become a big problem.

Because I think that that there are really, really smart, caring and compassionate vets that still want to provide that service and have that accessibility, but I hope that the respect that we deserve comes along with that, and we’re able to have a sort of better respected place in society. But I think working together—there’s so many issues facing the human medicine medical world, which are very strongly related to veterinary medicine as well, and I see that becoming huge. But that’s for the future. But with the average vet on the street will hopefully be able to provide a much higher quality, best practice, well respected, impactive and communicative and caring to people who just want to get on with their lives and have a big furry family.   

DIEDERIK: Cool. Thank you. A very different perspective, thank you.

And then the last question. During your career, was there ever a turning point, a snap point, a line in the sand, a defining moment at which you said, ‘enough is enough’ and it instigated, or a change of direction?

ARI: Yeah. I guess for me that’s a bit of a no brainer I guess because as you said earlier, I was one of the first…I think I was actually the third or fourth vet to become mobile. The second genuine one, some older vets that have been around for years, which kind a provided a service that wouldn’t have been accepted as up to clinical par—I’m not clinically… they were vets that did a good job there, but in terms of just professional practice, it was more on the side kind of thing. And then now, mobile vets are becoming a genuine professional entity in themselves, and for me, you have to be that. That turning point was when my wife and I, we agreed on a mobile practice, my general job came to a fairly abrupt end, and I had to make decisions, and I got my mobile business fully up and running within two months in terms of having everything setup, the van, the website set up, and two months later I was a mobile vet. It has really gone from strength to strength in many ways, and there’s still a lot to learn. So, that was no doubt, my wife and I sat down and said, “Well, we’ve got to do this”. And scary as it was, now it’s sort of…it’s interesting, actually, seven years. Looking back. I’ve got to put my foot back in the pond again now and take that next leap of faith in a few different ways interestingly right now. At the time, you sort of start with nothing, and I feel really proud of myself that I’ve build something from nothing.

And that would have been the magic turning point really, going from the average usual practicing, employed vet to a mobile vet, sort of starting in a different industry.

DIEDERIK: So, that’s a perfect point on which to stop. So, Ari, thank you very, very much. I really appreciate the time that we’ve spent together, and your very thoughtful answers.

ARI: Not a problem.

Key Take-Aways

  • Make a ‘business’ plan when you graduate so that you know what your first few years will be like
  • Look for a first job in a practice that will support you and interview them as hard as they interview you
  • Success is a balance of career and family
  • It is essential to have a few great mentors who are there for you in times of trouble and who you can bounce ideas off when times are tough
  • The Veterinary business is all about being able to communicate

“Working with pets and people is a privilege – is that how you’re treating it?”

Diederik Gelderman