Interview with Kristofer Taylor
This former Pro baseball player has built a solid team in the business of feeding, breeding, and training dogs.
How did you get started?
I started in about 2008. There’s some backstory to it. I’d always done dog training as a kid, and it has always been a hobby. I’ve always been a member of dog clubs. My mom would take me to these different training things for all our dogs. I was always into German Shepherds, that was our breed of choice. My mom’s from Germany. I literally can’t remember a time when we haven’t been around dog training, but I never thought of it as a job. I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life, frankly. One day after training with my buddy, we went out to lunch, and I confided in him, he’s been a mentor, father figure. I told him that I don’t know what to do. He says you coach all the other dog trainers and it makes no sense to anybody why you’re not the one training dogs yourself. It was kind of like one of those forehead slap moments.
How did you come up with the name?
In my closet was my old high school Letterman’s jacket. On the back of that said, “Taylor Made.” I played baseball, and my last name is Taylor, so that was the connection. I had always thought that could be something incorporated as a business. I’ve always been on the working side of dog training. I thought it could be a unique thing, tailoring the training to working dogs.
Every time there’s something terrible, something good will come out of it. When everything is broken, we will replace it with something better. I’m the same way. Anytime something negative comes up, I turn around with good. Okay, let’s move on. Let’s get better.
How did you get into making dog food?
I started the dog food before the training. For my dogs, it was a performance thing. Being a professional athlete in the past myself, I knew nutrition was an essential part of better performance. I got really into animal nutrition, and it helped that I have a biology background from school. Everybody said, Wow! Your dogs look great. What do you feed them? Then it just became a word of mouth thing. I made my dogs food and then I had a few of them asking, do you want to make up some more for me while you’re at it?
Did your sports background help you succeed in business?
You just hit the nail right on the head, and I use it with dog training, but more within the business. I spent a lifetime around sports, athletics, and especially baseball. The work ethic for baseball is crazy. It’s not like any of my other sports. I played football and I wrestled. I’ve done many other athletic sports, but baseball is it’s own monster because it’s so crazy dynamic.
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What does being your own Boss mean to you?
I work constantly and I love it. I don’t even care what day it is. People say it’s Friday, I’m like, what the hell does that even mean? I keep track of my appointments, but outside of that, the days don’t mean anything to me.
You helped bring the magic to the “Team” feature in the PocketSuite App. How do you build a great team?
Everybody wants to say, I lead by example, of course, that’s just another cliche, an honest answer is hiring quality people to begin with. They say 80% is hiring. It’s so much about hiring a quality individual and just looking at the individual inside and not caring about anything else. It’s easy to get caught up in being friends. It’s easy to get caught up in things that somebody may or may not have in common with you. I like to try to dive into the individual and see what kind of quality individual they are and what they have behind them.
How do you build trust?
I immediately give people trust right from the rip. I’m like, here’s the rope, take it as far as you want to go with it. We can either work together or you can do something stupid and go hang yourself with it. You can have so much more if you are a trustworthy person. That’s it in a nutshell. I almost stupidly trust to start with and then I get burned, or I don’t, either way, I learn something.
Where do you find inspiration?
I saw this Jocko Willink video the other day, the ex-Navy seal. He was saying every bad thing that comes up, he answers with good. Every time there’s something terrible, something good will come out of it. That was his mentality. When everything is broken, we will replace it with something better. I’m the same way. Anytime something negative comes up, I turn around with good. Okay, let’s move on. Let’s get better.