An aquatically inclined veterinarian is pretty rare: one that does house calls into local ponds, pools, and lakes and braves deep ocean water paddle boarding is even rarer. Doctor Jessie Sanders may seem like a magical mermaid, but she’s all business, as fishy as they come. Her dream was to be a vet and she thought she’d be taking care of cats and dogs until she did her undergraduate work in Rhode Island and ended up studying marine biology at Mystic Seaport in CT. Although the ocean called to her, she found her niche pretty quickly when she discovered the immense popularity of koi in California. She started her mobile business in 2013 and says she has never been bitten or scratched, although she did get shocked by an electric eel once.
Her mentors, Michael Sarka and Barbara Humpreys are helping Jessie transition her office to larger quarters as she expands her business into uncharted waters, literally. In her new location, she’ll be able to evaluate and treat sick fish, and she’ll have a variety of koi available for sale. She’s also hiring help for the first time, saying, “I’ve never had employees before! I need to hire sales associations and interns. I would have killed for an opportunity like this when I was in vet school!” She’s looking for people who literally can’t wait to get their hands wet. Sanders's ultimate goal for success is to hire a second veterinarian so she can have both a mobile vet and an in-house vet. She also plans to have a second hospital in the next 7 to 8 years, perhaps in San Jose or on the Peninsula.
I love that I had access to two great mentors as well as access to a SCORE workshop and business templates. Barbara Humphreys had a lot of great ideas that helped me with the financial side of my business. Michael Sarka helped me with the business plan as well as marketing my business and agreed to support me at the open house for my new business location. Both were supportive, full of great ideas, and generous with their time.