Nick White served his country, first as a Marine, where he saw heavy combat in Iraq, and then as a Secret Service agent, where he had to be prepared for just about anything. White's Marine unit was the first to enter Fallujah, site of some of the most intense fighting of the Iraq campaign. During his tour, White became fascinated with the keenly trained dogs the military uses to sniff out bombs, contraband and enemy combatants. During his time in the Secret Service, where he served during both the Obama and George W. Bush administrations, White worked overtime to learn everything he could about dog training.
For two years, White devoured books and DVDs, and followed along with his fellow Marines and Secret Service canine handlers. Dedicated to learning and practicing the techniques, White started dreaming of opening his own obedience school. Today, he is using his military training and discipline to teach dogs how to operate at the highest level, and dog owners how to get maximum enjoyment from their pets.
White is the owner and operator of Off-Leash K9 Training Center in Woodbridge, VA, just south of Washington D.C. The company now has three locations, over $250,000 in sales and trains over 30 dogs a week. White's clients include UFC World Champion Jon "Bones" Jones, 8-Time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman and other celebrities, as well as scores of anonymous dog owners who appreciate the profound changes they HAVE seen in their pets. White is hoping to expand the business further, with the ultimate goal of developing a franchise of Off-Leash K9 outlets across the country. White is driven by his goal of helping dog owners get the most of their pets, and helping dogs enjoy a leash-free lifestyle, while staying impeccably behaved. White attributes a lot of his success to his military training. Being in the Marines means working long hours on little sleep. That's just what White did during the years when he was "moonlighting" as a dog trainer while working for the Secret Service and, more importantly, after he left that secure, well-paying job to go out on his own.
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Without any formal training, much less a college degree, White taught himself how to build, market and operate a successful business. And he did it pretty much on his own. According to White, most of his friends and family tried to discourage him from leaving the Secret Service for the unknown, insecure life of an entrepreneur. "I definitely think my biggest challenge was to believe in myself, and not listening to everyone else," White says. "I am a firm believer that people would be far more successful and try more things if it wasn't for people around them talking them out of it." Just like they tried to talk him out of joining the Marines in the summer before 9/11, and again try to talk him out of quitting the Secret Service to start his own company.
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"I really did not have any help from anyone. I did everything on my own without any financial assistance or any other assistance from anyone," he says. "I got to the point where I believed in myself, my goals, and my dreams, and that was enough for me." White also believed in his ability to work with dogs, and in the dogs themselves. After admiring the life-saving work he saw the dogs doing in Iraq, White developed a profound respect and admiration for the dogs, and what they can do with the right training. Now, he's the one doing the training and combining a lifelong love of dogs with a passion for helping others into a highly successful business, where everyone seems to benefit.
The Driven Team is on a nationwide search for the next entrepreneur to be featured in an upcoming episode! Share your story with us at Driven@yahoo-inc.com or follow us on twitter @aarontask #drivenstories.
Video produced by Scott Fraser and Jessica Ashford. Production by Michael Manas, Josh Kesner, Jonathan Light, Barry Haywood, and Gina Guinaraes. Edited by Ryan Fritzsche. Graphics by Todd Tanner For Yahoo! Studios. Executive Producers: Russ Torres and Peter Gorenstein.
- Nick White