Career Spotlight of the Month (November 2020)
Name: Jenica Veley, RVT
Q & A with Jenica
OAVT: Where did you go to school and what made you decide to take a Veterinary Technology program?
Jenica: I went to school at Northern College in Haileybury. I decided to get my RVT credentials because after working in a clinic I grew to love being in a support role to Veterinarians. I liked figuring out what they needed and how to make sure they felt supported.
OAVT: You are currently working full time with the business you recently started. Tell us about it!
Jenica: My business is called Virtual VetTechs. I offer virtual support services to veterinarians. The list of services include (but are certainly not limited to) answering calls, texts, emails, sending orders, managing appointments, patients follow-ups and more. I use a variety of apps and tools to work for each vet. I try to work with their current set-up with minor tweaks to improve team communication.
OAVT: Where did you get the idea for this business?
Jenica: It’s hard to say exactly where this idea came from. It sort of brewed over years of seeing the same situations repeat in each clinic I worked at, and a desire to find a way to be in charge of my own success.
OAVT: Do you consider yourself an RVT entrepreneur?
Jenica: It’s still hard for me to see myself as an entrepreneur, but I’ve always dreamed of finding something like this. Over the last month I’ve been getting more comfortable in my role as a founder and entrepreneur.
OAVT: What makes your services so unique? And why are RVTs a good fit for this type of service?
Jenica: I personalize what I offer to each Veterinarian. I only intend to work with RVTs because of the vast amount of knowledge and experience we have. RVTs maintain their knowledge and education through Continuing Education and are responsible for staying in good standing with the OAVT. This allows Virtual VetTechs to offer services that receptionists typically can’t perform, such as summarizing lab reports, discussing medications (as prescribed by their veterinarian) and how to give them, why certain foods may be recommended, etc.
OAVT: What other jobs have you had in the RVT field?
Jenica: I’ve worked in a small northern Ontario clinic that (as northern practices do) did a bit of everything for all types of animals (including wildlife). I got to see firsthand how a practice is scaled up, and what veterinarians go through during that time.
I taught a semester at Northern College before moving south and joining a newer small animal practice in London, Ontario. I worked as a general practice RVT for six years, learning and growing in my role until I joined a mobile practice and helped them establish a base clinic. That was a lot of fun - choosing equipment and where it would go was a highlight!
I went on maternity leave and started Virtual VetTechs. I had no idea the response I was going to get! It’s now my new career.
OAVT: Amazing! You should be so proud. What are your plans and dreams for the business?
Jenica: I have so many plans! My main goal is to make it possible for RVTs to work virtually, and establish Virtual VetTechs as the "place to go" to find out how, to get training or support, and connect with Veterinarians that need and want to work with us.
OAVT: Were you scared to make the leap and start this business? What gave you the "push" to go for it?
Jenna: I was TERRIFIED! I was so scared no one would see the value in what I was offering. It took a few months, but now things are going well.
It’s hard to identify the push. It’s funny due to the timing, but I was working on figuring this out before COVID-19 hit. I just wanted to wait until after my baby arrived so I wouldn’t have to put anything on pause. I think I really wanted a career where I could support Veterinarians but also be able to create my own success. Being home on sick leave, prior to my baby’s arrival, really brought that home to me. It took me a lot of brainstorming (shout out to my all-star hubby and my incredible friends) to figure out how I could make that work.
OAVT: Was your business idea well-received right away?
Jenica: Lol - no! I got a lot of “no’s” before one incredible Veterinarian, Dr. Erica Dickie, decided to give me a chance. She not only gave me a chance, but she also made sure to let other Veterinarians know I existed. Because of her advocacy, I was able to find other Vets who were interested and they signed up to work with me. I feel truly blessed by her and the other Vets I am working with.
OAVT: What advice would you give to RVTs who have an idea that they want to turn into a business?
Jenica: I think my advice would be to find at least two people who will pick your idea apart so you can find solutions to problems that WILL come up when you start approaching people. This is not personal, it’s a really important part of the process. If you can’t find a solution, your idea needs tweaking. If you find solutions and you’re convinced that you have a solid idea, keep putting yourself out there and believe in what you’re offering. Be honest about what you are offering and people will see the value in it, and in you!
OAVT: RVTs are passionate people, and every RVT has an area they are most passionate about. What is YOUR passion?
Jenica: I am passionate about supporting veterinarians and protecting them from ‘running dry’ from giving so much of themselves. I have seen it happen so many times and I really want to make sure they feel like they have someone in their corner. Someone that has their back in any situation. I love being an RVT, I really enjoy all the skills I developed, but recently I realized that I got good at my skills so I could keep Vets from overloading themselves. So now, I still do that, but in a much different way.