4 min 58 sec

Every Dog Has Its Side Hustling Day

Two sisters team up to create a side business with a social good component. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there… are you working on your hustle?
Animals Blog Product Social Entrepreneurship

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What It's About

Little collars have a big impact on the homeless and hungry dogs in Ecuador.

Business Model
Skills Required
Sewing & Research
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

When it comes to marketing, The Little Collar has focused on leveraging free opportunities, such as social media. They have experimented with promoted posts on Facebook and Instagram but found that word of mouth has been the best form of promotion and encourage other hustlers to take note. Rick attributes the company’s organic growth to those word of mouth promotions.

Fun Fact

The trio behind The Little Collar are driven by the desire to give back, to help, to make a difference, and they recently donated all their profits from Aug. 30-31 to Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. A social media post that got over 100,000 views on Imgur brought in enough sales that the company raised more than $1,000 toward the cause.

Notes from Chris

Episode 258

Today’s story features two computer scientists who happen to be sisters and one of their boyfriends who join together to create a side hustle for the greater dog world. Every dog has its day, and today you’ll hear about a social good story (that also makes money, of course).

Combine a love of dogs with a motivation to make a difference plus passion to succeed and what do you get? The Little Collar—a business built from the love of man’s best friend.

The Little Collar wristbands that looks like small pet collars yet are worn by humans looking to show solidarity with the homeless and hungry dogs in developing countries. For with every little collar sold, the company provides a day of food to a dog in need.

The Little Collar is a new side hustle by our listeners—two sisters Julia Spehlmann and Erika Spehlmann, both who are computer science students earning second bachelor degrees, and Rick Chrisos, a full-time software salesman and Julia’s boyfriend.

The idea came to Julia during her trip to Ecuador to visit family. Over the years, she witnessed the hardships, overpopulation, and cruelty faced by stray dogs, but was always left with the question “how do I help?” Unlike in the US, there is a lack of animal shelters in Ecuador. Homeless, hungry dogs roam the streets.

Years later, when she discovered a newly formed shelter, Julia realized what she could do and The Little Collar was formed.

She borrowed her Dad’s old Singer sewing machine and power-watched YouTube tutorials on the basics of sewing to create her first little collar.

Profits fluctuate, depending on the cost of materials and labor, but they’re currently about $500 a month. And since April, the business has generated enough money to cover more than a year’s worth of food for one dog—or 365 days of food for 365 dogs.


  • The Little Collar: Find your little collar on the trio's website and help a hungry dog in need!
  • LegalZoom: The company Julia, Erika, and Rick used to get their LLC and all of their legal paperwork set up

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,


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Quote of the Day
"The biggest thing people should do when starting up is to tell anybody and everybody that they can. Any chance we get to tell our story, to friends, family members, random strangers—we do."
—Julia Spehlmann #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau