Julia Grosz founded Cat Hustler as a means to teach cat volunteers everywhere how to write more compelling copy and improve their adoptions through social media. Since its founding in 2016, she’s worked with shelters and rescues from DC to Anchorage, AK on developing more effective techniques for marketing adoptable cats. She currently hosts free webinars on these techniques and speaks at conferences. She also visits shelters around the MidAtlantic to troubleshoot cats that can’t seem to catch an adopter’s eye.
Welcome to the professionals in animal rescue podcast where our goal is to introduce you to amazing people helping animals and share how you can get involved with animal rescue. This podcast is proudly sponsored by Doobert.com. Doobert is a free website designed to connect volunteers with rescues and shelters, and the only site that automates rescue relay transport. Now, on with our show! Julia Grosz bring the nickname Cat Hustler. Through her intrinsic ability to paradoxical cats on their humans through strategic copyrighting and social media, she’s developed your skills into a teachable set of practices, providing them to shelters. Rescues in the public. Across the country is cattle sir, a nonprofit organization. Her methods have impacted thousands of rescuers approaches to market and cats resulting in incalculable lives being saved and soul mates being brought together as cat hustler. She also host community building events and symposiums that empower rescuers to expand their value to the homeless cat population. Hey, Julia, welcome to the program. Hello. Thank you for having me. So start us off. Give us a little bit of your background. You are not somebody that, like traditionally has always worked in an animal shelter. You. What’s your What’s your background? I’m actually a geologist. J Okay, so what does that mean? Like, what do you do? What’s a day job for? You look like Well, it means I’m terrible at parties. E I I actually think you’d be rather interesting at parties for a short time. So what do you do? Like help me? Just kind of conceptualize what you study. Uh, plasters are giant bodies of stand up comedian. The old central Florida is plaster, and we go out, we put down holes we look at, uh, photography and mineral composition quantity. Um, and we reported back to the company that hired us, and we, uh, basically let them know if the area is right for raping and pillaging. Okay. Sorry, industrial. And just really viable. You got to get the politically correct words s Oh, so that’s your day job. You’re studying sand, but tell us about your nights and weekends. Nights, weekends, every spare. Second of the day. I am cat hustler. You are the cat houses. So what is the cancer? I mean, what does that mean? Let me give you the elevators. Cat hustler is a nonprofit that teaches rescues and shelters how to expedite adoptions through social media. Basically, I teach people how to write, copy and generate content that gets cats adopted faster. That’s amazing. So now how did you get into this? Well, I could bore you with that story, but it’s ah, it was basically how everyone gets involved in animal welfare. It was not some compulsion that you wake up with where you’re, like, hard to save all the cat’s, because that just doesn’t happen. It was one cat. Yeah, just like it was for one of us. Like it was do Bert for you. For me, it was lucky. Every cat out there, every adoptable cat is somebody’s Joubert or monkey. The power of bringing people and their very soul mates together is just I couldn’t live without it The first time I ever got a cat adopted. It was one of my fosters, and it changed my life. And I think a lot of people have the same story and I’ve been looking for ways to do more with it and do better. And that’s, uh, cat hustler came from. I was working for a shelter. Sorry. Volunteering for a shelter and got great results with the photos and copy that I was generating for them, decided to start into a teachable format, something so simple. So you were volunteering at a shelter, just trying to help them with their social media, for seeing the light in people’s eyes when they saw the cat that was going to go home with him for the first time. It was the most powerful thing I’ve ever experienced. And I want that for everyone who’s experienced loss because it’s so healing. It’s just unspeakably healing. Wellness. Natural pet food is for pets and their parents who believe, as we do, that good nutrition and healthy food are the building blocks of a long, happy life created by a nutritionist, veterinarians and animal lovers. Well, those recipes provided an ideal balance of nature’s finest ingredients. I won this. Recipes include lean meats, whole grains and fruits and veggies with no wheat, corn or soy, and no edit artificial flavors, colors or preservatives from head to tail. Wellness is nutrition with the purpose. You can learn more at wellness pet food dot com and follow them on Facebook and instagram at At Wellness Pet Food So now walk me through a little bit of your process. I mean, so obviously, cats or your passion or your focus area. So what’s different about cats and shelters trying to get them adopted? We’ll shelter cats have a lot of disadvantages not only other furry ass stuck in the shelter, but that those rooms air, usually badly designed. And I don’t think any shelter volunteers here could argue with that. It’s it’s a It’s a crime. How some of those rooms or decided they’ve got thin walls that separate them from the dog areas. They’re stressed out there facing each other. They’re actually design firms that specialize in shelter layouts. None of them worked on these, so I’m really glad to see if the industry is turning an eye toward it. Now I’m being more mindful of design. But this bad design also carries over to the volunteers, and the volunteers experience the same problems that the cats do. There are limited opportunities for socialization. Bad design stretches them out. They don’t get to go out like the dog people do. They don’t have the same opportunities. They can’t slap and adopt me best on a cat and take it for a walk. In most cases, I was gonna say, There’s a few little let you do it, but not a lot. So with limited socialization, opportunity is limited visibility that impacts both the cats and the volunteers. They’re not really any solutions that shelter management listens to, and it makes cat people seem like a huge pain in the ass because they’re unhappy, just like the cats are big part of cat hustlers. Mission is to enlighten people about the opportunities that are there and help people innovate. New ways to get cat seen, get cats adopted and create more camaraderie honestly among the cat volunteers. Because it’s absolutely necessary that limited visibility means that we’re not getting the out of girls or the validation that is so important to volunteerism. It’s critical. It’s a motivating force. So you’re gonna see higher turnover and cat volunteers. You’re gonna see all kinds of negative social impact on both the group and your organization because your volunteers aren’t getting what they need, and they’re being treated as a pain in the ass because solutions are hard to come by. So now what’s interesting to me is I mean, you didn’t have a background in a degree in marketing. Did you know my degree is actually in business kinds of this administration. Okay, so So you have a little bit of background, I guess, right in business and marketing. And then you just started doing this. I mean, what what kind of things did you start doing that you started to notice? We’re really having a positive effect when it’s not about you, when it’s about other people in the collars and when you’re lifting other people up and giving them a voice, especially in the cat community. Because usually our voice sounds kind of crazed because we’re so desperate to be heard anything that we can get onto a platform of sounds frantic. So giving people more opportunities will community more opportunities to be heard. It has kind of mellowed out that voice in this region, at least, so it’s louder as more mellow, which makes it more accessible to the larger animal with a welfare scene. So now what’s your platform of trace These days? I like Facebook. My demographic is largely on Facebook. I used Instagram to connect with businesses. Okay, so Facebook and Instagram. So now What is it that you’re teaching people to do now? Like, how does what are they gonna gain from following your method? I post a lot of case studies, whether it be one of mine that went well or didn’t go well, I’ll explain why in the breakdown post or I’ll share another post from another group and explain why this did so well, I’ll call the shelter and interview them about it, and I’ll try to get in touch with the person who actually composed that content. So who was a volunteer? I want to talk to that volunteer. If it was their PR person, I’ll talk to them. But recognition is a big, big deal. I’m giving it to people. Really helps move things along because it makes the volunteers who are working for other organizations feel like this is a worthwhile cause. They’re not gonna get lost in the frame. Yes, So you’re kind of giving them the best practices. The things that you’re noticing and you’re helping them Thio. It’s like you’re deconstructing it, right? Helping them understand. Why is this good and how they can replicate that? Exactly. Thank you. I also teach them how to work with nuances like how to talk about medical conditions in a way that’s not off putting. I emphasized the importance of marketing versus adoption counseling because they’re not the same thing, and they get confused quite a bit. And that’s when crappy content happens. You turn everything into a dossier or an information article or a white paper that’s not necessary. Theater active of cat marketing is to help people fall in love, and you congee with the rest of it later. The analogy that I make in my presentations is that it’s the difference between picture menu, these menus that have all the calorie counts and nutritional information on them that make you turn and walk away because it’s just too much, right, right over flow of information. Yes, so it seems like it’s about trying to help them to bring out the spirit, the personality of that animal. Yes, and I think that is something that cat people are inherently good at, because we are more often than not an impasse, and that empathy is critical to being able to tell the cat story. The attempted of being a buyer writer is to tell the story until the cat story, through your words, the superimpose their feelings onto the cats. So while they’re empathizing, they’re also projecting. And that’s when very confusing stuff comes out like baby talk and words that don’t quite fit. You know when you see it, it’s like Gloria she, you know, had contact. When you see it, give us maybe give us an example to have some good content. Like, What would you do if you found a KN organization or person that’s posting some of that bad content? Ready, Begin. How do you give them, like here’s here’s kind what you’re aspiring to. Now let your creative juices flow and head in that direction. The R S P. C. A of New South Wales in Australia is the favorite. Had a great cat named Jaws who was missing a lower jaw and this trip. This catch the photograph was incredible. It really you almost couldn’t tell how what this cat was lower job, and they gave it a list that they wrote it in first person, which I usually recommend against. These people are usually awful at it. It sounds like 1/3 grader wrote it, sure, but they gave it a list and wrote in First Person. And it was just magical because not only was it entertaining, it minimized what a lot of rescues would consider a special meat that actually wasn’t. And by the way, special needs is an overused term. And I wish people would stop can be more about it. It just made for great content. It went viral and it was covered by a couple of not news outlets. But media sources. And that gave it extra visibility because it made people smile well, minimizing something that wasn’t even a big deal. That’s interesting. So I mean any. If you said, there’s three tips, break Julia’s three tips for an effective camp post. Use interesting language. One of my most ah, memorable descriptions was amorous nut reason, memories. They really like the combination of syllables, the excessive ability of the language. It’s there’s a lot of nuance and writing, and it almost all carries over to writing for animals. You have to keep people entertained. If you beat them over the head with pay pose and feeling bad and kittens with their eyeballs falling out, you’re not going to get the kind of response that you’re going for unless your desired responses people on following him when you sneak up on people with crappy content like gore, sexuality, politics, religion, anything that makes the lizard brain give it aside, I you’re going to lose that person you’re going to lose for lack of a better word that sail. You can’t piss off the wizard brain. And for listeners who are not aware of that, that is the end until a it it’s a little nugget right in the middle. ENDIT controls your primal responses like fighter flight, looking for a mate, all that all the very, very Lizardi, very low on the food chain kind of responses. And when you were marketing, you have to be talking to that lizard brain. It’s also in psychology. Stone a system. One thinking system to thinking is when you start thinking about whether or not can I afford another cat, don’t have room to have time for another cat. So when your marketing on Lee System one, you have to make them fall in love. Have that the food menu, the extra men, you know, that’s interesting. I mean, I do. I totally get what you’re saying is that you got appeal to them almost like a coral core and primal level. And sometimes, like you say, people get too focused on the flower re voice in these other cute, the little things and it becomes unappealing. And it doesn’t particularly, it seems like when it comes to cats, it doesn’t really help, Uh, and it distracts from the cats, and that’s that’s your only mission. Your job is not to show how many design tools you can use in your photo editing app or flex your photo shop muscle or show how many words you know. It’s just about the cat. Let the cat shine. And when I see these over processed collages with bright colors and overlays and just too damned much going on, it makes my guts it because it’s not about the cat. It’s about the person and the person confessed. Serve themselves. And I know they’re just trying to help the investor of themselves by getting the job done well and quickly. And to do that, you need to have some grip on brevity, which I do not know where it is. A terrible with brevity. I will write you a Russian novel about any given Kat. You have only a few seconds as a writer to grab attention. First, the most important thing is the picture. The picture has to grab the person. That’s what’s gonna make them stop strolling Text does not make people stop strolling on. You have about a sentence and 1/2 after that. Once you have their attention, tow, hook them into the rest of the copy. And people squander that opportunity often not every time, but pretty darn often. It’s a shame, because you’re not getting the gratification that you’re out to get. So I’m curious. What’s what’s in this for you? Why do of this? You spend a lot of time in this and trying to help. What do you get out of this purpose? It’s a compulsion. I mean, like a lot of people. This is just where I found my group. This is where I belong. These are my people. But also, uh, this is how I can do the most good. And in the end, that’s what it’s about. It’s about validating your time on Earth. I’m not an oxygen thief, and for a very, very long time, I waas just kind of existing consuming, not contributing anything positive to the world. And I feel like this is forgot. Who quoted service is the rent you pay for your time on Earth? It’s a good one. I wish I knew who did it. I feel like I’m finally contributing. And not only that, but creating a ripple effect. And anybody who’s been to one of my lectures or heard one online knows that I preached the ripple effect and the importance, the impact that your stone has in the pond and what good you can do not only for the people around you, but exponentially as well. When you connect people in their soul mates, you don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t know if that person’s that a doctor is going to come home from just absolute garbage day and find solace in the animal that you personally have paired them with, and you don’t know what that solace is. Impact is going to be if they’re going to make a different decision at work or in their relationships. Thean pact is infinite and it’s an absolutely beautiful thing that cat rescuers do, and they don’t get nearly enough appreciation for it. You know, sometimes it’s hard for us to step back. And you know the analogy, right? Looking at the force through the trees, right? Recognizing the rule that you’re playing is it’s, you know, you’re focused on that one cat getting that one cat adopted. But you don’t think about the long term impact on the human animal bond that’s created and the love and enjoy that. They’re both going to bring to each other’s lives for a long time. But it goes back to the first thing I said was that every cat is somebody’s Div er or monkey bringing those together, having experienced it yourself. You know exactly what that means for people. Absolutely. So what? So what’s next for you? Where does this go? Over the past few years, I’ve been running these networking events to try and tighten the social fabric of the cat rescue community, and this year we ran two day conference in Virginia, and next year we are doing two and 1/2 day conference That’s gonna be about is large, and I’m really excited about that. These conferences give the boots on the ground a chance. Is that Mike kind of like you’re doing well exactly like you’re doing, and it’s a peer to peer kind of thing. We have heavy, heavy emphasis on networking so that people could get to know each other, learn about what’s happening in other communities, expand their transport network there, partner shelter system. And we give people a chance to get up and do presentations on the successful programs that they’re running because who understands this stuff better than the people who were actually doing it? Yeah, that’s really cool. So now that conference is coming up next year in January, right January 17 through 19 in Dulles, Virginia. Very cool. And if people want to register for yeah, where can they go? Find out more information? Well, tickets will be on sale in probably late July or early August at the Academy, A C. A. T academy dot org’s very cool. That’s really need. So I’m excited to see that, and I appreciate the fact that, like you said, you’re focusing on the people on the front lines, doing the real work, talking to one another, because I really believe that that’s the best ways people that are experiencing it gives it more credibility. Here’s what we did and learn from us, you know, share their experiences so that others can can either build on it, pivot from it or do the same thing. Exactly. I’m not a huge fan of academia, but academics don’t do a whole lot of good unless they’re gathering statistics and reporting to us because we’re the ones who are actually getting the stuff done. It is absolutely critical that we learn from each other rather than beard. Strokers. Yeah, totally understand. Well, it’s been really interesting Julia to learn about your background. I mean, I can now say I know a geologist write something that studies sand. So I’m gonna add that to my list of friends, right? And it’s I just enjoyed hearing your passion and your pivot and how you’re applying all of your experiences towards helping cats. So is there anything else you want to share with our listeners before we wrap things up? One of the most beautiful things that I have found in the cat rescue community is the people these people do thankless work like literally thankless work. They are not seen like we talked about before. They never get validation through thank you’s if they get a thank you. It’s very vague. Thanks for all you do. And that is just an eye roller. And these air just 1000. What people? And it has been comforting to find myself in their company because I’ve spent oh well. I wasted a lot of my life being a square peg in a round hole because of natural intensity. And these people are just they live with like that. They embrace that, and they are unashamed of who and what they are, and they use that for good. They understand each other because we’re all like that, and we forgive each other quickly for those solar flares. E guess for lack of a better word. They’re solar players, and in the end, even with all the contention and people having better ideas and nonsense, that comes up and rescue. We always have each other’s backs, and it’s a very tight community, and I’m trying to people filling our purpose on a larger scale so we can do more. Sounds like you found your tribe. That’s exactly what I call it, and I absolutely love him. That’s an amazing experience, and it’s really inspiring to hear all the great stuff that you’re doing in your nights and weekends job and how it’s just It’s a passion and your passion for animals and for people and trying to raise awareness of, ah, very important part of animal rescue. And when people say it’s all about the cats in an attempt to excuse bad behavior and I know we’ve all heard it, it is not all about the cats. I don’t think it’s all about the cats. For any of us, it’s about the people. And if we’re not taking care of each other that nothing happens for the cat. So I encouraged anyone listening to just be cool to each other. Think about what you do and what you say to the people who are simpatico, who are on the same frequency as you because it’s one of those rare things in life to find people who truly get you and to be where you belong. And I think that’s something worth protecting through, even being a little more mindful of the way that we interact with each other very well stated. Well, thank you so much, Julie, for coming on, I really enjoyed our time together. It was great to talk to you. Thank you for your time. I’m glad, uh, got the opportunity to do this. Thanks for tuning into today’s podcast. If you’re not already a member, join the ARPA to take advantage of all of the resources we have to offer. And don’t forget to sign-up with Doobert.com. It’s free and helps automate the most difficult tasks in animal rescue.