DNA Tests for Dogs

I’ve always been fascinated by genealogy and my family history. Back in high school, I researched my family tree as a senior project, which involved several trips to peruse musty old “books” at the public “library.” More recently, I used Ancestry.com’s online database to discover that my 11th-great-grandfather on my father’s side, William Bradford, took a rickety boat called the Mayflower to enter the country without papers or a visa to become Governor of Plymouth Colony.

But there was one family story I never could confirm, and that’s the rumor that I was 1/32 Indian, descended from a Cherokee princess. So, a few years ago, I dropped $99 to order Ancestry.com’s DNA test. Much to my chagrin, I discovered that I’m 44% Scandinavian, 21% British, 8% Iberian Peninsula, and 7% Ireland/Scotland/Wales – but 0% Cherokee. (The whole “princess” thing should have been my first clue, right?)

We must live in an affluent society when someone thinks it worthwhile to market a $99 DNA test that ignores important things like genetic vulnerabilities to inherited disease in favor of crushing my native American dreams. (So much for that casino I was planning to open in my backyard.)

But now there’s an even more indulgent test you can buy. I’m talking, of course, about DNA testing for your dog. That’s right, for just $79.99 from Amazon (with free shipping for Prime members), you can test Fido’s breed all the way back to his great-grandparents! “With a simple cheek swab, you can uncover DNA-based insights that may help you understand your dog’s unique appearance, behaviors and wellness needs.” No more “just a mutt” – now you’ll know exactly why your chubby Chihuahua looks so much like a Jack Russell terrier.

Here’s the lesson, and it’s an easy one. If your clients can afford a genetic test for their dog, they can afford to pay you more. You just have to convince them you’re worth it.

We’re smack in the middle of tax season, of course. And you can be forgiven for thinking that you’re too busy doing taxes to show your clients why you’re worth more right at the moment. But if you’re so busy working in your business to shave off something for working on your business, you’re making a big mistake. And your TaxCoach peers across the country are happy to show you how to correct that mistake. Here are some comments from yesterday’s Marketing & Management Call-In:

“I gave a presentation sponsored by the Small Business Development Center of SIUE (local university) about two weeks ago. The organizer has just scheduled me to give the presentation to the Illinois statewide SBDC.”

Tommy Brown, EA, Granite City, IL

“I set up a new Google ad campaign using the copy that you suggested (‘not your average accountant’) and got an appointment the first day.”

Zack Kraines, CPA, Plano, TX

“Oh, and I just sold another tax plan this morning. Priced it at $5,000 instead of $2,500 because the QBI thing is more complicated.”

Christi Bender, CPA, Phoenixville, PA

“A tax client had a baby last month. I sent her a pink onesie that had ‘cutest little tax deduction’ via Amazon and paid the extra $5 to have them gift-wrap it and add a card. She loved it and posted it on Instagram for her 1,000 followers to see. Great advertising!”

Zack Kraines, CPA (again!)

There you have it. Right now, in the middle of deepest darkest tax season, TaxCoach members are booking and delivering seminars, selling tax plans, and using online advertising and social media to build their businesses. If they can do it, so can you!