Setting up and running a business alongside being a wife and a mother is a daunting prospect, not to mention the guilt you feel when you’re focusing time and energy on yourself for once.
How will I find the time? What if I fail? How will I do everything needed like finding customers, accounts, employing staff?
‘I feel elated and so positive about what I can achieve. It’s a feeling I’ve never had before and I can’t wait to get started.’
Being a mother and a wife is a full-time job for many on its own, but as her two children are now entering the world of full time education Sam decided it was time to give some attention to one of her other loves; animals.
What made you want to run your own pet care business?
I had taken a year out from my job in marketing to be at home with my children but the thought of going back to an office really didn’t appeal. I’ve always felt there was something else I should be doing but I couldn’t see how any of my interests could ever earn me enough money to live on. I had been walking and boarding dogs, for free, so started to look at what my options could be for earning money this way. Then I fell upon We Love Pets website and the opportunity to run my own franchise was like a bolt of lightening when I realised I could do this for a living!
Why did you decide on the franchise route as opposed to going it alone?
There’s so much support from We Love Pets that you wouldn’t be on your own. You have all the responsibility of your own business but with a whole host of resources to help with any aspects you may not be familiar with, like finding customers, accounts and employment, and all from a brand that is established.
There’s the added benefit of having the neighbouring franchisees there to help you too, so if you have a problem you’re not sure about, you don’t have to muddle through it on your own. You have people who understand right there from day one.
Are there aspects from your previous career that will be useful in your new adventure?
I’ve come from a communications and marketing background, so this will help me feel confident about how I should approach marketing my business and to look for other opportunities.
I’ve also worked with a really diverse range of people, so I think that helps to interact with a wide variety of different people.
What aspects of running your own business will you look to the We Love Pets team to support you with?
The training we all have at Wiltshire College will give me a great start in areas that I have not learnt on my own, i.e pet first aid, dog behaviour and all the professional elements to running my own business.
After that I think the ongoing support will be helping to grow my business, advertising for new staff members to join my team and I’m sure there will be a few random questions pop up that I will need some advice on. The team intranet is a great resource area so I’m sure I will be using that regularly as well!
What emotions have you gone through from first considering running your own business to this moment now?
To start with, I was extremely frustrated with myself as I really wanted to find work that I could feel passionate about. That changed to excitement with the prospect of a new venture which was quickly followed by disbelief that this was actually happening. I never felt scared though, I was really comforted by everyone involved in the process. Now I feel elated and so positive about what I can achieve. It’s a feeling I’ve never had before and I can’t wait to get started.
How did you finance this venture? And how easy was that process?
I used a company called Start Up Loans. They will finance the full franchise cost if you need it which is good considering some banks only offer 50-70% of the full amount.
The process is quite long but worth it. You apply online first, then get issued with a business partner. Then when everything is approved they pass you onto a loan partner. You only pay 6% interest and can spread the cost over 5 years, so it makes monthly payments affordable when you’re first starting up, it helps you understand your finances in detail too.
Sam opened for business in April 2018 and welcomes customers and their pets in Twyford and Yateley.