Jackie from We Love Pets Salisbury with three dogs

Starting a pet business at 50 – Jackie’s story

It can come at any time in our lives, that desire for change, for perhaps something more. We give so much during our younger years, not only to employers, but to friends and family as we endeavour to find out what we really enjoy doing for ourselves. For some, finding your vocation can come earlier in life, Jackie had it early on working as a social worker for 25 years and then the time came to really start enjoying life and doing something every day that brings enjoyment to her, as well as those she works with.

Jackie was 52 when she decided to pick up the phone and find out a little more about a We Love Pets franchise, now 6 months on she’s already feeling a huge difference to her mindset, health, happiness, family life and work-life balance.

How hard was it stepping out of your routine and comfort zone?

Initially it was very hard. It was a huge decision to make and although I knew it was the right decision I had many worries. It was also very strange not working at the same pace and level of stress that I had become used to but I quickly started to enjoy the change and the benefits.

I was worried that it would be the same challenges in any other job.

What challenges have you faced in life and/or work and how did these impact on your decision to look into being your own boss?

The major challenge was having a healthy work-life balance and the impact this had on family life. I knew things had to change and had been looking at lots of alternatives for a while but was worried that it would be the same challenges in any other job. Therefore I started to look at being my own boss in a pet business as it would enable me to have more control as well as job satisfaction as it would be doing something I really loved and wanted to do.

What scared you the most about moving to being your own boss? Have any of those fears come to fruition?

Lots! I had never been my own boss and did not have any experience of developing and or running a business. I was worried about having to do it all by myself and I also needed to earn a wage and was worried that I may not succeed.

I have had a few anxieties along the way but the support from Head Office has been absolutely great, and immediate, and nothing has been too much trouble for them. The initial training days were really valuable and Head Office are more than happy to go through anything again and again!

Although the first 2 months started slowly by the third month the business started to really take off and my monthly turnover figure has increased month by month at a rate that I did not expect and by the end of this month, only 6 months in, my turnover will nearly match my wage from my previous job!

Using the support and advice from Head Office as well as using the support of my Mentor (Tracey, Reading West) and my Buddy (Sophie, Stroud and Tetbury), who have been there for me from day one.

What tips would you give to anyone wanting to follow a passion and start their own pet care business with We Love Pets?

Meet Jo & Ryan! Their passion, positive energy and professionalism really comes through and inspired me to follow my dream too.

Also, talk to any of the other franchisees. They were honest about how it was for them in their early days but not one of them regretted having done it and they all said they could not imagine doing anything else now!

What words of wisdom do you have for anyone thinking about a career change after doing the same thing for many years?

Do your research and if it still feels right, just do it!

Making this change has been really positive for me in all areas of my life. I have learnt so much and am continuing to learn and there have been some difficulties along the way but I love doing what I am now doing and really look forward to my working week!

Jackie offers Dog Walking and Pet Sitting services in Salisbury and the surrounding areas.