Millie with a puppy

Think you’re too young to run a franchise? – Millie’s Story

‘Don’t be afraid and do what you love! You’re going to have to work for so many years that finding what you enjoy is essential in keeping happy. Never let your age prevent you from fulfilling your dreams, it’s just a number!’

We spoke to Millie White, newest We Love Pets franchisee. She is the first franchisee in Wales and the youngest member of the franchise family.

To us, age is simply a number, but at 21 we know your early journey into business owner will be hugely inspiring for many out there.

What made you decide you wanted to step straight out of University in to being a business owner?

After finishing my degree, I knew that I wanted to do something I love – and that was to work with animals! I decided that I didn’t want to only specialise in dog walking or boarding, as I feel that what I learnt during my university career would have been wasted. So the option to start my own business meant that I could encompass all of my learnt skills, whilst having the benefit of being my own boss. Although I am only 21, I believe it is such a great time in life to take on a new challenge, especially when it is something I love! Everyday will be different and I will continue to be mentally stimulated due to varying days and experiences they bring.

The We Love Pets franchise model meant that I was able to fully understand the different stages in opening a franchise, and made the whole process less daunting and more enjoyable.

The independence you experience at Uni and the need to manage your time, prioritise coursework will surely aid you in running your own business?

Being at University has taught me life skills that I will cherish. I studied English Literature and as a result, had to prioritise many different aspects of work. I had to learn how to keep on top of reading four books a week, preparing for essays, writing the essays and revising for exams all along with attending lectures. This ultimately has enhanced my time management a great deal; I understand how to work under tight deadlines and prioritise different work while completing them to a high standard.

Also, due to the nature of my degree, I have learnt the importance of language and this has transferred into possessing great interpersonal skills, allowing me to approach different clients in a professional manner. As well as this, I have had to learn how to write in a professional, academic manner and consequently, this has enabled me to coherently communicate and represent the established We Love Pets brand.

Franchising is far more successful than independent businesses. 90% of independent start-ups fail past 5 years; in contrast 95% of franchisees are still in business after 5 years (BFA, 2015).

It’s often thought to be a natural progression, leave school/college/Uni and go straight into being an employee, but with working for companies being quite unpredictable compared to jobs being for life years ago, starting your own business is very popular.

The We Love Pets franchise model made me feel safe; coming out of a degree is a daunting prospect especially with the finances it brings, so I did not want to independently open my own business with the higher chances of it failing. Using the tried, tested and trusted We Love Pets business model means that I have a much higher chance of succeeding and I am also surrounded by lovely people who are always happy to help share their wealth of knowledge.

After talking to Ryan on the phone and then meeting with him and Jo, I knew they would help me succeed. I immediately felt welcomed and valued, and felt that I was already part of the We Love Pets family and this truly made me feel confident that opening my own franchise was the right decision.

They were happy to answer any questions, no matter how small, and demonstrated their passion for the business, which inspired me even more to become part of their team.

What made you consider approaching We Love Pets initially?

We Love Pets has directly helped my family. Growing up I had a chocolate Labrador, Rolo, who was my best friend and most loving dog. As my mum worked and I was at school, we relied on the Reading franchise to help care for him. Unfortunately, Rolo became ill but because We Love Pets genuinely cared for him they always made sure we knew he was okay and put our minds at ease when he was with them.

They showed him so much love and happiness that I know even when he wasn’t feeling 100%, he was so happy to be with them. I wanted to give other dog owners this same feeling; it is so difficult to trust someone with your beloved animal yet from my experience with We Love Pets, I always knew they had the animals interest at heart and this is exactly the kind of company I knew I wanted to work under.

What words of wisdom would you give to anyone who’s just leaving education and thinking about their first step into the working world?

Don’t be afraid and do what you love! You’re going to have to work for so many years that finding what you enjoy is essential in keeping happy. Never let your age prevent you from fulfilling your dreams, it’s just a number!

Do you have anything else you’d like to share?

I am so grateful to WLP for giving me this amazing opportunity. Being of such a young age I was worried that I would be unable to break into the pet industry, let alone run my own business! I am truly grateful for how welcoming and accommodating everyone on the team has been. I know that I will always have support no matter what stage of my franchisee journey, and that is truly invaluable in running a new business.

Check out Millie’s Bridgend dog walking and pet sitting business page.