‘I always thought business owners were people who have been to college or university and studied for a business qualification!’
Sophie had always known her passion was working with animals and started her career as a Vet Nurse in a large mixed practice, The George Veterinary Group – featured recently on Countryfile.
What was your motivator for a change in career?
I had spent most of my working life within the veterinary industry and after hitting my mid-forties I began to look at life outside of this. I wanted to do something where I was in more control of my days and what I did, but still desperately wanted it to be focused around animals.
Did you know your skills as a vet nurse could be transferred to being a business owner?
I knew there were jobs out there where having a veterinary nurse qualification was an advantage, for some of my career I worked for a pet insurance company and pet food company. I don’t think however I had really made the link between a veterinary nurse qualification and pet care business owner before.
I always thought business owners were people who have been to college or university and studied for a business qualification!
What made you realise that almost anyone can run their own business?
Well for me it was reading all the success stories of franchisees on the We Love Pet website. I spent quite a bit of time doing research into transferrable jobs from vet nursing. The existing branch owners all had such varying backgrounds which were not necessarily business or animal related so I thought therefore it could only be an advantage for me to come from an animal industry background.
After all your research what made you choose a We Love Pets franchise?
They came across very professionally all the way through the process, not at all salesy or pushy, and explained everything about how a franchise model would work. They also offered more services than just dog walking which appealed to me. The more that you can accommodate a range of customers’ needs the more they will value you and what you offer over and above someone else.
What aspects of being a vet nurse have been useful in running your own pet care business?
Having some knowledge of seeing many different dog breeds through my years in practice and all their breed specific traits I think has been very helpful. Understanding medical conditions and general dog, cat, horse behaviour is also useful in the day to day of being around these animals, although not essential it is a unique selling point for me.
I do get customers ask me for my advice on occasion. I think it gives the customers I house sit for extra peace of mind to have someone looking after their pets with some veterinary knowledge. Especially those with senior citizen dogs who are on medication!
Do you miss nursing?
Not at all, the freedom of being self- employed and in charge of your own destiny is amazing! However, I wouldn’t have been without that part of my career and enjoy using the knowledge to write a monthly article for the We Love Pets newsletter and website. I have also responded to the odd phone call from other branch owners if they are after a bit of veterinary advice. Even if it was just to confirm that booking the dog in to see the vet was the right thing to do.
Do you have transferable skills that would make you a great addition to our growing team of franchise owners? Then we can’t wait to hear from you! Click here for more information.