It is September already! Which means we have another amazing business to showcase. Charlotte is the owner of The Dog Walkers, A business designed to keep your family pets happy while you are away.
The Diamond Initiative asked Charlotte to answer a few questions about her business below.
The Dog Walkers.
Local dog walking and sitting service in Burton upon Trent
Offer regular group dog walking service between 9am – 4pm as well as puppy visits.
Have experience with breeds including: Spaniels, Staffordshire Terriers, Labradors, Poodle crosses, Collies, Dobermans, Alsatian crosses and Northern Inuits.
1. What made you start your own business?
It was never my plan to start my own business at this stage in my life. However, most of my time working as an administrator before this was spent thinking about and researching that ‘perfect job’ I really wanted to do instead. I was really excited by the thought of working with animals but knew the pay wasn’t great – I could earn much more sticking with ‘boring’ admin.
I toyed with the idea of becoming a dog walker, as the independent outdoor work with animals suited me down to a tee, however I couldn’t see how I could make it work as a realistic business model full-time. Then in October last year, still unsure as to what else I was going to do, I took the plunge and handed my notice in to my full-time employer.
I spent the next couple of months picking up any temporary work I could whilst biding my time waiting for the lightbulb moment… That moment happened whilst out having dinner with my mum one evening. She dropped into the conversation that a friend of a friend had started their own dog walking business and was managing to earn a living off it. Bingo! Following a lengthy Q&A session with said friend of friend (to whom I am eternally thankful!), my business plans were set into motion and the rest is history!
2. Who has been your biggest inspiration while building your business to where it is today?
I get a lot of inspiration from my partner who successfully runs his own martial arts school. Knowing how he managed to build something up from nothing and come out the other end with a big smile on his face is very reassuring! I also think a special mention needs to go to Vicky Picton who runs These Paws are Made for Walking (and is also a close friend of my partners). She built up a very successful walking business in a very short space of time having not been in the industry much longer than me. This really spurred to me on to try to get to that stage!
3. Describe your perfect day at work!
There would have to be a clear blue sky – any season, just as long as the sky is blue! Walking for four hours a day requires a lot of energy and so if I can get in a great big English breakfast, I do! If it’s cooked for me, even better, so Weathspoons it would be. The rest of the day would be spent (with my dog Rogue in toe of course) walking along with the dogs through fields, around parks and (my favourite) in woods! The less interesting admin tasks would be done wrapped up in a warm snuggley blanket on the sofa to finish the day off.
4. What has been your biggest hurdle to date and how did you overcome it?
Getting my first customer to sign up! The idea of trying to convince someone to pay me to walk their ‘baby’ when I had no professional experience and no one else on the books made me feel very uncomfortable. I just had to go with the belief that I knew I could do the job well and wouldn’t be entertaining the idea if I couldn’t. This mind-set seemed to pay off and I managed to get a sign up from my first ever meet and greet.
5. What has been your biggest ‘Wow’ moment in business? Your biggest achievement?
Walking through the woods on my first ever dog walk. It took weeks of preparation to even get to the point when I could even just advertise my services so to finally have someone believe in me and give me the responsibility of looking after their pet felt amazing. I had to pinch myself that someone was actually paying me finally to do something I loved and this was just the start.
6. What do you find most useful about The Diamond Initiative?
I love the meet ups. Running your own business you don’t have any work colleagues and you’re often very time restricted to meet up with your friends. Knowing that once a month, there’s a place you can meet with familiar faces and have a good chin wag about something that really matters to you is such a lovely feeling.
If you would like to find out more about The Dog Walkers you can check out her business below!
We Are The Dog Walkers – Website
@wearethedogwalkers – Instagram Handle