The 8th March 2020 will be my 10th anniversary of being a business owner. I can’t actually fathom where the last 10 years have gone and when I look back it’s crazy to see how far I’ve come. Granted I’m not as far ahead as I would have liked, but that’s because life loves to throw you a few curve balls. I’ve had some epic highs and I’ve had some lows which have almost killed me off – literally and figuratively!!
For the next 10 weeks I’m going to be sharing with you the best and worst and all the mistakes I’ve made. And there’s been a lot of mistakes!
In the beginning there was nothing…..
Well, not nothing, but I wasn’t a business owner. I was working as a veterinary care assistant at the Newcastle branch of PDSA. I’d been there 4 years and for all I mostly enjoyed the job and the perks (back then we only paid tax on consumables so I got my cat castrated for a whopping £2!) I was unhappy.
My mam had passed away in the December of 2007 and I took it really badly. It wasn’t helped by the fact that my boss cajooled me back to work too soon so that I ended up have a mini breakdown in the February of 2008. I burst into tears while cleaning surgical instruments and when at home I was drinking way too much. I went to the doctors and he pit me on the sick. A few days into my sick leave, my boss called me asking when I was coming back to work! I hated my job after that.
About the time my mam died, I met a guy who helped me get through it. He barely knew me but came to the funeral and listened to my snot filled cries and stories. Before we knew it we were in love. The problem was, he lived in Barnard Castle, which was about an hours drive from me. I split my time between home and Barnard Castle but the commute up the A1 to Newcastle was utter hell.
I started looking for a job in the Teesdale area but pickin’s were slim. I wanted to still work with animals so that really narrowed down the possibilities. I searched for 18 months without much luck, and that’s when my boyfriend and I started talking about setting up a dog walking business.
This was a bloody scary thought because I had never wanted to run my own business! In fact I remember distinctly in my business studies class at college, I moaned to my friend Michelle about how I thought the lesson was pointless because I never wanted to run a business. She agreed and funnily enough, we are now both business owners! In hindsight I wish I’d listened!
I handed in my notice to PDSA in February 2010 and I officially started my business on 8th March 2010! I moved to Barnard Castle and it was the beginning of my business journey. My brother in law designed my logo and my boyfriend did my website. Back then dog walking wasn’t the massive industry it is now, and there was really only one other dog walker in the whole town. I had one client to start with and he was a greyhound called Robbie, whom I walked twice a day, 5 days a week. That earned me a whopping £40 a week!!! I’ve come a long way since then, and not to sound too cliche, it has been an absolute roller coaster of a ride!!
Each week i’ll tell you the story of each year I’ve been in business and tell you about the good, the bad and the ugly of 10 Years of Tam!!
Thanks for reading guys,