By Vaida Tamkiene

Starting a business is something many people think about at one time or another during their lives, and underneath a desire to make money, or to be your own boss, often lies a deeper motivation.

Wilton-based Corinne Roberts, who has 16 years’ experience as a midwife, decided she needed a change of scene and to de-stress, so about a month ago, at the beginning of September, she started her own dog walking and pet sitting business.

“Everyone has different motivation, and mine was a need to make a change and remove stress. I have always loved dogs and other animals, so this seemed like a perfect opportunity,” said Corinne, who also enjoys being outside and, as a former long-distance runner, felt she wasn’t getting enough exercise.

Corinne spent about four months in preparation, which included conducting market research, pet first aid training, and spending time with existing dog walkers to get practical advice and establish good links for collaboration.

She also invested in specialist equipment, such as a car crate, to ensure dog safety and comfort – Corinne’s primary concern at all times. As most jobs, this business presents certain risks, so dog walking insurance was necessary, whereas different advertising activities have helped promote her services in Wilton and Salisbury.

All efforts seem to be paying off as the first month in business has already exceeded Corinne’s expectations. She has even started considering possibilities for employing other people in the future, and extending services to include a dog boarding agency.

“Based on advice from local dog walkers, I anticipate the business to take about six months to properly establish. My diary is almost full already, and I couldn’t have asked for a better start,” Corinne said, adding that the local community has been extremely supportive.

According to Corinne, the main challenge in running a small business is good organisation and finding ways to minimise the costs. Learning new skills is also essential – from networking to accounting and using specific software.

“It was a brave decision for me, quite a risk adverse person, as I stepped away from a long-term job with a stable income. But it feels great to be working for myself,” Corinne added. Occasionally, she still works as a midwife – the job she loves dearly, and it gives her financial support needed to establish the new business.

For details, or to book a service, visit www.thedogwalkers.net or call 07947 626751.

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