By her own admission, Jenny had a great job at Warner Bros. The pay was good, the perks were awesome, and the company offered solid career progression. Nearly eight years into her role as Recruitment Manager, Jenny gave it all up to be a We Love Pets franchisee. Why? Because she wanted a business that worked around her lifestyle.
Working 9.30am until 6pm with an hour’s commute each way into central London every day was taking its toll on Jenny. She could spend up to 16 hours a day out at work and didn’t always know when she would be home. Now she knows exactly what her days will be like and when she’ll be home for dinner.
“It’s so liberating to see the daylight and to get out from behind the desk. I feel so much more fit and healthy!”
As Branch Director of We Love Pets branches at Wimbledon, New Malden and Esher, Jenny manages small local teams of dog walkers, pet sitters and home dog boarders. She joined We Love Pets in August 2018 following a period of reflection triggered by her husband’s redundancy:
“I had a great job at Warner Bros., but I thought if I don’t do something radical, I’m going to be here forever. If I’m going to do something with my life, now is the time.”
Jenny had always had a passion for animals and wanted a business that was going to get her away from the rat race and into the fresh air:
“I wanted to break free from the shackles of the corporate 9-5. Before I was just a little cog in a massive wheel. I used to think what’s my purpose. What am I doing here?”
Like so many franchisees, originally Jenny wanted to own her own business but the idea of being a one-man-band didn’t appeal. Nor did the prospect of doing all the dog walking herself. She wanted to employ people, to have a hand in developing them and to have a positive impact on her local community. Jenny knew she couldn’t do that alone, so she started researching pet care franchises.
“I wanted to be part of something bigger. I wanted somewhere with procedures and processes in place. Somewhere I could be confident that things were done to an excellent standard.”
Where Jenny had previously got lost in the corporate machine, the safety of the franchise business model offered the perfect balance of autonomy and security. But she wasn’t going to go with just anyone, it had to be the right cultural fit:
“I looked at loads of franchises, but it was We Love Pets that impressed me most. After meeting Ryan, the Managing Director, I could tell they are a really innovative franchisor. They always want to try new things and it made them stand out for me against their competitors.”
It was the ‘Day in a Life of…’ videos on the We Love Pets website that convinced Jenny that dog walkers really were living the dream – working outside with gorgeous animals, taking in the beauty of their surroundings with a clear head and relaxed attitude.
While Jenny admits that in many ways her mental health has improved since leaving her corporate job, she’s realistic about the bigger sense of responsibility to staff, clients and the animals themselves that comes with owning your own pet care business. However, there are arguably greater rewards to reap, too:
“Now I can see my actions having a direct impact. Where I felt little before, I am much more fulfilled now.”
Doing your homework is key to transitioning from employee to franchisee Jenny advises:
“Meet a few franchisors because ultimately you will be investing a lot of money and time, not to mention yourself into it. The fit must be just right. For me, We Love Pets offered that individual care I was looking for and the support network I needed.”
If, like Jenny, you’re desperate to break out of the corporate environment to be your own boss, manage your own time and get out into the great outdoors every day – talk to us about becoming a franchisee at We Love Pets or download a brochure.