A WorkLife Change: From the World of Publishing to Companion Animal Practitioner

Oh, And Making Personalised Dinnerware for Discerning Pets, And Dog Walking Too!

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash

I’m sharing Janet’s story by way of demonstrating that if you can conceive an idea, you can achieve it. It will take planning, preparation, the necessary training and development, a good business plan and strategy, but as Janet discovered, you just need to take the first step, and the rest of your journey will unfold along the way.

Janet worked in the publishing industry, it was a natural fit because of her love of literature, and she was happy there for many years. However, as time went on, Janet’s interests in other areas grew and developed. Janet is a creative soul and is also passionate about animals and, with her partner, has two beautiful cocker spaniels and a cat called Taj.

It’s always good to make time for your interests and hobbies outside of work, and for most people, this is enough, while for others, this can lead to building a business in line with their passions. This is what happened for Janet.

She first enrolled on a ceramics course making art ceramics. Her obvious talent was recognised early, which resulted in her work being displayed in galleries in the UK and Germany. Although a significant achievement, it didn’t bring in a lot of money. By way of‘ a filler’, as Janet figured out what to do with the art ceramics, she began making dog bowls.

The reason she focussed on this specifically was because her own two dogs being cocker spaniels, had long floppy ears which got in the way when they were eating, and so she designed a bowl that helped to overcome this problem. The bowls proved to be so popular that Janet decided to let the arty stuff fall by the wayside and focus on building the bowls (for both dogs and cats) as a business.

She developed a website to market her wares, and this took off overnight, and the orders came flooding in, and her business was featured in Vogue magazine.

Because she was doing this alongside her day job, she had a waiting list, and her clients were quite happy with this. After all, they were getting a unique gift for their much-loved pet.

Phase one of Janet’s new career and business was underway, and although it wasn’t exactly planned, it had in essence evolved from nurturing her creative ability.

Then through her love of animals, she came across TTouch, which is a therapy used in training, handling and rehabilitation of companion animals. She undertook the training needed to develop her skills and ability to set herself up in practice as a TTouch Therapist.

Having gone through the process, she has now established herself and has developed a new website to market her services. Along with word of mouth, it’s incredible how quickly the word is spreading, and her business is growing, and she is working as a Companion Animal Practioner.

As phase two was developing, Janet had the realisation that she was now in a position to move away from her publishing career and become self-employed.

She needed to develop her business plan and strategy to ensure the timing was right and she had everything in place she needed to make a smooth transition.

Obviously, for anyone leaving a secure job where they know they have a salary at the end of each month, they need to take financial considerations into account and be comfortable with their projected income.

Because Janet established her business alongside her current work, she was in a good position to understand the potential demand and income from her products and services. So it was from an informed standpoint, she planned her transition.

Once she began to talk to people about her plans, she actually secured another piece of work to add to her portfolio.

As both she and her partner were working full time, they engaged the services of a dog walker to exercise their dogs during the week. This is another successful business, and once the woman who did the dog walking learnt that Janet was moving on from her permanent job, she asked if she’d like to join her business and do some dog walking when time permitted.

This was a win/win situation for both women. Janet has regular paid work on top of her earning potential from her products and services, along with getting paid for her daily exercise! And the other woman can focus on developing her business in the knowledge her client’s dogs are in good hands.

The moral of this story is: even if you don’t know where your journey is taking you, take the first step. I like to use the analogy of driving in a fog: you need to travel from Cornwall to Scotland, but you can only see a few yards ahead as you begin your journey. But somehow, that’s enough as you know the fog will clear, and you move towards your destination at a pace that’s safe and manageable.

You may eventually come to a crossroads, and when you do, the time you’ve taken thinking and reflecting during your journey will help you figure out which road to take.

Some people will say to me, if you don’t know where you’re going, how you will know when you get there, others will say not knowing where they’re going may take them along more interesting paths. Just remember we’re all different, and there’s no right or wrong path to your destination.

This story was featured in my book: Your WorkLife Your Way.

The stories I write are based on real WorkLife challenges, obstacles and successes. In some stories, I share my own experiences, and with permission, stories of people I’ve worked with, whose names have been changed to protect their anonymity. Other persons and companies portrayed in the stories are not based on real people or entities.

Published by Carmel O' Reilly

Carmel O’ Reilly: WorkLife Learning Practitioner & Writer Author of WorkLife Book Club, Your WorkLife Your Way and The School of WorkLife book series. Created to help you manage your WorkLife Learning. Blogger & Podcaster: Telling people’s powerful stories about WorkLife challenges & successes Founder of www.schoolofworklife.com My guiding statement is to help people pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, passion, purpose and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes that are accessible to everyone.