Intro – There’s more out there than the conventional career route.
If you want to get straight to my interview with Joanne from The Dogs Paws, go ahead and skip down to the next heading, below.
But if you’re in the middle of your exams, leaving school, about to graduate or looking for a change in career, you might find a few golden nuggets in this quick (and in no way ranty) intro.
Coming from entrepreneurial stock, it might not be so surprising that my post-education journey has been unconventional. From graduating into a rough job market and building my own start-up company, to setting off on my travels then building my writing career – it’s been an interesting road. Lessons have been learned and it’s shown me that there is so much more out there than what your secondary school guidance teacher had to offer.
I was lazy at school and never wanted to stay in education. That said, I wasn’t stupid enough to take these opportunities completely for granted. I graduated into a rough job market in 2013 and with no desire to become a number in a soulless graduate program, I quickly became disillusioned.
It was more a product of necessity then, that saw me working to make a go of my own start-up company. The business itself was a success but the real profit to be made relied too heavily on external contractors. After two years I had had enough. My stress levels were through the roof and I’d seen plenty of people close to me work themselves into the ground and I wasn’t about to do the same. I ended up packing it all in to set off on my travels. And I know, not everyone has this luxury, but I had worked hard for it. Plus I was able to return – tail between my legs – to the homestead in search of free board and lodgings.
In the couple of years that followed I stuck with what I really loved – working with horses – until a timely kick up the arse came in the form of my first mortgage. That’s when I started to take my writing seriously, and have since worked to establish my career in the niche that really feels like my own.
Along the way I’ve had a lot of fun but also lost a lot of sleep and swallowed a pharmacy full of bitter pills (Mum, it’s a metaphor). I wouldn’t want to go back and do it all again, it’s a cliche, but I wouldn’t change it either because the lessons I’ve learned have not only made me look at myself and other people differently, but taught me to think more critically and look at the big picture every once in a while.
Oh, and never assume. Because, as a good friend regularly reminded me:
“Assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups.”
Assume nothing, or before you know it you’ve got a cast of calamities supporting you in the starring role of your very own shit show.
Whatever you want to do with your life, you probably won’t know when you’re seventeen… Or twenty-five… Or any of those other yet-to-be-identified ages, currently still reserved for the old and decrepit.
But if there’s one thing for sure, there’s more out there than your suggested career as a zoologist that your guidance teacher gleaned from your penchant for Kung-Foo Panda.
Turning Your Hobby into A Business
Handmade Collars, Working from Home and Raw Feeding for Dogs – with Joanne from The Dog’s Paws Boutique
Joanne and I have been friends for a long time. As well as being a long-suffering buddy of mine, she’s a savvy business person.
In my blog 7 Things I’ve Learned from My Staffordshire Bull Terrier – which has had nearly 2000 views already, yay! – Lola was pictured wearing her gorgeous collar from The Dogs Paws Boutique. I’ve had nothing but compliments on it since I got it and with all the interest from my blog post too, I thought it would be fun and interesting to catch up with Joanne.
Joanne always had dogs when we were growing up, including the first staffy I fell in love with, Deano! She started out working for a local dog walking service and has two rehomed dogs of her own: Nola and Bailey. Two mutts with different stories (and personalities!) they have inspired Joanne’s thriving business.
What is The Dog’s Paws?
The Dog’s Paws is an online Pet Boutique featuring Joanne’s handmade creations including some gorgeous collars, leads, harnesses and doggy beds. She is an advocate for raw feeding and natural treats too, so we’ll touch on that in the interview below.
The Interview: Behind the Scenes with Joanne from The Dog’s Paws
What Inspired The Dog’s Paws?
What is Your Home Set-up Like?
What’s A Typical Day Like at The Dog’s Paws?
Typically, my day involves lots of creative work but I always have to spend a bit of time getting up to date with paperwork, managing my online shop, ordering stock and replying to e-mails and messages on The Dog’s Paws facebook page. Then I can get on with working on customer orders and shopping for new designs, fabric, and materials.
Why is The Dog’s Paws So Successful? Passing ‘The Bailey Test’
Raw Feeding for Dogs – Why Feed Raw?
What’s next for The Dogs Paws?
Hopefully the business continues to go from strength to strength! My development plan includes expanding out product range to include pet beds and accessories like jackets and drying coats. I have a few other ideas up my sleeve and customers will be seeing these soon!