The Accidental Dog Trainer

By: Caroline Mitchell. Date: 22 Sep, 21 Published: 22 Sep, 21
15 years ago, I accidentally became a self-employed dog trainer!

I had been studying dog behaviour for a couple of years, mostly for my own interest, and had spent the afternoon practising on a friend-of-a-friends dog. After a couple of hours, we were all finished and I was heading for the door. Then, as I opened the door he asked me how much he owed me. I had not expected to get paid so I just said “whatever you think.” I walked away with a hundred quid in my pocket, and a new job!

I was now self-employed!

Of course, I had no idea what I was doing. And, I had no one to help me. My family and friends hadn’t run their own businesses so they weren’t able to help. There was barely even an internet back then!

But, I gave it a go, relying entirely on gut instinct, and trial and error.

As you can expect, I made loads of mistakes, some more painful than others, and I spent a fortune on stuff I didn’t need. I wasted a bucket load of time on stuff that made no difference and I tried to save money in all the wrong places, but just ended up spending more.

I even had a business fail.

I even had a business fail on me back in the early days, which I now realise I could have saved.

I didn’t have someone to ask about this stuff, I just had to try it and hope for the best. And if it didn’t work, I would try something else.

But, 15 years later I’m still here! Over those years I’ve formed and run a variety of businesses, ventures and organisations including a food business, a charity and publishing. I’ve survived recessions and pandemics, and I learned from all of it, successes and failures alike.

I’ve also done endless courses, watched countless webinars, and read a ton of the books. But, I can honestly say that not all training is created equal. I’ve been on some brilliant webinars with true experts that want to teach you how to use their advice, and why their techniques work.

But, we’ve all been on those webinars where the social media training is pure spam central and would have had all our Facebook accounts limited if we even tried just half of it. And, we’ve all been given marketing advice that was out of date in the 90’s, and sales advice from people that have three random jobs, as well as a business and don’t even follow their own tips!

I’ve had my eyes opened, if I’m honest.

Every small business owner should have access to honest, sensible advice and support, but it’s a minefield out there.

I wouldn’t change my story for anything, but I can’t help thinking how much time and effort I might have saved if I’d had someone to guide and support me along the way. Someone who had “been there”, someone I could talk to about businessey stuff, rather than always bothering my disinterested family.

I get so much joy out of helping people with their business and I realised today that I’ve gone full circle. 15 years ago I was helping people and their dogs, simply for the love of it. Now, I’m doing the same for small businesses!

Learn more here: www.mybusinesscompanion.co.uk