Living in the garrison town of Colchester in Essex, with husband Dillon and eight-year-old French Mastiff Blue, Rebecca Wattam told Army&You how her love for animals has guided her career path…
REBECCA had a career working with international show jumping horses, but it often took her away for up to six weeks at a time.
She explained: “After I met Dillon, our relationship blossomed, but he was posted away and we were struggling to see each other. We realised something had to give.”
As she was happy for her career to be less hands-on and involve more sociable hours, Rebecca ventured towards work in equestrian and rural property.
But when that shift made her realise that she missed working with animals, Rebecca decided to pursue a new professional path.
Having decided to plan for when Dillon leaves the Army, Rebecca invested time creating a business that could be managed from anywhere. She took on a dog grooming position and quickly developed her skills.
“I saw a gap in the market and started building up my own list of clients, eventually renting premises within a vet’s practice,” she continued. “I started going to networking meetings, developed my own marketing tools – including a website and social media platforms – and I now have two amazingly capable employees.
“I’ve also put software in place so I can manage the business online and registered it at Companies House.”
Looking to expand
Rebecca is currently considering opening another grooming parlour within a veterinary practice.
She said: “Once I can show my brand can be easily replicated, franchising it is a possibility as well as creating our own line of dog shampoos via an online shop.
“Working with animals can be physically and mentally demanding, but it’s certainly rewarding.”
Advice for others
Rebecca’s biggest recommendation to anyone wishing to set up in business is to network.
“Whether meetings, groups or on social media, you will gain knowledge, advice, experience and open doors for opportunity,” she said, adding: “You also need to be financially committed to having a dog.
“Blue’s insurance is more than £400 per calendar month – yes, per month!
“However, we absolutely wouldn’t be without him and he’s such great company. Having a dog is a great way to keep active and enjoy the outdoors.”
If you are keen to begin a new business venture, check out the following links for advice: