Terrified, clueless and excited.
Just three of the many words I would use to describe my decision to open my own business at 20 years old. Was it one of the best decisions I ever made? YES! Would I suggest others do it? YES!
- Take your time
One of my first pieces of advice I have would be not to rush yourself. Just because another groomer opened their salon when they were 19 or 20, does not mean you should feel any pressure to do that too. Everyone moves at their own pace and that is completely fine!
- Stick at it
When I opened my salon, I was fresh out of my grooming course; no one was keen on hiring anyone as we were just out of the worst stage of the pandemic, had little experience managing myself or a salon, had no experience in sorting out diaries and appointments for my soon-to-be clients and definitely didn't have any experience being the boss of anything! I am not going to lie and say it was all rainbows and butterflies, because it was honestly more like thunderstorms and dung beetles at the start. "Wow Anna you're really selling this to me you say", this is just my way of telling you, if you take the leap of faith to go out on your own, STICK AT IT! I wish someone had warned me how hard it would be at the start, trying to manage yourself, gain clients, figure out what you're actually doing... it was stressful; but now almost two years into Randal Hounds being open, I would go as far to say it now runs pretty smoothly. Don't get me wrong, you're going to have bad days in any job, but a bad day doing something you love can easily be forgotten about.
- Be smart financially
Now financially, it wasn't the easiest thing in the world. Starting up my business is when I discovered what was about to be my most visited online store ever: Christies Direct! I literally had no equipment at all and I was lost looking on places and seeing I was going to have to pay maybe £500 for a set of clippers and then maybe £100 for some scissors, before I even thought about any products. Christies really helped me out when I found their Groom Professional Student Starter Kit; it honestly felt like all my prayers had been answered. When my first customer booked in, I literally was more than equipped when it came to grooming her dog because of that kit. They also have financing options, which is what I looked into when ordering my table and my bath from them too; they really helped take the stress out of this part.
- Be consistent
Now, as a 20-year-old girl, I had NO experience in running a business. My advice for running a business would be to stay consistent. Social media these days is HUGE and in my opinion, no business will survive without it. This is how you are going to really grow your business, gain clients and plus, it is free advertising too. Now everyone knows that old phrase "the customer is always right", well I promise you, when it comes to dog grooming, that is not the case. This isn't to say you should be arguing with them, but I know my customers appreciate honest advice when it comes to their beloved pet. If you are always mannerly and polite, your business will go miles. I'm no Richard Branson but this is just my general advice; young business owner to young business owner.
- Reach out to your fellow groomers
Like I said before, no body should ever put pressure on themselves to open a business just because someone else is doing it, but if you are considering it and think you have got what it takes then MOST DEFINITELY give it a shot. I once read on Facebook that "the groomer down the street from you isn't your competition, they are your colleague" and it always stuck with me. Anytime I felt lost or didn't know what to do, I always asked a fellow groomer for advice and they were always happy to help. It is a brilliant community to be apart of and I highly encourage any young groomer to take the leap.