The Kennels

Changing The Rein Into A New Direction

What will 2020 be remembered for? The year we stayed at home, the year we all took stock of our hectic lives, the year for change? It is a year we will definitely not forget, that’s for sure.

I know when talk of this new virus started spreading from China, I initially didn’t take much notice of it. It was only when the media reported of areas closing down, businesses having to shut and lives being lost that the reality of this virus began to hit home. Running two businesses meant having to adapt when lockdown was imposed and like many, I had some enforced time on my hands. With a half century milestone looming too, I had time to reassess a lot of things in my life but most definitely my work needed some refreshing.

Working in social media marketing means hours in front of the computer. My eyes have really suffered in recent years together with the stiff creaky joints sitting down in the same position. I really needed something physical for my wellbeing and health but also creating an income at the same time. I wanted to give up some of the freelance work but my bank account would ideally like something to replace it! So what to do and how to change this?

Coming up with creative ideas is very easy but actually putting them into practice is the hard part. That niggly saboteur in your head feeding all the negative thoughts about what could go wrong with any changes in your life. And I sometimes have a fairly active saboteur in my head! But you have to overcome the “what if’s” and just take the plunge! So what am I plunging into? Well after many months of thought, I am going to retrain to be a…. dog groomer!

I have enjoyed many years clipping my horse and I’ve always thought I’ve done an ok job. With enforced lockdown and months without a dog groomer, I dusted off my clippers and took to giving my three terriers a haircut. The end result was not that bad and I really enjoyed it. This change of career will hopefully tick the boxes that I am looking for. It’s physically active and I will meet many lovely dogs and their owners too. The social interaction of being face to face is something I really miss. Working solo in front of a screen can be a very insular existence. It can be flexible too, so I’m not going to do it any injustice as it has given me a lot of freedom over the years. So my cunning plan is to run my dog grooming business from home two to three days a week and then two days with my marketing and content work. My hope is that this will give me a happy medium of working in a physically active job and then resting in the office on the other days! Well, I am now the big 50…..

So there has been lots of planning in how to raise this venture off the ground. I am lucky we have an outbuilding which has space to be my “salon”. The last few months have been taken up with branding, planning the salon, sourcing equipment and the marketing. There was also one major aspect that needed to be arranged which I couldn’t open without… and that is training to do the job!

I have researched thoroughly in how to train and what would be the best for me. I have looked at going back to college training to a City and Guilds level as well as Academies that cater courses to individuals. These factor in how you will be running a business and particularly if you are specialising. I found the Academy courses run by salon owners were actually more favourable which suited me and have chosen to train at the South Coast Dog Grooming Academy. Meeting Sarah, the owner of SCDGA, gave me an honest but invaluable insight into the industry and she has taught many who have gone on to have successful dog grooming businesses. I know this Academy is the right choice for me.

Training starts this week and I have decided to document my training showing the highs and no doubt the many challenges it will bring. The South Coast Dog Grooming Academy has recently moved to larger premises and I will be one of the first to train there. I am very excited about this change and am going to give it my all over the next five months.

In recent weeks I have concentrated on branding my own business which is: Country Barn Dog Grooming and work on the salon has “slowly” started. We have a huge amount to do but I have a vision in how it will look and the focus of the business will be specialising on terriers and working dogs. These dogs are my absolute love and passion and I want the business to have the heart of the countryside at its core. Of course, I will be happy to groom all breeds but training with the SCDGA will give me an opportunity to focus on these breeds.

So please come and follow my training ( I can’t say “journey” haha) and I hope if anybody out there who is thinking of changing their career and perhaps this is an area they want to work in, this blog may help. I also hope my ageing brain can cope with the learning it is going to be bombarded with. I’m sure it will be fine. Now, where are my scissors…

by Samantha Hobden

Please follow Country Barn Dog Grooming on Instagram

Training information: South Coast Dog Grooming Academy