Starting my own business gave me my life back
The last 6 years have not been easy. I spent 2012 - 2017 in and out of education, had no friends and no life all due to my severe anxiety and depression. I spent those few years trying counselling, talking therapies and CBT but was told I couldn't be helped as I physically could not talk about my feelings.
I also spent my time doing home education as and when I could because traditional schooling was not an option considering that is where my mental health issues stemmed from.
By the time I was 18, I had only managed to achieve 4 GCSE's and since I was no longer legally required to be in education I decided to try looking for a job. However, this caused my already fragile mental state to crash.
I then spent the next 8 months trying medication to treat my anxiety and depression. It took a while to make a noticeable difference by it was happening slowly.
During this time, I was browsing Instagram and came across some very beautiful leads that I wanted to buy for my dogs, Max & Charlie, but due to them being $50 each + postage from USA, I couldn't afford it. So, I turned it into a craft project. I brought all the materials and spent hours researching how to splice rope on YouTube and gave it ago. After several failed attempts, I made them!
I loved making them and got many compliments from fellow dog walkers, that I thought I could sell them on Etsy. I added my own style to the leads and quickly started selling them around the world.
I was comfortable with doing this as there wasn't any pressure to work all day everyday. I just filled orders as and when they came in.
I started doing a few small summer and craft fairs which forced me into talking to strangers which then lead into phone calls and then attending meetings by myself. All of these things made me anxious, but I managed to push through as it was something I was enjoying and wanted to do.
I decided that I loved my idea of starting a small business and wanted to it expand further. As this would enable me to work in my own time from home where I am comfortable. I needed some help to get my business officially up and running and I came across The Prince's Trust. Their Enterprise Course sounded exactly what I needed but it made me very anxious. So, I spent two weeks trying to pluck up the courage to contact them.
The Prince's Trust have been fantastic in helping me with my business. I started off by attending their 4 day enterprise course in December 2017. I felt so at ease there and honestly didn't recognise the Rebecca that turned up each day. I was so confident and talkative, definitely someone who I hadn't seen for 5 years. I think this was due to the confidence, knowledge and drive I had to build my business. I honestly still cannot believe that I achieved that week.
After my week at The Prince's Trust I was so determined to make my business successful that I worked really hard and got everything together for an official launch in March. I have been paired with a business mentor to help with all things business for example finances, marketing and pricing etc.
I am now slowly expanding into new ranges of products both for dogs and their owners. I currently sell at large events where I do not stop talking and exploring the wholesale side of business.
My two dogs, Max and Charlie have been very important in my business and recovery with proving for many emergency cuddles. Max especially as had been there since the beginning. Unfortunately, we just lost him so he has passed on double the responsibility onto Charlie.
So, my business has given me my life back. It may have taken 5 years of failed traditional mental health treatments but turns out turning my passion of dogs and business into Two Dogs & Co was the best therapy I could have asked for.
I cannot wait to see how I and my business grow over the next few years.
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