As we near the end of another year, the stress and pressure of the corporate world can make many people feel burnt out and yearn for something more meaningful in their work. Starting your own business can be an attractive avenue, providing you with the chance to control your future and make a positive impact on your own terms. In this pursuit of a fulfilling and purposeful career, there is nothing more heart-warming and gratifying than working with animals.

Enter the world of pet care franchises, where individuals with business acumen and a passion for animals have discovered a path to not only escape the corporate rat race but also to transform their lives in profound ways. At Petpals, the UK’s longest-established pet-care franchise, franchisees have leveraged their previous skills and love for pets to forge successful careers, embrace a more rewarding way of life and achieve remarkable results.

Here, Director of Petpals Kevin Thackrah discusses the transformative power of this unique career path, highlighting how the convergence of business acumen and a genuine affection for pets paves the way for a fulfilling and rewarding journey.

According to a recent study, a staggering 88% of UK employees have experienced burnout in the last two years1 – and its prevalence continues to increase. Burnout is more often than not a result of relentless demands, long working hours – and an even longer commute. This not only affects mental and physical wellbeing but can have a negative impact on family, friends and loved ones. The relentless cycle of meetings, deadlines and office politics can leave professionals feeling exhausted and unfulfilled. Moreover, burnout involves persistent physical and emotional exhaustion, often with cynicism and detachment from work. It is this – and the affiliated quest for a better work-life balance, a meaningful career and making a difference – that drives individuals toward entrepreneurship.

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Taking this into consideration, it stands to reason that the fast-paced and high-pressure environment that often characterises corporate careers can leave individuals feeling disconnected from what truly matters.

The saying goes, find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life. At Petpals, this is not just a turn of phrase but a mission statement. Our franchisees find respite from the rat race – we love a good animal reference at Petpals – by cultivating a lifestyle that is not only rewarding but also conducive to their overall wellbeing.

Nancy Edwards, who has owned and operated her Petpals franchise in Camberley & West Woking since 2021, has long-term goals for the business that will ultimately utilise her experience in corporate industries in a much more rewarding way.

“When the opportunity arose to invest in Petpals, it seemed like the perfect fit,” explained Nancy. “Not only did it suit my love of dogs, but it also meant that I could use my business acumen to make a difference. Using other successful Petpals management franchises as a model, I’m planning on making Petpals my main income stream. My plan is to grow my staff and client base to a position where the business becomes self-sustainable, and I have more time for my family and hobbies.”

For franchisees like Nancy, this lifestyle shift offers time for genuine connections based on shared passion, fosters flexibility and a healthier work-life balance, contributes to reduced stress levels and enhances mental health through the therapeutic effects of interacting with animals. In fact, studies show that even simple interactions such as petting a dog can lower stress hormones and promote increased levels of the happy hormone, oxytocin2. This is why there has been such an increase in recent years of corporations investing in the value of an office dog, or instilling a ‘bring your dog to work’ policy. But why just benefit from the value of a four-legged companion during working hours, when you could invest in a pet-care franchise of your own? If you are an animal lover seeking a career that aligns with your passion for pet care while bringing you closer to a state of holistic and lasting wellbeing, investing in a pet-care franchise might be for you.

Family is important for all, and another benefit of investing in a pet-care franchise is how it offers the flexibility to spend more time with your family – in more ways than one! At Petpals, we often find that family members even end up working together – highlighting how our business model can offer the flexibility to fit around the everyday needs of family life.

After spending most of her life in the corporate world and working to someone else’s standards, Alex Mees and husband Phil saw Petpals as the perfect opportunity to invest in their own business, setting their own standard of care and customer service. “As I was working my way up the corporate ladder, I realised it was all or nothing,” said Alex. “There were no part-time jobs. My career was starting to hold me back from spending time with my family and my then 7-year-old son. I then saw the flexibility Petpals’ tried and tested business model offered alongside the code of values that the brand prides itself on. It suited my love of pets, meant I could become my own boss and enabled me to set the standard for pet care across Basingstoke.”

For those who are passionate about animals, a pet-care franchise provides a unique avenue to break free from the corporate grind. Petpals franchisees are living proof that a combination of business acumen and a love for pets can lead to a fulfilling and successful career outside of the corporate world. As we approach 2024, consider the potential of investing in an opportunity that could bring substantial positive changes to your life – all while experiencing the joy of working alongside furry companions who brighten every day.

1 LumApps, 2023
2 Animals: An Open Access Journal from MDPI: The Role of Oxytocin in the Dog-Owner Relationship

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