Ahead of the She's The Business event on 15 November - aimed at young women with great business ideas - we're speaking to some of our guest speakers about their entrepreneurial journey. BorrowMyDoggy is an online community that connects dog owners with local, verified and insured people who are happy to help take care of a pooch for walks, sitting and holiday care.
Founded in 2012, BorrowMyDoggy operates across the UK and Ireland with hundreds of new members joining every week. Rikke’s aim is to leave ‘Pawprints of Happiness’ on the lives of dogs and people by building local communities where dog-lovers give a helping hand taking care of local pooches, simply because they love dogs.
How did you get the idea to start your business?
I borrowed my neighbour’s very cute brown Labrador called Aston in 2012. It was a beautiful July summer day and I spent all day in the parks with her and I remember thinking why are people spending so much money on dog walkers or kennels or leaving their dogs alone when I would love to take care of the dog for free. By connecting dog owners with local people, everyone would benefit, including the pooch who would get even more walks, ear ruffles and playtime. This was the inspiration for BorrowMyDoggy.
What - or who - inspired you to be an entrepreneur?
My parents are entrepreneurs and since I was a teenager I wanted to start a company just like they did. I was inspired by how they mixed work with pleasure, meaning that suppliers and clients came for dinner at our house from abroad and many of them almost became our extended family. I also loved the fact that my parents do not just see work as a '9 to 6' thing but a passion and an integrated part of our lives.
What has been the biggest challenge to date in running your business?
Setting up a company is a series of ongoing challenges and I don’t think I can pinpoint one thing that is most challenging. Whether it’ s fundraising or recruitment, acquisition or product development - there is so much to constantly learn and build on. It’s a lot of work but if you’re passionate about your idea, then it’s totally worth it.
What’s been the most exciting or interesting part of being an entrepreneur?
The most enjoyable part is definitely when we make a difference to the lives of people and dogs. Seeing the positive impact that our community is having is what gets me out of bed in the morning. Every week we hear the loveliest stories that remind us why we are doing what we are doing.
BorrowMyDoggy only exists because of our lovely members, the talented team (who are passionate about what we do) and the fantastic help and mentorship that we have received over the years. We are so thankful that with the help of so many we have been able to start and build BorrowMyDoggy.
How important is location in setting up a business? Is starting a business in a big city like Manchester a benefit or hindrance for being unique and standing out?
Every company is unique. For us it has been a large benefit to be in a big city like London as we are surrounded by other start-up companies and an ecosystem that supports early stage tech companies.
Lastly, what advice would you give to any young women out there interested in starting their own business?
You have to be passionate about what you do and believe in the difference that you can make. As an entrepreneur setting up a brand new business there is so much to learn. Just embrace the fact that there will be lots of things that you don’t know and be open to asking questions. Also, always listen to your customers and only develop something that they will love to use. Finally, take an active part in the start-up community, which is incredibly inspiring, and always help others whenever you can.
Thank you Rikke for providing an insight into being an entrepreneur and founder.
Rikke will be a key speaker at She’s The Business on 15 November 2017. Find out more and register >>
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