Jean Todd runs her own dog training classes for puppy, young dog and adult dog beginners and hopefully a tricks class in the future when I get enough interest. Clients can book one to one training sessions or have a behavioural consultation if they are having problems controlling their dog in anyway. Jean also offers dog walking and house sitting for people who don’t want to leave their dogs in kennels. Toddies has been running for 3 months now, and so far, Jean is loving being self-employed. ‘I’ve met some lovely people, their dogs and hopefully built on that special bond they share together’.
Prior to starting up her own business, Jean had worked in various careers but mainly in the rag trade as a sewing machinist. From working as a supervisor in a hat factory to a TA solider for 8 years, Jean has worked all her life. She also worked as a day centre officer with people who have additional needs additional needs making curtains and soft furnishings. ‘I spent the last few years looking after my boyfriend’s parents helping them live independently in their own home, as a carer’. Jean’s most recent employment in a residential care home pushed her to leave as ‘I felt it in my best interest, personally and emotionally, to leave before I had the chance to find another job’. When Jean found herself unemployed she felt alone; ‘I asked myself “is this a midlife crisis”! I was left with a dread of the future. What was I going to do, what did I want to do, where was I going to look?’
During the previous 18 months, Jean attended dog behavioural courses which ran between 3 to 5 days a month. Jean stumbled across this by chance as she had never intended to be a dog trainer let alone a behaviourist. Her own dog Ted, intrigued Jean into the world of dogs, she was curious to find out why Ted acts the way he does and how she can change certain things without punishment.With the help of her boyfriend encouraging her to follow this hobby interest, Jean found the confidence to at least consider this as an option. The more I learnt the more I wanted to learn and I was swept away on a tide of enlightenment. Dogs are so amazing and so misunderstood. We are learning new things all the time, backed with scientific evidence’.
So, Jean decided to ring around venues for hire in her local area, Litherland, to start a puppy class. However, she found that no one wanted dogs in their community centres; ‘it was so frustrating especially as I had convinced myself that I could run an amazing class with behavioural hints and tips'. Despite this, Jean continued her search. When driving around Sefton, looking for suitable buildings, Jean made an appointment with councillor Lapin’s surgery at Litherland community centre to see if they knew of any dog friendly buildings. ‘She passed my details and dilemma onto Sefton at work who contacted me the very next day. They then put me in touch with the Women’s Org.’
After being put into contact with The Women’s Organisation, Jean met with our business adviser, Huda, who has ‘lifted my spirits and she totally believes in what I’m doing’. Jean says that The Women’s Organisation have been ‘amazing’ with the support and help they have given her. As well as regular meetings, Jean also attended several of our business courses which helped her to create a business plan, tackle the daunting financial figures and utilise social media. ‘They have a structure for you to follow so your focusing on the things that matter and can help with the things you’re not familiar with.’
‘You can’t help but feel empowered after a session.’
The flexibility of Jean’s schedule is just one aspect of running her own business that she loves. ‘If I have a session in the evening I can enjoy going out for lunch with a friend. If I’m working early in the day then I spend time with my boyfriend’. If something isn’t going the way Jean planned then it’s up to her to change things, reassess and evolve as a business. Jean has the ability and control to change certain ways if they are not performing. Being able to watch an owner understanding their dog is the best feeling in the world for Jean. After three months of running, Jean's classes are getting busier. And in terms of the future, Jean hopes to find another venue that is dog friendly when she can run her classes.
‘When your business is your hobby or your passion it’s hard to describe it as work’.
For anyone thinking of starting up their own business, Jean would advise them to get in contact with The Women’s Organisation. ‘Everyone is extremely helpful and knows their stuff.’ She suggests that during the start up process you should book onto the 3 hour workshops that The Women's Organisation offer. And ultimately, she says 'have faith in yourself and stay positive. If other people can do it so can you. Who wouldn’t want their own business adviser? You can’t go wrong with The Women’s Organisation behind you’.
If you are interested in the services Jean offers, you can contact her on:
And, if you've been inspired by Jean's story and would like our support and advice to start your own business then contact us, call us on 0151 706 8111 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org