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Alice Judge - Co-founder of Pet Impact

MRCVS, Co-founder of Pet Impact, A sustainability-focused small business

Posted: 20/02/2023

Salary

< £15k - We still haven't taken any money from the business yet! But this is to be expected when starting out

Travel

Mostly working from home and occasionally at warehouse

Values

Creativity, Leadership & Resilience

Region

UK

Essential Skills

Growth mindset, Problem solving, Some business experience/knowledge is useful but you can teach yourself

Alice Judge

Check out our Career Q & A questions below to take a deep dive into this career path.  If you’re interested in this type of career but unsure how to take the next step, click below to learn more about our services designed to support you.

Check out the Pet Impact website, Instagram, Facebook and Facebook group.

After graduation I started work as a first opinion vet in mixed practice. Initially I really struggled due to the lack of support and thought I wouldn’t last a year! However things improved when I changed jobs. My partner and I started Pet Impact as an Amazon business in 2019 alongside our full time vet jobs. We’ve only really started pushing the business at the end of 2021, when we reduced our vet hours to 3 days a week.
It is really Gavin (my partner) who is business minded and it was him who had the drive to create his own business. I’ve always been hugely passionate about sustainability and I’ve wanted to make a bigger impact for a long time but I wasn’t sure how. I also wasn’t sure whether vet work was going to satisfy me in the long run, due to this desire.
When my family bought their first dog, Gavin and I became more aware of the environmental impact of pets, leading us to develop our first product – reusable puppy pads a.k.a. ‘inco’ pads and the rest is history!
You don’t really need any qualifications or experience to become a founder of a company but some things certainly help! Of course, you need an idea, or rather, a problem that needs solving. On a practical level, you do need money! Fortunately we had some of our own as well as family donations! A bonus to starting up an Amazon business is you don’t need as much money, but a downside is slower growth. Gavin did read a lot about Amazon and business in general while starting out.

On a personal level, you have to be very passionate, driven, disciplined and resilient! Because running a business is basically overcoming one challenge/problem after the other. You need to be able and willing to overcome failures and setbacks and not let them de-motivate you.
The best bit is being able to pursue something I’m passionate about and interested in, and feel I’m making a genuine difference in the world. I know the environmental impact of pets is a very small piece of an enormous problem but at least I feel like I’m doing something instead of nothing. The next best bit is being my own boss and the sense of ownership and control over my own time and work. I have freedom to take the business where I want it to go and make it my own. It also gives me a creative outlet.

One downside is the amount of work – it’s a lot of early mornings, late nights, weekends, etc. I also feel business (and being self-employed) is not as secure as vet work. Things like new competition can arise or economic recessions that can impact it. This gives me a sense of anxiety sometimes, especially because I’m so invested in it.
To be honest, capital is the biggest one. We were incredibly fortunate to have help from our families and a little money from our jobs. If we didn’t we would have looked for investors.
This is difficult as every day is different! But we usually start by planning our day and prioritising tasks. We still spend some time strategizing and coming up with new ideas. Roughly half the day may be dedicated to the day to day running of the business e.g. answering emails, packing orders, social media. The other half may be dedicated to growing/improving aspects of the business, e.g. optimising website, creating ads, product/market research, creating content, reaching out to retailers and so on. All of this is from home and occasionally we go to the warehouse to receive/send out shipments.
A driven, resilient and creative individual who has self-confidence and self-belief. Needs to be a good communicator and leader.
1. Define the idea or problem you want to solve and who you want to serve.
2. Speak to people and do your research around the topic/problem.
3. Define your goals and make a plan to achieve them.
Don’t let your lack of knowledge stop you – you can learn by doing! Don’t be afraid of failing repeatedly and don’t compare yourself to others or let success stories distort your expectations (i.e. it doesn’t happen overnight!).
Make sure you want it enough, be clear on your goals and why you’re doing it. If you can find a business partner who matches your passion and commitment – that will help you enormously or join communities of entrepreneurs online.

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