The third instalment in our new series spotlighting Founders Stories. Every Monday we’ll talk with an up and coming entrepreneur about their journey so far, sharing failures and successes they’ve learned along the way.
Last week, we well and truly caught the travel bug hearing all about The Story of Maptia by co-founder Jonny Miller. He shared with us some unmissable tips for first time entrepreneurs, well worth a read if you’re needing advice in the early stages.
This week we’ve been joined by a startup driven by their purpose to leave ‘pawprints of happiness‘ on the lives of people and dogs.
Les Cochrane is co-founder of the innovative BorrowMyDoggy, an online community matching doggy owners with local borrowers for walks, sleepovers and holidays. Les and fellow founder Rikke Rosenlund started their journey 18 months ago, and now with a team of 7 passionate puppy lovers behind them, BorrowMyDoggy has a growing network of thousands of owners and borrowers across the UK, bringing happiness to people and pups! We chatted with Les to hear about his experiences with BorrowMyDoggy and early entrepreneurship.
Tell us a little about you, how did the idea for BorrowMyDoggy come about?
I met my pawsome co-founder Rikke at a Lean Startup Machine event back in October 2012. She’d had the idea a few months earlier whilst looking after a friends dog, and pitched it at the start of the LSM weekend. It felt like such a great idea, and I love dogs, so I was more than happy to learn more and get involved.
Just after the weekend, we had over 85 people signed up to our simple landing page, and their profiles they’d written really touched our hearts, so we knew we had to make it happen.
What’s your big dream of what BorrowMyDoggy will one day become?
We really believe that dogs deserve the best life possible, and we love to connect dog loving people to each other too. We’re still a young pup of a company, as we only launched our full online platform 6 months ago. We’re growing our community at a great rate and can’t wait to share all our ideas with them. Our aim is to make a positive difference to the lives of dogs and people, and this ethos drives all our decisions.
Dogs give so much unconditional love, and a happy waggy-tailed dog will make anyone smile – being able to leave ‘Pawprints of Happiness’ on as many people as we can makes working on BorrowMyDoggy really fulfilling.
What or who inspired you to get where you are today?
My Mum and Dad; they instilled in me a great sense of working hard, and treating people right. With their guidance and their support, I now believe that anything is possible and making a positive difference is a great way to spend my days. I think a shout out to my co-founder Rikke is in order too – she’s such a brilliant bundle of positive energy, and she cares so much about peoples (and dogs) welfare, that she’s an inspiration on a daily basis. I’m lucky to be building BorrowMyDoggy with her.
Any lessons learned or pivotal moments along the way?
I’ve probably learned more about working closely with someone in the past year than I have in the past 20 years. Rikke and I have made sure we don’t just talk about our BorrowMyDoggy being happy, fun, caring and thankful – we make sure we reflect it in everything we do. If either of us feels not quite right about something, then the first thing we do is talk and try to understand what might be wrong before working out how we want to proceed. The talking is the key thing, and we make sure we talk with our team as much as possible too.
What one piece of advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs and change makers?
Difficult to say one thing, so here’s one loosely connected paragraph:
Swallow your pride. Now. Expect most of your assumptions to be wrong, and that the best way to find out is talking to your customers. Make sure that happens as often as possible, and you’ll be able to solve their problems much quicker. Oh, and make sure you’re solving a problem for someone and be passionate about solving it. If you’re not, then stop what you’re doing, and go do that now. And be nice to everyone, and help where you can :)
Image source: Pawsome six figure investment for BorrowMyDoggy
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