From corporate to own business – Part two

Priti Punjabi had left a good corporate job to challenge herself and awaken her creative spirit. She started a dog daycare business – to see if she could do it. (For the story so far )

Once she had the space rented, Priti found that her advertising expertise was a big asset. “I actually know more about consumers than about dogs,” she told me. “I started building a brand and working out what the consumer wanted. I wanted to reflect the neighborhood (young professionals, music clubs, creative freelancers and hipsters) so I called it Dog Addiction. To really set it apart from the competition we play music to the dogs at all times: Iʼve trademarked the name BehaviorBeats“

She did all the PR and advertising herself, placing toy dogs by mailboxes and bike racks all over the area with a note tied to them saying “Iʼd rather be at Dog Addiction.” Ads told freelancers that their dogs were getting bored sitting at home watching them work all day.

Asked what is the hardest part, Priti says firmly, “Managing the budget. My mum taught me to pay everyone else before you pay yourself. I have always paid every employee on time. I like being the boss. I have the same employees since I opened. I keep them happy.”

“As humans we lose the fearlessness with age and are too afraid to take a gamble. I am 30 now. My business is breaking even. When I first opened I never wanted to leave it – it became my baby.”

Running her own business has given her more flexibility. She has written a 17-chapter novel and had a show of her photographs. “I would never have been able to do these if I had been working in a corporation. It is essential to explore your creative juices.”

Growth has been slower than expected, due to the poor economy, so she is considering going back for a stint in the ad business and leaving her manager in charge of the store. “My business is going to make me a living – and I will never be prisoner to the corporation. I donʼt ever want to be called into an office and told that: an issue has arisen…”

“And donʼt feel defeated if your business is not a flying success – that doesnʼt make you a failure – on the contrary you are a success for having tried it and for everything you learned from it. Even if you decide to go back – you have the experience under your belt. This experience makes you a more valuable employee. You understand the value of a dollar and how to work better with your co-workers. It has given you the opportunity to release the creative spirit that has to be allowed to flourish.”

“The point is to do something that is your own.”