This coming Sunday we celebrate 10 years since our first dog walk here in Oslo and the start of Who Let The Dogs Out?.
There will be more about this in tomorrow’s blog.
With such an anniversary approaching it is only natural that over the past few days I have been reflecting on from where it all started.
So here is a quick story about how it all came about.
I have been living in Oslo for seven months, undertaking at first intensive Norwegian language courses and then working as a Ski Instructor up at Tryvann.
2012/13 had been an amazing Winter here in Oslo and I had skied every day to my heart’s content.
But now Winter was over and I needed to find out what my next step would be.
As I have previously written about I was inspired by a speech by Alan Watts called “if money were no object”.
I realised in that moment that dog walking and exploring in nature was my calling.
At the time I could only find two companies that offered dog walking in Oslo online. I later discovered that this was because the rest of the industry did it cash in hand.
I made a simple, yet attractive, website within a few days and thought that I had nothing to lose by trying to set up on my own.
Needing five photos of dogs in Norwegian nature to put on my first website I contacted some dog-owning friends. I asked if I could use some photos of their dogs on the background of several pages.
This was very much the “fake it until you make it” approach.
Website online and I sat back and waited for the emails and calls to come.
And I waited…. and waited… Then after a few weeks I sent myself a test email just in case it wasn’t working. (Side note: this test email has been ever present in my inbox since the start as a reminder).
After 7 long weeks and starting to reconsider whether there was a need for dog walking in Oslo, the email arrived.
The relief was immense and I organized to meet the potential customer a few days later in a park on the other side of Oslo.
That dog was Tassen, who we walked for nine years on countless Adventures right up until a few weeks before he passed away.
The first few walks were interesting on many levels. I had started the company with zero money. And when I say this I mean that I could not afford the bus fare to get across Oslo to walk Tassen.
Therefore for the first 2 months I would walk nearly one hour across Oslo, long walk with Tassen, then walk 1 hour home, all for the cost of one dog on one walk a week.
But I had belief in myself and where I could take the company.
Suddenly with the ability to use photos from my walks with Tassen and my prior knowledge of marketing I started to get more and more emails.
A friend had found out that I was having to walk around the city to pick up and drop off dogs, and he very kindly lent me an old bike to be able to move quicker between walks.
By now I could see that the business was off the ground. I had even lined up 4 customers to start after the Summer holidays, which meant I could buy my first used van for 17.000 nok (side note: this van broke down within 3 weeks and needed a new clutch which cost roughly the same as I had paid for the van. I cried.)
But as with most things in life “if you have the will you will find a way”.
It is funny writing about the start of the company 10 years ago as it still all feels so fresh in my mind. I can remember individual walks with those first dogs in astonishing detail.
What a journey it has been over the last 10 years, but it is far from being finished.
Doggies: Ellie, Lucy, Baileys and Haraka
Doggies: Memphis, Fant, Wilma, Lucille and Milli
Doggies: Bamse, Lexi, Leopold and Freia
Doggies: Ben, Saga, Kira and Sunny
Doggies: Sara, Ilex, Isak, Samus, Wilma and Ferd (2 walkers)
Doggies: Fridtjof, Leesi, Lottie and Lucy
Doggies: Mari, Nola, Tex and Lucy
Doggies: Jello, Zoe, Simba, Benni and Cessa
Have a lovely evening with your doggies and we are back again in the morning for more dogwalking in Oslo nature.
Christina, Karianne, Linn, Veronica, Alex and Matt