Three moments you can use to generate story ideas


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Would you love to get some press coverage for your pet business but when you try to think of a story idea you draw a blank?

You know what it is you do, how you help your customers and the transformation your services might bring.

With your products, it’s always so lovely to get positive feedback and of course, see the animals looking adorable in your creations.

But when it comes to putting pen to paper and writing about YOU –   you freeze.

I know this from experience. Even though I’ve been a journalist since 1999, I’ve always written about other people, not me!

So when the tables were turned and I had to write my story, I found it really tricky.

One way I have found helps people when they’re struggling to share the personal story behind their pet business is to think of three different ‘moments.’

I’m sharing these in this podcast episode and you can listen in on the player link below or carry on reading as a blog post.


The Lightbulb Moment

This is when something happens, a lightbulb goes off in your head and suddenly you have a solution to a problem.

Often, when people have created a new pet product, it’s thanks to this, where they have realised there is a need for pet owners that isn’t yet being fulfilled.

Or a gap in the market they can fit into.

An example of a ‘Lightbulb’ moment is the story of the Dog-G8, created by Julie and Peter Maxted, who appeared on the podcast last year.

How Julie secured 15 pieces of press for DogG8

The couple run a pet sitting franchise, Pets, Homes and Gardens, and knew that pets escaping from open doors was a problem many staff and clients faced.

They had the idea to make Dog-G8, a concertina style gate to fix to doors to keep pets safe when people visited their homes.

Their story combines a ‘Lightbulb Moment,’ and it’s also a family business story too. Pet parents like to shop small, so lots there to connect with.

Another is Karen Rhodes from Luxury Dog Hampers who created Fortnum and Mason for dogs after watching a TV show about the hamper business.

And Sarah Jones from My Anxious Dog created her range of yellow dog accessories including harnesses, lead and collar sets, raincoats and fleeces after struggling to get owners to realise her dog Bella needed space.

The Sliding Doors Moment

Have you seen the 1990s film with Gwyneth Paltrow? It’s so good so if you haven’t, go check it out.

The ‘Sliding Doors’ moment is where you’re at a crossroads in your life and there are potentially two directions you can take.

Carry on doing what you’re doing or take a leap of faith and try something new – aka setting up your pet business.

Michelle Burgess, founder of Scruffy Little Terrier, had a Sliding Doors moment in 2013. She was diagnosed with ME and needed to leave her job as a PA in the City.

Then she adopted her terrier Barney from Battersea. He helped her recover and she COULD have gone back to working as a PA.

But she had Barney, and she didn’t want to return to her old life.

She started a blog about Scruffy Little Terriers, which grew into a brand for terriers and their parents.

Now Michelle has a thriving business. There are lots of lovely elements to this story; health, the joy our pets bring, and why you should follow your heart.

Another example is Suzanne Gould from Edinburgh Holistic Dogs, who lost her job as a fashion designer.

She thought about staying in fashion but took a leap of faith and set up her training and walking business instead.

The Turning Point Moment

This is where something makes you stop and reconsider your life and sparks the start of your business.

Maybe you had a horrid shouting at from your boss (that was what made me go freelance) or you were made redundant.

You might have even read a book or watched a film that shaped how you wanted your life to be.

Sharing that ‘Turning point’ moment is powerful.

Take Katie Guastapalia, founder of Dogwood Adventure Play. Katie spent many years working for Dogs Trust.

Then she rescued her dog Lao. As a hunting dog, even though Katie was a dog trainer herself, she worried about his recall.

She became obsessed with finding safe places to exercise him off lead. Then she had the idea for her own field.

When she bought the area that became Dogwood and saw the happiness it brought to Lao, it was her turning point.

Dogwood was born and it’s now a place for dogs and owners to train, play and have Scentventures, and Katie has a consultancy business helping others create fabulous fields.

Again, lots of lovely elements here; we have the rescue, Katie’s despair at wanting Lao to run free, then her finding a solution and it changing her life.

So what’s your moment?

Do any of these resonate with you? Do the pointers make it less overwhelming for you to tell your story?

I would love to know how you get on and if it helps you share how you became a petpreneur.

To stay in touch, follow me on social media on all platforms @rachelspenceruk

If you found this helpful, you might like to read How to get your pet business in the press in five days, or How to find stories in your pet business.


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