Starting My Own Business



I'm about to become self-employed as I am opening a dog daycare. I'm really excited and nervous about this but my biggest worry is how to manage my rheumatoid arthritis while running my own business, especially considering this would be a very hands on business.

I'm 34 now and I've had RA for about 10 years so I'm pretty familiar with what sets off my flares - mainly stress and pushing myself (hence my fear).

Are they any other business owners here that could give me some hints/tips/encouragement? I know flares are going to happen but I'm worried that I won't have much support, especially in the beginning (because my staff numbers world be low).

Thanks in advance.


  • jamesthemod
    jamesthemod Member Posts: 11

    Hi RedPanda,

    I just noticed your message, just to ask how you are coping with your business venture.

    I have psoriatic arthritis and would like to start my own business hopefully.

    It would be great to work to your own terms, even though it would be hands on, I think it would be better than working for someone else, as you can be in control of your own shifts.

    I worked as a chef for twenty years, but had to give it up due to constant flare ups when I got busy, maybe I can get on some medication that helps me set up a small business too.

    As flare ups at work are horrendous especially when no one around you understands.

    All the best for your business,

    Keep well

    James 😊

  • Arthuritis
    Arthuritis Member Posts: 444

    @jamesthemod @RedPanda Hats off to you guys, hope things work out. James with 20 years experience you must have had some spectacular successes. Have you considered making a youtube cuisine channel? You only have to film on your good days, and once recorded, your vids will earn you a passive income forever!

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,740

    Hi @RedPanda and @jamesthemod , Good luck with both your ventures! I've been self employed since 2002, working on my own, but my job can be very physical, sometimes involving being on my feet for up to 9-10 hours and a bit of clambering around awkward spaces. I've been fortunate that my osteoarthritis has only been a problem since early 2020, but before that I had two periods of ME (18 months and 3 years respectively), although I just about managed to keep working with the ME. The arthritis came from nowhere in 2020 and pretty much knocked me off my feet, but luckily it coincided with lockdowns so I was on much reduced workload anyway. I then had hip replacement in April 2021 but it's been a very slow recovery and I'm still working on it, followed by unrelated surgery in November 2021 which knocked me back again.

    I've found pacing myself is the most important thing. I no longer take on work that needs me to be on my feet all day, or if I can't avoid it, I schedule in a few quieter days to let my body and energy levels recover.

    Learning to say "no" is also important. Overloading yourself by trying to please everyone will result in physical and mental burn out, an unhappy client and a miserable working environment. We can't afford to get to that stage, as this takes a huge toll on your body.

    If you can get a financial cushion behind you in the early days, it takes a lot of the mental pressure off as your income may be slow and sporadic to start with.

    Be prepared to be flexible about how you work, as it will probably be a bit of a learning curve working out what you can manage. We can't buy into The Apprentice role model of dynamic shakers and movers, but there are other, gentler and perfectly legitimate ways to run a business. Be prepared to do it your own way, on your terms.

    While for both of you your jobs are quite physical, make sure your work station is also well adapted to minimise stress on your body if you're at the computer a lot. I raised up my PC monitor so that I'm not leaning forward peering at the screen and have an inflated wedge cushion to take the pressure off my dodgy hip. Good wrist support for using the keyboard may also help. You need to remember to get up and walk around regularly to stop yourself stiffening up (I'm shocking for not doing this, so I end up staggering about like a badly oiled robot when I get up!).

    Unlike "fit" people, we do need to factor in self-care in our working day, as we can't just assume our bodies will keep up with our brains, and then wonder why we feel so terrible. Be kind to yourself, not just to your clients!

  • jamesthemod
    jamesthemod Member Posts: 11

    Some great tips and advice there from you both Lilymary and Arthuritis.

    Very much appreciated I am going to have a go, at this because I can't go back to working full time for someone else unless they let me work at my own pace and can be very flexible.

    I can see their point when they say time is money but my health has to come first before work.

    All the best

    Rock on


  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,740

    @jamesthemod If you’re having to manage a health condition which results in not knowing how you’ll be on a day to day basis, you can’t beat being self employed. If I’d still been employed when all this kicked off, I think I would have had to take early retirement. This way I’ve had much more control on my workload, which has enabled me to keep working, but on my terms.

    Good luck! let us know how you are getting on.

  • jamesthemod
    jamesthemod Member Posts: 11

    Great advice thank you, so true what you say about work, as they say I am reliable the condition is not.

    Cheers again Lilymary.


  • RedPanda
    RedPanda Member Posts: 8

    Hi everyone,

    Thank you so much for your replies!

    @jamesthemod my business has slightly changed as I have not had much luck with finding a premise for my commercial daycare. So now I am starting with a dog walking company with the potential to develop into a daycare in the future. I have just passed my driving test and bought a car so almost ready to begin. I have spoken to my rheumatology department and asked to be referred to a physiotherapist who is helping me build on the things I need to so that I can reduce flares, of course that will not be 100% flare proof! How are you getting on?

    @Lilymary so sorry to hear about your health issues, that's a lot to deal with and I hope you are feeling better and have support! Thank you for your advice and congrats on your business :) I totally agree that you need to have boundaries and remain flexible. I have definitely lived as someone that says yes to anything to help people but I have found over the last year I am getting better at saying no to look after myself, after all it's me that has to deal with the flare! I have also decided to specialise in small dogs so the pressure on my joints is less, even though I absolutely love big dogs too it's a compromise that will help me in the future. Also I have been looking at different tools such as leads that clip to a waist holder so there is less pressure on my hands. Definitely going to keep self-care days at the forefront of my mind too.

    I think it's important for me to remember that flares will happen and instead of getting angry or sad about it realise it's not the end of the world, people are way more understanding than I give them credit for and that my condition does not define me :)