Why this dog means business

Pug

There are more than four million pet influencers in the UK, earning money through brand partnerships and merchandise sales

One study estimates their projected earnings as £15,224 per year, with dogs, at £15,627,  commanding higher fees on average than cats at £12,895.

It also reveals that 1.9m turn to their pets as a side-hustle to top up wages from day jobs, while 832,000 count them as their main source of income The sector is set to explode in 2022 as another 5.3 million owners look to set up online businesses with their pets centre stage.

Dedicated pet websites are also becoming an increasingly important awareness tool, according to the study’s authors, GoDaddy, the company that empowers everyday entrepreneurs. It estimates that there are around 3.6 million sites in the UK set-up to help raise awareness of “entre-paw-neurs”, with the potential for another 6.3 million  to be registered next year.

Meanwhile, with 39 per cent of the those surveyed said they’re more likely to buy products from brands who associate themselves with cute animals, the commercial opportunities for pet owners are increasing.

I noticed the trend in people earning money from social media endeavours and set myself the goal of building Kikko’s Instagram account to 10,000 followers

One such owner is Selena, 41, from London, who was forced to close her hair salon during the 2020 lockdown. In response, she decided to share her pug, Kikko, with the wider world, on Instagram and her own GoDaddy website.

Over the past 12 months, Selena and Kikko have made £2,500 from brand partnerships and merchandise sales, and have plans to grow this even further next year. Selena even plans to link her site to dog-friendly Airbnbs, so that people can book directly all on her website.

She explained: “When the salon closed, I was desperate to keep myself busy. I noticed the trend in people earning money from social media endeavours and set myself the goal of building Kikko’s Instagram account to 10,000 followers. Once that gained traction, I decided to monetise the opportunity and launched a website alongside the Instagram page.

“Kikko is already earning money through brand partnerships and personalised greetings, and my next step is to create merchandise that people can buy through our website. I’m really excited to see what 2022 brings.”

Kikko: on one of her lucrative ‘adventures’

Ben Law, Head of GoDaddy UK and Ireland, said: “Since the start of the pandemic, people have turned to many different side-hustles to supplement their earnings, as many industries struggled.

“Creating websites to support businesses around beloved pets is one of the more compelling and heart-warming examples we’ve seen. We’ve been really happy to help people such as Selena – and their entre-paw-neur companions – set up their new online ventures quickly and easily.”

As for Kikko, she has her own message. On her About page, she sums up his role: “Apart from being an Instagram model, Me works as a meeter and greeter at my human’s hair salon. My social media presence often revolves around my daily adventures.”

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