Talking to many people who are contemplating opening a B&B, fear is one of the biggest things holding them back from their dream - and I get it!
Here's my story...
I had a very interesting career in the non-profit sector – so interesting that I burnt myself out not once, but twice! And it didn’t matter how hard I worked, it seemed like it was never enough for the powers to be. I knew that if I didn’t change my life, then there was a very good chance I would be dead before I was old enough to retire.
Deciding to become my own boss, and do the kinds of things I loved as a bed and breakfast owner was very appealing to me. But when it came time to move forward and start putting my plan in action, I was almost paralyzed with fear.
What if no one came to stay?
What was I going to do with the people that did come?
Was I going to make enough money to pay the mortgage?
Could I handle all the work required to run a B&B?
Was I going to be able to have time to do what I wanted to do?
I had a lot riding on this – I was a single woman in my 50’s who would have to use every penny of my saving and get a bank loan, so I couldn’t afford to fail!
I decided I needed to understand all the pros and cons by educating myself. I read every book I could get my hands on, but the information they provided often conflicted - some said you needed 5 rooms to be able to make a living, others said 8 rooms. And I couldn’t contact the authors to ask my questions….
My next step was to take courses offered by B&B owners. The problem was that the courses were based on the premise that I had already made up my mind to open one – and not one course was offered by anyone who actually made their living from a B&B. Their focus was on how to run the B&B. And when I tried to ask my questions, most owners would say, “well, it depends…” but couldn’t explain to me what it really depended on, or how I could figure out the answers.
I was growing increasing frustrated and was really wondering if I could make owning a bed and breakfast a reality for myself…. when I had my AH-HA! Moment!
I realized that my decision to own a B&B and how I wanted to run it were personal, but the outcomes (how much money I needed to make and how I was going to make it) were business ones, and that’s the approach I needed to take!
That’s when I decided to purchase on on-line B&B business plan. I could have saved myself the money - it didn’t tell me how to do the kind of research I needed to reassure myself that I could make a decent living, enjoy running the B&B and still have a life.
Since I seemed to be out of options, I went ahead and created a business plan. And, it was creating that plan that provided me with a much clearer idea of what I wanted to do and what I had to do to make it happen!
I will be very honest; however, I will admit I thought I knew everything that I needed too. In hindsight, I recognize that Lady Luck had been on my side, as I really didn’t grasp a couple of important factors – like how important location is, and knowing who you want as your guest. Oh, the bliss of not knowing what you don’t know!
Do I regret owning a bed and breakfast? Not for a moment! I love it and can’t imagine what the last 10 years of my life would be without it. I have friends all over the world now, get paid to cook, clean and do laundry for the first time in my life, and get accolades for doing it! Because I am in a seasonal location, I have 6 months to spend doing all the things I love to do, while enjoying a comfortable lifestyle.
One of the things I do in my off-season is working with people who want to own a bed and breakfast that will provide them with the personal and financial satisfaction that I was able to create through trial and error. Why should we both have to go through all that frustration?
Take a moment to tell me your biggest fear about owning a bed and breakfast – I’d love to commiserate!
And, if you’re not convinced it’s a great lifestyle, download my “10 Great Reasons to Own a Bed and Breakfast”