When we built our barn and indoor riding arena I didn't really know what it meant to sacrifice or live with less until the business was secure and bringing in enough money to pay the bills. I had read books and heard many entrepreneurs talk about sacrificing and how broke they were in the beginning but it really didn't sink in until I was living it on a daily basis.
Today I want to encourage you to really take an honest look at your horse business. David and I are proof that you can dig yourself out of the massive debt you may have acquired to get your barn and business off the ground. We still owe on our business mortgage but after tens years of extreme debt, the credit cards are all payed off and so are all the other little things we borrowed to keep our business going in the beginning. Was it hard at times? It was one of the hardest things I mentally had to deal with but it was so worth it all these years later.
Your job of running your barn is going to be hard especially when you are doing it seven days a week year after year because you can't afford to hire anyone to help out. David and I have been through that and it will burn you out fast. The best thing you can do for your business, yourself and family is to understand that for the first couple of years you might not be able to go on a vacation or eating out will be extremely limited. You might have to give up going to that high end coffee place and buying new clothes will be few and far between. You will need to find out where you can cut back so you can make it through the lean years.
I am writing this post today because too many new business fail and I hear about barns going out of business all the time. I am sure the reasons are many but it would be safe to say that one of the biggest reasons would be financial and burnout. They go hand in hand and the sooner you get the finances under control the less likely you are to have burnout.
My question for you today is are you strong enough to be broke for a while? Are you willing to sacrifice some of the things you are used to spending money on to get your business firmly planted? You you willing to drive and old vehicle and not have a truck or trailer payment because it is not in the budget? These are real decisions that many horse people make and you need to remember that you are in it for the long haul. It can be very hard at times when you don't have the money and you see your clients buying all kinds of new tack and saddles and even trucks and trailers. I want you to remember that you can't compare your lifestyle to theirs and you need to be okay with it. Look down the road for the first five years and have a plan. Many of your boarders you have now will leave and many of them will get out of horses after their kids have graduated high school. They will spend a lot in a short period of time but you are not in a sprint, you are in a marathon and you want to come out at the other end as a strong and financially fit business.
Today I encourage you to find a mentor to talk with. Someone who has started their horse business and they are a success story. The best thing you can do is talk with other business owners who have been down the same road and ask them how they got through the lean years without going crazy. Finding a support system will be one of the best things you can do for yourself.
You will never become rich owning a horse business but you will have the richest life possible if you do it right in the beginning
I believe that if you read all the way through this post today than you are strong enough to be broke for a while and know that it is okay. You are ready to look at the big picture of your future and your business and if it means giving up some things right now than you are ready to handle it. You may have to drive a twenty year old vehicle like me but remember that you won't have a car payment and that is a much better feeling than the stress of trying to make your payment each month because you went out and bought a new truck. Take it slow with your business and it will all come together. It just takes time and an inner strength that I know you have deep down inside.
If you are just getting ready to start a new horse business, I encourage you to check out my book, "What it really takes to start a horse business." It is my families journey of building Vinland Stables and all that we did wrong in the first few years. I think it will inspire you and give you a very real look into the business world and barn management.
I wish you the very best in your horse business,