Burnout is something that both my husband David and I have felt many times especially in the first five years of running our business. When we started our boarding business over ten years ago we had energy and we were both so excited to be living the American dream. Our barn was full right from the start and everything seemed perfect at first. We were extremely busy but the horse part of the job was easy. What caught me by surprise was the people part. I was now the barn owner and the person everyone went to with complaints, issues and concerns and it quickly started taking up much of my time and the pressure was mounting to fix everything. On top of that we started to see things that our boarders were doing or not doing that David and I couldn't believe. Chaos took over my barn and my life and within a few short years David and I started to feel some regret in starting our business. We were becoming burned out and one of the side affects was regret.
What causes burnout?
I now believe the reason barn owners go through burnout is because they have allowed the business and people to run them. When you are working in a business where it is a seven day a week job, it is vital that you are in control and that means changing the things that are burning you out in your business.
The change needs to start with you before your job will become easier
If you are exhausted from doing chores seven days a week, then you need to find a person that can help even if it is only one day a week. When I have someone help me walk all the horses in for the evening, it makes the world of difference in my mental state when I am tired. If you are tired to the point that you don't care anymore about what your barn looks like then you need to start enforcing your barn rules about cleaning up after yourself. It is exhausting when you have to remind people to clean up after their horse and put their things away but if you start reminding your clients when it happens, they will start doing it. It is as simple as that. If you are burned out from people talking and creating drama then put a stop to it. It doesn't matter if they become upset at you. You need to stop the drama and the atmosphere will change in your barn and you will feel the weight lift off of you. If you have people that are constantly complaining about something with their horse and how you do things concerning the horses, than you need to politely but firmly tell them that, "This is how we do it here at my barn." They need to understand that you are not going to change every little request they have because of how they think things should be. Once you are able to say no to the special requests that are over the top, then you will start to feel a sense of freedom. All these little things can make your job unbearable when it is constant. You need to be the one to make the change otherwise people will complain about everything without ceasing and that mentally will burn you out.
Your job running the barn is already going to be extremely difficult because you work no matter what day it is or what kind of weather you are having. Holidays are not excluded and horses always tend to pick the worse time to get sick or hurt. It is all part of the job and we understand that when we get into it, but you still will have frustrating days because you are human. What most people are not prepared for is the barn owner/client part of the job and that is the part that will be the most challenging.
I truly believe once you start leading your barn and how you want it to run and are willing to let the clients go that are not willing to change, you are going to be so much better off. Your barn atmosphere will start to change and your boarders will start to respect how you do things and more importantly they will start to trust you. Once you have trust and respect between you and your clients you will begin to have fewer issues and when something does come up it won't last very long at all.
David and I still have days when we get burned out a little bit but they only last for a day or two and it always has to do with the weather and time of year. It never is about the boarders anymore because we have a great business relationship. It doesn't mean issues won't come up because they do from time to time but they are quickly resolved and they don't wear me down anymore. Running a barn where the weather changes all the time and you have snow and ice can be extremely difficult but I still wouldn't change a thing. After many years of running our barn, I still love getting up early and going out to feed the horses and put them outside for the day. I even enjoy cleaning stalls Monday through Friday!
Remember there is a huge difference between having burnout for a day or two and needing to rest and be rejuvenated and burnout where you just don't care anymore about anything at your barn.
Remember there is a huge difference between having burnout for a day or two and needing to rest and be rejuvenated and burnout where you just don't care anymore about anything at your barn. Another serious side affect of burnout is the feeling of hopelessness and this one can really hurt your business when you start to give up. You need to be very aware of both types and if you start to feel like letting things go then I strongly encourage you to seek the help of someone that can look at how you are doing things at your barn and help you make changes to correct your situation. Sometimes we need someone from the outside to help us see what needs to be changed.
I encourage you today to stop and take a good look at your business and start making those changes that will help you daily. What happens in your barn and business ultimately affects your life.
If you are new to my blog, then welcome! If you are feeling burnout and not sure how to make the positive changes that needed to be made in your horse business, I encourage you to check out my newest book, "The Total Horse Barn Management Makeover." It will truly change how you look at your business and yourself as a barn owner or manager.
Ladies, I have written a brand new book, "One Horsewoman to Another." If you are feeling stressed about your horse business and balancing it with your family and personal life, This book will inspire and encourage you along your journey as a professional horsewoman. This book was written for you by someone who has experienced every emotional possible and some of it wasn't pretty at the time...and that person was me! This book is unlike any other book out there when it comes to being a woman, wife, mother and equine professional. I encourage you to check it out!
I wish you many blessings in your horse business,