Starting a horse business and telling everyone that you are a business owner is much easier than actually running a business like a true "Business owner." Anyone can own a business but that doesn't mean they know what they are doing. There is a transformation that takes place for every person that becomes a horse professional and business owner and sometimes it happens quickly but for most people it is a slow process that involves trials and errors and even some hurt and pain along the way. It is not a fun journey to take but a much needed journey to find out what you are really made of in every situation and how you will handle it. It takes guts to become a business owner and it doesn't matter what size your horse barn is. It is challenging on all levels but if you are willing to stick it out and grow with each experience, I believe you are what successful horse professionals are made of.
When we started our horse boarding business I was over the moon with excitement. I was ready to handle anything that came my way and I had endless energy. I had officially made it in my mind. I was a business owner and had accomplished my dream. Then reality set in.
The days rolled into each other and I became more busy than I ever imagined taking care of horses and dealing with issues that I never dreamed could exist. At first I was strong and rolled with each punch but quickly it started to wear me down. My dream job had many problems and I did not know what I was doing when it came to correcting all the issues we were having. I didn't have anyone to go to for help or advice and I went from having tears of joy to tears of frustration, anger and even bitterness. I was in a bad place in my mind and heart and was not running our barn like a business at all. I was running it like an emotional train wreck which is exactly how many businesses fail.
Sink or swim
I had to make a decision to either sink or swim. I needed to make changes inside of me in order to run my barn like a businesswoman who knew what she was doing. The journey was long and involved learning to deal with issues and not take them personally. It was a journey of making decisions that were for the betterment of my barn and business and learning to stand behind those decisions even when they were not popular with my clients. It was a journey of learning who I was and finding out what my strengths and weaknesses are and using them in the best way I could. It was a journey of taking risks and stepping out of my comfort zone to try new things and learning keep going when things didn't turn out as planned. It was a journey of learning to say no to the things I couldn't provide as a service and it was okay. It's was a journey of finding the sweet spot and realizing that many of the issues I have gone through are now distant memories and the best is yet to come business. It is a journey that you will take also. I can guarantee it.
It doesn't mean that everyday will go as planned and your clients will always be happy but you will have learned to roll with it and take each situation as it comes. The panic and stress you had when you first started will show its ugly head less and less and you will find a new confidence in its place. You will learn to handle the issues professionally and fairly. That is what will keep your clients coming back.
When you think about the horse professionals in this world that are successful, remember that they started out just like all of us. They had to learn from many trials and errors and I truly believe if you had a chance to talk with any of them they would tell you the same story about how they were young, naive and insecure and had to learn from all the mistakes they made along the way. Don't give up on your dream even on those days that seem extremely difficult. One day you will look back and be glad for every experience both good and not so good. Without challenges we will never find out what we are truly made of.
If you are new to my blog, then welcome! If you are just starting out in your planning stages of your horse business or need some help now that you are in it, I would like to encourage you to check out my two books. My first one, "What it really takes to start and run a horse business" is my families journey of starting our horse boarding business and about learning from our mistakes especially during the first couple of years. My second book, "The Total Horse Barn Management Makeover," is about the relationship between the barn owner/barn manager and client and how to resolve the issues that will come up when you are running a horse business of any kind. And when you are working with people there are going to be differences of opinions, and issues. I believe this book is vital to learning how to problem solve in all aspects of your horse business. Even something as simple as blanketing or turnout can become an issue at times and many people who start a boarding buisness are caught off guard by their clients questions, concerns and even demands. You won't find more honest books out there about running a horse business.
Wishing you many blessings in your horse business,