Building our barn was a learning experience to say the least. We were not prepared for all that could go wrong during the nine months of construction and everything that could go wrong did go wrong. During those nine months we fired our first builder halfway through the project and had to hire a new builder and all new sub-contractors. This ended up costing us much more money. This also meant that our time was short to finish the building and be open before our business mortgage started. The pressure was more than I had ever known but we had no choice but to keep going.
And I learned...
Money was extremely tight and I was struggling to pay the monthly bills (which were much higher than anticipated) but I learned how to budget. I had unhappy boarders that I did not know how to deal with and I learned how to work through conflict and problem solve. I had a fear that people would leave because they were upset and they did but I survived it. I had horses get hurt on our property and angry clients that wanted to put the blame on something or someone and I learned to stand my ground. I had boarders with strong personalities that were causing drama in the barn and I learned to dissolve it. I had boarders and trainers that I asked to leave our barn and I learned to handle it professionally. I had to make decisions that were not popular with my boarders but were for the betterment of the barn and I learned confidence. The first client's horse that had to be put down at our farm was extremely difficult and I learned to comfort my clients under the saddest of circumstances. I learned to let the small stuff go and be more accepting of others when they do things differently than I would do them regarding their horse. I learned to be a business owner that runs a barn with honesty, integrity and consistency even when I was tempted to do things that were not.
If you are starting out in your horse business or have been in it for a while you will undoubtedly go through many of the trials that I have gone through. I now believe all business owners go through them. How we choose to respond to the trials that come with the job will be up to us.
Remember you are stronger than you think and your fears will most likely come true in some form but you will get through them and grow with each experience. I always encourage anyone that is running a horse business to find someone that can be a mentor to them. Someone that will give them positive advice and help them get through some of those difficult days that will come with the job.
Behind every successful horse business is a person that made many mistakes along the way and learned from them. Take each situation and learn from it. There is no better classroom than your barn and learning to run it on a daily basis.
Years later, I still love my job on our farm. I look back at those early years of running our business and now I can say that I am glad I went through those difficult times. They helped me grow and learn and molded me into a confident business owner that can handle the daily issues that will come up when you are managing a horse business. I know that you will get to that point where you have found the inner strength to run your horse business with confidence. It takes time, patience and determination but it will come and it will change your business and your life for the better.
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 love 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. These books will take you deep inside the business world and will inspire and give you the tools to get through those tough days and situations. You won't find more honest books out there about running a horse business. These books compliment each other perfectly and give a complete look into horse barn management.
Wishing you many blesssings in your horse business,