Owning and running your own horse business is an amazing career to get into. It can also be a lonely career many days especially when you are making decisions for the business that your clients and friends don't like. It happens to all business owners (especially in the early years of a new business) but it is still painful when you are going through it anytime.
One of the earliest low points of my horse business career was when I realized that my boarders were not always going to understand or agree with the decisions I needed to make as a businesswoman. Some of those decisions would affect my boarders and the outcome was not always positive.
No longer were dogs allowed to run around anywhere and they were not going to be allowed in our new barn or arena. These new changes upset a few people who I felt were also close friends. When I told them I couldn't make any exceptions they told me that I had chosen my business over their friendship. As you can imagine I was crushed to the core but I couldn't bend the rules and it did eventually hurt the friendship. They moved their horses and I didn't hear from them for a long while. It was a hard lesson to learn about becoming a business owner and learning to deal with extremely difficult issues.
Thank goodness time heals all and years later I can say that the friendship has healed. I never felt like I chose the business over the friendship but I had to make a choice regarding the business and the results were not what I expected but I had to keep moving forward. I now realize that most people will not understand what it is truly like to run a business unless they were in business for themselves at one time or another.
A very unique career
What makes the equine industry so unique is that it involves animals and it is a seven day a week job. If you are a barn owner then you are at the farm much of the time and you will develop friendships with your clients because that will be your world. Many jobs and careers don't have the same dynamics so learning to find a balance and still run the barn as a barn owner can be challenging at times. Many barn owners and trainers will tell me that they don't get off the farm too often so they do develop friendships with their clients. The same would be very true for me.
You are going to grow and change as you become a business owner and the longer you do it the easier it will become. The early years of any business are always challenging to both the barn owner and the client because the barn owner is learning along the way and many unexpected issues will come up that you never anticipated. It happens to every business person and you are not alone. You just need to find a positive way to resolve the issues that are happening at your barn.
There have been a few times over the years where I needed to make a decision that affected the people that I was close to. I am sure they also felt I was choosing the business over the friendship at the time but I have learned that you have to do what is best for your business and family. All you can do is try to make decisions with honesty and integrity and you need to always look at it from a business point of view. The reality is that your horse barn is a business first and it does no one any good if you lose your business and farm because you were trying not to upset your clients and friends.
The reality is that your horse barn is a business first and it does no one any good if you lose your business and farm because you were trying not to upset your clients and friends.
If you have experienced this don't be discouraged. The days will get better and you will grow in leaps and bounds from each of these situations. Being a business owner is not fun at times but you will find a balance and eventually your clients will come to understand that it is your business and livelihood and they will come to respect your decisions. I can say now that I don't have the issues I had in my early years of running our barn. It will happen with you also as you grow as a business owner.
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 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 building our barn and arena and opening Vinland Stables. I wrote this book because we made so many mistakes along the way, especially during our first couple of years and I now want to help others so they don't go through what we went through. 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. This second book is one of my favorites because it really dives into the complicated issues that come up between the barn owner, manager and the clients. You won't find more honest books out there about running a horse business.
Wishing you many blessings in your horse business,