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How to stay motivated when you're running a B&B

running a bed and breakfast May 05, 2022

If you are still dreaming about a B&B and are in a 9-5 job you’re really not enjoying, then you might think this is a rather silly blog post. Of course you'll be motivated!

You get to work from home, live in your dream location, maybe spend more time with your partner, meet wonderful people and get paid for doing things you enjoy like cooking.

Before I set up my own B&B, I had lots of warnings from people who knew me well - particularly those who knew my dislike or complete lack of inclination to do cleaning.

I brushed them off, knowing in my heart, that working from home, living in the countryside, being with my dog all day would make up for all of that - a bit of cleaning and having strangers actually living in my house was a small price to pay...and for most of the time it was.

But I learned that running a B&B is like any other business and it has its ups and downs.

And some days I just didn't want to have to put on a smile for another complete stranger or face another 4 hours cleaning.

In this blog post, I’ll talk through the ups and downs and how you can manage those and still continue to enjoy your business.

First off though, I really think it’s important that you’re completely prepared for running your bed and breakfast business, which is why I created Bed and Breakfast Academy.

The training course will help you have a business that you love running, by creating a smooth running B&B that attracts the type of guests you enjoy hosting and who will rave about you! You can find out more about the online course here >> Find out how to run your own successful bed and breakfast


Stay connected with other business owners

Ironically running a B&B can be quite an isolating business, especially if you live in the countryside or you run the business on your own.

You’re very often tied to the house, waiting for guests to leave and more guests to arrive. 

And really guests aren’t your friends - yes some may well become friends. And hopefully you’ll create some great relationships, especially with guests who love your business and keep coming back. But, at the end of the day, these people are customers paying you to stay at your B&B.

And when things do go wrong - complaining guest, the toilet breaks or a bad review - it really helps to have someone to whinge to. Because you really shouldn't be whingeing to your guests.

Belonging to some sort of B&B network, where you can talk through issues with other people in the same business and get moral support when you need it, can be a real lifeline.

You can of course network in person - look for local tourism networking groups. But these days, online groups can be really valuable. There’s always someone there who can answer a question or give you a virtual hug.

People who go through my course get to join the Bed and Breakfast Academy Past Course Attendees facebook group - a friendly and knowledgeable community.

Accept that there are parts of the business you won’t enjoy

I think it would be impossible to run a business and love everything about it. It’s important to be realistic and accept there are some tasks you won’t enjoy. 

Some days are just going to be boring, or even unpleasant - I speak from the experience of someone who spent 17 years cleaning guest toilets.

I was listening to a podcast the other day from a business guru who said it's not your business's job to entertain you. Sometimes it will be boring. If you need entertainment, get a hobby.

You could come up with strategies for making the tasks you don't enjoy less painful, such as listening to your favourite music, a podcast or audible book when you’re cleaning - check out my favourite audible books to listen to when you're cleaning. Or just treating yourself when you've finally finished them for the day.

Give yourself a break

I do go on about this at length, but it seems to be one of aspects that most B&B owners have most difficulty with.

I think it’s really important to take regular breaks when you’re running a B&B.

By working for weeks non stop without any time of, you’re putting your physical and mental health at risk and that won’t help your business in the long term. Most people gave 2 days off a week for this very reason.

Before you open your booking diary up, schedule in regular time off every week.

Take time away from the business

We live in a beautiful place that people paid good money to come and stay at. The irony was that the only way I could really relax, was to go away and leave it!

Switching off can be a real issue when you work from home.

If you can’t get away, then treat any time off like a proper holiday. Plan days out and visit the local tourist attractions that you recommend to your guests.

Have a listen to the podcast I recorded with Clare Wright of the School House bed and breakfast here in Shropshire to hear more on this topic >> Podcast with Clare

Remember your why

In the online course, I get you to figure out your WHY for running a bed and breakfast, because knowing this is so important.

It will help you decide on the type of B&B you want to run, the type of guests you want to host and how you run it.

Once you're running your B&B, being clear on your WHY will help you with any difficult decisions you have to make.

And if  you are having a bad day in your business, reminding  yourself of your “WHY” for running a B&B can help get you back on track more quickly.

Celebrate the wins 

It’s human nature for us to dwell on the negatives. If we hadn’t assumed there was a sabre toothed tiger waiting for us behind every corner, we would never have got out of the stone age. The positive thinkers didn’t do so well back then…

But we are no longer in the stone age and there are few sabre toothed tigers - in Shropshire anyway. Though we did have a pretty big spider in the hallway last night.

So we’re allowed to focus on the positives.

If you’ve been around for a while, you may have heard me talk about the Smile File. 

The Smile File is where you pop all of your positive reviews, every nice comment someone ever makes about you, the great feedback from emails and comments in your guest book.

It’s great as a resource when you’re marketing and stuck for what to write about in your blog or to post on social media. If your guests are always talking about your lemon drizzle cake or the welcome from your dogs, make sure you’re promoting those!

But the Smile File is also there to go back to when you’re having a bad day, you’ve had a snarky comment from a guest or a bad review. Focus on the good reviews not the bad. 

Focus on the people you're serving

If all else is failing, when I'm feeling demotivated, I focus on the people I'm serving; the course students who need my help, the B&B guests who considered Hopton House their sanctuary from life and kept returning several times a year.

Sometimes all you need to do to reset your motivation is to take the focus off yourself for just a little while.

Learn from the negatives

Things will go wrong in your business, no matter how hard you try to avoid that happening. And you can’t create a B&B that appeals to everyone.

When you do get a less than positive review or comment, try and see if there is any can learn from the experience, or can you turn it into a marketing opportunity?

See my blog post on responding to a negative review >> How to respond to a negative review

And finally,

It's natural that your motivation will come and go - that's human nature. My motivation levels can go up and down several times a day!

Recognise it for what it is, don't beat yourself up about it, but look for ways to get your motivation levels back.

In my experience, you're likely to be more motivated when you're getting lots of booking, positive reviews and lovely repeat guests.

To find out the first steps to creating a successful B&B, check out this workshop and bonuses here >> First steps to owning you bed and breakfast

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