12 things I love about running a Bed and Breakfast business

For me, a bed and breakfast business is the ultimate lifestyle business, but I didn’t always think that.  Back in the old days before the internet, we were pretty limited by how many people we could reach, and therefore how much income we could make.

I did some research recently which told me that over half of all bed and breakfast businesses in Europe were turning over less than 10,000 euros a year, and that the average income is just 18,000 euros.  I know this to be true, because that’s how it was for me too.  Our marketing, if we did any, was purely via the local tourist office and word of mouth through a small network of other B&B owners in area.  About half of our bookings came from people passing and knocking on the door, and so we had to be around pretty much all of the time.  It was exhausting and time-consuming.

In the old days, a B&B business was a little business on the side where you could only earn pin money to supplement a pension or your partner’s full time job.

But now, all that’s changed.  In the 21st century, a B&B business is a sustainable, profitable, stand-alone business that can replace your day-job income, if you do it right.  Here’s  6 reasons why I love running a B&B business anytime, and the second 6 reasons are why I love running it in 2012:

  1. I get to live in a very large house, much larger than I would if I didn’t run a B&B.  This means that I always have plenty of space to welcome friends and family and to entertain.
  2. There’s always a steady stream of interesting people coming by, and I love hearing their stories, and sharing mine, over a cup of tea or a glass of champagne.
  3. I get to mess around making things for my home, in the name of “guest experience”.  My skill set includes being qualified as a soft furnisher and interior designer, and having a B&B means I get to indulge my decorating and sewing skills sometimes.
  4. I get to help other local businesses and tourist attractions by recommending them to my guests, and in turn those businesses and attractions recommend my B&B which is a great feeling.
  5. I can work from home, which is my favourite place to work, being there for my children whenever they need me.
  6. I’m able to serve my community by providing part-time jobs for a few people, which means that they too recommend my B&B to their friends and families.

And here’s why I absolutely LOVE running a B&B in 2012, using the power of the internet:

  1. I’ve been able to learn a whole host of new skills about marketing online and reaching thousands more people that I ever could before this type of magic came on the scene.
  2. I can connect with people on the other side of the world from the comfort of my own beautiful home, and make friends with guests before they arrive.  This adds so much value to me and to them too.
  3. I’m learning every day on how to run and grow a business, using my B&B business as my vehicle.  This is a self-discovery experience for me and I love to try out new ways to market, sell, help others and grow in the process.
  4. With the wonder of the internet and the systems we now have at our fingertips, we can make a lot more money than we ever could before, and that allows me to have a lot more fun and serve people in better ways.
  5. I have the freedom to create, which is so important to me.  Freedom to create new products and dream up new projects to help my guests and grow my own self confidence.
  6. I’m able to network with other B&B owners from around the world, and share experiences and learnings, which makes us all better B&B owners, serving our guests in a much more valuable way.

What do you love about running a bed and breakfast business in 2012?