Business Spotlight Series [3 of 4]
By now you know what’s coming! Another spotlight story from another struggling business owner. In Betty and Mark’s story, #thestruggleisreal. Let’s take a look…
Betty and Mark have been married for thirty-two years, and are finally living their dreams. Betty spent years as a mom and homemaker while Mark worked as a high school shop teacher. They both loved their roles and the home environment they created, but after years of putting big personal aspirations aside, they’ve reinvented themselves as venue owners.
With Betty’s natural flair for hospitality and Mark’s handyman prowess, they’re loving their days as venue owners! And now that they’ve started turning their dreams into reality, they can’t seem to stop.
Every night when it’s time to go to bed, Betty’s mind keeps churning with idea after idea. She wants to start baking the wedding cakes herself. She’d love to offer in-house floral design. Catering sounds fun, too!
Not only is Betty just overflowing with creativity, but she figures if she and Mark do enough in-house, then they can make some extra money, which they desperately need. They sunk Mark’s retirement into this venue, so they have to make it work!
The problem is, with each new idea, Betty puts time and energy (and sometimes money, oops!) into a new venture that isn’t fully thought through. She’s waited so long to say “yes!” to her dreams, that now she finds it impossible to slow her roll and make a business plan for each of these new ideas. Anytime she and Mark book a new wedding, the money they make goes into her new potentially lucrative ideas for the venue, not into their pockets.
Between excitement over all the new opportunities, and fear that everything may fall apart, Betty and Mark don’t have a very restful retirement.
While they spend their days working hard at something they both love, they don’t have any free time to just enjoy being together. Sometimes Betty wonders, “how long can we keep this up? I love making dreams come true, and there are so many things I want to try, but this can’t just be a hobby. At some point we need to start making real money, and find some balance in our day.”
So. What’s going on here?
We have a couple who is finally chasing after those big dreams, sacrificing time, money, and energy to make their venue a success. They deserve a win!
But our multi-passionate entrepreneur Betty can’t seem to hone in on one thing, and it’s hurting her bottom line. With so much at stake, Betty and Mark need to start making regular money. But between their wayward interests and the sporadic nature of their wedding deposits, they can’t figure out how to bring in a reliable income!
If I were sitting with Betty and Mark right now, here’s what I’d say.
Stop and take a deep breath.
Identify how you want to spend your days, and what you need from this business.
If this can be a hobby for you, great! Spend all that money doing #allthethings. If you need to make money, however, it’s time to get serious and create boundaries so you can experience real freedom.
Focus on one thing and do it well. You don’t need to add additional services in order to make BIG money, whether you’re a floral designer, caterer, or cake baker. You do need a solid business plan and you need to serve your clients well. If you master your current undertaking and still want to expand, create a plan for that new venture, and then step into that when you’re ready.
If you haven’t yet, create a business bank account. Don’t mix business and personal. If you have new hobbies you want to explore, pay for that with your personal money. Once you’re serious enough about something that you’re incorporating it into your business, use business money to pay for it.
Determine how much money you as a couple need to make in one year. Divide that by how much you make each wedding you book. That will give you the number of weddings you need to take on. If that number is too high, and you don’t want to host that many weddings each year, then you need to charge more.
When you get the urge to move into something new, write it down on a google doc or the good ole piece of paper. Once a year (or twice, or quarterly, whatever works for you) review that list. Choose 1-2 things to focus on and do really well. You’ll accomplish more in less time when you focus on a couple of things at a time.
It’s tough being a multi-passionate entrepreneur. It seems counterintuitive, but when you create systems and boundaries, you free yourself up for more free time, more money, and more fulfillment.
Betty and Mark might feel overwhelmed, but they’re not far from living a life they love while also making money they deserve.