P.S. We’re about to share some pretty vulnerable things, which are hard to do for both humans and business owners alike. In the hopes that this sheds some light for current and future entrepreneurs, so here we go…
Long story short, Garrett and I always had what felt like a safety net when we worked abroad for 14 years and came home every summer in order to develop and build on the Hohnstead.
In May of 2022, we quit our teaching jobs in South Korea and decided to put all of our eggs in the Hohnstead basket, basing our decisions on how quick and how much The Hohnstead has grown since 2017. We’ve never had a bad year, just steady, progressive growth, even through COVID, we felt invincible…
This year we’ve added our 5th unit, The Ranch Hand, which is a Glamping Tent with a log bed, rocking chairs, electricity and other fun amenities that our guests love. Some even called it “poor men’s Paws Up” 🙂
We also no longer have a long term renter in the Shed, which makes for 5 unique accommodations available for rent at The Hohnstead.
Are we competing with ourselves by trying to find 5 guests to occupy them every night?
The Hohnstead is also a SEASONAL RESORT, so we have a shorter window for bookings versus another year-round resort or Airbnb short term rental.
As you can see from the picture, we have an EMPTY house and this trend has been more in our face compared to the years when we could always rely on our South Korean income to fill in the gaps.
Honestly, Garrett is freaking out a bit more than me. I’m taking on the role of a tough gal who isn’t fazed by the slower season or the impending idea that this year MAY BE the first year we don’t grow and make more than the year previous.
I’ll let you in on my secrets of keeping a Poker Face when it comes to your business doing poorly:
Lets talk about the five ways to keep your cool (when your husband threatens you with the idea of going back to teaching English, but you rather take up archery and go deep into the woods to hide from students who still don’t know the difference between ‘fun’ and ‘funny’)
In no particular order:
If your business isn’t doing as well as you had hoped, be more proactive! Don’t expect your customers/guests/patients to come to you, go and find them. To accomplish this well, you need to know YOUR customer.
Are they mostly single/female/into jiu-jitsu/active locally/shop at Starbucks/are eco-friendly/between 25-34 y.o/watch Outlander/don’t know the difference between fun and funny.
Knowing your customers will dictate your actions.
Looking for your customers, may bring you to your local meetups, groups and organizations.
I’ve recently discovered MBN (Missoula Businesswomen’s Network) and have been networking up a storm at their monthly meetings and networking events geared for women in and around Missoula. I’ve made a connection with a woman who hopes to host retreats for adventurous moms, she came up to The Hohnstead to check it out.
The Hohnstead was also a proud sponsor for MBN’s event “Reignite and Rise,” where a female huntress with a passion for teaching other women to hunt has won a stay with us. Perhaps, a workshop or a retreat will be in the works for all you wanna-be huntresses out there.
Make a list of your typical and/or ideal clients characteristics/passions and hobbies. Then brainstorm places, social media platforms, events that they might find themselves at.
You may need to step outside of your comfort zone to network.
You may need to create content specific to a social media platform.
You may need to pay for ads and promos to get in front of your ideal customers’ eye balls.
Final thought: actively searching, reaching out or putting yourself in front of your typical/ideal customer should be more time consuming and ultimately rewarding than giving into the feelings of worthlessness and self doubt.
Another solution when your business is slow is to WORK ON YOUR BUSINESS.
That Newsletter sequence that you’ve been neglecting to create, do it now!
That old headshot you’ve been delaying to update, get it done!
That spiderweb you haven’t been able to reach near the ceiling, grab a ladder and let’s go!
Always wanted more free time to JUST PLAY inside Canva? Permission granted!
I’m currently writing this post, which will double duty as our Newsletter this month and some parts of it will turn into Reels. (Read up on repurposing your content like 64 pieces of content by Gary Vee or blog posts from Dan Koe
Third idea when your business is in a rut, don’t turn negative, stay positive.
Some of you may scuff at the notion of manifesting your own reality, but take it from a girl who should probably be in the middle of Ukraine-Russia war right now, but instead I’ve been actively creating the life I LOVE, full of adventure, traveling and living in one of the most beautiful places, where people come ON VACATION.
Speaking of traveling, I got my journaling idea from an audio book I listened to while on a very windy bus ride somewhere in Cambodia. Don’t ask me the name of the book or the author, but I’ll tell you that the book’s primary idea was so good that I even remembered it through the gross interludes of vomiting.
Journaling idea that will help to manifest the life YOU LOVE is to keep a diary-like journal, where instead of jotting down about your day’s activities, you write down different aspects of your life that you desire to come to life.
You must write these items about your life/what you want/what you are/what you have/what you do/ what you accomplish in PRESENT TENSE.
“I am squatting 100 lbs.”
“My business grew by 15% this quarter.”
“I’m regularly reading for 1 hour each night.”
“My family is enjoying our lake-side vacation on The Flathead Lake for 2 weeks.”
“I’m so good at meeting new people.”
So to summarize point three, don’t let your negative thoughts take over your reality, lead with grace and gratefulness.
Be grateful that you’re in business, be grateful that you’re safe right now, be grateful that you even have customers, be grateful that they trust you, be grateful if you have a team or multiple employees, that you have systems to automate your business, that you have the inventions that we all have at our fingertips (email, books, pens, internet, cars, shoes, shall I go on….)
Be grateful AF! (journal about it, daily!)
Fourth idea that will pull you back from the edge of a (business) cliff:
Being more realistic.
While The Hohnstead has experienced 7 amazing years of non-stop growth, as entrepreneurs, we have to remind ourselves that its tough out there, check out these stats from Louisa Zhou:
“One in five businesses is predicted to fail within their first 18 months.”
“50% of businesses fail in the first five years.”
“Some of the biggest challenges for businesses are a lack of capital or cash flow (23%), recruiting employees (19%), and advertising and marketing (15%).”
So read the article and feel sudden relief?
Be grateful that you’re a business owner, a ballsy, fearless, hard-working business owner.
You are doing something that MOST people are afraid to do, so they stick to their 9-5.
You offer something very cool and very special that only you have (thanks for the inspiration Marie Forleo, love ya!)
Whew, this post is already making me feel better about our empty resort and I haven’t even told you all of it.
Idea #5 if your business is suddenly in quicksand – spend less!
That’s right! I’m calling you out! You probably spend too much.
Many of us do.
Those fees, subscriptions, and bills need to be looked at AND REGULARLY!
Optimize your spending, stay on the conservative side. Always.
This will help you in two ways:
- Help you save more when your business is doing well.
- Help you feel less out of control when your business and profits are slowing down.
Real-life story, Garrett convinced me for 10+ years that living in our small and old Korean apartment was a better financial decision than moving. The point of this story is that our rent was $285 for the two of us, THAT WHOLE TIME.
So badly I wanted to move to a nicer spot, but financially it didn’t make much sense, since both of us would travel abroad June – August and again in the winter months.
Paying a lot of money for a place we weren’t using made 0 sense.
The positive Alla speaks over the negative on this one, celebrating that period as a trial of resilience, patience and lots of lessons in downsizing and minimalism (because we lived in 450 sq ft).
The money we saved by living in that space, definitely helped us grow The Hohnstead and eventually move, making The Hohnstead our primary source of income.
Living in such a small space for so long, helped us adapt to living in small spaces. Our apartment now is no bigger than 500 sq ft and I love it and it’s high ceilings, smart, space-saving spaces and (almost) lack of clutter (we run a business and have lots of hobbies 😛
Other ways to feel less out of control when your business is experiencing a low
- Get another job to help support you and your family. Bonus points if this job relates to your business, gives you a chance to promote your services or skills, or learn a new skill that you can then utilize in your biz.
Real-life story: I’ve recently started a part time job at a local concert venue. It pays $15/hr.
It gives me a chance to meet new locals that may want to vacation with us.
It gives me an opportunity to listen to some live music, something I NEVER got to do in South Korea.
It is teaching me new ways to deal with people, who may or may not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, frustrated because of evacuation (lightning), or are looking to have a great time and are visiting Montana for the first time AND I GET TO HELP WITH THAT WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE.
Remember, don’t feel helpless about your business and its trajectory.
Step away from the cliff.
See that bull?
Grab it by the horns, say Yee-haw!
Now, gently climb down.
It’s a bull after all and you don’t have a great medical insurance (you’re an entrepreneur after all).
Lift your head high, walk away proud.
You just rode a bull (who cares if it was made of bronze 🙂