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"Burnout" and its symptoms

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Samster

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Your thoughts on this? What constitutes real "burnout" vs just going through a rough patch in the business?
Can you "burnout" on aspects of the biz but not totally with innkeeping as a profession?
When is it time to give in to the burnout and call it quits without feeling like you have failed?
ETA: If you've hit true burnout, what keeps you going in the business when you know it might be best to exit?
 

Don Draper

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Great question. Wish I knew the answer. Quite simply, I have never had my best efforts not be "good enough" in any other aspect of life. Here, I feel like I give 125% every minute of every day and it's never enough...some idiot gets on a review site and complains about something completely insignificant, the "to do" list is NEVER done, I spend hundreds of dollars and hours trying to make my website complete and still get these "What about this" questions from people too lazy to read...my list goes on and on. Honestly I don't see what the rewards are anymore, if I ever did.
I think I'm beyond burnout, just for a reference point

I guess when the "cons" list outnumbers the "pros" list that's the burnout point.
 

EmptyNest

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Pro's vs cons...yes...
For me, the first thing was that physically I could just not handle the work load any longer. And then it became a "chore" to keep my happy face on. THen reached a point where I just didn't want anyone else in MY house and wanted it just for us. I was stressed all the time..which I am usually anyway...but really not happy and I knew it was time to just close the door.
My husband still wanted us on our 10 year plan, but there was no way I could go longer than 6. He even helped me out alot, but still so much I had to do that I could not any longer. I do not ever feel like I failed. I had a dream, followed it, enjoyed it, and then realized enough was enough. Maybe in the beginning I had some guilt feelings, but you have to do what you feel is right for you.
This would have been year 10 for us and I told him the other day, we would still be in the same situation of not being able to sell the place so it really didn't matter that we never made it this far. We are here and will be until the economy turns around and we can sell this for our real retirement home.
 

Morticia

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If you still LOVE parts of the biz, maybe hiring out the other parts will give you the impetus to work harder on the parts you love, bringing in more biz to pay for the help. (That's the 'royal' you, btw, not YOU!)
If you absolutely dread getting out of bed every single time there are guests, it's good to ask why? What changed? Is there something that could be changed to bring the spark back? Because it may not be the inn, it may be some other underlying problem that would come up again even if you were 'working.'
One reason for staying when you know you should go is that you also know this is not the right time to sell. That you'll be on the market far longer than you want to be and that you'll still be doing what you've come to hate. It may be better to try to rekindle the love before you try to sell. Believe me, we KNEW the PO's were reasy to go and it lowered the price we were willing to offer. Had we known more, it would have been lower still.
So, if a little perspective and distance would help the situation, maybe taking a month off would work. Not to travel, but to really give yourself time to think about how to turn this behemoth around. When you feel like you're treading water is when you're at the lowest. Sometimes, the time off is like a raft that floats by and gives you a breather. You can look around and set your sights on the shoreline instead of drifting out to sea. (BTW, it's raining buckets here in case anyone's wondering about the watery analogy.)
 

EmptyNest

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If you still LOVE parts of the biz, maybe hiring out the other parts will give you the impetus to work harder on the parts you love, bringing in more biz to pay for the help. (That's the 'royal' you, btw, not YOU!)
If you absolutely dread getting out of bed every single time there are guests, it's good to ask why? What changed? Is there something that could be changed to bring the spark back? Because it may not be the inn, it may be some other underlying problem that would come up again even if you were 'working.'
One reason for staying when you know you should go is that you also know this is not the right time to sell. That you'll be on the market far longer than you want to be and that you'll still be doing what you've come to hate. It may be better to try to rekindle the love before you try to sell. Believe me, we KNEW the PO's were reasy to go and it lowered the price we were willing to offer. Had we known more, it would have been lower still.
So, if a little perspective and distance would help the situation, maybe taking a month off would work. Not to travel, but to really give yourself time to think about how to turn this behemoth around. When you feel like you're treading water is when you're at the lowest. Sometimes, the time off is like a raft that floats by and gives you a breather. You can look around and set your sights on the shoreline instead of drifting out to sea. (BTW, it's raining buckets here in case anyone's wondering about the watery analogy.).
You are getting the rain that just left us. Thankfully we are high and dry but looking out our front door to the valley below,...all we can see if flooded farm fields and the greenway through our town is underwater right now. IT almost reminds me of when Katrina came through..but not quite as bad thankfully.
 

gillumhouse

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I do not think anyone should feel like a failure because they close/sell. It is like anything elsea phase in our lives. Only someone who did not REALLY TRY could be designated a failure and only because they did not try to succeed - you know the ones, "I can't fo that"; "I won't do that"; etc
We cannot know until we are actually doing the day to day and dealing with guests in our particular area (and they DO differ) what it is going to be like. Sometimes it is trying to be too big and being overwhelmed or being too small and not making the revenue needed to cover costs. Plus the costs do not hit home until you start looking at the taxes, extra utilities, costs of directories and advertising, and cost of insurance. Then there are the demands and the inconsiderate behavior of some guests. The last thing we cannot possibly know until we are actually doing it is the toll it takes on us physically, emotionally, and in our relationships. I did not have screaming knees 14 years ago - I do today. 14 years ago I had a husband who took out the garbage and did repairs, today in addition to everything else I take out the garbage and tend to him.
For me, it is not that I am "burned out", it is time to move on to the next phase of my life HOWEVER my DH has decided HE does not want to move so I will continue until whenever because my city NEEDS the B & B and I do enjoy the guests - just not the work behind the scenes. And I think DH secretly looks forward to the variety of guests and does not want to give that up!
 

Innkeeper To Go

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I do not think anyone should feel like a failure because they close/sell. It is like anything elsea phase in our lives. Only someone who did not REALLY TRY could be designated a failure and only because they did not try to succeed - you know the ones, "I can't fo that"; "I won't do that"; etc
We cannot know until we are actually doing the day to day and dealing with guests in our particular area (and they DO differ) what it is going to be like. Sometimes it is trying to be too big and being overwhelmed or being too small and not making the revenue needed to cover costs. Plus the costs do not hit home until you start looking at the taxes, extra utilities, costs of directories and advertising, and cost of insurance. Then there are the demands and the inconsiderate behavior of some guests. The last thing we cannot possibly know until we are actually doing it is the toll it takes on us physically, emotionally, and in our relationships. I did not have screaming knees 14 years ago - I do today. 14 years ago I had a husband who took out the garbage and did repairs, today in addition to everything else I take out the garbage and tend to him.
For me, it is not that I am "burned out", it is time to move on to the next phase of my life HOWEVER my DH has decided HE does not want to move so I will continue until whenever because my city NEEDS the B & B and I do enjoy the guests - just not the work behind the scenes. And I think DH secretly looks forward to the variety of guests and does not want to give that up!.
gillumhouse said:
I do not think anyone should feel like a failure because they close/sell. It is like anything elsea phase in our lives. Only someone who did not REALLY TRY could be designated a failure and only because they did not try to succeed - you know the ones, "I can't fo that"; "I won't do that"; etc
Very good point.
 
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Burn out.....just looked at the reservations and not sure when I can work that in ? 2003 after 9 months in of B&B + work I felt overwhelmed so I went on a "vacation" (pretend type).Spent a monday playing tourist in the Harrisonburg area,antiqueing,lunch out,window shopping,real shopping,art gallery,etc. A drive in the country ,go to Wash.D.C. visit a daughter there,just getting out helps me as I work 4 blocks down the street 8-4,tues-sat. and the B&B. I am proud of what little I have and enjoy seeing it grow year after year.Just my 2 cents Mary in Bwater.
 

InnCaring

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Burnout is something that needs to be dealt with from day one. It is important to plan activities outside of the B&B that you enjoy. For me it was doing yoga or getting a massage. For my husband, it was working out with a trainer who had been a guest but turned into a personal friend. For some, it is planning a date day/night and going out for a few hours even if it is for a walk. The trick is not taking the phone with you while you are on your date.
We also knew that we needed to get away on vacation from the B&B. We put the cost of hiring an innsitter into our yearly business plan. You need to get away and recharge your batteries so that you can come back refreshed.
For those of you with small inns, yes, it might just be easier to close. However, please have some sort of back-up plan for someone else to at least answer your phones and e-mails. It is not a vacation if you still are doing those two things.
For those of you with larger inns, consider hiring an innsitter when your Bed and Breakfast is busy, not when your inn is quiet. It is more cost effective to hire them when you have the greatest revenue coming in. Why have them there when the inn is quiet with just a few guests. Give them a workout - be full. I know when we owned our 8 room inn, a had a large 6 figure mortgage to pay every month. I just couldn't close down for a week or two.
A professional interim innkeeper will keep your guests happy, answer those phones and make sure your inn continues to operate in the manner you like it to. No, they will not do everything thing exactly the same as you do. But, if they are professional innkeepers they know how to be flexible and do things your way. After all, they want your guests to return to your business.
It is never going to be the same having innsitters as having you there in person. However, if you want to last in this business, you do need to take time for yourselves.
Finally, if there are chores that you really hate doing or don't have enough time to do, consider hiring someone to take over that resonsibility. I love to garden. However, in the middle of the summer I didn't have time to tend the very large organic garden we had at the inn. I was too busy helping inside the inn.
What I did was go to our local work force center and advertise (for free) for teenagers (over 14 years of age) to come and work for us during the summer. They worked 4 hours a day with a maximum of 15 -20 hours per week. I paid them minimum wage, they got to set their own hours and listen to their music (via earphones). They were outside getting a tan and getting paid. They loved getting the money, their parents loved them being busy, and I loved having my garden tended.
Some of these teenagers came back year after year to either work in the garden or move into the house as housekeepers. I had one girl who worked for us for 10 years. She started at age 14 the first summer we were there pulling weeds in our garden. When we sold the inn, she was one of our assistant innkeeper. We saw her graduate high school, get married, and graduate college. She is now working on her masters degree. She was a great asset to our B&B and we got help so that we did not burn out.
Sorry I got so long winded. I tend to get wound up on the subject of burnout.

Lynda
 

EmptyNest

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Burnout is something that needs to be dealt with from day one. It is important to plan activities outside of the B&B that you enjoy. For me it was doing yoga or getting a massage. For my husband, it was working out with a trainer who had been a guest but turned into a personal friend. For some, it is planning a date day/night and going out for a few hours even if it is for a walk. The trick is not taking the phone with you while you are on your date.
We also knew that we needed to get away on vacation from the B&B. We put the cost of hiring an innsitter into our yearly business plan. You need to get away and recharge your batteries so that you can come back refreshed.
For those of you with small inns, yes, it might just be easier to close. However, please have some sort of back-up plan for someone else to at least answer your phones and e-mails. It is not a vacation if you still are doing those two things.
For those of you with larger inns, consider hiring an innsitter when your Bed and Breakfast is busy, not when your inn is quiet. It is more cost effective to hire them when you have the greatest revenue coming in. Why have them there when the inn is quiet with just a few guests. Give them a workout - be full. I know when we owned our 8 room inn, a had a large 6 figure mortgage to pay every month. I just couldn't close down for a week or two.
A professional interim innkeeper will keep your guests happy, answer those phones and make sure your inn continues to operate in the manner you like it to. No, they will not do everything thing exactly the same as you do. But, if they are professional innkeepers they know how to be flexible and do things your way. After all, they want your guests to return to your business.
It is never going to be the same having innsitters as having you there in person. However, if you want to last in this business, you do need to take time for yourselves.
Finally, if there are chores that you really hate doing or don't have enough time to do, consider hiring someone to take over that resonsibility. I love to garden. However, in the middle of the summer I didn't have time to tend the very large organic garden we had at the inn. I was too busy helping inside the inn.
What I did was go to our local work force center and advertise (for free) for teenagers (over 14 years of age) to come and work for us during the summer. They worked 4 hours a day with a maximum of 15 -20 hours per week. I paid them minimum wage, they got to set their own hours and listen to their music (via earphones). They were outside getting a tan and getting paid. They loved getting the money, their parents loved them being busy, and I loved having my garden tended.
Some of these teenagers came back year after year to either work in the garden or move into the house as housekeepers. I had one girl who worked for us for 10 years. She started at age 14 the first summer we were there pulling weeds in our garden. When we sold the inn, she was one of our assistant innkeeper. We saw her graduate high school, get married, and graduate college. She is now working on her masters degree. She was a great asset to our B&B and we got help so that we did not burn out.
Sorry I got so long winded. I tend to get wound up on the subject of burnout.

Lynda.
You gave some great advice and many are the things I did. However, after 6 years of doing the B & B...I just didn't want to do it anymore.
Physically I couldn't do it and our place was too small to hire help which we never wanted to do in the first place.
We only did it 9 months out of the year, so we had plenty of down time.
It was just the right time to close for me.
 

InnCaring

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Sometimes that is the best thing to do when you reach that point. For those of you with small inns, just a reminder if you do close and are thinking of selling your place. You need to be a residence for at least two years before you sell your house. Otherwise you will need to deal with the recapture of depreciation from the business. Consult an accountant for more specifics.
Lynda
 

EmptyNest

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Sometimes that is the best thing to do when you reach that point. For those of you with small inns, just a reminder if you do close and are thinking of selling your place. You need to be a residence for at least two years before you sell your house. Otherwise you will need to deal with the recapture of depreciation from the business. Consult an accountant for more specifics.
Lynda.
You need to be a residence for at least two years before you sell your house. Otherwise you will need to deal with the recapture of depreciation from the business.
Yeah the 2 year plan was what we were doing...until this market crash..but....I heard recently from an accountant that this has been changed and that a business is a business no matter what and that you would be still responsible for the depreciation sometime down the road. He could be wrong..but he usually knows what he is talking about.
Anyone have any personal experience with this recently???
 

gillumhouse

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Burnout is something that needs to be dealt with from day one. It is important to plan activities outside of the B&B that you enjoy. For me it was doing yoga or getting a massage. For my husband, it was working out with a trainer who had been a guest but turned into a personal friend. For some, it is planning a date day/night and going out for a few hours even if it is for a walk. The trick is not taking the phone with you while you are on your date.
We also knew that we needed to get away on vacation from the B&B. We put the cost of hiring an innsitter into our yearly business plan. You need to get away and recharge your batteries so that you can come back refreshed.
For those of you with small inns, yes, it might just be easier to close. However, please have some sort of back-up plan for someone else to at least answer your phones and e-mails. It is not a vacation if you still are doing those two things.
For those of you with larger inns, consider hiring an innsitter when your Bed and Breakfast is busy, not when your inn is quiet. It is more cost effective to hire them when you have the greatest revenue coming in. Why have them there when the inn is quiet with just a few guests. Give them a workout - be full. I know when we owned our 8 room inn, a had a large 6 figure mortgage to pay every month. I just couldn't close down for a week or two.
A professional interim innkeeper will keep your guests happy, answer those phones and make sure your inn continues to operate in the manner you like it to. No, they will not do everything thing exactly the same as you do. But, if they are professional innkeepers they know how to be flexible and do things your way. After all, they want your guests to return to your business.
It is never going to be the same having innsitters as having you there in person. However, if you want to last in this business, you do need to take time for yourselves.
Finally, if there are chores that you really hate doing or don't have enough time to do, consider hiring someone to take over that resonsibility. I love to garden. However, in the middle of the summer I didn't have time to tend the very large organic garden we had at the inn. I was too busy helping inside the inn.
What I did was go to our local work force center and advertise (for free) for teenagers (over 14 years of age) to come and work for us during the summer. They worked 4 hours a day with a maximum of 15 -20 hours per week. I paid them minimum wage, they got to set their own hours and listen to their music (via earphones). They were outside getting a tan and getting paid. They loved getting the money, their parents loved them being busy, and I loved having my garden tended.
Some of these teenagers came back year after year to either work in the garden or move into the house as housekeepers. I had one girl who worked for us for 10 years. She started at age 14 the first summer we were there pulling weeds in our garden. When we sold the inn, she was one of our assistant innkeeper. We saw her graduate high school, get married, and graduate college. She is now working on her masters degree. She was a great asset to our B&B and we got help so that we did not burn out.
Sorry I got so long winded. I tend to get wound up on the subject of burnout.

Lynda.
Burnout is something that needs to be dealt with from day one. It is important to plan activities outside of the B&B that you enjoy.
That is exactly why I got so involved in my City and Association (most of the other things sneaked up on me when I wasn't looking - they saw the word SUCKER! tattooed on my forehead) as it gave me a way to have and promote my business but get me out of it also. They helped me build relationships at the same time I was able to get out of the house to attend workshops, seminars, etc and learn to be better at what I was doing. Each activity in essense was helping the others - City, organizations, Association, and my B & B all at the same time it kept me from being bored, boring, and burned-out. Now I am just physicalled out - oh those stairs.....
 

gillumhouse

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Sometimes that is the best thing to do when you reach that point. For those of you with small inns, just a reminder if you do close and are thinking of selling your place. You need to be a residence for at least two years before you sell your house. Otherwise you will need to deal with the recapture of depreciation from the business. Consult an accountant for more specifics.
Lynda.
You need to be a residence for at least two years before you sell your house. Otherwise you will need to deal with the recapture of depreciation from the business.
Yeah the 2 year plan was what we were doing...until this market crash..but....I heard recently from an accountant that this has been changed and that a business is a business no matter what and that you would be still responsible for the depreciation sometime down the road. He could be wrong..but he usually knows what he is talking about.
Anyone have any personal experience with this recently???
.
I also heard the 2-year plan had bitten the dust. It was discussed here a while back. It is now among the memories of those of us who can say - "It used to be that...."
 

EmptyNest

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Sometimes that is the best thing to do when you reach that point. For those of you with small inns, just a reminder if you do close and are thinking of selling your place. You need to be a residence for at least two years before you sell your house. Otherwise you will need to deal with the recapture of depreciation from the business. Consult an accountant for more specifics.
Lynda.
You need to be a residence for at least two years before you sell your house. Otherwise you will need to deal with the recapture of depreciation from the business.
Yeah the 2 year plan was what we were doing...until this market crash..but....I heard recently from an accountant that this has been changed and that a business is a business no matter what and that you would be still responsible for the depreciation sometime down the road. He could be wrong..but he usually knows what he is talking about.
Anyone have any personal experience with this recently???
.
I also heard the 2-year plan had bitten the dust. It was discussed here a while back. It is now among the memories of those of us who can say - "It used to be that...."
.
I have been searching the IRS site for more info..but can't find much. The accountant who told me that does B & B's so I think he must know. I am going to ask our accountant again when we he does our taxes this year.
 

Samster

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I think that most of us do the things to avoid burnout - taking vacations, trying to have other hobbies or interests, outsourcing jobs if we can.
I guess I was asking more of what other innkeepers view as "burnout" and what that constitutes for them. For example for me, it's when I feel abrupt with my spouse and other family members. When I put so much into the business, that I feel like I'm short changing the other important people in my life. There's just no energy left. I don't know how some folks can keep going at high occupancy rates with more than 3 rooms, day after day.
Seems like this is easy to do when you have a small business of any type. And the B&B business is such a personal one to each and every one of us. I have a friend who is shifting her business model away from B&B rooms to events because it's less of a constant intrusion.
 

Innkeeper To Go

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I think that most of us do the things to avoid burnout - taking vacations, trying to have other hobbies or interests, outsourcing jobs if we can.
I guess I was asking more of what other innkeepers view as "burnout" and what that constitutes for them. For example for me, it's when I feel abrupt with my spouse and other family members. When I put so much into the business, that I feel like I'm short changing the other important people in my life. There's just no energy left. I don't know how some folks can keep going at high occupancy rates with more than 3 rooms, day after day.
Seems like this is easy to do when you have a small business of any type. And the B&B business is such a personal one to each and every one of us. I have a friend who is shifting her business model away from B&B rooms to events because it's less of a constant intrusion..
Samster for 3 years (until just a few months ago) I managed a 7 room inn (with an additional separate cottage) that ran 81% occupancy for 2 years straight - including through the economic crisis. And the first year, I was working around the clock to implement the changes that resulted in that crazy occupancy rate.
I can tell you it was tough. Really tough. Last year, for example, there was not one single night that we didn't have any guests. Not one.
The only way I made it was to take breaks and I tried to take one every 3 months. The revenue was strong enough to hire someone to fill in for me and I had well-trained staff who sometimes stepped to the plate as well.
But I didn't take all the breaks because it was often hard to walk away from the inn with all of those guests coming and trust everything would be okay. It's just never easy for any innkeeper to do that, much as they know they need the breaks.
Still, taking the breaks I did was a huge benefit to me. I would have cracked without them. No doubt about it.
 

Morticia

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And look at me...how many days have I been painting that one room? I have friends who can paint a whole house in the time it takes me to do one room. Why? Because I do not want to spend the next few years with my gaze sluing around to that one spot I missed. So, right now, we've put 2 coats on the walls and tomorrow I'll go back over it again, even behind where the furniture will be placed. I've been on that ladder practically drawing a 1/2 line around the ceiling so that it is level all the way around. I can't get behind the sprinkler heads properly and I have to stop myself from obsessing about it.
Yes, it's a disease. But it drives me nuts when I go to friends' houses and I can see where the paint is splotched on the ceiling or it's missing from big patches of the wall.
So, I could have done so many more projects but it has to be perfect. Or as close as I can get. 'You can't see it from space,' doesn't work when I CAN see it just by walking into the room!
And after this comes my own open concept living room/dining room/kitchen. With the same chair rail to go around. Maybe I'll just take that down!
We all have our own peeves and sometimes they get in the way and sometimes it's the peeves that make what we do the kind of places guests want to return to.
But, you're right, when we start taking it out on our family it's time to step back and see what can change.
For all that we've been thru, we (Gomez & I) are closer now than ever before. More respect for each other (even when I have to say, 'Bless his pointy little head'), more love and committment. And I think a lot of that has come from having to be together all the time.
 

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I am absolutely so grateful to all of the wonderful folks that have entered my life since starting this business. There have been some people that have impacted my life more than words can say. I wouldn't change a thing about that.
Getting more sleep....that I would change. haha! :)
 
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