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B&B Owner

The Real Poop

If you aren't a morning person, run—run screaming from this page.

Waking up bright and early with a smile on your face is required if you want to be a successful B&B owner. The first B may stand for "bed," but the second stands for "breakfast." And unfortunately for you night owls out there, breakfast comes at the crack of dawn—especially for some guests who want to get a jump on the day. If sunrise doesn't put a skip in your step, you might want to consider starting a B&S (a.k.a. Bed and Supper). Okay, we've actually never heard of a Bed and Supper, but it's a good idea, right?

Even more important than being an early riser is being a people person. If making friendly small talk with strangers on a daily basis is your idea of Hell, you'd better find another career path. When guests check into a B&B, they're looking for that personal touch. Usually, they want to get to know their hosts a little bit.

We'd recommend having an arsenal of interesting anecdotes ready to go. Guests love to hear about the time a monkey stole your camera in Ecuador, or the time you barely avoided being swallowed by a hippo in Zimbabwe. You'll only get repeat customers if you turn on the charm and make your guests feel like they've met a cool new friend.

If you have any interesting hobbies, we'd highly recommend sharing them with your guests. As soon as they see their host bee-keeping in the yard or working the pottery wheel on the front porch, they'll feel like they're getting their own unique experience. (Hint: If you have a creepy hobby like collecting shrunken heads, it's best you keep that to yourself.) The main thing is that good B&B owners have to be open, friendly, and unafraid to let people into their lives.

Of course, B&B owners also have to know when they've got anti-social guests on their hands. These guests want to do their own thing, and a successful B&B owner has to be sensitive to that. Some people don't want you all up in their face, smiling and chattering away. Maybe they don’t give a flip about your bee-keeping prowess. Maybe they're allergic to bees and wish they'd read your website more carefully. They might be there to have quiet alone time in the country, and having their ear blabbed off is the last thing they need.

Really, B&B owners need to be excellent readers of social situations. If you're one of those people who frequently stops dinner table conversation with awkward comments, then you should seriously consider another career. Good B&B owners have to know when to be around and when to be invisible.

Let's do a quick quiz before we go any further.

A couple of newlyweds are taking a midnight dip in the natural hot springs behind the house. Is this your cue to

(A) pull the curtain and mind your own business

(B) show them your rubber ducky collection

(C) rouse the other guests and suggest a group skinny-dipping session

If you answered (A), then you just might have the social skills required to run a successful B&B. If you answered (B) or (C), you might want to seek professional help.

Being a B&B owner also takes a lot of self-motivation. It's not like anybody's going to force you to make sure your guests' rooms are always spic and span. You're not going to get fired if you don't wake up to make breakfast in time. You're the boss. You set your own standards. Maybe your dream is to run a one-star B&B that's hardly ever booked because of its terrible reputation. That's totally your business. (Though, we have to say it's a pretty questionable dream.)

Successful B&B owners hold themselves to high standards. They don't need anybody standing over them with a bat to make them get up and do their job. They know that the more effort they pour into making their guests’ stay perfect, the more lucrative their business will become. If you want to make them Benjamins in the B&B business, you've got be on point, anticipating your guests every need.

As far as "them Benjamins" go, we should definitely tell you that running a B&B is usually no way to get rich. This is not a job for people who want to wallpaper their house with hundred dollar bills. Many bed & breakfasts don’t make enough money to totally support their owners. Most of the time, owners have some other source of income on the side.

Another really common thing is for people to run a B&B after they've retired. It can be a great way to supplement savings and pension plans. Not all old people are like the crotchety guy down the street who throws rocks at the kids on his lawn. Some really enjoy constantly meeting new people.

In general, running a B&B is pretty low stress, so it can be a great way to retire. After breakfast and whatever cleaning chores are done, you have most of the day to yourself to pursue whatever it is that you want to do.

Of course, super demanding guests might ruin your pleasant afternoon of basket weaving. But if they get too annoying, just break out those shrunken heads and send them running for the hills. Be ready for a Trip Advisor backlash, but it might be worth it for the looks on their faces.