Home-based businesses: Combine two or more AND a B and B

I started my own Bed and Breakfast here in Mount Vernon, WA with the express purpose to cover the overhead of this beautiful house.  My initial goal was to make enough cash flow to allow this part time, home-based business, to pay all the expenses that were a direct result of running the B and B, in addition to all the fixed overhead of this house.

I have to admit, I only have two rooms to let, with a single shared bath down the hall.  Pretty small in the big picture of Innkeepers, but that was what the house would allow.  I still have my own bedroom and my own private office.  This is considered a 4 bed, 1.5 bath home, so only a portion is ‘dedicated’ to the Bed and Breakfast.  As luck would have it, I have a full unfinished basement for shop and storage, plus a dedicated office.  This is a very good thing.  I get to keep the other businesses in the office or the shop, away from the B and B portion of the house, if I need to.

I know that with only two rooms I would not be spending all my time running the Inn.  There are times in the Summer when it is pretty much a 75% job, but in the Winter, it seems to be only about 15%.

So, here I am in this great house, running this little Inn for visitors and travelers and I STILL have time to add on another home-based business.  Within reason. Think of this:  have to be around most of the time; need a certain level of technology to keep it going;  kitchen and food need to be kept up on for the guests; garden needs to be kept neat, year around; the rooms need to be ‘guest ready,’ at all times; the utilities still need to be on and paid, whether I have guests here or not, etc., etc.

I do a lot of upscaling to this place as time allows.  This is one of the things that I can do that has a ‘delayed benefit.’  I am not doing it just for myself, I am doing it for my guests!  But at some point down the road this place will be sold, and the regular maintenance and upgrading will make it easier to sell.  So there!

But, what else can you do, in those small and large time periods when you have no direct B and B chores to attend to, to enhance your own B and B income?  LOTS of THINGS!

I have always done some of these things, they are just part of me and what I am.  You may be able to see yourself taking on these additional income-producing tasks:

Produce and sell your own art work at your own B and B. (How about open studio tours?)

Teach cooking classes during the off times, renting rooms to some of the attendees.

Grow produce and use it in your own B and B kitchen.

Organize quilters to use your B and B as a meeting venue, renting rooms to some of the attendees.

Take groups on cycling, hiking, skiing or paddling tours.

Get that great American novel written you never had the time to write.

Sharpen up your stock day-trading skills.

Teach yourself web design development and sell the resulting skills in on-site events. (Whoa!)

Refinish old and experienced furniture and sell on site and via the internet.

Take on consulting work in a field you already are familiar with and work from home.  (Accounting, computer programming, etc.)

Like to sew?  Do custom tailoring; make small items like scarves and pot holders for sale.  You can display these in your Inn.

Live in an arts community?  Display art created by others for sale.

Like wine?  Organize wine tastings.  The options here are endless.

Here is a great example of a B and B owner that also does photography and gives workshops in the off season in Scotland.  They offer these workshops as a package.

Start selling earth-friendly cleaning products out of your home.  Sell your B and B the products and use them for all your B and B cleaning needs.  Highlight the products to your guests and allow them to purchase full containers out of your own stock. (There are probably many things in this category that could be used in the facility and then sold to guests: food products, herbs and spices, cookbooks, hot sauces, speciality baking flours, cooking utensils, etc.  Try to think of things that do not have expiration dates, though, unless they can be used up in your own kitchen.)

Like yoga?  How about Yoga training sessions in your home during the day, when most of your guests are away.  How about a special yoga weekend?  With Special Food?


OK, OK, of course you are not going to take on all this stuff.  Just one or two.  This list is just to get you started thinking about what you already do, or want to do, at home, that will create another little income stream.  Think of it this way:  you are providing yourself some income insurance in case one of your income streams drops or disappears.  Just make sure that each income stream is not completely dependant on the others.
Dennis’til next time,
Dennis George
Highland Garden House B & B
501 E. Highland Ave.
Mount Vernon, WA 98273
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One Response to Home-based businesses: Combine two or more AND a B and B

  1. Cheryl Neithercott says:

    Great ideas to compliment

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