There’s this popular saying that goes like this: Find what you love to do, and you’ll never work a day in your life. Do you know that one?

This phrase is inspiring and motivational, but it oversimplifies the reality of building and running a sustainable business. Yes, it’s so, so important to do work that lights you up. If you’re reading this blog post, it’s likely you’ve already found it. You know that working with clients and equine partners, in a natural setting, to facilitate healing is what you were called to do here on this earth. That part of the popular saying makes sense to most of us.

It’s the second part that’s a little tricky. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love what I do, and it still feels like work every single day. In fact, I’d say I work even harder as a business owner doing what I love to do than I ever did when working for someone else.

Debunking the Myth

When I talk with people who stick it out in this field, no one claims that it doesn’t feel like work. People leave soul crushing corporate jobs or other roles that don’t fuel their passions in order to start a business offering Equine Assisted Services. Before they know it, they’re working harder than they ever did in that corporate job, but they wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s like parenting. Parents say there is nothing that’s so exhausting as having a child—no job has ever been harder or more stressful, they’ve never had to worry about finances the way they do as a parent, they have sleepless nights and experience constant worry. And in the same breath they will say, “Oh, but I would never have it any other way.”

That goes for us in this business, too. It’s extremely hard, it creates stress and worry sometimes. It feels like work. But there’s nothing more mindblowingly worth it than this.

Work the Business, Don’t Let It Work You

The difference between people who succeed in this field and those who don’t make it is learning to love (or at least tolerate) running the business. This means finding enjoyment in the things that make the business hum, whether that’s contracts and insurance, marketing, human resources issues, or grant writing.

If the only thing you love is doing the work, your best bet truly is to go work for someone else. But if you want the flexibility and freedom of running your own business, then you have to figure out how to make your business work for you, so it doesn’t work you over.

When the business is set up correctly and running smoothly, you get to do more of the work that lights you up. Making sure your business is sustainable, profitable, and compliant is a necessary part of continuing to do the hands-on work that feeds your soul.

Built to Last

While the saying “Find what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life” is comforting, it’s not the reality for most of us. Building and running a business is hard work, even when it’s rooted in your passion and purpose. The key is to love what you do enough to embrace the entire journey—challenges and all.

If you would like support in creating a business that is built to last, I invite you to check out our Business Building Master Class. In this 15-week course (there is also a 6-week version of the course), you’ll learn what worked (and what didn’t work!) for Shannon Knapp and yours truly, in our EAS businesses. You will also learn from many other successful EAS business owners who have maintained their own businesses for decades. Shannon and I have helped many equine-assisted practitioners build businesses across the country and throughout the world, and are so excited to make this course available to you.

Building a business is hard work, but it doesn’t have to be done alone. I hope you’ll join us.