Last June my partner and I went on a walking holiday in Cornwall, just 10 months later we opened the doors of the guest house we’d been inspired to buy during a one-night stop over in St Ives.

We sold everything we owned, handed in our notice at our city jobs and disappeared off to deepest, darkest Cornwall… which is far from deep or dark and we’re having the time of our lives.

So, to ensure that this blog is vaguely useful we thought we’d do a quick whistle stop tour of 10 things we’ve learnt since making the leap…

10 lessons from opening our guest house

  1. Never assume you know what your market wants – even if you are a member of your target audience you are still just one person and only have one point of view.
  2. Never underestimate the value of friends and family – and don’t let pride get in the way of saying ‘YES’ to all offers of favours – from money to time to skills.
  3. Network, network and network – get involved in everything (you can back out of the things which aren’t relevant later down the line) from the town council to the chamber of commerce. Established people in your industry / community will be your greatest advocates.
  4. Know your brand – what you stand for and what you want to achieve. Unless you are so single minded that you know nothing will distract you from your primary purpose, it’s essential to have a benchmark for what you are going to do and how you are going to do it.
  5. Just do what’s in front of you – don’t try and do everything it once, you’ll just get overwhelmed and end up doing nothing.
  6. It’s OK to disagree with your business partner – don’t take things personally and you’ll always get past it quickly; over time you’ll learn how to disagree constructively.
  7. It’s alright if you don’t implement every single great idea from day one – after all you need somewhere to go and it’s best to start with the basics.
  8. Just accept that there will be periods of time when all you do is work – weekends may be a thing of the past but it will all be worth it in the end.
  9. There is light at the end of the tunnel – even if you can’t see it we promise you that it IS there.
  10. HAVE FUN – laugh at yourself, at the situation and enjoy the learning curve – you only have to do it once!

Come say hi….

If you’d like to see how these lessons worked out in real life, or if you’d just like a break from the city in order to take stock of what to do next, why don’t you come and stay with us?

We’re offering a 25% discount on a three night stay for all Escape the City members at Little Leaf, St Ives during May.

Call us on 01736 795427 to check availability, or see our website:

Lee and Danny

Note from Esc:

Read Lee’s original escape interview here. You can ask her a question on her profile or by commenting here below.

A big thank you to Lee and Danny for 10 really useful bits of advice from people who are right in the middle of their start-up adventure.

We’ll definitely come and stay next time we’re in Cornwall!

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