It is important to dare to charge for your skills -

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It is important to dare to charge for your skills

April 8th, 2022 | By: Joakim Krassman

Anna Wallberg, founder and owner of the company AP Ridutveckling, has had contact with horses since she was two years old and since 18 years ago her interest has turned to business. During her long journey she has learned the importance of valuing the work she does and how to run a successful business.

Anna runs both a stable with boarding students and a riding school at Antuna Farm in Upplands Väsby. She started the business with 8 horses of her own, but the business has grown steadily and now she has 15 horses of her own and 18 livery yard horses in her stable.

It all started when Anna was two years old when she had her first contact with horses at her relatives' Arabian stud. At the age of 16, Anna got her first horse and a few years later she started working as a riding instructor. She immediately realised that she had a passion for developing riders and in 2006 Anna started her own riding school.

"My strength is teaching how to ride from the ground up and getting students to find their way relatively quickly. I love to make the student love basic riding."

But Anna wasn't satisfied with a riding school, she wanted more!

"I wanted to compete by myself. So I developed the business to be able to sponsor my own competitions."

How do you feel that the equestrian sport has changed during your time as an entrepreneur in the horse industry?

I think that the quality and the security thinking has increased. In addition, I feel that riding school riders have a better understanding of what detached training provides, which is super positive. But the feeling for the horse, the absent-minded craft time and the interest in what happens outside the riding hall has unfortunately decreased.

Most people are stressed and want to leave right after the riding lesson is over. The dream is that the students want to create a relationship with the horse even from the ground. But there is so much we humans want to squeeze into our daily lives, everyone wants to be extremely efficient and get so much done that it unfortunately falls by the wayside.

My dream is that all students started an hour before the riding lesson by drinking coffee and jerking their horse. Then start preparing mentally, maybe sit in the stands and watch good riding, see if the horse you are going to ride is going to lesson, research what instructions the rider is given beforehand and what you can take away for your own riding session.

What has your journey as an entrepreneur been like?

During my journey as an entrepreneur, I have learned to value my work. It's a slippery slope as a trainer, you want to give a lot and meet your students so they get the time they need, without it being too much free work. I've done a lot of unpaid work in the past, but I like where we're headed as equine business systems start to come in. It means that the horse industry is getting closer to other industries. Unfortunately, with the amount of time you put in, it's not enough to just like horses, you have to be able to dare to charge for the time you work.

Now I have learned to value my knowledge and commitment. Now I understand that, in order for me to deliver, I need to raise money.

What is your best advice to those who want to start a business in the horse industry?

My best advice is to keep an eye on your finances! It's important to understand that running a business costs money, so it can be a good idea to have an extra income when you start out. Before you get started, it's important to do a market analysis so that what you want to do is also in demand and that you are clear about what it is that you want to sell.

The first five years are all about hard work. It requires passion and a clear sense of purpose and direction. The best thing for everyone would be to have a good mentor who has already been on a similar journey, so you have someone to bounce ideas off. In addition, it is important to have good people around you, you should be aware that it takes a good team such as understanding partners, parents and friends.

Walk the talk - stand up for what you want to convey, you can't do everything yourself.

Initially, you may not be able to afford to hire someone and may be blind to the cost involved. Then you need to be able to shift your focus and think about what generates the most money and time. If you get help with bookkeeping, you may have more time to hold classes and therefore that cost may be beneficial in the end.

What was your first thought when you considered starting with the Academy system for your riding school?

My first thought was that, this is not for me, I can do this myself, it feels awkward.

What I'm thinking now is, how lucky you are to be able to change your mind!

Thanks to the great support I have received, it is so incredibly easy to know how to do. You shouldn't be afraid that something feels complicated, but it's good to dare to try something new. Dare to call, ask and get support instead of sitting alone and getting stuck on how to proceed.

From the beginning I experienced a threshold to even find the time to just log in. But once I did, it was like watching a good series. The time it takes to get started is so worth it in the end.

Grab a nice cup of tea or coffee and just go for it!

AP Ridutveckling, user of the Hippocrates system for riding schools and stables

Since I started the system, people have started paying on time. This is thanks to the system's built-in invoicing function. I also get a good overview of occupancy statistics.

Thanks to the system, I receive my invoices on time and I can then easily keep track of who has paid, which simplifies everyday life as a business owner.

In addition, the students get a very simple overview and it feels organised and professional for my clients. Not only that, but the system frees up my time as the students can easily do much of the work themselves that I used to do.

The system works a bit like an external memory. You can keep track of which horses the students are supposed to have and who has cancelled a lesson. Now there are fewer discussions because you can lean on the system. Before, there could often be arguments about whether the pupil had cancelled on time or not, now you can just go in and check. This reduces misunderstandings that can occur over notes or verbal communication.

The system allows me to distribute horses before each lesson. Students can go into the app and see which horse they've been assigned an hour before the lesson starts and start preparing. Then, when the students get to the stables, they just check their attendance in the iPad and get started on what needs to be done before the lesson.

The system simply gives me more time to focus on my clients and students!

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