In 2019, Chad King and Josh Larson took a leap of faith. After decades in the corporate world, both left their careers behind to create something remarkable and rewarding — welcoming individuals from all over the world to an elegant B&B perched in a secluded mountain setting. I sat down with The Yellow House innkeepers to learn their five tips for freedom and how we can all apply them to create a healthy work-life balance— and about why mindfulness is key to their business success.
Beth Doane: Chad, you left your former career to bravely create something entirely new — a dream so many of us have. Tell us about that journey and what you wanted to accomplish.
Chad King: I worked in a variety of organizations for over 20 years. I enjoyed much of the work and the relationships with colleagues and customers, but I never really felt like I fit into the corporate world. Josh and I had toyed for years with the idea of starting a business together, and eventually we started exploring what some of those options might be.
On a bit of a whim, Josh and I signed up for a weekend aspiring innkeeper seminar. After just 30 minutes, it felt like I had found my tribe. That weekend, Josh and I started to envision what it might be like for us to own a B&B, and the idea grew from there. After months of deliberation and discussion, we settled on a vision: we would create an experience for guests that emphasized rest, relaxation, and refreshment. We founded The Yellow House shortly after that.
Doane: Are there any wellness practices you incorporate into your life that have helped you grow and build the business?
King: As a chronic workaholic, the key lesson I have learned in the past year is that self-care matters. The corporate environment helps establish boundaries around the workday, but when you are self-employed, those boundaries vanish. One of the biggest changes is the physical toll that the relentless nature of the role takes. Our working days at the inn are usually 16 hours long, seven days a week. After running myself ragged for the first few months, I now try to set aside time each day to take a walk, do yoga, read a book, meditate — whatever I can to get a little time for my own refreshment and well being.
Doane: What was the hardest challenge you have faced pursuing your dream. How did you overcome it?
King: For me, self-doubt and fear were the toughest obstacles. Having courage and confidence that there was value in my own idea is something I had to learn. The best thing we did was put together a great team of smart, wise people to support and advise us as we moved toward our goal. That really made all the difference.
Doane: You’ve mentioned a personal interest in wellness — how have you integrated your passion for health into your vision for Yellow House?
King: Facilitating the self-care of those who come from all over the world to stay here is integral to being a refuge for rest, relaxation, and refreshment. While a guest’s day might be spent exploring, hiking, rafting, or fishing, when they come back to the inn, they should be able have space to relax in a stress-free environment. They can sit quietly in a rocking chair while enjoying a glass of wine or eating a freshly baked cookie, and they can have an amazingly quiet night’s sleep. We think about that in the room design, the selection and placement of amenities, and the choices we make around food service and treats.
Hospitality plays a huge role in that experience, so we’re always thinking about how best to serve our guests. We very intentionally accommodate dietary restrictions and requirements to meet every guest’s needs for breakfast, and we have worked with a registered dietitian to craft a variety of menus for a number of special diets. I estimate about 40% of our guests have some sort of food restriction or dietary requirement. Accommodating them goes a long way to helping alleviate their stress and allowing them to relax and enjoy their time here.
Doane: What tips would you give to someone wanting to make a change in their life?
King: I have several. First, I recommend setting aside five minutes every day for a “level setting meeting” with yourself; use that time to reflect on the change you want to make. Remind yourself of your reasons for making that change. Set change goals for the day. Recognize and celebrate your progress to date.
Remember that time in nature is crucial. Our bodies and minds work best when we take time to get outside. Make time to be outdoors every single day.
I also have a number of mindfulness practices that I employ each day to help stay positive and constructive and manage stress, as well as helping keep focused on making Josh and my relationship healthy. I meditate and this has been key to my success in business and my personal life.
We are what we eat. Local and organic food is important. Fuel yourself with things that in turn fuel your mind. We can’t free ourselves from negative thoughts and physical pain when our bodies aren’t functioning well.
Finally, stay brave. Great things won’t happen unless we are willing to take leaps of faith.