Everything I Know… I Learned from Bartending ~ by Shauna Lynn

by Shauna Lynn Simon, CEO SLS Academy

When I began bartending in my third year of University, I had no idea the long-term impact that this would have. I always knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, which is why I studied Business as my minor, but little did I know that the best business lessons I would learn would come from my real-world hospitality experience. I often joked that I was getting paid to make drinks and socialize – two of my favourite past-times! I didn’t realize then that I would later attribute much of my success to this fun industry. Bartending helped me to graduate from University debt-free, while still allowing me the time I needed to complete my studies. Following school, it acted as a great “break” from a stressful career as an analyst. And when I was laid off from my last corporate job with mortgage payments and bills to pay, it provided me with a full-time income and the time to re-evaluate my life focus and next steps.

As I began my career as a Home Stager and Designer, bartending provided both the financial and mental relief that I so often needed to get through until my new career became a success.

In the spring of 2013 I officially bartended my last shift at a local restaurant, and the day was met with somewhat mixed feelings about this. Everything I am, and how I have shaped my business to where it is today, can be attributed to the hospitality industry. You can take me out of the bar, but you’ll never take the bartender out of me. Some things that I have learned through my bartending over the years and will continue to apply in my business, as well as in life:

  • If you don’t have the answers, ask someone. When that fails, fake it and hope no one notices. 
  • No matter how badly you screw up, apologize, take responsibility, fix it, and smile.
  • When things get crazy, keep moving forward – you’ll get to the end eventually.
  • It doesn’t feel like work if you’re having fun.
  • You get what you pay for.
  • It never hurts to ask.
  • Snapping your fingers or waving money around does not get you things faster, but sometimes a smile will.
  • “Shut up and listen” is an effective strategy.
  • Don’t be afraid to state the obvious – “that sizzling plate is hot”, “the suicide wings are spicey”, “be sure to make the bed before showings” 
  • Everyone has a story, don’t pretend you know what it is.
  • When all else fails, cheers to another day!


Have questions about becoming a Home Stager, or just starting out and need an extra boost in your business? Join our Facebook group, To Be a Home Stager – our very own Shauna Lynn Simon is live online every Thursday afternoon, answering your most pressing questions!


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