The day the Happy Hive died.


This week I ran some numbers for the Happy Hive budget.

I’ve said many times that this is Mission Impossible for our team of four volunteers with no cash, significant debt, and an audience that has all but vanished after the place closed months ago.

Just how impossible it is has become even more clear this week.

To make this place financially viable, we would have to cut our food and drink costs by more than half and double the best month’s revenue on record (from the former team), every month.

Even right now in winter, when a lot of businesses here give up and close until summer.

Oh, and the history of this place is that, with an all-volunteer staff (no wages), it has consistently lost an average of more than 1,000 euros/month, even during the busy summer season.

We’ve spent our first 30 days just getting the place fully operational again.

We have 60 days left to make this miracle happen.

I presented this reality check to the team and waxed eloquent about how this would require everyone to perform at their peak levels.

I believe that this team could do it.

I’ve seen their potential, and they are good.

Real good.

But this mission would have to completely and utterly consume their lives for the next 60 days.

Every one of us would have to work at the very limits of our capabilities.

Even then, there is a very high probability that we’d fail.

To me, that’s an exciting challenge.

There’s nothing more satisfying than working with a team motivated to do what everyone says is impossible.

And then making it happen.

I asked the team if they were willing to make this sacrifice.

Their responses ranged from “I’m free from that kind of bondage to work” and “I want to have time to hang out with friends and have a life” to “You see things from a worldly point of view that we don’t agree with” and “We don’t like the word failure–if the place closes, then its time was up, we haven’t failed, and we don’t need to stress about it”.

In short, the answer is no.

Not willing.

So, in my opinion the Happy Hive died yesterday.

I can’t say that I blame the team for wanting to have a life outside of work.

Or not wanting to take on the incredible stress of trying to start a business.

Maybe they’re smarter than me.

In any case, it’s time for me to face the reality that this is not going to happen.

Time to create new goals for the Happy Hive and to reassess my own level of commitment to what is most likely going to be a short-lived enterprise.

On the bright side, a lower level of commitment will mean that I’ll have some time to do some exploring, work on my own business, and maybe think about what I’m going to do when I return to the USA in April.

Which is why I’m taking time out to blog in Valletta.

A bittersweet moment.



  1. Even if it became profitable, which does not seem likely, what would it’s future be, after you leave in April? Sounds like it’s been a great experience, and you’re being realistic. I hope you pick your best options to maximize your time. I’m proud of you…

  2. Sounds like your volunteers just needed something to do for the Winter. Glad to see your feet are firmly planted while your heart can still be moved.

  3. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading and following your adventures David. It’s rightly named mission impossible, yet some people still will see what’s “possible”. It may be that it will turn out impossible, but what if not? I commend you my friend for doing what others would not.

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