Last week my wife and I took a vacation to Turks and Caicos. Turks and Caicos is in the Caribbean close to Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas. It is a beautiful country with many islands, but only 30,000 people. I love vacations because of the time I get to spend with my family (no kids on this trip), time I get to relax, and because vacations help my business become more successful. On this podcast I talk all about why your business needs to be set up so that you can take vacations, and why vacations are so important. I see many business owners who are the business, they have to constantly be involved for things to run. They are afraid to hire help because of the cost, they are afraid to give up control, and they don’t have the time to make big changes. To have a successful business it must be able to run without you. When you are not working in the business constantly, you have time to look at the big picture and make decisions that will make you more successful. Vacations are a great time to clear your head, relax, and let ideas come to you.
What is Turks and Caicos like?
Before I get started on the mental aspect of vacations, Turks and Caicos is awesome. I have traveled quite a bit, and this country is one of my favorite places to go. It is small, with beautiful white sand beaches, amazing clear water, and very friendly people. The only downside is it takes a long time to get there from Colorado and it is expensive. We ended up getting an awesome deal on Orbitz for a 1 bedroom suite on the ocean, and were upgraded to a 2 bedroom suite when we got there. It was an awesome resort and the video below shows more of the island, and the room we were in.
Why do you have to set your business up so you can take time off?
The goal of every business should be to run without the owner. That does not mean the owner can’t work on or in the business, but they should not have to. The owner should be able to take time off, go on vacation, or spend time with their family without things falling apart. Even if you are happy working all the time and love your business, what happens if you can’t work? What if you get in an accident, get sick, or worse? If you can’t work in your business, will it survive? Is your family dependent on your business and would they be okay if you could not work?
When you have your business set up to run without you, you also can enjoy life more. When I first took vacations I was working most of the time. This did not go over well with my wife. I had to be on call completing BPOs, working on REOs, and other real estate agent activities. Not only do I enjoy my vacations much more now that I do not work, I have more time to think about the big picture. I get many more ideas for improving my business when I am not thinking about my business. When on vacation I always make sure I have a notebook or my phone to take notes if I get a brilliant idea. However, I am not constantly trying to force ideas by working on that phone or in the notebook. The more I let the ideas come to me, they better they seem to be. Real estate conferences also help me think about the big picture with my business, but I am still constantly thinking about real estate.
How to create a business that can run by itself
The easy part is saying you need to have a business that will run without you. The hard part is actually implementing that plan. I have some of my businesses set up to run without me, but not all of them. My real estate team can run without me, and my rental properties run without me. I have 15 flips going at the moment and I am very involved in the flipping business. Even my flipping business could run without me for a period of time. I am still the main source for finding deals, and sourcing financing. My project manager Nikki can handle working with the contractors, design, expenses, and she is getting better at finding deals. While I was on vacation, I got three of my flips under contract (including my high-end flip), I sold a flip, and I got a flip under contract to buy! It was a very active week and I only had to respond to a few emails and make a call to my bank to send some wires while I was gone. My blog is not even close to running without me, but it would still survive just fine if I took time off. While I was gone I wrote articles before I left and scheduled those to run while I was gone. Plus my team manager Justin can help run blog activities while I am gone.
It was not easy to get to a point where my businesses would not run without me. I slowly hired more people, slowly let go of control, and slowly trained people to do things the right way. The more people I hired, the more successful I became because it freed up my time to pursue other activities. If you have a business now, and you are really far away from it running by itself, set some goals. Figure out when you can hire someone, what work they can help with, and how that will improve your business. Just hoping things change in the future will not do much good, you have to make a plan and follow through with it.
Parting thoughts on vacations and success
The more free time you have, the more time you have to come up with new ideas and implement new techniques. You also have more time to be happy, and reduce stress. It becomes a snowball affect where the more time you free up, the more successful you will become, and the happier you will be. If you want more insight on this subject and many others to run your business better, check out my book: How to Change Your Mindset to Achieve Huge Success: Why your attitude and daily habits have more to do with making more money and having more freedom than anything else.
[0:00:14.0] MF: Welcome to the Invest Four More real estate podcast. My name is Mark Ferguson, and I am your host. I am a house flipper. I flip 10 to 15 houses a year. I own 13 rental properties, with a goal to buy 100 by 2023. I’m also a real estate agent. I’ve been licensed since ’01, I run a team of nine, and we sell close to 200 houses a year.
So on this show, we’d like to interview house flippers, landlords, and the best real estate agents in the business. So stay tuned for some great shows. If you want more information on my rentals, on the numbers, how I buy properties, check out InvestFourMore.com.
[0:00:58.3] MF: Hey everyone, it’s Mark Ferguson with Invest Four More. Welcome to another episode of the Invest Four More Real Estate Podcast. Today, I’m going to talk about vacations, why they’re good for you, why time off is good for you, and why on the surface it may look like working nonstop all the time will be good for business, it doesn’t always pan out that way. A few things to talk about. Hopefully, I can help you be more successful and not work as hard at the same time, which is always nice.
Before we get started, I am working on a new book on the basics of buying and selling real estate. That is coming along. The rough draft is done. Getting it edited now. I’ve been through and edited once already. It will go through a couple of more stages. I need a name for the book. If anybody has some awesome ideas for the name of the book, comment here, shoot me an e-mail, [email protected] Let me know some ideas. Like I said, it’s going to be all about buying and selling real estate, not really specific to investing, but for just anybody who wants to buy a house, sell a house.
Also, I am giving away some free copies when it’s ready for people who leave us reviews on Amazon for my other books, or leave a Zillow review. If you’re interested in getting a free copy of it, shoot me an e-mail as well and I can tell you how, [email protected]
Moving on to the main subject today. I just got back from Turks and Caicos Sunday. That was a day ago or so. Beautiful island, absolutely beautiful. It’s our second time going there. It’s in the Caribbean, so it’s kind of by Dominican Republic. If you don’t know where it’s at, don’t feel bad. Most people who I say I’m going to Turks and Caicos look at me like, “What? Turkey? Where are you going?” It’s a small island, only 30,000 people in the whole area. It’s actually made up of hundreds of different islands, but population for the entire country is about 30,000. Very beautiful, white sandy beaches, clear water, amazing. You can snorkel right off the beach, awesome place. We love it there.
Every time I go on vacation, it helps my business. It seems weird, seems like kind of a contradiction, but it just changes my mindset. It changes how I think about things. It changes where my focus is, and that just gives me a different way to look at things in a different perspective, which helps me identify problems, identify solutions, come up with new ideas. It almost always makes my business run so much better and almost always gives me a lot of work to do too, because I come up with a lot of ideas.
The same thing kind of happens with conferences as well. I go to work conferences and just not focusing on the day-to-day activities, not being inside my business. I can see from the outside how to improve things, where to make things better. It’s still different with a vacation than with a work conference, because with work conference, you’re kind of still in work mode, you’re networking, you’re trying to learn things. Your brain is still kind of in working — It thinks it needs to work. It’s just working on different things.
On vacation, it’s different, where I try not to think about work. I try not to focus on it. I try not to — I’m not forcing myself to come up with new ideas or solve problems, I’m trying to clear my mind, just relax. Many times, that’s when my best ideas come to me. Things kind of just pop in my head, because I’m not stressed about things. I’m not focused on working on something. I can just let things come to me and it really is good for business.
It’s taken a while to get to a point where I could take vacations like this, obviously. I started out as an agent in my early 20s. I took vacations once in a while, but nothing too crazy. I was always working though. As an agent, I kind of had things ahead to work on, had to do, and then I became an REO agent, a HUD listing broker. I was listing properties, completing broker price opinions. At some points, I was working 60, 80 hours a week trying to get all the stuff done. It was fun, I loved it. When I went on vacation, I was working the whole time. You can ask my wife how awesome that was.
On our honeymoon, I think I spent a couple of hours a day doing broker price opinions, or filling out tasks for banks just to keep things going good enough while I was gone, where I could come back, I could really focus on getting caught up. I never really had a situation where I could just be free and really relaxed, because I was always working, and that’s more of the downsides of real estate. It’s not like a regular job, where you can take two weeks off, go on vacation. The company is going to cover all your work for you and you don’t have worry about a thing.
When you’re in real estate, when you have your own business, there’s no one who’s going to cover for everything. You can hire people, which is very important, but you’re still the boss. You’re the main person. You kind of need to pay attention to things a little bit, but you definitely can make things much easier, much less stressful, give much less work to yourself, the better you set up your business.
To be able to take these vacations, obviously, I hired some people to help me. Nikki has been on one of the podcasts and was the first person I really hired. That made things much easier, but I still had to do a lot of work even with her helping out on vacations in the early stages in my business. I hired a few more people. Really, when I got to a point where I didn’t have to work that much on vacation, it was when I built a full team around me. I have someone who’s working on the flips, handling project management on those. Someone who’s helping our real estate team do contracts, talk to tile companies, talk to lenders. We got a team manager who can handle our agents, talk to them about issues. Then, we have all the agents on our team who sell houses and can do things on their own.
I can send any — I very rarely sell houses as an agent anymore. Very rarely. A few friends and family is all I really work with, and I refer everything else out to agents on my team. That gives me time to focus on the blog on the flipping on investing and not focus on the agent activities. That alone gave me a huge amount of flexibility in my time. When I go on vacations, I don’t have to worry about buyers or sellers, my team can handle that. Most of the activities going on on our flips, my team can handle that. We had six team flips going while I was on vacation. I think we have seven or eight active properties being worked on right now. That’s a little crazy.
A lot of awesome things happen while I was on vacation, I got a few updates here and there, but I didn’t have to really work. My high-end flip that we had listed for over 800,000, that went under contract, so that was awesome, and that’s set to close in February. Another house went under contract while I was on vacation. Then, actually, I think a third house went under contract as well that we didn’t even have listed that went while I was on vacation. That was one we hadn’t started working on yet. It has a lot of potential, but it’s a huge job. We have a lot of our flips listed on Zillow was coming soon, not actually for sale.
We actually had two offers on the house while I was on vacation and got it under contract. I got another flip to buy under contract while I was on vacation. That’s a whole sale deal. I can send Nikki out to go look at the properties. John, who works with me as well, he looked at it too. They went and saw the house, [inaudible] and tell me what it looked like. I could go back on my phone on the beach, e-mail a couple of people, tell them we wanted it, and we got it in a contract.
I had to do a little bit of works, I had to send them some wires and different things, which I had to do over the phone, so that took a little bit of time, and that was about it. I worked, maybe, an hour the entire vacation, unless you could checking e-mails or getting a few texts once in a while.
Getting your business set up that way is not easy, it takes time, but it’s something I think everybody should focus on from the very beginning, is you should have goals about how much money you want to make, how big your business you want to grow it to, all these different things, but should also have goals for, “Okay. Once I get to a certain point in my business, when can I hire someone? How much money do I need to make in this business before I can afford to hire someone to help me?”
Then, in three years, “Okay. Do I want to still be working 60 or 80 hours a week nonstop on this, or do I want to have a team below me so I can work 30 hours a week, or 40 hours a week, or less?” You should have goals for not only making money and growing your business, but goals for what your position is in that business, how much you’re going to work, what your responsibilities are, and then hiring people to help you.
You want to create a business that can run without you. I think that’s the goal of every business. Although I don’t know what the statistics are, but 70% of businesses are pretty much one person doing all the work all the time who also happens to be the business owner. The more you can build your business, the more you have to delegate, the more you have to let go of the day-to-day tasks and let other people do it.
That could be very hard. It could be tough paying people. It can be tough giving up control, but it will help you grow faster too, because if you’re focused on a big picture, you have free time to think about your business, where you want to go to set those goals, you’ll be much more successful, because you’re not working on the day-to-day stuff. When I was working on the day-to-day stuff all the time, it was very hard to find time to grow, to work around the structure of the business, or figure out what paths I want to take. It was all on busy work and you get stuck, you get in a rut, so you have to get out of it.
Like I said, one really great way to get out of the day-to-day business, to get out of those ruts is to take vacations, to take time off an not work. Obviously, you have to have someone who can help you out a little bit, cover for you, but you have to be able to take vacations. If you’re in a point now where you’re so busy, your business is so crazy, and you don’t have anybody to help you out and you cannot take a vacation, you have a serious problem. You need to figure out how to fix that. Either if you’re an agent and you have no one to cover for you, you need to figure out either build a team yourself, or find other agent who can cover for you while you’re gone, who can help you out. If you own rentals, you have to do all the work yourself on maintaining them, and managing them. you need to find someone who can help you out, who can cover for you while you’re gone.
If you’re in a position where you cannot get away, because you feel like your business is going to crumble and catastrophe will happen, you’re in a very bad position. You need to figure out backup plans, someone who can help you, someone who can cover for you, because there’ s a chance you might get hurt, or sick, or something else may happen where you can’t work. It’s not a choice. You have to take time off. If your business is not set up to handle that and it falls apart, that will make that situation even worse and could cause a serious, major catastrophe.
The first thing anyone should do if they’re running a business, if they’re an entrepreneur, if they have their own things they’re trying to do without help, is create backup plans, create people who can help you out, cover for you, make sure you’re okay if you take a vacation, or if you get forced to stop working for some reason. None of us think it’s going to happen to us, we’re going to get in a car accident, or get sick, or anything like that, but it can happen, and it can happen very quickly, and you don’t always know when it’s going to happen.
My mother-in-law passed away four months ago and she was in her 50s and she got AML, which is a form of leukaemia. From the time she’s diagnosed, she passed away in two months. You never know what’s going to happen. Even if she has survived it, she would have gone through a lot of recovery, all kinds of crazy things, where she could not have worked. She was relatively young.
We can’t think we’re immune to everything. We can’t think that everything is going to fine all the time. We have to create backup plans. We have to create systems and have people who can cover for us if something goes wrong, or, and the best case scenario, so that we can go on vacation and have fun and enjoy our lives. I think that’s so important for all of us.
Getting back to the whole vacation thing on why it helps my business so much is because it clears my mind. It’s kind of like meditating. I try to meditate. I don’t do as much as I can. I try to take timeout just to clear my mind. Not think about anything, just relax. If I’m stressed about something, if I’m anxious about something, if something is really bothering me. If I can clear my mind, meditate a little bit, it usually makes me feel better. It helps me clear my head. I stop worrying, and I can relax a little bit.
Usually, the things that I’m worrying about or stressed about are not that important. I should not be stressing about them, and just clearing it from my head, relaxing, helps me realize that. Vacations are like super sizing that. Just taking the time to read books, enjoy the beach, go swimming, even have a few cocktails, have some fun. It’s just so nice and sort of like meditating and clearing your head. It just transforms the way you think about things.
Even now when I have it set up in my business pretty well where I’m not working in the business — Well, I still write a lot of articles, still work on the flips a lot, but I really enjoy doing that. I have time to work on the business and think on my goals and different things like that, but when I’m on vacation, I have even more time. It’s not like I’m sitting there in a notebook, writing down on my goals, writing down all my business plans, thinking of all these different things I have to do and I’m sitting there relaxing, trying to think about nothing, going snorkeling and looking at fish, or taking a boat ride, or something.
While I’m thinking about nothing, just focused on having fun, things just pop into my head. It’s kind of like once you clear your head and stop thinking about things, your subconscious will pop some ideas into your head and it’s like, “Hey, idiot. You’ve been so busy working all the time, I haven’t been able to get through to you,” and make you realize there’s some really big opportunities here you’re missing. Your business isn’t set up right. You don’t have enough backup in place. Maybe things are going great now, but there’s something really big coming in your business that you’re totally missing and could either change it for the good or bad and you need to be ready for it.
Just relaxing, clearing my head, taking that time off. I always have a notebook, or kind of a phone close to me so if those ideas come to me, or think of something important, I can write them down, because they’re easy to forget. I filled a couple of pages in my notebook of things I want to change in my business, new ideas, new opportunities, new ways to make money, new ways to my life easier, new ways to expand. I didn’t sit down with this plan to do it, I just kind of let it come to me and relaxed.
Not only did I have a great time and awesome time with my wife, we actually had our kids at home. Her sisters watched them. It was just us. I made a lot of progress in my business without working, without even trying to work or trying to create something new. Reading is a big part of that. I had a workbook I was reading. I was reading Traction, it was a really good book on building a business, on setting up your business, on how you make it successful.
I also read some other books that were just novels, just made-up books. It’s fun to get involved in those. It clears my head. When I read a book, I kind of feel bad if I’m not reading something productive, like a motivational book, or a success book, or a workbook.
Again, it goes to the same point, if you’re always thinking about work, always caught up in it, always in the same mindset, you might be missing something big, because you’re in that mindset. If you can clear your head, think about something else, kind of get lost in a book or even watching movies sometimes can do it. It gives yourself a chance to think about new ideas, be in a different place, get a different mindset and come up with new opportunities.
That’s why taking time off is so important, vacations are so important. Even going to work conferences can do the same thing, and not quite to the same extent, but still be very important as well. When you’re doing all these things, you’ve got to have the right attitude as well.
When we got to Turks and Caicos, it’s not easy to get there from Colorado. We had to take a three and a half hour flight, or was it four hour flight from Denver to New York. We got an hour layover, which is fast, so luckily everything went fine. Then, another three and a half hour flight down to Turks and Caicos. We left at 11:59 on Friday, end up getting to Turks and Caicos at — Was it 11 a.m. the next day? There was a three hour time difference. Took a taxi, got to our hotel, and check in wasn’t till 3, and we kind of new that, so we knew we had some time, and we’re hoping to get an early room, but they didn’t have one. It’s like, “Oh, that’s all right.”
Went to the store, stocked up groceries, on different things, came back, walked on the beach, relaxed, had some lunch, and came back at 2, room is not ready, even though they said it should be. It’s like, “All right, we’ll hangout some more,” and came back at 3, our room still wasn’t ready. Our room wasn’t actually ready until like 3:30, or maybe even close to 4, which I know going on vacations with my family when I was younger, like it always seemed so stressful. Everyone stressed about getting to the airport, in a hotel, everything has to go perfect or else people start getting annoyed, and angry, and they’re all on edge.
It’s just like the worst possible attitude you can have when you’re on vacation, you’re supposed to be having fun, and things go wrong. Things will go wrong. It’s something different. It’s new. Things go wrong at home all the time, and you got to be prepared for it, and just take it with a positive attitude, and so what? We had to wait an hour for our room. We’re on the beach having fun, I’m relaxing, so there’s no problem. I started getting sick a little bit the first couple of days of vacation. I kind of been totally bummed, and just annoyed, and so frustrated, I was getting sick on vacation, but I’m on the beach. It was 80 degrees and perfect weather, I’m like, “Hey, if I’m going to be sick, at least I’m sick out here. I could still relax and have fun and enjoy the water, enjoy myself, read.”
I’m 90% sure, it’s a real minor cold, it barely even bothered me, and that attitude helped me get over it faster and helped me not be even sicker. If I would have been worried, and annoyed, and mad that I was getting sick, I probably would have been sick the whole trip and, “Oh! It ruined my vacation. I can’t believe it. Oh!” No. You just have to take things as they come, they them with a good attitude.
I love a saying, “Nothing good or bad ever happens to people, it’s just the way you perceive it.” If you perceive it as good, it’s good. If you perceive as bad, it’s bad, and that’s how you’re kind of mind takes it. On vacation is really important. I know a lot of people get stressed, a lot of families get stressed, they’re on edge, they’re nervous, but just take it with the best attitude you can, it will make things so much better. You’ll have so much more fun.
All right, this is a short episode. That’s about all I want to talk about, again, the main points. You have to have your business set up so you can take vacations; number one. Not just so you can take vacations and enjoy life, but because you might be forced to take time off from work. You never know what’s going to happen. Two; when on you’re on vacation, make sure you have the right attitude. Make sure you’re positive. Make sure you’re having fun. Make sure you don’t let the little things bug you, or bother you.
Three; you don’t have to work the whole time. You don’t always have to be working. In fact, it’s usually better if you’re not working once in a while to clear your head, get a different mindset, and let those ideas and things come to you. It might improve your business, it might improve your life, maybe give you more time, and just have a different outlook on everything.
All right, thank you everybody for listening. I appreciate it. Again, send me an e-mail, [email protected] if you want to try and get that new book I have coming up for free. If you have any ideas for the title, I’d love to hear them. Yeah, of course, leave comments for me and talk to you next week.