144: The Difference Between a Work Vacation and a Family Vacation

In March, I was lucky enough to have two vacations! I took a work vacation by myself in the mountains, and I took a vacation with my family to Turks and Caicos. The work vacation was meant to help me focus on work and accomplish as much as I could in a couple of days. The family vacation was meant for me to have fun and not think about work. Both vacations were awesome, and both were great for my business, even though one is all about business and the other has nothing to do with business. You can listen to why I loved both vacations on this episode of the InvestFourMore Real Estate Podcast.

What is a work vacation?

A work vacation was something that I decided to do after reading The War of Art and Deep Work. Both books talk about how important it is to spend long periods of time focusing on your work in order to do the best job you can do. I took a couple of days to stay in a friend’s cabin in Estes Part by myself with minimal distractions. I recorded a lot of videos; I planned a lot of things in my business; and I was able to take a break from the hustle and bustle at home or in my office. I wrote an article on my work vacation here:

What did I do for my family vacation?

My wife and I have gone to Turks and Caicos the last two years and love it there. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. This year, we decided to take our kids as well. It was their first time out of the country, and they loved the trip. We stayed at a very nice hotel and had wonderful views of the ocean. We hung out on the beach, took a boat trip, explored the islands a little, and relaxed. When I went on the family vacation, my goal was to work as little as I could. However, it still helps my business. Below is a video of the resort we stayed at, and I will have a much more in-depth video on the islands coming Saturday.

How can going on vacation help your business?

Vacations can help your business even when you are not doing any work. In fact, not doing and work and not thinking about any work can be amazing for your business. I usually come up with my best ideas when I am not working. I let my brain relax. I stop telling it to do things. And in turn, my brain is able to give me some good ideas. I just have to be sure I have some way to remember the brilliant ideas I get while I am on vacation.

What if you cannot take vacations?

Vacations can be extremely motivating. I love the ocean, the beach, exploring new areas, and spending time with my family. I am fortunate to make a lot of money with real estate and to have the ability to take these trips. If you are not in a position to be able to take vacations, use them as a goal. Remind yourself of how nice it will be to sit on the beach; picture yourself looking at the ocean or wherever it is you want to go.

If you have the money but not the time, that is another problem. I have a lot of people who help me and who I can rely on. I have worked really hard to build a business that can function without me. It is not perfect, but I can go on vacation with doing very little work. If you are in a position where you have to work and cannot take time off, change something. A lot of people claim they prefer to do it all on their own, but what happens if you get sick or hurt? Who will run things at that point?

Vacations are amazing for the body and soul as well as for your business. If you don’t have the time or money to take time off, you are missing out. Work vacations can be amazing as well for your business and getting work done. Most of us do not focus well because there is so much going on all around us. It is hard to produce quality work when all that is going on. I wrote a book on success and habits that can help you be more successful and happier.

[0:00:14.0] MF: Welcome to the InvestFourMore Real Estate Podcast. My name is Mark Ferguson and I am your host. I’m an active real estate investor. I flip from 15 to 30 houses a year. I’ve got residential and commercial rental properties. I’m an agent with nine people on my real estate team who’ve sold thousands of houses over the years.

I talk about what’s going on in my career, as well as interview other amazing agents, investors, landlords, flippers, wholesalers and companies who can help those people succeed. I want to give a quick shout out to my sponsor Patch of Land. They funded a flip for me in six days. I e-mailed them on a Sunday afternoon. They responded in less than 15 minutes. They have rates below 8% working 45 states. Will fun 85% of a deal and fund the repairs as well. Great company who I love working with; Patch of Land.

For my podcast listeners, I have a special discount page for my products investfourmore.com/discount. That’s investF-O-U-R-M-O-R-E.com/discount. We’ve got coupons on all my coaching programs. Some of those programs involve calls with me, consulting, video training and much, much more.

All right. Let’s get to the show.


[0:01:47.6] MF: Hey, it’s Mark and we’re back with another podcast. Today, I’m going to be talking about vacations. I like to talk about vacations whenever I go on vacation. Just got back from Turks and Caicos. Then I also took a work vacation earlier this month as well. I’m going to be talking about both of those, the difference between a regular vacation and what I like to call a work vacation, what I got accomplished how they help my business. Also a little bit about how nice it is to be able to take vacations and not work on those vacations.

What I did for my birthday – my birthday is actually in February, but I asked my wife if I could take a work vacation. I usually call that a Sabbatical at first, but then I looked up what Sabbatical meant and realized I did not want a Sabbatical. A Sabbatical is when you take months or years off from your work. You’ll not do any work. What I want was a work vacation.

What I mean by that is I was going to go by myself for a few days with my computer, my phone, my notebook and just work on my business without any family, any co-workers, anyone to distract me, hopefully in a place that’s quiet and nice, maybe in the mountains.

My wife a first was a little bit weird out, like did not understand what I wanted to do. I explained it to her that there’s a couple books, Deep Work, The War of Art that talk about how some of the most impressive accomplishments of our lifetime, some of the smartest people in the world would take time to think about problems, focus on things for an extremely long period.

They wouldn’t just work on something for 10 minutes and then switch to something else and switch to something else, like so many of us do. They would work on a problem for hours, or days, or even weeks and just focus on that one thing nonstop until they figured it out. The idea is that we’re so scatter-brained and don’t have enough focus and have so many things going on in our lives, most of us never have a chance to actually think clearly, or think through a problem.

We get distracted, we get bored, we get frustrated so we just do something else, because there are so many things for us to do. It could be that – well this is a theory I made up myself, but there are a lot of geniuses, very smart people a long time ago and there’s obviously a lot of smart people now, but it seems like there may have been people making greater strides, incredible discoveries in the past where there isn’t quite as much of that going on, and that could because there were less things to do in the past.

There wasn’t TV, there wasn’t a phone, there wasn’t movies, it was hard to get to places, so you couldn’t just drive around to your friends or to go shopping. You had to entertain yourself, and thinking and working on different things was one way to entertain yourself. That’s just my little theory. The books backed that up as well, where some of the most impressive work that has been done is by people who isolate themselves, work on a problem, focus on it nonstop and get away from distractions.

After I explained all that to my wife, she agreed to let me go. Got a little trip up in the mountains for a cabin that our friends have, and did that a few weeks ago. Went up on a Saturday, stayed there that night, worked all day Sunday, stayed there that night, came back on Monday.

It was really a cool experience. I think I could’ve done a better job of preparing and using my time up there, but I got so much work done. I mean, I get a lot of work done here at the office. I wrote an article a few weeks ago about working at home versus working at an actual office. I love working in an office, because I get so distracted at home. I do get a lot done in my office.

I also have a lot of different things going on with figuring out the flips, the rentals, the agent, the team, my blog. It can be tough to focus on one thing for a long period of time. I also have people asking me questions. We might need to go see houses, might need to look for new deals. There’s all kinds of things going on, where I can’t focus extremely well.

Up in the mountains, it’s over a weekend so I should have too much going on with work. I had no one up there to distract me, just myself. I was able to just focus on my business, on what was most important and get a lot of things done as well. There’s just a lot of things that I slide by the wayside that aren’t super important, but had to get done. I’m focusing on the more important things, so those things get pushed off more and more and more.

I was able to work on a new office that we’re planning and designing to think about everything I need, to think about my vision what I want for it, to write out a plan for how we’re going to do it, what kind of agents we want, what kind of clients we want. I was able to work on my blog a lot to write down and create all the things I can delegate on my blog and have other people do so that I have more free time.

There were things I could do with my team to help with them for training ideas, to keep them growing and working better. Ideas for the flip business to keep buying more properties, for better financing, for all types of different things. My ideas for my rental properties. I could refinance some of my properties and bring more cash into the business, which means I can buy more houses and make more money.

Ideas for this podcast, Ideas for YouTube. My YouTube channel has been doing really well lately. I don’t know why, what happens, or how YouTube figures all the things they do and how traffic comes to them, but for three or four years YouTube did okay. I had some traffic and some views, but then in the last six months or so, things have just gone bonkers on YouTube. I’ve gone from 5,000 minutes a day last year of people watching videos to over 75,000 minutes a day on some days this year.
Huge increase on YouTube and I want to take advantage of that. I recorded 10 educational videos up in the mountains in the cabin on flipping, on being an agent, on rentals, just to help people to provide that content. I was able to schedule those out one week for the next nine weeks or so, I’ll have new videos coming up.

I don’t have to do – record them now. They’ll just be ready to go. Of course, if you want to see those videos, make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel and search for Mark Ferguson or InvestFourMore on YouTube and you’ll find me. I also have a link in the podcast notes, and we also have fix and flip, before and after videos on just about every flip I do on most of my rentals, I have those as well.

Then I’m planning to do some more long-term shows for my flips. I’m not sure. I don’t think I’ve told many people this, but I’ve had more than a few people have approached me about doing house flipping show on television. Even went as far as doing Skype interviews with HGTV and some other stuff.

There is another company that’s been interviewing me now. I don’t know how excited I am about being on TV. I’m not sure I have time for that, but I think it would be interesting. Then someone is like, “Hey, why don’t you just create your own show? Why are you worried about them?” I’m thinking, “With YouTube and the internet and everything going out there, it’s a great idea. Maybe I should.”

I’ve actually been recording more footage, more information on the process of the entire flip, of financing it, reviewing offers, the numbers once it closes, all that stuff. I don’t know when I’ll have my first one done, because it’s a lot of work to edit all that and get together, but I’m planning to have some more, like actual full length shows that I put together on some of my flips.

Something else I figured out and worked on while I was up in the mountains. Really, it was just a great experience. I wrote a few articles up there. I even took a little break and watched a little golf, because Tigerwoods was coming back. It’s just a ton of fun. It’s a really good way to clear my mind, be free of distractions, get a lot of work done at the same time and make sure I’m working on my business and not in it.

Now I said I could do some things better while I was up there, and what I mean by that is I still doing a lot of different things. I was working on YouTube, working a blog, working on a new business, I have a lot of things going on, but if I could have gone up there and just focused on one thing the entire time. Like, all I’m going to do is decide exactly what I’m going to do for my office. Just come up with everything I’m going to do nonstop, not think about anything else.

I think that would be a better way to really make huge impact, huge change, come up with really awesome ideas. It’s really, really hard to do. I mean, it’s just so hard to focus on one thing without all the other things coming into your mind. I don’t know if I could do that. Maybe I could go up there and say like, “Okay, I’m going to dedicate four or five hours to just this one problem.” That’s all I’m going to think about. That’s all I’m going to do and see if I could do it. I don’t know if I could, but that might be something I try again.

I definitely would recommend being able to take some kind of break like this, some kind of – a little mini-vacation, work vacation, where you don’t have distractions. I love my family. I love my kids, but it’s really hard to get work done at home, because they always want to play with me, they always want to do something. That’s one reason I like having an office at work, but then at work I’ve always got my team asking me questions, meeting, stuff for me.

I’ve got contractors coming in here who want money and all kinds of different things going on. Being away from distraction, be able to focus up there was just awesome. Really fun. I mentioned some of the books Deep Work and then yeah, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield really has some amazing work out there.

He’s an author himself and just talks about how – when he’s written his best work, he’s been away from everything. He can take to the next level. There’s no internet, there’s no phone, there’s no distractions at all. He just writes for a week nonstop.

It’s funny, I think who did he say? Was it Tom Clancy? I can’t remember. It’s another author, really, really famous author. Once he’s getting close to the end of a book, he’s waking up 4 AM, 5 AM to get to work. He doesn’t want to waste any time. Just nonstop he’s working on his book, writing, writing, writing without distraction. Towards the very end when he’s really going at it, he’ll even check himself into a hotel.

He’ll get out of his house. He can wake up anytime he wants, stay up as late as he wants, just write and write and write and free from distraction. It’s really just a cool concept. Work vacation was a success. It was really cool. I think I can do a little better job in the future, but certainly it was a lot of fun and I got a lot of work done, got a lot of planning done, had some cool ideas from it. Yeah, I don’t know how often I can get away with doing it, but definitely want to try it again the future.

All right, now moving on to a completely different type of vacation. Just got back from Turks and Caicos with the family and I will be posting a video on that. It should be ready by the time this podcast comes out. I’ll try and link to it, but just amazing island. We’ve been there three times now and we like to go to different places and explore new things, but it’s just so nice there. We keep going there. There’s so few people. Beautiful beaches and all kinds of islands and different things to explore there with very few people. It’s just really amazing.

Real estate has been very kind to me. It’s been a great business to be in and to be able to take vacations like this is just so much fun for our family. Previous to this trip, it has just been my wife and I going, but we took our kids who are six now. It was their first time going out of the country. We had passports for them.

They loved it. A three-hour flight from Denver to Charlotte and another three-hour flight from Charlotte to Turks and Caicos. They did awesome on the plane ride. They did awesome there. They love the beach. We took them on a boat ride where they went snorkeling for the first time. They loved that. Took my son to Iguana Island, where we could see wild iguanas running everywhere. He loved that.

There’s tons of fun stuff to do there and just relax, and it’s some of the most beautiful water I’ve ever seen in my life. I mean, you can be happy just walking on the beach or staring at the ocean from your hotel room. So nice, but a completely different vacation from the work vacation.

When I’m going on vacation with my family, I don’t want to work. I try to limit as much work as I do as much as possible. In fact, I did use my laptop just a little bit on this trip, but unlike my previous two vacations, I’d bring my laptop. I don’t think I ever opened it once. I could respond to some e-mails on my phone, do a few things on there, but I’ve just really worked really hard to have a team setup for me; Niki, my project manager who can help with the flips. Justin who can help with the team, our agents where they can take care of all the work while I’m gone. I don’t have to do anything. It just makes life so much easier.

When I went on my honeymoon with my wife. We went on vacations early in my career, I was working all the time. I was doing BPOs, entering listings, responding to offers, doing all kinds of things on vacation and it wasn’t much fun and she wasn’t very happy with me. Just be able to change how that works in my life has just been awesome.

A lesson for those of you out there. Lot of us in real estate, our own boss, have our own business, but we’re everything. We don’t have help, we don’t have backup plans. If something goes wrong, we have to fix it. If you can get that help, get that back-up plan in place, it will make your life so much more fun and so much more enjoyable.

Even though it takes some work to hire people, even though it takes a little bit of money to hire some people, it’s worth it. I say this a lot. I’ve said this before on podcast, but you have to think about what happens to you if you get sick, or worse as well. If you’re a one-man show, or one woman-show and you’re doing all the work, everything all the time, and you get in a car accident and you can’t work for four months, or you can’t even type or answer e-mails for a month, what would happen to your business?

For a lot of people, it would be gone. It would go bankrupt. Your spouse, your family, your friends would be struggling to try and figure out how to make things work, but they have no idea what’s going on. They don’t know your systems, they don’t know anything. It’s not just for your own personal gain of not having to work on vacation that you should create a system that can work without you, it’s for your family and loved ones as well to not put them through a gigantic mess, because you get hurt and no one else knows how to do anything.

It’s really something to think about. When I was more of an REO broker, always doing foreclosure work, one of the groups I belong to was the NRA International REO Brokers Association. One of the biggest things they preached was have a disaster plan. If something happens to you, you need to have a plan laid out for someone else to look at and to see what to do.

Answer e-mails, how to handle properties. You should have a disaster plan in place in case something happens to you, so someone can come in there relatively smoothly and take over. Most people don’t have that, even better as an assistant, or someone working with you who can come in and take over and have things go relatively smoothly.

It’s not just to make your life more enjoyable. It’s also almost a necessity for those who own businesses to have back-up in place, to have people helping you, who can run things, take over for you if something happens, or if you want to just go on vacation.

Something else that happens too when you’re on vacation is some of my best ideas, some of my best thinking comes when I’m on beach, when I’m walking along the ocean, when I’m exploring things with my kids, I’m not thinking about work. It’s the farthest thing from my mind. I’m just enjoying myself, enjoying life. When you clear your brain of all the clutter, of all the work activities, of all the things going on, that’s usually when you’re giving yourself time to think your best and sometimes your best ideas just pop into your head out of nowhere.

Some of my best ideas have come while I was on vacation. I’ve gotten the most motivation while I was on vacation, because I’m not stuck in the job. I’m not writing articles. I’m not recording things. I’m not looking for houses to flip. I’m not dealing with contractors. I’m not doing all these work in the business. I’m just enjoying myself, and then all of a sudden an idea pops into my head like, “Hey. You could’ve been doing this on the flips the whole time and save you all this money, but you’re so busy dealing with contractors you never even thought of it.”

It happens all the time. It’s not just once every three years you go on vacation. Like every single vacation I go on, some great idea usually comes to me and it seems like the less I think about work, the more I enjoy myself, the more and better those ideas are. Another reason to try and have people helping you, taking over tasks, doing things for you on vacation, because the clearer your mind is, the more you can enjoy yourself, the better ideas that can come to you, and the more your family will like you as well, which is slightly important.

Two different vacation experiences; really the work vacation was very cool, lot of fun, got a lot of work done, got a lot accomplished. I felt really good about it. At the same time, I’m sitting there thinking about work nonstop, my brain is working really focusing.

The family vacation on the other hand is where I’m not thinking about work. I’m not focusing on it. I’m enjoying my life. I’m just trying to live in the moment and be there for my family, but then also can be very beneficial as far as ideas popping into my head, things just that you don’t think about because you’re so involved in work can pop in there and get a chance to seek you away into your consciousness.

Both great. Both very enjoyable. Very motivating too to go on vacations like that, to think hey, how can I improve my business? How can I automate things more? How can I bring in more passive income, so that I can do this more? Yeah, we’ve gone there the last three years. It’s been great, fantastic. I’m very fortunate. But that doesn’t mean we can’t go there twice a year, or that doesn’t mean we can’t go explore other really cool places.

There’s just so many things you can do in this life that are enjoyable, that are fun, that are exciting, that are new and I really want to do my best to take advantage of everything that I can, so those vacations can be very motivating as well to help you figure out better ways to do things, create more of that passive income, give yourself more time, give yourself more freedom, think about buying a beach house, all kinds of great things out there you can do.

All right, that’s all I’ve got for this podcast. Remember to take time off to enjoy your life when you’re working really hard. Your main goal is not just to work as hard as you can for the rest of your life. There should be some other reasons, some other motivations out there, so make sure you do take some time off and enjoy life a little bit, get some help, get some people who can take over some things for you if you’re gone, which will make life even more enjoyable. It will probably help your business as well along the way.

All right. Thanks for listening, everyone. Hope you enjoyed it. We’ll be back next week.