How This Trades Business Owner Took 46 Vacation Days in a Year

Travel, vacation and time off can be foreign words to business owners, and if said during the busy season, they are even quite taboo. Moses Horner has been a member of Breakthrough Academy (BTA) for 2.5 years and he runs Horner Painting out of Fort Collins, Colorado. Through the BTA Program, Moses has worked towards structuring his company in a way that allows him to freely travel throughout the year without the concern of the company falling apart in his absence.

His painting company now operates at peak performance, allowing him to comfortably travel and enjoy life with his family, without having to worry about the potential fires brewing back at the office. It has not been easy, but he's put in the required work and is now reaping the benefits.

The Problem with Taking Vacations As a Trades Business Owner

Moses has regularly traveled, and work-life balance has always been important to him, but there was a clear difference between the quality of his vacations pre-BTA vs. during his tenure as a BTA Member. Before he joined the BTA Program, Moses would be required to check-in regularly throughout the day, often coming home to "Oh shit!" moments because of things that were overlooked during his vacation. One time he found his laptop filled with sand because he had to work while on the beach. Now, he has the structure and support needed to enjoy his vacation time, which is separated from his daily business demands.

The issues that interfered with a separated vacation space for Moses included tracking systems (i.e. financial planners, budget planners, estimation software, etc.), proper accountability, and planning what's happening vs. reacting to what's already happened. For years, Moses was unsure of the numbers in the business and how to put into place a system that would allow him to analyze the data; a requirement to making proper business decisions. While away, there was a lack of confidence in the team's ability to deliver on the goals and values of the company. But that's no longer the case.

The Solution for Taking Vacations As a Trades Business Owner

Tracking systems, accountability, and proper planning do more than just open space for vacation; they are critical to running a scalable and successful company. They are the difference between surviving and thriving. With this newfound knowledge (and his BTA Coach guiding him along the way), Moses started chipping away at making fundamental changes. Over one year, he started to work with his financial team to understand key performance indicators (KPI's) better, how to track them more consistently and effectively and then trained himself to analyze the data that was being given to him. This process alone gave Moses a powerful tool to identify actionable insights and to make small (and sometimes large) course corrections that changed the direction of the business.

Soon, Moses started eliminating re-occurring problems because the data was giving him direction vs. him guessing where to go. An example of this was a builder that Moses had been working with for years who was being undercharged. After recording the pertinent data and reviewing it, an easy decision was made to switch this builder out with someone more profitable. Tracking systems have given Moses more time since he does not have to constantly put out fires. It also gave him renewed confidence in his team because they started to see positive changes, and they are now empowered to look for red flags in the tracking systems they are accountable for.

From there, Moses could hold his team more accountable because there was a clearer picture being presented to everyone on how they were performing towards their deliverables. Tangible results started to show up everywhere in his business. For example, the new construction revenue stream's gross profit was raised by almost 10%, and net profit went up as well. Now that Moses has the leadership, mentorship, information, and tools required to run a thriving business, he is living the life he wants to live.


What Does Your Vacation Schedule Look Like?

Looking at it now, Moses has improved balance in his world. He goes away with the absolute confidence that his implemented business systems, and the key people that are in place to take care of the company, can run everything as if he never left the building. And let me tell you - he loves to travel! Here is what his 2019 vacation schedule looked like:

1) January: 5 days in Steamboat, CO and 3 days at the BTA Winter Summit.

2) February: 3 days on a men's retreat.

3) March: Business mastermind trip in Seattle, WA, plus extra time after to enjoy with his wife.

4) April: 4 day trip to Fruita, CO.

5) May: 7 days at Lake Powell, AZ.

6) June: 4 days for the BTA Summer Retreat in Alaska.

7) July – August: 120 hours cumulatively spent on his boat.

8) August: 3 days spent on a big 20km bike & beer trip.

9) October: 1 day for an amazing 250 person Halloween party.

10) November: 7 days in Costa Rica for Thanksgiving.

11) December: 7 days skiing with his family.

That's a minimum of 46 days (12.6% of a year)! And that's not even including the weekends...

Systemizing your business will allow you to have more control, and in Moses' case, it has allowed him to say yes to more travel with less concern of things falling apart.


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