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Episode 14: Yes, You Can Take Vacations! How to prepare, execute, and enjoy time off.

In this episode Liz and Nelson share tips and advice on how to structure your business so that not only are you able to take vacations, but your business may even run better when you’re not there! They cover topics from how to set your staff and team up for success to setting expectations with your clientele and also how to come back from vacation ready to “hit the ground running.” Vacations are not only important for your sanity and enjoyment of life, it’s actually been scientifically proven to increase productivity and longevity of life. So join Liz and Nelson for their insight and experience with successfully taking more vacations as a business owner.


Liz Sears, Nelson Barss

Liz Sears 00:01

Welcome to the Business greater than you podcast, where we dive deep into the stories of men and women who have successfully transcended the fragile solopreneur life and built productive teams with better lifestyle and income.

Nelson Barss 00:13

I'm Nelson Barss, the founder and owner of Utah Independent Mortgage Corp.

Liz Sears 00:18

and I'm Liz Sears, founder and co owner of My Utah Agents.

Nelson Barss 00:21

We're excited for you to listen, interact and grow with us. So please share your comments below. And let's get started.

Liz Sears 00:33

Welcome, welcome to our next episode of a business greater than you podcast. Today's topic is on vacations both for employees and for ourselves.

Nelson Barss 00:43

So we're going to talk about first our teams and how it works with them. And then I'm more excited to talk about the second part, which is us going on vacation and how it works for us and for our teams and how it's possible when you are an entrepreneur or team leader to actually have really good time off. So vacation time for your team. Do you offer your team paid vacation?

Liz Sears 01:05

We offer our full time employees paid vacation but not our part timers. How about you?

Nelson Barss 01:10

Same thing full time, they get two weeks of paid time off. And we do sick time separate from that sick time.

Liz Sears 01:19

So our sick time we do four days per year. What do you do?

Nelson Barss 01:23


Liz Sears 01:24

Eight days

Nelson Barss 01:24

Because we're better than you.

Liz Sears 01:25

Maybe maybe lets see,

Nelson Barss 01:27

eight days, they have to accrue that over time. Two weeks, so 10 days of vacation time. We don't make him accrue that we give that we give them a prorated number of days at the beginning that they can use whenever which you said.

Liz Sears 01:44

Prorated, how so?

Nelson Barss 01:45

So if they start in the middle of the year, they get five days, right till the end of the year. And that has not been a huge problem for us. I know. Sometimes I get worried. Like I did have one employee who wasn't with us for even probably three or four months and used up all the vacation time first before we got rid of them.

Liz Sears 02:06

You're like how can you take two weeks of vacation in your first three months on the job? Some people are pretty.

Nelson Barss 02:12

Yeah. You've had that same problem, right?

Liz Sears 02:13

Yeah, exactly. Ours it was probably like five months they had used all their vacation. And then our thought was well, that was a lesson learned.

Nelson Barss 02:21

So how did you solve that?

Liz Sears 02:23

So the way that we solved it is we decided that vacation, we do the exact same two weeks vacation that they earn it per month. And so it's almost a whole day a month, I guess it calculates out to like six hours a month that they earn. And then they can use it at any time. And vacation time that's earned rolls over for a whole year. And so it doesn't like expire, use it or lose it at the end of this year. It's just one year later, they just have to use it within a year of earning it.

Nelson Barss 02:51

So how do you track that?

Liz Sears 02:53

ADP! We just do everything through them. Yeah, you just set up how it's used and how it's tracked.

Nelson Barss 02:57

And it does it. It shows on the pay stubs and they just they know, right?

Liz Sears 03:01


Nelson Barss 03:02

We do our payroll through QuickBooks same type of thing. Our office manager puts it in and it just accrues based on the policy that we put in.

Liz Sears 03:11

That's so much easier than trying to track it ourselves. We used to do our own payroll and no more want something they can log in and log out in the system calculates it all.

Nelson Barss 03:19

Right. So do you have a policy to pay it out when they leave?

Liz Sears 03:25

No, that might be something we need to put into place.

Nelson Barss 03:28

My office manager keeps asking me, because I think it's in our handbook that it's supposed to be paid out when people leave, right? I kind of hate that I kind of really, especially if they quit or if it's not a really good parting of ways. Last thing I want to do is give them an extra paycheck on the way out the door. Right? So I may be revisiting that. Of course, our policy is if they're terminated for cause that's obviously not gonna get paid out to him. Yeah, but I don't know, I'm not a big fan of having a rollover either. I really want him to use it. In the year it's granted. And I like my dad, I remember my dad worked for the same job for like 20 years. And at the end, it was time for him to retire. He had like three months of vacation time, built up. So he was not really working but he was still getting paid, trying to milk that until his retirement day. It's just I hate that kind of stuff.

Liz Sears 04:21

Well separate from that there's enough studies that show now that people who don't take their vacation actually end up being less productive or more stressed out or have more health issues than those who take their vacations and so we really strongly advocate for our employees and our agents to take vacation, put it on the calendar, honor it go enjoy it and and such. Which kind of leads us up to some people the reason that they have trouble going on vacation is because they think no one can do the job but me I'm the only one who can make it happen if I leave the company is going to fail. And if that's the case, that's actually probably where your first focus should go is the Best way to be able to move up and have more opportunities is to be replaceable. Because if you're not, you're stuck.

Nelson Barss 05:05

Oh, so you're saying the employee needs to fix that. I was thinking, like, as a business owner, you need to design it so that they can go and have vacation time.

Liz Sears 05:15

Like, truly, it needs to be a partnership.

Nelson Barss 05:16

It makes sense. You need to, you need to speak up as the employee, and work on helping give yourself true vacation time.

Liz Sears 05:26

Right. So we have our two of the main people in our office, it was really cute, because one of them just barely posted on Facebook, how grateful she was for the other one, setting her up for success. So the first one who left before she left, she pre completed several of her projects that weren't supposed to roll out yet. So she said, Okay, this needs to happen on Tuesday have already done these pieces, this is what's left, this needs to happen on Wednesday, and then communicated with the other people who normally reach out to her, I'm going to be gone for this week, so and so it's covering for me, but in the meantime, blah, blah, blah. And so then when she left on vacation, the person who was covering for her said, she's my hero, she made it easy for me, she gave me all the information I needed to do the job well. And it also made it so that when this person who was on vacation came back, she didn't come back to a mess that she had to resolve.

Nelson Barss 06:16

I think it's a real job satisfaction it thing if you can't go on vacation, right or even just have a Saturday off. If it's so demanding if the job is so demanding if your boss or if your teammates are so demanding, it's gonna wear on you over time, right. So I think you have to be careful to make sure that there's some redundancy, people can cover for each other cross training or whatever it needs to be. And then it doesn't fall on you as the team leader, right to do their job when they leave.

Liz Sears 06:44

That I think is one of the the secrets to a really successful business is have as much cross training as possible for many different reasons. One, so your people can go on vacation, and still the company runs smooth and effective. And your clients and customers don't know the difference. Two, so it keeps the stress level down three, if something awful happens, your business isn't at risk. Yeah. So we jokingly call it the hit by the bus book is everything documented, but it's also not just documented, but cross trained.

Nelson Barss 07:14

Yeah, yeah, I've loved that, I think we've finally gotten to a point in my office where we're at that level, where just about anybody can go. And like you said, they've got to set up the teammate for success, whoever is going to cover for them. You know, in our world, it's mortgages we got, that person has 15 loans assigned to them. So they'll write up a document of every loan and where it's at. And, of course, we have systems where you can go in and see the status. And you don't have to wonder

Liz Sears 07:42

Thats nice!

Nelson Barss 07:43

Or call the client and be like, hey, where did so and so get yesterday? Because I'm supposed to pick up that ball today. And, yeah, good.

Liz Sears 07:50

I've also found that it makes it a lot more successful when your clients know. So we tell our agents, in particular, anybody who's in a customer service, communicate with your customers say, I'm going to be gone for the next four days, so and so will be covering for me while I'm gone. Before I leave. Is there anything I can take care of for you?

Nelson Barss 08:09

Brilliant? Yeah. Love that. What about unpaid time off? Do you allow that? And do you manage that? How does that work in your office.

Liz Sears 08:17

So in our office, the way that it works for our employees is that they cannot take any unpaid time off until they've exhausted their paid time off. We found that that actually discouraged them from constantly calling in, Hey, can I have a few hours here? Can I take a day off there? Which leaves everybody else to you know, pick up the slack on those days. And then we also don't allow them to have we have a pretty small staff. So there's only like five in office generally at a time. But they can't, two have them be off at the same time. Because then that just left way too much burden. Yeah, the ones that were there. So so that's how we handle it. How do you handle that?

Nelson Barss 08:57

That was, that was an easy way for us when we were small, smaller, we're still small, but when we only had five or six employees, instead of having one person manage it, we just had a calendar in the break room, and you had to go write your name on the days you wanted off. And if somebody already had that day off, you couldn't take it. Unless it was a serious, you know, emergency or

Liz Sears 09:18


Nelson Barss 09:19

You figure out how to make sure that things keep moving forward. Right.

Liz Sears 09:22

And then for our agents, we kind of just teach them how to do it effectively and empower them to coordinate with one another.

Nelson Barss 09:28

Cool. Cover for each other.

Liz Sears 09:30

So it's unlimited for the agents but you know, 100% commission that makes it possible.

Nelson Barss 09:34

That's what they that's what they signed up for. But with me for unpaid time off. I think it's been funny because I think a lot of employees that I've hired had been surprised that I don't allow unpaid time off. I've just been in so many offices where the people we needed, weren't there.

Liz Sears 09:49


Nelson Barss 09:50

And there wasn't anyone managing that there wasn't anyone making sure that the butts are in the chairs and the jobs are getting done every day and I figure you know, you've got 10 days of vacation plus eight days of sick plus we've got like 12 paid holidays or something. It's like crazy. So yeah, if you're not able to work the rest of the days, then maybe you're not able to work. Maybe a full time job isn't for you. And I want to have that discussion with someone when they exhaust their paid time off. And they, and they need more time off. The policy is, you know, there's no unpaid time off until it's approved by me. And that conversation is like, Okay, do we need to switch you to part time? Do we need to find someone else who can do this job full time and give you a different role in our company, and a lot of times, it's because they get sick a lot. Right? And it's like, it's just kind of unfair, it's hard to it's hard to penalize someone for getting sick a lot.

Liz Sears 10:43


Nelson Barss 10:43

Right. Or having kids that get sick a lot, or I don't know what it is, but the business needs you here. And if you can't be here full time, we need to find someone who can be here full time.

Liz Sears 10:53

You know, you you made me think of something that this might be a little bit of a deviation from the topic of our podcast, however, I'm in the episode. However, I found this very interesting. So one of my business coaches, coaches, me and a couple other people in our industry, and one of them gets sick, you know, a little more often than normal. And the coach said, That's not okay. You are manifesting sickness into your life. And as a leader, you can't be sick this often. So you need to figure that out. And and it wasn't just manifest, it was more not just through like the law of attraction, but also through her behaviors. So the coach was saying, That's not okay, you need to get enough sleep, you need to eat right, you need to take your vitamins, you need to be exercising, it is not okay for you to not take care of yourself and end up being sick, because you're setting a precedent for your entire company. And I thought, That's the weirdest advice I've ever heard. But it makes so much sense.

Nelson Barss 11:52

I love it.

Liz Sears 11:53

Yeah she's like, you can't afford to be sick. That's not okay.

Nelson Barss 11:55

It is totally under your control. Right. You can take better care of yourself.

Liz Sears 11:59

I thought that was interesting.

Nelson Barss 12:00

Sleeping more, eating better.

Liz Sears 12:03


Nelson Barss 12:03

Do you ever envision yourself having a conversation like that with an employee? It's like, it's not okay, that you're sick so much.

Liz Sears 12:11

You know? What I have found instead is that I will tell them, I almost never get sick. Yeah. And they they're like, Oh, you better knock on some wood. And I'm like, No, it's true. Because the second I feel something coming on. I'm sleeping. I'm drinking lots of fluids. I'm taking my vitamins like I, I've learned how to recognize if I start getting sick, so I can stop it. And another little deviation here. So pilots, one of their trainings that they do is they purposely are put into a situation where they asphyxiate or however you say that word.

Nelson Barss 12:44

You said it perfect.

Liz Sears 12:44

So they can recognize, did I? I'm proud, they can find out what their trigger is? Is it that their fingers get numb? Is it that they start swallowing more often is it that they you know, their scalp tingles. So once they learned their personal trigger for asphyxiation, then they know how to recognize it if they that starts to happen when they're in the air. And so if we as business owners start to recognize what it is that causes us to get sick, and especially if we communicate that with our employees, because I have found that telling my employees that I almost never get sick, and that I noticed that if I'm starting to get sick, I get tired. Yeah, all of a sudden, I'm exhausted. And it's like my body's way of saying slow down for a sec. And so being able to model the behavior of taking care of myself so that I don't show up sick actually has

Nelson Barss 13:31

It's a great way to help with that.

Liz Sears 13:32


Nelson Barss 13:33

Okay, I got a model that better. I'm drinking Pellegrino here, this has no sugar supposed to be healthy for me.

Liz Sears 13:40

I think it is, I think you're doing a brilliant job. So just to make sure business owners, if you aren't set up with a payroll company who teaches you about how to do payroll accurately, there's a few things to know, you do not have to pay overtime, if let's say there's a holiday on Monday, and they work Tuesday through Friday, and that their holiday pay plus their work pay comes out to 42-45 hours a week, you only have to pay overtime if they work more than 40 hours. Okay, so. So until they've worked out full 40, their hourly wage stays their hourly wage.

Nelson Barss 14:15


Liz Sears 14:16

So be careful about that. And then the second thing that I had on here is that one of the things we do for our staff is occasionally we do client appreciation events, or we do something where they have to work in the evenings or on the weekend. And so we have worked out a deal with them that instead of paying overtime, we'll give them an additional day off.

Nelson Barss 14:36


Liz Sears 14:36

And then they get to pick when they have it. And so that's one of the

Nelson Barss 14:39

We do that too. That's actually really fun. I think to a lot of a lot of the mortgage guys in my coaching program, they'll do this weekend warrior program, right? They'll they'll have someone who's always on from Saturdays to help with pre approvals right, and they rotate that around the team, and whoever's on for Saturday gets to take half a day off during the week and they pick when right maybe it's Friday afternoon or whatever. And then they work during that four or five hours on Saturday to take care of whatever. So that's good.

Liz Sears 15:10

That's cool.

Nelson Barss 15:11

Yeah, comp time, right? Give them some other time off somewhere else.

Liz Sears 15:14

Yep, Oh one other thing, too, is that now that my company is more than two years old, we're starting to talk about the initial two weeks vacation that they get of having it instead of 10 days, they get one more for their third year of service and

Nelson Barss 15:28

One more week?

Liz Sears 15:28

one more for their fourth. No day. So so it'll be 10 days, and then 11 days, 12 days and 13. So that their time off increases, the longer they're with us. So if they're with us for 10 years, they get four weeks off instead of 2.

Nelson Barss 15:30

Day? Yeah, we did two weeks, until you hit your three year mark. And then it's three weeks.

Liz Sears 15:46

Oh, so at three years, they get an entire week. I like that.

Nelson Barss 15:50

It's hard, though. It's hard, because that tends to be a really valuable, important person in the office. Right? And that's a lot of vacation time in I don't know, I've never had three weeks paid vacation. I haven't had paid vacation for a long time.

Liz Sears 16:02

We don't vacation.

Nelson Barss 16:03

That's a lot of time off

Liz Sears 16:04

We're business owners.

Nelson Barss 16:06

Do you take much time off?

Liz Sears 16:07

I do.

Nelson Barss 16:08

Let's talk about us taking time off because I do not, I do not enjoy it. Like my favorite spot is in my chair. At work, I feel like I have the most control there. But, you know, I do have a family and a wife that likes to travel. So we do we just went to Disneyland last week.

Liz Sears 16:25

I know. Bragger.

Nelson Barss 16:26

So that was I would rather been in my chair. It's hard work. But let's talk about us leaving and not getting out of town and how to make that work. So that like you said earlier, your customers don't even notice, right, it's still, it's still grows, I'd even like to talk about how you can take time off. And your business still grows. It doesn't just exist and tread water. But it's still great, you're still getting new clients, and new sales as well.

Liz Sears 16:54

Yep. So one of the things that we have found makes a really big difference is setting up the staff to feel the amazing feeling of being the captain of the ship for the week. We said don't have this be a period of time where you can't wait till we get back so we can take back over because it's overwhelming for you. Instead view it as an opportunity to really step up and be the leader. So having your point person who's going to run everything while you're gone. And champion them really set them up for success kind of what we talked about earlier. And, and also. So for us, it's telling the rest of the staff or the agents, you know, this person is in charge while we're gone. And they're totally prepared to be amazing for you. And if you need anything at all, just reach out to them. And if you have any questions before we go, that's the big thing is, before we go, do you have any questions because you don't want to leave when something's already been festering or something that they could have resolved is sitting undone.

Nelson Barss 17:56

Okay, so So you're talking about? I always get confused when you're talking because sometimes I don't know if you're talking about running the business, or doing your client work.

Liz Sears 18:07

Ok, so then for so that was for running the business,

Nelson Barss 18:11


Liz Sears 18:12

For doing client work. The way that we function in our brokerage is that we'll have a co agent on almost every transaction. Inside of some teams, they have designated people who are always their partner,

Nelson Barss 18:26

Right. Like a buyer's agent?

Liz Sears 18:27

Yeah, yeah. And in our team, you can kind of pick per transaction. So I will reach out to all of my clients and tell them, you know, I'm going to be gone, blah, blah, blah, same speech I already gave. And then I have my assistant monitor my email. And so which she always does anyways, but in particular, she knows that when I'm gone, if a lead comes in or a question or anything like that, she'll simply just assign it to a co agent. She'll say, Liz has gone this lead just came in, run with it. And so it was kind of fun. Shannon had somebody that she met on a gondola. She didn't even tell them her name. She just said, um, you know, I own My Utah Agents. And the guy looked it up. He was from, I don't know, California, or something like that wanted to buy a house in Park City. And she had kind of been touching base with him for about eight months. And then she went out of town. Well, she had her assistant monitoring email, he called and said, I'm in town. I want to buy a house and Shannon came home to an $800,000 home under contract.

Nelson Barss 19:19

Oh, wow.

Liz Sears 19:20

Yeah. So just settin them up.

Nelson Barss 19:21

That's beautiful. Yeah. That's great. So you have co agents that do a lot of the work. What about stuff that's under contract? Still co agents plus you have a transaction coordinator on your team? Right? So that's really not different. Right? You already, you already kind of have the help when you're here to make it.

Liz Sears 19:39

Yeah, I followed your model of once I put somebody under contract I explained to them, you know, the team is I'm able to provide better service with the team. So there'll be your point person for you know, ABC, and then I will, you know, obviously be the head person if you have any major concerns and just checking in with you. So they're already expecting to only hear from me once a week. Yeah, it works really well. Because at this point in time, honestly, my team does a lot of those pieces better than me, because they're in the trenches every day.

Nelson Barss 20:09

They do. That's I think nobody really believes that at first until they see it happen, right?

Liz Sears 20:16


Nelson Barss 20:17

You get to a point I love it, I, I'm getting to the point where there's some things I don't even know how to do in our process anymore. And I think that's a good thing for a business owner for a team leader, to just not even know how to do everything. Why do you have to be the hero all the time? Right? Why do you have to be the one who, who can fix every problem, and I think it puts too much pressure on you as a team leader. And that's been a big problem for me just to be willing to be dumb about certain things. And just say, I don't I don't know how to order that. I don't know how to click that, whatever.

Liz Sears 20:48

Because then you stop being the point person for everything. And one of the things that a friend of mine does is when somebody comes to her with a question, she she's set the standard that if they come to her with a problem or a question and not a proposed solution, that they feel stupid, because she's like, why would you do that? And so, so she says, I want you to think it out, I want you to come up with some options of how you think it could be fixed. And so by the time they come to her, then she's just pretty much validating. And after she's validated, that actually would be a really good approach, you should do that. They get to a point where they're like, I don't even need to waste my time going and trying to get, you know, on her schedule to run it past her. I can just use my resourcefulness. And it's also empowering your people to do those things.

Nelson Barss 21:35

It's just kind of what you tolerate. Right? You get what you tolerate.

Liz Sears 21:37


Nelson Barss 21:39

Okay. So I used to go on vacation a lot with my family. But I would take my laptop with me, right? I would monitor my email, I would, if we were camping, I would drive down the mountain to get to cell range. To fix a problem to check my email. It was ridiculous, right? And honestly, that's probably the majority of my career. Now this week, we went to Disneyland. Right. And I have a team who already does so much of the process anyway, it's not like it was something different for them. Right? It was just that I wasn't there. And so we had some new leads come in. And a few of them, you know, my assistant would say Nelson's out of town this week. If you'd like to meet with him next week, we'll put them on this put you on the schedule. If not, we have another loan officer here who's covering for Nelson, and you can meet with them right away. And we had out of I don't know, we probably had 10 or 11 leads come in, and three of them chose to meet right away. The rest of them chose to wait for me to come back, which is made this week a little bit hectic, has also been a great week, we've had a lot of new deals, a lot of action happening this week. The loans that were in processing are already 100% owned and managed by my assistant. So that really isn't a change, right? My email is always watched by another assistant, an admin who watches Well, she's my executive assistant, she does my calendar, and my email all the time. So I didn't come back to overload of emails. Right. In fact I got through all of my emails in about an hour. And they were really mostly it's just like things I needed to look at and delete.

Liz Sears 23:13

Yeah, just things that you need to be aware of.

Nelson Barss 23:16

Yeah, so it was overall. I think I think I had two phone calls with my team during the week, was standing in line for a ride. And they wanted to know if it was okay to spend this money. It was pretty large dollar amount. And they kind of knew that it was more than it should have been. And so we talked real quick, and they realized they were ordering the wrong thing. Right. So there's a good quick phone call, right. And then I was sitting in a parking lot outside of a target waiting for my wife. And so I had a realtor texting me on a Saturday. So I called her to talk to her for 20 minutes about a deal. And it was great. Good. But I was wasn't doing anything anyway. Right? Yeah, other than that, I didn't do a single bit of work the rest of the week.

Liz Sears 23:54

Isnt that amazing?

Nelson Barss 23:55

I didn't look at my email at all. It was like, unplugged completely, which it really wasn't an option to work much when you're standing in line with your kids and you're dead tired, go to bed at night. You're not gonna get much done. So

Liz Sears 24:07

Well, I do remember a point in time when I was at Disneyland with my family. And I stepped out of the line. And they went on the ride without me after we'd waited forever, because there was a crisis I had to deal with. And so it's nice now to have put in the time and effort upfront to train and teach my team and empower my team to handle those things without me. So that way, I don't have to step out of the line at Disneyland. And it's so funny that you use that exact example because when I'm talking to agents, sometimes that's the example I use, I had to step out of line at Disneyland to handle the crises because I was a solo agent at the time. That was how I was functioning.

Nelson Barss 24:45

It's quite an investment to teach your team and to work to put that effort and energy in but it pays off and this isn't the only way it pays off. Right? It's not just about going on vacation.

Liz Sears 24:55

It's about being able to prospect or being able to do what's going to

Nelson Barss 24:59

Way more volume. Right? You can do it better, happier customers. You go home at night without stress, you sleep.

Liz Sears 25:06

You get to go home at night.

Nelson Barss 25:07

Yeah, be with your family. There's just so much. This is why we have this podcast, right? The idea of being a solopreneur, we both done it a solopreneur thing. It's frazzled, stressful, you can't make enough money most the time, right?

Liz Sears 25:22

Well, and also the thing too, is when you keep everything on your plate, you deny others the opportunity to learn how to become leaders, too. When you keep everything on your plate, you can only handle what you are physically and mentally able to handle. But as you start to become a leader, and you train people underneath you, then you can even create those additional levels so that you train them to be leaders, and then them to be leaders and you are able to expand your reach and your benefit to the world. And income is always in proportion to the amount of service and the number of people that you served.

Nelson Barss 25:55

The amount of value that you're bringing to the world.

Liz Sears 25:58

All right, so another thing that we were talking about is the difference between traveling and vacation and remote working.

Nelson Barss 26:05

I'm glad you brought this up because I hadn't thought about this, like your mindset is ahead of mine when it comes to this stuff. So what's the difference?

Liz Sears 26:12

Alright so, traveling, in my mind is, well, first of all vacation, let's just get clear on that vacation is when you go for the purpose of recreation to recreate to unplug. And so you're going away. And even if it's a staycation, you're just out of the business for a while traveling is generally like a business trips, things like that. So maybe you're in a coaching a training seminar or something like that. And you're still checking your emails, working a bit in between whatnot, staying in the world. And then remote working is, for example, instead of working from my normal office, in Layton, Utah, I might want to be working on the deck of a hotel in Egypt, overlooking the pyramids, you know, so I'll be there and I will work for my eight hours. But when I'm done with my workday, instead of going home, I get to go play wherever it is that I happen to be. So remote working is something that a lot of entrepreneurs may not be taking advantage of. But if you set yourself up, right, so that you can, you can have some pretty, spectacular situations.

Nelson Barss 27:20

That's awesome. Yeah, I think there are more people than we realize who do that. Right? Especially because it's not. I mean, if you think about it, when you're on vacation, that eight hours between eight and five, or whatever it is, I guess you're you're in Egypt, it's like middle of the night.

Liz Sears 27:21

It would throw off your day a little.

Nelson Barss 27:35

It's really not even the great part of the day anyway, you're not getting a lot done anyway. Right. But what a great idea. And I remember hearing a guy, I was at a at a convention, a mortgage convention, there's this guy who only works remote, right? He worked all across the country, and he does mortgages on his laptop, in you know

Liz Sears 28:00

So he works during they day and plays during the night.

Nelson Barss 28:02

Coffee shops in Europe, and you're you don't even know if he owns a home I don't know is it with like his personality, right? That was his brand. And one of the things I think I really appreciate that he pointed out was the need for security. Like you're not going to especially if you're doing a mortgage or if you're getting clients sensitive information emailed to you or uploaded, you're not gonna just hop onto the coffee shop Wi Fi, right? You need to provide for that yourself need to provide for a secure data connection that can go with you. And I'm sure your your cell company can help you with that. Pretty, pretty simply, right? What other things you need to do to be able to set yourself up to work remotely, what do you recommend,

Liz Sears 28:39

Definitely want to have secure Wi Fi and reliable Wi Fi. You want to make sure that your data plan on your cell phone and all of that isn't going to cost you an arm and a leg. So make sure that you have a provider that is connected. So like whenever I travel to Mexico, I went there a couple times last year, it was nice because I was able to still be engaged in it didn't cost me like a crazy amount extra. Make sure that you have a laptop that works well. And then mostly is just having your team and everybody kind of set up your routine that you're going to do so that you don't get caught up in the busyness of things, but you actually have a schedule that will allow you to step away and then go enjoy where you're at.

Nelson Barss 29:26

One thing that's I think important is our business lines, our phone lines, our VoIP lines, right, their data lines, they're not really old school phone lines anymore. I don't know if anybody still uses the phone company for phone, right? Yeah, but those are very easily transferred. You can answer them on your laptop with a soft phone you can get an app on your cell phone that rings the business line to your cell phone you can have multiple business lines ring into your cell phone. We use it all time to for different people so and so's out today. Let's put her line over here with this other person. And, and I think the other thing is important is, you know, you gotta have, you gotta have everything set up. For remote work. As far as the technology, you know, the software that we use, for example, all of our customers data is not stored on the laptop, it's stored in a server, you know, Michigan or something like that. And every time we enter text, it saves. And so we're just basically, you know, opening a window into the server from wherever we are in the world, right? You can install that window on any computer anywhere, and it's secure, and it's safe.

Liz Sears 30:31

Yeah, everything that we have is on the cloud, we don't have any content that's on our computers.

Nelson Barss 30:38

I wish I could say that I keep telling my team to not save stuff on your computer, just put it on the Cloud Drive, right? Save everything there. I've done that for probably 10 years now. I'm sure everyone does. But it's so convenient. Cuz it's on my phone, it's on my laptop, it's at home. It's at the office. It's the same experience. Exactly. Wherever I am.

Liz Sears 30:57

All right, awesome.

Nelson Barss 30:58

Well, it makes me want to go work remote.

Liz Sears 31:00

I know now we just have to come up with our list of places to work from.

Nelson Barss 31:04

I do have a caveat, though. Because I noticed after being gone for a week, that the morale in the office is different. When I got back there, there was, there was, I don't know, if it was a lack of energy or lack of leadership, or I think there, especially if you have a lot of teammates back at the office, who who need your leadership who need your energy, I think you got to balance that and understand your people understand where you're at, as a team, as a company. And, and if you're gonna, if you're gonna do that, you better make sure that culture is ready for it. Right, and that people are ready for you to be gone long term

Liz Sears 31:42

That actually makes a lot of sense. I know, one of my coaches from forever ago, they said the best way to get back in the swing of things for business is after vacation, is before you go on vacation schedule a couple appointments. And I wonder if the morale of the team, maybe it would be fun. If you have that scheduled already some activity, something that you'll do with them that they can kind of have an "lft" that's a term we use, a look forward to something to look forward to. So maybe you'll have a team dinner, we do this a lot where we'll just all go to somebody's house and go eat dinner and play pool or whatever it is, you know. So,

Nelson Barss 32:18

Like you're saying put it on the calendar for after the trip, so that everyone has something to look forward to and plan for.

Liz Sears 32:24


Nelson Barss 32:25

That's great.

Liz Sears 32:26

So, you know, one other thing that we've barely started using in our company is cultural ambassador. So we have somebody that's kind of secretly the cultural ambassador. And her job is to get a couple other people secretly to do that, too, which maybe I'm letting the cat out. But just to watch for people who might need, you know, some words of encouragement, or somebody who needs a public shout out or somebody who needs a hug, you know, or some compassion or whatever it is. And so maybe even having those people like on hyper awareness while you're gone, saying this is something that we occasionally notice is that morale can drop a little bit. So what ideas do you have that could work with our group and this environment, current market, whatever it is, to make it fun while we're gone?

Nelson Barss 33:12

Yeah or just even just a quick phone call to check in with a person that you might be worried about, right? Just midweek. Hey, how you doing?

Liz Sears 33:21

Thinkin about you.

Nelson Barss 33:22

How's So & So yeah, any questions, anything I can help you with? And I sure appreciate everything you're doing for me, right? Yeah, so let's do it. Let's go work remote.

Liz Sears 33:33


Nelson Barss 33:33

My wife's got a plan. She wants this like six week camping trip.

Liz Sears 33:37

That'd be amazing.

Nelson Barss 33:37

Get the RV and go all these national parks.

Liz Sears 33:40

That would be so cool.

Nelson Barss 33:42

I know I'm thinking I wonder if we can get Wi Fi working. If I can just,

Liz Sears 33:45

Of course you could

Nelson Barss 33:45

Work remotely every day.

Liz Sears 33:48

If they can have Wi Fi on Jurassic Park Island

Nelson Barss 33:51

On Delta Airlines. In the middle of the air. Yeah.

Liz Sears 33:55


Nelson Barss 33:56


Liz Sears 33:56


Nelson Barss 33:57

All right. Well, that was good. Thank you for your advice, Liz.

Liz Sears 34:01

Yeah, right back. Gotcha.

Nelson Barss 34:03

Well, we'll wrap it up. We'll see on the next episode.

Liz Sears 34:05

Thanks, guys.

Nelson Barss 34:06

You've been listening to the business greater than you podcast with Nelson Barss and Liz Sears. Our mission is to help lenders and agents like you

Liz Sears 34:14

If you're either already a full time realtor or looking to become one and you desire to be highly successful. If you're both a learner and a doer, a hard worker and a total team player. We would love to chat with you about joining our team visit us at

Nelson Barss 34:28

If you're a loan officer or would like to be one we have a path to help you learn the business and develop the skills needed to lead a high performance origination team for better income and lifestyle.

Liz Sears 34:39

And lastly, if you would like to work with either of us, we would love your business.

Nelson Barss 34:43

Do you have a question for a future show? Would you like to be considered as a guest on our show? If so, please call or text our listener line at 801-871-9130


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