The Power of a Vacation

The backbone of financial wealth is built on hard work. Yet, physical, mental, spiritual and financial wealth cannot coexist with uninterrupted labor. Every business owner knows, or should know, the power of a vacation. And if you want optimal health and wealth, you better know, as well.

There is a misunderstanding in society of what a vacation really is. Americans think of it as a two week power getaway. (As an American I admit my culture burns at a higher heat and needs to slow down, at least when we take time off. Much of the world already understands this.) The Continent shuts down for August.

Many countries around the world have extended holiday opportunities for employees. Yet, we idolize the hard working business owner that never takes a day off. 

The employee who never takes a day off is not only less effective, but also the employee most likely to embezzle from your firm. (You can’t take a day off over fear of being discovered.)

Vacation time is a great time to read and relax. Enrich your mind while your body destresses.

We idolize those perceived as working endlessly. Who can forget the dedication to detail of Steve Jobs? Does anyone work harder than Elon Musk? Or Bill Gates in his younger days?

While some can work for longer at higher levels of efficiency and creativity, that is not the default for most people. As much as we idolize the accomplishments of Jobs and Musk, each found time to get away and relax. From Albert Einstein to Bill Gates to Jobs and Musk and every other great accomplishment prodigy ever created by the human race, it was the moments of quiet where the magic happened. 

Elon Musk is famous for saying he hates vacations or even the idea of vacations. Yet, Musk steals away when he can to focus his thoughts and increase creativity. Bill Gates has “think weeks”. Einstein would think quietly and alone. This is how he imagined such wonderful things that help us understand our world better and is the basis of so many of our modern technologies.

 

Long time readers of this blog are quick to point out my disdain for travel. The truth is I don’t mind traveling. I much prefer a quiet retreat, unrushed, so I can focus on ideas and creative endeavors. Still, I know deep inside when it is time to pack my bags and visit folks outside the backyard.

So why does a guy that limits his vacation time write a blog post on vacations? Well, it is personal and I would like to share the story.

There are five distinct types of vacation. Each type can be sliced and diced into smaller and smaller components, but in the end there are really only 5 to choose from. 

Where you are personally will determine the most appropriate vacation for you at this time.

My youngest daughter, Brooke is heading for her fifth surgery since early December. (For people reading this much later, I am writing in mid-April at 4 a.m. the Monday before the surgery.) She heads UW Health in Madison late Wednesday for a very early surgery Thursday morning.

Brooke had a series of strokes the past few years and she had very serious strokes last autumn. What started as two surgeries opening her head turned into six due to complications. This week they are replacing the large piece of skull removed from an infection that set in from two surgeries ago. You can read more of the background here.

It is these personal events that have me taking an unscheduled vacation and where we will begin our discussion of each type of vacation and when each is most appropriate to take.

The best vacations avoid the tourist traps. The out-of-the-way places can satiate the spirit more than any other vacation destination.

The Five Types of Vacation

The Long Weekend Vacation

Needless to say, time off daily is a necessity. A good night of sleep is vital to good health. And since fatigue does not bring out our greatest productivity, time off, rest and a vacation can actually help you get more work done than if you never took a minute of rest.

Tax season is brutal for me. Long hours with few days off take a toll. I often get to the office at 4 a.m. and go all day, and sometimes even work into the evening. 

Outside tax season is a different story. I work the early morning hours from home as often as possible. The office is closed on Friday, for a 3-day weekend. 

Just because the office is closed for a 3-day weekend all summer doesn’t mean I can’t think about work. I still read books that educate, answer emails and talk with clients. There are fewer interruptions and the pace is slower so my mind is settled. Just as time off should be.

 

A subset of The Long Weekend Vacation is The Unplanned Vacation. That is where I am at this week personally.

The Unplanned Vacation usually involves the unexpected. A death, illness or other unplanned event surprises us. 

In my case, we knew of, and planned, Brooke’s surgery. It still falls under the “unplanned” column because we have no choice in the timing and the time off is not voluntary.

I will be in the office Monday through Wednesday, probably with shortened hours. Thursday will begin my weekend this week. The early week in the office will keep my mind distracted and Thursday I will be unable to focus while my family awaits news from the surgical theater so I’ll sit and wait. 

 

The Long Weekend Vacation, planned or not, is a short-term break from the routine. It doesn’t have to be every week, or seasonal, as it is in my business.

The important part to remember is the power of the pause that refreshes. When you can walk away and clear your mind, the best ideas will bubble to the surface. The extra day or so of down time can super charge your effectiveness and efficiency the following week.

Vacation time is an opportunity to discover your history and make new friends.

The Two-Week Vacation

Let’s call this the American style of vacationing. Two weeks crammed full of as much as you can stuff into it as you can. Maybe it is a power job around the house or a hyper-planned vacation. In either case, it is filled with as much as can be packed into it, plus a bit more. 

The week-long, 10-day, and two-week tour package fits nicely into this category. Several years back my parents invited Sue and me to a 10-day tour of Costa Rica. It was very nice, but waaaay too rushed. You really can’t really see an entire country in 10 days! I prefer to bed down deep in a community and really get to know a few people.

The Two-Week Vacation doesn’t have to be rushed. Too many Americans use some hectic version of this type of vacation, in my opinion. 

Two weeks is long enough to start to unwind and relax. If you fill too many spaces it becomes your new job, stress and all, for a few weeks before you are happy to be back to the old grind.

Work should never be a grind! The Two-Week Vacation can offer plenty of relaxation and recharging. It is a real opportunity for undivided family time, reading and reflecting.

Don’t underestimate The Tw0-Week Vacation. Just slow it down a bit from the American Style.

 

The European Vacation

My friends across the pond really know how to take a vacation. The Continent comes to a stop during August (except for those in travel, food and entertainment) as people of all ages take a collective deep breath. 

Correct me if I’m wrong, but in Europe, August, or any vacation time for that matter, is at a much more relaxed pace. While The Long Weekend Vacation and Two-Week Vacation have a lot going for them, a full month at a slower pace does more to revitalize. 

This brings up a good point. Short vacations are important, but a longer, deeper vacations periodically are also a requirement. 

The American Style vacation wasn’t always so rushed in America. My grandparents took extended time in Hawaii and Europe in their younger days. And we were farmers where cows had to be milked every day! If there is a will, there is a way. My frugal grandfather proved you can slow down, enjoy, without breaking the piggy bank. American need to get back to this.

It takes time to enjoy an exotic vacation. Extended vacations allow for discovery of true delights.

The Australian Vacation

I hope I am not crossing a line with something stereotypical. Many years back I made the mistake of identifying a man as Oriental (as he also introduced himself as) in a blog post. The outrage was swift and deafening until I asked what I was supposed to say? “Asian!”

Oh! 

When you live in the backwoods you sometimes don’t understand or know what the rest of the world thinks about phrases used “when I was growing up.”

No offense is intended if this is one of those cases.

 

I was told on more than one occasion that when you travel the world you will meet a lot of Australians. I don’t know if it is true or not, but since I heard it more than once from different people I think there might be something to it.

My understanding is that the fine folks from down under take vacations and travel seriously. As in 6-weeks or longer serious!

What I like about the extended (my term for what I consider really long vacations) time off is that you can really settle in. This allows you to really get to know people on a more personal level. With time, people share more things about themselves and their communities. The slow pace has massive advantages.

My oldest daughter, Heather, enjoyed a full summer in China. She stayed with a host family as she taught their daughter, Dora, English as a second language. It has been years and Heather still talks with her host family and Dora on a regular basis. There is a connection between our families that runs deep. Sometimes our eyes wander to the East as we contemplate friends far away.

 

A subset of the Australian Vacation is the Gap Year Vacation. This extended vacation runs to a year or longer. 

When people in high stress jobs burn out they frequently take one of these Quasi-Retirement Vacations, only to discover they miss the excitement of the battlefield and head back to the mosh pit after extended time off to gather their thoughts.

A Gap Year (or three) is valuable for young people, too. Immersing in a culture or a personal project for a few years brings life-long benefits. Traveling the world, if that is what excites you, gives you multiple perspectives and worldviews. (Might I suggest to my American friends you don’t only hang with Americans. If you bring home with you, some of the benefit is lost.)

Rekindle love or build on a new relationship. A vacation offers plenty of time for you.

Retirement

The ultimate vacation is retirement, where you leave and don’t come back. I know too many people that rush this type of vacation. Unfortunately, it is a one and done. (Unless you made a mistake and it was only a Gap Year/s.)

There is an American flavor to retirement, as well, where you rush to get there as early as possible only to rush to travel the world only to rush to. . . 

You get the point. Slow down, take a break and enjoy. Retirement is overrated. Desires of retirement usually mean you are in the wrong profession or just need one of the vacations listed above. 

Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with the long walk (retirement). Just make sure it is what you really want. 

 

Now my mind drifts to personal issues again. The surgeon is opening Brooke’s skull for a fifth time with a guaranteed sixth time in a few months. Of course my thoughts as distracted. 

I will enjoy many three-day weekends this summer. I will read and write and plan and work around my farm and. . . 

I’ll have fun, is what I’m saying.

This weekend will be a 4-banger, four days filled with a lot of sitting, waiting and praying. It is an important vacation, if you can call it that.

 

And you, my kind readers, all vacations are important. Make sure you don’t skimp. It is as important, or more so, than the work we fill our time with.

 

More Wealth Building Resources

Worthy Financial offers a flat 5% on their investment. You can read my review here. 

Personal Capital is an incredible tool to manage all your investments in one place. You can watch your net worth grow as you reach toward financial independence and beyond. Did I mention Personal Capital is free?

Medi-Share is a low cost way to manage health care costs. As health insurance premiums continue to sky rocket, there is an alternative preserving the wealth of families all over America. Here is my review of Medi-Share and additional resources to bring health care under control in your household.

QuickBooks is a daily part of life in my office. Managing a business requires accurate books without wasting time. QuickBooks is an excellent tool for managing your business, rental properties, side hustle and personal finances.

cost segregation study can reduce taxes $100,000 for income property owners. Here is my review of how cost segregation studies work and how to get one yourself.

10 Ways to Earn an Extra $10,000 This Year

There are so many reasons to ask, How can I make an extra $10,000 this year? Maybe you want to retire early and a small extra income will do the trick coupled with your savings and investments. The economy might be bad, your hours cut or are unemployed. Maybe you are retired and just want something to do that adds value to the lives of others while providing extra income for bills.

Regardless your reasons for wanting to earn extra money, what you need is a list of ideas for accomplishing the goal. Below is a list of 10 ways to earn an extra $10,000 this year (unless you are reading this New Year’s Eve, then you can start next year). Each of these opportunities are used to earn extra money by family members or clients in my office. If you read to the end I have two bonuses.

 

Home delivery is the biggest opportunity for side hustle money today.

 

Grocery Delivery

This growing trend has turned into a very good paying job you can work whenever you feel like it. You can work as many or as few hours as you want. Mrs. Accountant (my lovely bride) works with elderly and shut-in people. One of the most requested tasks is grocery shopping.

Finding clients is easy. Instacart and similar services are always looking for more people to deliver groceries. You can do an internet search for companies looking for delivery people in your area. The pay is good, the tips better. And best of all, you choose your hours and which orders you want to fill. Remember to keep good records. Miles are tax deductible so if you don’t drive a Ferrari you will probably have some income that isn’t taxed, too, since the mileage deduction might be larger than the expense of operating your vehicle.

 

Delivery Services

This is a broad category. Groceries are listed above, but that is only one type of delivery service. I have clients who deliver meals from local restaurants. If you respond to requests quickly the tips tend to be quite generous. 

Food is only the newest fast growing delivery service. If you have a truck (or a trailer) you can deliver large items from hardware stores and other retail outlets. One of my clients turned a small delivery business into a 7-figure business. He handles a large percentage of deliveries from several hardware stores. 

Almost anything a person or business buys needs delivery. The hours are flexible, coupled with a high income. You can start your own business, making a few calls to set up the service, or use online companies already in the delivery business. Either way, the delivery business is the biggest opportunity for above average income and flexible hours in our economy at this time.

 

Selling Tradelines

This idea has been around for a while. I published several times on the issue. You can start your research here. 

I don’t sell as many tradelines as I used to. I still earn around $4,000 per year for about 2-4 hours of work. The biggest drawback is it takes time to get your first payment (typically about 2 months). 

The reason I pulled back is time. Yes, the money selling tradelines is really good, but I also have a tax practice, this blog and more people than I can count who want consulting services. Selling tradelines is about the easiest way to make side money I ever saw, especially if you only want a couple thousand extra for fun money. Tradelines would not be a good option if your goal is $50,000 per year. However, when I worked it hard in the beginning I did approach $30,000 the first year. For a modest effort it is possible to earn $10,000 per year and more.

 

Consulting

Consulting needs clarification. Making money consulting is different than coaching (another possible idea I will not cover) and requires a narrow niche to do well. 

There are plenty of people selling coaching/consulting courses on social media that basically tell you to do what they are doing. That is not consulting! At least not a kind of consulting that adds value and is worth buying.

The trick to successful consulting is focusing on one issue. For example, I consult on tax issues. That makes sense. I run a tax office and stay up-to-date on the tax laws. Of course my consulting services expand beyond the original topic. People ask about investments, retirement planning, legal issues, starting a business and even personal problems. Many times I’m qualified and comfortable expanding the scope of the consulting agreement. Retirement planning and business issues rise to the top. Legal issues I defer to an attorney. Personal issues many times require a professional social worker or medical professional. When possible, I try to help the client find the appropriate professional. 

Consulting done right is very profitable. A 6-figure income is not unheard of. Focus if the key. As I write there are several new tax laws to stimulate the economy. Just that one topic will keep you busier than you want if you choose to focus on it. Businesses and individuals are in desperate need for quality consulting and accounting firms like mine can’t handle all the work. BTW, I turn away over 90% of consulting requests because there are not that many hours in a day. Consulting is a good business.

Remember, focus if you want a consulting side gig. You don’t want to and can’t be everything for everyone. 

 

Elder care services is a fast growing full-time or side hustle opportunity.

 

Elder Care

Demographics provide the direction jobs are going. An aging population is going to need more services for the elderly. As you will see below and in the first bonus, elder care is not about working in a nursing home. 

People want to stay living in their home. They want their independence. It is cheaper for families and communities to give as many people as possible the option of living at home. 

Elder care extends to the disabled. Mrs. Accountant works for a company very part-time helping an elderly couple and a disable man. She cleans their homes, cooks meals and runs errands for them. She works less than 15 hours per week. It’s something Mrs. Accountant wants to do and she enjoys it. Of course you can work more hours if you want.

Clients are found one of two ways. Most counties hire, along with private companies contracted through state or local agencies. You can also provide cleaning, cooking and shopping services outside government supported programs. 

It is easiest to work through a company handling all the back office work or government agencies. For part-time work you can add $10,000 or more to your income in a year without working long hours. You can also choose your own schedule.

 

Gardening

Do you like working outdoors? Growing a garden? Did you know you could get paid to garden?

This unique side gig is overfilled with benefits. You get to work outdoors during the summer months doing what you love most and get paid for it.

It is a seasonal job, however. Where you live determines the scope of your gardening side hustle. Northern areas have a shorter growing season. Southern areas might include planting fruit trees. It all depends where you live.

Here in NE Wisconsin I have three clients who help people who can’t handle all the gardening chores. There are farmers outside the Fox Cities with plots divided in a field people can rent to garden. One of my clients helps elderly people by driving them to the garden plots and helping them with the gardening chores.

Best of all is that most gardens provide more produce than the client can eat so you get a wonderful supply of fresh fruits and vegetables as they come into season.

 

Lawn Care

There is a theme forming in this list. Lawn care services for those folks who want to stay living in their home, but can’t handle pushing a lawn mower are ideal clients. 

Don’t forget businesses! Business owners and landlords are always looking for high quality lawn services at a reasonable price. My office pays to have the lawn cut.

Lawn care is more than clipping lawns, too. Dealing with weeds and fertilizing lawns is also part of the deal if you want. There are also plenty of opportunities for light gardening work here as well, though many times it involves working flower beds. rewarding work that also fills in for healthy exercise, too.

 

Tax Preparer

I have encouraged this side hustle for years. There are an army of people pulling $10,000 per year and more working part-time seasonally.

Once again there are two ways to address this opportunity. First, you can run it as your own small business. A 15-minute presentation at a local Optimist Club or apartment association and you will have more clients than you want unless you want a very full-time business. 

The second way to earn a hansom income in spring is to work for an established tax office. Tax offices are always looking for good seasonal employees. (God, don’t I know it!) Not every tax office is for you; choose which fits best. There are the low cost tax offices where basic returns are prepared. If you can run a computer you can handle the returns they prepare. As your skills grow you can work at more traditional tax offices and CPA firms. Starting wages generally are $10-$17 per hour, depending on the part of the country you are in. Office like mine and CPA firms frequently pay people with tax experience $20 per hour and up. Very experienced preparers can demand $50 or more per hour. Not bad for part-time seasonal work.

For readers in the northern climes this is perfect. When the snow melts and you feel like running around outside tax season is over. 

 

Dog Walking

Mrs. Accountant enters again. The same elderly couple who has Mrs. Accountant buy groceries for them also has her walk their dog. Coco the dog, I am told, goes wild when Mrs. Accountant arrives. He is so excited to go for a walk with his human.

Mrs. Accountant wears a lot of hats when performing elder care services. However, there is no reason you can’t focus on a narrow niche. Dog walking is getting to be big business. If you love animals I can’t think of a more rewarding side hustle.

And the pay can get very generous.

 

Pet sitting and dog walking are high paying side gigs you can do on your own schedule.

 

Pet Sitting

If you enjoy animals and walking outdoors, dog walking is for you. Married to that side gig is pet sitting. The demand for pet sitting services is massive and growing, at $440 million in 2017. 

There are several avenues to earning extra coin in this hustle.

First, you can pet sit at the pet owner’s home. Second, you can provide pet sitting in your own home. This option does require the space and the ability to have pets in your home or apartment. Third, you can work part-time at a pet sitting service or kennel. Generally the pay is low, but getting paid anything to pet cats and dogs and feed them is beyond awesome.

Finally, humane societies and shelters are always looking for help. Again, this is a low wage route. But if you love animals and there is no other option available, this can be the perfect option to earn some extra income on your schedule doing something you love.

 

Bonus #1: Friendship Service

In 2019,  36.48 million Americans lived in a one-person household. That is a lot of lonely people. Many are older and have lost a spouse or significant other. Many times they have no surviving family. Some suffer disabilities.

Loneliness is an extremely painful experience you can resolve by providing a friendship service. There are clients in my office who spend 10 or so hours a week visiting their client just to talk. Sometimes they need help finding someone to help with a household need, such as hiring a plumber, or for repairs to their home. 

Usually all they want is someone to talk to. Local social services sometimes cover the cost of friendship services, other times not. The work, obviously, is not hard, but it is important. Not only are you providing human contact to people alone, but are also visiting to assure they are safe and healthy. 

As our society ages and people have smaller families, friendship services will become more and more common. At this time demand far exceeds the supply of people willing to be a friend. I can’t think of a better way to earn some extra money than by providing a ray of sunshine to the life of a wonderful human being.

 

Bonus #2: Tutoring

I have a large number of clients (and my oldest daughter) earning a good income tutoring. There are several levels you need to consider with this hustle.

Tutoring can be a work-at-home business with all the tutoring done online. You can focus on local primary and secondary students or college kids. There are numerous online options for tutoring. I have a client who teaches at the local high school and also teaches (not technically tutoring) at several online schools. His income is well into the 6-figures. 

Companies that offer tutoring services are also a good place for a part-time side gig. It can turn into a full-time job if that is your desire, or it can remain small, falling within our discussion of earning $10,000 per year.

My daughter tutors online, but also meets with students at the local library. She works closely with the parents and the teachers so she can provide the best help. In these cases the parents pay the tutoring fee. Generally, the parent pays for a package of 10 tutoring sessions at a time. It doesn’t take many of these to start earning some generous side money.

Teaching English as a second language is in high demand. My oldest daughter traveled to China for a year to teach. She lived with a host family and was paid by them as well. It has been a highlight of her life. She is now working to teach/tutor not only in the US, but in countries around the world online. 

Group tutoring is also an option in all these situations. An important point to consider, if you want to be successful tutoring, is to focus on the kind of client you want to serve. My daughter has a few local clients she tutors, but her passion is to tutor children around the world. Being everything to everyone is usually a recipe for failure. Focus on the type of student you want to tutor and you will find tutoring a rewarding side hustle providing a nice income. You can always change your mind on the kind of student you wish to tutor.

 

Our 10 ideas turned into 12 way to earn an extra $10,000 or more this year. Extra money is always nice, filling the vacation or holiday fund. Or invest it for long-term income stream. No matter what the economy does there are always opportunities to earn extra money doing things you enjoy. 

Do you know side hustles I haven’t mentioned that pay $10,000 or more per year? Do you have experiences with the side hustles I mentioned? Please share them in the comments section below. Thank you. 

 

 

More Wealth Building Resources

Worthy Financial offers a flat 5% on their investment. You can read my review here. 

Personal Capital is an incredible tool to manage all your investments in one place. You can watch your net worth grow as you reach toward financial independence and beyond. Did I mention Personal Capital is free?

Medi-Share is a low cost way to manage health care costs. As health insurance premiums continue to sky rocket, there is an alternative preserving the wealth of families all over America. Here is my review of Medi-Share and additional resources to bring health care under control in your household.

QuickBooks is a daily part of life in my office. Managing a business requires accurate books without wasting time. QuickBooks is an excellent tool for managing your business, rental properties, side hustle and personal finances.

cost segregation study can reduce taxes $100,000 for income property owners. Here is my review of how cost segregation studies work and how to get one yourself.