What is it about vacation time and small business owners? My family is spending the week along the Oregon Coast enjoying the ever changing weather and trying to balance two of life’s great priorities; family and work. It is common for me to hear business owners complain that they can never get away from the office and yet, it is mostly the self-employed that I meet on our family outings. About a year ago our family went with six or seven other families from our church congregation to the Great Wolf Lodge in Washington State. We spent three fun days playing in the water park and just generally having a blast. As we drove home it occurred to me that every single bread winner on the trip ran their own business. Who else could take time off in the middle of the week?

This week we are staying next door to my best friend Bill’s family. We are occupying twin beach houses. Our children are all the same age and are constantly moving between the two locations. It feels very communal. Anyway, Bill is founder and CEO of Learning.com, his second entrepreneurial venture.  Both Bill and I are happy to be setting still. To not be traveling for a whole week. However, almost every time one of us has sought out the other we have found our friend at his computer or on a conference call. I don’t mean to imply that it has been all work. There have been horse back rides, a home made sushi party and deep sea fishing, but there has also been lots of phone and internet time trying to keep projects moving at the office.

That is how it is and how I think it always will be. As a small business owner we have to do what it takes to keep the doors open. We work long hours or spend nights away from home eating junk food and trying to remember what your rental car looks like. But there are also some great perks. One of the best ones for me is the chance to work in the morning and then take a few hours (of my choosing) to spend with my wife of kids. I can work from many places and have the flexibility to mix business time with family/fun time. Vacation time spent with my family and friends like we are enjoying this week is made possible by the risks taken and the time invested in building a business. There are other rewards too, but tonight the ones that I am focused on are ready to be tucked into bed.