How holidays can disappear when setting up your own business

Debbie Castleton from Dore runs her own cleaning business Fab Cleaners. Photo: Chris Etchells
Debbie Castleton from Dore runs her own cleaning business Fab Cleaners. Photo: Chris Etchells
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She’s just got back from her only break this year.

And no sooner had she put away her passport than she was off to make sure other tourists were getting their creature comforts.

But even though Debbie Castleton may not get many holidays, she’s certainly in the right business.

She’s a self-confessed cleaning addict - and she runs her own business, Fab Cleaners.

She and her team ensures homes, student lets and offices across the region are spick and span - and lists holiday homes and bed and breakfast locations as a speciality.

Debbie, from Dore, gave up a high-flying career in marketing at a luxury car showroom in Sheffield to fulfil a long-held ambition of running her own business.

She made the jump three years ago and has no regrets whatsoever - even if did mean turning her back on a prestigious company car, a great salary that paid for numerous foreign holidays every year - and what now seems like the greatest luxury of all, five weeks of paid leave.

Debbie said: “In the first two years I didn’t take so much as a day off. I did not have the time and I didn’t feel I had enough back-up within the business. I know I did the right thing. As a result I got the business on a firmer footing.”

Last year she managed to take two week-long holidays - though the first, a few days at her dad’s home in Spain, was “a disaster.”

An employee fell sick and extra hours needed by several clients all had to be dealt with - on the phone from Javea.

She said: “The business has to come first. You have to forgo the things that are actually what we all work hard for - luxuries like holidays - and have faith that those things will come in time.”

IT fixer Jonathan Frost was in danger of becoming a victim of his own success.

For 15 years, his company has been the go-to solution for thousands of Sheffielders whenever they hit a computer crisis.

But since leaving his career as a research physicist in 2001 to set up Fix-My-PC.net, the father of three had managed to take just four holidays.

Jon said: “If you’re not at work you’re not earning.”

The bigger the business got, the more reasons there were to prevent him from heading off for some R&R. When he took on employees he realised their holidays had to take precedence over his.

He said: “By law I have to honour their holiday entitlement. I became their holiday cover.”

Now, though, Jon’s plan to take Fix-My-PC to another level have forced him to take stock - and re-organise his company.

He plans to franchise the business and for the last two months has been undergoing a training programme with world-renowned franchise mentor and entrepreneur Eric Ho. Ho stresses that systemising your business so that anyone can run it is your ticket to freedom and growth.

Jon said: “My staff immediately rose to the challenge of systemising a single business process and my son has built a customer tracking system. I couldn’t be more pleased with the result.”