7 Keys to Automating and Scaling Your Real Estate Investing Business Using OPTT (Other people’s time & talents)

“How a virtual assistant that’s been properly hired, trained and managed can help you make more money, close more deals and free more of your time…”

Are you a wholesaler, fix-and-flipper, landlord, or property manager that wants to have a more profitable business, but you don’t know how without your business consuming you even more than it already has?

Or maybe when you first started your real estate business, you had visions of it supporting the lifestyle you want – more time with family, the flexibility to take vacations as you please, not have to answer to a boss – but instead, it feels like you’ve created a JOB that demands all of your attention?

And on top of that,  if you decided to take a vacation, your business would come to a screeching halt!

Black African American ethnicity frustrated woman working in stress at office

If I’ve just described you, then I’d like you to consider the possibility of what having a virtual assistant (VA) on your team can do for you and your business.

Even if you’ve tried working with a VA before and didn’t get the results you wanted because you didn’t know how to train them, manage them, or use their services most effectively…I want to encourage to keep reading.

I know first hand as a real estate entrepreneur that’s fixed, flipped, and wholesaled nearly 1,000 homes since 2003 – that it’s easy for you to get bogged down with the day-to-day activities that you feel MUST get done to move the needle forward in your business.

But, I made a decision back in 2009 that I wanted to run a business around a lifestyle that I choose. Which meant it had to be able to…

  • Operate smoothly and not skip a beat – even if I decided to leave on vacation for a week.
  • Allow me to only focus on activities I enjoy – like structuring deals.
  • Eliminate ADMINISTRATIVE PURGATORY – no more dealing with a bunch of paperwork.
  • Produce results without a big local staff – I’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt to prove it.

With that being said, the purpose of this article is to share with you (based on my close to a decade of experience working with VAs) what I consider to be the 7 keys to working with virtual assistants that will automate your business, scale your profits, and help you close more deals – while having significantly more free time.

But before we get into the nut’s and bolts, I’ve got a few questions for you …

Does This Sound Like You?

1.  You’re frustrated doing mundane, routine tasks and fulfilling roles in your business that are better suited for someone else because they’re not the highest and best use of your time and aren’t high revenue generating activities.

…And the fact that you’re having to do everything sometimes leads to burnout because you’re wearing too many hats.

2. You know you need help in your real estate investing business but you think it will be too costly to hire someone full or part time.

…Plus you can’t afford or don’t want to deal with the overhead needed for office space.

3. You’re a business owner – who’s owned by your business. Meaning, your business wouldn’t survive if you were away for a week on vacation.

…And you’re looking to scale and increase profits, but you’re the bottleneck in your business that’s holding back your growth.

If you can relate to any of those scenarios, not only will you benefit from having a virtual assistant – but also, NOT having a virtual assistant could actually be COSTING you money. By the end of this article you’ll understand how.

Your 7 Keys to Success

The 7 keys to success in using virtual assistants fall under 4 stages: hiring, training, managing, and scaling.

I’ll share with you the things you need to know in each stage that’ll help get the best results when using virtual assistants to help automate your business, scale your profits, and close more deals – while having significantly more free time.

  • THE ULTIMATE INFOGRAPHIC To Successfully Hire, Train, And Manage Virtual Assistants

STAGE 1 – HIRING A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

KEY #1 – Why One Size Doesn’t Fit All

So here’s a big idea I need to stress to you…

Virtual assistants aren’t like elastic-waist sweatpants where one size fits all.

one size doesn't fit all

If you’re looking to hire a VA to be a jack-of-all trades in your business, you’re setting the VA and yourself up for failure.

What I mean is, often when people hire VAs they have an idea in their mind that once they hire him/her they can dump everything off on that VA that they don’t like or don’t have time to do.

So, you might see an investor give a VA instructions that includes answering general phone calls, following up with sellers, designing flyers and presentations, setting up a wordpress site and bookkeeping.

The problem with that is that when you put that many items on one VA’s plate something is bound to fall through the cracks. Also, the likelihood that your VA is proficient in all of those activities isn’t great.

That means you’ll get back work that doesn’t meet your expectations because you’ve spread your VA too thin in too many different areas.

Instead, you should have your VAs focus on certain aspects of your business that they’re proficient. Then, if you need help in other areas of your business – for instance building a real estate wordpress site to help you market your business – you’ll just hire another VA that specializes in that and let your current VA focus on what they do best in your business.

By taking this approach you’ll see a significant difference in the results your virtual assistant provides you, and you’ll avoid burning out your VA – which would ultimately affect performance.

KEY #2 – The ONE Person you MUST Have On Your Team

There are a number of different types of VAs you can use based on what line of business you’re in or what you’re trying to accomplish in your real estate business.

For instance, you can hire VAs specifically for marketing, for bookkeeping, to build websites… the list goes on.

However, if you only hired one person in your real estate business, I HIGHLY recommend that be a Real Estate Investing Assistant (REIA).

Person

You’ll see the most immediate impact from hiring a REIA because he/she will free your time by allowing you to remove and delegate routine tasks.

Routine tasks such as dealing with admin paperwork, following up with agents and title companies, and taking general phone calls are the types of tasks that zap you of your mental energy and prevent you from being as financially productive as you could be.

This person can become your right hand, and can quite honestly completely change your business because he/she will create efficiencies in your business that make you much more profitable and that will free up your time and mental space to focus on high revenue generating activities –  or just to have more free time to yourself and your family.

Before I had my VA, there was no way I could go on a vacation and trust that the details of my real estate deals were still being tended to. Once you have a trusted VA in that position it’s a game changer because you can start to work ON instead of IN your business.

KEY #3 – Why the Process to Hire a VA Forces You to Be a Better Business Owner

 One of the absolutely best bi-products of preparing to hire a VA is that it FORCES you to be a better business owner.

Here’s what I mean…

When you’re preparing to hire a VA, it forces you to establish clarity in your real estate business, to put serious thought into your business needs, and to create systems so you’ll be able to train your VAs .

Conference Call in Office

That means no more flying by the seat of your pants when running your business – which many of us as real estate investors have been guilty of.

When you’re operating your real estate business with systems, delegating routine tasks, and focusing on the tasks that you enjoy most and that have the greatest impact on your bottom line…

…Your business has no choice but to grow exponentially.

  • THE ULTIMATE INFOGRAPHIC To Successfully Hire, Train, And Manage Virtual Assistants

STAGE 2 – TRAINING A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

KEY #4 – Failing to Prepare is Preparing to Fail

 Ben Franklin said “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.“

Here’s some very important advice that I can’t stress enough…

You shouldn’t assume your VA comes “out the box – ready to use” from day one.

Man thinking out of the box

Taking the time to properly train your VA about your business and systems is the most valuable time you’ll spend with him/her. Spending that time manages expectations and sets them and your business up for success.

The investors that have the greatest challenges with VAs and end up having a revolving door of virtual assistants (which is costly in both money and time), are those people that throw their VAs into the mix from day one without spending any time to train them.

It’s no different than if you hired a new employee locally. You wouldn’t hire someone and expect them to read your mind about what you want done and how you want it done.

Set you and your VA up for success by spending the time at the beginning to train them. That time will have exponential benefits in the short and long term.

KEY #5 – The Secret Sauce to Properly Training VAs

Ok, so now I’m going to share with you the secret to really making your business run like a well oiled machine.

This secret sauce will reduce your time spent training, help you maintain a consistent quality of work, and allow you to scale your business.

Secret Sauce

That secret sauce is SOPs, which stands for Standard Operating Procedures.

If you’re already familiar with SOPs, that’s great. Because you’re going to need to use them with VAs if you really want to have long term success.

But, if this is your intro to SOPS, they’re the documented processes that a company has in place to ensure services and products are delivered consistently every time.

It’s why chains like McDonald’s are so successful – you know what to expect when going there as a customer, and their employees know what, why and how to operate because they have systems in place to produce predictable results.

 Using SOPs is the difference between you running a real estate investing business with the structure in place needed for you to continuously be able to grow and take time off from your business vs. a real estate investing business that you operate on the fly,  with your head on a swivel because you’re always reactive instead of proactive about getting things done.

SO, THE BENEFIT OF USING SOPs IN YOUR REAL ESTATE BUSINESS IS:

  • They create structure in your business activities
  • Make it easier for VAs to do their jobs
  • Your VA doesn’t have to guess how you want a task done
  • Your VA’s can enjoy more predictability in their jobs and hone their skills to raise overall performance
  • Reduces errors or variation so you and your clients know what to expect
  • Give you a reference point to conduct employee reviews
  • Give you the ability to compare performance of employees doing the same tasks
  • Allow you to replicate processes in order to scale up and expand to other markets
  • THE ULTIMATE INFOGRAPHIC To Successfully Hire, Train, And Manage Virtual Assistants

STAGE 3 – MANAGING A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

KEY #6 – The ONE THING That Will  Ultimately Determine Your Success

If you only remember one thing I say (which I hope you’ll remember much more), please heed this advice…

“Your ability and wiliness to delegate will have a direct correlation with your success as a business  owner, with the growth of your business, and your financial freedom.”

Mastering the art of DELEGATION is critical in order for you to effectively manage your virtual staff . Without being willing and able to delegate, you’re just going through the motions when you hire a virtual assistant.

Do this for sure

Your goal should be to only focus on high revenue generating activities (structuring deals, putting together JV opportunities, networking with other investors), and delegate, delay or skip all other tasks.

HERE’S A HINT:  Determine what your effective hourly rate is when you’re putting together deals.

So, let’s assume your average wholesale deal profit is $5000.And, let’s say that you typically invest 20 hours in a wholesale deal from start to finish. That would mean your hourly rate when you’re working on deals is $250/hr ($5000 divided by 20hrs).

Obviously if you make more per deal, or it takes you less time to work a deal, then your hourly rate would be higher.

Now, that hourly rate should become your minimum threshold of whether you should be performing an activity or delegating it.

In other words, you should be saying to yourself –  “if what I’m about to do right now isn’t worth at least $250/hr, then I need to either delegate it to my VA, delay the activity, or skip it altogether.

Using this approach will keep you focused on the activities that make the most money in your business, get you in the habit of delegating, and make you start earning what you’re worth – which is more than $10/hr tasks.

The ability to delegate is one of the biggest difference between real estate investors who have successful businesses that produce consistent income that don’t require their consistent daily involvement…

…Versus investors who struggle, living from deal to deal, and who feel like they’re business owns them instead of the other way around.

Think about the reason you decided to become a real estate entrepreneur…

Did you do it to make more money? To have more freedom of time? To leave your 9-5? To really do something you love?

Regardless of your reason, in order to build a sustainable business that you love not only today, but years down the line – you need to automate the parts of your real estate business that you either shouldn’t be doing, don’t know how to do, or don’t enjoy doing.

In order for this to happen you have to stay out of your own way and not become a bottleneck for your business.

Resist the temptation to do it all yourself.

  • THE ULTIMATE INFOGRAPHIC To Successfully Hire, Train, And Manage Virtual Assistants

STAGE 4 – SCALING WITH A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

KEY #7 – Tools You Can Use to Communicate, Automate, and Delegate Time-Sucking Tasks And Get More Deals Done

If you really want to optimize and scale your business – whether that means making more money by closing more deals, or running a business that frees up your time and needs less of your daily involvement – you’ll need to use some online tools to help you out.

Let’s talk about a few tools to help you operate a real estate business with a virtual staff –  as smoothly as a well run brick and mortar company – but with significantly less overhead.

Viberis one of the game-changing tools that’s allowed me to be twice as productive and focus more on revenue generating tasks since it makes it very easy to communicate and delegate tasks to my virtual staff as well as seamlessly share files in real time.

This tool works well to create a community with my virtual team, even though they’re in many different locations, many being overseas.  With Viber, we’re able to communicate worldwide using video and voice calling as well as text messaging in real time – AND IT’S FREE.

We also use the app to send files (i.e. contracts, purchase documents, etc), pictures (i.e. rehab pics for properties), videos (i.e. property walk-throughs), and we even use Viber like a walkie talkie if we’re not a position to text or call.

And the beauty is Viber syncs with your mobile, tablet and desktop so you have your messages and files across all your devices.

Todoist is my secret weapon that I use to manage my entire staff (both local and virtual) for less than the cost of a steak dinner (currently it cost around $30/user – that’s not a monthly cost – THAT’S FOR A YEAR!).  This tool helps you maximize productivity by giving you the ability to see all tasks assigned, completed, updated, relevant notes, and shared files in a simple user-friendly interface.

It makes accountability a no-brainer, which is crucial when you have a lot of moving pieces, and it helps you stay on the same page with your team by allowing you to check in on the software instead of the need to follow up with each team member individually.

With Todoist it’s easy to share files, discuss details, and allow everyone to stay informed of progress of each of your real estate deals. And it also syncs across your desktop, browser, email app, and mobile app.

Google Apps

Google Apps marries your calendar with your email, with cloud storage, and gives you cloud editing capabilities.  In other words, you can manage all your documents with your virtual team no matter where they live in the world.

We use Google Apps for just about everything that’s document-driven in our business. Google apps includes Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides.

It also includes Google Drive, which is the most valuable resource for me in this package.  It’s the main tools my virtual assistants and I use to collaborate on documents in real time, remotely.

I can’t stress how convenient it is to have all of your documents stored and one place and to be able to control who has access to certain files.

There’s obviously a lot of other tools that you can use in your business. But, these are a few of the tools I’ve used with my virtual staff to scale my real estate business to multiple six figures a year.

And as you can see, the cost of these tools is either free or less than a couple hundred dollars a year – so extremely budget friendly.

  • THE ULTIMATE INFOGRAPHIC To Successfully Hire, Train, And Manage Virtual Assistants

WHAT’S NEXT?

Board

Let’s recap.

I’ve shared with you what I consider to be the 7 keys to success working with virtual assistants to automate your business, close more deals, and free more of your time.

Those 7 keys are…

1. “One size doesn’t fit all” with VAs.

2. The VA you MUST hire first is your REAL ESTATE INVESTING ASSISTANT.

3. The preparation to hire a VA forces you to be a better business owner.

4. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail when working with virtual assistants.

5. The secret sauce to training your VAs & receiving consistent quality work is using

6. The ONE THING that will ultimately determine your success is your ability and willingness to delegate routine tasks and focus on high revenue generating

7. Use tools in your business that will allow you to communicate, automate, and delegate time sucking tasks and operate on a shoestring budget.

Whether you’ve been considering working with a virtual assistant or you’ve worked with one in the past with marginal results – your success in using VAs to automate and scale boils down to properly hiring, training, and managing your virtual staff.

When you implement the 7 keys that I covered, I guarantee you’ll set yourself up to work with a virtual assistant that can completely change your life by making you much more profitable, freeing more of your time, and helping you be truly be a business owner, instead of being owned by your business.

  • THE ULTIMATE INFOGRAPHIC To Successfully Hire, Train, And Manage Virtual Assistants

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