virtual assistant tips
 

Today we’re talking all about when, why, and how to hire VAs for your real estate business (or for that matter, any business).

Hiring VAs is one of these things people love to talk about as an easy solution to every business problem, but in my experience, it’s not quite that simple.

First of all, you need to have the money to pay for one. A decent VA isn’t necessarily that expensive, but it’s important to acknowledge that when you’re starting out and you’ve got a limited budget, hiring a VA isn’t an easy option for everyone. You need to get to the point of some profitability before you can jump into this.

There’s also a lot that goes into finding the right person, for the right job, keeping them on task, paying them appropriately, and A LOT more.

In this conversation, we’re going to talk about some of the things we’ve learned in our experiences of finding and hiring people.

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Episode 110 Transcription

Seth: Hey, everybody. How’s it going? This is Seth Williams and Jaren Barnes, and you’re listening to the REtipster podcast episode 110. The show notes for today’s episode can be found at retipster.com/110.

Today we’re talking about an issue that I remember hearing a lot about when I was getting started in real estate. It’s something that a lot of people kind of throw around as a catch-all solution to all of your business problems. It’s the subject of when and why and how to hire a virtual assistant or a VA.

I think, first of all, one of the issues that I personally had when I was getting started is that I didn’t have a whole lot of money. I was barely squeaking by with barely enough to do my first deal. And even then, I had to use all that money to fund future deals.

And even though a lot of virtual assistants are overseas, they’re not necessarily expensive. I think maybe the starting rate nowadays is maybe about $600 a month or $3 to $4 an hour, depending on which country they’re from and what they’re doing for you and all that. That’s kind of like the bottom line, like bare-bones starting costs.

So, it’s not like it’s crazy expensive, but it’s still money. Like you got to find that from somewhere. And I think once you’re raking in piles of cash, it’s not that hard to budget that out. But for me, that was one of the issues. I knew that was a solution, but I still was having a hard time getting that cash regularly to pay for this.

I was also having issues figuring out where do I find a good person and somebody who’s reliable and how do I find enough consistent work to give them on an ongoing basis and how do I find the right jobs to give them because not every virtual assistant is going to be good at everything. In fact, none of them will be good at everything. VA is just a normal person. Just like you are great at certain things and terrible at other things, that’s what you should expect from a normal VA.

So, there’s just a lot of stuff to unpack here. And I think a lot of us have probably heard people say that “Yeah, just hire a VA.” Done. But there’s a lot more to that that we have to figure out how to do.

And so, a lot of stuff that Jaren and I are going to cover here will come from a mixture of our own personal experience, finding and hiring and working with VAs, and also from just insights and knowledge that we have gleaned from reading books on the subject, hearing other people talk on the subject, hearing others people’s experiences on it. Hopefully, there’s going to be plenty of value packed into this episode that you can walk away with. With that, I guess we’ll get started.

Jaren: Yeah, let’s get started.

Seth: Maybe the first question I think everybody needs to answer for their own situation is “Can you afford a VA?” Or even if you do have the money, is that the right place to put your money at this time, as opposed to all the other things you have to pay for in your business? And what should you expect to pay for certain types of virtual assistance or paid professionals in other parts of the world?

I think it’s a good question. Kind of like I mentioned earlier, I think that maybe $600 a month range is probably a decent starting point to expect. And that’s for somebody who they’re not necessarily an expert on any particular thing. They’re just available to do a lot of the lower-paying jobs that you don’t have time or can’t justify doing yourself. Things like posting things on social media or following up with people or maybe posting listings online, that kind of stuff. But Jaren, what’s your experience? Have you seen any different prices than that? What have you paid your VAs in the past?

Jaren: Yes. That’s pretty comparable. Funny enough, I just onboarded a bunch of VAs, within the last month or so. What I’m paying is about $700 per VA. The company that I’ve found, I’m in contact with kind of a liaison who’s in the Philippines and I pay her and she handles all the hiring and firing and training and is responsible to meet my work quota and stuff. So, it’s a pretty cool setup how it all came about.

Seth: What company is it?

Jaren: It’s called cyberbeatva.com.

Seth: Is that B-E-A-T?

Jaren: Yeah. Their website doesn’t seem to be working.

Seth: That’s a good sign.

Jaren: Yeah. The lady actually came through my existing network and that was going to be my biggest tip for today’s podcast, is that I am very much aware of the feeling of overwhelm and where do you go. There’s a bunch of different service providers out there. There’s Upwork, and it can be extremely overwhelming on where to get started.

My approach was, as I was doing this for my own land business, I realized I’m probably going to be better off just asking other people that I have in my network where they got their VAs or actually reaching out to past VAs that I’ve worked with at different companies and ask them if they happen to know anybody.

For example, when I used to work for BiggerPockets, the guy that used to edit the BiggerPockets podcast was a guy from the Philippines named Dave. And so I reached out to him saying, “Hey, do you know anybody who is in the Philippines who might be open to working with me as a virtual assistant?” And I reached out to a bunch of people and they ended up coming in my direction from David Richter over at Simple CFO Solutions.

I think the jury is still out as to whether or not things are going to pan out or what have you. But if we get a couple of months down the road and it’s just been nothing but smooth sailing, I’m definitely going to share a lot more about my experience working with cyberbeatva.com.

Seth: We’re going to be covering a lot of different online resources in this conversation. So again, be sure to check out a list of all the different links to all the places we’re talking about in the show notes retipster.com/110. And you’ll see all this stuff there if you ever want to go reference that or check in on it.

And also, through all these different things we’re going to be talking about. I don’t know if I’d take them as recommendations. We’re not saying you should go here and do this. It’s more these are the ones we know about. These are the ones that we hear about. Some of them we’ve worked with directly, but not all of them. So don’t take this as like, “Oh yeah, REtipster endorses this company and everything they do.

Jaren: Very good point. A hundred percent.

Seth: I will say that when it comes down to how much you should expect to pay for a VA, I think a lot of people’s default is to go the overseas route and pay just bare-bones as little as possible for a VA, which I understand. It does certainly make sense just in terms of the value of the tasks that are being done.

And also, when a person has a limited budget and it doesn’t make sense necessarily to hire somebody in the U.S. or the U.K. or Canada and pay them tons of money for pretty much the same thing. But there are times when I think it is justifiable. And I know, for example, I’ve got a virtual assistant who lives in the U.S. and my ongoing rate is $20 an hour.

I think there are certainly times when that can make more sense. And one of those situations is if the task is super important if you need the person to think just like you do and really understand the way your mind works.

For example, one of the things my VA does for me is sorting through my inbox, which might seem like a simple thing, but it’s actually kind of a hard job because when you think of every possible person who could ever be emailing you, especially the number and quantity and variety of emails that I personally get, there’s just a lot of critical thinking that goes into, “Okay, is this important? Who are they? Who are they coming from? I got to now figure out what they do and is this something that Seth needs to know about or is it not. If he doesn’t need to know about it, what kind of response should I be sending to them? Do they require a response at all?”

Important emails can come in and if they’re missed, it can cause huge problems. So, it’s not like a flippant thing where you just want to hire anybody and put them in charge of your inbox. It’s a pretty powerful position in some ways, just in terms of knowing what to do.

Jaren: Yeah, for me, if we talk about the land business, I would be very hesitant to hire somebody overseas for say, an acquisition manager role. Somebody who’s handling the phones. Maybe somebody who might be like a call screener or something, but when it gets to the point of running the numbers and making offers, I would be pretty hesitant to outsource that role to somebody overseas, just because there’s a lot of nuances that go into it that are kind of subject to the culture that we live in America.

I mean, it’s not unheard of. I remember there was a wholesaler based in Indianapolis that I knew who had a Filipino VA who was the go-to for, I think, dispositions or acquisitions. I talked to her a couple of different times and she worked out great, but I think she was more of an outlier. To be able to even have the slang and the cadence of the way that we speak English in America. It’s really easy to miss all that when you’re in the thick of it. But I think that would be something that I would be really hesitant to outsource.

Seth: Yeah. And also, we’re going to get into this a little bit more later on in the conversation, but depending on where you find your VA and how much help you have with managing the HR side of things. For example, the first VA that I found, I found through Upwork and she worked great. The ability to find good people is certainly there, but it doesn’t mean everybody who responds to your job posts is going to be qualified. In fact, many of them won’t be. It’s a lot you have to do to figure out if this is the right person or not, having conversations with them. Maybe even have them record a video of themselves and send it to you to introduce themselves. And get on a call. Really kind of put them through the wringer, because it’s going to be an important job.

And the nice thing about Upwork is that it can track the hours and the time that that person is spending on the job. Like it literally takes screenshots of the person’s screens and it logs their time and just automatically takes it out of your account to pay them. So, the payroll side of things, it’s just nice that you don’t have to think about it. It’s just done.

If you found them some other place, you would have to find a way to manually send them money. And they would have to find another means of tracking their time if you’re going to do it that way or pay them a salary of some kind.

Another option is, and again, we’re going to go through a lot more options later on, but another employee I’ve got, I hired in the Philippines through a company called Outsource Accelerator. We actually interviewed the head of that company in episode 40 of the podcast, Derek Gallimore.

But the cool thing about Outsource Accelerator is they’re basically like the HR department. And one of the first things that they do is you put together a really detailed job description, similar to what you would do on Upwork and you give it to them.

And they will go out and find qualified candidates that they think are qualified and they will send them to you. Accompanied with that is their own assessment of why they think this person is qualified, then they can all send you video introductions a couple of minutes long.

You can see examples of their work, and then you can schedule time to talk to them directly. And usually, it becomes pretty clear in that process, which ones are actually good candidates and which ones are not. They really hold your hand in terms of finding the right person.

And also, beyond that, once you do find the right person, the way that you handle payroll for the person you hire is Outsource Accelerator will send you a monthly invoice that you can pay by credit card. It’s pretty simple. With the money that you pay to them, they will take out the money that that employee has to pay for taxes.

Another thing that they do is they have a physical workspace, like a literal office that your employee can go to, to sit down with a computer. And I think the benefit of that is that this employee is sort of in a work environment among other people who are also doing similar kinds of work.

So, they just kind of have that built-in oversight that’s there and they’re there from a certain time at the beginning of the day to a certain time at the end of the day. That kind of thing has kind of been upset a little bit through the whole COVID-19 pandemic. They’re not going to work in person as much anymore, but in normal conditions, that’s part of how it works.

And with the monthly invoice that you pay, part of that money goes to cover up the cost for all this stuff. So, it’s really pretty simple on the employer’s end. They just pay that monthly invoice and everything is paid for through that.

And REtipster actually does have an affiliate relationship with Outsource Accelerator. If you ever do want to check them out, it’s just retipster.com/outsourceaccelerator. And you can go check that out. But just so you know, I work with them firsthand and it’s been a great experience.

Jaren: Yeah. I’ve also really heard good things about Rocket Station. I hear that it’s pretty expensive compared to a lot of other options, but it’s a very similar service to Outsource Accelerator. Word on the street is they actually have VAs that are specifically trained and prepared for real estate. So, I would definitely encourage people to check that one out as well.

Seth: Yeah. When it comes to hiring a VA, how do you know if you should even be doing this? Is it the right time? What exactly are you hiring them for? What tasks? I know John Maxwell has this quote, I don’t know where he said this. But he basically said, “If something can be done 80% as good as you, it’s worth delegating.”

And this is something that I personally have a huge, huge struggle with. It’s just this massive mental block where I just have a really hard time trusting people. Especially when the job they’re doing is very public and very visible or just has a very big impact in some way, for something further down the road.

I just feel like it’s got to be me that does it. I’ve heard all the insight. And I know it’s not a healthy way to think through things, but I’m just being honest. I’ve got a really hard time with it, but I think just hearing that perspective, the truth is it’s probably not going to be done as well as I could do it, or as well as you could do it.

And nobody else probably will care to the level that you do, but it’s still okay. Perfection does not have to be there. It just needs to be good enough. Like the minimum viable product or result that will keep things moving forward.

And I think if you, or if I can manage to let go of that a little bit and just have a looser grip, it will really allow a lot of things to run smoother and you can really get further if you can do that. So, if you’re somebody out there who’s struggled with that, just know you’re not alone. I totally get it. And I still struggle with it, but it can be overcome.

Jaren: Yeah. Gary V has been talking a lot about that recently. He’ll have little snippets of conferences that he’ll do. And a lot of his talks will allow for Q&A and people will ask him, “How do I get my employees to work as hard as I do? Or how do I get them to love the company as much as I do?” And his response is “You can’t. It’s selfish of you to think that your employees should care as much as you do about your own company. This is your company. This is your legacy. This is your kid’s inheritance, but it’s not that for them. So go into the working relationship with the proper expectation that you as the company leader, you’re there to serve them. They’re not necessarily there to serve you.”

That’s challenging. I don’t know. Sometimes I think you could take that to an extreme. You definitely should not be a doormat and allow people to take advantage of you and respond to that. But if you avoid the extremes, I think that’s a pretty good principle, pretty good mindset.

Seth: Totally. In terms of what you should be hiring a person for, whether it’s a VA or whoever. I think I heard this. I don’t remember where I heard this. I think it was maybe the Fizzle Show podcast years ago when they kind of talked about the VA thing.

But they came up with, I think it was three lists to freedom. And one of them is tasks you hate doing, tasks you can’t do very well or very quickly, and tasks that you shouldn’t be doing. And the ones you shouldn’t be doing are the most important. I think that boils down to maybe a combination of those first two things. Like if you just despise the task or if you can’t do it very well, or if you can’t justify the cost of your time in doing that. It’s kind of how you can figure out what those things are.

And I think if we’re honest, we can all probably think of lots of those things on our list. It’s just a matter of recognizing somebody else could do this. So, if I acknowledge that possibility, what can I allow myself to let go of? And I think it’s also important to hire for the role and not the task because no virtual assistant is going to be good at everything.

In other words, don’t look at a single thing that that role encompasses and hire for that. Look at all the things that they need to do and figure out a way to group those things into similar buckets so you can come up with that role.

For example, if you’ve got somebody who is an expert video editor or something like that, don’t put them in charge of coding your website. Or if you have somebody who’s a great writer. That might not necessarily be the right person to manage all your listings or manage all your social media stuff. There might be some crossover there, but it’s not necessarily all in the same bucket of things that ought to be grouped together.

Jaren: Yeah. And just to chime in there, I think that using personality is like profiling. I’m using different stuff like the Enneagram or Myers-Briggs, or what have you. I think having that kind of approach to finding the right fit for the different roles within your company is really ideal because my personality would not do well scrubbing direct mail lists 40 hours a week. But that’s what I’m hiring a virtual assistant for in my land business.

I’m going to try to look for somebody who, if you use the DISC profile, scores high on the C function, because they’re going to be much more well equipped to scrub a list 40-plus hours a week.

I think using data and not hiring necessarily because you think that they’re an incredible person and they’re all bubbly and nice or whatever, or you guys kick it off, but just really trying to be very logical with your approach and say, “Okay, does this person really match and are they qualified for the job?”

Seth: Yeah. Maybe we should cover some of those personality or skill profile tests. And I know there’s a ton of them and there’s probably many that I don’t even know about. But I know some of the more common ones. The Colby test I know is a really popular one. It’s not free. You have to pay for credits and stuff.

It is kind of cool though, how it works. That basically what it’s all about is figuring out what a person’s MO is or their modus operandi, I think, is what that stands for. Basically, what are you really good at? And it boils it down pretty well. I know both Jaren and I have taken it, basically, everybody I’ve ever hired has taken that.

And one thing that I do like about the Colby test is that you can create a profile for the position that you’re hiring for. I think the person needs to have these skills and then you can give the test to that person whoever you’re looking to hire and sort of matches up that person to the profile that you created and it grades them. Are they an A, are they a B, are they a C?

I think the one shortfall to that is maybe I’m wrong about the profile of the thing I’m hiring for, but I’m probably not. Like, I probably know it pretty well since I’m hiring for that. But assuming you judge that role correctly, it’ll just tell you really clearly like, “Yeah, this person’s a great fit for this,” or, “Nope, they’re probably not.”

So, there is the Colby, there’s also the DISC test that Jaren mentioned. It’s a really popular one. There’s even like the Enneagram test, which isn’t so much about competence in the job as much as it’s about motivation. Like how does this person think? Like what kind of person are they, what motivates them? That kind of stuff.

Jaren: It’s interesting on the Enneagram, because I don’t know if it’s super scientifically based or rigorous. I have a friend who actually graduated from university in psychology and he doesn’t really respect the Enneagram test that much. And I don’t really know what the origin of it is, but I got to be honest, out of all the personality tests that I’ve taken and I’ve taken quite a bit throughout the years, that one has to be my favorite.

I think it was the most helpful for me personally. It taught me about myself, gave me some insight into the way that I tick. And so, even though it’s not necessarily the most scientifically rigorous one or whatever, I would highly recommend that one because it just really shows how people operate and what makes them a leader of a company.

It’s good to know other personality tests as well to make sure that they’re a good fit for the role, but it shows you how to incentivize them at an individual level. It helps you know their needs and where they can fall short or if they’re not being productive or there’s an issue, it gives insight on how to lead them the way that they need to be led so that they can start being productive again. So, I highly recommend that one.

Seth: Yeah. Even just in your personal life, your spouse, your significant other, your friends, people you work with. Usually, it’s not that there are any surprises you’ll find out, but it’ll sort of confirm and sort of expand on what you already know about people.

I know this person thinks with a fear-based mentality or I know this person likes to be the life of the party, but why? Why did they think that way? And what are some of the deadly sins of that personality type or what are they going to be really good at potentially? What does the healthy or unhealthy version of that type look like?

There’s a book I’m actually right in the middle of right now called “The Road Back To You” by Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile. I’m listening to the audiobook version of it.

Jaren: I’ve heard about that book.

Seth: Yeah. It’s written from the Christian perspective, like that vantage point. But just as he describes what each type is like, and what they need to watch out for and how they can know when there is a really healthy version of that. It’s just really eye-opening.

Since I took the Enneagram, I’ve known that I’m a type six, which is a very loyal person, but also a very fear-based person. But as I’ve been reading this book, I think I’m maybe a type nine as well, because a lot of the things he’s describing about a type nine really sounds like me. And I look back at my test results and that’s actually my number two on the list. Like, I’m also a lot of that as well as the type six.

Anyway, whatever type you are, that’s a really helpful book, just in understanding even further what does that mean once you know your type. The Enneagram is a free test. I’ll include a link in the show notes again if you want to take it yourself or have somebody else take it. It’s like five minutes, super easy to figure out where people are at.

Jaren: Yeah. And then another one is the Myers-Briggs. I hear a lot of people really respect that one. I don’t know exactly why though.

Seth: It’s been around for a long time I know. Yeah, I’ve taken it a few times and I’ve actually changed a bit. At one point I was a super introvert and then I was sort of just over the edge into extrovert territory. And now I think I’m probably back in introvert territory.

Jaren: Thanks, COVID.

Seth: Seriously. But yeah, it’s just another narrative to help you understand a person. When I took it, it was sort of more in the context of let’s help you figure out what you should do as a career. That was sort of why we were doing it to understand that. But I think there are lots of other reasons why a person could do that and figure out what their type is.

There’s also another one that I discovered a couple of years ago from Perry Marshall called The Marketing DNA test. It has a lot of similarities to the Colby test. It looks similar. I don’t know that this is something that everybody needs to take, but if you’re hiring for somebody who’s going to be wearing a public hat, like answering phones for you or representing you in some way.

Jaren: Or doing videos.

Seth: Yeah. Or doing videos or whatever it might be. Like being the personality of your company. It’s also pretty interesting just to figure out what a person’s strengths are. For example, there’s the alchemist and then there’s the producer. And those are like polar opposites of each other. And at REtipster, Jaren is who I would consider an alchemist and I am I’d consider a producer. That’s what the results of our tests said.

And what it means is a producer is somebody who does not do good on the spot. If you throw them in front of a stage with no preparation, it’s going to be ugly. It’s not going to go well. But if you give them lots of time to think through it and figure it out and process what they’re going to try to say, when they finally do get on stage, it’ll be really good. But they don’t do good on the spot.

Whereas Jaren is the type where you can throw them on stage and it probably will come out really well. He doesn’t necessarily need that. I think everybody needs to prepare, but for some people it’s almost like a psychological thing. It’s not that they don’t know what to say. They just need to get into that headspace and Jaren is like them. He can just wing it and it’ll come out great. But that’s just an example of understanding who you are and who you’re possibly going to hire if you’re hiring for that kind of role.

Jaren: I will say, though, I would encourage you, even if you have a natural tendency to do well on the spot, you could be that much better if you prepare thoroughly.

Seth: Yeah, for sure.

Jaren: My biggest thing that I have to watch out for is over talking or every time I prepare for any kind of public talk or webinar or whatever, I have to really reduce the amount of stuff that I want to say in the material because otherwise, I can just fire-hose people with information.

Seth: Yeah. I’ve actually seen that in my writing stuff that I wrote a long time ago and even stuff that I write today, as I go through it a second and a third time and a fourth time to try to clean it up. That’s one of the biggest things I noticed about myself is that sometimes there’s just like fluff I’ll put in there. A string of words that just didn’t need to be there. It didn’t add anything, just cut it. Just get to the point in as few words as possible, get it across.

And I think it’s sort of like, how can you let your listener or your viewer or your reader burn as few mental calories as possible. Understand what you’re saying without having to wait for it or let you get to the point. Just get it out there quick. In a way that sort of comes from preparation as well. I know when I wing stuff, I tend to ramble. But if it’s very clear what I’m trying to say, I don’t need to ramble because it’s right there in my head.

Jaren: Yeah. It’s really sad from a content production standpoint because while you’re writing it, you’re like, “Oh, this is the greatest. I’m going to change somebody’s world.” And you go in and then you read it back on it and you’re like “These three paragraphs that I spent two hours trying to articulate and really convey this point, they’re just completely useless and a complete sidestep that is distracting from the flow and main point of the article.”

It’s rough. I feel like writing is one of my least favorite mediums to convey information into the world because it’s such a fine line between giving too little information and giving too much.

Seth: Yeah. It’s challenging, man. Another thing that I heard on a podcast, I don’t remember where this came from, but say you’ve got like two or three different candidates that you could have hired. They all seem to be good and you’re not sure which one you should go with.

I’ve heard that you’re supposed to hire in this order based on the person’s character, number one. And then competence is number two. And then charisma is number three. And then personality and fit on teams is number four. They all matter. But in terms of what matters most, it’s in that order. Again, character, competence, charisma, personality, and fit on teams.

As I look back at my experience of hiring various people, I think I will agree with that. The charisma thing might not matter as much depending on the role. Like if you’re hiring somebody who’s just going to crunch numbers all day in the back office. I don’t know the charisma is that important, but if they are somebody who is going to persuade others or do anything like that, then yeah, it can matter a lot.

Jaren: Yeah. You definitely don’t need the most charismatic person scrubbing lists 40 hours a week.

Seth: For sure. So, let’s jump into where people can find virtual assistants. I’m sure most people out there have heard of at least half of these, but just kind of go through the list.

I know if you’re looking to hire for a one-off job or something that doesn’t need to be done consistently, but you need it done from time to time, Fiverr and Upwork can both be valid places to do that. Fiverr, the way that I’ve heard people explain it is like the Walmart of the internet. In terms of like, you can get good value for a cheap price, but sometimes it’s obvious why it’s cheap. So, it’s not always amazing talent there, but sometimes you can find awesome people there.

Jaren: Yeah. That’s what I was going to say. So, it’s hit or miss, but sometimes you strike gold.

Seth: Yeah. And Upwork can sort of be the same thing, but I don’t know. Maybe there’s a slightly higher expectation when people go there.

Jaren: Yeah. It’s like Target compared to Walmart.

Seth: There you go. That’s good. Upwork is Target. And Upwork can also be used for long-term employees as well. It doesn’t have to be those one-off jobs. And if you do the long-term thing, they’ve got pretty good time tracking and payroll systems on there to handle that. And a messenger is on all this stuff. Upwork is another solid option. I’ve hired lots of people from there over the years.

If you’re looking for a long-term, basically the equivalent of a W2 employee, but they’re based in the Philippines, Outsource Accelerator, again, retipster.com/outsourceaccelerator. It’s our affiliate link there, but I’ve had a great experience with them. I’ve sent other friends there who have found good people there. So, there’s that one.

And there are other ones. One that I hear about a lot, but I’ve not yet experienced it myself is onlinejobs.ph. I think it’s kind of just like a job board for the Philippines. I don’t know anything about how payroll is handled through that, if at all, or time tracking or any of that stuff. But it’s one of those websites I consistently hear about people finding really good help to do that. So, that might be another one.

Hire My Mom is another one that again, I have not experienced, but I hear about that one all the time. Maybe the original idea was there’s a lot of highly qualified people, particularly women or moms that they’ve been to college and everything. They’re super smart, very gifted, but then they had kids and had to put their career on hold, but they still want to do something. And so, there’s lots of really good talent in that pool. I don’t think that means everybody that you can find on that website is a mom, but that was sort of where the name came from.

Jaren: Could you imagine some random single guy, just like John, is at Hire My Mom? That’d be hilarious.

Seth: Yeah. Let’s see, what else? Virtual Staff Finder. I believe this one’s owned by Chris Ducker. And Chris Ducker has a book called “Virtual Freedom.” That’s a pretty good read. If you know nothing about VAs or anything like that, it might be worth checking out that book.

There is Rocket Station that Jaren mentioned. And it sounds somewhat like an Outsource Accelerator or a similar thing.

Jaren: Yeah. And the thing with Rocket Station, consistently, as I was asking through my network for recommendations and referrals, repeatedly different people that didn’t know each other kept coming back to Rocket Station as the preferred route to go, but it is more expensive. It’s more of a premium option. So, I think that they have high standards where every VA that comes on has to have graduated from college. And there are all these hoops that they have to jump through to ensure quality.

Again, I don’t have firsthand experience with Rocket Station, but if I had not come up with somebody through my network, that would have been my go-to. That was my plan B.

Seth: Gotcha. Yeah. There must be something to it. I think I’ve heard of it as well from somewhere.

Jaren: I heard more about it specifically for real estate compared to other ones.

Seth: Gotcha. And speaking of real estate-specific VA places, I’d never heard of this before, you added it to the list Jaren, but there’s VA4REI. So, there you go. I don’t know much about that, but there’s apparently some focus on the real estate world.

If you’re in the land business specifically, there’s landmaster.us. I’ve heard lots of good things about this company as well. From what I know, it’s a group of VAs who have learned the land business. So, they get it, they understand the due diligence part. They understand direct mail and closing and buying and selling. All this stuff.

So, if you want a VA for land specifically, that could be an easy place to go where you don’t have to reinvent the wheel and explain everything to them. They get it, they’re ready to go. And so, there’s that one.

By the way, we’re not getting referral fees or anything. I believe we have an affiliate link for Fiverr and also Outsource Accelerator, but the rest of these, we’re just mentioning them because we know about them. I’ve never heard of this one, either Jaren. REVA Global. What’s that?

Jaren: Yeah, that just came from doing research online. The same way for VA4REI. I was just doing a lot of research trying to find a VA about a month ago and that one came up and looked promising. Again, I don’t know much about it, but it seems to be a good option to explore and compare and contrast against the others.

Seth: Yeah. And we actually had a forum post. I think Jaren started this a while back trying to aggregate a lot of these online VA finding websites. So, I’m going to link to that forum conversation in the show notes as well.

I’m sure there are many out there that we don’t know about and that we did not just mention. So, if you’re listening to this and you know of other good ones that people ought to know about, head over to that forum post. And if you’re not registered for the form yet, sign up, log in and add your contribution so we can keep adding to the list. Maybe there’s a really good one that we all ought to know about.

Another insight. I didn’t personally have this problem, but I know some people have this mentality that hiring a VA will solve all their problems.

Jaren: Definitely not.

Seth: Or maybe they want to feel like they’re growing. Like they have a real company with employees and that kind of thing, I don’t know. But I’ve always been the opposite. I waited way longer than I should to hire people. But I would just say don’t hire a long-term VA until you truly need one. Don’t feel like you need to rush into it if you’re the type who feels that way.

VA won’t be able to serve you well until you find the right person for the right task and you have sufficient work for them to do. Just be aware of that. In case it’s not already obvious to you, just keep that in mind.

I think it’s easy to identify when it’s time to do this when you have the money, obviously. Like it’s coming in consistently and you’re feeling really burnt out on certain tasks that you know you shouldn’t be doing and you know it’s not that hard to find people to do it.

For example, editing blog posts is something I really hate doing. I can certainly do it, but I just don’t enjoy it. And so, I hired an editor for that. Or social media stuff. I don’t even know that I didn’t necessarily hate that job, but there’s not a big ROI on it. Just sharing links to listings or blog posts or whatever, just getting clobbered with tons of notifications and stuff. Sometimes I just go numb when I log into Facebook. So, if that’s something that you know you shouldn’t be doing, there you go. Find somebody to help you manage that.

Jaren: Yeah. It’s wise to maybe consider having some reserves in place before you hire. Let’s say you hired somebody at $600 or $700 a month. Maybe consider setting aside three to six months’ worth of their salary so that you know okay, if cash flow is a problem for this month or for this quarter, nothing stops, because you had a bad month.

I think a lot of people, myself included, when I first got started in the land business, I didn’t really understand the financial management side of business. In the land coaching program, I share this in the second lesson. We have a whole outline all about this stuff.

But I feel like the approach to success in business is kind of a two-sided coin. One is generating revenue and that’s by flipping land or houses or wholesaling or whatever it is the skill set or service that you’re facilitating to make money. But the second side of that coin is managing that revenue. And if you don’t understand that side, then you can really be setting yourself up for failure or to be extremely vulnerable or volatile.

If you have one or two bad months then you can be in a world of hurt. Whereas if you have reserves and savings in place that can really help streamline and protect you against bad months. It’s something to think through, but if you were going to hire somebody maybe have three to six months of their salary on hand before you hire them.

Seth: Yeah. I think it’s super solid advice. Also depending on where the person is and where you’re hiring them from and which kind of hiring platform you’re using. For example, in the Philippines, there’s a very different set of national holidays that that country goes by. There are some similarities. I don’t know what it is, Christmas maybe or New Year’s or something like that, there’s some overlap.

But there’s also a lot of stuff that that person and everybody they know is not going to be working on a certain day. And if you’re not aware of that, you either need to communicate that or just get it. Get what the societal norms are and the cultural norms wherever they are, and either compensate them for those holidays or don’t make them work on those holidays.

I think what it boils down to is just understanding where they’re from and what they expect and what they want and need. I think if you’re using a service like Outsource Accelerator, a lot of this will be built-in. They will take care of this for you and make sure you understand it and notify you of the stuff.

But if you’re just finding somebody from Upwork, you are on your own to figure this out. And it probably goes without saying, but don’t ever pay your VAs late. That’s just kind of disrespectful and it’s a really good way to lose them really fast. Just think of it yourself. If you were working a job and one day your paycheck just doesn’t come through or it comes through like a week late, that’s a big deal. You need that.

Jaren: Yeah. That would be really bad.

Seth: Yeah. And just in general, when you’ve hired enough people and just dealt with enough people like this, you start to realize finding really good help and really good people who care a lot about what they’re doing it’s not that easy.

A lot of people don’t care and sometimes you got to go through several people to find the right one. And when you do find somebody who’s really good, don’t take that for granted. Give people bonuses, give them time off or autonomy or something. Show your appreciation. And don’t just assume it’s going to be easy to pick up another really good person if your first really good person leaves.

Just a general principle. When you find good people in your life, whether it’s friends or family or whatever, make sure they know that. Lavish them with blessings if you can, because it’s just a really special thing.

Jaren: Yeah. And understand that when you first hire somebody productivity actually decreases at first until they’re trained and then it becomes much more productive and much more streamlined and adds more time on your hands. If somebody does end up having to leave because you didn’t pay them on time or you didn’t handle the relationship very well, that’s going to be counterproductive in a major way. So, you want to try to avoid that as much as you can.

Seth: Yeah. I think one way to determine if somebody is really good is just answering the question, “Is this person life-giving? Are they making things remarkably better? Is my life way easier by taking care of things that I don’t have to think about anymore? Or is it a huge pain?” Are you having to catch problems all the time or spend all your time months after they were hired trying to get them to do the job that they’re supposed to do?

It’s usually not a super-precise, clear line to measure, but just your general gut feeling a good person should be life-giving to your business. And they shouldn’t be sucking more resources out than they’re contributing. And that’s just a good question to constantly be asking. And nobody’s going to be left giving all the time. Everybody’s going to drop the ball and that’s not that they need to be perfect. But just looking back over the past month or quarter or year, just assessing that “Did they give life this year or did they take life from me?”

Jaren: Yeah, that’s a great tip there.

Seth: So, I think that’s about all I’ve got. Do you have anything else Jaren that we should be covering? I’m sure there’s more that we could get into, but anything jumps out to you that we ought to be covering on this?

Jaren: No, I think that this is a really good kind of overview masterclass on the subject. I really would encourage people to read “Virtual Freedom” by Chris Ducker. That was the first introduction to the world of virtual assistants for me. And I think that it’s a really good primer.

Seth: Yeah. Good call. I enjoyed that book a lot and I took a bunch of notes. I still refer back to them sometimes when I’m trying to figure out if I’m on the right track or not.

Jaren: Yeah. He has some podcasts from way back in the day with Pat Flynn and stuff that might be worth checking out. I don’t know what he’s up to these days. I don’t know. It was probably 11 years ago or something. I don’t know, it was a really long time ago when I was first exposed to all that stuff.

Seth: Yeah. And also, I never really knew this, but when I was hanging around with Pat Flynn’s crew a few years ago, apparently some VAs make $85 or $100 an hour. They can get super expensive.

And just realize, I’m not saying everybody who is listening to this should do that. But it just gives you a perspective for the range. $600 bucks a month is super cheap when you consider all the things that VA can do and the level of delicacy that some things need to be handled with. There are times when that’s warranted.

So just look at your own situation and the work you’re trying to do and whether it warrants that. Maybe it does, but maybe it doesn’t.

Jaren: Yeah, man. Are we going to do our question?

Seth: Yeah, sure.

Jaren: It’s been a little bit since we’ve moved down one of these.

Seth: Yeah. I’ll just pick this one out of the deck. So, the question is, if you got stuck in an elevator and were forced to listen to only one song, what song would you pick?

Jaren: Oh man, how long am I stuck in the elevator for?

Seth: Man, I don’t know. Let’s say 72 hours. That’s a pretty long time.

Jaren: And it has to be playing constantly?

Seth: I think so. That seems to be how the question is worded.

Jaren: There’s a lo-fi track that has pretty much become the theme song of my life. Actually, I don’t even know if it’s proper lo-fi, to be honest, but it’s called “Relaxing sleep music plus stress relief – relaxing music/insomnia meditation music” by The Soul of Wind. And it’s a three-hour-long track. It’s a very subtle, very melodic harp plane. That’s like three hours long. It’s great to sleep too.

If I had to be stuck for 72 hours, even if I was listening to one of my absolute favorite songs like Gravity by John Mayer or something that would get old pretty quick. So, I would wisely choose something that would easily fade into the background kind of music.

Seth: Yeah, man. I’ve got a different playlist that I listen to. I’ve got a classical playlist and Oasis and Our Lady Peace and Metallica and different bands that I’ve liked over the years where it’s just all their stuff that I listened to all day long. And all of it gets old eventually. Not even one song, but their entire catalog is just like, “I’m done with that. I don’t want to listen to that anymore.”

Yeah. It seems like just about anything that has singing or a beat or something. Like it all gets repetitive. I don’t know if this qualifies, but I know there are some tracks out there that are just basically white noise for sleeping. And that’s what I would do just because it’s super neutral and there’s not a whole lot to get annoyed with there. It’s just noise. But I guess if I did have to pick a proper song, man, maybe like Hotel California or something from the Eagles, but I don’t know.

Jaren: Well, let me ask you this. What would you say is your favorite song of all time or at least one of them within the top 3?

Seth: Man, that’s really hard. Favorite songs of all time.

Jaren: I know for me it’s as I mentioned Gravity by John Mayer. That’s one of my favorite songs for sure. I asked my family the other day while we were around the table just for fun, if you were to describe my personality in one song, what would it be? And my sister-in-law said Gravity. She says that song always reminds her of me.

Seth: Yeah. It’s funny. I haven’t spent a lot of my life listening to classical music, but I have to admit there is some brilliant songwriting. Are you familiar with Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony? If you listen to that, there are just layers and layers and layers of music going on. They’re different, but they complement each other. It’s just an amazing piece of work if you really analyze what’s going on there. Or Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy or piano Serenade from Mozart.

And all the songs have really weird names like Symphony number 864, Fifth movement, to the eighth power times 10. I don’t know how they came up with all of these names, but some of them are just amazing. You can’t deny the genius behind what these guys wrote. And this was back in the 1600s, 1700s, 1800s. Beethoven was basically deaf. He couldn’t even hear the stuff for the most part. I don’t know how their brains worked, but clear geniuses. There’s no way to deny that.

Jaren: The culture too was very fixated around, if you were middle class or upper middle class, everybody played an instrument from the time that they were little. So, it was just very much more at the center of what was valued in the culture.

It’s one of my bucket list items in my life to get the best seating in the house and go to a live orchestra. My family is not interested in that whatsoever. So, it’s never happened, but for my birthday or something, maybe when my sons are older, I would love to.

I heard Michael Hyatt, if anybody knows who that is. He talks a lot about leadership and stuff. He described on a podcast once that I listened through, he actually has kind of a secret podcast stream called East Meets the West. Because he’s actually an Eastern Orthodox deacon in the Eastern Orthodox church.

One of the things that he talked about was the experience of going to a live orchestra and there was a tour and he was invited to actually sit or stand where the conductor stands and have the orchestra play. And he said that it was a small group of people and it was so moving to be that close to the orchestra that people legitimately started crying. It was that impactful.

Because I guess when you’re live, it’s one thing to listen to recordings but when it’s live, apparently, it’s super impactful. Maybe I’m hyping it up and I’ve idealized it in my head so it’s really not all that. But ever since I heard that on the podcast, I’ve always wanted to go.

Seth: Yeah. In my experience of listening to live symphonies, I would agree that in the first five minutes or so, it’s amazing what they sound like. But when they go on for an hour and it’s the same sounding stuff, it’s kind of like if you listen to anything, I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s like ear fatigue or it becomes sort of like a white noise almost. I oftentimes find myself almost falling asleep. Maybe it’s just the unfortunate way that the human mind works. We need to be surprised with new, interesting things, but I guess we’ll find out sometime when we go see the symphony, Jaren. It’s going to be fun.

Jaren: Let’s do it. That’d be awesome. If anybody wants to geek out on classical music, there are these two guys that have a YouTube channel called TwoSetViolin. It’s pretty dumb content. If you’re at the end of the day and you need to have bubble gum for your brain, because you’ve been concentrating too hard, I would encourage you to go check them out. You’ll get a real sense of what I find entertaining in my sense of humor by watching them.

Seth: Yeah, cool. Well, again, if you guys want to check out the show notes for this episode, retipster.com/110. And if you guys are listening on your phones, text the word “FREE” to the number 33777. You can stay up to date on all things REtipster.

Thanks again for listening. I hope you guys enjoyed this. And if you have more to add on the subject, whether you agree or disagree, or if we missed something on this, by all means hop over to the REtipster forum at retipster.com/forum. Start a new conversation or add to the existing ones that we have there. Let us know what you think. Thanks again. We’ll talk to you guys next time.

About the author

Seth Williams is the Founder of REtipster.com - an online community that offers real-world guidance for real estate investors.

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