The 24-Week Challenge: Week 17 – Working With A Virtual Assistant

The question the 24-Week Challenge is tackling is how do real estate investors build real wealth and freedom without access to millions of dollars in capital? Zack Childress is helping us find the answer.

Zack’s taking us through 24 steps to arrive at the answer. This is week 17 of the challenge, which covers Working With A Virtual Assistant.

When you need assistance and don’t have a lot of money, what do you do? What you cannot do is hire an office full of people. VAs can find deals, call homeowners, prescreen, do CRM tasks, post blogs, set appointments, send thank you notes, and much more.

When you’re looking for a VA, request someone with real estate and data entry experience. Assign tasks slowly, then increase them as you learn the individual’s skills.

Hourly pay for VAs is generally from $3 to $6, but can be more if you go through a staffing company. Specific, step-by-step training is needed even if the VA has real estate experience.

There is no way to keep your VA from working with another real estate investor in your market. Just be smart. Ask questions to be certain the same leads aren’t going to numerous people in one area.

Remember, working hard isn’t bad, as long as you are working on your business and not in it. A VA can help ensure that this principle applies to you.

Watch and learn:

Listen and enjoy:

What’s inside:

  • Keywords that help a VA find the right properties
  • Learn how to use the split shift
  • Reward VA when you close a deal he/she found
  • Ascertain whether VA works with other investors in your market

Mentioned in this episode:


Download episode transcript in PDF format here…

 So, the big question is this, how do aspiring real estate investors like us escape from the rat race and build real wealth and freedom without access to millions of dollars in investment capital and start to live the life that we know we deserve? This is the question and this podcast will give you the answer. My name is Zack Childress and welcome to Real Estate Investing Talk Show.

It is Week 17! Today’s topic is all about getting help. And so how do you go about getting help? In today’s marketplace when you’re just starting out and you don’t have a whole lot of money, some people say, “Oh, well Zack, you’ve got assistants and you got people helping you.” But yes, what? I didn’t have that when I started. Not at all, okay? What I had when I got started was the vision, the hope and the desire. That’s what I had. That was absolutely what I had. I just sought to move forward. What I found out very quickly was because there was only so much that I could physically do and so if I could get help, I could do more.

Then there’s a whole list of things. I actually have an entire training on this called The Virtual Assistants Training, working with a virtual assistant and I’m not going to go through the whole thing with you. But I’m going to share some pointers that are here to help you understand like how you should be working with a virtual assistant, or what they should be doing for you, or how you can get them to do a lot of the work that you just don’t either have time for or you just can’t do. Okay. And so, that’s what’s important. At the end of the day, you don’t want to get caught down as an employee in your business. We classify virtual assistance almost as an automation tool to put into your business to help offset some of the day- to-day work, the day-to-day grind that you have going on.

So, I encourage you to think about that. That’s the direction we’re going to today. So, let’s dig in a little bit. Let’s talk about this. One of the things I want to talk to you about is what you can use them for.

Some of you might even be confused at basically what a VA can actually do for you. I’m just going to run down a list with you. The things that I’ve had them do for me, find deals. That’s probably the main thing I use them for. Scouring the web, looking for deals on a constant basis and calling homeowners. Now obviously we don’t want to use one that doesn’t speak clear English to call homeowners, but most VAs in other countries, and you’d be surprised at how many of them do speak clearly, so don’t under estimate that.

We will use them for prescreening -like prescreening phone calls, prescreening emails, prescreening deals, an advertisement. If we’ve got a lot of emails coming in, you can have them filter your emails out from advertisement posting. We use them for posting. We use them for putting our leads into auto responders that we use them for blogging, like creating a blog page in your community that says something like Huntsville House buyers’ network or something like that. So, you get the search terms and have them blogging on there for you. Answering the telephone for inbound calls. Being more of an assistant creating websites, you’d be surprised what all they can do. Making appointments on a Google calendar schedule for you, performing clerical duties like setting appointments, calling people, setting up follow ups, moving appointments, just all kinds of stuff.

Drip marketing campaigns, if we’re using like a click-to-mail. I’m also building fliers that we post online, like through Craigslist or Udl or like a VFlyer or a postal service. I’m sending out thank you notes for anytime that I’ve worked with a seller or even a buyer. You should have them send a thank you note that just says, hey look, I just want to say thank you for a clean transaction. I appreciated you selling me the house and if you know anybody else that needs to sell the house, please keep us in mind. Here’s a business card you can give them, just keeping in touch with people for you.”

Then there’s lots of services that you can use online to have them do that. I’m also writing or placing an ad in a newspaper, collecting demographic information, arranging closings, transaction, coordinating. You know, there’s so much that they can do from a far. They don’t have to be in your office. And the reality is, you can hire virtual assistants anywhere from $2-3 an hour to $5-6 an hour. It’s very cost effective. Now there are companies out there that specialize in this and that’s all they do. Or you can hire them individually yourself. To give you an idea on some places that you could use or go to (if you want to write this down) You can go to get a freelancer. That’s a place where you can hire freelance people. You can obviously go on Craigslist and post an ad and get some people there, too.

But another great one that you might want to look up is called Upwork. It used to be Elance, but now it’s Upwork. A lot of people have moved over to Upwork. We used to use Elance a lot and now you know, we use Upwork and so, well there you go. It’s on your screen as what it looks like. One that’s been around forever is Team DoubleClick. These guys have been around for a long, long time and they understand what we do. I know they have worked with lots of VAs out there and getting them, our investors I should say, working with a VA service. I know that they’re pretty credible as well.

Another great site you might want to check out is called Taskeveryday is another really cool site. They have all kinds of different services that you can do with them, and really just to help you with day to day task. That’s what they’re designed for and to really kind of help you get gold. But now let me just be clear on all that. You don’t need all of those sites. You need to find one you like, you need to find one that’s easy for you to work with and you need to go there and say, look, I’m trying to hire a VA that specializes in real estate. What would be something that you would maybe search out in there?

Well, you would search out if it asked for the key words that it’ll say, what do you want to look for? You’re going to put real estate. My key word is real estate, data entry. Like that’s the two big things that I’m going to write. I might put real estate, data entry, assistant. The reason that I do that is I’m filtering down that list to people because when a freelance person, like a virtual assistant goes in and says, Hey, I’m going to go to this site, I put my information in here so I can get business.

They’re going to fill out the key words that they have skill sets in. And you’ll be surprised that when you look for VA’s on these sites for real estate assistant data entry, you’ll find people on there that are already working for other real estate investors so they understand what you’re trying to do. It’s just getting clear with them. Now we went over all of those duties they can do. You’re not going to just dump all those on one VA, but you’re going to slowly move into the VA’s relationship, giving them one small task at a time. The main task you want them to do is sourcing leads. So, you want them going to websites, lots of different websites on a regular basis searching for key words. That’s something that I’m going to share with you.

I encourage you all to have a virtual assistant, 100 percent. I encourage you to have a virtual assistant. You’d be surprised at how much they’ll do for you. And you don’t have to work 40 hours a week. You could work them 10 hours a week. Let’s say you pay one $5 an hour and they work 10 hours a week. You got 50 bucks a week that you’re paying out for somebody to source deals for you and handle workloads for you, right? If you’re the type of person that’s stressed out, you got a job, you’re trying to build your real estate business on the side too, and there’s just not enough time in the day. Then you need to have a virtual assistant. You need to have somebody that you can start to lay out processes that you don’t have the time for.

You can hand off to them and say, “look, I need you to research these deals. Here’s what I need you to do. I need you to go find this. Go to this website and find this information. Go to this website, find this information, go to this website and find this information.” And then basically you’re just shoveling deals off to them and then you’re continuing your day. And when you get home at night, we’ll usually, they work at night. So, you shovel it off to them that night. By the time you wake up the next morning, this is the beauty of the time zone differences. When you wake up the next morning, all that work’s done for you. So, it’s like working 24 hours a day. If you ever said to yourself, man, if I just had one more hour in the day, well while you’re sleeping, your VAs are working.

They’re not doing things like outbound dialing, but they’re doing research, they’re looking for deals. They’re there, running numbers off of websites and finding comparable data. They do all that while you sleep. Work while you sleep, you got it made right. I’d caught on the VA’s early, early in the beginning.

That was a big process for me. On the other side of it was that, in the very beginning when I first started training and speaking, this was what people brought me into fore. They would bring me in to teach on automation and virtual assistants’ automation and virtual assistance. That was my thing, like, “call Zack and he’ll teach your students how to automate and work with virtual assistants.” That was umpteen years ago when that happened, so over a decade ago.

So anyways, we’re going to be talking about setting their schedule to make sense. So just to get it clear guys, I just want to show this to you really quick because we tell our VA’s when they’re looking for deals, we want them looking for deals Tuesday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. The reason we want them look on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday so that I get deals on Monday, Wednesday and Friday so that I have deals Monday morning when I get into the office. I have deals Wednesday morning to keep working and I have deals Friday morning to set up for the weekend. That’s the best part about it.

Here’s another strategy for you with VA’s and then you can also apply this to yourself is I’m doing the what’s called the split shift. So, what is the split shift? The split shift is, as we humans get distracted very easy, so your VA’s will be distracted, very easy too. Part of the approach to being or to getting more done in a day is not bouncing back and forth. So, you don’t want yourself nor your VA to go find a deal, then research the deal and then tell you about the deal. Go find another deal, then research the deal and then tell you about the deal. They’ll get less done. So, we want them in the first four hours to do all the deal searching, like find all the deals and get all the deals ready to go. And then the next four hours, maybe that’s where they do the outbound dialing or they email them about the deal.

You just want to split it up, you just want to split up their day. If they’re working an eight-hour shift or if you’ve got them to work in three days a week for you and you got to work in three hours a day, then you just say, look for the first hour, an hour and a half. Once you find the deals and the second hour and a half, I want you making outbound touches, whether that’s email or phone. So that’s important to know. Now when you’re talking about paying them, I know we touched on this a little bit, but you know when you’re going to talk about paying a VA, now remember there’s different ways to paying a VA. I’m you’re going to hire them yourself as an independent, you’re between $3-5 an hour. That’s pretty standard out there.

Now, we do try to work It to where we put them on like a probationary period. “Hey, we’ll start you here and if you do well we’ll raise you.” But we give them a raise after that 30-day period. If they accept that, we also give them bonuses and we’ll talk about that. But if you’re going to go to a VA company and you’re going to hire directly from a VA company, then what you’re going to find out is, that they’re going to charge you anywhere from $5, 6, 7, 20 – depending on the level of who you’re trying to look for through some type of recruiting company. But I give all VA’s a quota. Every single VA I work with, I give a quota.

What is that quota? Well, it’s five to 10 leads per day that I want to get from them. So, meaning that if they’re working on Sunday morning, Monday morning, I’d better have 10 leads, and that’s just how it works. But we also set it up so that there’s a fifty cent per lead not met discount. So, we set the expectation. So, let me give you an example on that. If they’re working four hours and let’s say I’m paying them $3 an hour on Sunday to get me 10 leads on Monday, and I’m paying them $4 for four hours, I’m paying them $3 an hour, then that’s $12, right? But let’s say on Monday they don’t give me 10 leads, but they only give me six leads. well then that means they were for lead short.

So, I take off $2 off of that $12 that I’m going to pay out for them. So, they’re paid on work, but they’re also given quotas that they have to meet to receive full pay. But then there again, I also give bonuses like, hey, if you get me more than 10 solid deals, I’ll pay you extra. And the best way to keep the VA for life is when you close the deal, send them a $50 check. Send them a $100 check and watch what happens. I mean that’s a lot of money in some of these countries. So, if I’ve got, and I’ll never forget, I used to have a VA, I don’t have her anymore, but when I first started, she was just great. This was before VA’s were even cool in the real estate industry and basically, we were having to train them all from scratch.

Where now you can find them out there that already have some training. And I’ll never forget, she used to call me Mr. Zack and she’d helped me find this deal. We negotiated and she did the research on it and I made the offer and we got it. I wholesaled it. She helped me through the whole process and when it was over I sent her a $500 check and the next day I got an email from her, and I went from Mr. Zack to Sir Zack. “Sir Zack, I received that PayPal deposit. That was amazing.” She was all over. And then from that day forward, I was never Mr. Zack again. I was Sir Zack, like I had been knighted or something. So that was great.

Now one thing I do want to point out is, if you’re hiring a VA on your own, just use some form of Google doc just so that you have some form of tracking to work with them on. So, you get a Google doc sheet up and running, have them place all their leads and their Google docs are shared back and forth. So, it’s real time. So, they go in, they’re adding stuff in there and make sure that they have the script for talking, which if you have any of my courses, you have a script and give them the step by step. And that’s what’s important when you’re dealing with VA’s. Some of them will already be pre-trained but some of them won’t. Sometimes they need a little bit of direction. Now, there are VA companies out there that train their VA’s to understand the real estate market. But at the end of the day, it’s someone you’re hiring, so why not put the time in and get them efficient in the process? That’s really what it boils down to is being efficient in the process.

So, you know, it’s funny.

What’s that?

You trained me the same way.

Yes, I did. I sure did. I train all real estate people the same way I trained VA’s. You know why? Because reality is, I trained my VA’s the way I trained the real estate people that came into the office. So, here’s something I want to point out to you. It’s just a simple website. Write it down, So will take you to a site where you can actually go look at your state, your city and pull up every newspaper in your market and we have the VA’s do this. The reason we have them do this because one, it’s time consuming, I don’t want to do it; and two, we haven’t gotten into the real estate section and see who’s posting properties in the real estate section for sale so that we’re not just looking on Craigslist and we’re not just looking on sites like UDL and for sale by owner sites, but we’re also going into the paper because people still print their properties for sale.

And so, we definitely go in there and we look for those types of deals in there. So, when I grew up, if you wanted something, you had to go get the money to pay for it, right? My very first job ever was like eight or nine. I went around and I cut grass. I lived in a little trailer park and I’d go cut these little trailer park grasses for like $5 to cut the whole yard and I wasn’t tall enough to touch the top bar, so I’d have to grab the middle bar, push the thing all the way forward and, and mow the grass. That was my first lesson. And I’ll never forget it. I realized I wasn’t getting paid enough because it was taking me more than an hour to cut these yards because I was so small. Then when I went back to try to charge them more, I didn’t do too well. The homeowners were like, well, why should I pay you more? You’re already cutting it for $5.

But moving on past that, when I was about 11, my first job because I classified that lawn mower business (my first business), I went to go work for this guy and he was a farmer and before they can plow fields you had to go through and pick up all the rocks out of the field. So, this guy would drive behind us in a big, big equipment with a bucket on the front, and we would walk in front of this and we would dig rocks up out of the ground and throw them in that bucket. We’d dig rocks up and throw them in that bucket and we’d go up and down these fields and we’re talking acres after acres after acres. it’s farmland so that land could then be tilled, fertilized and ready for farming. Now the sad part about it is, once you did it once, you’d normally didn’t come back and do it again. So, it wasn’t very long, didn’t have longevity, I should say. But yeah, I got paid five cents a rock. That alone make you think about it, huh?

So probably one of your best lessons ever because you’ve been out then and you had to turnover a lot of rocks to make it.

That’s a good one. I did. I was looking for rocks. The turnover. It was like an opportunity. Every time I saw a rock it was an opportunity to make five more cents. So anyways, let’s talk about some of the things they need to be searching for. So, when you’re working with a VA, there are some key terms that you can search for and it’s called step by step searching for keywords. These are by far the best search results that we have found for looking for great deals on the web. And I don’t mean search results as in a SEO search results. I mean keyword searches, like when your VA is scanning through the paper looking for deals or any of these words in those papers.

When they’re on Craigslist and they’re looking for deals, they can search specifically for these key words. When you’re setting up your free lead generator, that RSS reader that we give you some training on how to download that to your computer and set that up. You can set up these keyword searches in that free lead generator so that it scours these different websites and find these deals. I mean that’s the beauty of it. These key words are powerful. I mean, the one at the very end on the right column, corporate owned. I can’t tell you the success I’ve had out of that one. It’s cut off on the screen, but it’s called corporate owned. And the reason corporate owned Is important is because when they go to sell, they don’t care. Like they leave all the furniture and the tv’s and these things are nice and they’re usually either closing down their business and they’re liquidating and they don’t care.

Another good thing to look at is when in your market when you’re aware of a business closing down and it’s a big business, you want to call there and ask to speak with the person in charge of liquidations of the assets. They may sound a little confused, but you might say, “well look, I’d like to speak to somebody that’s in charge of selling off assets like desks, tables, chairs, things that you have that you’re going to be selling off either because you’re moving or you’re closing down.” Well that would be John over here in department of blah, blah, blah. Great. When you get on the phone with John, you go through and you say, “look man, I get you’re moving or you’re closing down. Are you guys liquidating anything that is in the real estate world? You have any condos or townhouses that you had executive or corporate living styles in, or any automobiles?”

You will be surprised at what they have that they’re willing to let go of. Cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap. Appraisal is always an interesting one because you don’t know how far below it is. Bu when I’m done with the property, I’ll have it appraised and let’s say it appraises for $180,000. Well, if I list it for 178, I’m below appraisal. Fire sales are good, handyman special, fixer upper sell, fast transfer, new job, need to sell, must sell, divorce motivated seller. Estate sale, moving, we’ll sacrifice. Owner transferred will consider all offers. Retiring. Those are all great keywords, especially when you’re having your VA dig in websites to find great deals for you. So, digging deeper into the VA’s and I’m not going to go through the whole entire training, but if you want to get information on our virtual assistant training, we have an entire course on that. Just call the office. You can call any of our student advisors, 7072474248. Let them know that you want that. I don’t think it’s very expensive at all. I think it’s 100 bucks or something like that. I’m not sure, but it’s not very expensive. But, all the trainings are in there. We even have a manual in there that basically outlines the work flow for the VA. You download it to your computer, you put your company information on it and you send it off to them. It’s super, super easy.

So, regarding VA, obviously there’s nothing stopping them from working for somebody else as well as working for you. So what kind of protection do you have to stop your VA from giving leads? You don’t, okay? You don’t. That’s the other side of it and there’s some ways to prevent that. In Upwork, they have what’s called a tracking system. What is this? This is why so many people go to Upwork. When you go to hire someone in Upwork, they actually will monitor that person’s activity on your job so you can actually see what they’re doing, how they’re doing it if I wanted to see if they had it on here.

Now obviously we can’t stop them. I mean if you’re in Dallas, Texas and they got three other investors in Dallas, Texas, you can pretty much guarantee that. Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. They’re going to find it. I mean, one of the ways is the same way that I hire property management companies is when you’re calling them, you’re going to say, or when you’re interviewing them or emailing them, you’re going to say, “well look, I’m looking for someone to find deals for me in the Dallas, Texas market. Have you ever worked this market?” And a lot of times what happens is, they think that’s a qualification question. So, if they have references in that market, then they’ll say, “yeah, I have worked in Dallas and I have a client in Dallas.” Now you follow me?

It’s kind of a trick question, but it puts them in a situation of feeling like they have to qualify themselves. So, if they’ll say, “yeah, I have,” then you can say, “oh, do you have references?” “Oh yeah, call, John Smith and Sarah Lou”. “Okay, are you working with them now?” “Yeah.” Okay, well then now you know. You follow me? So, it’s just a little bit of a way to communicate upfront. Now if they say, no, I haven’t, but I worked for other investors in other markets then great, right?

You’ve been to the Real Estate Investing Talk Show. I’m Zach Childress and I’m on a mission to create 10,000 real estate bosses over the next year. Will you be one of them? Head over to my website, class, and register for my free web class where you’ll discover how to escape from the nine to five grind and become your own boss in real estate. See you there.