How to Turn Your Time into Money

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After my first week of full time entrepreneurship, one thing was certain. I need help. When I created a list of tasks that needed to be done to accomplish the week’s goals, it was apparent that there were several items that were important, but were time consuming.  Sure, there were some things that I knocked off the list and deemed as not important, but most of it was work that needed to be done and there were simply not enough hours in the days to do it (even with my husband’s assistance).

My friend and fellow BiggerPockets blogger Steph suggested that I read Dan Kennedy’s No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs. I actually read that book back in October, but I knew that I clearly needed to read it again. In the very first chapter, Dan talks about how to turn time into money and how its important to know “your number.” In other words, how much is your time worth?

**How to Know Your Number**

1. Determine your base earnings target. How much cash do you want to make as a real estate investor in one year?  (And if you’re the owner of a larger company with employees, determine how much of the business’ bottom line profit goal will be provided by your managers/employees and how much will be linked directly to you.  The amount that will be directly linked to you will be your base earnings target).

2. Divide by your number of work hours in a year. For our below example, let’s assume 220 work days at 8 hours a day (which is 1,760 work hours — this gives you the equivalent of 8 weeks of non-working vacation time in a year).  This gives you your base hourly number.

3. Multiply your base hourly number by a productivity multiple.  According to Kennedy, for the average person, about one-third of our work time is actually productive, so the multiple would be “3”.  However, if you’ve put a lot of other productivity tips into practice, you may say that about one-half of your time is productive or “billable” so that multiple would be “2”.

4. Now you have what your time must be worth per hour!

So for today’s example, let’s say your desired yearly profit (not gross revenues…we’re talking bottom line profit after expenses) is $150,000, and you’ll be working 1,760 hours that year at a 50% “billable” productivity level.  Here’s how much your time would be worth per hour:

$150,000 earning target / 1,760 hours = $85.23 base hourly hour

$85.23 x 2 (productivity multiple) = $170.46 per hour

Now you have your number which leads to two very important points for your business.

  1. You need to respect the value of your time and also ensure that you surround yourself with people who value and respect your time.
  2. You have to eliminate or delegate tasks that simply don’t match up with the value of your time.

**The Next Step**

Make a list of all the activities for your real estate investing business and categorize them based off of value (high value vs. low value activities) and time (time consuming vs. not so time consuming) and figure out which items you should eliminate, which you should personally focus on, and which items you should get assistance with.

The first order of business for me personally is hiring an assistant who can handle a number of administrative tasks for our business. In fact, I’m interviewing today.

Many people have concerns about having virtual assistants overseas or even outside of their area.  Not to worry.  Quite frankly, with the current economic situation in the United States, there are likely a number of highly skilled assistants right there in your city who are out of work, are enthusiastic, and are willing to work for $7-15 per hour.  If you have 5 hours worth of work to get done, you’re only talking about a $35-75 per week expense!  If you think “I can’t afford that! That’s a lot of money!” then go back to your number to recall how much one hour of your time is worth.  Think about it.  I should also add that if you’re looking for a more advanced level of skills and experience from your assistant, you can expect to see U.S. rates from $25-40/hr. but if your needs are basic administrative tasks, you can certainly keep your expenses low.  

**What can a virtual assistant do for your real estate business?**

Regardless of whether you hire a virtual assistant who is working from their home locally in your city or working outside of the state or country, there are several tasks that assistants can help you with for your real estate business. Here’s just a few:

  • Manage your direct mail campaigns (handwritten envelopes, stuffing, addressing, and stamping)
  • Call back motivated seller leads and qualify them via a script
  • Set appointments for meetings, home inspections
  • Create online classified ads to find buyers and sellers
  • Update your lead/CRM systems
  • Email/Fax contracts

Ongoing communication will be very important with your assistant, and also keep in mind that virtual assistants are professionals and often work with multiple clients so its not the same as having an employee.  You can’t exactly call your virtual assistant and expect them to drop everything to do something urgent for you. Be sure to agree on expectations and understand how your potential assistants operate…and feel free to read about the 4 key lessons I learned from my rotten virtual assistant experience six months ago – there were some great comments on that post.

Now go turn your time into money!

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About Author

Shae Bynes is a real estate investor in Sunny South Florida. On her blog, GoodFaithInvesting.com, she provides helpful tips and an inside look at her real estate investing adventures -- obstacles, failures, & successes!

6 Comments

  1. Great article Shae!! We have two virtual assistants and they are fantastic!! At some point we might swap one virtual assistant for a live person on the ground in our main investment market because we could use some help in the field. But for now the VA’s are great.

    One of our VA’s acts as a gatekeeper for us. We get a lot of phone calls that are just solicitations. I don’t want those sort of calls interrupting my day so she calls those folks back and finds out what they need or want from us. Most of the time she saves me a lot of interruption and wasted time on the phone … and yet we still return all calls which is something I believe firmly in. I think there is nothing ruder than never returning a phone call … even if that call was to sell me something.

    Anyway she does that in addition to a handful of other tasks (some you mentioned and some you didn’t … but all similar type work).

    Great post!! Hope your assistant interviews go well and you find someone that is a good fit for you.

    • Thanks Julie! I hired an assistant today…she lives 5 minutes away! I’m really excited to work with her. I love that you have an assistant to serve as a “guard dog” and return those calls that would be distractions. If you don’t mind sharing, I’d love to know what other tasks you have your virtual assistants handling. It might give me some more ideas :-)
      .-= Shae Bynes´s last blog ..Reflections on the first week =-.

  2. Good VAs are great time savers. The first week of training is the hardest, but once they get the hang of the way things work, it frees up a lot of your time. After hiring my first VA, I had so much free time and since I was used to working all the time, I was looking for work to do. Love your review on “No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs”, I’ll have to get a copy.
    .-= Esi´s last blog ..SO WHAT??? =-.

  3. Very informative article, Shae! The world of virtual assistants is all very new to me, this article has good information on how they can help. I think in real estate there’s a lot of paperwork and many administrative tasks that can get farmed out to others. For me personally, I’ve kept things simple. I know the best use of my time for what I do is to be out in the field and/or on the phone. I used to do a lot of unnecessary tasks myself that was not the best use of my time and my talents.

    I think you hiring an assistant to help is a great idea especially for those tasks that don’t seem to be the best use of your time. I guess it’s just finding someone with the right fit. I would definitely be interested in hearing how it works out.

    Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading the article!

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