Do You Feel Like You Are Drowning In Your Business? Start Outsourcing!

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I have written several articles in the past on outsourcing, and why it is so important for your real estate investing business or any business for that matter. It is in fact vital that you begin to delegate if you are to not only survive but thrive. If you feel like you are drowning in your business, you need to start outsourcing.

A while back I wrote about the “The ABC’s of Successful Delegation and Outsourcing”.  Another topic was “Setting Your Virtual Assistant Up For Success”. I carried this theme a little further on my blog, breaking down each one of those steps.

One of the stumbling blocks for folks is where to begin. Even though I addressed making a master list of every possible task you do in your business, I think it is only after you “see it” that you really grasp the potential that delegation will really afford your business.

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Employees or Virtual Assistants?

That question can only be answered by you and the vision you hold for your business.

Some people have an office and a staff, while other folks like me choose a different path. I was responsible for creating enough work to “feed several people” in my other business for 17 years. So when I decided to close that business and concentrate on my real estate investing business full time, there was never a question about whether or not I would have employees; I definitely would not go down that path again. I knew I would need help, but they would not be someone I had to feed.

It’s all in the Details

There are a lot of ways to go about deciding what to delegate or outsource, but I can only tell you what worked for me.

I wrote everything down; every single task that needs to be done in my business. I have been doing this a long time, so I didn’t even have to keep track of my tasks or keep a log to know what those things were. If you are new to real estate, this will be an exercise you will most likely need to do.

I put everything in categories such as daily, weekly, monthly, yearly or occasional tasks.

Once that was done, I created several other lists. Those were projects that I wanted to do, products I intended to create, and procedures and systems I wanted to add to my business. I put everything down on few sheets of paper that had been taking up space in my head.

Mind Mapping; Creating a “Grand Vision”

The next thing I did was to use the “pencil and eraser” method of creating a mind map. I know there are programs that do this, but it was really easier for me in the beginning to use this method. I move things around a lot kind of like when you are creating a garden. Once I was sure I had every one of the tasks in my business down on those sheets of paper, I put the whole thing out of site for a couple of weeks.

I headed over to Home Depot and bought a big sheet of whiteboard. You can get one that is approximately 2’x4’ for under $10.00. I proudly hung up my big whiteboard on my wall in the office. I might add that I used mirror hangars so that I wouldn’t damage my board. (Who knows; I might want to move that one day).

After a couple of weeks, I took those papers out of the folder and reviewed what I had previously written. Once I was satisfied that it met my goals now, I wrote it all up on my whiteboard. I know that I will make a lot changes over time, but I wanted to have a clear idea of where I was headed at least for now.

Once I had everything up on my board, I began to look at every task and project listed. Then I started to think about how I could eventually outsource most of this work. I decided to use a color to indicate “an outsourcing opportunity”. For now, I am just underlining with my color. Later on, I will probably add a different color to the label to indicate that is has actually been outsourced.

 

Here is the really important question you need to ask yourself; “What is my core genius? What is it that no one can do (or should be doing) except me?”

 

I Love My Whiteboard!

I was reminded during this exercise about a blog post I wrote one time about the effect procrastination has on your business. The title was something like, “Procrastination; the Thief of Time and Accomplishment”.

I started thinking about just how true this is. All of these projects that roam around in your head without direction usually end up never getting started much less completed. Just the act of writing these things down and creating a plan sets you on a different path. There is one other benefit too. When you have a 2’x4’ sheet of whiteboard staring you in the face every single day with “outstanding projects”, it has a very positive effect on your decisions you make about how you use your time each and every day.

Create Your Grand Vision

Decide to go to work on your own master plan this week.

If you are just getting started it might just be 4 or 5 steps for marketing your business. I had that plan once. Or, possibly you might have those same steps with a detailed direct mail campaign as one of the “legs” of your plan, and the details of the website you are in the process of creating.

Start small and watch it grow. Be sure to take some pictures of your whiteboard from time to time. When you get discouraged along the way (and everyone does), just pull out those early whiteboard pictures and see how far you have come.

My Whiteboard

I wanted to show you what my “master plan” looks like; just a peek mind you. I won’t be sending anyone copies or close-ups. A girl has to have some secrets after all!

Whiteboard

Outsource early and outsource as much work as you can.

 

Which tasks do you currently outsource in your business? What do you plan to outsource?

Photo: mattappleby

About Author

Sharon Vornholt

Sharon has been investing in real estate since 1998. She owned and operated a successful home inspection company for 17 years. In January of 2008 she took the leap of closing her business to become a full time real estate investor.

11 Comments

  1. That is the most organized white board I have ever seen!

    I try and write down 3-5 things to concentrate on during my week, and it really helps me focus my attention on whats important.

    • Adam –

      My whiteboard is the big plan or vision I have for my business. My daily or weekly “to do” list is a whole different thing. You really do have to choose several things at a time and focus on those. For clarity, since I have so many different pieces to the business, I needed one place to see how it all fit together. It’s just what works for me.

      Sharon

  2. Glenn Schworm

    Thanks for the article Sharon. We are still working on this in our biz. It is my largest obstacle at the moment. We outsource plenty but we are looking to document everything to create a procedure manual. For a big picture thinker like me who is not a fan of details, this is a huge undertaking. One step at a time. Thank God my wife/partner is the detail person. If not for her I would probably never get it done! Always enjoy your articles.

    • Glenn-

      You have the best of both worlds; two people/ two minds that have different skills.

      With something like a whiteboard, you can say “I want to end up here”; the big thinker part. That is a lot of what I have on there.

      Then she can come back and start filling in the details. (Sorry Amber). It works just like a map. You will reach your destination quicker if you know exactly where you want to go.

      I know you are really fast tracking your business. You should give it a try, Thanks for your insights.

      Sharon

  3. Al Williamson on

    Sharon,

    As you know, I’ve been following your lead but I could do better. I’m accepting your challenge to dig deeper and think bigger.

    Going away to put my thinking cap on. Will report back.

  4. I agree with Adam, that is a very organized whiteboard! I love the idea of being able to put all your ideas/aspirations/projects in one big place. And I agree with you, just writing these things down will definitely get you on to a *motivated* path.

    • Michelle-

      That is just the way I did it, but it certainly doesn’t have to look like that. Now the paper I originally did the planning on was a different matter. I erased a whole lot as I was planning and changing things around to get it right. I think in the end if you just do the exercise you will find it invaluable. It really does help you organize all of those random ideas you have floating around in your head, and it serves as a roadmap to guide you. Thanks for your comments.

      Sharon

      • Sharon,

        As a person that has just started marketing and is wanting to get into this business more seriously.

        How long did it take you to make this a full time business, and what was the biggest factor that slowed your growth?

        Thanks,
        Adam

        • Adam –

          When I started I had another full time business, so real estate was part time for a long time. If you want to make it a full time business, just put in the time at nights and on weekends if you still have a job.

          I can tell you this, if you want to move this along faster be prepared to study, learn and listen to webinars when others are watching TV and are out having a good time.

          How long it will take you will be determined by how much time you study and learn, and how fast you implelement. The very first thing you need to study is marketing. Without leads, there is no business. You will find a ton of infomation here and on my blog.

          You will need to determine for instance what your response is on monthly direct mail, bandit signs (or whatever marketing you are doing) and what you make on average on each deal. From there it is all math and doing your marketing every month.

          Get yourself a whiteboard and do some planning!

          Sharon

  5. Sharon,

    I took Danny Johnsons 34 weeks, which outlines every lead over that course of time. I analyzed the cost per lead and data, and found it very interesting. Bandit signs and direct mail were very cheap per lead, and PPC seemed to be quite a bit more expensive. However most of his deals came from online advertising.

    One of the main things I’m starting to understand is that you cannot just rely on 1 form of advertising, and that it’s better to spread it around.

    I have read every blog and book I can get my hands on, and have really liked your posts about direct mail. I would say your the one that got me really interested in mailing to probates 🙂 I also read and have talked to Mitch Steven, because I saw your book review.
    Thanks,
    Adam

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