Automation, 4 Hour Workweek, Virtual assistants, processes, hands off, mailbox money, sitting on the beach while you still get paid….
Do I have your attention?
Thought so. I think most any real estate investor you meet would tell you that these words above are the end goal. Basically running a business on auto pilot so they can go and do whatever they want (beach, vacation, or… other parts of the business). These days it’s easier than EVER to start automating pieces of your business, running a wholesale or flip operation out of your car with a smartphone? Totally possible.
Landlording remotely from the beach with just a tablet? Easy. Well, once you have the right setup it is.
I have an iPhone and an iPad, so today, I will be just talking about 6 APPS you can find on the iTunes store for Apple products, how I use them, and hopefully convince you that all of the above is attainable.
1. Automation – IFTTT
Well, it can do some pretty complex things, and its all customizable. It basically take 2 apps or services that you use, and use one action in one app to trigger another action in the 2nd app. For example, say I want to find new craigslist postings that are for sale by owner and then send them to your VA for them to call. Well, I can setup a recipe in IFTTT to search craigslist automatically with the search terms I provide, and either:
- Create a new doc in Google Drive and append to it when there are new listings
- Place in my Evernote or
- Drop into my Dropbox. It can do 100 other things with that info, text you, put on your reminder list, email you, etc etc.
It’s such a powerful tool to automate sections of your business so you don’t have to think about them too much anymore.
A few examples:
– Put new phone contact onto a spreadsheet in Google Drive automatically
– Backup your Google Drive to Dropbox
– Transfer photos from a certain photo album automatically to a dropbox location
– New iOS reminders added to Evernote (I use Evernote for tasking, Getting Things Done style)
They have about 1000 other powerful combinations in there, even sorta silly or non business ones. Check it out.
2. File Storage/Creation/Sharing – Google Drive
Need a word processor, spreadsheets, presentation, mind mapper, drawings software? Need one on the go? How about both? I havn’t needed a MS Office product since switching over to Google Drive a few years ago.
I can share docs with colleagues, VAs or whoever I really want. It will show automatically their contribution to the document and what changes were made to make the sharing painless. I keep contracts, spreadsheets, and pretty much everything I need right in there. I use IFTTT to automatically back up my phone contacts into Drive, and dump craigslist searches automatically into a folder. No matter where I go, I have pretty much everything I need.
3. File Storage/Sharing – Dropbox
This has a bit of overlap with #2, honestly, but I use Dropbox to dump pictures from my phone that I can share with anyone. If I’m at a property and taking pictures, I store them automatically to Dropbox so I can instantly share them with a prospective buyer if wholesaling, my contractors if flipping, or my in-laws if taking pics of my kid… etc etc. You can share PDFs, contracts, spreadsheets, all kinds of things right from your phone.
4. Mobile scanning/sharing – Genius Scan
In a pinch this little app does wonders. It uses your phone’s camera and converts the photo to a PDF, and you can email right out of the program. Can do multiple pages, so if you are in a bind and need a document scanned to PDF immediately, this app is for you.
5. Remote PC control – Logmein Ignition
Well, Logmein Ignition is a cool app that lets you remote control your PC from your phone or tablet, you see your entire desktop and move the mouse around with the touch surface. I’ve worked off of Logmein when I’ve had to, its not ideal for long term (unless its from a laptop or another desktop), but its great if you need something quickly. I do use the desktop logmein.com all the time if I’m on another PC and need access to my PC at home. Its secure and a huge time saver. Unfortunately this is a pricey app, I bought it before a vacation and I worked 95% of normal while in Florida, so the $30 was totally worth it.
6. Electronic signatures – Docusign Ink & Notability
If you are like me, its a total game changer. I can import PDFs into this app, setup where I need signatures, and either send them off for signatures via email or have someone sign right on my phone or tablet. I know there are other apps and programs out there that do the same thing and probably for less (Echosign, etc) but Docusign has always worked great for me. Some institutions REQUIRE you to have the certificate of digital signatures (REO purchases, banks), to prove that the intended person signing actually signed it. If I dont need the digital ‘fingerprint’ that Docusign creates, I use another iPad app called Notability to sign with my finger right on a PDF, save it and email it straight out of the App.
There you go, that should be a good starting point for you to start running your business from your smartphone if you so desire. Now get out there and automate your business and work towards that mailbox money!
Photo Credit: Dustin Diaz