For years, I’ve used virtual assistants (VA’s) for small, mundane tasks that required very little skill. I imagine when most people think about using a VA in their business, it’s usually limited to very simple projects that don’t require much, if any training. While there is nothing wrong with this, I’ve recently become more attuned to the fact that there are many VA’s out there that can be given much more responsibility.
For those investors who haven’t ventured into the world of VA’s yet, what are you waiting for? Hiring capable labor for $3 dollars an hour is now at your fingertips via websites like Odesk and Elance (I also like Freelancer for more technical projects). I don’t care if you’re doing 10 deals a year or 100 …. there are always tasks that can be delegated off of your plate and and onto a VA’s for a third of what you might pay a part-time employee in the U.S.
Once you begin working VA’s and find one that you like, you’ll quickly discover that your level of confidence in what they can do will increase. The more familiar they become with you and your business, the more productive they become and the more responsibility you can give them. I find myself brainstorming with folks in my office about all of the different ways we can utilize our VA’s to help us find more properties.
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Using VAs Vs. Telemarketers
As of right now, I’ve got multiple VA’s that spend close to 10 hours a day doing nothing but calling different lists to drum up potential motivated seller leads. With tools like Skype that enable anybody in the world to call a U.S. number, creating a telemarketer is easier than ever. In regards to what lists you want your VA’s to call through, the sky is the limit. I’ve got some calling through Craigslist ads, others calling expired listings, and some even researching and calling owners of vacant properties. They don’t have to speak perfect English, they just need to talk to somebody long enough to determine whether they have any interest in selling a property. Once the VA turns up a lead, we can then reach out to that lead and do the heavy lifting ourselves.
While creating a telemarketing team may sound intriguing, I’ve got a friend who has actually trained VA’s to run comps and make offers on properties for him. That’s right, his business has become so automated with VA’s, he’s almost completely hands off. While this may sound appealing, I can tell you from experience that hiring a VA is only going to be as good as the systems you put in place.
Create Systems, Document, and Train
The trick to utilizing VA’s to the fullest extent is creating the system up front and the training around that system. If you take the time to document and implement your systems, your VA is going to be that much more productive. Teaching a VA to make phone calls is really not hard if you give them a clearly defined script to follow. Also, if you’ve done a good job documenting the training for the job, it’s much easier to add VA’s or replace a VA if the need arises. I suggest recording your training sessions in something like GoToWebinar so that you have a recorded copy to give to any new VA’s (without having to spend the time training them yourself all over again).
So what kinds of tasks do you do now that can be turned over to a VA? Or, even better, how much are you paying that assistant or part-time employee to do work that could probably be handled by a VA? If you haven’t taken the time to explore this cheap and very capable labor force, what are you waiting for?