When you’re in the real estate industry, time is your most valuable asset. There are so many things that you should consider doing, plus you’re always in a rush that hiring a real estate Virtual Assistant (VA) can be so helpful. VAs are changing the way realtors work. They give you convenience and can save you a chunk of energy.
Now how can you find the perfect VA with the right set of skills?
Listen to Lauren Hardy as she gives you firsthand tips on what to do, what to avoid, and where to find a good VA that fits your standards.
How To Find The Perfect Virtual Assistant For Your Real Estate Business
I’m going to talk about hiring a virtual assistant for your business. Virtual assistants are a huge help to a lot of businesses. You would be surprised. Small businesses and huge publicly-traded companies are using virtual assistants from all over the country to help fulfill their customer service needs, do their telesales, and do a lot of administrative work. Virtual assistants are highly capable and highly qualified, but finding a virtual assistant that is good can be a daunting task. I’m going to share with you some of my experiences. I’m going to share the ups and the downs and give you some lessons that I have learned. Hopefully, you could avoid some of the negative experiences I have had.
I have had to learn the hard way for you, guys. Hopefully, with some of this advice, you will avoid hiring a bad VA because there are some pretty bad VAs. I’m going to tell you where you can find a qualified VA. I’m going to get into the experience that you are going to look for in your VA. I’m going to share with you where I find my VAs and also go into what I’m looking for in their past work experience before I hire them. I’m going to get into the interview and the training process.
What are you looking for in the experience? The first thing that is important is that they speak good English. Virtual assistants come from all different countries. The primary area where a lot of them come, especially for real estate professionals, is the Philippines. The Filipino community speaks good English. A lot of them do, but for some of them, their English is not so good. My worst experience has been with virtual assistants who have broken English. When they do not speak your native language, it is going to get hard to communicate what needs to be done in a task.
Virtual Assistant: If your virtual assistants are customer-facing, they need to sound like they come from the United States.
I highly recommend that you hear their English speaking, first and foremost. They need to speak good English. They need to be able to read and write acceptable English, especially if they are customer-facing. If they are customer-facing, they need to sound like they come from the United States. For the experience, I’m not hiring a virtual assistant to do anything too complicated. I’m not hiring a highly technical skill or trade for a virtual assistant. I’m usually using VAs for customer service or administrative tasks. They do not have to have a ton of experience, but I do like to see that they at least worked one year in a similar field. It does not have to be the exact field.
Let me give you an example. Maybe you are hiring somebody to manage your text message campaign, where you are using text message blasting to market for your company. You want to make sure that they have had some sales experience. Maybe they did telesales, texting for another company, or something where they were writing to customers so they can prove that they know how to write legibly and they have good English grammar. That is important. You want to make sure that they can do those things. It is not a highly technical thing that you are hiring them for. You can definitely train them on how to run this campaign, but you want to see that they have some work experience that is relative.
Let’s get into the interview process. The first thing I like to do is to have them send me a video clip of them talking so I can hear their English. It is important that they speak good English to me. I’m not even going to bother and waste my time on somebody who does not have it. I would like to see that they send some video or audio clip of them talking so I can hear that they speak fluent English. I’m also not going to interview anybody who has poor grammar. If we are writing back and forth and their grammar is all over the place, that is not going to work for me.
If you just hire one person and they don’t work out, you have to start all over with hiring, so you might as well try to gamble on two and see which one works best.
I also want to review their past portfolios. If what they are doing for me has something where there is a portfolio they can share, for example, graphic design for my YouTube channel, I want to see the graphic design skills that they have done for other clients. If they can give some reference for their past work experience, that is important. A big piece of advice I have for you is if you can afford to hire two, try two of them out and pick the best one. You can say that you are hiring for a trial period of 30 days. Within 30 days, you are going to know who the winning VA is.
This technique is amazing because even though it is one month that you are going to take with these two people that you are going to be paying a little bit extra, this is how you are going to find that one perfect person. If you hire one person and they don’t work out, now you have to start all over with posting a job ad and re-interviewing people. You might as well try to gamble on two and see which one works best out of those two.
Where do you find these virtual assistant job applicants anyway? I use three sources. The first one is I will look on Upwork.com. Upwork is where most of the VAs hang out, but I found that a lot of people first go to Upwork. The VAs that hang out on Upwork are often flooded with a lot of job opportunities. Upwork also takes a percentage of their sales or income. What I have noticed is some of the best VAs are getting off of Upwork and they are trying to find you privately. If you want to get started, Upwork is a good start but do not just look on Upwork. The way Upwork works is you post a job ad. It is very similar to any other job board, and then the VAs will reach back out and apply to your job.
The next place you can look is Fiverr.com. Fiverr is pretty cool and a great spot to go for all sorts of different job tasks. I find a lot of graphic design, website designers, statisticians, data miners, and all sorts of stuff on Fiverr. You could definitely look at Fiverr and see if you can find a VA for the particular task you are looking to do. The third place is a good place to find that VA direct is Facebook. There are a lot of Facebook groups now where the VAs hang out. You might want to go on Facebook and look in the search section of groups.
Look up virtual assistants for real estate companies, virtual assistants for graphic design, or virtual assistants in the Philippines. If you do that, you will find a bunch of groups. You can join those groups and post your job directly there. That is how I have found some great VAs as well. Let’s say that now we have found our perfect VA. What does the training process look like? You need to be very clear-cut and detailed as to what their job tasks are. I recommend having a checklist like, “This is your job. This is what you are doing every day.” List all the tasks in order so it keeps them organized.
You can put this checklist on a Google Drive document. Use the Google Sheets and put each task. If their job is a real estate VA and they are supposed to lead-generate for you via text message, you need to put the task like, “Check BatchLeads and system for delivery issues.” You need to put each task in there that they are supposed to do every single day. Next to each task is filming a video of you doing that task. You can use Zoom and record your screen on Zoom. Record your screen of you doing that task but do not make a very long recording. It is only one task.
If that task takes ten minutes, record yourself for ten minutes doing that exact task and narrating as you are going. Save that file and put it next to the description of that task on their checklist so they can always reference a video to show themselves how to do each task. Break down their tasks little by little rather than one big video of an hour-long of you doing five different things. Don’t do that. Get it where it is like, “Here is me updating my deal spreadsheet. This is how you do that.” You need to make them very micro. When they are doing their job, if they forget how to do something, they can easily access the video that has it.
Google Sheets works well. You can pop the link to the video there. Save all your videos in Dropbox or somewhere where you do not lose your videos. If you have to rehire a VA, you could send them to that training document right there. You do not even have to retrain. You go, “Here you go. This is your training for the job.” How perfect is that? You should do that for any role that you hire. You want to not have to recreate training materials every time you train somebody because training people takes weeks.
If you could minimize your time in training these VAs, it could become a little bit more of a revolving door where if one is not working out, you can let them go easier because you know that training a new one won’t be that difficult for you. My experiences with VAs have been very much up and down. I have had two of the best VAs ever. They have been with me for several years. I pay them well so they are happy with me and I treat them well, but it took me a while to find them.
You need to be clear-cut and detailed about your virtual assistant’s job tasks.
I have had VAs that do not work out so well. Some of the experiences with the ones that do not work out are ones that did not speak very good English. It was a lot of back and forth and having to correct them all the time. It turned into a job for me to manage them to do their job. I do not have time for that. It is hard to find a VA, but when you do find a good VA, what they can do for you is incredible. My two VAs manage all my communication portals like my email, Instagram, and Facebook messages.
If you guys are messaging me on Facebook, know my VA is reading all those. If you guys are sending me any weird emails, know that somebody is looking at those. My email inbox got so crazy over the last few years of being a business owner that I could not answer all my emails. My VA looks at my emails. She answers anything she does not know and then she draws my attention to anything that I need to pay attention to. My email inbox is pretty much not a task that I manage anymore. They are very helpful.
If you want a book to read to show you what else VAs can do, I recommend The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. He is a big fan of virtual assistance. You should definitely check out that book if you have got the time. That is it, guys. I hope you got something out of this show. If you do want a virtual wholesale and a coaching program to teach you all the skills and everything that I know, you could go to VirtualInvestingMastery.com and apply to the program. Thank you so much for reading. I will see you next time.
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About Lauren Hardy
Lauren Hardy is a Virtual Investing expert and Real Estate influencer who owns multiple companies in the real estate industry including real estate investment, coaching, and software companies. She is also a Wholesaling Inc coach and co-host of the Wholesaling Inc Podcast.
Her experience in the last decade has been focused on real estate investing and creating products and services to serve the real estate investing community. If you are interested in investing in real estate virtually, house flipping, or virtual landlording, Lauren’s your girl.