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Should you hire a Virtual Assistant (VA)?

We hired a VA for the first time at the start of the year, and we can’t believe we hadn’t done it sooner. He works 16 hours a week for us (approximately 2 hours a day) and bills us every 2 weeks. Luckily, our VA is extremely efficient, so even though 2 hours might not sound like a lot, you’d be amazed at how much he accomplishes during those 2 hours. As someone who values efficiency and productivity, this blog was co-written with him with the goal of explaining to you how virtual assistants can revolutionize the way you work.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

First, let’s start with the basics: Imagine having a skilled professional by your side, helping you with administrative tasks, technical support, or creative projects, all without them physically being in your home (if you work from home like I do). VAs use tools like email, phone, and video calls to collaborate with you from their home office. From managing emails to creating social media content, virtual assistants can handle a wide range of tasks, making your work life easier and more efficient.

There are several types of virtual assistants and how they can support you:

  1. Administrative Virtual Assistants These multitasking wizards excel at organizing your schedule, managing emails, and keeping your business operations running smoothly.

  2. Technical Virtual Assistants Need tech-savvy support for website maintenance, IT troubleshooting, or graphic design projects? You could have a go-to guy who specializes in small businesses looking to enhance their online presence and technical capabilities.

  3. Creative Virtual Assistants If you crave a sprinkle of creativity in your projects, there are creative VAs who can help with content creation, social media management, and designing eye-catching marketing materials that set you apart from the competition.

  4. Multilingual Virtual Assistants For global reach and diverse linguistic needs, multilingual VAs can offer translation services, transcription, and customer support in multiple languages, bridging communication gaps and catering to an international clientele.

  5. Property Management Virtual Assistants Last but not least... I bet you didn’t expect that you could hire a virtual assistant who manages your properties from a distance, could you? Well, we didn’t either until now. With the right management software, emails, and systems in place, you can definitely hire a VA for just a couple of hours every week to help with tenant management! Music to your ears, right? Keep reading…

How Virtual Assistants Revolutionize the Real Estate Industry

The real estate industry has especially embraced the power of virtual assistants. Let's dive into how they transform key aspects like property management and construction administration:

Property Management

From screening tenants to marketing vacant properties, virtual assistants streamline essential tasks in property management:

  1. Screening Tenants VAs can help streamline the screening process for you by helping conduct background and credit checks while also verifying rental history by calling landlords and employers for references. They can also double-check IDs, cross-reference previous addresses, etc.

  2. Handling Maintenance Requests VAs act as a point of contact for maintenance issues, ensuring timely resolutions and happy tenants. Especially if you have property management software in place, it will make it easy for them to follow procedures, send the proper maintenance subs, and they can even call the tenants if needed to troubleshoot the issues. (Bonus tip: If you’re looking for management software, we use Buildium)

  3. Rent Collection Again, if you have management software, VAs can easily track rent payments, send reminders, and keep cash flow steady to minimize payment delays. If you don’t have management software, you can even have your VA create a checklist or a procedure for properly collecting rent by guiding them a little bit by how you’ve been doing them and asking them to find a way to improve the procedure. (Another Bonus tip: You don’t have to have everything prepared for them before they start working; you can absolutely give them the task to find ways to make your business better by creating procedures for it. Often, by letting them take the initiative, they’ll surprise you. They might already have the experience necessary to set your business up in a fraction of the time it would have taken you to figure it out.)

  4. Marketing Vacant Properties By creating listings and engaging with potential tenants, VAs reduce the time you spend on your phone answering messages and repetitive questions from potential tenants. Instruct them of your qualification standards and what pre-screening questions to ask then let them schedule showings that work for your schedule. Again, this is a huge time-saver.

Construction Administration

In construction projects, VAs play a crucial role in budgeting, scheduling, procurement, and communication.

  1. Budgeting VAs help manage project finances, track expenses, and keep projects within budget limits. They can also handle accounts receivable and payable.

  2. Scheduling By setting deadlines and coordinating tasks, VAs boost project efficiency and minimize delays.

  3. Procurement VAs research suppliers, obtain quotes, and handle orders, call to have a port-a-potty and construction fence delivered on site, etc., ensuring a smooth flow of resources for projects.

  4. Communication Acting as a liaison, VAs keep all stakeholders informed, address concerns, and maintain effective project communication.

  5. Administrative Tasks There’s always something administrative to deal with in construction/renovation projects. Whether it’s managing utility companies (disconnects, reconnects), getting proper insurances, creating checklists and procedures to help the flow of future projects, etc.

  6. Bookkeeping I could probably write an entire blog post just for this because it’s typically a dreaded subject for most entrepreneurs. To keep it simple for today: we have set up our VA to help us with bookkeeping by having a simple folder structure on a cloud surver where we take pictures of our receipts and save them in the proper folder. Our VA, while also managing the billables, knows where to file everything in the correct folders so that at the end of the quarter, he can tally everything nicely and send it off to our accountant.

Tricks for Employers Working with Virtual Assistants

If you're considering working with a virtual assistant, here are some tips to maximize your collaboration.

  1. Clear Communication Keep communication open and transparent to align on goals and expectations effectively.

  2. Set Clear Goals Provide your VA with clear objectives for each task to drive successful outcomes.

  3. Provide Feedback Offer constructive feedback to support your VA's growth and enhance their performance.

  4. Trust and Empower Trust your VA to handle tasks independently and empower them to make decisions when needed. Like I mentioned before, allow them to take the initiative on certain projects or tasks and let them surprise you.

  5. Invest in Training Where and when needed, upskill your VA to enhance their knowledge and skills for better results in the long run. It might be a great return on investment.

  6. Just do it Stop wondering whether you should hire a VA or how to prepare for hiring one, just hire one and let things figure themselves out. Instead, start wondering what you're going to be doing with all that extra free time. Are you going to hunt for more clients or more deals, or are you going to take up yoga?

Still, I’d recommend starting with a short contract for a specific task or project. For example, you can prepare a list of potential clients or find the numbers of other local landlords (or you can have them do research and gather a list) and ask them to cold call these clients to sell your services, or cold call these other landlords to see if they have any properties they’d like to sell to you. See how they handle it before deciding if this VA is right for you or if hiring one is even something you want to continue pursuing or not.

From my experience though, embracing the power of virtual assistance can transform the way you work, boost productivity, and unlock new possibilities for your business.

Remember, effective communication, trust, and role clarity are key to a successful partnership.

If you want to check out our VA, (and I hope I’m not shooting myself in the foot by giving everyone his information) check out his Facebook profile link

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