013: Virtual Assistant Domination – Part 1

Welcome to The Real Estate Tech Show! We are trying a new format with today’s episode to be a little more interactive. The podcasts will be on Zoom from now on so we can get likes and comments from our listeners in real time. If you like this new format – and even if you don’t – leave us a comment and let us know.

This episode is the first in a series about using virtual assistants in real estate. Joe swears by virtual assistants. He’s been using one for nine years now, and he’s learned a lot about hiring, firing, and creating what he calls a “standard operating procedure”. This procedure is something like a training checklist. It’s a way for you to clearly communicate your expectations with your VAs so you can make sure they’re doing the job right.

The more that you build that relationship with them often, the more that they’re going to feel compelled to want to work with you and do a better job because they feel like you care about them. Click To Tweet

We go over a few of our favorite places to find VAs, but that’s not the most important takeaway from today’s episode. The key to hiring a virtual assistant is you. Your training, your communication, and your ability to build a relationship with your VA will be the only way you can guarantee success. It’s important to keep that personal touch, even if your assistant is a million miles away. We share a few of our favorite tech tools for building that virtual relationship, and next week we’ll be talking about all the things a VA can do for you and your real estate business.  

You’ll get really good virtual assistants if you set up those procedures, that checklist right up front, but then also communicate with them and give them that scorecard. Click To Tweet


0:27 Joe finds his assistants on Virtual Staff Finder

1:25 The biggest mistakes people make with VAs

2:09 Cory loves a checklist

3:31 What is a “standard operating procedure”?

6;28 How do you know when you have a good VA?

10:16 The proper pay for your VA

13:20 Don’t lose that personal touch

15:00 A quick run-down of what a VA can do for you

16:55 Interact with us in our new live format


Virtual Staff Finder


Online Jobs

Zoom Video



Chris Ducker

MLS Hacks

And don’t forget to download our Top Ten Tech Tools!


Welcome to the Real Estate Tech Show, where two of the nation’s top experts on real estate share with you their favorite tech tools, tips, and tricks to help you explode your real estate business in productivity and profit. So get strapped in because Cory and Joe are about to lead you behind the curtain of the most relevant and effective real estate investing tools and strategies on the planet, starting right now.Joe: Hey, we’re live.

Cory: Are we live right now?

Joe: We are.

Cory: I love it. I love it. I love it. What’s going on, Joe?

Joe: Cory, this is Real Estate Tech Show Podcast and this is now our 13th episode. But this is the first time we’re broadcasting live to Facebook. I see that you’re live, Cory. It’s on my phone. And just got to make sure that I mute this so it does not… I don’t know if you can hear that.

Cory: I hear some feedback.

Joe: Yes, that was me. Sorry, but hey everybody. What’s up?

Cory: What is going on? What’s coming on? This is episode 13, like Joe said, and we have some goodies for you. If you want and go get out your phone and text the number 38470 and text the word TECH.

Joe: What’s the password on your phone?

Cory: I’m not going to give you the password on my phone. What are you talking about?

Joe: You showed us.

Cory: I’m not giving you my password, Joe. Sorry, you’re not hacking into my phone.

Joe: Hey listen, if you’re watching this on Facebook Live right now, do us a favor. Give us the like button. Give us some blue thumbs up. There’s several rules here. Listen. This is the truth here. We have rules for the show. Number one, comment down below, tell us where you’re from. Even if you’re watching the replay, comment down below, tell us where you’re from. That’s rule number one. Everybody do that right now. Type down below, tell us where you’re from.

Cory: What’s up, […]? We got some people rolling in here now.

Joe: Yes. Rule number two, give us a thumbs up. If we say something that you like, if you just want us to feel the love, give us a thumbs up right now. Everybody go down, give us a thumbs up. And rule number three, share this with your friends, okay? We’re going to be doing these Facebook Lives regularly for our Real Estate Tech Show Podcast. This starts episode 13 but we are going to be really officially pushing it, launching it now. We’re going to be sharing this good, juicy stuff with you guys. If you’re a fan of real estate and you’re a fan of tech like Cory and I are, you’re in the right place.

Joe: I love it. What’s up, Cody? Cody […] on here. […] out of Utah. Carla’s on here. What’s going on, Carla? Hope you had a good Christmas and a good New Year. Scott. Everybody comment where you’re from. That would be cool and give us some thumbs up.

Cory: Boom. I just shared it to my profile. Everybody give us some thumb’s up right now.

Joe: Let’s tell them to share it right now too, Joe. Why don’t you guys share this right now? If you know an investor, if you know a real estate investor, share this podcast, share this live feed right now and we’ll see if we can get a bunch of people get the awareness about this. Because all I hear all the time, Joe—I don’t know about you—is people asking me, “What tools do you use? What real estate tools, what automation tools do you use? How do you get all this stuff done? How is all this stuff…” There’s all these posts happen all the time. They don’t realize that we have a lot of this stuff automated. A lot of this stuff automated. Now, not everything is automated.

Today, we’re going to be talking about a topic that is red hot, red hot topic, and it’s virtual assistance. In fact, we’re calling it Virtual Assistant Domination Part One. I’m doing my show on Terry right now, Joe, and we’re going to be going over some very, very specific things on how you can absolutely dominate with virtual assistance.

There’s a couple of things that I want to get off here really quickly because you can do this right now. There’s two things. One is get on your phone without having a password and text the word TECH to 38470. In fact, Joe, I think we can just type it in the comments. Look in the comments right now.

Joe: Let’s tell you why. Cory and I put together a PDF report that shares our top 10 favorite tools. Did you have your top 10 and I have my top 10, or was it top 5 and 5?

Corey: No, we got the top 10 in there.

Joe: Of your top 10 and my top 10?

Cory: Yeah and we’re adding more in there as well. So as of right now, that’s where that is but we’re going to be adding more later on. But as of right now, they can go and download it.

Joe: Yes. We created a PDF report that Cory and I shared our top favorite tech tools that we use for our business in real estate today. In this PDF we give you the links, we tell you how to use it, we even this little video to show you how was use it. To get that report, you have to text the word TECH to 38470 and we’ll get that over to you.

We also have our website, realestatetechshow.com which we’re right now updating the header of the website. There will be soon, probably early next week, a place where we can go to the website to get that, but you can also listen to our first three or four episodes at the realestatetechshow.com.

Cory: It’s been more and more episodes are coming online there but we’re going some final edits and stuff. You can get in right now and go listen to it. It isn’t going to be pretty but it will be getting better as we go. Right now we’re just getting the content up there for you to go through.

Joe: Listen, give us some likes, give us some love. Please right now everybody give us some thumbs up. Let us know you like the show.

Cory: Tap that thumbs up button.

Joe: Even if you don’t like the show, give us some angry faces.

Cory: No, don’t give us some angries. We want likes. We want loves.

Joe: And tell us where you’re from too. I’m looking here. We got Salt Lake City, Utah. Another two guys from Utah. Kansas City. You got to tell us where you’re from guys.

Cory: What’s up, Lex? I know Lex out there in Florida. You guys type in your state.

Joe: Lex was just in Prague.

Cory: Prague, man. Joe, you spent four years there, don’t you?

Joe: Over the last four years I’ve lived there twice for two or three months at a time. Let’s talk about virtual assistance. Cory and I are going to do a little series here on the marketing, real estate seller marketing, specifically, that you’re virtual assistants can do for you. Guess what? It’s super cheap. The first thing we’re going to talk about is how to find good VAs, how Cory and I find virtual assistants. One of the guys that we were mentioning before we hit the record button was a mutual friend of ours, Robert Nicol, right?

Cory: Yes.

Joe: I had some of Robert Nicol’s VAs for a few years working for me and they’re amazing. They’re premium VAs. They’ve been pre-trained by a bunch of real estate education. They’re not cheap. This lady was phenomenal. She’s phenomenal. She’s really good on the phone. I actually used her to answer our seller calls live. Really recommend to many people to hire Filipinos to do that but she’s been really good.

Cory: Why don’t you recommend that, Joe? What is it? Because of the accent? Because of sometimes the storms knocking the power out?

Joe: I say at least two or three reasons. Number one the accents. I want somebody with good English accent.

Cory: Why is that important?

Joe: It’s just easier.

Cory: […] to understand whenever they’re taking information from the motivated seller?

Joe: Right and sometimes it won’t sound as scripted. I had two and three virtual assistants that are really good on the phone. But I was paying a premium for them. I was paying anywhere from $1500 to $2000 a month for these VAs. Most people that are trying to do this, they may only have a budget of $500 to $1000 a month to find somebody with good English from the Philippines, and I’m telling you, it’s just not enough. […] where you can’t hear an accent, they have really fast, really good, reliable internet, and they understand US customs, like if the seller is talking about a cul de sac or some kind of weird American term, the VAs’ going to know what that is. There’s a cultural thing. I prefer to have local US-based people handling the phones, answering the calls live when they come. Does that makes sense?

Cory: It does.

Joe: But Robert Nicol’s got this program, this company where he and hundreds and hundreds of VAs that have been trained in hundreds of hours of real estate education, and you can hire those VAs and that’s the guy. We don’t have any affiliate relationship with him as far as I know. What’s his VA-Easy Button used to be his website, Cory. Do you know what is—

Cory: Right, yeah, VA-Easy Button. But here’s the thing. If you’re interested and want to learn more about that with Robert, again he’s in our mastermind group, we’d be happy to talk with you about him and what he’s got going. It’s a really phenomenal business that he’s built up and a lot of happy investors use him. A lot of companies now are actually working with Robert because he’s got it dialed-in really, really well.

Again, Robert is one option, and we’ll even tell you that he’s not the cheapest. He doesn’t want to be the cheapest. He looks over quality versus getting the cheapest price. Sometimes what you have to do, is make ends meet. I know sometimes, people don’t have $1500 or $2000 to spend on this things. What do you recommend then, Joe, for them to do?

Joe: Great question. Glad you asked. I’ve been using Upwork for many, many years. It used to be oDesk and even before it was called something else even back then, but Upwork is a great place to go to find good, part-time virtual assistants or project-based virtual assistants. If you want a VA to everyday go in and scrape data off of the court website for evictions or probate, Upwork is a good place to do that because you can create a simple process and have any VA do that. You can get really good VAs there for $1, $2 an hour. Generally speaking, if you want to hire somebody, pay them a lump sum every month, it’s easier to bring down the cost a little bit like that from an hourly rate. But there’s Upwork. I also really like this website onlinejobs.ph and you can find even cheaper virtual assistants there.

Cory: Why you like them even more than Upwork? Just because of the price, or do you like that fact that you can do more selection from online?

Joe: I’ve seen Upwork the prices really go up, recently. They made some changes now where it’s harder for you as an employer to post jobs that are only for $25. I’ve done that many times where I post just something that’s just $20, $25. I think there’s even a minimum now that it’s changed. It’s been a little while since I did that, but onlinejobs.ph is a good place to go to find part-time or full-time virtual assistants. If you look at the hourly wage, they’re $1, $2 an hour sometimes. It just depends on what kind of work you having them do.

I’ll give one more resource that I’ve used before, that I liked a lot, virtualstafffinder.com. I think it’s Chris Ducker, he’s written some really good books on the whole thing about sourcing and virtual assistants.

Joe: A source that I’ve used before that I’ve liked a lot, virtualstafffinder.com. Chris Ducker, he’s written some really good books on the whole thing about sourcing a virtual assistant. He has a head hunting website, virtualstafffinder.com for $500.

They will find you three different VAs that meet your criteria and what you want to have done. You interview them and you hire one, they are going to be about $500 a month for a good full time data, admin VA—data entry, administrative virtual assistant about $500 a month. The more premium you go, it’s going to cost you more.

Those are my three favorite sources, Upwork, onlinejobs.ph, and virtualstafffinder.com.

Cory: That’s the success that you’ve had with Virtual Staff Finder as well, Joe. You’ve recommended that to some of your students, too.

Joe: I’ve had several VAs from them. Here’s the thing, it almost doesn’t matter where you get your VAs from, what matters is you.

Cory: How you train them.

Joe: How you train them, how you manage them, how you communicate with them, how slow you are to hire, how quick you are to fire when they’re bad, when they’re not working. I see a lot of people making mistakes in virtual assistants.

One of the biggest ways I’m seeing them make the mistakes is with a lack of communication and poor management. They’ll prepare something half ass and just send it to the VA and expect to hear back from them in two or three weeks with all the work done or whatever.

Cory: You have to explain and you have to actually create a checklist of things that you want to have accomplished.

Imagine this, imagine how important the checklist is. Whenever you’re doing some type of task, whether it’s going and looking up properties on the county and you’re looking for certain probates, or you’re going online and you’re searching Craigslist, or you’re going online and you’re searching some type of data source. You know how to do it, hit the button. You’re liking this, Joe.

Joe: Come on and like us.

Cory: Like us, put some hearts and some thumbs up. We’re talking about having a checklist, Joe. You have to have a checklist. It’s so important to have this checklist because once you have the checklist, then you don’t miss things that you want to have accomplished.

If you don’t have a checklist, you’re going to have things missed.

If you have a VA service right now and you’re using them, unless they are already pre-trained and they know exactly what it is that you want to do. If you don’t have a checklist, expect to have gaps in your process, expect to have things missed because it’s not their fault, it’s your fault.

Joe: Let me add two more things to that, that’s super critical. You have to have the standard operating procedure, you have to have something spelled out. We’ll talk just briefly in a minute how to do that because it’s super easy.

Just as important, you need to have regular communication with your VAs. When you first hire that VA, you need to be talking to them on Skype or Zoom or whatever every single day for the first couple of weeks.

So you are like, “Give me an update. What did you do today? What were some of the roadblocks or the hindrances? What are the bottlenecks? What are some problems that you’re having?” You have got to give them some accountability, give them a scorecard, a spreadsheet where they track what they did everyday and you track the numbers. You’re going to find like, “Well, it’s taking them four hours to do this activity, it should be taking them only one. What’s going on?”

I’m going to use some generalizations here, please forgive me. In the Philippine culture, I’ve heard this from VAs from the Philippines and friends that I have that are from the Philippines, generally speaking, they are very hesitant to tell you when something is wrong or something is not working. You have to pull it out of them sometimes.

You do that by giving regular reporting and some spreadsheet or a scorecard, communicating with them every single day and asking them, “What took you so long to do this? You shouldn’t have done this. This is the right way to do it.” You’ll get really, really good virtual assistants if you set up those procedures, that checklist right up front, but then you’ll also communicate with them and give them that scorecard. That is so important. I see so many people failing with virtual assistants because they’re not doing that.

Cory: At the end of the day, what we’re talking about is to make sure that you’ve got to have a process in order. If you don’t have a process in order, don’t expect someone to follow it.

As real estate investors, you’re doing your real estate on a daily basis. You’re hiring a VA and they don’t know what to do, how to do it, and all of a sudden you expect so much out of them like they should be in the game, and they’re not.

Joe: A lot of times these real estate investors, they don’t find out that’s a problem until two or three, four weeks down the road. You’ve got to do better at that. You wouldn’t do that with a regular employee in your office.

You’ve got to treat your virtual assistants like they were regular employees in your office. You need to have regular communication with them. It’s super important to think about.

How do you know if you’ve got a good VA? One of the things that I like to do is I give them really simple tests. If I’m looking at 3 to 5 or 10 different VAs to hire, Upwork has really strict rules by giving them work to do before you hire them.

During the interview process, give them something really simple, you could say, “Listen, I want you to go to Craigslist. I want you to find three homes that are between $1000 and $1200 a month in rent, that are three bedrooms, and I want you to create a Google Sheet and paste the following information in these four columns. I want date, link, title, and phone number. I want you to send me an email, share that spreadsheet with me at this email. In the subject line, put a smiley face.”

I don’t care about any of that except I’m looking for a VA that follows directions. If they forget to put a smiley face on the subject line, they get the rents wrong, that’s not a good VA to hire. If you want somebody with good English, give them a paragraph and make them read the paragraph and send you a voicemail. You’re looking for people that can follow directions and do it quickly and promptly.

I’ve had a very good success with VAs over the last nine years that I’ve used virtual assistants because I test them. I give them really clear steps and procedures. I’m communicating regularly with them. Cory, one of the things that I like to do when I’m creating the procedures and the checklist for the VAs, it’s super simple, don’t complicate it.

You have a Google Doc, just bullet list everything that you want done, then go back and create a video of you actually doing it through Screencast-O-Matic or Jing or Doppler, there’s a bunch of them. Just create a video of you doing that and they’ll give you a link that you can put at the top of the Google Doc that says, “This is how you do it.”

You’re going to add to that, don’t think that it has to be perfect, just get it started. You’ll add items to that checklist. If you have to do another video to clarify something, just don’t do the whole thing over again, just do a second video and copy and paste that link below the other one.

Cory: What you create is called a video training library. Once you have this video training library, now basically you have your standard operating procedures, but it’s now in video. It’s up to the person that you hire to follow this procedure. If that person goes away, then guess what’s going to happen? You’ve got the training. Now, you can give it over to someone else.

Joe: Guess how I’ve created most of my courses, Cory? When I sell a course, I just take stuff that I’ve used in my business and I create a course out of it and I sell it and give it away to people.

We’ve got some compliments, he lives in San Francisco. He travels all over the world all the time, he’s a virtual wholesaler. He’s giving me some love here, he’s giving us some good tips.

Go out there, put a simple job description, get people to apply, give them some tests, give them some simple standard operating procedures, communicate with them regularly, and pay them well if they’re doing work. Don’t be such a stingy hog.

Cory: When you say pay them well, do you pay them bonuses, Joe? How do you give them incentives?

Joe: Before I get to that, somebody just brought up a good point. You can actually have your VAs create the checklist. Sometimes people get tripped up like, “I have to learn Podio. I have to learn this new marketing thing before I can train a VA.” Maybe?

I’ve done this before, Cory, I buy somebody’s course, how to bid on HUDs. I give that course to my VA, “Watch this and you start doing it. Give me a standard operating procedures to that. If you quit or if you want to bring somebody under you to help you, you just give them this video and they do it.” That works really well if you have a good VA.

Cory: Another purpose, we’re talking about this for real estate right now but also for education. There’s a ton of webinars every day, you probably get hit with 10 different emails of somebody having a webinar on Thursday or Friday. What I would do for a long time, and I don’t do this as much now, but I’d hire VA to actually listen to the webinar. They would take notes on the webinar. I just wanted to have the meat of the webinar and they would send it back. That would save about an hour of my time and that might be three or four webinars for that day and you have VAs going there and they do it. It might cost you $50 or $20 do it.

Joe: That’s a good tip, I love it so much. I’m going to give you some thumbs up, Cory. We’re talking about compensation. Don’t be stingy with your VAs, pay them well.

Every Christmas, I pay my VAs a full month’s salary for Christmas, that’s customary in the Philippines. Give them raises. Give them bonuses. If they help you do it, give them $100, give them $500. We had one VA, he doesn’t work for me anymore, but he was just in charge of follow up.

He would follow up with all of our old seller leads like a banshee. This guy was insane because he wanted that $250 bonus check. He would do three deals a month, four deals a month to make $750 to $1000. That’s almost a full month’s salary just by making calls.

Cory: Would you tell them that that bonus is coming? How would you set that up for them?

Joe: We tracked everything in Podio. He would see if it was a lead he’s been following up with, he would see when we get it under contract. It’s funny, he was so on it. He would be following up with us. He would send me messages, “I see you’ve got this under contract. When will it close?” He was great. I found him on Upwork back when it was Odesk.

Pay them well and be loyal to them, they’ll be loyal to you. I think some people, because they’re virtual, they lose the personal touch, they lose that personal communication. I wish I lived closer to the Philippines, I would be flying out there and meeting with my VAs.

Cory: When we were just at our last mastermind, Robert Nickell was just on his way to meet with his team. The more that you build that relationship with them often, the more that they’re going to feel compelled to want to work with you and do a better job because they feel like you care about them.

At the end of the day, these people aren’t just numbers even though you can’t see them. Sometimes we just think, “They’re just a number.” No. These people have families. They care about you, they want your business to succeed, but they will only care as much as you care.

Remember that, if you don’t care, if you’re putting out that energy that you’re just a number and that you’re just a tool, a resource to get things accomplished, you’re not going to do much work.

But if you care about these people, you actually build the relationship with them. I got virtual assistants I’ve had for over 10 years. I’ve got people helping me not just because they can’t go find something else, because they know I care about them, they’re always going to get paid, they know what responsibilities they need to take care of and that matters.

Just make sure that you are putting out that, you make sure you’re putting out that energy and care about these people.

Joe: Listen, this is just a little series of what we’re going be doing on our next podcast, we’re going to be sharing with you the three or four things that your virtual assistant could be doing for you, your seller marketing. A lot of these are very low cost ways. Work with individual VAs or with agencies, both.

One of the things that your VAs can do for you is send emails to realtors for you. Haim and I created a course called MLS Hacks, you should go check it out, mlshacks.com. We’ll talk a little bit about that on the next podcast.

There are other things that your VAs can do, they can send text messages, emails, they can do follow up. They could even, believe it or not, do your direct mail. They can send one off letters for you. We’re going to be sharing that with you and showing you how to do that on the next podcast episode at the Real Estate Tech Show podcast.

Cory: They can text the word tech to 38470 and get our tool box which is our top 10 favorite resources and tech tools that is helping us right now and what we’re using in our real estate business as of today, that’s very important, too, this is relevant. I want to ask a couple of questions before we get off here, Joe. Who are using VAs? Who’s using a VA right now?

Joe: Tell us if you like this format. This is something that Cory and I just started all of our previous podcast episodes which we’re still releasing. We just recorded on Skype, we were thinking, “Let’s do it live on Zoom at the same time.” Let us know if you like this, if it’s a good idea or not.

Cory: Hopefully, if we can build this up and get interaction, we can get questions, get people to ask questions. Maybe, Joe, we could even bring people onto the live broadcast, that would be really cool. Maybe we could bring some of our students on and ask them where they went from A to B and some things that are working for them. That would be really cool.

Joe: It’d be cool if Zoom allowed you to put a lower third on the video if it said the Real Estate Tech Show on the lower third.

Cory: I think we can do a logo, we can work on that. There are some people using a VA. Are there any questions that you have before we get off here on VAs? Anything you want to know about a VA? Our next show is going to be about some of the specific things that you can have your VA do now. If you have any questions, ask it really quickly guys before we get off here, we’ve got another few minutes.

Joe: Everybody right now, if you’re watching us live or even if it’s on a replay, you’re watching it later, give us a thumbs up and share this video, please.

Cory: Let’s see who shares it right now, who shares the video right now? We can see when you share it. Click on the little share button, share the video, it’ll show that you shared the video. We’ll call you out right now if you do.

Joe: We have seven shares.

Cory: Who shared it so far? Let’s give a shout out, Joe.

Joe: It won’t let me open it up.

Cory: Bill just came on here, what’s up Bill? Chris has got multiple VAs. Darren just shared the video, thank you. Brad Foster, thank you very much for sharing. Who else is going to share the video? Cindy, thank you, Cindy. Who else is sharing the video? Scott, thank you, Scott Kennedy.

Joe: Brad, Kevin, Lee, Bryant, William Denick.

Cory: William, thank you for sharing. We got folks that are sharing like crazy right now. Share this video and it really helps out with the engagement. We get a lot of folks on here, they’re going to ask good questions. These comment sections will just grow. Sometimes, Joe, if you will watch some of these Facebook videos and the comments, you can get some gold nuggets.

Joe: You know what else, Cory, there’s a bunch of people here that I’m not friends with. I’m adding you guys as friends, I’m sending you right now friend requests.

Cory: You better share it, Mark, I’m calling you out. I’m looking at you, buddy.

Joe: Even if you don’t like this show, let us know. Leave us a comment, let us know what are some of the things you’d like us to talk about on future episodes. I have to make like a banana and split.

Cory: Kick your day job, buddy. Joe, that’s funny.

Joe: That was funny, my face is red.

Cory: What’s up, Matthew? Thank you guys for sharing. Thank you for doing the thumbs up and the hearts. We will get back on here soon and do part two and go through some specifics on what you can do for your marketing with VAs, that’s going to be fun.

Joe: Thanks everybody. Thanks, Cory.

Cory: Talk to you later. Bye guys.

Joe: See you. Bye, bye.

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