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 ….even if you want to try!

Joan is a real estate agent.  Joan’s income is derived from house sales.  Her focus is securing listings or having her customers buy a home.  All she needs to do is get people to purchase a home. If only her life was that simple.  Unfortunately, there are many other things she needs to do in order for those houses to be sold.

She needs online marketing to find referrals.  She needs to use social media and mailer materials to find new prospects.  She must offer extras to make herself stand out from her competitors.  She must keep in touch with her current customers for repeat business or referrals. This requires a website, an email platform, a CRM, social media sites that all need to be built and maintained.  Lastly there is administrative work: creating the MLS process, as well as orchestrating the closing documents.  How does she handle all of these tasks?  There are a few that come easy to her because of her expertise and passion, but there are some she may not excel at or she just hates to do.  If she has a partner, they can divvy up the responsibilities.  But if Joan is a solopreneur real estate agent, what does she do?  She can’t do it all herself …even if she wanted to try.  There are just not enough hours in the day, nor does she have the expertise or knowledge for some of what is needed to drive her sales.

Many of us entrepreneurs are in the same boat as Joan.  Our talents and passion are focused on the particular product or service we want to offer. For example, if you are a chef and decide to run a catering business, you are an expert at cooking, but probably lack skills at online marketing, business management or bookkeeping.  If you don’t have the time or inclination to learn these skills, your only option is to hire someone to do those things for you.  But what if you don’t have a physical office for someone to work at?   A virtual assistant may be your answer.

So, what is a virtual assistant and how do I find one? A virtual assistant is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative assistance to clients remotely from their home or an office not yours.  You will pay them by the hour, or the project.  These people can range from an accountant, bookkeeper, web manager, email marketer, content writer, social media manager, ad manager and more.  They may possess highly technical skills so can create websites or manage your Facebook ads, or they may have customer service skills and can make sales calls.  Or they may be good at updating your CRM and send out your thank you cards. You may be smarter to hire someone to build your email platform or website no matter the cost just because someone will be better at it than you. Saves you a lot of time and eliminates the stress.

In my last corporate job, I hired a virtual assistant for 4 years.  I paid her out of my own pocket to manage a lot of behind the scene things that helped my business run smoothly.  This allowed me more time for the things I could do well to drive sales.

If they have the right expertise, your virtual assistant can be a spouse, a family member or friend.  Or there are several agencies out there that function like an employment agency.  They match you with the right person for your task.   Or you can look for individual people offering services on places like Craigslist or through Meetups or Facebook Groups.  Perhaps you can barter your services with someone else’s who needs your help and you need theirs.

Joan needs to focus her energy on closing home sales.  Joan may need several virtual assistants.  One can handle administrative responsibilities.  One can manage her website and social media.  One can handle her bookkeeping.  The goal is to allow Joan to focus on being an extraordinary real estate agent. Makes sense right!

If you, like Joan, feel as if you are in overwhelm, maybe it is time to take inventory.  What do you like best about what you do? What do you hate?  What do you struggle with?  Decide what is the best use of your time.  Find a virtual assistant for the rest.

By Janet Elie

Internet Marketing Specialist