The Art of Leveraging

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Oh boy, I love hiring someone else to do a job I don’t want to do. Putting out signs? NO WAY! Stuffing, addressing, and stamping envelopes, Yah Right! I’m a big fan of leveraging my time to others and you should be too! As business owners it’s easy to get caught up working IN your business instead of ON it. I know I was spending most of my “working time” doing tasks that someone else could have easily done with training or support until I started hiring out those tasks and was able to work ON my business instead of IN it. This post is going to shed light on how you can create more time and allow yourself to be free to make more money doing activities that will truly benefit your business.

Hire a Virtual Assistant eba2fb4486b076d192aba19d41c88a8f

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Virtual Assistants. They are amazing time savers and eager to work for you. Virtual assistants can be hired locally (in your state or country), or abroad. Rates, experience, qualifications, time difference, and language fluency are some factors you should take into consideration when hiring a VA but nonetheless there are extremely qualified virtual assistants looking for jobs and will do pretty much any task you designate to them. I use my VA for property research, follow up, deriving lists, and other small tasks. I’ve seen others use a VA for social media marketing, blogging, SEO, property research, CRM management, web design, and so much more. The opportunities are endless and the best part about it is you can hire a great VA in the price range of $4 – $7 per hour. I hired two VA’s last year and now have them trained in all of my systems for data scrubbing and property research for my non-performing note tapes (this saves me about 8-10 hours per tape and allows me to work on getting more inventory and making more offers!) I’ve also automated my lead capture with a CRM system from Only For Investors, which has been amazing. My VA is completely trained in how to enter, edit, and update properties and even works on my follow up with each lead! If you’re scared about hiring a VA because you’ve heard “horror” stories, or maybe you’ve even tried but failed, don’t give up. There’s a science to hiring and training a good VA and luckily we’ve got it done pat. There will be additional blog posts on how to hire a VA and what to look for, but if you just can’t wait visit our website www.TapeTechs.com to see about our VA training system for note or REO investors.

Letter Writers

670px-WriteAdressClearly-Step-2I hired my first letter writer in July of last year and boy has this been a time saver. The letter writer picks up the pre-printed letters and stamps from OfficeDepot or Staples (which ever is closest to you) and stuffs, addresses, and stamps my letters typically in 24 – 42 hours from pick up. I pay her .25 cents per letter and am able to free up time to work on my business instead of in it.   Oh did I mention, the envelopes and return address labels are sent directly to their house – for free from Office Depot.com, which is AWESOME! If trust is an issue for you and your worried they won’t be done correctly, or maybe a stamp or envelope will go missing, check their work by adding your address with a fake name in the letters to check. Although, I’ve worked with two different people now and had no issues with stealing items!

Signs

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Alright, I’ll say it. I HATE putting out signs. I hate it so much, that if I’m responsible for doing it…I don’t do it. I hate the traffic, parking, buckling, unbuckling, honking, and time of it all. I hired my first sign placer recently and was happy with the results. I met with them (or you can have them pick up the signs after you “interview” them) and gave them a map of where to put the signs. I used the app simple crew to monitor their progress (they checked in each sign with a picture and geotagged their location) in the app. They sent me a message when they were done and paypal took it from there! You can pay $1 – $2 per sign depending your area, but if it’s any less than that it’s not worth the gas the spend putting them out, so make your pay worthwhile.  When you first meet with someone for this job, talk about the best way and places to put signs – give a few examples and no-examples. If you notice they placed them in a bad spot or not facing the right way, etc, tell them that will be deducted from their pay.

List Research 

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I love to use public records to gather my lists for properties and I like my lists to be as fresh as possible. Although there are wonderful online resources like list source.com, I prefer to go to the courthouse myself and get the freshest data possible. I’m a school teacher by day, so getting to the courthouse before it closes at 4 was challenging if I wasn’t on break, so I realized this needed to be hired out.  While I have not personally hired this job out myself, I am working on the training and hiring process using my colleague and fellow associates method from Only For Investors. She mastered this and had two people in different counties in Florida, successfully getting them probate and eviction lists twice a month! Talk about awesome, right!?

Answering Service Happy call center employees with headset

Answering services can be a huge time saver and are always by the phone 24-7. I use this for all of my preliminary calls and it get’s entered directly into my CRM system were my VA takes it from there (does property research then sends it to me to make an offer). There a lot of services out there and my suggestion is PatLive. They are very professional and offer their services at a reasonable price.

The suggestions for leveraging your time that I mentioned here are just the tip of the iceberg. There are a ton of ways for you to maximize your time by outsourcing it to others. The key here. is taking the time upfront to create clear plans of what you want, how you want it done, and training programs/examples for some of the tasks. It can be a daunting process getting it started but once it’s in place you’ll never look back (or have to do it again)! If you like this idea and want to learn more, visit our website to see how you can use our training program for your VA!

Time Management – How to Make the Most of 24 Hours

business turning back timeTime management is a struggle for a lot of people, including me. Still working in a full time job, I have a hard time working on the business as well working out, cooking dinner, and spending time with friends and family. I realized shortly after Seasoned Funding came to be, that if I wanted to run a real estate investment business, I would need to manage my time better. I’ve read a number of books on the subject, read blog posts, and even asked friends for advice and unfortunately I’ve found there is no perfect time management system, it’s really what ever works for the individual. I’ve compiled a few ideas on ways to improve your time management to allow you to chose the method that works best for you.

Time Log

TogglReportFor 1 week straight write down exactly how you spend your day and how long it takes for each activity. When I say exactly, I mean exactly, write down EVERYTHING you do, 8:00 – 8:30 cook and eat breakfast, 8:30 – 8:40 drive to work, 8:50 – 9:00 caught up on emails, etc. This helps you get an idea of what you’re really doing with your time, and how to better allocate certain activities. Toggl is an app you an download from App Store or Google Playstore that tracks the amount of time you spend on activities electronically and can even break it down for you into awesome graphs and charts.

 Time Block

If you’re going to take this route I HIGHLY suggest doing the “Time Log” Activity you read before this. It helps you make realistic goals for planning your time and allows you to get more done because you know how long those activities take and when is the best time to do them. This is a great tool for the “multi-tasker” that does 4 things at once and never quiet finishes any of them!

Time logging is simply mapping out your day specifically saying what you want to get done, and when you’re going to do it. In order to effectively time block you need to know how long an activity is going to take (why I suggested using a time log first). You set aside certain time to do that task and only allow yourself to complete that task. This is a really helpful tool for people who are good at self monitoring and don’t need a lot of reinforcement to follow through. This is my personal preference and saving grace. I love using my Google Calendars because it syncs to my phone and email and can send me text alerts, emails, or just pops up. That way I know I’m on track. I can also easily adjust the calendar if something takes longer than expected or pops up. I like this tool because I can also see when is the best use of my time on certain daysScreen Shot 2014-12-31 at 5.54.31 PM orhours. I can work on socialmedia marketing at any hour, but I can’t always call realtors or leads at 9 pm, so take a look at what you want to get done and when is the most productive time to do it. Here’s an example of what my week looks like.

Check Lists/To Do Lists

myLife-ssh016As basic and old school as this may seem, it feels great to cross something off of a list. It gives a true sense of accomplishment. Whenever I make lists I make them very specific and put down absolutely anything I can think of. I also start with the activities I least want to complete first because I know I will feel more encouraged and motivated to finish off the list after those are done. In order for this to be effective you must create a new list for each day which can be done the night prior or the morning of, what ever you prefer. MyLifeOrganized is another app that will allow you to keep track of your to do lists where ever you are (which is super helpful if you leave your lists everywhere like me)!

Leveraging Your Time

This is by far my favorite way to maximize and manage my time and since implementation this past year has freed up hours each day for me!! Leveraging your time is allocating an activity to someone else’s time, meaning pay someone else to do it! As a real estate investor there a lot of “small” or “lower level” tasks that go into what we do. If you market to sellers by mail, you have letters, envelopes, and postcards to send. If you make calls or walk neighborhoods, those are hours you log. A wise friend of mine (and countless other extremely successful people) told me last year – STOP wasting your time doing those things and pay someone else to do it! I understand wanting to be frugal and save as much money as possible, but when it comes down to it you can make so much money in the time you save by giving the job to someone else to do then what you actually pay them! There are a number of ways to do this but to name a few hire a VA, hire an assistant, answering services, letter writers, hiring a bookkeeper, hiring someone to put out signs or drive for dollars. I’ll be writing more on this topic in my next blog post, so if this peaks your interest stay tuned for more!

Making Use of Technology

Let’s face it. We’re in the 21st century and there a thousands of apps, websites, and companies that exist only to make our lives easier with technology. I have saved so much time (and trees) by switching to more efficient tools online or on my iPhone and it allows me to complete work wherever I am. This is definitely it’s own blog topic, but here are some suggestions to get you started if you aren’t already utilizing them.

docusign-pick-your-signature-100033770-large-2Docusign or Hellosign: Both of these are for sending and receiving electronic signatures: send your contracts or documents to a seller/client online – no need to print, fill out, scan or fax to them. Fill it out on your computer, upload, and send!

googledocsGoogle Docs: Store all of your important documents in folders in the “cloud”. They can be edited directly from your phone or ANY computer by logging into Google Docs and can also be shared or collaborate with others with a click of a button. No need to save, it’s there for you EXACTLY where you left off.

dropbox-logoDropbox: If you’re not using dropbox right now you are missing out on a world of opportunity. It’s a “cloud based” storage solution for anything you can imagine. I keep all of my property photos and documents in their own folder and if I need to wholesale one off, I can send any interested buyers the folder directly with a link from my phone or any computer. It’s free to signup and you free up a TON of space on your computer.

pdfill_pdf_editor-322853Adobe PDF Editor: I use this to fill in and sign contracts that are sent to me or that I want to send out. I can cross out, fill in, initial, sign, and more saving it as a PDF the entire time. I can also convert to a different format if needed. Downside, must be on each computer you’re using.

Staying Focused

focus This “tool”applies to any of the suggestions I made earlier. This one seems easy but is critical to success and often forgotten when you’re in the moment. Focus on completing ONE TASK at a time. Complete one, then move onto the next. A lot of our time is eaten up by a lack of focus on completing the original task at hand and getting “distracted” by other things. If you’re doing an activity on the computer and an important email pops-up, resist the urge to respond immediately. Finish the task you were working on, or give yourself a break at an intricate stopping point. You’ll find you get you original task done faster and you managed to accomplish two things instead of one!

I hope some of these tools and suggestions are useful for you and you’re able to start 2015 with more time to enjoy and do the things you really want to be doing! 🙂