A couple of weeks ago, I hired a virtual assistant from myoutdesk.com.
I’d like to share that experience with you, so in case you are thinking about hiring your own virtual assistant, you will have some information going into it.
With MyOutDesk, you pay $495 up front. This covers their cost of screening the applicants and putting them through a rigorous two-week training program. After that, it’s $8.60 per hour.
You can hire any type of assistant you might need from an ISA (inbound sales agent) to an administrative assistant to help you with the gazillion tasks you are in responsible for. Please note that the virtual assistants are not licensed and there are certain things an ISA type of VA will not be able to handle. MyOutDesk is prepared to help you with that.
I am strictly using my VA for administrative tasks. Right now I am training her as a listing manager. I don’t plan to have her communicate with the clients (at least not for the time being, but that may change). There are pre-listing activities such as finding out the square footage of the home, researching the homeowner’s association and finding a copy of the warranty deed that can all be handled remotely by a VA.
Our MLS is very strict about who can log in, so I am not able to have my VA enter or change listings in MLS unless I want to pay an extra monthly fee to get her an admin login for it. Thus, I enter the listing in MLS myself and write the description of the home, but after that, I am training my VA to handle the rest. This includes writing a blog post about the home, updating Trulia, Zillow, and Realtor.com with enhanced listing information and post the home on all our social media sites.
Courtney, my full-time in-house transaction coordinator, will also be training my VA to audit files, contact clients to solicit online reviews and a few other tasks easily done virtually.
Since my VA is physically located in the Philippines, she works through the night in her own home. I hired her for part-time work and she was already working for another team in my time zone from 10 AM to 2 PM. So my VA works for me from 3 PM to 7 PM. I have to admit that this schedule kinda sucks for training.
I use Movavi to record training videos for her while I am in the office during the day and then I upload them to YouTube in an unlisted video and share the link with her in an email along with any other instructions I need to give her in writing. I’ve also tried training her by sharing my screen with her through Skype, but I am sensing from her that that method it too overwhelming for her. Quite possibly because I am talking too fast and moving too fast. It’s hard for me to slow down and explain things in detail. All of the activities I am showing her come easily to me and I forget that she is seeing these things for the first time. If I record a video though, she is able to go back and watch it or at least pause the video, do one of the steps, watch a little more video and pause, and do the next step.
In preparation for hiring a VA, I would have made these videos first, uploaded them to YouTube, and then posted them on a password-protected WordPress site. That way I would have already had a training library ready to go.
The difficulty also comes in that I have to be available from 3 PM to 7 PM. I am used to knocking off work at 4 PM, so having to be available so late is tiring for me. It’s not forever though! Just for the next couple of weeks until I get her rocking.
Obviously if you hire a VA, you could get someone who would be available during the times you are available yourself.
What I like about MyOutDesk is that they give you a large number of candidates to choose from. Their DISC profiles are posted to the MyOutDesk website for you to see along with their resumes and videos they created so you can see what they sound like. I purposefully chose someone with a high C and I chose someone who I had no difficulty understanding over the phone. The vast majority of my communication with my VA has been through Google Chat, but in the cases where we need to talk through Skype, I didn’t want to come across as an idiot by saying, “What?” every time she said something.
Overall, I’ve had a pretty positive experience with the hiring and training process. I plan to write an update post in a couple of weeks so you can see how things are progressing.
I believe that this little bit of leverage is going to help me be able to spend more of my time implementing some additional marketing that will bring in more business. Our team has primarily been prospecting-based. We are at the point where the only way to get more business by prospecting is to spend more time prospecting and the agents are not wanting to do that. The plan for 2016 is to bring up the marketing side of the business in order to increase our sales volume.
Have questions? My inbox is always open: egilbert AT kw DOT com. Send me a message; I’d love to hear from you!