Robert Nickell is a national speaker, published author and one of the most successful real estate investors in the nation. Robert is known for his unique ability to teach, train, and run successful virtual businesses.
Robert co-created Investor Virtual Assistant Services, LLC (IVAS) with the purpose of sharing his knowledge, experience and success with fellow investors around the world that are looking to take more control of their time while increasing productivity and reducing costs.
What you’ll learn about in this episode:
- How to find Virtual Assistants already trained in real estate investing
- All about real estate virtual assistant services and how they’ll help your business
- Learn how to become a better employer by learning to delegate
- A solution for entrepreneurs who aren’t good with important, but boring and consistent/repetitive tasks
- Get time back for yourself so you can be with family and focus on your business growth
- Understand the value of a VA both for you, your business, and the VA
- Powerful examples of how a VA can not only pay for themselves, but make you money
- Your VA will Handle day-to-day tasks that NEED to be done, but will otherwise slip through the cracks
- What should you pay for a VA and what do you get for it?
- Are these trained employees the right choice for your business?
- How does your business culture matter, even for a VA?
- Get coaching about the best use of your VA for your business
- Great advice to make sure you never have to panic if your VA leaves
- An exclusive offer to listeners from Robert Nickell
Mitch: Hello, everyone. This is Mitch Stephen. And, I have a very special guest on the line today. We have Robert Nickell of IVAS, that’s Investor Virtual Assistant Services. Robert started this business a couple of years ago. I’m pretty much sure it started out a necessity, but we’ll get to hear it from Robert, himself.
And, how are you doing, Robert?
Robert: Great, Mitch. I really appreciate you having me on.
Mitch: Well, I’m excited to have you on, because, I want to let know everyone out there that, you know, I buy just a hundred houses a year in my hometown of San Antonio, Texas. And, part of the reasons why I can do that is because I met you at a think tank brain consortium group called, Collective Genius with Jason Medley. They got to know you down there, and you kind of opened my eyes to the world of Virtual Assistants. And that group, in general, was all about systems and getting more done with less.
And so, I took the leap and I got involved with IVAS, and I do have a virtual assistant now that you provided me. Her name is Margo, and she’s been with me now for over a year. Doing a great job and I’m so impressed with the whole thing, that I started talking to my students and other people around me about what you are doing and how it’s affected my business.
So, that’s why I’m excited to have you on the phone call, because I know this has been working for me. And I know it’s working for some of my other students, and I know it worked for you. So, tell me a little bit about how Investor Virtual Assistant Services came to be.
Robert: Yeah, so. I started investing in real estate, myself, back in 2008. I was doing one property at a time with my best friend. We were rehabbing. We would purchase a property. We would do all the work ourselves. We were running the electrical, the Romex, the plumbing, installing insulation, literally everything ourselves.
And, in 2010, I was not real happy with myself. I was not real happy with my current situation, and my life. I was just overwhelmed. I had too much going on. I was trying to do too much. And, I joined a mentoring group in late 2010, early 2011, where I really learned about systems, automating and wholesaling. And this whole idea of putting systems in your business and being able to leverage processes in other people’s time to be able to get more done. Although, it sounds like an easy concept, it was new to me. It totally blew me away, and, quite honestly, changed my life.
And this idea being able to do both owner finance and wholesaling was just so, so powerful. But, pretty quickly, I ran into a wall. I was able to do 3-4 deals a month max. And that was if I was working 70- 80 hours a week, because I’m answering the phone, I’m running the comps, I’m doing all the follow up. Literally, every single thing from contract to close, I was doing every bit of it.
My broker, who I hung my license under, he was exploding his business. He was growing like gang busters in 2011. And, he didn’t seem to be hiring anyone else. His office didn’t have anybody else in there. And, I started talking to him about how was he so successful? How was he able to get so much done and accomplish so much without a team?
Well, I found out he did have a team. There was a big team that he was leveraging to get everything done. They were just overseas in the Philippines. And so, that was the first time I really learned about virtual assistants was through my real estate broker. So, I just took that concept, and I already had a business. I was wholesaling 3-4 properties a month. I was doing one rehab at a time.
And so, I took all my systems, all my processes, all my scripts, the way I ran comps that I’d already put together, and I started training virtual assistants how to get that done. Well, over time, it transitioned into my virtual assistants pretty much spent all their time training other people’s virtual assistants how to do the work, because people saw me leveraging, people saw that it was working. But, they didn’t really know how to go through that process, themselves.
So, I formalized about little over 2 years ago, I formalized our training. I formalized the recruitment, where we have a full infrastructure around screening, recruitment screening and training. So, we have a huge infrastructure around recruiting. We bring tons of people in the pipeline, and then we’re very selective about who we use. Because it’s a value proposition, and our clients have to see a ton of value and get a lot of traction out of their V.A.
So, we bring people in, they go through background checks, federally and locally, they sign non-disclosure agreements, we are personality profiling them. And, then, they go through about a 6 weeks training program, where they did not only learn retail real estate but investors specifically. And then, they get live practice.
They’re working live absentee owner leads, both inbound and outbound, they run comps with and without MLS, they do agent enrollment. The idea is after about 6 weeks of going through of this robust training program, they’re totally competent to fill any role in any investor’s’ business.
So, anything that can be done on a phone or a computer, we have clients all over the country, and literally all over the world — From the U.S to Canada and Spain and Israel and Columbia. Investors who are leveraging our trained virtual assistants to just plug in and play their business, fill an immediate need and do all the ancillary day to day important tasks, but may or may not be its highest and best use of the business owners’ time to allow them to grow, get more done.
And sometimes, not even to grow, right? Like you, Mitch, for example. You’ve got so much going on, you’re not necessarily looking to grow. You’re just looking to get some of your time back. So, if I understand correctly through our conversations, one of Margo’s biggest value adds for you and your business is that you’re now able to spend more time with your family and get more stuff done and get some of your time back because you’re leveraging Margo to do some of the day to day stuff.
So, that’s a long winded answer to kind of tell you who we are and where I came from, but that’s the story. [LAUGHTER]
Mitch: Oh, no. That’s good. So, you know, Kenzie Angelo, the founder of HomeVestors, once told me, he was a friend of mine. His daughter and son-in-law live here in the same town. And, I was fortunate enough to meet him. And he said, “You know, an entrepreneur rarely ends up in the business he started.” And so, I’ve seen that in your business, and in my business all the time, I see it all around me. And, you probably didn’t mean to go to the VA business, but it just, you just kept upping your game in that department. And, you’ve done a great job.
Robert: That’s exactly, right. It was just serving a need. So, it’s really fun. Right? Because, I had no idea. It’s funny you say that because, people ask me all the time, “Well, how’d you get in the VA business?” Well, I had a need, and everyone else did, too. So, it’s just…
Mitch: And, no one was filling it the way you wanted to. You know, I invented LiveComm for the same reason. The phone service, phone capture, phone number capture, mass texting service. I invented it for the same reason. No one was doing what I needed it to do at a price I could afford. And so, I just did it myself.
Mitch: It may be bigger than anything I’ve ever done, you know, when I end up — when it’s all said and done. I don’t know. But, so, you’re a unique value proposition, because you’re not the only person out there that has VAs to be hired. And I think, you know that, I mean, I know you know that. I know that. I don’t know if other people know that.
But, your unique value proposition is that you’ve extensively trained these people to understand our language; the creative real estate investor’s language. And, you’ve taught them how to do all these spreadsheets and do property searches and all this. And so, I don’t have to train them, because that’s what really got me excited about your program.
Now, when I looked at the price that you are charging, you’re charging, like $9.60 an hour ,and you can use them part time — 4 hours a day or 20 hours a week. Or, you can get full time. One or the other. And, I was a little bit daunted at first when I saw the price, because I know the price of VAs in the Philippines and India, and stuff like that, and they can be very cheap. And, I’ve seen them as low as $1 or $2 an hour, you know.
You know, I had one tell me, when I asked them how much did they wanna get paid for this function that I was asking them to do, they told me a dollar an hour. And, I honestly — I felt guilty about that, and they finished the job and I paid them $2 an hour just to — I gave them a 100 percent increase bonus, just because they did me a decent job.
The problem is, they didn’t hang around. You know they’re always going to the next thing. And they weren’t focused on my business, and when I go and try to get him to do something else, either I couldn’t get a hold of him or he was tied up with something else. So, and then…
Robert: Yeah, so, pay is a really interesting point. And it’s, you know, people have an initial aversion to pay people more. But, for us it’s really simple. We want the highest quality people we can get, and we want dedicated, loyal employees that are going to stick around forever.
So, if you look at the industry average for turnover in the VA business — Well, one, you’re never going to get an honest answer, because the way people calculate turnover is about as crooked as you could ever imagine, because they’re just manipulating the numbers. We have a near zero turnover rate, and it’s one of the things I’m most proud of.
Because, of the culture we created within our organization, we value the VAs, we take care of them and we provide a great life for them. The VAs that we are hiring have other options. They just choose to work for us, and some of that has to do with pay but a lot of it just has to do with the culture in our organization and the type of client, like you, Mitch, who have valuable, important roles for your VAs to play.
So, not only are they getting paid more, but they are a valued member of the team, doing important stuff, which we all want to be significant as human beings. We all want to be valued in whatever we’re doing. From a pay standpoint, all the way to culture, we’re just trying to create an environment where we see success and not just cheap dollar amounts.
Mitch: So, you know, when you’re paying these VAs out of the $9.60, you’re paying them $4-5 to maybe a little over $5 an hour. This is a lot of money in some parts of the country. I mean, that’s a lot of money. I mean, do you know what’s that equivalent to in the United States? I mean, more or less.
Robert: So, yeah. When you get up to around $6 an hour in the Philippines, that’s like paying someone between a 120- 140 thousand dollars a year here in U.S. So, a $4 or $5 an hour a person would be a high level person. That’d be a 60-70-80 thousand dollar in our person here in the U.S.
Mitch: Yeah. So, it’s not chump change, and they say, you know, I mean — Margo, my VA, has never missed a day with the exception of one time. I think a monsoon came through, or something, and everybody walked down the river full of mud. But, then they came back, and…
Robert: Yeah. [LAUGHTER] Every now and then, natural disasters happen. You can’t control that. Yeah, and, Margo is not the exception. I mean, she’s the rule to what we’re doing, because, again, it’s a value proposition. It has — You’re talking about the cost is $9.60 an hour, but the value Margo is providing for you far exceeds her costs.
Mitch: Oh, no. If I may give an example, I mean, I started Margo to go and collect the email addresses and cell phone numbers of every realtor in San Antonio. And I knew how to get this done, but it was just a big job. As a matter of fact, it was such a big job, that I hired someone in India to just do the whole spreadsheet thing, because it was such a mundane, long task and it was nothing you needed rocket science for.
And then, I worked with Margo to take that list, mail merge it into some emails and I started sending out 100 emails a day to 8,000 realtors in my town. And that worked okay. We were to take the realtors that responded, and, basically what we were doing, we were trying to appeal to every realtor to say, you know, “We’ve bought just under a hundred houses last year. We need to know about the houses that you have, that are trouble or situational problems, so that maybe we can help. And we want to know about, basically, we would like to turn your trash into cash.”
And that was the message we were putting out. And then, when a realtor would reply to us favorably, then we moved them to a different list called, “My Realtor List”. And then, if any of them ever said, “I think, I have a deal for you”, whether the deal was any good or not, we moved them over to a slimmer list that was called “My Active Realtor List”.
So, now the people on that list not only had contacted us back and shown an interest, but they’d actually made some kind of offer, or brought something to us they thought was a deal. Whether it was or wasn’t was irrelevant. And then, that worked okay, but then, where it really started taking off is when I put someone in town — I hired an acquisition manager to take the people that Margo was getting to me. The ones that moved on to the more — the smaller list, the ones that had moved over — he was to call them, visit them, shake hands with them, put a face to the name, a voice to have a call.
And then, it started to change, and we started to buy houses. In the last 2 months that since I did that, we’ve directly bought 6 houses from realtors. And, when I look at what we’re going to make of those 6 houses compared to what I’m paying the VA and even the commissions I’m paying to the acquisition manager, it pays for everything. It doesn’t take Margo that long to do this one little part and task. We still probably have 3 and a half hours of the day leftover, you know what I mean, to do something else.
Robert: Yeah, and I love hearing that, Mitch. Because, what I’m hearing from you is that Margo is competent. And so, you had her start off in a specific job, she was going through it. And then, your confidence grew in her abilities, and the things she was doing.
And, the next thing you know, you’ve got her doing other tasks, and she’s crushing it and she’s became a revenue producer for you and a ton of value there. Which means that she’s confident, she understands what’s going on and she can crush it for you every day. So, I love hearing that.
Mitch: Well, it’s moved forward beyond that. The first thing I wanted to do was give her the simplest task, and I needed to grow into my role as the owner and the overseer of this VA. And, I needed to figure out what we could really do from the distance. It was all new to me, you know what I mean? The fact that I couldn’t see this person, I don’t know. It was kinda foreign to me, you know.
And so I, at first, I just made up the first easiest things. But today, she checks who’s new on the tax delinquency list, you know, the property tax, she checks that once a week on a given day. She checks the code violations, or what we call in San Antonio, the “nuisance and abatement judgments”. And, she’s checking probate filings and estate filings, and she’s making these lists.
And then, also, when we send out our postcards, she keeps adding to our list. When she finds these people, they get on our mailing list, and they get on our “Hit List”, we call it our “Hit List”. And, they get on our “Hit List”. And, one of the first things we do is to send out mailings.
We also get a lot of return mail, which we number every card and it’s in sequence. I think I’m up to, like, 700 in the return pieces, now. And, we hand out these postcards to my acquisition managers, and they have to follow up and use my TLO or LexisNexis — some people use LexisNexis. I have TLO. It’s a skip tracing software. — and go find these people that the mailman can’t find.
And so now, Margo, we send her the address of all the returned postcards where we sent them, and she does the TLO. In TLO, you can regulate what information people get. So, of course, we took out — she can’t get social security numbers, she can’t get date of birth, but we don’t need her to get that. But, she can find out phone numbers, mostly, or where people might have moved to or where their relatives live.
And, she sends back this report on each and every returned postcard, and we assign it to the acquisition managers. And they go out and get to the important part, their important part of trying to get a contract or get someone on the phone to make a decision.
This has really changed, because how I keep my 4 or 5 acquisition managers, how I keep them is, number one, I pay them a percentage of my profit when I flip houses. But, I also provide a ton of leads and services for them, which I’m really — Margo, she’s the one that’s really that’s doing it all.
And so, I have this value to these acquisition agents out here that only worked for my company, they only find houses, they only find acquisitions for my company. But, I’m able to give them all these services through your VA program — through Margo, which I think it’s really changing the face of my business.
Robert: That’s awesome. And, not only that, but your acquisition people are probably happier having all their — a lot of important, but maybe brain damage type stuff already taken of their plate, so they can focus on highest investments of their time.
Mitch: Right, it was exactly — everybody’s focused on their piece of the puzzle. Everyone’s focused. Margo’s focused on her piece. When she’s done, she hands off it to them, and they focus on their piece, and everybody can stay more streamlined and not so be scattered in their thoughts and their actions. Everybody knows exactly what they’re doing. It’s a very thin slice of pie, which makes it easier.
Which is the whole reason why you and I needed to get systems in the first place, right? Because, we know how to do everything. The problem is there’s not enough time in the day to do everything. And, if we do everything, you’re gonna do all of it kinda half-assed, and you’re not gonna do any of it really good.
And then, you don’t have a life at the end of it, just like how you described. You’re working 50-60-70 hours. I did that. I know how to look up people on TLO. I know how to trace people down. I know how to write contracts. And the guys that I’m hiring to go do this, they know how to do what I do.
But, you can’t do it all. And, so, we’ve teamed together, so that we all make a lot of money. That we all have a job that’s manageable. And that we all have a life after our daily routine of making some money is over. We all have a life outside of that.
And so, I’m real happy to have Margo here and, you know, we’re about to take her full time, I believe. And, I’ll also tell you this. I tied Margo to my bottom line. I tied my VAs to the bottom line. Anytime, Dave, my acquisition agent, buys a house from a realtor that was on her list that we got a response from, I mean, I give her an extra 50 bucks. And, last month, that was 250 bucks. And, I think in the Philippines, that’s a lot of money.
Robert: That would be a great month. But, Mitch, part of it is the fact that you value your employees. And, so, part of why Margo is running through a wall for you, is not for the 250 bucks. That definitely improves her life. It’s definitely important. But, it’s because of the structure you have that you’re describing right now, and the way you run your processes, and the way you value your team members and the way you structure everyone. That’s truly why she’s running through a wall for you.
The money is great. The money just proves to her that you value her, and you care about her well-being and you care about her stability. It’s just a bonus to what you’re providing her in the day-to-day, which is awesome.
Mitch: But, I also firmly believe in carrots. I think there is, you know — if you get your carrots in the right place in your organization, if our government agencies could get the carrots in the right place, we’d all be moving in the right direction, you know. But, if we’ve got carrots in the wrong places, then you move the wrong direction. So, that’s one of the reasons. The other reason is I really do appreciate her.
And then, I want to talk to you about something else that I thought was really unique. And, I want to tell you about a situation that happened to me. You appoint everyone that hires a VA from you — you not only get a success coach, I guess, is what you call it. Is that what you call it, a success coach?
Robert: Yeah. Yeah., it’s just a middle manager who understands real estate really well. They help you, not only from an infrastructure and set up stand point — they help mind map your business, create your task chart, set up accountability, infrastructure resources, any kind of best practices. They’re there for you at the beginning. And, to make you sure you get all set up and have everything that you need.
Because most of us, even to this day, when we’re going to hire someone new, I’m looking around like, “What the heck are we going to tell them to do? Like, how do I even know how to make this person as efficient as they can be? How do I know what’s the best use of their time? What should I be delegating?”
So, the coach is there for you at the beginning to eliminate any of the fears or obstacles that you have to getting going. And then once you’re up and running with your VA, they’re checking in with you weekly to make sure that you have everything that you need. And, they’re also helping manage the VA on the back end.
So, we know before you do, if the VA is going to be sick, or if there is some kind of emergency. Or, if they’re just crushing it every day, we want to know that, and we’re managing them. We are, essentially, micromanaging both sides. Both, the client and the VA, so that we’re congruent all the way across.
And, again, it’s just about value. We’re looking to provide all the resources that anybody needs to be successful. And, that’s really why the success coach is there; as a guide, as a resource, as a best practice person to make sure that you have everything that you need throughout the process.
Mitch: Just so you guys are clear out there, I hired a VA named Margo, and then I got appointed a liaison between me and Margo. It was a liaison; middle management person, her name was Jesse. And, Jesse contacted me once a week to see if everything is going fine between Margo and I.
And, one time, this is a story I really wanna tell, Robert. When she came on, when Margo came on, I said, “Margo, this is what I want you to do. I want you to do this one task.” And, we talked about that realtor task. I said, “But, then, once we’ve got it figured out for a couple of days and it’s going smooth, I want you to take one day and I want you to get a screen capture with a microphone, and I want you to record and talk into the microphone exactly how you do this process to get this spreadsheet filled out with hundreds of people a day or whatever.” And she said, “Okay.”
Well, she didn’t know how to do screen capture at the time. And, she says, “I’ll research it.” So, she was researching it. She was having a little bit of problem, and so she called her success coach, our success coach, Jesse. And, Jesse taught her how to do it, so that she could come over to my side and do it for me. And one of the things I like about Margo is she documents everything in that way.
When, we give her a new task to do and she figures out how to do it, one of those days, she’ll record it all. She puts it on a file for us online. So, that if she’s ever not there, then I don’t have to start over from someone else. I can just say, “Hey, you know Margo’s not here anymore, but welcome aboard” to the new person, and say , “Now, this is the task I want you to do. Watch these videos.”
Robert: Yeah, sometimes life happens and things come up. Your success coach is going to understand your business really, really well, and so, we’re congruent across the board. If there’s ever any issues, or not — even you’re just looking to grow, if there’s no issues, everything’s going great, and you wanna add on, you’re not going to have to re-integrate. You’re not going to have to re-train. It’s just plug and play. I love — That’s an awesome story, and I really appreciate that feedback.
Mitch: Well, that’s good. So, tell me the normal way it goes with set up fees and everything. And, then tell me what you’d offer people that click on the link here I’m fixing to give.
Robert: Yes. So, normally for a set up fee, it ranges between $995 and $1995. And, it just depends on — We really have 2 packages, 2 resources. So, if you’re looking just for a plug and play VA, you have your systems in place, you have your processes in place, you really just need some help. You need a team member to jump in and take off. And, then, of course, you get the success coach and everything else. But, you really don’t need any help internally with your structure, or scripts or anything like that, that’s usually a $995 set up fee.
And then, if you want all of our systems, our resources, our scripts, our processes, everything that I’ve used internally within my own business, and that would seem to work across the board with other businesses as well. We’re happy to set up strategy calls and share all those resources for you. And, normally, that’s $1995.
But, coming from you, Mitch, I’d been more than happy to cut that in half. But, it’s only for your students and only people coming through your link. So, if they’re not coming through your link, it’s full price because of our infrastructure. The way we have things set up, we have enormous overhead. And so, for people coming from you, if they want a VA, if they want a plug and play VA.
You get the business coach, we’ll help you structure your business, we’ll make sure you have everything that you need. That’ll be $495. And then, if you want the, what we call the Business Elite Package, which is the full monty, everything that you would ever need, that would be $995 instead of $1995.
Mitch: Man, that’s a tremendous offer, and I appreciate it. I think a lot of my students are pretty high level, so hopefully they don’t stress you out too hard. So, they’re pretty much go-getters.
Robert: Well, I mean we’ve got everybody from the mom and pops doing a couple of deals a year, to — We have some of the biggest non-institutional investors in the game, like Sean Terry and Matt Theriault and Ron Phillips did 800 deals last year. I know you know some of these guys. So, everybody that is, from doing a couple of deals to doing a thousand deals a year, we service them all.
Mitch: Man, that’s incredible. So, the link is 1000houses.com/va, if you wanna get that tremendous offer, where he’s going to cut the set of fees in half. You know, for round number’s sake, from $1000 down to $500, or $2000 down to a thousand. It is a tremendous value.
So, just so you understand this right, I’ve got a full time VA. It costs $1,536 per month. I don’t have to do anything about social security, payroll, tax or anything. I just simply get set up with Robert Nickell and IVAS, and they automatically debit my account. If for any reason I was not happy with the VA, which I couldn’t imagine but, I don’t have to confront my V.A.
Robert: Yup. We are here for you. For anything that you need. For as long as you’re with us. Again, it’s just about value. It’s one of the reasons why I love what I do so much, it’s because we just get to help people go from a place — from an idea to implementation. Most people have an idea what they want to happen, they just don’t have a clue or the resources to get there. And so, we’re really that bridge over that gap. Between the ideas and the implementation and actually get it done.
Mitch: That’s a great thing to bring up, because I talk to people that say, “Man, I really need a VA, but I’m not sure if I’m going to know what to tell them to do, or how to do it.” That’s what your success coach is for, and they’ll bridge that gap. You have a conversation with them, and then you get off to a good start with very little down time. You just get the VAs going.
And, I also want to talk about my experience in the very beginning when I said yes, I’m going to do this and I want a VA. All of a sudden, I started getting all these resumes, and these packets are thick. They had personality types, coding, aptitude test, Robert’s company does the federal and local background checks. They really vet and verified these people. They don’t just take anyone. You know, they check their prior employer, I mean they are looking for good people that are worthy of a great job.
Then, they started sending the videos over, and people are just like a video interview where the VAs were talking to me. They didn’t know it was Mitch Stephen, but they knew they are talking to someone who was considering hiring them. And, they talk on camera, and you get to hear their English and their level of competency speaking. And, I was really impressed with all of them.
In fact, it was a hard to make — It was very hard to make the decision. You sent me so many people that were so good. And, I remember my wife and I were going over it and I said, “How do you pick from this?” And she says, “I don’t know. They’re all good.” You know, we eliminated a couple for one reason or another. But, there was a lot of choices that I had. And, I suppose, there were even more choices, if I didn’t find one that I liked out of that bunch. Right, Robert?
Robert: Exactly. It’s all about just getting the right person in the right spot. So, the first step, for any one is to work with the placements team to have a really solid understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish. Even if you don’t really have an idea of what that is at first. We work with you to really figure that out.
And, then from there, we’re going to send you candidates that we feel are a great fit for that role. And so, you’ll get 3, 4 or 5 resumes of candidates that we feel like are really strong. And, like you said, they got their DISC profiles, the personality profile in there, their work history. So, you really have great insight, not only into just their abilities, but who they are as a human being.
And then, once you go through that process with the placement team, you set up live interviews where you get to hear them, see them, interact with them. Just like you’re hiring a regular employee. But, like you mentioned before, we’re eliminating all the risk and liability from actually hiring people internally. We’re a U.S. based company. You just 1099 my company at the end of the year, and it’s as simple right-off as an employment expense.
Mitch: Great. They’re not employees. Really, they’re sub-contractors. We are hiring your company.
Robert: Exactly, right.
Mitch: Last thing, and then I’ll let you go, because you’ve been very gracious. We’ve been on the line now for about 40 minutes. One last thing before we go. I want to give you another real life example of how having a VA, and specifically having Margo, my buddy Margo over in the Philippines, help me is it’s all about consistency in our business. And, I tell these to my students all the time. It’s about consistency. You have to check those courthouse records every Friday to find out who’s new on the list.
You know, there’s all these things that we need to do on a regular basis, and here’s the problem. We, as entrepreneurs, lot of us triple A, ADD, scattered brains, throw a lot mud on the wall to see what sticks. We’re not good at consistency. That’s not what we do. So, you can tell yourself that you’re going to check these lists every week, and that you’re going to send out so many mailings per week, and you’re going to all these stuff on a day-by-day basis, but you’re not going to do it. Because, you’re an entrepreneur. [LAUGHTER].
Right, Robert? We’re entrepreneurs. We don’t do it. But, you know what? One of the things I needed to do was I had a commercial building, it was half full. Half full meaning, instead of making $8000 a month, I was only making $4000 a month coming in. The potential of this building was half.
And so, I told myself I’m going to place an ad in Craigslist, you know, every day for a different size office, and put different pictures in. And, I went out and made the five ads, and I have them there. And, for about a week, I did it. And, then, I fell down, and I went two months where I didn’t place any ad. Got resolve up again, and I did it for another week. And then, you know, a squirrel went up a tree, and Mitch Stephen took off after the squirrel.
And so, I dropped the ball again. But, when I got my VA, one of the things she needed to do every day is place one of these ads for my building. My building is now full, and it’as been full for over a year. But, it went for two years half full, because I couldn’t stay focused enough to just do the one ad a day. And, being consistent and placing that one ad a day in Craigslist filled my building up, changes my income by an increase of $4000 a month over what it was like when I was supposed to be placing the ad.
And so, I constitute, Robert, all the time how this VA is being — paying for herself. And, she does it over and over and over again. And, I just really want to thank you for the service that you offer. And, thank you for having this interview with us.
Robert: Hey, thank you so much for having me on. It’s my pleasure. You know, Mitch, you and I have been friends for a while. The fact that I get to provide value to you and to your business, it’s an honor and it is so humbling. And I’m so excited to be a part of what you have going on. And, it’s hilarious what you are talking about as an entrepreneur. You didn’t get this stuff done. That’s me, right? If I wasn’t surrounded by my VAs, then I wouldn’t get anything done.
I’m a disaster when it comes to the details and making sure the small things are happening every day. But, that’s really the separation between those who do and those who don’t, is making sure that every single day all the tasks, everything that needs to be done, because that’s what really builds the momentum. And, the fact that you get that and you’re preaching that to your students, and the fact that, you know, you’re setting up a legitimate coaching program, you’re not just a smoke and mirrors guru that’s a traveling snake oil salesman. It’s just — Mitch, thank you so much for having me on. And, I’m honored to be a part of anything that you’re doing.
Mitch: Well, thanks, man. Because, it is about consistency. I tell them all the time. And, when I decided to do that realtor revolution, we were going to infiltrate the local real estate agent community, and become a branding source. I knew that this was going to take a year. And that — In order not to spam people, or get too many responses, so we couldn’t follow up or make people mad, I was only going to send out a 100 emails a day.
So, I got to 8000 people, which is a long haul. It took about 7 months, but we finally have about 250 to 300 realtors that know our name and email. And, about 30 of them actively bringing us deals. If you have 30 realtors out of 8000 that will just bring you one kick ass deal a year, I mean, that’s a pretty good plan right there. That’s 30 houses out of the way, right there. So…
Robert: That’s amazing.
Mitch: It all works because of Margo’s consistency and doing the day-to-day tasks that we desperately need to get done, but nobody’s really going to stick with them, and make sure they get done. Now, we have person whose job it is to get them done. They get paid very well to get this done. Like you said, the equivalent to a $120-160 thousand dollars a year in the United States. Someone’s getting paid really well to do this job, and they don’t take it lightly.
And, I really have come to admire the level of respect that my VA has for our business and our relationship. They have a very high level of respect. You don’t see it in the United States like that. It’s one of the first things I noticed. I mean, “Yes, sir. No, sir. And Mister and Missus,” and a very high level of respect that I didn’t even know we are missing so much in the United States. But, when I see and hear your VAs, I noticed that the United States is lacking in some high level manners when it comes to just communicating, you know.
Robert: Oftentimes, it’s a matter of perspective, right? Whenever you’re in the Philippines, you might value things in your life a little bit different when you’re as privileged as we are in the U.S., even if you don’t really view yourself as privileged. We’re all very privileged to be born and raised in the United States and have freedom of choice in a capital society where we can live our lives and fulfill our lives however we see fit. And so, by providing opportunities to other people that have a different perspective, sometimes, it is eye opening. And it just goes to show, Mitch, that how quality of a human you are. Your ability to appreciate and respect your VA.
Mitch: Oh, it’s great. And, then, I keep thinking of more things, Robert, that I wanted here. Another one was, you know, I said, “Well, Margo, I need to talk to you every day at 2 o’clock. What time will it be in the Philippines at 2 o’clock?” You know, it’s going to be in the middle of the night, I think, is what she said. I finally got it out of her that it was the middle of the night. But she said, “It doesn’t matter what time it is in the Philippines. What time do you need to talk to me? What hours do I need to work?” And, you know, I didn’t even go look at my Filipino slash versus U.S. time clock. I just said, “Well, I really need to do it during these hours.” And, that’s how it was. And, then I found out that they’re going to work…
Robert: Yeah, they’ll going to work your hours, your time zone, everything in real time like an employee for you. It is overnight for them, but again, they are provided for in a way that is totally worth it for them, and they appreciate the opportunity. And, of course, it’s not always the easiest situation to work overnight, but it is what it is. And Margo is, again, she is not the exception. It’s what we do, and they’re excited to show up every day. And, they are 13 hours ahead of Central Time. So, it is a unique dynamic., but it works really well.
Mitch: All right, man. Well, I think that’s — I’m sure I could think of some more when we hang up, but I think we got enough. If you guys are interested out there, and wanted to talk someone at Robert’s company, go to 1000houses.com/va, as in virtual assistant. I’m sure they’ll hook up you up with everything you need and show what you need to know, and answer any of your questions.
Robert, it’s been a great, great conversation. I hope I wasn’t too much all over the place, but I just kept thinking of other things that I was so impressed with her. I didn’t wanna leave them out.
Robert: No, this is great. Again, Mitch, I really appreciate you and your time. And, I’m more than happy to be on the call today.
Mitch: All right, man. We’ll talk to you soon, and I’m sure you’ll hear from some of our people.
Robert: Awesome. Thanks, Mitch.
Mitch: Bye, now.