Accounting and Reporting
We have trained accounting and bookkeeping professionals that can help you keep track of revenue, costs and your balance sheet.
We have trained accounting and bookkeeping professionals that can help you keep track of revenue, costs and your balance sheet.
As digital marketing becomes more and more important, real estate agents can no longer ignore. Let us help you manage your online community.
Do you need help managing software or taking care of any IT issue? Our team of experts is here to help yo through that entire process.
For entrepreneurs, hiring a Virtual Assistant may give them a better understanding of the value of time. Entrepreneurs are risk-takers by nature. They like to be at the driver’s seat and chart the course toward entrepreneurial success. They are driven, passionate and will do everything they can to achieve their business ambitions.
And that is why many entrepreneur- driven businesses close shop within 5 years time.
In business, it’s not the amount of time you spend but what you do with the time available that matters more. If you’re putting in 14 hour work days but only 2 of those hours are focused on core functions, how is that helping your business?
Here’s a short checklist. Go over them carefully and give proper insight. If you answer “Yes” to most of these questions then you are not managing your time properly:
All of these are experiences and incidents that could lead to opportunity cost for your business.
By hiring a Virtual Assistant, you will be able to manage time more effectively and make each day more productive through the following ways:
Delegate Non- Essential Tasks – Write down all the tasks that are needed to be done in your business. Categorize them as “core” and “non-core”. “Core” tasks are those that are directly related to the main enterprise of your business. “Non-Core” are supportive or administrative tasks. Delegate non-core tasks to your Virtual Assistant.
Identify Your Goals – The night before, identify at least 3 main goals that you want to accomplish the following day. These 3 goals must be realistic, attainable and measurable.
Start Your Day Earlier – Now that you are free of administrative tasks, you can start your day earlier and fresher. You can attend to the main business at hand because you are no longer tasked with filtering e-mail or taking phone calls. You might even get to enjoy your coffee for the first time since your business started!
Organize Your Work – Meet with your Virtual Assistant and organize your work schedule. Your VA can help arrange all your meetings and remind you of upcoming deadlines. You no longer have to rush work and compromise its quality.
Balance Life and Work – Your daily schedule should include time spent with family, friends and of course, yourself. You should have time to rest, relax and exercise.
Is success in work a function of hard work or quality work? In truth it’s a function of both. Even if a Virtual Assistant is able to manage your time and allow you to dedicate more focus to the things that need to get done, if will be useless unless you give it your best effort.
It may seem far- fetched to single out the Virtual Assistant as representative of the New Economy. After all, unless you use an audio-video service such as Skype, WebEx or GoToMeeting, you hardly see the Virtual Assistant.
The New Economy represents a change in the way business runs. The Army College identified the end of the Cold War as the beginning of the New Economy. Since then, business became global. New territories were explored to see if there were opportunities and economies of scale to capitalize on.
By the new millennium, the world entered the Digital Age. The Internet was no longer the property of government agencies. It was now accessible to 300 Million people. The Internet was significant because it allowed businesses to bridge oceans through the virtual world.
Whereas before fax, long distance and air mail were the means to reach the international community. Now you have e-mail, chat services, VOIP, smart phones and other messaging protocols.
Of course, the Internet blew open the doors for social media particularly in 2004. In time, social media became an important tool for networking and content distribution.
Today, the Internet has grown into a community of 3.3 Billion daily users. 2 Billion Internet users are on social media; reading, sharing and posting content.
What do these figures and developments have to do with the Virtual Assistant?
The Virtual Assistant represents how business will be run in the next few years:
Lean – The Virtual Assistant represents the value of outsourcing services. Outsourcing cuts costs by capitalizing on comparative cost advantages and economies of scale. By hiring a Virtual Assistant over a regular employee, you reduce costs by 40%. A virtual team will save you more money because you don’t incur additional expenses for rent, Internet and utilities.
Focused on Productivity – By delegating work to virtual assistants, you are able to focus on work that demands your attention and competencies. The cost savings generated can also be used to fund revenue- generation projects.
Flexible – With such great uncertainty in the business environment, your strategies should veer away from developing “perfect” plans and instead move toward flexibility. This allows you to recognize factors of change and implement revisions to keep your strategy on course. Hiring virtual assistants will give you flexibility in scheduling, strategy design and more freedom in managing manpower.
Cost Efficient – Virtual assistants are paid per productive hour. They are given tasks that have to be accomplished to keep your business moving forward. Regular employees generate lesser productivity because they are paid a fixed monthly rate regardless if they put in adequate work or not.
Hedge Against Uncertainty – If you want to expand your business, virtual assistants is the way ago. You can increase your virtual team based on the growth of your business. If the expected growth or volume of business does not materialize, you can simply terminate the agreements with the virtual assistants without issue.
The New Economy is not a trend. It is the way business will be from here on end. There will be no going back to perfect strategy design-making. If you want to survive and thrive in the New Economy, outsource your services to virtual assistants.
Renting out property can be a lucrative business. It gives the owner a means to earn recurring income from an investment that is certain to appreciate in value over a period of time. If purchased on loan, leasing the property makes it self- liquidating while still generating a fair amount of income. But like all ventures, there are risks to property leasing because you are entrusting the care of your asset to a 2nd party whom you are not familiar with. This is why you need to use tenancy screening services.
Why did you select this particular property to invest in? Given the size of the investment, you surely had bases for deciding on the property you eventually bought. You must have done research, visited other prospective properties until you were able to come up with a short list of choices.
Finding a tenant for your property should follow a similar process. You should do all you can to make sure you find a tenant to whom you can entrust your property to. By selecting the right tenant, you effectively reduce the risks that come with leasing property:
Ideally, you would want to lease out your property to a party you trust will pay the rent on time, take care of the premises and generally not give you problems. It all becomes a question of “Who do you trust?” But trust is a quality that can only be validated by time.
In business, time is money. In the same way that a tenant needs to find a place to rest his or her weary head, it would be to your best interest to have your property leased out right away and generate income.
The most expedient and effective way is to use tenancy screening services. There are many proprietors of tenant screening services you can find online. Availing of these services can give you the following benefits:
Many of these online based services are easy to use. All you have to do is upload the tenancy application form that was filled out by a prospective tenant. The agency will proceed to do a tenant application check and conduct professional due diligence work on the references and information that were provided.
These agencies are owned and operated by highly- experienced realtors and/ or property managers who know the challenges of renting out homes and apartments. They are well- versed with the process and know the importance of having strict and accurate screening procedures done on tenants.
Efficiency is the name of the game. These online tenant screening agencies outsource services to professionals who have done these types of jobs before. They are highly- organized, have a proven system in place and are experts in what they do. Typically you can get results within 4 hours after submitting the tenant application form.
What services are included in tenant screening? The process includes the following:
You can find out if your prospective tenant has a criminal past or pending criminal case lodged against him or her. You will know if the person has a poor reputation or a history of bad behavior.
Your property may secure more than one interested party. At a time when demand is high but availability of vacant properties is scarce, you may attract multiple interests from people of diverse backgrounds.
Once the parties have fully filled out their tenant application forms, just upload these at the tenancy screening website portal and wait for the results. In 4 hours, you will have clear bases for selecting which party you will award exclusive rights to.
Remember that when you lease out your property, in effect, you are giving exclusive possession of your asset to the tenant. You cannot just enter the premises without permission or due notice. That can be a bitter pill to swallow for those who have issues relinquishing control over an asset that may have cost them an arm or a leg to acquire.
And looks can be deceiving. A fraudulent or untrustworthy personality does not always reflect on the outside. Similar to a home that looks beautiful from the outside, you should always have its interiors inspected by a professional such as an architect, engineer or general contractor.
When you use tenancy screening services, you will be able to see how a future arrangement with a prospective tenant would turn out. These services are very affordable, will ensure the upkeep and condition of your property and most of all give you peace of mind.
If you’re doing well handling all the responsibilities of a real estate agent, can you imagine how much better your business would be if you learned to delegate? Let’s face it. With everything you need to do as an agent, you will not be able to maximize productivity if you have to attend to every single item in the agenda. Instead of the business running you, you should be running the business by delegating tasks to a real estate VA.
A VA or Virtual Assistant is a person who works online from a remote location and is contracted to handle specific tasks of a business. You can find a Virtual Assistant with the requisite skill set for every industry. In real estate, you need to find a VA who can help you in 5 key areas of responsibility:
Of course, it will not be realistic to expect one VA to be able to manage all of these key areas of responsibilities. If you overwhelm your VA with too many tasks, the business will run her to the ground and you will not be productive.
Here are tips on how to delegate your tasks to a real estate virtual assistant:
Before you hire a Virtual Assistant, you have to find out what your business needs. You should study your current business model and identify the following:
The first question refers to the functions that you should focus your time and energy on because these directly contribute to your bottom- line. The second and third questions identify the functions that you should outsource to a Virtual Assistant.
Administrative or supportive tasks are oftentimes referred to as “non- essential” or “non- core”. But accomplishing them on a consistent basis will keep your business running more efficiently.
Specialized skills may be required for work that is more technical in nature. These include website management, social media management and SEO. Even if you have the expertise, it would always be better to delegate them to a VA so you can allocate more time to the core functions of the business.
Again, you should not overload the VA with too much work. As talented as virtual assistants are, they are only human. Piling one activity on top of another will result in diminishing returns.
Prioritize the tasks in order of importance or volume or work. You may also want to consider hiring 2 virtual assistants; one for administrative work and another one for specialized tasks.
When you have identified the tasks to be delegated, summarize them as a formal document and discuss its contents in detail with the Virtual Assistant.
Even if you hire a VA with 5 years of experience in the real estate industry, you should not expect them to know what to do right away. You could be targeting a market that is vastly different from the VA’s previous client. Your business goals, objectives, standards, expectations, systems and processes will certainly be different.
Take the time to make sure you and the real estate VA are on the same page. She should work according to the guidelines you have set.
It is a good idea to start out your real estate VA slowly by delegating simple administrative tasks first.
For example, if a typical day for you means going through hundreds of e-mails every morning, delegate this task to your VA so you can get a head start on the more important activities.
You can also delegate phone handling to your VA. This way all calls that you receive will be forwarded to the VA for preliminary screening.
If you are in a meeting, you will not be distracted by incoming calls. The VA can always inform you via text message or e-mail of all the important calls that require an immediate call- back.
Never assume that your real estate VA understood your instructions. She could nod “Yes” but it is highly possible that there are parts of her job that remain unclear.
Instead of asking your VA, “Did you understand my instructions?”, request feedback. After running through the set of instructions, tell her, “Okay, can you please take me through the process I just discussed with you?”
Feedback will force the VA to articulate her thoughts and feed back the instructions as she understood it. Your job would be to guide her and make corrections as necessary.
Do not wait for the time that you think you need help before you hire a real estate VA. By then it might be too late.
The reality of running a business is that you cannot and should not do everything yourself. The more non-essential tasks you delegate to your VA, the greater the productivity you generate for your business.
Believe it or not, even when you are running an online business such as virtual assistance, you too can incur costs that will drive your profit margins down. Virtual assistance is all about rendering services that improve organization and efficiency. But ironically, even virtual assistants themselves could use some assistance in managing their own enterprises.
Here are smart ways to reduce the cost of running your virtual assistance business:
Work From Home – It sounds counter- intuitive but some virtual assistants prefer to rent a small space to conduct their work.
It may be because home presents too many distractions or the available facilities are insufficient to carry out work effectively. It could also be because an office space is just more conducive for productive work.
However if rental payment accounts for more than 20% of your monthly earnings, you should re-think your strategy and just work from home. Work as a Virtual Assistant could be sporadic. There will be periods where work will be few and far between.
Unless you have been contracted for long-term work, save up your money for the dry periods.
Manage Your Finances – So you think you’re making money? Do you know where it is going? Are you maximizing your earnings? Many businesses fold up simply because the owners became complacent with managing their money.
When you generate income and you’ve paid off your costs of business, you have 2 choices: save or invest.
To invest means either you plow money back into your business to grow it by funding projects or improving infrastructure. Or you could park your money in higher yielding financial instruments that give a higher return than a savings account.
Either way, you should always track the flow of money so you will have an idea of how you can fund your business.
Outsource Services – Yes even virtual assistants should outsource services. This way, you needn’t have to say “No” to projects that come your way.
If you know other virtual assistants and are assured of the quality of their work, get them on-board to help you run the business. Even if you don’t make as much, you still generate net income. There is no incremental cost to your business by hiring other virtual assistants.
This means you can further distribute your costs to other streams of income and further improve your profit margins.
Limit Credit Spending –Do you need to buy a new PC? Are you planning to upgrade your spare laptop? Are you thinking of renovating your home office?
This is why you should manage your income flows.
If you are familiar with your income flows and are on-point with your projections, you can cover these upgrades and improvements with cash rather than credit. You can even negotiate term payments with suppliers or contractors that can be covered by your stream of income.
Credit carries interest charges that will accumulate over time. Credit spending can lead to a situation which could potentially drag down your business.
Remember that profitability is a function of 2 variables: revenues and costs. Your hard work and productivity will help you bring in revenue but smart and savvy money management strategies will take your profitability to another level.
More people are crossing over from the grind of the 9-to-5 office job to the convenience of becoming a Virtual Assistant. No longer will you have to deal with the hassles of the daily commute. No longer will you have to bear the inanities of office politics. Finally you have a job that measures revenue with the effort you put in.
If you think becoming a Virtual Assistant is “utopia” for professionals, think again. Wanting to become a Virtual Assistant is different from actually becoming a Virtual Assistant. It’s an arduous step-by-step process where you simply cannot put the cart ahead of the horse.
There is no denying that many have made the successful transition from the brick- and- mortar world to the virtual world. But there are also many who fell short.
The high demand for virtual assistance services has blown open the gates of opportunity to other likewise talented and skilled individuals. But it has made competition for services tighter.
Your success as a Virtual Assistant lies in your ability to land the first client. Given the depth of competition, how can someone without experience or body of work to show for land his or her first client?
What will be your main service offering as a Virtual Assistant? You must have at least one service that you can present as your key enterprise. This is the best way to pinpoint or align your online marketing and promotional strategies.
Your online profile must be current and updated. Regardless of what anyone says or what you read, include a professional head shot. In the virtual world, trust is difficult to ascertain. Businesses would prefer to deal with a face behind the name.
Elance, Guru and Freelancer are among the most popular online job sites. Open an account with each of these job sites plus others that offer projects along your core competencies. You can also search for sites that offer virtual assistant services, such as Smart Virtual Assistant.
Many of these social media networks have focus groups. Check which focus groups are involved in your industry or share your interests. Sign up with them and try to engage in group discussions. Visibility and activity will increase awareness of your brand and highlight your expertise.
Landing a client is a numbers game. The more bids you put out, the higher the chances of success. Try to submit at least 2 bids every day. At the end of the month, assuming you put out 2 bids in 3 online job sites, you would have sent out 132 to 180 bids. To land 1 client, you have 1/132 probability of being rejected.
If you are trying to land your first client, you should be prepared to compromise your planned earnings. Without any client history and body of work, you will have a difficult time justifying your rate. As the saying goes, “The proof of the pie is in the eating.” Land the client first, consistently do a great job then the rest will follow.
Landing the first client will always be the most difficult and challenging aspect of becoming a Virtual Assistant. Only focus on what you can do and what you can accomplish. Keep moving forward and remain optimistic about your chances of securing a contract. With time, dedication and patience all of your hard work will yield the desired results.
FSBO or For Sale By Owner is a fast growing approach to selling property. It means you forego the services of a real estate agent to sell your home. By doing so, you increase the net return on the sale of your home because you no longer have to pay commissions and have more control over sales- related expenses. All told, going FSBO can help you save up to 6% to 8% in costs.
The key component in FSBO is marketing and promoting your home. You should generate as much interest in the first 2 months of putting your property in the market. Your goal is to sell you own home within 4 months. Otherwise, interest and the perceived market value may start to decline.
Here are 5 effective home selling tips if you decide to go For Sale By Owner:
In order to yield productive results, you must be efficient with your time. Selling real estate involves different tasks outside marketing. You will need to prepare and review contracts, take in calls and organize home visits.
When it comes to organizing your tasks, your best option would be to hire a Virtual Assistant. A VA is highly skilled in providing administrative and support services. Best of all, hiring one will not cost much as you pay them only for hours rendered.
Although it is understood by buyers that purchasing property means acquiring it in its present condition, you should still make an effort to fix up your home by instituting minor repairs and improvements.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money. You just have to make sure the house is tenable. With the cost savings, you have a budget to cover the repairs. If your house is valued at $500,000, initially allocate 1% or $5,000 for improvements.
You will need great quality, high- resolution photos for your marketing collateral. Even if you have an iPhone 7 Plus with its dual camera function, do not take chances with the images.
Hire a professional photographer with experience in taking home shots. He or she knows the best lighting and angles that can present your home in its most flattering positions.
Ask your Virtual Assistant to create an account for you in a reputable FSBO site. These are websites that assist property owners who want to sell their own homes find prospective buyers.
If you choose the free option, you will have to update the images and content of your FSBO account. The Virtual Assistant can do this for you as well as engage with potential buyers.
Social media is a powerful tool to help distribute content. Your Virtual Assistant can find out if your neighbourhood has a community page online and try to get you in.
Once you’re part of the community, a fellow member may be able to help you sell your home. The VA can also post content in your other social media accounts to push your property further in the market.
It is very important that your social media accounts are linked to the FSBO account. That is where interested buyers can view the property in greater detail and get more information about your home.
Keep in mind that marketing is a process. It will take some time to see results. The most important thing is to keep pushing your property via online and traditional channels.
You should consider having flyers made or ads published in local media. Studies have shown that if you combine online marketing with traditional marketing, you could improve the probability of a sale by 15%.
Hiring freelancers for daily operational works of a real estate agency is a good option. It can relieve you from non-income generating tasks and can save you money by not requiring hiring expensive employees. The regular accounting, reporting, marketing and support jobs of a real estate agency that freelancers mostly do can get boring at times. So, you need to keep your freelancers motivated all the time to work. Here are some tips:
If you communicate with your freelancer on a regular basis, he or she will be accountable for getting your work done. You can talk to the freelancer once a week. You can discuss what the freelancers’ goals were in the past session and what the performance was like. You can talk about future goals and your expectations.
You can set up specific milestones during the day when you want your freelancer to complete the task. For example, you want your freelancer to answer all the email queries of your clients by 10 am in the morning. If the freelancer has a proper structure to work on, he or she will be motivated to complete the task on time.
You should provide incentives to freelancers if they can complete a certain task before the deadline. You can also give them a reward for their good performance.
In a real estate business, all tasks need to be timed. If you delay any work, the whole process of buying and selling will be affected. That’s why a real estate virtual assistant can be a great solution to help you grow.
Outsourcing has been a tried and tested strategy. It has helped many businesses navigate times of economic turbulence and maintain profitability. In fact businesses even report an increase in productivity. A 2014 study by Stanford University showed that outsourcing increased productivity by 13.5% on average. But when is the best time to outsource?
In times of business uncertainty, businesses tend to re-align their resources. This means they are transitioning to more efficient business modeling by streamlining costs.
For businesses that are outsourcing for the first time, they will initially outsource non-essential tasks to reduce the risk while developing their learning curve about the strategy.
They will recognize immediately the improvement in operating expenses as the biggest comparative cost advantage in outsourcing lies with labor. Businesses should be able to streamline costs by 40%.
By outsourcing non-essential tasks, businesses will be able to improve productivity. They can shift their focus on functions that translate to income for the company. This is a key benefit when business prospects continue to remain sluggish.
The cost savings generated from outsourcing can also be used to fund new projects and departments. If you are planning to maintain market visibility, you can use the cost savings for marketing and promotional activities.
Outsourcing also allows you to scale business even though prospects may seem dim and the investment climate appears risky. In the first place, you have already generated cost benefits which will provide a buffer versus financial risks.
Second, by outsourcing your non-essential and technical tasks, you can shift your focus to new growth industries and diversify your business to less risky propositions.
Remember, opportunities abound during times of chaos and turbulence. No one wants to explore markets because of greater risk. But that is when you have the best choices at the most affordable prices.
You should also consider outsourcing if you plan to build new markets for your business. There are a number of ways you can do this:
Outsourcing is an effective way to build your business whether in time of prosperity or unpredictability. But its benefits shine brightest when the business environment becomes volatile.
Proof of this is the 132% growth of the global outsourcing market since the new millennium which had been punctuated with history changing events. There is an inverse relationship between the growth of the outsourcing market and the world economy.
The new millennium ushered in the age of the new economy; one that is very much ambiguous. Thus, the best time to outsource is now.
If you want to get more productive work from your Virtual Assistant, the best approach would be to find ways to motivate and inspire them. Money is not always the motivation why people work; for most it is just the opportunity to contribute to success. Here are 5 ways to motivate and inspire your Virtual Assistant:
Goal setting has been proven to be a powerful tool for extracting top notch performance whether in school, sports or work. A goal sets a target for you to shoot for; it establishes direction and represents your purpose.
Establish goals together with your Virtual Assistant but make sure these are achievable:
Assuming you can dedicate 90 minutes to accomplish a goal, it would not be realistic to target 3-4 goals within an 8 hour schedule. Identify 3 top goals and prioritize them.
Communication is vital in business. It becomes more crucial if you are working with someone who does not shared space but instead operates behind another computer perhaps thousands of miles away.
The best way to circumvent the limitations of shared space collaboration is through frequent and effective communication:
Communication gives you the venue to address existing problems and concerns. It is also a great way to build a strong, trustworthy relationship.
A Virtual Assistant is also a person who appreciates recognition. Many will attribute success to “just doing my job”. But a little appreciation goes a long way.
If your Virtual Assistant is able to submit a deadline on time without compromising quality of work and in fact, did above and beyond what you expected, let him or her know how you feel.
When you are meeting with your Virtual Assistant, do not monopolize the discussion. Give the Virtual Assistant the opportunity to share his or her views on work and problems currently existing in operation.
Some clients are too thin-skinned to accept comments from their Virtual Assistant but creating a feedback loop is an effective way to make your business better. Virtual Assistants perceive your business from a different filter. Their comments and suggestions should be taken constructively.
Some virtual assistants do not mind working on Christmas or New Year’s Day. For them its work and they do have the luxury of working from home. Still, this highlights their commitment for your business to succeed. It’s not just the money; they also have other clients they are probably servicing as well.
On these special days’ even birthdays, send them special tokens of well-wishes. Even a virtual cake with candles and a song will be funny bit still appreciated. Of course, you should include a generous adjustment in their fees as a gesture of goodwill.
It is important to have a motivated and inspired Virtual Assistant working for you. This is especially true if you have found a Virtual Assistant who consistently turns in excellent work.