One of the things I get questioned about most often by my fellow real estate appraisers is my use of virtual assistants (or ‘VAs’). It’s common knowledge in the industry that I use VAs, and I tend to get the same few questions over and over again: ‘why do you use them’, ‘how do you do it?’ and ‘is it worth it?’
Let’s begin with the first question. Anyone who’s followed me through my blogs, podcasts or workshops knows that my number one focus is helping you – my fellow real estate appraiser – to work more efficiently and more effectively. A huge part of this is learning the art of something I like to call ‘off-shouldering’. Off-shouldering is about taking all that stuff that’s weighing you down – all those time-consuming tasks – and offloading them elsewhere. That’s where a VA can come in.
You can get VAs to do almost any task you can imagine. Personally, I’ve used them for designing my website, logo, business cards and book covers. I’ve hired them to help on my podcast, and for a variety of administrative tasks. There are an effectively unlimited number of VAs out there who have talents in every area you could imagine. Utilize them, and save yourself valuable time in the process.
The logistics – the ‘how?’ – are actually quite straightforward. If you want to find a local VA – someone to run a few errands for you perhaps – head over to Craigslist. For everything else, I’d recommend two websites: Upwork, and Fiverr. These are both excellent sites populated by people who need work doing, and by other by people who want to do those jobs. It’s quick and easy to find someone with the specialist skillset that you’re looking for.
That brings me on to the third question: the cost, which might be the most attractive part of hiring a VA. On both Fiverr and Upwork you can get work – and this is high quality work – for $5 or $10. That’s incredible value considering the amount of time you save yourself, which can be far better spent on the real estate appraisal work that – as you know – you were actually trained to do.
I’ll be honest with you; the first couple of times I hired a VA, it didn’t work out well at all. It may not for you either. But you absolutely have to keep trying, because there are a lot of talented people out there willing to work for very cheap rates. After the early mishaps, I’ve found a lot of great VAs, and I’ve never looked back. Over the years they’re freed up countless hours of my time.
One of the essences of being a good business owner, in real estate appraisal and elsewhere, is working smarter, not harder. Hiring VAs is an incredibly cost-effective way of off-shouldering, giving you far more time to spend on your business. That sounds pretty smart to me.
For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode 019 – How to Hire a Virtual Assistant (VA)