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The Obsolete Employee

I am reading a book called the "The Obsolete Employee" How Businesses Succeed Without Employees - And Love It!, by Michael J. Russer. It is a book on Virtual Outsourcing or how to hire a virtual assistant.  So far this book has oppened my eyes on what I need to do to get my business to the next leval.  What a concept..... I will give a full book report when I am done.  But so far 5 Stars, great book.

"Any time you do something outside your core competency, you pay top dollar for amateur results."

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Comment balloon 17 commentsDanny Frank • June 01 2007 08:14AM

Comments

HEY Danny.  MICHAEL RUSSER is one of my heros   Michael pioneered online training and real estate platforms before most agents and brokers knew what the Internet was. 

I'll definately get the book and read it.

Few folks know that Michael was the originator of the e-PRO online program.  I loved his e-PRO Course.  It was fun. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 11 years ago
Outsourcing has always been very profitable for all parties. Real estate is a perfect example, you get all the entrepreneurial types working hard and the broker has no payroll or benefits for the sales staff.
Posted by No Longer Active (Real Estate) about 11 years ago
I've been wondering about virtual assistants myself lately.  I appreciate the heads-up on the book.  I will definitely be reading it soon.  Thanks!
Posted by Ross Willingham, Realtor Associate (Tomson Real Estate) about 11 years ago

I've thought about a virtual assistant and haven't dismissed the idea yet, but am a little bit afraid of giving up the control.

 

Bob Mitchell

ValueList 

Posted by R. B. "Bob" Mitchell - Loan Officer Raleigh/Durham, Bob Mitchell (NMLS#1046286) (Bank of England (NMLS#418481)) about 11 years ago

Hello, I am a virtual assistant and I can understand why a smart business person would outsource. I'd love to hear your end reviews with the book.  As for those still pondering a virtual assistant, it's well worth it. I know what Bob is talking about, not having control, but you will find a professional is most likely going to be diong the job at the level of expectation and in most cases exceed your expectations. Our businesses thrive only if YOU succeed. There are ways of marking progress and if you find the right VA you won't have any problems, in fact it will just be all the better. You'll wonder why you waited so long.

Posted by Lisa Callsen about 11 years ago

We recently had Michael Russer speak at the annual Online International Virtual Assistants Convention (OIVAC - http://www.oivac.com).  It was a real convention run virtually for virtual assistants worldwide.  This was our second annual convention and we had 23 speakers present over a 3 day period.  The Virtual Assistant industry is approximately 11 years old and people are still finding out about it.  Prior to that many of us used to be home based secretaries, or home based bookkeepers or home based business operators but now with the Internet and new technologies that has changed how we operate and Virtual Assistant is a great name for what we do - assisting others virtually in many different ways!

Today we have formal training, coaching and certification programs for those who want to learn how to become a virtual assistant.  There are thousands operating globally and as Lisa says above VAs are professionals who have the experience and efficiency to carry out jobs properly.  Why pay top dollar for an amateur result as Danny has in his tag above when you can instead pay for someone who is already trained and experienced to do what you cannot do - because that is not your core competency. 

If you Google "Virtual Assistants" you will literally find thousands of references to our industry and you will also find approximately 16 professional VA industry networks where VAs are listed with their available services. 

Posted by Kathie Thomas about 11 years ago

I am also a virtual assistant. For those of you hesitating over hiring a VA, I have a few suggestions. Spend a little time jotting down the tasks you don't like doing, don't have time for or don't know how to do. Think about the income-generating activities you could be doing instead. Contact several VAs - they can explain how they work "virtually" and how they can partner with you to make your business more successful. VAs are also business owners and they are successful when you are. Let them know your concerns!

Start small. Choose one task to hand off. VAs may charge by the hour, by the project, by retainer or a combination of all three. You could retain a VA for just a few hours a week until you are ready to have them do more. Once you see what a relief it is to have a professional take care of those tasks that tie up your time, or get put on the back burner, I'm guessing you will want them to do more!

As this is a Real Estate Blog I want to mention that there are many VAs specializing in real estate (REVAs or Real Estate Virtual Assistants) although I'm not one of them. Good luck!

Posted by Rebecca Quinn about 11 years ago

Yes, I love that quote, "top dollar for amateur results."  If you're worth several hundred dollars per hour and you spend those hours uploading listings to Point2 or creating flyers when you could outsource to a real estate virtual assistant at $40 or so dollars an hour (and it only takes them 15 minutes to whip up a flyer) - then you can quickly see the cost and time savings.

Just Google 'Real Estate Virtual Assistant" and you'll see Russer's REVA Teams is #1 - and you just might want to check out website #2, <grin> 

Posted by Cheryl Allin (VirtuAllin Administrative Services) about 11 years ago

Business owners - What kind of tasks would you love or are you afraid to delegate to a virtual assistant when it comes to your online marketing? I still have some reservation for delegating certain tasks to my VA but as I learn more about their skills and capacity to learn, the comfort level and trust rises -- You learn to let go of the control freak in you.

Would love to hear from others about the question: “What questions do you have about finding, hiring or what tasks you can delegate to your VA?” I've posted at http://AskAVirtualAssistant.com  

Some great tips here from other VAs! Thank you for posting and inspiring this dialogue.

Posted by MayaAndMarketability.com about 11 years ago
I just want to say I think Virtual Assistants are a GREAT idea!  I've used one for several years.  I've had the same one now for a little over a year!  BUT I also want to warn people out there to be careful, be very careful when hiring a VA.  I've had bad experiences and apparently so have others.   Do your homework when looking for someone!
Posted by Mary Warren about 11 years ago
Danny, Definitely, you want to call other Realtors and find out who they are using before ever and I do mean EVER hiring a VA. Some are just lurkers who prey upon the Realtor. Don't move ahead without consulting another Realtor.  A lot of us learned that the hard way.
Posted by Gena Riede, Real Estate Broker - Sacramento CA Real Estate (916) 417-2699 (Riede Real Estate, Lic. 01310792) about 11 years ago
Gene---- Thank you.. I will do just that.
Posted by Danny Frank, The Real Estate Expert (Heritage Texas Properties) about 11 years ago

Yes, when you consider hiring your VA you must be very careful and deliberate in your interview process.  Take plenty of time in discussion of expectations, thoroughly review their references and ensure you and your prospective VA have good chemistry.  They're not employees, they're fellow business people like you.  

A great article by another VA may be an excellent read for you - she distilled the entire process really well - you can find it at this link.  How to Hire a Virtual Assistant

Don't automatically accept (or dismiss) a VA on hearsay alone.  More often than not, agent complaints are based on unmet expectations, problems that can be remedied — and prevented — with a simple conversation with the VA about what they can and can’t offer.  A VA who can articulate their value proposition really help set up expectations.

Posted by Cheryl Allin (VirtuAllin Administrative Services) about 11 years ago

Prevented with a simple conversation?  How can that be when if a VA doesn't return phone calls or e-mails for weeks on end?

Posted by Mary Warren about 11 years ago

Another great resource that Michael Russer is developing is a site called VirtualOutsourcing.org It is 100% free volunteer community where people can find and share groups, resources, tools, get questions answered by real VAs, and submit suggestions.  There is even a searchable database of resources!  He plans to have it launched within a week, so everyone check in to check it out!

Posted by Robin Parker about 11 years ago

Yes, that's right Mary. When a VA doesn't return phone calls or emails and leaves you hanging...that's hardly professional. That's why you will get the straight scoop from the Realtor who used the VA. Falsehoods as well as a unrealistic view of oneself can always be in print, it's the actual experience that speaks louder than any words that could possibly ever be written.

Posted by Gena Riede, Real Estate Broker - Sacramento CA Real Estate (916) 417-2699 (Riede Real Estate, Lic. 01310792) about 11 years ago
Gena and Mary, I agree. Actually I've used two VA's. I had to hire someone else to "fix" the stuff one of them did which cost me more $$. Neither one of them did what they said they would do and always had excuses for not getting things done. At this point, I am verrrrrrrrrry cautious about using anyone. If anyone can recommend someone, I'll be happy to check it out.
Posted by Mesa, Arizona Real Estate Mesa Arizona Realtor, AzLadyInRed (Homes Arizona Real Estate LLC) about 11 years ago

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