How real estate investors and business apply smart systems to outsourcing can make all the difference in results. What do great leaders get, and do, which helps them create more wins?
Outsourcing is now the first go-to solution for real estate investors, entrepreneurs, and businesses when they need help. That’s true from the brand new solo investor to multi-billion dollar giants like Trulia and Realty Mogul. There are now tens of millions of US companies and freelancers using outsourcing to make money today. Soon it will be more common than how we worked in the old industrial era, if it isn’t already. Mastering outsourcing and having a smart system in this area will largely determine success, profitability, and growth. So, what do the best get about it, that others still have to learn?
The Best Time to Hire Outsourced Help
Firing off some online job ads, or searching Google, and hiring a freelancer a few days before you need something done is not the way to hire virtually. It’s not the way to hire in-house or online. The best freelancers are going to be booked up for at least a week or two in advance. Smart employers identify needs early, short list candidates, and have them on call, and maybe even on a retainer.
Find a Great Fit
A great team member is one with the right amount of experience, and who is a good fit. The best qualified may not always be the best fit. Similarly, friends and family are not always the best employees. This can be even more challenging to get right online. Samples of previous work are rarely a good metric. They were created for a completely different project, at a different time, for someone with a different system. Your specs may return a different result. Do look for someone with task specific and real estate industry experience. Then give 1-3 candidates on your short list a paid test to complete. Compare results and keep the best.
There are three parts to this; speed, process, and rates.
You’ve got to understand freelancers in order to nail this. As the competition for the best help fires up, only the best will recruit and retain the top players. That will make all the difference in who survives and thrives in the real estate investment world. Know that freelancers are typically working on a very short cash cycle. Many expect same day payment for work done, just like if you went to your favorite steakhouse. You can pay with your credit card, but unless you want to be there doing their dishes all night, you pay on the spot for the product and service delivered. Some will expect payment in advance like shopping Apple or Amazon. Some may be okay with weekly payment schedules. Finding someone to take a monthly arrangement is very rare. Try to stretch out invoices like some real estate investors do with contractors, and you may not like the consequences. We’re talking about people who often hold your brand reputation, deal flow, real estate website, social media, and more in their hands.
Also compare how you work. If you have twenty deals or clients on the table, and you know one is going to pay your quickly and more, whereas others may be a gamble or are typically slow to pay; which do you focus your energy on first? Expect freelancers to operate the same way. Pay well, and pay promptly, and they’ll prioritize your tasks, needs, and goals, above the other 20 or more clients they are working with each week.
It’s important to see how outsourcing has changed. Back in the day when Tim Ferriss wrote the 4 Hour Work Week there were freelancers working for just a few dollars an hour. Most were low level data entry and phone reps offshore. Now freelancing is a top income source for tens of millions of graphic designers, writers, social media marketers, bookkeepers, project managers, and seven figure earning consultants. There are millions on-shore and offshore. During this time inflation has pushed up property prices by 50% to 70% or more, rental rates have been raging, and so has the cost of a lot of other things. Outsourcing is more efficient and cost effective than in-house staff in most cases, but you get what you pay for. Apply some common sense to your rates. If you know it takes you 10 hours to build a basic 5 page website, and you still aren’t happy with the results, Offering $5 an hour or $50 probably isn’t going to get you the best results. Look for the best help you can get, but make sure the value is there too.
Lastly on this part; think about the payment process in advance. You don’t want to be a glorified bookkeeper or clerk. Not if you want to make great money and build a real estate empire. Some outsourcing portals offer the choice between manual milestone payments, or automatically billed hourly work or automated weekly payments. Manual payments mean that each time you get a piece from your freelancer you have to login, make a payment, clear the milestone, and set up another. These payments also don’t usually clear for workers for another 1-2 weeks after you send them. So, if you are on vacation for a week, you could be stalling your business for a month, and adding to your time burden, for the sake of a $50 payment. That’s crazy. Look for the best automation system.
Freelancers are Real People
They are not robots. That means they can’t read minds, they have a life beyond your work, and they enjoy being a part of something bigger. The best leaders get this. So, they give clear instructions, are proactive about working in vacations, understand that if they only pay for 10 hours of work a week that the freelancer isn’t going to be on call 24 hours a day, and they try to incorporate them into the team. The stronger the team is, the better the results. Include freelancers in annual corporate retreats and emails, get them connecting with apps like Slack, and share progress reports with them.
One of the biggest traps of outsourcing is the management. Too many real estate investors and CEOs of small businesses wind up becoming super busy managers. They spend all their time recruiting, managing, and conversing with a broad team. They might get little else done. That can be counterproductive. Instead, automate as much as possible. Do outsource, but consider bringing in a GM or project manager to handle your team for you. Whenever possible leverage technology and existing smart systems to take these roles so that you have fewer people to manage and maintain your competitive edge.
How do you outsource?