If you outsource properly, you free up time, money, and resources that you can reinvest into growing your business.
Today’s guest is Todd Breen, owner of Virtually Incredible, an outsourcing company. Since 1994 his quest has been to make property management both fun and profitable. Outsourcing achieves both of those goals.
[03:03] Create your own solution to meet the needs of your company.
[04:08] A common mistake property managers make is thinking they are the one that does it all. But they realize they can’t do it all and need to hire others.
[05:00] You don’t need to spend tons of money on new employees. But there’s a better option.
[05:15] When thinking about outsourcing ask: What size is your company? Where are your weak spots? Where is your customer service lacking?
[05:36] Todd’s company, Home Property Management, decided to outsource its maintenance to a company that specializes in it, is staffed adequately, and available 24/7.
[06:21] To effectively outsource, find a business that has systems and processes geared toward a specific task that you need done.
[06:57] Dial into collective genius. Learn from other people, collect best practices, and improve what you offer.
[07:52] What can be outsourced? Maintenance, leasing, bookkeeping, and other areas.
[08:07] Todd decided to outsource leasing because he discovered that 99 percent of the time, money, and effort spent on answering the phone and responding to emails was time lost and wasted.
[09:12] About 60 percent of your calls are on your leasing and generate no revenue. It wastes times and does not yield profit.
[09:48] Outsource leasing calls to avoid lack of response and voicemails – not good customer service.
[10:33] Maintenance is another customer service sore spot for companies. What is your average turnaround on work orders? You may not know, but your tenants do! Lack of response and action generates poor reviews, lower renewal rates…it’s a trickle-down disaster.
[11:40] If companies outsource leasing and maintenance, that is the bulk of where they think their time should be spent. But taking those off their plate lets them use that time to focus on building their business – strategic rather than technical work.
[12:42] As an entrepreneur, you need to be willing to give up a certain level of control, even though that may feel uncomfortable.
[13:37] At one point, Todd decided he wanted to scale and remove himself. He did so by becoming a reformed control freak.
[13:55] The average property management company owner thinks they can’t afford the latest Website. Outsource to the lowest cost solution and invest the savings to grow your business.
[16:25] If an entrepreneur has a clear direction to head in and believe in it, you can’t stop them. They are going to do it. Property managers need to believe outsourcing is a viable option for them.
[16:38] One fear about outsourcing is related to quality. Property managers fear that those they pass off the work to don’t care as much as they do or the output won’t be as good.
[16:58] Fear = False Evidence Appearing Real. For Todd, he felt that as soon as he didn’t do he work, the quality would go down. But, the quality of his life was not so good because he was working so much.
[17:16] Todd’s customers had quality, but he didn’t. He got to a point where he was done with that and things happened.
[17:24] Todd teaches a course called, Run Your Rent Roll From Under a Palm Tree.
[17:54] If you are a workaholic or overworked, Todd figures out what he can do to help them through various processes, systems, quality assurance, and training.
[19:16] Those with the fear factor may be surprised when they let go, they open up to a better way of doing things at their business.
[19:31] Should you hire your own virtual assistant (VA) or a reseller? Do you have the time to hire, train, and work with others? Are you good at hiring, training, and working with your staff? It’s up to you to decide which is better for you.
[21:20] Advantages of a team being virtual is that you can pull the best talent from anywhere and overhead is low. But there are challenges.
[22:13] You can outsource to virtual team members as well as to specialized companies to handle various tasks, such as podcast production.
[23:45] Entrepreneurs do not usually make good managers. Specialized agencies use their expertise to take that management piece over naturally for team members to thrive.
[24:55] With outsourcing, don’t necessarily go with the cheapest option to save money. Time should be higher on your priority list than money.
[25:27] There’s a hustle-and-grind myth that if entrepreneurs work harder and are more aggressive, burn themselves out, they will make more money and get more done. In reality, you become unproductive and make bad decisions.
[26:25] If you don’t feel naturally passionate about something, take it off your plate through outsourcing.
[27:00] The mistake entrepreneurs make when building a team is they build teams around them that make their lives more tactically difficult, instead of more strategically available.
[27:33] Todd knew managing people was not one of his strengths. But his wife is an awesome people manager. So, she manages the people, and Todd has time for the visionary and innovation side of his business.
[28:54] When outsourcing, you will experience hits and misses. But when you get a hit, you are able to shine! It is worthwhile to spend money on agencies that have the tools and processes that can match you with the right person.
[30:37] The beauty of outsourcing is that you get to focus on your core strengths.
[31:00] People want to enjoy property management, but they don’t know how. The trick is to realize it can be fun and profitable if we pursue it to be that way.
[31:38] Pursue better clients and take care of growing and scaling your business at an affordable rate.
[31:48] Learn from other property managers and their collective experience. Then, implement what you learned – that is the greatest skill set that differentiates truly successful property managers from average ones.
[33:11] Entrepreneurs enjoy coming up with ideas and creating things, but they aren’t the ones to usually see things through. That’s why they need a team to support them.
[33:30] There are four personality types: spontaneous (don’t make good business owners); competitive (make good business owners to a point); humanitarian (love everyone, but may not be the best property managers); and methodical (engineers who have to get everything done). Who makes the best business over the long haul? Methodical.
[35:10] When outsourcing, hire those who have methodically figured out the best processes for doing something. However, they will probably not be good at sales and marketing.
[37:47] Join the DoorGrow Club on Facebook.
Jason: This is Jason Hull here with The DoorGrow Show. We’ve got a special guest with us today, Todd Breen. Todd, introduce yourself. Say hello.
Todd: Jason, it’s a pleasure to be here. I’ve been hanging out in the property management circles for my entire life and doing some fun stuff with outsourcing lately. Love to talk with you about it.
Jason: Yeah, I’m excited and you’re very astute and familiar with the outsourcing stuff running your company. I’d like to get started by getting a little bit of background on you for the listeners and the people viewing this. How did you get into doing outsourcing? How did this become a thing for you, because not everybody does it.
Todd: No, and it’s been a fun journey, but I was managing property for my entire adult life. When I bought my management company from my dad—I’m second gen—I bought it back in 1993, by 1994 I would have sold it really cheap. I was burned out on property management, I wasn’t having fun, and I wasn’t making any money or profit.
So I said I’m going to make property management fun and profitable or I’m out. Since 1994 that’s been my quest. Outsourcing hits both. It makes property management more fun and it makes it more profitable. It was just a natural thing for me to say, “I’m after this. I’m going after this,” and now we got over a hundred virtual assistants working for us and growing rapidly, and it’s really exciting when we can do what’s worked at my property management company, which is our incubator, and bring it to other managers so that they can get back to fun and profit them.
Jason: That’s the advantage you’ve had. You had this property management business, you had needs within it, and you’re creating your own solution. It’s just a natural fit to do it for the people.
Todd: Yeah. I’m actually in Manila right now. I spend a couple of months here twice a year. It works out great where I still operate my management company back home in Florida. Here I am in Manila, we just had our annual staff retreat and leadership retreat. We’re growing our team here and really having a lot of fun helping property managers.
Jason: What time is it? It’s almost noon, it’s 11 o’clock here Pacific Time in California where I’m at. What time is it there for everybody listening?
Todd: It’s [2:00]AM, which is not a big deal to me because I’m a night owl anyways and so I work from about [9:00]PM until maybe two or three in the morning sometimes, and them I’m off for a while and back at it again.
Jason: Oh man, I’m the early bird. I’m up super early and then I try to get to bed by 10.
Well, I appreciate you being on with us at two in the morning. Let’s get into this idea of outsourcing because I think one of the common mistakes—we talked a little about this in the green room—that I see property managers fall into is that one, they think of themselves—these business owners—as the property manager. That’s challenge number one that I see. They think I’m the one that needs to coordinate maintenance, I’m the one that needs to answer phones. They try to do everything.
Initially, starting out that’s where every entrepreneur starts. They’re Atlas holding the whole world on their shoulders and they’re trying to do everything, and then eventually realize they can’t do it all. They get maybe about 50, 60 doors they’re like, “Oh my gosh, I’m tapped out.” They suddenly feel the burn. They need to hire somebody they think and the first default everybody seems to go to is, “I’m going to go drop tens of thousands of dollars annually on a new employee,” and you’re here to say there’s probably a better option to start with, right?
Todd: Very much so. Whenever we’re talking with someone who’s interested in outsourcing, one of the first question we have is, “What size company are you?” And the 0-150 doors, we know we’re dealing with mom-and-pop-itis. We know we’re talking with someone who’s an owner/operator and some people are thrilled to stay there.
As soon as we find out what size they are and what [inaudible [00:05:29] package [inaudible [00:05:30] pleasure of knowing, using, being friends with many of the outsourcing companies that span the property management industry. I’m very familiar with not only what we do to outsource but also the other solutions because I [inaudible [00:05:47] my management company, and it’s a great conversation to have with the property manager to say, “Let’s start with where do you think are your weak spots? Where is your customer service lacking? If we surveyed your owners and tenants, what would they tell us?”
Most people start to get a little bit shy when you start talking because we all want to put this image forward that we’re doing great, we’re rock stars. But the truth of the matter if you ask your owners or tenants, or even if you ask your own staff where’s our weak spots, the answers are glaring. That’s where we can really start, okay what can we do to bring in outside help that can help in these weak spots?
At my management company, maintenance has been a routine weak spot over 30 years, and we get on top of it, we trickle back down again and then we’re not on top of it. Our average work order [inaudible [00:06:56] are going real strong and then they start to fail, and sometimes we have average turnover times that [inaudible [00:07:04] within a week, and that’s not good customer service.
We made the decision recently to just outsource all of our maintenance to one of the companies that does property management mainly. We’re thrilled because they’re specialists and they’re staffed right, and they’re 24×7. They can do a much better job at it than I can. People say, “That’s crazy, why are you outsourcing to outsourcing firms when you have one of the largest outsourcing firms?” I say, “I don’t do maintenance and I don’t want to do maintenance. I’m not a specialist at it, I don’t want to start from scratch.” I want to take the collective genius of companies that were started by other property managers to outsource, and I want to use those.
Jason: I think that’s awesome. People think, “Oh I’m going to outsource if I find the right firm to do everything,” and that’s generally never going to be the case. What you’re saying is to do outsourcing effectively, you want to find somebody that has systems, processes geared towards the specific tasks that you’re looking to have done, and they can do it better than you. They have more team members than you and they’ve been dialing their systems and processes in that niche, in that area for a while. That could be maintenance, it could be on the leasing side, it could be on video marketing, it could be on just about anything.
Todd: Exactly. It’s dialing into that collective genius. At our outsourcing, we do the leasing lines. It’s one of our biggest things. I’ve been leasing property for 33 years, so I bring my best practices and my experience to any other management company that needs to do it. But then collectively, we answer to calls for hundreds of others of management companies. Collectively, we’ve learned from other people best practices and we just keep on improving what we offer. Flip of the switch, somebody can have access to that. That’s why I don’t want to do that with maintenance. I’m up to here just doing what I’m doing already and other people smarter than me have figured out how to do maintenance better than I ever will, I’ll use them, and it works out great for us.
Jason: Let’s have some of the different areas that people might—because maybe they’re not aware what could be outsourced. We’ve mentioned maintenance, maybe maintenance coordination, maintenance phone calls, that sort of thing, receiving that. Then you’ve also touched a little bit on leasing, maybe you can go into a little detail about that, but then there might be some other areas.
Todd: Why I chose to outsource leasing is a cool story. I did a real simple analysis. I said, “How many calls do we get on our vacancies? How many prospective tenants are calling, and then how many emails do we get?” Then I divide the number of leases that we write every month into the lead volume that we get. Can you guess what percentage of leads we closed to fill our 5 or 10 or whatever vacancies every month? Can you guess?
Jason: No, you tell me.
Todd: One percent.
Jason: That’s it?
Todd: That means out of a hundred people that I talk to at my management company, I monetize 1%, one out of a hundred. That means 99% of the time, money, and effort that I spend on the phone or responding to emails, it’s time lost, it’s time wasted, I don’t monetize it.
So I was like, “Oh my gosh,” and then the other thing is if you look at your call volume at your company, most likely 60% of your calls are on your leasing, People with leasing inquiries. So 60% of the calls are generating no revenue for you except for that 1% that it takes to fill your vacancies. It’s this enormous time-waster that doesn’t yield money for me, I said, “Man I got to get smart people handling those calls for me, so I can focus on something else.”
Then you start looking at how good a job does the average management company do on answering their leasing calls, and the answer is they suck. I was at the top of the ‘we suck list’ which is why I started outsourcing my calls because people would call and they get a voice mail for the agent because the agent put their cellphone number at the listing. And the agent was at their kid’s ballgame or the agent was in another call or appointment, so they get a voice mail. That’s not good customer service, and when we start to think it is, we’re kidding ourselves. It was a no-brainer for me to do that and that was the biggest bang-for-the-buck I can give my own management company.
To me I think maintenance is another customer service sore spot for a lot of companies. If you ask yourself, “Am I doing a one-week turn-around on the average work order or less?” If the answer is no, then maybe there’s complacency or you don’t even know what your average turn-around is. But your tenants know, because they’re calling you to say, “Can you fix the house?” and if you’re not getting on it very quickly or they have to call repetitively, then their experience with you isn’t good. You’ll get poor reviews, lower renewal rate, it’s a trickle-down disaster.
These are why I chose to outsource at my management company. We’re also looking to outsource the majority of our payables, receivables, and the bookkeeping function because we can. Why not? There’s companies that are specialists at that that we can use, and I’m excited about that opportunity.
Jason: Between leasing and maintenance, if most of these mom and pop property managers can get those two pieces—at least a large portion of that—lifted off their plate, that is the bulk of where they think their time should be spent right now. If they can eliminate that, they can now start to focus on actually building their business. They can start focusing on what some would call strategic stuff in their business instead of doing tactical work. If we can take those things that tactically taking up our time—tactical-level work—and we can eliminate that as much as possible off our plate, that allows us and frees us up to focus on strategic work.
Most property managers, if you take a look at your day and you actually do a time study, you’ll find that the bulk of your time is not strategic work. You’re not strategizing, you’re not figuring out how you can go your business, you’re not thinking of how you can support your staff, how you can improve things and processes. A lot of your time gets caught up on doing maintenance coordination, doing accounting-related stuff, doing the tasks that really are lower-level task that you should be giving to somebody else.
That requires an entrepreneur to give up a certain level of control, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it feel unsafe for people initially? They want to control everything?
Todd: When we talk to people and ask a few questions and find out we’re dealing with a control freak—by the way, I’m a control freak in remission, in recovery—then that’s a really easy conversation to say “You can control everything to a certain volume, and then you will hit the ceiling, and so do you want to go past that ceiling or do you want to keep control everything?” And that’s up for them to decide.
My ceiling was 150 doors. I used to manage that solo and I did that for a number of years, very profitable. Kind of like Steve Crossland, very profitable, managing a certain set number of doors, and I can identify with him because I did that for a number of years and it was great for me, I loved it.
Then I decided that I wanted to scale and remove myself. First thing I had to do was like a control freak. I did what I always do, found a course or two on it, learned how to take some deep breaths and figure out how to move on from there, and it was very good for me.
You touched on something I want to talk about. The average management company owner is so busy with the minutiae that they don’t do the strategic things. But it’s more than that. This business is not terribly profitable unless you are an expert at the maximization or unless you have scale to a certain size, and you’re running peak efficiencies.
What ends up happening is most management company owners think, “I can’t really afford the latest website that I saw on the door package, people saying that this is a great deal,” and they say, “I can’t afford it.” As soon as your learn how to outsource properly, you free up not only time, but you free up money and resources, and then you can reinvest that into growing your business, and I love it.
I’ve had the honor of working with a number of businesses in the coaching role, and some of these businesses are growing at 10, 20, 30, 40 doors a month, and they’re doing exactly that. Source things to the lowest cost solution and then take the savings and invest it into a business development manager, somebody who’s full-time job is to grow the management company. When I see that happen, I just smile and I say, “They get it. They were able to successfully divest from having to do it a certain way in-house, to opening it up and saying, ‘Let’s expand our model, let’s bring in lower cost solutions and invest the savings.’” Those people are crushing it. It’s great to see.
Jason: It’s interesting that the things that provide you money and facilitate growth are the things that cost money to do, and so a lot of people avoid taking the steps that they need to take. I think there’s also a shyness because I’ve talked to countless property managers that they’ve done what they’ve heard somebody say to do. They’re like, “People are telling me to go do this, or to go do that,” they try it, it doesn’t work, and then they’re frustrated. Usually by the time they reach out to DoorGrow, they’re really gun-shy, and they’re really skeptical. Then I’m having to say, “Well here’s how this is different,” and get them moving forward.
The great thing I love about entrepreneurs is that if they have a clear direction to head in, and they believe in it, you can’t stop them. They’re going to do it. So the challenge is, property managers just need to believe that outsourcing is a viable option for them.
Let’s talk about the fear that surrounds that. What typically prevents people from doing outsourcing? I think one of the big fears is probably quality. They are like, “Oh well, if I outsource it, they’re not going to care as much as me,” or “it’s not going to be as good,” or something along these lines. Maybe we can crush that a little bit.
Todd: FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. In my own instance, I used to think as soon as I don’t do it the quality goes down. But then, the quality of my life was not all that good. I was working 60, 70+ hours a week. My customers had quality, I didn’t. When you get to the point where you say, “I’m done with that,” that’s when things happen. And I got to the point where I said, “I’m done with that,” and things happened.
I teach a course called Run Your Rent Roll From Under A Palm Tree. I made a list of things I wanted to do in my life and 70-hours-week-in-a-management-company was not high on that list.
Jason: Yes it wasn’t top.
Todd: When we decide that we’re going to expand our thought process and our options, then we make room for that to happen. Usually when I talk to somebody who’s either a workaholic or overworked—I’m never sure which it is—then I say, “What could we do to help you?” Their fear is, “Okay if I give this to you, it’s not going to be done right.” The truth to the matter is a property management reseller, which is what we are, we just don’t give you a virtual assistant and say, “You manage this person.” We actually have a whole system when we resell. We’re going to bring our systems, processes, quality assurance, and etcetera, our training into play.
We have simple questions. We’re like, “Okay your leasing agents, do they have fair housing training certifications?” “Yeah they do,” or “no they don’t.” “Well, ours do. How many calls a week do you listen to your leasing agents or your receptionist, or whoever’s answering your leasing lines, how many times a week does someone in authority listen in on the calls and then coach?”
Jason: Probably none.
Todd: “No yeah, we don’t do that.” “Well we do.” We know we’re getting a specific output at the end of each call, and it’s being handled the right way. “Do you have a process for escalation if someone’s upset? Is it in writing, is it quality assurance and tested?” “Well, no we don’t have that.”
The people who have this False Evidence Appearing Real, this fear factor, may be surprised when they learn that by letting go, they’re actually opening up for a better way of doing things at their business.
That brings me to a question I saw somebody posted in the comment field. “Should I hire my own VA or use a reseller?” There’s a real good answer to that question. The answer is real simple. I have the time to work with and train and hire and do all of these things, and I enjoy hiring, I’m good at hiring, training and supervising my local staff, so adding another remote staff person is a no-brainer for me. I’m good at that. If that’s the answer then you should do it.
That means too that you probably are the type of person that have written policies and procedures that are clearly defined, showing how processes should be done. If the answer to these questions are, “Yeah, we’re good, we got this down,” well we’re scaled. I got 900 doors. That means if you got to 900 doors, you probably answered those questions well, and hiring your own VAs makes great sense. When you got 90 doors, most people I talk to don’t have that. When you got 190 or 290 doors, you’re struggling to develop that.
This is my thought on the matter. You should hire your own VA if that’s what you want to do, because there is a savings. We have a small margin for all the work we do, and you can attract the savings by doing that. Is it worth it? That’s up to you because I always say, “I want my time as a business owner to do the high dollar tasks. I want to earn, I want to create, I don’t want to do repetitive tasks that I can give to other people.” That’s my thought process on that.
Jason: I’ll touch on that too. At DoorGrow, I run a virtual company. I’m in my house right now and my entire team is virtual. The advantage of that is I’ve been able to pull the best talent from anywhere. That in your period I can find the best talent and I have low overhead, but there are challenges. There’s really specific challenges to running a virtual team compared to having people that you can walk into and via sneakernet, into their office and talk to and touch and say, “Hey, this is how things need to happen.”
Todd: We do the same thing. We got over a hundred staff that are all over the Philippines. But the truth to the matter is, compared to most resellers, that means that our overhead is lower, our prices are lower, we’re closer to hiring your own VA pricing. There’s some definite advantages to doing that versus the high rents that business spend.
Jason: In my own business, I do both. I got agencies that we work with for certain things and then I have team members, basically, that are freelancers or you might consider outsourced that we are connected with as well. It really depends on what the core focus is.
For example, for podcast production, I found out that doing podcast production which I was doing initially all of it on my own was taking me about four hours per episode, between doing a recording, going back through and editing it, listening to it while creating show notes, getting it out on media channels, creating an image for it, doing the audio editing, getting it into iTunes, all this stuff was a lot of work.
I have team members on my team that can do graphic design, that can do audio editing, they can do all this stuff. But the second I get my entire team focused on that, which is really a non-direct revenue-generating process, where it’s not making us money directly, people aren’t paying us to put out podcast episodes, then I’m taking them all out of our normal process, out of their current wheelhouse and shifting their focus towards something else. That dilutes their focus and it makes them less effective at the real process that we want to take clients through that we get paid to do.
I’ve explored that but it made a lot more sense to go find a company that their specialty and expertise is podcast production. They’ve got team members that can handle all of it for me, and they’re much faster than I could manage and organize.
The other thing to keep in mind is entrepreneurs generally make shitty managers. They generally are not the people that are—psychologically profile-wise—geared towards being great at managing people. Generally the entrepreneur will walk into a room say to the team, “Hey everybody, grenade,” walk out of the room, expect everybody to pick up the pieces. To you, you thought you just came in with this great new idea. But what other people see it as is, “Oh my gosh Jason just came in and threw another grenade that we’re all supposed to figure it out; what are we supposed to do with this?”
Todd: Well, it sounds like you’ve been sitting in my staff meetings if you’re talking that way.
Jason: The entrepreneur, the nice thing about using and leveraging an agency like yours or like the podcast production company I use or whatever where they have a level of expertise, they take that management piece that you naturally, that support system that those team members need in order to thrive, they create that. Generally, you don’t have that in your business. Generally, entrepreneurs are not astute, especially if they’re small at doing that. It’s just not naturally what we do, and you’re getting that.
Even if the price is marginally a little bit higher, the last thing somebody should be thinking with outsourcing is, “I’m going to go with whatever the cheapest option is simply because I want to save money, because entrepreneurs, we all should know very clearly that there’s other currencies besides money that are far more important. And to me, time is far higher on my priority list than money. Time’s a huge one for me. I don’t want to work 70 hours a week. I do want to make money but I want to have time.
Going back to your talking about that idea of 70 hours a week and that sort of thing. There’s this myth that we have as entrepreneurs. There’s this myth of hustle and grind that’s put out by some of these big, noisy guys on social media that are targeting entrepreneurs. This idea that if I just am more aggressive, hustle more, focus more, and just burning myself out, that I’m somehow going to make more money or get more done.
The reality is it’s been proven that our brains only produce so much chemical while we’re sleeping to make a certain amount of decisions for the next day, and most people tap out by noon, one, two, three in afternoon. If we are really aggressively pushing past that, we become very unproductive. We’re not making as effective decisions as we could make, and usually we have to slow down as entrepreneurs to actually get bigger results. That would involve getting things off of our plate especially the things we don’t naturally feel passionate about.
I don’t feel passionate about writing contracts, so I can have a lawyer do that. I don’t feel passionate per se about podcast production, it’s not my joy in life, that’s not my bliss. I can give that to someone else. Even graphic design, I don’t want to sit in front of Photoshop all day long even though I can be good at that, but I can bring in someone who’s better at that than me.
This is how I believe entrepreneurs need to build teams but the mistake I think generally entrepreneurs make as they build teams is they build teams around them that make their life tactically more difficult—does that make sense—instead of looking to make their life strategically more available.
Todd: And to that point, if you’d have told me a few years back that I would have over a hundred staff working for me in this business, I’d had been like, “Man, that’s not my forte, I don’t manage people that well,” and that’s a frank acknowledgment.
The cool thing about my business is, is that I scaled. Somehow I made it through and my wife is amazing. I married a university professor from Manila, she’s very talented and skilled, and she’s an awesome people manager. She’s grown this team and she’s taken care of the people management side of things so that I can work on the visionary and innovation things, which entrepreneurs love.
I’m so fortunate and blessed, and it wasn’t until I met my people manager that my innovation, my entrepreneurship, my everything else started to shine. Now, my people manager is actually helping other property managers manage people for the management company. It’s mind-bending to me what a gift that is because I realized I’m so filled with gratitude for what a gift it is in my world when I get to share that with other people. I’m passionate about that because it was such a deficit in my professional life. My ability to hire, train, and motivate the best people was not my forte, and now it is because of my partnership with my wife. It’s such a great feeling to bring that to other people.
Jason: Same for me. I can’t tell you how many direct executive or personal assistants I’ve had and so many of them have been amiss, and some of them have been just amazing, but there’s been a lot more misses. So this time around I’m actually am working with an agency that they specialize in just getting an executive assistant. I’m working with a different agency that just specializes in salespeople to get me a great salesperson and that’s going really great.
There really is a power in being able to spend more money to leverage somebody else to do that for you because they’re going to do a much better job. They’ve got processes I never even thought about that they’re taking me through for both of these roles. On the assistant side they have me taking some assessment and some quizzes and stuff to find a good, they’re match-making. On the sales side they’ve got ways of being pushy and triggering and almost upsetting to the salesperson to see how they respond and if they’re willing to push through natural barriers. They all have these processes and systems that I never would have imagined or thought to put in place.
Todd: I think you’re going to get more follow-up from this podcast from people asking you what those two companies are than I will because that’s fascinating. How many of us wouldn’t love to have a tried and tested executive assistant. I have one and my life is so much better as a result of having someone that keeps me organized and emails and calendar and scheduling and errands and details. You probably get some people asking you about that and that’s the beauty of outsourcing is we get to focus on our core strengths.
I was a trainer for the Property Management Academy in Florida. I used to train hundreds of property managers in the basics of property management. When I taught classrooms full of people eight hours a day, I realized one thing: a lot of people want to enjoy property management but they don’t know how. The trick to enjoying property management is to realize that it can be fun and profitable if we decide to pursue profit and pursue fun. But nobody thinks to do that. They all think property management is, “God what a tough job. What a tough gig. What a tough industry.” It’s challenging, I get it, but we can make it more fun and profitable if that’s our intention. Typically, that means pursuing better clients and taking care of growing and scaling the business at an affordable rate.
Fortunately, I started this in 1985. There was no NARPM, the National Association of Residential Property Managers. I still remember the first meeting I went to and it was like the Hallelujah chorus was playing in the background because I was in a room full of other property managers. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow the collective experience in this room is something I can really learn a lot from,” and I spent so much time learning from other managers. And if you’re listening to this podcast, you’re a learner, you’re dialed-in, and you’re probably an implementer too because the learners have learned that if I learned something and don’t implement it I just wasted a little bit of time on a lovely podcast.
Going out and actually learning and then implementing is, in my opinion, the number one skill set that differentiates the truly successful property managers from the average. Those learners and implementors are some people that I can’t spend enough time with because they just gas me up, they turn me on, they fill my brain, they challenge me, and always enjoy talking with people like that. That’s I think why you and I get along so well. We’re always punching through barriers with each other. I love it.
Jason: Entrepreneurs in general, we love to come up with ideas, create things, but we don’t generally want to be the ones that sees it that all the way through in completion. That’s why we have teams and that’s why teams are so important for us to stay in that area of genius. That’s why we need a support system.
Todd: You just reminded me, I used to teach an adult ed class called Start Your Small Business Now and it wasn’t about property management. I was just teaching adults who wanted to start a business and I ran across a bit of information that was astonishing to me.
There’s four personality types. You got your spontaneous, they don’t make good business owners. You got your competitive, they make good business owners to a point. You got your humanitarians, they love everybody, maybe they won’t make the best property managers. Then you got the methodical, your engineering type, the type that have the pocket protectors. They are the ones that have to get everything done.
Do you know who makes the best business over the long haul, which of the four types? The methodical. And I would have never guessed that. I would have said, “Huh? I don’t get that.” But the SBA—Small Business Administration—did some research and they found that the methodical were the people who stayed in business the longest, because they were methodical. They would say, “I need to do the following things.”
So many of us are competitive and that’s who we are, we’re the driving entrepreneurs, we’re not necessarily methodical. When I talk with a methodical, I immediately start to understand who I’m talking with because they’re the ones that run a business that’s tightly run. I’m not a methodical. It’s a learned skill for me to be methodical and I hire methodicals.
That’s what this whole outsourcing is all about is who has methodically figured out the best processes for doing something, let’s hire them and get them into a process. Actually we have three methodicals in our company that I work closely with and they kind of like, “Okay, all right. Slow down the fire hose of ideas. We have to methodically implement.” If I could go back to my younger self I would say hire a methodical, and that partnership will take me farther, further, faster than what I did in my journey.
Jason: On the reverse, the methodicals generally running businesses, they’re those that are not going to be very good at BDM-type roles. They’re not going to be very good at sales. They’re not going to be very good at getting out the marketplace and growing the business. So I see property managers that there are more property management entrepreneurs that really more a property manager and they identify with that. Their challenge is to give that up as they scale on growth. They have to give up a portion of that to allow people to do it.
Well Todd it’s been super cool to have you on. I think we touched on virtual systems, we touched on staying in your area of genius. How can people get a hold of you and any final last words to take away as you think people might want to know about virtual assistance?
Todd: Sure. Well, my son Logan is the Sales Manager for Virtually Incredible. If you want to learn more about how we can help you, if you write an email to sales@virtuallyincredible it will go to Logan and I, and we’ll both follow-up with you. One of the coolest things we do, we just started doing this recently is, we’re doing evaluation on what you’re spending, deduce the work that we can do with you or for you. We’ll show you a general price idea of what it will cost you to get it done, we’ll show you how to do the reorganization, what the desired outcome is, and show you how you can to reach that.
When you begin outsourcing with that end goal in mind, that I want to hire a BDM but I don’t have 25 grand a year base pay, we’ll show you how you can get 25 grand a year out of your current systems and then go hire your BDM and join the big boy club or the big girl club, and get busy growing your management company. We’d love to talk with you about how we can help you with that.
In the meantime, a special thanks from all of us property managers to you because your DoorGrow Club is just one of the best things I’ve been on, and if you’re not a member you need to get on it on Facebook. So much great information on learning so much and meeting people there. Thanks for putting that together for us, Jason. It’s well-done.
Jason: I appreciate the plug. Yeah you guys can get to that Facebook group by just going to thedoorgrowclub.com and we really have the intention of building the most savvy group of property management entrepreneurs and getting guys communicating with each other.
Todd: I would love to talk with any of you, even want to just master mind, and thanks for having me on the show, Jason.
Jason: Awesome. Thanks so much for coming on, Todd. Make sure you guys reach out to Todd and get inside The DoorGrow Club. If you go into the file section of The DoorGrow Club, we do have a document there where we made a list of lots of different vendors that you can and they’re kind of known for their area of genius. We’re open to feedback on that at any time.
Check that out. You’ll see Todd’s company and you’ll see several other companies mentioned there and those things I think can really start to help you create some systems and some processes in your business, lower your cost, and facilitate that business side, all the things that you’re lacking, that you think only big companies can have. Make sure you leverage that.
Again, Todd, thank you for hanging out with us late into the early morning I guess, there in Manila. We hope to have you back again soon.
Todd: Glad to be here, thanks, and have a great day.
Jason: All right. Bye Todd.
Todd: Bye bye.
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