By Andy Blake
A question I’m asked frequently is, “How do I know when it’s time to hire an assistant?”
As a real estate agent, it’s easy to get used to doing everything yourself; you work hard to cut costs and try to juggle it all. However, there is a point when too much work can burn you out and hurt your business. Here are a few things to take into consideration when trying to decide if it’s time to send for help:
Do you need an assistant or a strategy overhaul?
Take a good look at your to-do list and ask yourself a few questions then be honest in your answers:
- Are you insanely busy and can’t seem to get anything done?
- Are you stressed, overwhelmed, or feel like you didn’t accomplish anything during the day?
Before you hire an assistant, determine whether your list needs an extra set of hands or simply needs focus. Maybe you’re so busy trying to manage clients, administrative tasks and events that a lack of focus and proper time management skills are preventing you from accomplishing everything. In my experience, removing time-intensive tasks that don’t result in generating clients leaves time to focus on income-producing and lead-generating activities.
On the other hand, your challenge might be a constant stream of clients who generate administrative work and take you away from serving clients, (or generating new ones). In this case, it’s time to hire an assistant. If you spend lots of time on non-revenue generating activities, you will take home more money if you hire someone to help. You won’t be able to grow your business until you delegate, at least, the administrative functions you perform.
Your Follow Up is Falling Through
Maybe you’re not returning client calls and emails in a timely manner. Or maybe you’re not getting back to prospects on time. If you want to provide quality service to your clients, and you’re not doing that, you could be bogged down with tasks like paperwork, or things that aren’t worth your time. As a real estate agent, you must constantly focus on income-producing activities, such as staying top-of-mind with prospective clients, engaging with leads, and growing important, existing relationships. If you’re overworked and overwhelmed, and your follow up is falling through, maybe it’s time to bring on an assistant.
Determine What Your Time is Worth
A few years ago, I sat down and determined what my hourly time was worth. If my time was worth more than the income I was generating, I delegated. The most important thing to consider is whether your current activities increase your revenue or waste your time. My time was better spent with clients – and time spent generating new ones – than sitting working on administrative tasks.
If you’re just starting and have limited funds, it might not be economical for you to hire a full-time assistant. Maybe it’s better to hire an intern. Local colleges or universities may have eager students willing to work for experience instead of a salary. And you may even find someone who you want to work with and hire in the future. (Before you hire an intern, check with your brokerage on state laws that may require you to pay your intern a small stipend or provide school credit.)
Here’s the bottom line: If you want to run a successful and professional business, hiring an assistant is vital. With so many things to juggle any given day, it’s impossible to be the best you can be on your own. I’ve even had clients thank me for having two assistants who are also available to help them with all the moving parts involved with buying or selling. Not only will hiring an assistant improve your professional life, it will also substantially improve your personal life and give you better work-life balance in such a fast-paced job. It’s easy to say that you can’t afford an assistant but I would argue that you can’t afford not to hire an assistant!
ANDY BLAKE is a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kansas City Realty and a member of the national REthink Council. Reach him: firstname.lastname@example.org.