Saved By the Right Office Manager (CFFL 0086)

Saved By the Right Office Manager

Jack Butala: Saved By the Right Office Manager. Every Single month we give away a property for free. It’s super simple to qualify. Two simple steps. Leave us your feedback for this podcast on iTunes and number two, get the free ebook at, you don’t even have to read it. Thanks for listening.

Jack Butala:                   Hey, Jack Butala for LandAcademy. Welcome to the Cash Flow From Land Show. In this episode, Jill and I talk about hiring the right office manager when the time is right for you. Jill, she saves us just about every day.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   From some horrific thing. Our manager’s name is Erin, and quite simply, we couldn’t live without her. I’m sure you agree. Before we get into all this and hiring the right people, let’s take a question from a caller.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay. Julia from Minnesota called in and asked “Can you apply your sending offers in the mail to farmland? Does it work as well?”

Jack Butala:                   I think what she’s saying is we always … We talk about sending offers to purchase in the mail for rural vacant land and houses, and lots of different property types. Does it works for farms too? Farmland too?

Jill DeWit:                            Absolutely.

Jack Butala:                   Well the honest answer is I’ve never done it, but it has to.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative). How could it not?

Jack Butala:                   Right. Farmland as I understand it works for a price per acre. Everybody sits around with a cup of coffee and talks about the price per acre for land. We have some friends from Iowa that are snowbirds that are here right now, and every year they come back and I ask them what their price is and it always moves up and down like a commodity. I think it’s somewhere around $9,000 an acre right now. I would think if it’s that standardized, that’s the key. It’s so standardized that it’s $9,000. You send a bunch of letters out for $6,000 or $5,000 or $4,000 or some number below retail value or what it would trade for, yeah. If … Julia, if you do this, or need some help doing it, I love new stuff like this. Let me know. I’d be happy to send a mailer out with you and kind of see what happens. If you send it out in one tiny little area to 3 farmers, is it going to work? No.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Jack Butala:                   If you send a ton of it out, yeah. Someone’s going to call you back.

Jill DeWit:                            Maybe with a bunch of different sizes. Don’t focus on one size. Maybe have more different sizes to attract … To reach more people at one time. That’s what I would do. I’d set up … I would think about how many letters I want to go out, and I would keep … I would maybe expand the property size or some of the criteria until I have that. Maybe I want to send out 1000. For starters.

Jack Butala:                   For this mailer, what I would do is I would pick the ownership. I would pick … The first thing I would sort for is all like kind owners, and you’re going to see that owner X, maybe it’s a corporation. Or farmer Z. They own like 22 parcels. Some are 100-acre, some are 40, some are whatever. I would do a special mailer that consolidates that through a data merge process.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   You would send a letter to farmer X who owns 2250 acres, you would send … I would not give a dollar amount. I would say “I would like to buy a property for $5,000 bucks.” $5,000 an acre.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, okay.

Jack Butala:                   Just do it that way.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Jack Butala:                   What we do is per property code thing, which makes sense for our property type.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Jack Butala:                   I’ll say this.

Jill DeWit:                            That covers my thing, because you’ll have a variety of different sizes. Just do it per acre. I got it.

Jack Butala:                   I’ll say this. Here’s the property types that I have a tremendous amount of experience setting these direct mail offers. Hospitals. Nursing homes. Assisted living facilities. Apartment buildings. Commercial office buildings. Strip centers. Vacant land, of course. Single-family residential, and commercial industrial property. I have not done farmland. It works for all of us.

Jill DeWit:                            You can roll it in there.

Jack Butala:                   It works for all of those. The premise is not so much a product type, the premise is somebody gets a letter, and something happened in their life 2 hours ago or 2 weeks ago and they’re like “Heck yes I want to sell this thing right now.” That’s the whole point of this. You can do it with cars, and RVs and boats. I’ve done it with those too and it works. There’s a new program for us, Jill.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Jack Butala:                   Buy an RV for great price.

Jill DeWit:                            Great. Good, because we’re getting so much sleep now, let’s roll something else in there.

Jack Butala:                   This has to stop.

Jill DeWit:                            Steven. Oh my goodness.

Jack Butala:                   How much work week in ourselves?

Jill DeWit:                            Welcome to my world.

Jack Butala:                   Rich man cap.

Jill DeWit:                            I got a speech two days ago that said you know what? We’re going to get this stuff in the system. We’re going to take a month off. Catch our breath, work on this stuff and everything. We already have 6 projects now on our plates. What was that speech about?

Jack Butala:                   No, we do.

Jill DeWit:                            That lasted 5 minutes.

Jack Butala:                   Not a month, but we need … We need to take some time off. We live so close to Mexico.

Jill DeWit:                            I don’t mean take a month off. We’re not going to … We never take that much time off, but at least no new products for that time. Let’s just coast for a little bit.

Jack Butala:                   Yeah, I can shake on that.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah, we’ll see how that goes.

Jack Butala:                   I’ll shake on that.

Jill DeWit:                            I’m going to … You know what, I’m going to write it down next time you say that. I’m going to see how long it takes. Okay. That was 3 days.

Jack Butala:                   This is a perfect parlay into our topic today.

Jill DeWit:                            Yes.

Jack Butala:                   We have a … We’re making this show all about our awesome office manager. She’s the first employee for LandAcademy. All of our other people are LandStay employees. Our regular land business. Forever, we’ve been borrowing their time, and pushing them over to LandAcademy, and really stretching them thin. We hired this person. She’s a dedicated LandAcademy person and she’s just knocking it out of the park in my opinion.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative). She is.

Jack Butala:                   We decided to make a topic out of it. Do you think we waited too long to hire somebody? I do.

Jill DeWit:                            Well you know, I was thinking about, we did exactly what … We did it perfectly. I think. We use the same philosophy like leaving your day job. You don’t want to ever leave your day job until you’re making so much money on the side that you are now losing deals and this is keeping you from really knocking it out of the park. That’s when we decided to bring her on full time and make this official, and really start pushing that. When we were starting to … It was starting to negatively affect us not having her position.

Jack Butala:                   Yeah, my gosh Jill, you’re absolutely right. That’s brilliant. That’s a perfect way to look at it.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative). Thank you.

Jack Butala:                   When we were becoming inefficient because we needed help. Support help.

Jill DeWit:                            Right. We didn’t have the right person. Right.

Jack Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            For that position. If I think everyone goes through, even our members who are just starting out and doing deals and all that. Don’t start hiring help and everything just because you want your life to be easier. Push it. You want to push it and you want to make sure the time is right. You don’t want to ever hire and have to lay them off or … Don’t quit your day job and go uh-oh. I wasn’t quite ready yet. You want to push it to the point where you are really no, without a doubt, that you need this person. You needed them 6 months ago. Then the time’s right. Okay, I think.

Jack Butala:                   No, it’s a great … It’s an excellent way to look at it. There’s a … We have a show coming out called the Two Ways to Do A Startup. The 2 ways to start a company.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh.

Jack Butala:                   I’m doing it because … It’s on the list because a lot of the people, not all of them, but a lot of our members, they’re starting little companies. There’s 2 ways to do it. In the universe of any startup. I don’t care if it’s Coca-Cola or a car company, or a software company, or an app company or a real estate company. You can do it A, by going out and getting a bunch of money, like raising capital, the way that they do it on Wall Street or Silicon Valley. Raise a bunch of capital, hire the experts, get … Because you theoretically are an expert, and get everything, all that good. The eyes dotted and the T’s crossed and you have perfect websites and space and then launch it.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   Or, you can do it the way Jill and I do it, and I think a lot of our members do it, is you can tape it together like a God-awful mess. Sleep under your desk for months at a time. Just to see if anybody’s interested in doing this stuff. Then when they are, and you’re really pulling it off, then you go get the right resources and the whole thing.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   You can raise capital or tape it together. That’s a prelude to one of our other shows.

Jill DeWit:                            You know what’s so funny about that is we joke about me that this is one of the areas where I … We’re on the same page. I’m often, what’s … How do I say this? I’m throwing myself under the bus because I am often instant-gratification Jill.

Jack Butala:                   Well, let me do that. I’ll do that for you if you want.

Jill DeWit:                            Instant-gratification Jill often wants things right now, today, looking pretty, let’s just do it, spend the money. This is not one of those times that you do that.

Jack Butala:                   That’s right.

Jill DeWit:                            You want to really, and it … I sleep so well at night because we’re on the same page, and that’s how we are, and how we teach everyone, too. You want to sleep as well as we do. Be slow. Be methodical. Don’t get pretty cards and make your desk all nice in a beautiful office window. You need to be out of your garage for awhile until you get going and have a big nest egg, and everything’s running smoothly, and then you just can’t stand it anymore.

Jack Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            Then your time.

Jack Butala:                   You’re just … You’re worn out, you got to hire somebody.

Jill DeWit:                            Yes.

Jack Butala:                   Or a VA, virtual assistant rather.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s the way you do it, and then you don’t have to worry.

Jack Butala:                   I’ll tell you why, too. If you start borrowing money and giving equity away upfront, it could be the greatest idea on the planet.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, yes.

Jack Butala:                   I mean some businesses you have to do that. Like a real asshat-intensive business like manufacturing, you have to borrow money. There’s no way you can sit around with $20 million, start the thing. Some tech companies are like that. That has to be that way. Our business, where you’re buying and selling property, or let’s say you develop … We don’t do this, but develop an app, that’s a great example.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   You don’t need a ton of money to start it so use your own money, pay as you go.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   Sleep under your desk until it gets huge.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly. I was thinking about another thing funny about Erin. I’m so happy. She’s such the right person for us. She is I want to say like a bulldog, man. She … I heard her say something about one of our employees, that I overheard it, the comment was “He better be here.” You know? I didn’t even think it was that. I think it was like a worker, or something that was negotiated that she was taking care of and I heard her say that, and boy I don’t want to be on her bad side.

Jack Butala:                   Can I tell you a funny story about me as a boss?

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, yes.

Jack Butala:                   A lot of years ago, this kid came to me. Not kid, he’s a young man who was just out of college and he was working for me. He was asking me for something like time off or I don’t remember. He was asking for something. Something along the lines of a personal thing. It wasn’t a work question. My answer was I’m a terrible boss, because I always … This is what I do. He said “Are you kidding me? You’re a great boss. You let me do whatever I want.” It all dawned on me then that I’m a terrible boss. Because you should never have a boss or a superior who lets you do what you want to do all the time.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Jack Butala:                   That’s like a recipe for failure. Yeah, Jill, I agree with Erin. I mean you need to supervise her, and somebody that’s going to manage people and say no.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   You and I both respectfully have a tough time saying no about a lot of stuff.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   We’re good with these upfront ideas and all that, but mechanical stuff. I don’t think so.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s why she’s a perfect for us, because she keeps us in line too sometimes.

Jack Butala:                   Yeah. Exactly.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s like I walk in and I’m like in goof-off mode and she’s like “Get it done. You’re holding me up.” I’m like “Okay, sorry!”

Jack Butala:                   Me too.

Jill DeWit:                            “I’ll have it to you right now. Hang on.” That’s … You need to be pushed.

Jack Butala:                   You know these people that …

Jill DeWit:                            Everybody needs to be pushed sometimes. Sorry.

Jack Butala:                   These people that work for us, they don’t have the balance sheets that we have. That’s a lot of it too.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh.

Jack Butala:                   They’re still all excited and young and really … Ready to make their own whatever.

Jill DeWit:                            Fortune.

Jack Butala:                   Make their own money, yeah, so we can horse around.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Jack Butala:                   We shouldn’t be that much.

Jill DeWit:                            They see us roll up and they want to … I want to drive that.

Jack Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, God.

Jack Butala:                   I guess that’s a natural order thing. Like with age.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative). Sounds good. I remember this too. Hiring the right person, the right office person. You’ve got to have the right personality to fit versus just their tasks or their resume, you know what I mean?

Jack Butala:                   Mm-hmm (affirmative). For you.

Jill DeWit:                            Remember you and I talked about this too.

Jack Butala:                   There’s got to be trust and net skills. Skill set and problem solving.

Jill DeWit:                            Right. Right.

Jack Butala:                   It’s a tough … Office manager’s a tough job. The title doesn’t suggest that, but you have to be multi-talented.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Jack Butala:                   Use time well, and all that stuff.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah. At some point, we’re going to change her title, because she’s way more than an office manager.

Jack Butala:                   She’s a senior manager, that’s her title.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s what she is. Exactly. I know.

Jack Butala:                   I made her the senior, you didn’t know that. I didn’t tell you that.

Jill DeWit:                            I … Thank you, well good. Because she does everything. She’s overseeing all these side things now that we’re … That are coming. Because, now the time is right, and she’s the right person. She’s that.

Jack Butala:                   It wasn’t too long ago that remember this? Like maybe 10 years ago. Companies had, there was an IT person.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   That’s not the way it is anymore.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Jack Butala:                   There’s like 25 little facets of IT. There’s iOS people who know about apps. There’s website, HTML designers. There’s backend database people. It’s all very specific different talent. I think it would be great to have a job where I just do one little thing.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Jack Butala:                   Like I’ve all you, it’s this thing. Let me tell you a secret.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s so dumb.

Jack Butala:                   When I was a kid, when I was in accounting I’m like “You know what? I’m going to go back to Detroit. I’m going to get a union job working on an assembly line where I drill 1 screw in all day long for 45 years.”

Jill DeWit:                            You don’t even want to be a lead floor or manager?

Jack Butala:                   No. Uh-uh. I want to make a pretty good living screwing that hole in. In the side of a Dodge.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, my gosh. Well what made you change your mind? It’s not too late, first of all.

Jack Butala:                   I didn’t say … That’s the job that you want for me too, isn’t it?

Jill DeWit:                            No. I mean we got this. Just kidding. I’m totally kidding.

Jack Butala:                   Hell, you’re just … You’re overworked, and there’s 50 … You have 50 things to do on a TODO list, you just want to screw the hole in.

Jill DeWit:                            I get that. Mindless … Mindlessly happy doing that. I … I get it.

Jack Butala:                   No, in a roundabout way, I’m singing praise to people who are in management positions like that. Are in administrative multitasking positions. That’s what I’m doing.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   I don’t think you should hire somebody too quick just like you said but I do think there’s really task-specific Vas out there that are … You know. We use them for IT all the time.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Even that though you got to find the right person.

Jack Butala:                   It’s expensive.

Jill DeWit:                            There could be ding-dongs and you can’t trust them. They’re not in your office.

Jack Butala:                   Oh, my God.

Jill DeWit:                            You’re paying for work that’s sub-standard because we’ve been through all that stuff. It’s … You have to … Even though you have to sift through to find the right one.

Jack Butala:                   My sift-through rate on Vas is 5 to 1.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay.

Jack Butala:                   No one talks about this.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s a good …

Jack Butala:                   It’s 5 to 1.

Jill DeWit:                            I thought it was higher.

Jack Butala:                   My sift-through rate for full time employees, what I almost do is hire with one temp agency. I work with this one person.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Jack Butala:                   My sift-through rate is 4 to 1.

Jill DeWit:                            With temps?

Jack Butala:                   I have to get 4 temps before I actually hire somebody that works out.

Jill DeWit:                            Right. The VA 5 to 1. That’s a really good number to share.

Jack Butala:                   We should talk about this more Jill, because I think people hire somebody and they expect all this stuff, and 2 weeks later it’s not working out and then they just say “It’s okay. I’m going to make this work.”

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah, no.

Jack Butala:                   You can’t be too fast to get that person out of your office. They’re going to cause problems.

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