Personal Assistant Break-in Period (JJ 644)

Personal Assistant Break-in Period


Jack Butala:                         Jack and Jill here.

Jill DeWit:                            Hello.

Jack Butala:                         Welcome to the Jack Jill show, entertaining real estate investment talk. I’m Jack Butala.

Jill DeWit:                            And I’m Jill DeWit, broadcasting from sunny southern California.

Jack Butala:                         Today, Jill and I talk about our personal assistant break-in period. The positive and the negative.

Jill DeWit:                            When was the last time you had a personal assistant? Other than me?

Jack Butala:                         An actual personal assistant?

Jill DeWit:                            I think you have one.

Jack Butala:                         That’s hilarious.

I haven’t had a personal assistant in the terms I think that we all think about. Like in that role, for years. Years and years.

Jill DeWit:                            Well, there’s a reason why. We can talk about it in a minute. Ha ha.

Jack Butala:                         So before we get into it, let’s take a question, posted by one of our members, on the online community. It’s free.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay. Julian R. asked, “Hi everyone. I had some questions about Craigslist, so I searched the forum and here’s what I found.” This is like he’s quoting other people here. It says, “Kevin put: I do not update the listing on Craigslist until it expires. Again, to my surprise, I sometimes get calls on ads that are so old, that I know there are several pages down from the top. I recently found out that not all Craigslist areas have the same expiration periods for ads. In one county, there’s a major city and a general area that are both listed as Craigslist advertising areas. One of them had a one month expiration and the other has a two week expiration date.”

He also said on another post, “You can go crazy updating listings on Craigslist, but you don’t have to. I post a property one time on Craigslist. That’s it. People are calling me a month later on that property and I know that it is three pages down. They know how to search and pull up what they want. I may miss a few who don’t search, but then, I can use my time doing something more profitable.”

And then he goes on to say, Kevin said, with respect to getting deleted, this is cute, “Remove links. That seems to be the biggest problem with land ads. I have ads on Craigslist that work just fine. You just have to follow their rules. I write up my website address and leave it up to the reader to paste it into the browser if they want to go there.”

And then there’s another one. Peter provided a nice link. Outsourcing Craigslist tasks and overseas VA.

Jack Butala:                         So you obviously can’t see the link, but if you Google that, “outsourcing, Craigslist tasks” to an overseas virtual assistant (which is kind of what this topic is about). I checked it out, it’s pretty cool. Anyway, go ahead, Jill.

Jill DeWit:                            Is it an article? Or is it something on our website?

Jack Butala:                         It’s not on our website. It’s just a website out there that says, “Outsource Craigslist off to virtual assistants, we’re experts”.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s awesome.

Matt said, “I saw a ton on Craigslist. I had a lot of my success posting in neighboring states that have different terrain than my properties. Example: property’s in the mountains, and the state next to it is flat. People want to vacation in the mountains.” This is good stuff. And then Mike said, “I post in the three largest nearby cities.”

Jack Butala:                         That’s what we do.

Jill DeWit:                            “I would post every other day. Use the same body and pictures, but rotate the headlines”. That’s customer’s research stuff; that’s Jack’s.

Jack Butala:                         So you know this is a little bit lengthy, and Jill, thank you for getting us through it with a little bit of an entertaining twinge, but, here’s what I get out of this whole thing. The best customers -and this goes for us, too- are ones who research everything. So there’s people on the internet that are pretty flippant, let’s say, impulse buyers. They buy stuff they look at, they only click on the top link on Google, and they run through things in life like that pretty quickly. I found that people who buy real estate, the good ones anyway, do some research. So they’re not afraid to take on, let’s say on a Saturday, throw that laptop on a coffee table and spend two or three hours looking for a piece of land that they want to buy as a vacation or a hunting property, or a cabin spot, or even a new house. They do a lot of research, so I never had a lot of luck trying to re-jam Craigslist postings right back to the top. The best ones are … if it’s priced well and presented good, people can find it.

Jill DeWit:                            Uh-huh. I like Kevin’s thing too, cause I still think at the end of the day, things like Craigslist and Ebay and some of those things are just to drive ’em back to your website. You know, obviously interested in property, get ’em, show them what you have. Like Kevin said, tell them the name of my website so that they can go look at if for themselves. This is not the only property I have, everyone. And then, they can shop.

Jack Butala:                         So Jill’s 100% correct. We have a handful of people (around six or seven members) that make more money than we do, doing this for a living. And they’ve followed the model that Jill just said: they plaster it everywhere. But the prize is on the website, so they use all these places to drive them back to the website. But when they get to the website, it’s spectacular.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jack Butala:                         One person I know only does really large deals in that group, and he gets drone shots for every single property, and they’re truly amazing, even for me to watch. It’s like watching a documentary on Amazon or Netflix, it’s amazing.

Jill DeWit:                            I sort of remember I’ve used that as an excuse for the hobby. “No baby, I need it for work, and I need the brand-new truck, and I need this to go look at properties, haha.” And it’s good!

Jack Butala:                         A while ago I was reading Sam Walton’s biography. You know, the guy who started Walmart. And he was an avid pilot before the internet. And so he was just bent on having a fleet of planes every weekend or whenever he could get up in the air, and go fly around us, and look at traffic patterns, things like that, to put a new Walmart … to where the location is. Did they have statistics and stuff for that? Yeah. But he was just bent on getting up in the air and taking a look at it. And I understand that.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jack Butala:                         This topic, “personal assistant break-in periods”, this is the meat of the show. This is such an important position, I think. You know, it gets overlooked. I think that people talk about CEOs, and there’s just a slew of things that can make or break a company, but, these assistant positions, like, the way a nurse is, you know, they worked on. So what do you think a reasonable break-in period is, Jill?

Jill DeWit:                            You know what, if it’s the right assistant, it’s days.

Jack Butala:                         You nailed it.

Jill DeWit:                            So if it’s the wrong assistant, quit hitting your head against the wall and trying to work with them. Just move on.

Jack Butala:                         So how do you know? Do you know in the interview? I mean, how do you really know?

Jill DeWit:                            You know …

Jack Butala:                         How do you know what you’re getting?

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah, well, you should know really fast. Like, my personal assistant, I knew right away. I kinda knew it when I started looking up her experience, and all that good stuff. And then when I met her, I’m like “oh, perfect”. You know you kind of just have this picture. It’s kinda like -I overuse dating- but say, the right car. You know, you’re looking for the car and you think it’s the right blue. And when you see it, you’re like “gasp”, this is the one.

Jack Butala:                         And then you get in and it’s awful.

Jill DeWit:                            And no, you get in, and the seat’s even more comfortable than you thought it was, and that kind of a thing. No, I’m using the car thing. The car analogy. So I’m just talking like, my current car. That was it. I found it online and went like “Yup, this is the one”. It was the right price. It was the color I wanted, the interior I wanted. I just had to drive it and make sure of it like, “Oh, this is perfect”. And there was a little negotiating that I did, but I knew I was going to drive off with that car. So it’s kind of like that. You know it or you don’t.

Now, here’s the sad reality. The thing is, I usually pull you in for some of these positions in the interview with me because you might pick up on things that I don’t. So, for example, a couple months ago I was through the process for this position, and there was one person that I though would be a good fit. And then we met, and then we met again with you before we pulled the trigger, and immediately after the interview you walked away saying “Uh-oh, that was … there’s a screw loose there and you’re missing it”. And you know, I was very grateful ’cause I knew you were right. And it was funny ’cause she reached out to me again a few weeks ago. She saw my posting was still up, and fortunately I have filled the position, so it was all good. But I’m like “Ho ho ho no”. So, anyway. What was the question?

Jack Butala:                         Well here’s, I mean … Well no no no, you totally answered it. I think that this job, this position, is designed for an up and coming person who needs to be and wants to get promoted. And it yields itself to a younger person. But they want to learn.

Jill DeWit:                            Yes.

Jack Butala:                         But they want to be, theoretically, not all the time, some version of you when they get a little older. Maybe they’re in school …

Jill DeWit:                            … Yeah.

Jack Butala:                         They’re full of energy. I think there are some positions that are career positions.

Jill DeWit:                            … Wait.

Jack Butala:                         And there are some positions that are meant for internship-type positions and that’s what this is. I mean, what do you think?

Jill DeWit:                            Well that’s what it should be. I mean, if you do it right, you’re here to learn and go, “Alright, that’s what it’s like to be a person in that position. I’m gonna gobble up all the knowledge that I can, because that person is the most connected and on the inside track, period.” So you really get to see how CEOs, COOs, whatever it is, executives, operate.

Jack Butala:                         Right. I think it’s a win-win.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jack Butala:                         I think, let’s say, an internt marketer. That needs to be a career-type position. That’s what you do. And eventually you have people under you, and you just manage, or oversee. And I think this day and age, unfortunately, most of the internet marketers -really, really young people- anybody can pass for an internet marketer.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Jack Butala:                         You know, if you really dig down to some of the people, if you have an interview for that position, they’ll sit there and say, “Oh yeah, I mean, I’ve been on Twitter since I was born. It’s because I’m 23.”

Jill DeWit:                            Haha, exactly.

Jack Butala:                         You know nothing about Twitter marketing. You just know how to tweet. And I think you have to really, really be careful with that.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jack Butala:                         So one of the things that we do -we probably don’t do enough- is ask people to take basic online quizzes or tests. Like: how fast can you type? Do you know your way around Excel within reason, you know, all of that. So, it’s just a natural extension of the way chronology goes. If you have a younger person in that position working with an older person like us, just makes sense.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Jack Butala:                         But for some reason -I guess that’s why I think this topic made it into the show- that position’s tough to fill.

Jill DeWit:                            It is. But there’s a couple things you look for. One is trust, you know you have to have that. Number two … You know you can sense -I hate to sound girly- but you can sense a lot of that. You can walk away. You know what, you do it too. There’s people that, like I said, there’s two people I can think of that I was really on the fence with and you said, “Oh, they’re both crazy”. So I’m like, “Alright”. So you have your own internal gut instinct, too, that you picked up on stuff that I’m like “Oh okay”. So that’s it. Trust, not crazy, and then, once they get in, and you get goin’, boy, the more flexible they are and roll with the punches, and right there, you know? It’s awesome. That’s kind of the next phase of “do you know each other”, and then working together.

Jack Butala:                         If you’re a young person and you listen to this, here’s some old-man advice about how to rocket your career right to the top. It’s as silly as it sounds. Just do what you’re told.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jack Butala:                         If you are working for a person who is not a nutcase … That goes both ways. We interview people and some of them you can tell their screw’s loose (like Jill said). They can be interviewing us to see if there’s screws loose too, because you don’t want to waste time. If you want to skyrocket your career, just do what the person you’re working for says, within reason. Obviously, within reason.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Jack Butala:                         Barring safety, and all that other stuff. And I’ll tell you, you will get promoted faster than you can imagine. I see more people in more positions trying to impress people around them with stuff that they are not asked to do.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Jack Butala:                         If you really drill down to it -I just had this conversation recently with a person that works for us: “Why are you doing this, this, and this?”

“Well because, you know, we really need it.”

“Actually, we don’t need it at all, and that’s kinda not your job.”

“It’s not your job to decide what we need, that’s my job. Your job is just to do exactly what I say, as best you can, and then when you’re done, let me know and I’ll pile more stuff on”.

So I dug down to it and found out that this person was concerned that there wasn’t enough stuff to do, which cracks me up, Jill.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Jack Butala:                         [Laughs]

Jill DeWit:                            I know.

Jack Butala:                         Can you imagine there’s not enough stuff to do in our companies?

Jill DeWit:                            I know. I was thinking of a person particular in a different department for us that … He wanted to know a little bit about what everyone was doing, he though that was part of his job description (and it really was not). After everybody hung up the phone, he was just digging in other people’s stuff. I’m like, “What is the deal?” And all it was doing was slowing him down.

Jack Butala:                         Right.

Jill DeWit:                            I’m like, “You’re really weird”.

Jack Butala:                         I wrote an article in Ink Magazine, probably two years ago now, and the whole gist of the article (and it was very short, but I love it) was: the reason that you’re not where you want in your career is because you’re working on the wrong stuff.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jack Butala:                         Like this show, for us. [laughs]

What is this show really getting us?

Jill DeWit:                            I have no idea. Why, why?

Jack Butala:                         Well, you’ve done it again -wasted another fifteen minutes or so listening to the Jack and Jill Show. Join us tomorrow where we discuss how showing up for life really, really matters. It happens less than I think, more than I thought.

Jill DeWit:                            And we answer your questions should you have one. Post it on

Jack Butala:                         You are not alone in your real estate ambition. This stuff is harder than you think.

Jill DeWit:                            Which stuff?

Jack Butala:                         Hiring people.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, gosh.

Jack Butala:                         Keeping them, I guess, for a lack of a better description, entertained …

Jill DeWit:                            … Motivated …

Jack Butala:                         … And keeping them efficient and producing, I would say.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative). I agree.

Jack Butala:                         That said, this group of people that we have right now -I guess we had go though about 300, or it feels like that anyway …

Jill DeWit:                            … I know …

Jack Butala:                         … 300 people to get there! …

Jill DeWit:                            … Exactly. You want to the know the real reason I have a person assistant?

Jack Butala:                         Why?

Jill DeWit:                            Half for me, and half is for the stuff that you give me. [Laughs]

Jack Butala:                         Wow.

Jill DeWit:                            You know I’m kidding, but yeah. Partially true. [Laughs]

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Together:                            We are Jack and Jill.

Jack Butala:                         Information …

Jill DeWit:                            … And inspiration …

Jack Butala:         … To buy undervalued property. 

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