February 26, 2024

JF3462: Why ‘Always Be Closing’ Is Dead and Elevating Your Business with Virtual Assistants ft. Valentina Brega




Valentina Brega, owner/operator of HireTrainVA.com, joins host Joe Cornwell on th Best Ever Show, sharing her story of immigrating to the U.S. from Moldova and her origins in real estate. In this episode, she discusses cutting her teeth making cold calls at a wholesaling company, what she learned about communications from analyzing her own conversations, and how hiring virtual assistants can help elevate your business and do more deals.

Valentina Brega | Real Estate Background

  • HireTrainVA
  • Hires and trains virtual assistants, primarily for real estate companies.
  • Based in: Nashville, TN
  • Say hi to her at: 
  • Best Ever Book: Traffic Secrets - Russel Brunson


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Joe Cornwell (00:06.18)
Best ever listeners, welcome to the best real estate investing device ever show. I'm your host Joe Cornwell and today I'm joined by Valentina Brega. She is a owner and operator of HireTrainVA. It's a virtual assisting company. She is also a real estate investor and has experience with real estate investing working with a wholesaling company. So today we're going to cover all of that and her experiences. Valentina, thank you so much for joining us.

Valentina (00:33.574)
Oh, such a pleasure being here. Thank you for having me.

Joe Cornwell (00:36.592)
So let's go back to the very beginning. What was your experience with coming to this country and how you got involved with working in a wholesaling company?

Valentina (00:46.378)
Right, so.

You can probably tell I have an accent, right, which I've been in this country for a while, probably never get rid of the accent, but it is a part of me now. But yes, so I came to the U.S. in, I've actually been to the U.S. before. I was an exchange student when I was in high school and I lived with an American host family. I actually also went to college here in the United States. I applied. I got a full-right scholarship, which is amazing because my parents don't speak a word of English, and so I had to apply to so, so many places, like no, or they didn't give me a full right.

So I finally got this amazing opportunity to come to the States and I got my bachelor's degree in finance and it's all great, but it's so different from when I came to the US five years ago as an immigrant. So it so happens that my family, my husband, actually won the green card lottery. I don't know if people are aware of this, but it's a lottery most countries can apply. It's absolutely free, but the chances of getting it, it's 0.002 percent, I'm not even sure, you know.

So every year ever since we were 18, I've been applying, and every year it was a no, you're not selected. It's a complete lottery. You can't control it in any way. So it was so surprising to us when in 2017 we found out that, you know, I opened that computer, that website, and something looks different. It doesn't look like the usually what I get you are not selected. So I was very surprised.

And my husband and I said, you know what, we know what we can have back home, let's take the risk and go to the states and see what awaits for us there. And the reason I mentioned my experience as an exchange student and coming here as a student is because I knew where I was going to stay, I knew where I was going to, you know, there's a system where there's something taking care of me. I knew where I was going to eat and everything. When you come as an immigrant, you are given this opportunity, but you're pretty much on your own. I have no idea what's going to happen.

Valentina (02:44.394)
So here we are in 2018. It's me, my husband, and we have a one-year-old daughter at the time. And we come to this place with no house, no car, no credit history. Nobody could check us who we are and what we do. We can't even rent a place because we don't have any history. And it was just one of the most stressful periods of our lives. And I've been looking for jobs when I got here, but everything required a car to get to places.

So when I found this opportunity to work from home for a real estate company, it was a blessing, but I was also nervous because I really didn't think I would be selected for this job. I had no experience in real estate. I felt confident in doing what I've been doing, but in real estate, come on, like who's going to select me? You know, why would they take the risk? But I had the interview with the COO of the company and he saw something in me. He's like, I see the drive in you. I think you're going to be the person we're looking for.

And I got hired very fast, relatively fast, within a month since I got to the States. And everything has been history. I mean, I'm looking back at where we are five years now. We have, I have my own company where we bought a house three years ago. We're very well on our feet. I still think American Dream is alive and well, and I'm definitely proof of that. And anyone who says otherwise, I just, I know my experience that this is absolutely to be the case.

And that experience working for a real estate company, it completely changed my life and my family's life 100%. And I was so hungry to prove myself and I was so hungry to keep this job because it was such a blessing that I learned everything I could about real estate and I applied myself and I took sales coaching and classes and I, you know, I spoke with everyone that I could. How do you do this? How do you do that? And in three months I was promoted to lead manager pretty fast, better income, more opportunities for my family, and it's just history from there.

Joe Cornwell (04:47.32)
So where, let me back up a little bit. Thank you so much for sharing your background, your story. What country are you from originally?

Valentina (04:53.918)
Yeah, I'm originally from Moldova. It's a very teeny tiny small country in Eastern Europe. It's between Romania and Ukraine.

Joe Cornwell (05:02.444)
Okay, gotcha. And what school did you come to originally on the student visa?

Valentina (05:08.238)
So when I was in college, I went to Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Joe Cornwell (05:12.848)
Okay. Got you. Okay. And so you started working at this wholesaling company after you had moved here permanently and what year was that?

Valentina (05:22.09)
That was 2018, so that was five years ago. Mm-hmm. Well, yeah.

Joe Cornwell (05:24.753)
Got you. Okay. And so what was your role day to day? And I know you said you were quickly promoted to lead manager. So, you know, what was your day to day and what were some of the experiences that you picked up working at that company?

Valentina (05:37.058)
So my role initially was to answer the phones and qualify leads on the phone. And I still remember the first time I, it was, um, so the company was sending direct mail, people would respond to that direct mail and they would call in and I would have to qualify leads. And a lot of people wanted to opt out. A lot of some people were rude, you know, some sellers can be pretty brutal out there.

But there there were also people who were so grateful that they got our card in the mail and they called and I had to establish a natural connection with them and build rapport and just listen to their story and see if this is something that we can help with. And it took a while to get to that point because I remember the first call that I had, I was nervous, I didn't know what to say, and even that person on the phone said, wait.

Is that the first time you're talking to people on the phone? Like, you know, and I was like, actually, you're right. This is my first, first day at the job. But I got out of this. I mean, it was, it was fine. I found a way out and we established good rapport. But what I learned the most from the job was that the reaction that you get on the phone from potential sellers is on you. You can get angry people on the phone. 

You can get tire kickers, but  all of the objections that I got, all of the negativity, all of the cursing, trust me, I heard it all on the phone. And one time I was so tired of this and I'm like, why is this so negative? Why is this so bad? Why am I getting all of this, you know, yelling and cursing? And then I'm like, wait a second, is it something that I'm saying that's triggering that kind of reaction? So when I analyzed my own calls, when I analyzed what I was doing right, what I was doing wrong, when I learned more about human psychology and how everything works.

The moment that I realized that, yes, it is on me, that's when I got from being, I don't know, probably average on the phone, to really being very, very valued member of the company. And that happened relatively quickly, but it was just my frustration, like what is it that I'm doing? And once I got that, that's when the magic happened. That's when it completely changed the game for me, you know, being on the phone.

Joe Cornwell (07:45.764)
So what do you think it was? I mean, give us a couple examples of things that, for anyone out there who may be talking directly to sellers through whatever various marketing channels, what are some of those things you picked up on that were causing negative conversations?

Valentina (08:00.97)
Yes, I was following the script verbatim, which I like scripts, but I don't love them. And the reason I don't love them is because they put you in a box and they limit you. They don't give you that freedom to talk to people. There's another human being on the other end of the line. Just connect human to human. That's it. You know, that's super simple. Another thing I wasn't doing is I wasn't disarming prospects. I was so focused on setting the appointment. I was so focused on this is what we can do for you. We close on a day that works for you. We do this. We do that.

I was overwhelming them with all of our advantages without just me. So it was very focused on us and not on them. So when I learned to disarm them, to be not to appear so needy, but kind of like, you know, be more chill, cool and be like, Hey, I'm not even sure if that's something we can help you with, but I'd love to walk you through the process and then kind of show you what we can do. And if you think this is something that works for you, I'd love to show you the next step. So when I empower the seller.

And we'll say, if this is something that works for you, I mean, who's going to say no to that? Who's going to say, oh no, that doesn't sound good? So when I learned to disarm them and just have a conversation, that was the key. Always be closing. ABC doesn't work anymore. It's always be disarming. Because you're not the first person they talk to on the phone. And everybody's asking the exact same questions. And everybody is asking about the roof and the condition of the house, but they don't pick up on little subtleties that the seller might say.

For example, they might say something like, yeah, and I don't know, the tenant has destroyed my property or whatever, you know, and people will be like, oh, okay, so how old is the roof? No, you'll be like, I'm sorry, what do you mean they destroy the property? How is that possible? You know, or just connect and just be curious on the phone. And when I learned to let go this is when I started seeing much, much better results.

Joe Cornwell (10:02.484)
Yeah, that makes sense. And I mentioned in the, before we jumped on here that, you know, I've done some direct marketing myself. I've always been the one answering the phones up to this point. And I've had, I bought, you know, deals off market that I was able to get direct contact with a potential motivated seller. And it, you know, I have no formal script training or anything like that, but one thing that always resonated with me, between just reading and learning from other people who have done this in the past was that you want to try to look at it through the eyes of the seller, you know, and try to see what their motivations are, their pain.

And at the end of the day, whether you're buying these for yourself or if you are a wholesaler and you're trying to take properties off market and assign it to another end buyer, you're trying to solve a problem, right? And if someone's willing to sell you a property under market value, or they want to sell it quickly, there's typically going to be some sort of factor that's motivated them to want to do that. And sometimes selling things quickly or easily is more valuable than the dollar amount, you know? And I'm sure you saw this a lot in your experience. I can give one quick example where I had a lady who had inherited a property from her brother who had passed away. And the property had been broken into, it was in horrible condition, needed a full rehab. The brother was kind of a hoarder.

But there was so much emotional pain tied to this property that she just wanted to sell it. And she really didn't care about the money at all. The money was almost irrelevant in the equation. It was more of just taking the emotional pain away, getting the problem, which was the property to her, off of her mind. And obviously that's one example of a way you can get really good deals as an investor because you're solving somebody's problem. So back to your story...

How long did you work in this wholesaling company?

Valentina (12:02.706)
I was there for three years. Yeah.

Joe Cornwell (12:04.976)
Okay, did your role change? Were you working on the phones most of that time?

Valentina (12:09.822)
Oh, my role changed pretty fast. So when I started working in September of 2018, I got promoted to lead manager in just three months. And the funny thing how it happened was, so remember I said I had absolutely no experience in real estate, I didn't know much what I was doing. I was still in training basically. After one month that I was with a company, everyone else in the department was let go because what the COO of the company said.

My numbers alone were higher than everyone else's combined. So they clearly needed someone more who's more of an A player. So, and I was basically thrown to the wolves. I was one month, I had to figure out the whole system, how it works and everything. But looking back, it was such a blessing because it contributed to my transformation the most. I had to learn how to swim or swim or drown, right? So I had to learn how to swim. I had to learn how to make it work.

And I continued setting good appointments, I continued having very good conversation and the story you mentioned, I had something very similar, which is another lesson learned and we can go into that later. Yeah, so I continued doing this and in three months I was very, very busy and the company said, you know what, you need, I mean, hire someone, you need help. So I was tasked with hiring my own team and I was the manager of the lead department.

And I had to make sure that no lead was left behind. The follow-up was on point. And this was a big wholesaling company that I'm speaking about. And when I say follow-up, we're talking about tens of thousands of leads in our system that need to be dealt with. And we found ways, I found ways how to like, you know, maybe do it in bulk or how to prioritize follow-ups because not everyone is the same. And so I trained the team on how to do it. And it was very, very smooth. And just one of the probably the best experiences.

And a couple months later, I was also promoted to overseeing the sales operations. So make sure I keep the acquisition reps accountable. And if someone made an offer and there's no follow-up, like, just be like, okay, what's going on? Just making sure that every opportunity that we have, we're taking advantage of it and making it work.

Joe Cornwell (14:30.436)
So you at this point had basically built out an entire sales side of this business. And was this company marketing in a lot of markets? Was it US based?

Valentina (14:42.558)
Yes, it's US based. We were in three markets at the time. Right now the company is probably in about five or six markets, but two markets in Tennessee and one market in Florida.

Joe Cornwell (14:54.256)
Okay, and so you were hiring the entire sales team, meaning all the acquisition side, so all the marketing, contact with potential sellers. So were you actually sending out marketing pieces and doing direct contact initially, or were you just doing follow-up with people contacting the company?

Valentina (15:13.962)
Right, so we wrote ads for the type of person that, and I think this is what actually taught me how to be a better recruiter, and it's helping me a lot in what I'm doing now. But I sent out job applications. I also learned about personality profiles of the candidates. I know exactly what type of profile would be great for different roles in the company, so we have to make sure we put the right people in the right seats.

And then my job would be taking them through interviews. We use the WHO method. If you're familiar with the book WHO, it has a couple of steps of, you know, the first interview where you just quickly sift through all the candidates to identify the A and B players and then you actually the A players more. And then you have a more in-depth interview with them. So it's a whole system that I had to learn to find the best candidates for our company.

Joe Cornwell (16:08.564)
Okay. And so you had worked on not only the actual outreach marketing, so you were doing, you said mailers, were you doing anything else?

Valentina (16:18.058)
No, so we had a marketing department that was responsible, but my responsibility started once somebody responded to our marketing channel. So once the lead came in, it became my responsibility to get it all the way to setting the appointment with acquisition and then following up with acquisitions and seeing. So I was the first point of contact for the company.

I was the first impression when the lead comes in. And basically, I always like to say that my role and the people that I hired, we are converting the marketing money into leads or into actual money for the company. So that's what we did.

Joe Cornwell (16:54.22)
Yes, yeah. Okay, very cool. So you're doing all of that contact with a potential seller, you're setting appointments, and then I assume they have someone who's local to these markets that's actually physically going out, meeting with sellers or looking at the properties.

Valentina (17:11.434)
That's true. And in 2019, so right before COVID hit, we actually switched to a virtual model, which was the perfect timing because when COVID happened, we were not as affected. And the reason we switched to a virtual, you know, model is because of course you're going to close more deals when you see the person face to face, when you're belly to belly, you know, face to face, like you, you can establish a more natural connection.

But you do spend time driving to the appointment and then meeting there and then driving back. So we figure that what if we are gonna increase our lead outreach and we're gonna set more appointments and of course we're not gonna convert, maybe percentage-wise we'll convert less but because we have more volume, in the end it's gonna be more profitable for us as a company. So instead of, when I set the appointment, I had to make sure I leave at least one hour in between for the driving.

And now we could use that hour for another appointment, which, you know, so you could have appointments back to back. So it worked out very well for us. And when COVID hit, we already had a system in place and we had a way of working with, you know, buying properties virtually, which, yeah, which was very good.

Joe Cornwell (18:26.04)
Yeah, that makes sense. So, you know, larger numbers, lower percent percentage of you know, closings, but because you had upped the marketing, doing it all remotely, still made sense. Okay, now, walk us through how you transitioned into leaving that company and starting your own business.

Valentina (18:46.07)
Right. So, because of the results that I had, I spoke on a lot of big stages. I was invited to speak to different webinars and how I'm doing lead intake and how I'm qualifying leads and all the lessons that I learned and all the mistakes other people make and follow-ups and all the systems, you know, that we have. And I was very lucky to be working with this real estate company because the owner of the company also has a mastermind.

And he is teaching other investors how to work on deals. So I was very likely to be connected with a lot of other investors who were already familiar with my success and who saw the results that I was doing. And they said, can you teach my team how to do the same thing that you're doing? And it got to a point when I said, I can't teach everyone how to do this, but I can easily find someone else like me. I know exactly the type of person you're looking for.

I'm not American myself, so I know all the challenges that a person from overseas would have to overcome to work on the U.S. market and the cultural adjustment they have to go through and really stay vocabulary and everything they have to learn. So that's kind of how it started. I, there was demand, but I also felt something inside me that it was time to move on. And we're still in great, great relations with the company. They are my best friends, the company I work with. They were absolutely, I love them. You know, they were amazing. We have a great relationship. And, but I felt something inside me because I said, I came to the States. This is the land of opportunities. I can't be in the same position.

I have to take advantage of the opportunities that I'm given, because I am so lucky and so blessed, and I've been applying to have this opportunity every year, and me just accepting the status quo and where I am is just not the right thing to do. So I wanted to stretch my potential, I wanted to see where it's going, and it's been one of the best decisions we have great clients, we're impacting a lot of lives, both on the VA side and both on the entrepreneurs here in the States. So it's, I'm really glad I took that step and took that leap.

Joe Cornwell (21:13.172)
Okay, so you started your own VA company and for anyone who may be listening to this who is very unfamiliar with the VAs and how they work, why don't you give us a really high level overview. What is a VA? Why should people in real estate know about it?

Valentina (21:28.946)
Yeah, absolutely. So VA stands for virtual assistant, and people ask me, well, how, why is a virtual assistant better than someone here? I'm not saying they're better. I'm just saying they're all people, and there's a lot of talent worldwide. And I always say, if a job can be done on a computer, it can be done from anywhere in the world. And realistically speaking, where do you think is more talent? Within a 20-mile radius from your office or worldwide?

And there are a lot of people in other countries who speak English so well. In fact, when we hire virtual assistants, we only accept 1%, 1, 2%. So out of 100 people that apply, 98, 99 get rejected. And one of the reasons, one of the things we look at is we want people to have a minimal to no accent in English, and some virtual assistants, their English is so good, you could never tell they're not from here. I mean, they put me to shame, and I think I sound okay. I know I have an accent, but you know.

But some virtual assistants, they've never been to the States, but the way they speak English is flawless. And there are a lot of talented people. And another great advantage of working with a virtual assistant, of course, is the price. You can get very good talent for about $5, $7 an hour. And they're so grateful to be working on the U.S. market. I have my whole team is run by virtual assistants, and they always tell me how grateful they are to have the opportunity to work on the U.S. market.

And $5 an hour goes a long way in some parts of the world. And I know this because I come from a country and I think a couple of years ago, before I moved here, I would have worked for $5 an hour because I know what that amount of money does in my country. I would have lived very comfortably. And there's some parts of the world that make $5 a day. So obviously when they get $5 an hour, this is a big improvement. So it's impacting the lives of virtual assistants. It's also helping companies here to have their dollar stretch further so they can invest the difference in more marketing and getting more deals. And it's an absolute win-win.

Joe Cornwell (23:28.976)
Okay, that makes sense. So give us some specific examples of how a VA might help a real estate business.

Valentina (23:37.75)
Yeah, absolutely. Let's start with a, probably one of the most commonly hired position is lead generation, so cold caller, for example, right? I don't think that if you're a, if you're a business owner, this is not the best use of your time being on the phones, hammering the phones. The reason for that being is you probably speak with a lot of people just to get one solid lead per day.

And the rest would be, I'm not interested, take me off your list, wrong number, all of that, you know, DNC and all of that responses you're getting. So this is something that can be outsourced to a virtual assistant. Because if your time is worth more than $5 an hour, then whatever task you're doing, you know, should be given to someone else. You should be delegated. So call calling is a big one. Also, we have people on the phones, people who did exactly what I did. I could have done this job, not being in the States.

I could have done this job being somewhere else in my home country. And for a lot cheaper for the company and also, you know, just same, same thing. The beautiful thing about this is a virtual assistant can get you as phone numbers with any area code that you like. So let's say I'm in Nashville, Tennessee right now. If I were to hire a virtual assistant to pick up inbound calls or something like this, I could give them a phone number with a 615 area code because I'm in Nashville, Tennessee. So.

There's no way of telling where, you know, where they've, it's like, it's very smooth, very seamless. So that's another thing people hire VAs for. Another reason they could help with administrative tasks, calendar management, email management, even personal assistant. We have VAs that buy groceries for you and, you know, have them delivered to your house and make doctor appointments, whatever you need in your personal and professional life.

There's a virtual assistant that can help you with that if it can be done on a computer. But I think for real estate, most people, let's see, what else? Transactions coordinator, hire help with that. Dispositions, so somebody to post pictures of before and after on your website and update it when the house is sold. And so really just about anything. But Legion is the most sought after position.

Joe Cornwell (25:56.34)
Okay. And I did mention, you know, before we got on the call here today, that this is something timely for me. I am working on upping my marketing direct to sellers, looking for motivated seller leads. And so why don't you walk me through, you know, my business using me as an example of all the ways you might be able to assist. So, um, one thing I'm doing, and again, I'm based in Cincinnati, Ohio for anyone unfamiliar, I am sending out direct mailers and I'm also doing cold texting campaigns.

where I'm sending messages throughout the day to different potential sellers. And obviously to get that for anyone who may not be familiar with that process, I pull list and then I skip trace and I get the phone numbers for the people on the list who own the properties I'm looking at. And that's how I get their information to contact them. So with that in mind, if you were to take over from the time I pulled that list and get the information or maybe even before I do that, maybe you have a service where they could help with that. Walk me through all the things a VA could do to help me with my marketing.

Valentina (27:00.35)
Right. So when you mentioned if we have a service, so the way we work is we hire directly. We don't manage VAs. We hire, so imagine like if you were to hire someone from Indeed, we're going to hire, we're going to headhunt for you, but this is your person. We want them to be loyal and dedicated to you. And the reason for that is because the most successful companies that we've seen, they grow their own teams because it's important for you, not just to have help in, in your team, but on your team, but also to share your values, to share your goals, to share who you are, and so you can mold a team that is cohesive and, you know, and very strong.

So, just kind of wanted to make that clarification. So, any position that you need, you let us know what you need, and we'll run ads and we'll give you people that match your criteria. But kind of going back to what you're doing right now, you could hire VAs that could even pull lists for you. I'm not sure I would recommend that though, and I'll tell you why in a second, because I think not at the beginning.

I think you could definitely task that to a VA, but once they've already worked with you for a while, because at the beginning, you have, you have the best understanding of your market, much better than a virtual assistant. You know what zip codes perform better. You know what areas are more desirable to investors if you're wholesaling, for example, right? So once you understand, so pulling lists also what niches work best for you. Um, so pulling lists at the beginning, I would probably not trust it to a VA yet. 

But once they know your avatar, once they know what you're after, once you know who you're servicing, what kind of deals your potential other flippers are interested in, again, if you're wholesaling, then a virtual assistant can definitely pull lists, skip trace them, upload them into a dialer if they're doing call calling, or get in touch with a mailing company and get the mails delivered. Once somebody calls in, they can pick up the phone.

And I would say have a VA pick up the phone from, I don't know, nine, eight, eight till five or nine to five, you know, regular hours. And when I was in that position, we had a metric and we had to have at least 80% of the calls be live answered. And the reason we say 80% is because sometimes you're talking on the phone with someone and the phone rings. So you can't, you can't rush the person you're on the phone or you're doing follow-ups, so 80% was our number.

And for that reason, I highly recommend that you have a backup. We use the third party service like PathLive or, you know, somebody who runs, who works around the clock to pick up the calls that you're missing. The reason for that is because you want to make it very simple and very easy for the seller. If I'm the seller, if I have a house to sell, I'm going to call this number. I expect a person to pick up the phone. If they don't pick up the phone, I'm not calling them again. I have a lot of other mailers. You know, I have a lot of other options.

So we need to make sure that there is a person who's going to pick up the phone. And the beauty of a third party system is because they work 24 seven. So if your VA is not working on the weekends or at night, U.S. time, there's in the morning, they can see who called, but they still have, they spoke with a person and they who got the information, we can get back to them. So that's, that's what a VA can do. So, okay. So now let's imagine, let's go through this.

So they pick up the phone, they qualify the lead, they set the appointment. Okay. A virtual assistant needs to be very well organized in keeping the CRM clean. Meaning everyone you spoke with, there has to be notes because you will forget. And when you're doing follow-ups, you got to have notes. And the way we did the notes is, um, if you have a timestamp, that's great. If not, put the date that you spoke with that person, put the notes in as many details as you can, and then put your initials.

So if someone else picks up the phone, they know you spoke with this person on that date. So it has to be a very good system. And every single time you touch the seller, there has to be a task. What is the next step? There has to be a next step. That's how you get a lot of leads to fall through the cracks. Because we rely on our memory. We rely on us, oh, I'll remember this guy, but then what was his name? What was her, you know, it's, I just don't, your, our mind is not for storing information. Our mind is for creating ideas. So use the CRM to store information. So that's what...

Joe Cornwell (31:23.737)
What CRM are you recommending? Is there one you typically work with that you like?

Valentina (31:29.034)
I think, well, from my experience, there's not one CRM that I'm absolutely in love with. Everything has pros and cons, but as long as it's a centralized place where you can keep notes, where you can assign tasks, ideally, if you're a bigger company, you want to maybe have a drip campaign or email sequences, or ideally you want that.

If you're just starting out it's still, a CRM still works better than a spreadsheet just because of that functionality, it has that searchability, it has that notes, it has the task, it reminds you, so you can even use Podio, the free version. It's, you know, it does the job. Yeah, you wouldn't have this email, drip campaigns and everything, but it's, if you're just starting out with this is better than a spreadsheet. That's what I would say.

Joe Cornwell (32:14.032)
Okay. And for anyone who's listening to this, who maybe they're like, well, yeah, all this sounds great, but this might be something I need in a year from now or three years from now, or when I get to whatever X amount of units or volume, what would your advice be to them if they are maybe a newer investor who's only buying one or two properties a year? Is there still a place for a VA to help them?

Valentina (32:39.314)
Oh, absolutely. Because if you're, we work with absolute beginners, people who are just starting out. And that's a very common thing that I hear, what you just mentioned. Another very common, not objection, but situation that I hear is I still have a W2 job. I wouldn't have the time to get any more deals or anything like that. I mean, first of all, think about why you're starting this.

If this is a just a gig for you, you're going to approach it in one way. But for this to be a business, you have to treat it like a business. For real estate, it's not just a hobby or anything. If you want it to work, if you want to grow, then treat it like a business. So what does that mean? It means that as an entrepreneur, you are the biggest bottleneck in your company. What happens if you get sick? What happens if you have an emergency? Your business stops if you stop working. And that's just not reliable. It's not scalable.

So, you have to divide maybe the responsibility with someone else. So get a virtual assistant to generate leads for you. You as, if you're a flipper, if you flip houses, you have so much going on. You got to work with contractors. You oversee projects. You, you go, there's so much going on in your life. You don't have time to think about where my next deal is coming from. That could be something for a virtual assistants to do to, you know, let you know what leads they have.

We even have virtual assistants that do acquisitions that closed deals on the phone. Couple of VAs that we hired, I just spoke with them yesterday, one hired four contracts last month, the other one was like nine contracts. So both of them are in Egypt. They're not even here in the States. And they completely did that themselves. That's a different topic, but just to get you to that point is you can do everything on your own. I'm not gonna try to convince you not to.

But it's not scalable. Do you know any successful real estate companies or any companies that do it all by themselves? And if you do, then I guarantee you there's a lot more they're missing out on only if they have more help.

Joe Cornwell (34:48.916)
Yeah, I can't tell you how many times I've talked to investors and myself included in this camp, where in hindsight, I wish I would have hired sooner, I would have partnered sooner, I would have brought on more people and given up some of that control, because that allows you to scale and get some of that responsibility off your shoulders. That allows you to focus, as you mentioned, on the more profitable task, the higher dollar per hour task. And so it's a very common thing you hear where people wait too long to do that. So I couldn't agree more.

I guess my final question about the VA business in general is, anyone listening to this who may be considering a VA, if you were in their shoes, what are some of the things you would look for, some of the questions you would ask when you're vetting a VA company to work with?

Valentina (35:34.97)
Oh, when you're vetting a VA company. Okay. I thought you were going to say when you're vetting a VA, but I can address both because there might be some people who are looking to hire VA's on their own. So I can give this advice as well. If you're looking to hire a VA on your own, there will be people who will impress you with their resumes and at their interviews. That's not enough. Uh, put them to a little test, especially if you're doing, I don't know, let's see lead generation, call calling or inbound call, have a role play.

Have a role, that's exactly what we do in our company when we hire VAs, and yeah, we actually have a recording of that so people who work with us, they can watch the recording of the role play. But we are not the nicest when we have the role play. We try to give them tough situations and be a little, you know, like a little rude on the phone because we want to see how those people react in uncomfortable situations. So for example, we can say something like, oh, you're the fifth person calling me today. No one's giving me the offer that I want. Stop lowballing me. You're gonna take my house away, you know.

So how does that VA react if they are shaking and not sure, this is not the type of person we want. We need somebody who is firm, who is in control, who will be seen as an expert and as an authority on the phone or who doesn't lose this control. This is so important. And so when you vet a VA on your own, don't just look at resumes and interviews. I don't actually care about resumes and interviews. I care about what they can do. So put them to a test.

When you work with a company, that's probably the same. I would ask them, how do you vet VAs? How do you understand what person would be great for this role? If there are a lot of companies who just hire people on volume, that's not what we're interested in. I would ask this question. How do you vet them? What exactly, what is your process? I don't mind sharing our process. I don't mind sharing this because it's not, it's not a secret. We're not doing anything that others don't do, but the way you do it.

The level of details and sophistication and the hoops will make them jump through to only find the most resilient VAs, that's what sets us apart. So I don't mind sharing that. And that's probably what you would ask a VA company. Also, I would ask what happens if my VA lives in three months, four months, what's gonna happen then? It depends on what model, because there's two ways that VA companies work. One, it could be our model, which is direct hire.

Like I said, right, you tell us what you need, we're gonna headhunt, we're gonna find you people that match this criteria, but ultimately they are your person. They're loyal to you, they're dedicated to you, they're growing with you. That's one model. The other model is managed hire. You are paying the company, I don't know, let's say $10 an hour, the VA gets four or three, or however much they get, but you don't have any headache. The company completely deals, you just get leads on the phone, you don't have to work with them, you don't have to nurture this relationship.

There's pros and cons to both of these aspects. So you have to decide first of all for yourself, which model do you want? If you're just a beginner, and if you want to see VAs are for you, you can try the managed hire and see if it works. The con with that is when VAs apply to work with us, we ask them, why did you leave your previous job? They have a big turnover rate because VAs feel like they're not treated fairly when they only get a part of the compensation. So our model is different.

We have a fee for our service, but we ensure that the VA gets exactly the amount of money they want, which is exactly what they specify, which is five, six, seven dollars an hour or whatever they want. You know, so we ensure loyalty that way. So these kind of questions I would ask a company. What is the process? How do you ensure that you get the best VAs? If it's a managed company, I would say, I would like to access to the recordings. I would love to have a way to listen to the recordings. I think it's important. These are your leads, your lists. You should be able to do that. If it's a managed company, if I'm sorry, if it's a direct hire like us, what happens if the VA leaves in four months, six months, what happens then? So, cause it can happen. There are people.

Joe Cornwell (39:39.54)
Awesome. And anything else you want to add about VAs or VA companies?

Valentina (39:44.538)
Oh, I could talk about this for days. I'm trying to think what else. There are a lot of options out there, so just do your homework. And I would highly say maybe talk to people who have had good experiences before. And word of mouth is very important. So just, you know, I mean, everybody has a good website. Everybody's going to say I'm the best, but go with experience. Go with your gut. Go with, you know, will make sense to you.

Joe Cornwell (40:14.924)
Yeah, so you mean talk to people that are actual clients of these companies and get their unbiased opinion. Yeah, that's great advice. I think that applies to a lot of businesses. Okay, well, let's transition and instead of our normal lightning round, I'm going to give you just the last follow-up question, which is how can people learn more about your business? How can people connect with you if they want to learn more?

Valentina (40:38.546)
Absolutely. Very easy to find. The name of our company is Hire Train VA. Easy to remember we hire and we train VA's as well, especially for real estate, especially for the positions that I did, which is phone sales and admin assistant and all of that. I give them exactly what I mentioned here, like the follow-up system and everything. I train that. I train the VA's how to do this. So very easy to remember, hiretrainva.com. I am easily found on Instagram, my full name, Valentina Brega.

I'm on YouTube, I actually have a podcast as well, it's called Built With VA's where I address any questions about how to pay the VA, what systems to use, depending on what country they're from, you know, how to make it work, how to manage them, how to hire them, just anything that related to virtual assistance, I address them. And if you have a question that you don't see the answer to, let me know. I'd love to give you that answer. So yeah, my YouTube, Valentina Abrega, Instagram, Facebook, our website, very easy to find.

Joe Cornwell (41:38.388)
And we will be sure to link to that in the show notes as well. Valentina, thank you so much for your time. I know I learned more about VAs and I will be definitely contacting, contacting you here in the near future myself, but we appreciate your time today.

Valentina (41:50.906)
Absolutely love being here. Thanks for having me on.

Joe Cornwell (41:54.488)
Best ever listeners, thank you for tuning in. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to leave us a five star review and share this episode with someone who may benefit from hearing it. Remember to follow and subscribe to our podcast so you don't miss anything and I hope you all have a best ever day.

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