The Importance of Automating Your Real Estate Business

By: Omar Johnson

The pattern followed by successful entrepreneurs in real estate or any industry is to begin by learning the process hands on and taking responsibility for every operation, then to automate and delegate every part of the process so that it happens with less and less help from the entrepreneur. All real estate investors wear many hats when they begin, but eventually find ways to replace their own labor and free up their time.

One element available to allow you to free your time is technology. Real estate is an information business, and a few common and inexpensive pieces of equipment and software today can allow a single person to accomplish informational feats that used to require a fully equipped office and a secretary. The technology associated with the internet, like email, websites, and autoresponders, allows for mass marketing from your PC (or Mac).

Many of the functions necessary to run a real estate business can also be provided by other business that perform these services. Think beyond the conventional real estate services: agents, appraisers, brokers, contractors. Think of list brokers that compile lists of leads for you, mailing houses that distribute your direct mail campaigns, mailbox services that receive and automatically scan and upload incoming mail, virtual closing coordinators that handle closings, and more. They all exist.

And for functions of your business that are not preexisting services provided by a company or professional, there are still at least two more possibilities: virtual assistants and freelancing. Virtual assistants can be given detailed instructions and collect pay by the hour as a vendor, not as an employee. Projects or ongoing work of almost any sort can be hired out to freelancers, who provide professional services of all sorts.

The lone entrepreneur is a myth. Even a successful one-person business will interact with people in other businesses in the types of ways mentioned above. But there are at least four ways to work with other people in your business as well.

If you have a job for somebody to do and the resources to support it you can employ someone in the traditional way, as a W-2 employee. Or you can hire someone on a contractual or commission basis as a 1099 employee (freelancers, mentioned above, would fall under this category, for example, as would commissioned salespeople).

Besides hiring employees you can work in cooperation with another person to split profits. This can be done in an independent manner by splitting profits from specific transactions, for which a joint venture agreement is useful. It can also be done by teaming up with someone to become equity partners in some fashion, where you share control of your business. All of these arrangements can be beneficial under the right circumstances.

Perhaps the most classic ways to automate a business are by referrals and mentorship. The most successful real estate investors have put in the time and organization to develop a referral network that keeps a steady supply of deals moving towards them. This is the easiest way, over time, to keep a business going and growing. Many also follow a model of mentorship, helping other investors with information and coaching in exchange for bringing business or supplying leads.

The aim of automating your business is not just for the sake of more profits, but for the sake of your personal freedom and the success of your business. Ideally you would probably like a business that keeps working and growing long after you are ready to do something else with your energy.

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