895: How to Run Your Real Estate Business from Home with Daniel Ramsey

March 27, 2020
With government-mandated shutdowns forcing offices to close their doors, real estate agents could be working from home for the foreseeable future. But is that such a bad thing? On today’s podcast with Daniel Ramsey of MyOutDesk, we discuss ways for agents to stay productive and profitable while working from a home office. Daniel also offers advice on keeping a virtual team on track, shares his favorite tools for communicating with coworkers, and gives great tips for those new to running a business remotely.
Daniel-Ramsey1 Listen to today’s show and learn:
  • The first step to take when transitioning to a home office [6:15]
  • The CEO mindset: How to be a leader in uncertain times [8:50]
  • How to communicate with your team remotely [14:19]
  • What agents should NOT be doing [16:54]
  • The right way to reach out to clients right now [17:09]
  • A great way to add value to members of your community [19:39]
  • The biggest mistake you can make with marketing right now [23:08]
  • Tips for staying productive during a time of crisis [26:03]
  • What to cut during a recession [29:24]
  • How to keep your team productive while they’re working remotely [34:14]
  • Ways to turn this crisis into an opportunity [36:25]
  • How to stay sane while working from home [39:23]
  • Rules for running your team remotely [40:59]
  • Where to get Daniel’s guide [43:15]
  • How to break through your goals.
  • Plus so much more.
Daniel Ramsey After several years working in the Real Estate industry, Daniel realized that realtors spend too much time doing tasks that are necessary but highly administrative, routine, and time consuming. Working overtime becomes necessary in order to finish all these tasks and keep in touch with clients and generate new business. In 2008, MyOutDesk was founded with a vision to provide realtors with indispensable leverage through our Real Estate Virtual Professionals to aid them in regaining time and freedom, have the ability to grow their business, all while reducing costs. From the beginning, Daniel and his team’s mission was to set the standard in real estate outsourcing. In an industry that is typically project oriented and without ongoing support, they believe your Virtual Assistant will become a vital and invaluable part of your real estate team. They believe their process makes it easy and desirable for anyone to outsource prospecting, marketing, and administrative needs. Daniel’s goal is not just to provide great service but make it affordable for everyone. Daniel’s team provide services to help you in three major areas of your business. Marketing, Administrative and Prospecting. Their Real Estate Virtual assistants are put through a stringent screening process and a high skills training regimen thus ensuring that they will be able to be an asset to you and your business. Virtual Assistants have become an increasingly popular choice for many realtors, as they can do anything that doesn’t physically require them to be in your office, since much of the tasks that need to be handled by a realtor can be done virtually, reducing costs of office space and everything else that comes with an in-house staff makes a Real Estate virtual assistant a great choice.. MyOutDesk has become the premier real estate Virtual Assistant company realtors trust to help them with their outsourcing needs. Related Links and Resources: Thanks for Rocking Out Thank you for tuning in to Pat Hiban Interviews Real Estate Rockstars, we appreciate you! To get more Rockstar content sent directly to your device as it becomes available, subscribe on iTunes or StitcherReviews on iTunes are extremely helpful and appreciated! We read each and every one of them, please feel free to leave your email so that we can personally reach out and say thanks! Have any questions? Tweet meFacebook me and ask Pat anything. Don’t forget to head on over to Bare Naked Agent for Pat’s answers, and advice. Thank you Rockstar Nation, and keep rockin!

Aaron Amuchastegui: Real Estate Rockstars, this is Aaron Amuchastegui, back for Real Estate Rockstars Radio, talking to everybody today. Today we get to interview Daniel Ramsey. Daniel was on here just a few weeks ago. A good friend of mine, you guys might remember. He’s the CEO of MyOutDesk. What he does is he provides virtual assistants, and his virtual assistants- so many of his employees actually work from home, work remotely for other people.

With everything that’s been happening with the coronavirus outbreak over the last week, there’s been millions and millions of people that have been sent to work at home for the first time ever. This is such a big deal that people are saying, “What do I do?” So many people started reaching out to Dan, at the local news, nationwide news, they’re asking him, he’s getting all these TV appearances right now when people are saying, “What should we tell people? How do they do it?”

I was talking to Dan yesterday, we thought for sure this is stuff that we need to be bringing out to RockStar Nation out there to talk to you guys about, “Hey, as you’re starting to transition from working into an office to working remotely to working at home, managing a team working remotely, what are some tips for us to be thinking about?” Little different style today but it’s something that I think that you guys definitely need to hear. Daniel, how’s it going out there in California right now?

Daniel: Yes, it’s crazy town. What’s wild is we are in a lockdown. I can tell you there are more people out on the streets right now, riding, walking the dog, it’s pretty crazy. We’ve been stuck at home for two weeks and real estate is still going on. In fact, I was just looking at the MLS yesterday and there were 254 new listings that landed on the MLS in the last couple of days, which is huge. Look, things are still happening, going a little stir crazy with the kids in the house 100% of the time but we’re working outbreaks and figuring out a routine.

Aaron: It’s such a good point, real estate is still going. Even when everybody’s on the lockdown people are still selling their house. I sold a couple of houses this week. It was like even meeting with the notary was like, “Man, are we even allowed to do this right now?” One of the things you mentioned is real estate in most states is still an essential operation. The title companies, recorders’ offices haven’t closed yet. One thing you said there, that I think is fun when everybody has this somber mood right now. There are some positives coming out of this.

Everybody walking outside, spending time with their kids or their family, appreciating the food that we have in our house, man, we are making sure the kids eat everything on their plate right now. Like, [chuckles] “Hey, this is what we’re eating.” Who knows when we’re going back to the grocery store. It’s some interesting things as a society, maybe there’s going to be some changes, maybe when people go back not everybody’s going to be driving back to an office every day.

Daniel: Yes, what’s crazy is that Harvard did a study and 5.2% of the United States in 2018 was working remote. Now, that number is more than half. In one week’s time, we’ve gone from 5% to 50 so that’s just crazy.

Aaron: That’s a huge, huge chain. A lot of my business there’s been times I’ve worked from home, worked remote, had all my workers work remote. I’ve also got offices where I go into an office and work with the team. It was a fun reminder over this week that we’re even thinking about when we get to transition back to an office. I don’t think we’re going to transition back to a full five days at the office.

Daniel: I don’t know.

Aaron: We’re going to- [crosstalk] so much less pollution out there, so much less everything, we’ve saved more people from no car wrecks than we have with coronavirus so far but it is a serious thing but there is something positive to be said too about this strange little- if we look for it, we could find the positive stuff too.

Daniel: Yes, well, global warming, we could save our environment by just working from home two days a week, wildly enough. Today’s going to be an interesting conversation. I’m excited, because we’re going to give lots of value, if you stick around, we’re going to definitely give away our remote guide. We’ve been doing remote work for 13 years, over 5,000 clients and we’ve been fully remote. We have about a 15-page detailed description.

I know, there’s some high-level guys that are listening. Then there’s some guys that want every single detail and some gals that are like, “I want to see the section on this and how to build a brand.” We basically compile everything that we knew internally, took our internal documents. Then we made it out there and available for you guys, the audience, so that you can figure out how this remote team thing all works.

Aaron: Yes, as we get to the end, we’ll provide some of those links in the show notes too, so you guys can get that. That was one of the coolest things that I saw, Daniel, that you did this last week on social media. As everything was starting to go crazy, you just said, “Hey, we’re giving out this guide for free.” It wasn’t like a, “Hey, hire us,” “Hey, hire virtual assistants,” you guys were like, “Hey, we are really good at this. You guys need this skill set, let us share it, giving it away for free.”

I think it’s great to get to come on and talk about it. A lot of businesses this week for the first time they’re going home, they’re working from home, and probably the first couple of days it’s just making sure people have computers, and internet and phones working. Is that step one? If that’s step one, what’s step two? What are we doing next?

Daniel: Yes, step one, you’re exactly spot on. Although we are 99% remote, we had a small office with about 20 people here in the US. We actually did a practice run two weeks ago, when this first came out. When Washington got locked down, I was like, “Oh, if Washington’s got locked down, China and now Italy.” I’m like, “If we go on lockdown, I want my team to be ready.” We did a virtual day testing out what are internet speed? Did everybody have the right equipment. Wildly enough, some people were like, “My internet speed’s not enough.”

Other people were like, “I’ve got 100 Mbps,” I’m like, “Wow, I’ve got 90.” As a team, we got to experience what our audience usually does of how to set up remote. I’ve dual screens at my office and I had to take my screens here, home because I’m like, “I can’t live without my double screen.” There’s a lot of– Just being graceful and really working with your employees and your team members, understanding that their situation is different, their people, their technology, their understanding is different. There’s just an opportunity as a CEO or founder or an entrepreneur to just have a little bit of empathy and grace for people and just help them through this transition time.

Aaron: Yes, for our listeners out there that have not been put in a lockdown and that it may happen, I think that’s great advice and say, “Just try it for a day, just in case,” because when you find out, it’s probably too late to go buy an upgraded router or something like that. Then getting that equipment aside, you’re right. They get there, and you realize in an office with two screens, you’re working twice as fast now at home.

What’s that stuff that you use every day that you might not know it? Getting that equipment right, employers helping provide it to where- you know that they have it and know that you’re going to get that much more out of it. Maybe it’s even just saying like, “Hey, you can bring your equipment from work, home,” a lot of places don’t like doing that. This is a unique time, make sure everybody has everything they need.

Daniel: We had a writer on the team who had his car broken into. Hey, guess what, the criminals are still alive and well the corona, right? [chuckles]

Aaron: Yes, and they’re doing their stuff.

Daniel: Yes, somebody broke into his car and took his headset. We had to on Monday of last week, we had to ship a headset to him because we were fully remote. Just be there for your people and you ask, what’s number two? I think the next thing is just that CEO mindset. It’s absolutely something I think we should talk about because the biggest question that we are getting this week is, what should I tell my team?

What do you think is going to happen? You have the iBuyers out there, you have Zillow out there and they can’t forecast the future. How do you lead a team? How do you be a CEO in a time of such amazing, crazy, very fast uncertainty?

Aaron: Yes, on a random side note, there was a couple of notices going out that the iBuyers are shutting down right now. Open doors, not going to accept anything, they’re not going to put out any offers this week. Zillow is not going to do any outreach this week, because it’s like such a time where it’s not business as usual.

Daniel: Right? Well, they just don’t know where the market is going. All of their buying models are based on math. If they can’t make a guess on what future prices are going to do or where this world’s going to be, they got to stop. I think that’s a place for us all to really consider what– Nobody really knows where this is going to go and you, as the CEO, founder, entrepreneur, realtor probably have some savings, probably have been through this before, maybe your employees haven’t.

The very first thing in the CEO mindset stuff is just have some empathy, reach out to your people and stay in constant, constant, constant communication. In fact, last week, if you’ve ever followed MyOutDesk or me, we probably 10 X’d the amount of communication that we do with our clients, our employees, our virtual assistants. I think that’s just part of what you have to do in this really uncertain time.

Aaron: Yes. Being able to be that leader. That’s something that we’ve talked about a lot just over the past couple of weeks is just starting to get there because we’ve said panic is contagious. Fear is contagious. So is confidence, so is leadership. Now, some of you guys out there manage teams, some of you guys you’re just an agent on a team, some of you guys are just getting started, but you could be a leader for your team and your business, for your family, among your friends.

A lot of these practices that we can do that helps to stand out there and try to be the one that’s calm and clear in that message. You can be impacting everyone around you. I think having the CEO mindset, telling the team, “Hey, these are the things that we’re going to do. This is what we should be prepared for.” Confidently tell them that, “I am ready to help lead you. I can do the same thing with my family, with my wife, with my kids, with the people around me, with my friends.”

I think that’s definitely an important part of that. It’s like, all right, so you get them the equipment, you get them there and now you lead and you- all right, now, this is how we’re going to get through this. Then reminding everyone too, I think is so critical to say, “This will come to an end. This isn’t a permanent situation. I don’t want to guess how long it’s going to be, but it’s not permanent. We are going to come out of this and things are going to change afterward.”

Daniel: Actually, I think there’s an opportunity and I’m not that guy that’s– I’m not like the National Association of Realtors who was like, don’t worry, we’re going to be great. I’m not that guy. I don’t want [crosstalk] to be that guy. They did that during 2006 and 2007 and 2008 and then in 2008, they were like, “Oh, we’re in a recession.” All of us were in the background going, “Yes, we’ve been in this recession for two years. Where have you guys been?” I’m not that guy but I do think there’s a lot of opportunity.

Last week we built the remote guide, which we’re going to give away free. We’ve got the Hiban text code that we’re going to give everybody. It’s also going to be in the show notes.

We created items of value for our audience. Number one, how to go remote. We were helping C-Suite people and leaders, anybody that runs a team or anybody who’s an entrepreneur. We wanted you guys to have a guide so you can actually help your teams figure it out.

That’s something that was like paper light, or just a single page, but it’s a really, in-depth kind of, this is how you do it guide. Then we started building scripts for ISAs in this particular timeframe. Then we created a guide for our clients and ISAs to give away out there in the marketplace that would be valuable. I think step three after the communicate is just don’t forget we’re in the business of adding value to others, solving problems and helping people with transactions.

I think the biggest thing that we can do is just focus on, how can I add value to my audience, to my past clients, to the people in my world? That’s really what is the most important thing you can do right now.

Aaron: How should we be communicating with our team? Because there’s lots of different ways. You can send a text and the– I’d go over rules with my team before when we were in the same office, it would be like, “Hey, you can send a text when it’s like this, but if somebody might misread the tone, then you have to at least call,” but now it takes it up a notch when everybody’s at home all day long, and you’re trying to be able to pass on leadership and communicate. What are the best ways and styles to do that?

Daniel: Well, I’m a big fan of video. You and I are always on video. Phone is great if you’re in the car driving somewhere or walking or something like that. Don’t discard phone, but if you can do FaceTime, if you can do a Zoom conference or some conferencing platform, I think that is the preferred method of communication.

I got to tell you, one of the things in the remote guide that is really funny is like still wake up and shower, and shave, and do your hair, and take breaks and do your morning routines. You got to wear pants, even though you’re working at home. Don’t show up in a robe and be like, “I can’t be on camera.” I think this is a really big point and the reason you and I were talking yesterday and I was like, we’ve got to do something together, was because it’s our civic duty.

If you’re listening, this is our civic duty to stay productive as a business, as members of our society, as a father, as a leader in your community, a friend, everybody, like you were saying. If we can keep the economy going and maybe weather this storm, get through this pause, that’s the biggest contribution you can make as an individual contributor to our economy. I think it’s really important that you get in the habit of face-to-face communication over video.

Aaron: Yes Well, I think one of the things you said there, it’s totally obvious, but I hadn’t even thought about even pointing that out and that I should be sharing with my team members right now, is wake up at the same time, shower, eat your same meal, get as close to the routine as you can. If you’re going to a gym and working out, is there anything you can do at home? Do it as close as you can to your normal routine so that way when you start working, it feels like work. I think that’s a great tip for somebody to be successful out there.

Daniel: Don’t forget, we’re humans. Right now is not the time to call somebody and be like, “Hey, are you ready to buy or sell? Rates are great and there’s low inventory,” That is just it’s just a little tough. [laughs] That’s just tough. What do you say when you want to call people? One, you should be reaching out to your top 100, for sure. Just saying like, “Hey, how are you doing? What’s going on in your world? How’s work?” You just basically focus on them. “Do you need anything? What’s your world looking like today?”

That right there is enough. Well, we’re here for you. I know some large teams out there right now in the real estate world. They’re making grocery runs, going to a drug store, asking them if they need any delivery because some places are just out of stuff. I was just talking to a guy who is up in the foothills and around Sacramento and the Tahoe area. He’s like, “Look, the stores are bare up here,” which is the first time I’ve heard that because everybody else, including our own government, is saying that the shipping [crosstalk] lanes and all of our food supply is secure and I’m like, “Really?” Not in Tahoe, apparently.

Aaron: I was going to ask you about that because I saw somebody actually make a post on Facebook and say, “Hey, there’s this crummy real estate agent out there calling older people right now and telling them like, “Hey, are you okay? Have you thought about selling your house during this epidemic?” They were starting to blast him on Facebook. They’re like, “Should we just make him famous?” All that. That is not what people want to hear right now. What we can be doing in an uncertain time is be reach–

Again, at the very beginning, you said, “Remember what we do as real estate agents. We provide value.” Right now that providing value could be still helping to sell a home. Could be still helping to buy a home. It could be keeping everybody happy and okay in the middle of this transaction, but it could be whatever else your past customers, your future customers need. Reaching out, “What can I do for you? How can I add value?”

David Greene talked about helping people move. Helping people get groceries right now or random things. That’s a real thing. There’s Instacart and there’s Amazon delivery, but those things are taking five or six days now and I could really– If I was a single parent or something else, I would have to be reaching out to other people for help right now. Are we allowed to say anything else when you’re reaching out to make those phone calls because it’s really– I think step one is, “Hey, how are you? Is there anything I can do for you?” Anything else that we should be reminding them or saying or that you’ve been telling your people?

Daniel: Yes. I’m calling it care and concern. “Do you need anything right now?” Again, remember as real estate people, the worst conversion is when you call a random person and say, “What are your plans for your house over the next three to five years or the next three to six months?” That’s the lowest conversion because you’re just throwing it out there and who knows if they need to sell?

Aaron: Have you thought about the market right now?

Daniel: Ridiculous. When you have a guide like how to get the most money out of your home in an epidemic, you want to start thinking about what items of value can I give out there? We put together a going remote guide, number one. Number two, we put together a local guide. Everybody wonders, “What the heck is open right now?” This morning it’s Sunday. I’m recording on a Sunday. I love Aaron. I love Real Estate Rockstars. I hope you guys understand how important I believe this message is. [crosstalk] Exactly.

Here’s the reality of it. We put together a local guide. This morning I took my girls to donuts cause I got a four-year-old and a six-year-old and that’s one of our routines and I didn’t want to change the routine, but I wasn’t sure if they’re open. Before I went, I picked up the phone and I called. They’re like, “You can come and grab food to go.” While we were there picking out the three donuts that we wanted, the gal that was behind the counter got like 15 phone calls.

Our local guy just said, “Hey, these restaurants in your neighborhood are open. These gas stations are open. This is where you can get medical supplies or if you need anything that’s normal.” “This place still has toilet paper,” would be a great post for your community right now. The local guide, it’s like, “Hey, where can I hike? Can I walk by the river? What parks are open? Where can I take my family during this? What am I allowed to do? Where’s the links for the emergency? Where are we going to get updates for my community?”

We built a local guide for our clients and for our virtual assistants to have an item of value. I think that’s probably the biggest thing that you can do. Is give stuff away that people actually need and want in this moment.

Aaron: That’s a true need right now, too. I think that’s great. Reach out. “Hey, how are you? Hey, we put together a local guide of everything out there that you need.” That couldn’t take more than a couple of hours of actually making the phone calls and confirming like, “Yes, this Home Depot is open or not, or it is but it’s only these hours.” There are some grocery stores in Texas right now that between certain hours, only people over 60 years old are allowed to shop and then after those–

Figuring that stuff out and being able to reach out. I think everybody can do that right now, whether there’s no changes in their community yet or not. That I can totally see people wanting. “Hey, how are you?” Then adding value. Then that’s it. That’s the full intention of it. Can you make their life better this week during a time of uncertainty?

Daniel: I’m following a lot of brands and a lot of companies out there. It is a mistake for your advertising to remain the way it is. Literally last week we shut off– We had a spring sale where we’re given $500 off and it had all this green in it and it was a St. Patrick’s thing. I told my ads guy, “Shut that down right now.” There are people getting laid off. There are people stuck at home. There are people who are forced to come to work because that company is deemed essential.

This isn’t the time to do cheesy ads and this isn’t the time to go after business. This is the time to add value to your audience, your clients, your past clients, your, your prospects. If you’re a real estate person, I can tell you right now, double down, start recruiting agents. This is the time where you have to outwork your competition and so when this does turn around, you have more market share and you’re in better shape than everyone else.

Aaron: I got an email from an agent yesterday or day before and has never been more obvious that it was like this auto drip campaign because it was like, “Best things to do in March,” and, “This is the season of this,” and “St. Pat–” All this stuff that it was not even mentioning the fact that the world is crazy right now. I instantly was like, “Unsubscribe,” because it really helped me know that there was no personalization going on. No actually hitting that.

I think that’s a great piece of advice too, for agents or big businesses or anything is whatever message is out there right now, it’s okay to change the message. It’s time to change the message. The story is different this week. Hopefully, next week or in a few weeks it’s back. Again, who knows how long. Some people are saying, “Shelter in place for a week or two and it goes back to normal.” Some people are saying, “Hey, buckle down and be ready for a lot longer than that.” Change your messaging right now because we are all people, we’re all human, and it even starts with just starting our day.

Some people are worried. It’s funny. My wife has her five-hour. We have been homeschooling and working from home while we homeschool our kids for years. We’ve been sheltering in place before sheltering in place was cool. There are so many people that started reaching out to her over the past few weeks. They just said, “Hey, how do we do this? How do we work from home? How do we homeschool our kids while we’re doing it? How do we not kill everybody? How do we live like this?”

The question that I think people are going to be asking you is, in that same sense, the question they ask us is, “How do I stay productive?” When somebody is working from home and they want to stay productive, but this is new, do you have any tips for them? Your first tip was, “Hey, shower. Do your normal routine. Get started. Probably follow the clock the same way. Have lunch the same way.” What are you thinking?

Daniel: We talked about communication, but I want to say what I’m doing. Number one, we aren’t cutting our advertising. We’re not going to cut our sales team. We are in the process of renegotiating with our landlords, any debt that we might have. We’re trimming fat, not muscle from our business. I don’t even know what number we’re on, but this is probably the most important thing. What happens for an entrepreneur is, when you put yourself in danger, then your anxiety raises. It’s harder to focus.

You just got to get your financial world in order. Get ready. Get your budget tight. Also, start thinking about like, “Hey, what are the five projects that I need to do to help drive my business revenue to help me dominate the world?” Earlier today I did a webinar with Adam Roach, a good friend of both of ours. He has a podcast called I Love Recruiting. He’s like, “Some people are reaching out and saying, ‘Well, I can’t recruit right now.’ I said, ‘That’s ridiculous. This is the best time to recruit. This is not the time to slow down your recruitment efforts or reaching out to people.'”

If you’re trying to recruit agents on your team, you need a disaster recovery plan. “Hey, does your brokerage have a disaster recovery plan? Yes? No? Well, if you don’t, I have one. We can share it. In fact, I’d love to talk to you about what your plan is to get through this suffering period of hopefully only 30 more days. Then be able to thrive in this new world that’s going to emerge over the next three to six months.”

Most people are like, “No, I don’t have a plan.” I’m like, “Well, does your broker have a plan?” They’re like, “No. My broker doesn’t have a plan.” Well, guess what? That gives you an in to add value to somebody. Create a relationship so that on this V-shaped recovery that everybody says is going to happen, your company thrives. I don’t know how many numbers I went through there.

Aaron: We knew you were going to fly through a bunch of stuff. Having a recovery plan, that’s another example of providing value. You need to provide value. What’s different? It’s a great time to go out there and do that. If you’re an agent and a member of a team, maybe you’re like, hey, you’re going to provide that value to your team or to your broker. Let me come up with a disaster recovery plan. Let me help us figure out what should we be focused on right now as we start going through this.

When you said trim the fat, don’t trim the muscle. I think it’s pretty easy. I was sharing last week or a few weeks ago I was in Hawaii and it just felt like the economy was booming, everybody was rich, everybody was wasting money, and everybody had on the most expensive everything. Is the busiest I’d ever seen it. I was like, man, we are in a peak and I would have never guessed this is what was going to change it.

I think it’s pretty easy for any of us to look around and say, “Hey, it’s a time where in a time of uncertainty, you want to look at those expenses, see what you can change.” You’re not saying do deep cuts with stuff, you’re saying look around and see what’s the excess? What’s the stuff I didn’t need? I knew I didn’t need it, but I didn’t really care when I had a bunch of money coming in, and now that I don’t– Can you think of any easy, low hanging fruit where people might find that first?

Daniel: Yes, one of my favorites. This is kind of a crazy scenario. Most of us have like 10 projects that we’ve all wanted to do in our business. Like 10 projects. I have a good friend who is like,” Oh my goodness, now–” He’s one of our virtual assistants and he helps us with our charitable cause the MOD Movement. He runs that portion for us over in the Philippines, great guy. He’s like, “Boss, guess what? For years, I’ve been wanting to create a compliance video series for the agents.”

He runs the compliance for five different companies, five different brokerages. Every agent that closes the deal, he’s the one that signs off and get some pay and make sure- and does an audit. He’s never had a compliance video series for when they onboard new agencies. He is like, “This is the most exciting thing. I finally have time because we have some time now.” My word for everybody in terms of definitely- fat, you know what fat is?

Fat is extra expenses that don’t add value, fat are leads that never really convert. Fat is all the extra expenses. I’ll give you an example. In my own office, I’m thinking, do we need this nice coffee delivered anymore? Do we need to have this huge pantry of food? Guess what? We’re not in the office, so we’re calling our coffee delivery people and being like, “Hey guys, we love you, but we’re not going to be there for 90 days or 60 days.”

The fat is just the stuff that were nice to haves, and the muscle is anything that drives revenue or create systems and processes in your business. An educational series on how to onboard people into your office. Getting a CRM perfect. When you’re making these calls, you’re like, “How is Timmy doing? Is little Paul doing okay?” I mean, those are the kind of things that we now have time for. Getting your social media strategy all set and ready.

Getting all of your emails swapped out, making those calls to your sphere of influence and letting them know you care about them and you’re here. Give them a couple items of value and then just seeing what their world looks like. Those are the things to do right now in this crisis.

Aaron: Look at the list of things that you have wanted to do and never really had the time, so when you do get that slow down, get to adjust it. For me it’s grabbing out the credit card statement too and just looking and saying, “Hey, what’s this?” There’s a bunch of data stuff we subscribe to, things we subscribe to. Then we go, “Hey, that’s nice to have, but I’m only looking at it two or three times, and actually I haven’t logged in in two months.

Maybe I don’t need that right now. Maybe I don’t need four gym memberships. Maybe I only need one. Maybe I need zero for a couple months.” It’s a really interesting kind of change and strategy with that. There’s another question or another thought that maybe I was thinking I should do. We take away some of those office perks, “Are you going to send anything to your employees?” It’s kind of like, “Hey, I used to get their coffee there. Maybe I just send everybody some toilet paper if I find a way.” Maybe it’s just letting them know we care because we can’t really ship them and see them.

Daniel: Well, there’s a couple of things. We designated one person to be kind of the office shipper so that if we needed something on Amazon, she would just ship it out. We got that guy that I was telling you, a writer, he got a headset. We had a couple of clients who were like,” Hey, I want a shirt.” You know, what I’m wearing right now, “And I want to book.” We sent them a book and a shirt. We did buy gifts for our folks prior to this all going down. That’s why the going remote fast guide is really great.

We’ve got some examples of like building culture remotely. There are times when you might grab like here– If you’re listening on radio, you’re not going to hear it, but if you’re watching on video, I’m grabbing my coffee mug. You can schedule a coffee, morning coffee with your team remotely on a Zoom call and everybody can get in there. Then you can go around the room. “How was your weekend? How are you guys feeling?” There’s a lot of ways to add value to your team remotely. Most people just don’t think about it. That’s in the guide and we’re excited to give that out to you guys and give you some concepts.

Aaron: If somebody is an agent out there and they’ve got an extra coordinator that is now working remotely that used to work in their office. May say, “Hey, Daniel, how do I make sure they’re working? Are they working? Should we be pushing them as hard right now?” Will they be as productive? That sort of stuff.

Daniel: The easy answer is no. We’ve been doing this for 13 years. Aaron, you and I, we can work anywhere in the world, but our people, they’re just not used to it. As leaders, we’re going to have to have grace, a couple of tips. Extra coordinator is a great example. If you didn’t have like dotloop or SkySlope or an automated processing system, some place to manage tasks and manage files, guess what?

You will after this [laughs] health crisis. But one good I think that’s come out of all of this is, it’s caused teams and companies, and basically groups of people who used to keep everything in their head as tribal knowledge like, because you could just go to the office of somebody else and say, “Hey, here’s how you do it.” Now you’ve got to document them. Now you should put them into a system, like a task management system.

There’s some great ones out there. We use Monday as a company to assign tasks and project manage some stuff, but Asana is a great one. Slack’s a great one. What do you guys use, Aaron?

Aaron: We have our own little CRM that we’ve used, but we use Google Hangouts and a lot of things like that just to chat and run through to make sure that we have that constant communication stuff.

Daniel: I think task management, project management software, that’s probably the biggest thing. We also have a chat where the whole company is in, so I’ll drop a video in that and just say hi to everybody. In fact, I’ve got to shoot one later to just give a good morning message to everyone when they first get into the office. But look, the world is shifting. I think it’s a good thing long term, because it’s going to pull people into the 21st century. In fact, I was on the phone with my mother and father-in-law trying to show them how to do Zoom. They’re both close to 70, they would have never done this, you know, but now–

Aaron: They probably loved it too. They were probably like, “This is magic.”

Daniel: It was really super cool. Here’s the reality. The world has forever changed. In fact the Chinese word for, crisis is danger plus opportunity. I think definitely the media, definitely the human brain focuses on the danger and not enough people focus on the opportunity. This is the time to increase your marketing spend. This is the time to hire and recruit great talent. This is the time to get all the projects done that you know you’ve always needed to do to build a real company.

You’ve got the opportunity, you have the time, you can learn anything that you need to learn, you can set your sales strategy. You can set your social media strategy, you can get your marketing exactly the way you wanted it to be. Start thinking like a basic human being, like adding value to others and solving problems. That’s the whole thing that I’d like to get out of today’s message is just go find out what your audience needs and build it for them.

Aaron: Go build that. The tip 29 that we’ve done today, it’s going to be, “Get to the cloud.” One of the things that you mentioned was like, we went fully to the cloud a few years ago and it made it so awesome for- if a computer broke or it got stolen or it was lost or we were traveling forever, switching to one of those cloud services out there. We use Google Drive, but there’s a lot of them out there. Dropbox is another good one.

The getting everything to the cloud has to be one of the keys of working remotely because there’s a lot of networks, and that way if they’re switching back and forth between systems– Or times of uncertainty, when all of a sudden there’s a notice, that’s like, “Hey, you’re working from home tomorrow.” Maybe they’ve got the computer and they’re like, “If it’s on the cloud, I don’t need to go into the office to get anything.” You don’t have to have somebody to have to run in and get something that they thought they lost.

Daniel: Yes. It’s always wild to me. Our chief people officer I’m like, “Hey, so did you bring your laptop?” Because we just got her a brand new, awesome laptop. That’s another piece is like, I have friends who last week had to drop everything they were doing and run to Best Buy and buy 20 Google Chromebooks, because they were all on old school desktops. My business is going to shut down if they don’t have computers.

Get laptops, definitely some sort of file share program that’s on the cloud. Those are some huge, easy things. Get videos. I’ll give you an example. I brought- luckily I brought two home. If you can’t see, because you’re listening versus watching the video, I’m holding up another camera because I was lucky I brought two cameras home because the first camera was just poor quality. You have to just get ready for what remote work means.

Aaron: Yes. As we kind of finish this up and wrap up I think one of the biggest, most important things I wanted to make sure that we hit on and was just reminding everyone that this is temporary and it’s a change, but there can also be a lot of pauses that we find in this. Being that leader- and it may take some adjustments, but trying to still have a schedule and get up and be ready for your day and have lunch at the same time. Now you get to have lunch with your family instead of having it down the street. There’s a lot of these cool things to get through the day.

One of the things, when I first started working at home that I had to tell myself was I had to also remember to turn it off. At a certain time at night, I had to say, “I’m no longer working,” because it’s really easy– I think one of the things that’s tough for people when they transition from working in an office to working from home is it’s like, it’s there all day long or they get an email or they get a text. I have to remind my people, “Hey, when it’s the end of your workday, if it’s five or six, if that’s our normal off time, you don’t have to reply to emails.”

If I’ve got an emergency, I’ll text you and you can text me back, but I’m not expecting you to be emailing back and forth. That will be one thing that drives people crazy when they switch to working from home right now. If you don’t shut off, you got to be able to have that different mindset where it’s walking into a different room, go, “All right, I’m done working for the day.” You’re gonna go like, “Hey, daddy’s home,” I’m ready to like be a family guy now and then put it away. Be able to make that big transition. Daniel, anything you want to add to predictions or that we should add to that?

Daniel: Well, I was just saying one thing that’s in the guide that I think is really essential is communication. You nailed it like with the leaders on the team I said, “Look, text.” You and I, we’re going to text. If we want to communicate to my team, it’s all in a messaging platform and like you said, hey, email is just email, it’s a communication thing. When, I want to convey tasks- this is a big thing that people screw up. Now that we’re remote, if I want to convey, I need something done or I’d like you to do something, it’s face-to-face video conference.

Those are some of the basic rules. I like three meetings a day, face-to-face with everybody on the team, if you can. If you can’t do that, and then your leaders need to do that, adopt some sort of– We’ll start the day in the morning, we’ll have a lunch or after lunch, and then we’ll have an end of day just kind of full wrap up. Also start aligning schedules. If their employees come in at six or seven, probably doesn’t work if you’re on the East Coast.

You need to have everybody in the disperse remote team. You need everybody working in the same time zone, at least enough overlap so that everybody can have a meeting time or opportunities to meet. Those are some just quick, easy, like gifts to people so they can think through what it might look like to do remote work.

Aaron: Yes. I think that’s all really good advice today to be able to give people. You are the expert of this. You have been managing giant teams working remotely for a long time and the virtual assistants that we’ve got before from MOD, nobody knew they were virtual assistance. Nobody knew they were working from home when other people were working at the office.

Now, right now everybody’s expecting everybody to be working from home but wouldn’t it be nice if you’re just so good, you’re able to work from home in a way that nobody’s saying, “Oh, he’s working from home today.” [crosstalk] they’re just saying, “Wow, he’s sure on top of his stuff.” Being able to make sure they do a good job with that, Daniel, remind us, how do we get the free gift? How do we get that guide? I’m going to go download the guide right now and review it for tomorrow.

Daniel: Yes, good. The best place to do it is just a text code. If you’re listening on your phone or you’re driving- don’t do this if you’re driving, but you just text Hiban, H-I-B-A-N. 31996. You’ll have a link to the fast guide. You can throw your information in there. Any of the things that we’ve talked about- I wasn’t kidding about last week. Last week probably was the single most content that we’ve ever put out in the entire history of the company because it was necessary and needed for our clients and for our audience. All of that information is on our blog. You can definitely get it myoutdesk.com/remote. We have a link–

Aaron: We’ve got a link too, so Hiban Digital. It feels like guys that hit our podcast page all the time. We’ll have all these links inside the show notes, go to hibandigital.com/myoutdesk. M-Y-O-U-T-D-E-S-K. Yes, lots of different ways, so text, email, go to our podcast site. You’ll be able to find us, we’ll be able to get the info out to you and listeners, thanks for being out there. Thanks for listening. Go download the guide. Daniel, they built this thing in a couple of days. They built and it wasn’t just for their network. It wasn’t just for– Everybody they knew on Facebook was like, “Hey, who needs help?

Let’s provide value.” I would encourage all of you agents out there to go figure out what value you can provide in your neighborhood this week. Even though it feels like maybe there’s not much you can do, I know there’s value you can go provide out there. Let’s have an awesome week. Daniel, thanks for coming on, man. I hope you have fun on all those TV interviews you’re doing later.

Daniel: Yes. Thanks for having me, man.

Aaron: All right. Talk to you later.

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