Brett Russo – Super VAs in the Real Estate Sector
Last updated August 30, 2019
In this episode, Derek is joined by Brett Russo of Outsource Workers. Join Derek as he explore Brett’s journey in Real Estate, outsourcing and how he has set up a company in response to that.
- Brett is a Real Estate Agent for about 15 years based in Australia. 6 years ago, he got introduced to his first Virtual Assistant.
- He introduced his Virtual Assistant to his colleagues and showed them how good a VA is, after that the business idea came in Brett’s mind after.
- Brett setup Outsource Workers that predominantly caters to the Real Estate sector.
- He shares his thoughts about Real Estate and how VA’s play a crucial role in the sector.
- According to Derek, Australia is one of a bigger adoptor of Outsourcing. It is very close to the Philippines and in terms of time zones it helps a lot.
- Outsourcing is definitely a growing industry according to Brett.
Derek: Hi and welcome to another episode of the Outsource Accelerator Podcast. My name is Derek Gallimore and this is episode 151. So today I’m joined by Brett Russo of Outsource Workers. He has background of Real Estate, he’s based on Australia, he’s a part of the it seems Australian Mafia or AMI over here in the Philippines at the moment really taking outsourcing out to the world so it’s an interesting conversation with Brett where we explore his own journey in real estate and in outsourcing and how he has set up a company in response to that. So I’m sure you’ll learn something, if you wanna get in touch with Brett or know anymore about this episode then go to our show notes which is outsourceaccelerator.com/151 enjoy.
Derek: Hi and welcome back everybody, today I’m joined by Brett Russo of Outsource Workers. Hi Brett, how are you?
Brett: Good thanks, Derek. Thanks for having me on the show.
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Derek: Absolute pleasure and Brett is another of the Australian army it seems over here in the Philippines really making headway into the outsourcing world. So I suppose initially Brett you have setup outsource workers we can deep dive into that but can you initially just introduce yourself.
Brett: Sure so eventually, Derek I’ve been a Real Estate Agent for about 15 years based in Australia and like most Real Estate Agents I found all these doing lots of lots of non-dollar productive that means work. About six years ago I got introduced to my first virtual assistant and she’s still with me to that 6 years later which is great. And so I got her very quickly dealing at lots of my non-dollar productive admin work and it was a real lightbulb moment and from there i’ve pretty much analyzed my whole life and try to delegate as much I can over to the Philippines.
Derek: Fantastic. so we have seen a lot in business generally but only in outsourcing getting a lot of entrepreneurial-minded people, they start outsourcing to pretty much scratch their own itch and they just kinda blown away by the results of the journey and then it’s such a common pathway for them people start like go down the path and then start an outsourcing offering such as yourself and you have kinda stayed true to your specialism, to your skill-based, to your profession which is real estate by the sound. You have setup outsource workers which predominantly caters to real estate systems is that right?
Brett: Yeah that’s right. It’s interesting how it happened cause it was a little happened by accident, I am speaking to a couple my other real estate colleagues and showed them about how good my VA is, how she was my secret weapon and they said to me ‘Hey, Brett can you help me with getting a VA and I said sure so I spoke to my VA asked her if could she find someone like herself and give her some training. We did that a couple of times and my colleagues were very very grateful and I guess a business idea came in my mind after reading the 4-hour work week and the next thing I would start a business and five years later I put around these task.
Derek: Well done. They said it’s best to start a business that should be pulled into the business not create a product and then try push on someone basically you are kinda pulled into providing these services, and that started five years ago now you have about 100 staff you’re saying.
Brett: Correct, it’s interesting when Outsource Workers started off as just as a littlle side business for me when I had my real states agency, it got to the stage where I didn’t really need two businesses and you know the outsourcing business gave me lot less headaches than the real estate business so I end up selling my real estate business and now I spend predominantly all my time on growing VA business outsourcing.
Derek: I’ve find it really interesting how there are these specialized niches and outsourcing really is becoming pretty competitive, it could become quite commoditized because if you break it down to its bare bones it’s kind of a bum on a seat and that can get pretty competitive costing but you stuck to a niche and you’re kinda in the real estate sector and through that i imagine you can add value because it’s leveraging off your many decades experience within the sector. What are your thoughts on the real estate sector? and what people are traditionally doing versus what you kind of proposed for people to do?
Brett: Sure. It’s very interesting I remember when I first started we’re taking on new clients with outsource workers it’s a little bit of the unknown it was sort of mainstream so a lot of people need education around what a virtual assistant can do. But I guess fast forward 5 years to today, it’s almost mainstream in Australian Real Estate now and most people will do seminars or courses on how good and outsourcing and the benefits so a lot of change in the last 5 years some clients really embraced it and really spend a lot of time with VA’s and got into some pretty technical tasks, we look at one particular client full-time office-based VAs in her Real Estate Business essentially designed a business a business around outsourcing which is really cool to say.
Derek: Are you seeing more kind of creep over roles so people might initially start with appointment setting but they start with what they gone to bookkeeping and eventually the whole operation tips upside down virtually everything other than viewing is being done by a team here in the Philippines.
Brett:100 percent that’s exactly how it happens quite often a client inquire about a particular task and thinking about outsourcing that’s generally where we start and overtime the clients build a relationship with their virtual assistant and the virtual assistant skills improve more often than not the client will start to delegate more and more complex task.
Derek: Australia is really quite a big adopter of outsourcing. It is only a small country with 18-20 million. It is very close to the Philippines in terms of timezones I think that helps a lot. Why do you think Australia is such an adopter of outsourcing and I supposed in comparison do you have any perspective on other markets on how they perceive it. I don’t know if you tried to get into other markets like UK or US.
Brett: Yeah different role at the timezone is very favorable in some parts of Australia the time zones are sync and at worst is a 3-hour difference. Yeah, the time zones is favorable for us. We do have clients that use our services from different parts of the world but I guess because we’re an Australian based company we just sort of attract more Australian clients than anything most of them probably 50% of new clients coming into our business have been referred by somebody else which is always good to get referral business.
Derek: Absolutely. So you’re saying now and that is quite a surprise to me but again I think this is because things seem to really catch on in Australia and I think Australians have been captivated by the potential of outsourcing but you say that most estate agents now are aware of outsourcing and virtual assistants. But what is the penetration like what is the uptake like? Is it still kind of a new industry or is it pretty much done?
Brett: Yeah it’s definitely a growing industry. I always thought I was the first company to specialize in real estate virtual assistant and I have spent the last few years that there’s definitely new clients coming into the market. But it’s certainly a growing market and there’s plenty to go around. I think as time goes on people will accept outsourcing even more. With real estate the margins have become tighter and tighter to be profitable especially on the rental side of real estate agency so I think a lot of owners of real estate agencies have looked to outsource to remain competitive against their competitors.
Derek: Why is it? because I have noticed, I actually interviewed a few other people that are offering real estate agent assistance and it seems to be quite vertical now that people are focusing on but what about every other vertical why do you think real estate agents why not plumbers or some other kind of vertical?
Brett: Sure. I think real estate is so much very repetitive computer admin work which is a perfect task to outsource a VA. So I think that’s probably one of the reasons and we do have other clients on board that have nothing to do with Real Estate. As long the clients got the need I guess we can certainly help.
Derek: Do you find a lot of commonality like I suppose when you are offering other services within other businesses it’s commonality it’s basic admin, bookkeeping other sorts of commonalities that you find within any SMEs that can easily transfer?
Brett: Yeah I think what we try to do we try to do really good all rounders, generally most of our staff are female, university educated and really good communication skills and just good around admin skills. We can certainly teach them to use CRMs and different software but if they’re really good people and got the skills and the right attitude we can teach them most specialty task.
Derek: Right. As things progress you were saying sort of six years ago it was kind of wild west. Outsourcing really has been happening in 20 years anyway but I imagine you’re finding easier to sell the concept of outsourcing which is also a downside because there’s more competition. But how was it in terms of you find the capabilities of new staff did they pick things up faster, are they more aware of Australian properties and the requirements and things like that like generally is this the whole marketplace increasing in sophistication?
Brett: I’m not 100 percent sure about that Derek but I know we put our VAs for some pretty rigorous training and testing prior to them coming onboard. So we don’t really have too many issues with VAs getting up to speed and becoming good at, capable of a certain task that are required in real estate.
Derek: Right, fantastic. Thank you so much I wanna get you back and we can discuss more about outsource workers specifically in kind of price structure and how we angle things. But in the meantime if anyone wants get in touch with you Brett how can they do that?
Brett: Best thing to do is to jump to on our website which is outsourceworkers.com.au and contact us from the website.
Derek: Fantastic. Thanks so much
Brett: Thanks, Derek.
Okay, that was Brett Russo of Outsource Workers if you want to get in touch with Brett or know any more about the company or this episode go to our show notes which is at outsourceaccelerator.com/151 and as always if you want to get in touch with us or ask us anything then just send us an email to ask at outsourceaccelerator.com see you next time.