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How Do You Know When it’s Time to Hire an Assistant?

Alex Milshteyn

By Alex Milshteyn

I am writing this 30,000 feet in the air as I fly to St. Louis, Mo., where I’ll be participating in a “30 Under 30” panel discussion during the St. Louis Association of REALTORS®’ YPN second anniversary celebration. As I’m writing this, I feel very little stress, which is a giant contrast from just a few years ago when I’d travel out of town.

During the early years of my real estate practice, I hated leaving town. Just the thought of leaving town would put me in a foul mood. The reason was I couldn’t stop working or stressing about my business even though I’d be somewhere else. I lost count of how many times I returned from a vacation several days early because my business was just too overwhelming. If you’d like to know how to take a vacation to Thailand in three business days, ask me.

At this point, you may be wondering what’s wrong with me. Well, let’s face it, I’m a control freak and a perfectionist. The thought of someone else taking control of my business was impossible – no one could do it better than I could. I shied away from all vacations, all day trips, and a lot of family time because I didn’t know how to handle the stress of being away and continuing to provide the same level of service as I do when I am in town.

Eventually it got to a point where I began to feel like a slave to my practice. I realized that I couldn’t make it much longer unless I got help. I needed someone who I could trust and train. The only way I was going to take a vacation and ease my workload was to hire an assistant.

In 2007, I hired my first full-time assistant and I haven’t looked back since. As I write this, I realize how unhappy I was doing this business all by myself and how easy I feel right now, 30,000 miles up in the air, knowing that my calls are being answered and my e-mails are responded to. Today, I take vacations and I travel the country speaking to various groups — and I do all of this with little stress.

My advice is to hire help as soon as you reach 30 or more deals per year. It’s worth every penny. And down the road, it will improve your bottom line. It will give you the opportunity to spend more time doing the activities that get you business.

Alex Milshteyn, GRI, ABR, is a REALTOR® in Ann Arbor, Mich., who runs a real estate team of five professionals called Alex Milshteyn Real Estate Associates. Connect with him at www.alexmi.com.

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