Pam Butera - Building Time Freedom Through Virtual Assistants


Pam Butera has been able to find a ton of leverage and time freedom through her role of running the operations of the Greater Philly Cyberbacker franchise. In a market that went down by 30% last year, Pam's real estate business with The Butera Group, went up by over 10%. Plus, she also had the time to pour into this franchise role giving business owners the leverage they need to grow their business at a fraction of the cost. Hear Pam's story growing up in a family with a father and grandfather that were real estate agents, how her mom was her assistant for 18 years, and about how now she's been able to accomplish so much, and how others can follow in her footsteps.

In this episode, you will be able to:

  • Discover the power of leveraging virtual assistants in real estate to streamline your business operations and maximize productivity.
  • Learn effective strategies for building efficient admin systems that will save you time and allow you to focus on growing your real estate business.
  • Uncover the secrets to expanding your real estate team and achieving sustainable growth in a competitive market.
  • Explore the numerous benefits of hiring a virtual admin for your real estate business, from cost savings to enhanced flexibility.
  • Master the art of implementing a marketing plan with virtual assistants to elevate your real estate brand and reach a wider audience.

The key moments in this episode are:
00:00:00 - Introduction to Pam's Real Estate Business Growth
00:00:34 - Leveraging Virtual Admin for Business Growth
00:01:34 - Having A Procedures Manual
00:03:38 - Virtual Admin's Role in Marketing and Business Growth
00:07:33 - Benefits of Working with Virtual Assistants
00:13:26 - Leveraging Cyberbackers for Better SEO and Exposure
00:14:08 - The Power of Delegating
00:17:27 - Expanding Business Opportunities with Cyberbackers
00:19:30 - Unleashing Business Potential with Virtual Admin Support 










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Pam Butera
Pam, how did you grow your business last year? My real estate business grew last year by little, over 10%, and our real estate market in Philadelphia ferry was down 30%. And I can attribute that to my virtual admin, keeping me on track with everything.

Mike Swenson
Welcome to the REL Freedom show, where we inspire you to pursue your passion to gain time and financial freedom through opportunities real estate. I'm your host, Mike Swenson. Let's get some REL Freedom together. Hello, everybody. Welcome to another episode of REL Freedom, real estate Leverage Freedom, where we talk about helping people build time and financial freedom through opportunities in real estate. And today we're probably going to focus a lot on the time piece and being able to build solid, stable admin systems and how that can leverage you to be able to focus on more working on your business versus working in your business. So I'm your host, Mike Swenson. Today we've got Pam Butera here, and Pam has a lot of real estate experience, building and growing a team. And in addition to that, she's also a franchise owner for cyberbacker in the greater Philadelphia area and working with virtual assistants and helping people to really scale and grow their business and support their business through virtual assistants. We're going to have a wonderful discussion today. Pam, I'm so excited to have you on the show.

Pam Butera
Thank you. I'm just as excited to be here. I appreciate it.

00:01:27 - Mike Swenson
So tell us a little bit about your background in real estate, how you got started, and how your team has grown and evolved over time, and we'll go from there.

Pam Butera
So I come from a real estate family. My grandfather and my father were realtors, so it was pretty only natural that I'd go into real estate. It's been my only career. My first assistant was my mother. She was my assistant for 18 years. And so along the way, I had other assistants. And then a couple of years ago, I was introduced to the virtual admin virtual staffing idea, and I quickly embraced it, and I thought, my gosh, this is a phenomenal idea. Because of the admin was a fraction of the cost, and the efficiency was outstanding. I could not believe how much they could accomplish in a short amount of time. So that evolved into purchasing the franchise. When the owner of cyberbacker approached me to buy the local franchise in my area, in the greater Philly area, I jumped on it right away because I was so impressed with how cyberbecker was run that I thought to be able to spread that word and to help others grow their business, whether it be real estate, we work in all different industries. I thought it was a win win for the person here in the United States and our virtual admins who are in the Philippines.

Mike Swenson
So on your real estate business, you had your mom for quite some time. But for people that are looking at, maybe they haven't hired an admin yet, maybe they've started to hire an admin. They've had, like, sometimes it's one step forward, two steps back, two steps forward, one step back, but really trying to grow and scale, or even just have that stable back end admin support. Talk about that a little bit on your end. As far as the types of stuff that your admin has helped with and how that's kind of helped you grow.

Pam Butera
That'S a great question, because one of the things that was a real eye opener to me was a lot of the people that came to us had never had an admin. And I was just surprised by that, because my whole life, I had an admin my second year in the business, so it was just like second nature, and I never really gave it a lot of thought. So what I started to realize quickly was, as franchise owner, I have to sort of hold their hand and help the business owner. Really, most of them don't even have a procedures manual. So we have a 55 page procedures manual that we share with all of our clients. It's a Google Doc, so they can customize it to their needs, and it really helps them ramp up much faster because they don't know where to even start. They're like, what should their hours be? I mean, it was very basic. I was like, wow, okay. So we hold their hand, and I'm happy to do it, because it's really exciting for me to watch them go grow their business as a result of the leverage that they're getting from their virtual admin. And then what happens is they're like, I don't have enough to give them. They're accomplishing so much in, like, half a day. Pam, can you share ideas? What do you have your virtual admin do? So that was another aha for me. So we were on a Zoom call today with one of our clients, because, Pam, how did you grow your business last year? My real estate business grew last year by little, over 10%, and our real estate market in Philadelphia ferry was down 30%. And I can attribute that to my virtual admin keeping me on track with everything. So in our procedures manual, we have a marketing plan for the year, and she keeps me on schedule with that. So, like, this week, I have to film four videos, which is fine, because if she wasn't on my back about it, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't do it. I'm not really a big fan of video. However, I'm smart enough to know that it's really good for my business to grow and get more exposure. So that's how we've been able to help our clients. And one of the things that I promote when you sign up with Cyberbecker is you also get me to help you. Everybody has my cell number. Please feel free to call me at any time. The other day, I went to an office. I met with four of our clients, and we brainstormed. Like, I'm like, what are you guys doing? I threw out all sorts of ideas. Have you done the newsletter? Are you doing the videos? Are you using Capcut to film your video? Because they also have a teleprompter on it. This is something that my virtual admin introduced me to. I had no idea what Capcut was, and she knew I would have a hard time doing it. So we got on a Zoom call, and she's like, okay, Pam, press this button, hit that, do this, do this. And the next thing I know, I'm live filming a video. And it was actually very easy. One of the beautiful things that she also does is, since she knows that I may want to do a video when she's not around, she puts everything into our manual and gives. I have an instruction now on how to film that video in Capcot. That's one of the beautiful things that I find with our vas. They're very systematized, which I can't say I was always as systematized as I am now. But that's one of the things that, if you're struggling as a small business owner, a lot of our clients, their database is kind of in their phone, right? And so we have helped clients get their database into a CRM. Most of our clients didn't even have a CRM. So the VA researches the CRM. Depending on your business and your industry, what's the best CRM for you? What's your budget? Always keeping these things in mind. And if people are like me, I'm not into that. I'm a salesperson. So to do research is not my wheelhouse. So anything I do now, I say to my VA, can you research this? And then she comes back with all these options. So then things happen as a result of that. So that's where I tell our clients, where do you want to start? I'd start with your database. Because if you're like me, your database, it's a gold mine for you, right? That's where you get all your business from. And most of our clients, rather, are small business owners and their clients are their lifeline. So then our VA will organize their database, scrub it, get the correct email addresses, phone numbers. We have all sorts of resources to do that. Then we will help them with the procedures manual because I feel like that's the next best step. Like which systems do you want to implement? Do you have a marketing plan? If you don't have a marketing plan, fine, we can help you with that. And then it's like off to the races. Yeah.

Mike Swenson
You've touched on so many things that I wanted to chime in because for somebody, like you said, going back to the beginning of, I've never hired an admin before. In a lot of ways, I think we kind of start with mindset of they don't know what's possible and they don't know how much their business can really change and grow. So it might be, well, I don't want to go through the work of finding somebody and hiring somebody and what if it doesn't work out and what do we do? And so what am I going to do? I'm just going to not do anything, right. And so you can't get to better until you get started. And so you've got to at least start somewhere. And like you said, going back to this policies and procedures manual, there's so many things that a great admin can, virtual or otherwise, can really help accent your business and grow your business and allow you to focus on the things that you really need to do. Like you said, I know I need to do videos. I'm just going to do it in cap cut. They've already showed me how to do it. I just need to hit play or hit record, do what I need to do. And all this stuff that I wish I would have gotten done now is getting done versus feeling bad because I'm not doing the things that I think I should be doing in my business.

Pam Butera
And to get back to that video. What's even better is it's not always perfect, but my VA edits it, so then it's perfect. It's so beautiful. I would take me an entire day to do that.

Mike Swenson
So out of curiosity then, so that process now, so take coming up with the idea for a video to the video gets posted. What percentage of that whole role are you doing yourself and how much is the virtual assistant doing?

Pam Butera
She always comes up with the topics.

Mike Swenson
So you're basically just hitting record, talking about it. Minutes of maybe a couple of hour long process. You just get to plug and play and do it, and all of the rest gets done 100%.

Pam Butera
We had a Zoom call today at 11:00 and we filmed three videos. She had the scripts all out. I didn't even adjust any of it. So that was super simple, actually. I think they're already in my inbox, edited. I think I saw an email that said, hey, here are the videos from earlier today. I could be on here all day just explaining how much simpler and easier my life is, which I'm still selling real estate. The only reason and way I can still sell real estate and run this franchise is because of my va, because she takes so much off of my plate. I think I said to you when I first hired her, I felt guilty because I had so much free time, I couldn't even believe it. And my business was still thriving. It's not like I wasn't doing any business. So I quickly caught on, like, wow, she can do twice as much work in half the time. Because the majority of our vas, they're all based in the Philippines, we are opening a new division in Honduras because we have a strong demand for spanish speaking vas. So that's coming late spring, and the majority of them are college educated, and they come to work for cyberbecker because our pay grade is so high. And they get to work from home. And a lot of the Filipinos have a multi generational lifestyle, meaning, like, they live with their family, they live with their parents, brothers, and sisters, so they all support each other. So being at home is important to them to help out. But I should also make sure your audience knows that they work our business hours. I'm on the east coast, and my VA works from nine to five.

Mike Swenson
So we think about being stateside, right? Like, working in a way that is, you think about admin staff out there, right? A lot of them do want to work remotely. A lot of them want to work, not have it interrupt their life too much if the working from home is really important to them. So this is now providing the work life balance that they're looking for in that type of role. And then two, because they're working with other folks as part of a larger company, they don't feel like they're on an island as much. There's more support, there's more networking opportunities as an admin, because I know as an admin, for me, sometimes you feel alone on an island of like, how do I help someone? I don't have answers, but they can go to other people for answers to their questions because they're part of a larger network of people.

Pam Butera
And I'm actually really glad you brought that up because that is one of the things that I found is a huge advantage and a benefit to us as the clients because they have this huge network. There are almost 4000 cyberbackers working for clients here in the US. So they have their own network. They use slack to communicate. Because one of the things that I always found when you work with an admin is that they shouldn't come to you to ask for the answers for the task you just asked them to do. That kind of always defeated the purpose. I'm like, well, wait, if I'm telling you how to do know, I might as well just do it myself kind of thing. So that's why cyberbacker, I believe, is such a success. Because they have that community. They also communicate via Facebook. They have what we call their bosses are called headbackers. Their headbackers are a resource for them too, if they don't know how to do something. There's a Cyberbucker university. Every month there are over 40 classes that a cyberbacker can attend. And for example, my cyberbucker designed a new website for me last fall. And of course, what do you want to do with a website? You want to get better SEO. So she took a class at the Cyberbecker university and now not only are we getting better SEO with our website, but our listings. She learned how to do geotagging. She learned all these things. So our listings are getting more exposure. It's just an amazing process. And the one thing that I find too, that most of our cyberbackers really want to learn and they want to engage and they want to help you grow your business. So it's a win win on so many different levels.

Mike Swenson
Yeah, I totally echo your thoughts of as an admin coming to you for help. That's really not your sweet spot. Nor would, you know, all the back end systems, like if you hadn't picked a database or you don't like researching databases, like, how are you going to know how to set something up in a database, right? So even as admin myself, in my past life as an admin ops person, we reached out to other admin and ops people within our network or within people that we knew to find out, like, oh, how are you using this database? If I knew somebody that was using the same database as me, like, oh, how did you set that up? Or somebody that was working on a newsletter? You find out somebody else who's doing a newsletter similar to that. So it's like you can go solve your own problems without having to go to your rainmaker to ask for help. But that's kind of when you know you've got somebody that can really help multiply your impact is they can go find those answers in their own networks. Not having to go back to the rainmaker and say, help, I don't know how to do this.

Pam Butera
Exactly. One thing. I should also let your audience know that we have full time and part time admins. So our full time admins are 40 hours a week and the part time are 20 hours a week. And it's at a tremendous reduced cost of an in person admin locally. Now, I also do want to share that we also have a lot of clients that have in person admins and have cyberbeckers that basically enhance the work of their in person admin. So that can be a real win also.

Mike Swenson
Yeah, I think going through the process of talking to people about how they set up the support can open up some of those doors, because like you said, yeah, to your point, if you want an admin to be able to go run errands in person, or have to do stuff in person, go pick up a lockbox, right. That can't be done by somebody that's not there, but yet there's a lot of stuff that can. And so you're finding that balance. You're kind of putting together your own pie based on how you want to structure it. But like you said, there's so many things that you'd never got to or wanted to get to that now are just happening. They're on autopilot because you have that support. And so, yeah, I totally get, there's a lot of people that might be listening to this saying, but, yeah, what about this one thing that I need done in person? We can find somebody that can do that in person. But this opens up the doors to so many things that you didn't think were possible to be able to leverage your business to the point where, like you, you're running a real estate team that grew their business year over year in a market where most people lost business. And now you're taking time as a franchisee for this company in addition to your running your own business, real estate.

Mike Swenson
You had said that you're branching outside of real estate into some other areas of opportunity using cyberbacker. What's that look like?

Pam Butera
I'm loving doing the cyberbacker and promoting that locally in my area. One of the things that I've helped so many of my clients, and one of them just bought a property today, is going into the business of renovating properties because I saw a good one today. I'm like, oh. Because we have a client that has a property management business and she has seven cyberbuckers that run that business. I think she has 300 doors that they manage because there, again, that's not my strong suit. But I could get a cyberbacker to manage properties because I have some other properties too, and I'm thinking I have such an eye for that and I also know how to fix up a house. So that's kind of where my head's going now, that perhaps I'll pursue that at some point. But my real passion right now really is the virtual admin cyber record business, because I know the potential and I know how it can help us grow. If you're a small business, to me, it's a slam dunk. It's a no brainer if you've been looking to get an admin, because I don't know if you can ever really get to the next level by yourself. It never worked for me. I always needed to call in other people to help me. And that's why I feel another advantage is we're going to set you up with the procedures manual to help ramp you up faster. I'm an asset to you. I'm available. My cyberbacker, she does trainings with other cyberbackers, like our clients. They're like, Pam, we're struggling with this. We just don't have the time. Can your cyberbacker train ours? And we love to do that. And then what happens is now my clients and their cyberbuckers, they're forming their own network now, which I think is really cool. And they're all chatting amongst themselves to help each other, which is great.

Mike Swenson
Yeah, it's really cool to hear. Most people are just getting bogged down working on their business, and you're looking up saying, like, what else can I do with this? What else can I do with this support that I have? So if somebody's listening to this, maybe you're feeling overwhelmed, or maybe you're not thinking, like, how do I get the support that I actually need? You're a great resource for that. To hopefully open up their eyes to opportunities they never thought were possible and for less than probably what they thought it was going to cost them.

Pam Butera
That's the part that I don't know why everybody doesn't have one. That was a real eye opener for me. My accountant, the first year I had one, he's like, so what did you do? He's like, oh, my gosh, your net was like incredible this year. Well, I hired a virtual admin, and he's like, what's that? I said, funny you should ask, because I feel like an accountant. I know that they have a lot of private information, but I know there is certain data entry that a virtual admin could do for them on a regular basis.

Mike Swenson
So, Pam, thank you so much for coming on and sharing and talking about how much leverage has really opened up doors for you and future opportunities. How can people get a hold of you or chat with you more if they want to learn more?

Pam Butera
So my cell number is best. It's 215-205-8130 our website is virtual leverage solutions with an S on the end, virtual leverage solutions. And then you can reach us via email there, too. Pam at Butera group, we really appreciate.

Mike Swenson
You sharing with everybody. Absolutely.



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