Every FoundersCard member not already outsourcing needs to start right after reading this. No excuse. You are spending a massive amount of time on tasks you can delegate. The cost is so low you will think there’s an error on your statement in your favor, and as Members, we have access to awesome outsourcing resources. They each serve a different purpose and make my life insanely easier. Without outsourcing I don’t know how all the work would get done. I have so many events I need to attend and speaking engagements I participate in, it leaves me with limited time to sit at a computer and type away for hours on end, nor should I be spending my time that way. With my team of outsourced assistants I wake up to emails with full projects completed. I even outsource my love life. So much better than chatting back and forth with random online strangers I may never meet, saves me hours.
I think the biggest reason why people are afraid to outsource is because… well two reasons, one they don’t know what to outsource and two, they think outsourcing means someone in India will be doing the work. So I am writing this to clear the air. Yes there are outsourced workers, (also known as virtual assistants), based everywhere around the globe including the US. I’ve been outsourcing since my early 20s before Tim Ferriss made it mainstream. I wrote a step by step guide on how to outsource using ODesk, but there are many popular outsourcing solutions that I use. I work with people in India, Philippines, and Ukraine, in addition to my US teammates. We’ll focus on the ones Founders Card offers since those are all based in the US. Let’s begin…
For physical errands, office organization and house chores I turn to TaskRabbit. TaskRabbit is great because I can peruse all the assistants profiles and check their rating to find the person I think is best to get my specific job done. I create a task using their dashboard. I can either suggest an hourly rate or the “TaskRabbits” can bid by the project and I select the price I like best. There are many options from keeping my tasks private and inviting the TR I select to exclusively view my job descriptions or opening them up for all the TRs to bid. I’ve also used TaskRabbit to hire someone to do research and spreadsheet work for me, but I default to TR for physical tasks local to me more than remote office work. One time I had a TR take me on a tour of San Francisco when I flew into the city for the day. It was an incredible experience, better than a professional tour guide. FC member Vanessa Camones, CEO of TheMixAgency even hired a full time in person assistant using TaskRabbit and absolutely raves about their quality of work and dedication. Richard Branson says rather than the perfect business tool, he values a brilliant personal assistant.
Tasks I have assigned: home organization, tour of san francisco, office filing
For virtual assistance helping me with short tasks, research, scheduling and reservations I turn to FancyHands. I can’t talk about FancyHands without mentioning how absolutely incredible their dashboard is. They really understand how to properly track task progress so that we as clients have all our questions answered without having to ask. I can assign tasks via email, phone or dashboard. Very very easy. With this service you have multiple assistants, they pick up the tasks you assign, so you can’t plan on having the same person doing your job each time. FancyHands integrates with Google Calendar and various project management tools like Asana, Evernote and Basecamp so that you can simply authorize access rather than share private passwords. Each job is limited to 20 minutes. So if I have a task that takes longer than that to complete I need to assign it again and the next person continues where the last person left off. Our fellow FC member Aaron Boerger, owner of DVI360 says that they also have an incredible iPhone app. Unfortunately I’m an Android user so I have yet to experience it’s glory.
Tasks I have assigned: Research events, plan my birthday, find out how to heal knee pain, tons of scheduling, create templates, edit photos, edit logo, data entry, get shoes repaired, research case studies, research statistics, write overviews, give video feedback for my website using video, find merchandise, shopping, call clients and the list goes on…
The biggest challenge to effectively outsource is being able to clearly write out instructions. This is what I think leaves people who do dabble with outsourcing disgruntled. How I phrase and put together my instructions is where the majority of my time should be and is spent. Regularly I write out tasks step by step ‘1,2,3…’ and test it out myself to make sure I am not missing anything. If there is a spreadsheet involved I include the link or attachment right there with the project instructions so everything is in one place. I carefully title my task subject line so it is clear what type of project the worker will be dealing with. More times than not I also create a screencast using Snag it (very simple to use) showing a video visual of the instructions to compliment the ‘1,2,3s’ so there is absolutely no confusion.
One powerful option for outsourcing is delegating your work to business software. This is where my heart flutters as it’s what my company SaveBusinessTime specializes in, curating the best of the best business software. Most people don’t think of business tools like Evernote and Lastpass when they think of outsourcing. The concept of outsourcing means delegating to someone outside of yourself to get a job done. So that can be a person or business tool. For instance. I am not a designer. Creating decent looking design whether it be a website, logo or business card actually really frustrates me because I don’t know how to use photoshop and even if I did I am not an artist. I am not a master of how design effects sales. Often times I find myself browsing the site Which Test Won to discover the design tactics proven to be most effective. So when a company like LeadPages comes along with pre-designed successful landing pages already proven to convert I jump on the opportunity to use it. With FoundersCard I used our MooCards benefit to create awesome business cards, Moo took care of the design. I used our MailChimp benefit to create awesome emails for my newsletters, MailChimp took care of the design. We have amazing benefits for 99designs and CrowdSpring where we can have tons of designers compete to deliver the best design for our logo, website, brochure, whatever it is we need designed. Bottom line, these business tools save me time and make my life easier so I can reach my goals faster.
Tasks I have delegated to a business tools: photo editing, spreadsheets, social sharing, data entry, audio recording, transcription, bookkeeping, remembering passwords, analytics and the list goes on….
Knowing how to outsource makes it possible for me to focus on the tasks I do enjoy spending my time on, it reduces the cost of needing to have an in-house salaried team, it makes it possible for my work to be done by the time I wake up and it lets me be in multiple places at once. Using a combination of a remote team and business tools streamlines my business life so that I can grow my business rather than merely maintain it.
ABOUT ESPREE: Espree Devora is known as “the Girl who Gets it Done”. She has provided seminars in interactive content and social media to many corporations and universities including Georgetown MBA and USC Executive MBA. She started her first online company at the start of college and fell in love with the startup culture. Most recently she created SaveBusinessTime.com, a curated site of the best business software for startups to get things done faster. In addition to being an entrepreneur she is passionate about being a journalist for TechZulu, a media hub reporting on the growth of start ups and innovations in technology. She can be found on Twitter at: @EspreeDevora. Espree has been a FoundersCard Member since 2012.
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