Question: What odd jobs have you outsourced in order to increase your company's overall productivity?
Question by: Thomas
"Packing up a product and mailing it at the post office is ridiculously time consuming, especially when the package is going overseas (visa forms are no fun). I just pay an outsourced temp on TaskRabbit $10/hour to buy my envelopes and boxes, package up my products, and mail them at the post office. This saves me a dozen hours at least each week."
"When I first decided I wanted to start providing text transcriptions of my video interviews with entrepreneurs, I transcribed them myself. After a few interviews, I realized I could pay somebody to do it much quicker. This allowed me to devote my time to tasks I was quicker and better at."
Payroll Slows Productivity
"I outsourced payroll with my first company when I hired my third employee. Payroll is time-intensive, and keeping track of deductions, liabilities and tax payments can get cumbersome. Outsource payroll to a trusted automated service and you will gain hours of productivity each pay period."
Let Others Do the Data Mining
"Mining data for market research, PR, or sales purposes is one of the most important and most tedious tasks you will encounter. Always outsource tedious tasks, and focus on the creative projects and implementation side of your business."
Ship Out Logisitics
"After packaging tons of shirts ourselves in FedEx boxes and carrying them in suitcases and backpacks to the FedEx office, we realized we just didn't want to do it anymore. So, we started paying some of our best friends to do it, which turned out to be the least fulfilling job they had ever done. Finally, we decided to partner with a logistics company who handles all our shipping and handling."
Dry Cleaning and Laundromat
"As an entrepreneur juggling hundreds of tasks and responsibilities, it is essential to know where your time is best utilized. Running to the dry cleaners is time-consuming, and frankly, that time should be used where you are most valuable. I've therefore outsourced those tasks -- so should you."
Trade Show Marketing
"At trade shows you shouldn't be at your own booth; you should be at everyone else's booth, making relationships. I have outsourced "bodies" at several trade shows to man the booth, give the pitch and sign people up. Meanwhile, my time is freed up to make contacts and drive new business."
Dancing on Cue, If Necessary!
"The craziest thing I've ever had my assistant do is dance during a photo shoot! I was getting new pictures taken and the photographer wanted me to dance to capture more movement and energy. I felt too silly and self-concious dancing alone, so I asked her to stand behind the photographer and dance along with me! It worked and we got some great shots."
Virtual Assistants for Any Task?
"One of our franchise owners actually outsourced his online dating so that he could focus on his company's productivity. He hired a virtual assistant to act as himself by going online and setting up dates via the internet. The owner would then attend the dates, but he was able to avoid the time and effort spent leading up to the date online. He rewarded the virtual assistant with bonuses."
Security Stays Out
"I used to hire only in-house security guards for my bars, but the tedious search for the right guards and lengthy training process would cause nights where we were understaffed. Also, in-house guards were almost impossible to insure for assault and battery, so we outsourced to a security company to supply the guards, saving me a ton across the board."
"Well, not literally. But a smart and busy business owner who truly values their time should outsource as much as possible. Don't drive a package to the post office, don't build your own table from IKEA, don't take on responsibilities of payroll and HR, and don't try to learn how to make a website and do it yourself. Value your time, and find where your contribution has the highest ROI."
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.