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Insights for Entrepreneurs

Do Tasks You Love, Outsource Those You Don’t

Time is an entrepreneur’s most valuable asset.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs like to have their fingers in every aspect of their companies, but at some point, there’s just not enough time to fit every task in.

If you find yourself in a crunch, there’s only one thing you can do — move tasks off of your plate. If you’re stressed and overloaded, how are you going to focus on what’s best for the business?

You should do tasks you love, and outsource those you don’t, but which tasks can you hand over?

1. Scheduling

Scheduling is easy when you have a quick phone call or two, but when you have 20 meetings with investors, business partners, and prospects, picking out times and places for meetings can take hours of emails.

Consider hiring a personal assistant. If you don’t need someone fulltime, look to companies like Taskbullet or Zirtual, which provide virtual assistants to help you out.

2. Writing and Blogging

Not a writer? No problem. Just like you hire developers to handle all of your heavy programming, you can also hire a great writer.

You can even hire a ghostwriter to write on your behalf. Worried they won’t sound like you? Fear not—a good ghostwriter will spend time interviewing you to understand your core messaging, persona, likes, dislikes, and style.

Looking for writers? Seek out referrals from professional connections or check out platforms like Elance and Contently.

3. Mailing Packages

Don’t want to stand in the line at the post office? No one does, and that’s because it’s a waste of time. You should be spending time connecting with investors, building your product, or researching your customers — not packing, sticking labels on boxes, and running to buy stamps.

Reach out to someone at TaskRabbit to take care of your mailings for you, or create a FedEx or UPS account so that they’ll come by when you call. Invest in a Pitney Bowes postage machine or get a Stamps.com account so it’s easy to send from your office.

4. Accounting and Payroll

As your business begins to scale, you’ll need to invest more time in maintaining the books, and this process can be a major pain-point.

You can start by finding self-serve software solutions to accommodate payroll and taxes, but when that’s not enough, it might be time to reach out to your local CPA. An accountant lives and breathes in the books — whatever you can do, they can do faster and better.

5. Data Entry

Need to collect and process user data? Want to get out there and do some research?

Don’t do it yourself — hire an intern or find a freelancer on Elance.

Technology is an amazing resource for hiring contractors for gigs, so you quit doing data collection on your own. The minute you find yourself clicking keys on a keyboard over and over, start looking for a contractor instead. You’ll save tons of time.

6. Waiting in Lines

Need to wake up early to stand in line at the DMV? If you’re running a business, “waiting around” means “losing time.” Believe it or not, you can find someone on Exec or Craigslist to wait in line for you. If there are a thousand tasks you need to get done, paying someone to wait in line will be worth the cost.

Use the hour of saved time to finish up a project, relax, exercise, cook dinner, or answer backlogged emails.

7. Cleaning

Is your house or office a mess? It’s easy to let neatness fall by the wayside when you’re busy with business, but it’s easier to be productive when things are tidy.

Thankfully, professional cleaning services are excellent, and they don’t break the bank. Your time is too valuable to spend vacuuming. A professional will do a much better job — and, you guessed it, they’ll do it faster.

You’ll feel refreshed and able to tackle the biggest of projects if your home and work environments are clean, fresh, and bright.

8. IT and Technology Set-Up

Wondering the best way to set up your network, WiFi, and printer? If you’re finding yourself tangled in wires, you might have a problem. You could spend hours trying to learn how to set everything up — or you can hire experts to do it fast and right.

Find an organization or software solutions that provides excellent tech support, and never waste time troubleshooting a tech emergency again.

Outsource Anything Tedious

You need to focus on the big picture (costs and revenue) to grow your company. If you’re hung up on the minutiae (data collection, direct mailings, quality control, and social media updates), you’ll inevitably hold your company back.

Time is your most important resource, so start treating it that way. Start outsourcing the little things so you can get more done.

What tasks do you outsource? Are there any that you insist on doing yourself, even though they’re time consuming?