It’s happening again. Your to-do list is massive—and it keeps growing. It’s a monster. But you can’t just run and hide under your covers or lock it away in your closet and cross your fingers that it doesn’t bust down the door. Because it will, piece by piece. So instead of helplessly watching its shadow get bigger and bigger, call in backup.
When your agenda or responsibilities intimidate you, it’s sometimes hard to see how to remedy the daunting situation. It’s time to delegate the smaller but time-consuming tasks and the things that someone else is probably better at doing anyway. We asked the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), “What’s the most obvious—but overlooked—thing a busy entrepreneur can cheaply outsource?” These are their suggestions to kick that monster out from under your bed:
1. The B-List
You know that stack of projects you’ve been meaning to tackle for the past few years? The one you just never got around to? That’s the project B-List and a perfect one to outsource. You want to get it done, but obviously it never merits your full and exclusive attention. So outsource it and feel better about yourself when someone else does it for you.
—Nicolas Gremion, Free-eBooks.net
This might sound crazy, but I have our outsourced community manager set aside two hours per month to “worry” about the latest social media tools, the ever-changing Google algorithm and industry trends. I can barely keep up on the latest, so once per month she “worries” by researching and updating our procedures so I don’t have to.
—Vanessa Van Edwards, Science of People
3. Content Creation
There are a lot of skilled freelance writers out there who can create excellent content for your website. Entrepreneurs can measure the ROI on this content by analyzing the traffic the content generates, and what the content does for the business.
—Brett Farmiloe, Markitors
4. Researching Meetings
I delegate the search for executives to meet with. Constantly meeting with influential people is one of the most impactful things you can do. But finding executives by industry, geography or otherwise can be outsourced and easily automated so that you can continually spend time in high-impact meetings.
—Brennan White, Cortex
About five years ago, I hired a virtual admin on oDesk to help me with my email so that I wouldn’t spend all my time in my inbox. She has been working with me full time since. She is able to identify urgent items that require my immediate attention and batch non-urgent emails into a daily update for my follow-up, ranked in order of importance.
—Nick Friedman, College Hunks Hauling Junk
6. Reading and Podcasts
The volume of good information seems to never end, so having somebody summarize the actionable bullet points from relevant books, articles, newsletters, blog posts and podcasts is a huge time-saver. A good assistant (virtual or otherwise) can handle this task almost immediately. Services like Blinklist and Summary.com provide best-selling book summaries.
—Matt Knee, MyNewCompany.com, Inc.
7. Website Testing
I think of all the great services to come out over the last few years, UserTesting.com is my favorite. I have participated as both a tester and a testee. Having an outside perspective on your app or website proves to be invaluable. We are in a bubble with our own products, and getting an opinion from your target user can expose an issue that was previously invisible to you.
—Adam Stillman, SparkReel
8. Social Media
Managing profiles for yourself and your business can be time consuming, but if you don’t put enough energy behind social media, your efforts will be altogether ineffective. Make goals for your social media strategy, draft up plans and sample content, then find a smart partner for outsourcing.
—Heather Schwarz-Lopes, EarlyShares
Every business needs graphics. We found that we can increase our productivity and graphic turnover with a little help from an outsourced company, one that can dedicate a team to handle graphic projects, increasing efficiency and lowering expenses. Even if you have a graphics department on staff, there are plenty of remedial tasks that can be outsourced at a much cheaper wage.
—Will Land, Accessory Export, LLC
10. Compiling Lead Lists
Entrepreneurs should focus on documenting and tracking the successful processes for finding the best leads and then outsource the list-building to create the contacts of top customer prospects. You’ll then have more time to develop a sales playbook and presentation materials, and design and execute lead-generation campaigns to secure clients.
—Ryan Stoner, ryanstoner.com
Entrepreneurs are can-do people. Do-it-yourselfers. You make it happen. But sometimes that attitude can backfire. Find out the who, what and how of outsourcing—so you can let go and do your best work.
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprising the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.