Want to save time? – Try outsourcing tasks

Working on the Beach
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I have a full-time job that requires a lot of traveling, own a Website Development business, and I run this blog.  It’s no wonder people tell me I work hard.  But I don’t work hard!  I do work smart by saving time outsourcing.  You can do the same too and here’s how.

Using virtual assistants

You can outsource lots of routine administrative tasks to a virtual assistant.   Some examples of these are: checking and responding to emails, creating reports, proofreading documents, graphic design, managing your business Facebook page and sending quotations to customers. There are plenty of the things virtual assistants can do, but you do need to look at your requirements and find a virtual assistant that meets your needs.  For example, you don’t want a virtual assistant based in India making telephone calls for you to North America. But a virtual assistant in India is great at producing reports and checking Email.  And because of the time change they can work while you’re asleep. Two great virtual assistants that I’ve used are My Tasker https://mytasker.com/ and U Assist Me https://uassistme.co/.

For short-term administrative jobs, I found Up Work https://www.upwork.com, formally known as Odesk, to be the best.  I’ve used Up Work to find people to help me build websites, design parts and translate documents.

For short term and small jobs, Fiverr https://www.fiverr.com/ works well. I’ve used Fiverr for proofreading, creating website content and logo design.   I used a logo designer I found on Fiverr to create the logo for this site.  I reviewed a handful of designers, picked one I liked and gave him my requirements, six hours later I had a logo.  As you can guess, it only cost $5 plus the tip.

 

General tasks at home

For tasks I need doing at home, I find Task Rabbit https://www.taskrabbit.com/ is a great place to find local help. I use Task Rabbit for tasks I don’t have time for, the tools for, or when I’m traveling.  Although I don’t use Task Rabbit that much, I have found them useful for finding someone to do yard work and to fix a plumbing problem while I was away on a business trip. Recently I use Task Rabbit to find someone to clean the kitchen while my wife was away.  Task Rabbit works by selecting a category of tasks, in my case cleaning; then a subcategory: kitchen cleaning; then you start filling out your requirements.  Task rabbit then finds a match of perspectives to do the work.

 

Use online mailing services

Postman with letterWhen I was the secretary of our Homeowners Association, I was tasked with creating a newsletter and ensuring it gets out to all 81 homes in our neighborhood.  I sent the notes I took at our meeting to my virtual assistant.  I asked her to create the newsletter from my notes.  When she finished the newsletter, she sent it back for some final edits and tweaking. I then used a service called Click-2-Mail https://click2mail.com/ to print, fold and mail the newsletter to all 81 homes in our neighborhood.  Except for attending the board meeting, I was out of town on the business trip while my VA was creating the newsletter, and Click-2-Mail were printing and mailing it.  Using the two together this way saved me a lot of time and cost me little.  Click-2-Mail charged me $49 including mailing. If I did this myself, it would have cost me that much in ink for printing plus the time in folding and posting.

Another time-saving service I use especially at Christmas time is the CardStore http://www.cardstore.com/.  Unless you resorted to the new ultra-modern way of sending electronic Christmas cards, writing each card out and putting it in an envelope to mail is very time-consuming.   I only spend about 30 minutes each year doing my Christmas cards using the CardStore. The CardStore already has my address book, all I need to do is pick a Christmas card, write a small personal message and select the recipients.  The CardStore does the rest.  I also use the CardStore to send birthday cards, congratulation cards and thank you cards.  Sending one card at a time costs me on average $3.75 and takes only five minutes.  Around major holidays cards are on sale for as low as 49 cents each.

On the odd occasion, I need to write and post letters; I use one of two services. Mail A Letter http://www.mailaletter.com/ and PC2Paper https://www.pc2paper.co.uk/.

Mail A Letter is U.S. based and a pay as you go service. You can write your letter online or upload a PDF, Word document or text file. I prefer to write my letters in Word because I can add my signature as a graphic to the bottom of the document, then upload it for mailing to the Mail A Letter website.  Once uploaded, I type in the name and address of the person I’m sending the letter too and my return address.  I then pay for printing and postage from my pre-paid MailBank account. Mailing a letter using Mail A Letter starts at $1.52 for U.S. Domestic, this includes the printout and the envelope.

PC2Paper is U.K. based but has a U.S. mailing center.  PC2Mail came in very handy a couple of years ago in dealing with my mother’s estate after her passing.  They saved me both time and money as I didn’t need to send mail internationally to the U.K.  They are also pay as you go but in British pounds. One very nice feature with this service is they offer a printer driver for their users.  After installing the driver and you’re ready to mail your document, you select PC2Paper as your printer. Fill out the recipient information and class of service.  Sending a letter through PC2Paper starts at £0.87 or $1.25 at the exchange rate at the time of this writing.

 

Use a dictation to transcription service

Doctor DicatingSave time by using a dictation transcription service. I’ve used both CopyTalk  https://www.copytalk.com and Talk Scribe  http://www.talkscribe.com dictation services.  Currently, I’m using Talk Scribe for dictating notes while still in the car after visiting customers.  CopyTalk and Talk Scribe offer dictation transcription services by live people.  You can dictate an email, memo or reports using the dictation application on your phone. Then the application sends the recorded voice file to the service you are using. A live person, in a secure room, transcribes the recording and emails back the transcription along with the recorded file as an attachment.  Both services offer a turnaround of ten minutes or less for dictations of less than four minutes.  Any dictation longer than four minutes has a lower priority and takes longer.

CopyTalk offers its dictation app to its subscribers whereas TalkScribe recommends using NetMemo.  Here’s where the subtle differences between the two services start.  CopyTalk is priced at $79.95 per month and offers unlimited dictation transcription service.  Whereas TalkScribe offers tiered pricing based upon usage. For low-volume usage of fewer than 150 minutes per month, I recommend TalkScribe. Anything over 150 minutes per month then CopyTalk is the better choice.  Another difference between the two is that TalkScribe offers a voice mail telephone number to forward unanswered incoming calls.  When somebody calls this number and leaves a message, TalkScribe transcribes the voice mail message and sends it to you as an email. This service I use as it eliminates a message center I need to check. The best part of live person transcription is accuracy.  Okay, Google? Case and point!

 

At tax time, outsource to an accountant.

Most of us use online tax services to do our taxes at the end of the year. These online tax services may appear to be convenient by allowing you to do your taxes at home, but they are time-consuming.  It was taking me over a day to do my taxes using online services.  Most of this time was taken up by entering data, double-checking my entries against the paperwork, and answering all the questions the online software was asking of me.

Using an accountant does cost more, but the time savings are enormous.  Each year my accountant sends me an envelope and a checklist. I go through the list, put all my tax documents in the envelope and send it back to her.  Job done! Well not quite, I still have to sign the tax forms, but I saved a lot of time and frustration.

 

By using the above outsourcing services, I save a lot of time. You should try one of these services to see how much time you can save.  If you try one or have already used one of the above, share your experience by leaving a comment below.

Thanks for reading,

ColinR.

 


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About Colin Robinson 58 Articles
Colin works for a high technology equipment manufacture as a senior product manager. The majority of his time is spent traveling to visit clients and to teach them in using this hi-tech equipment. He has to keep up with the latest advances in computer technology and trends, and has spent over 30 years in his line of work traveling extensively. He is very passionate about sharing his knowledge and experiences with others. Read more at http://www.worksmartandtravel.com/colin-robinson/

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