Hard at work

Image via Death to Stock Photo

You’re an entrepreneur because you’re a doer–someone who gets the ball rolling.

Whether you’re running a team or launching a business (or both!), you’re juggling many things. You may think you can handle it, but let me assure you–you’ll drop something–if not in your business, then in your personal life.

And if I asked you, “Why are you working so hard?” You’d tell me, “Because if I didn’t, who would?”

What if I told you that you could get back your time and check off your to-do’s without lifting a finger?

Outsourcing can save you hours, and in the process help you grow your business. When biology blogger and entrepreneur Leslie Samuel first launched his online venture, even using the bathroom or eating a meal was an inconvenience. Then, he hit a breaking point. He walked away. The virtual processes he created generated revenue for him when he stepped out.

You can make those strides towards productivity now before you break.

Here are five common things you can cross off your list through outsourcing (and how to do it).

##Yes, You Can Automate That#

  1. Event panelist and attendee research - Use Amazon Mechanical Turk to find background information about the key people that you’ll meet at an upcoming conference (without breaking the bank).
  2. Information on industry trends - I’m experimenting with ‘Turkers’ to see if they can discover industry trends. They’re great for crunching data, so I expect this will return great results. I just need to be specific.
  3. Manage ad campaigns - A good friend, Jeremy Kagan, runs an agency called Pricing Engine. If you’ve got a social campaign but need someone else to manage it; they’re fantastic. They can cover the whole thing or just set up and manage AdWords a la carte.
  4. Find the best places to book travel reservations - Pana seamlessly books travel plans, including hotels, airlines, and restaurants. It remembers my preferences when I return to those cities. I recently met the founder, Devon Tivona, at a Google for Entrepreneurs event in SF. You can bet I’ll turn back to him and Pana the next time I visit the Bay Area.
  5. Order a last-minute gift - Did you forget a gift this holiday season? Too late. But next time, you’ve got FancyHands. If you can think of it, FH makes it happen–including finding back issues of magazines or booking and scheduling appointments. They’ll do everything short of inputting your credit card information. (Actually, they’ll do that too! And seamlessly bill you for the transaction).

##How To Automate It#

These are the easiest ways to stop sweating daily tasks.

###Discover Where Your Time Goes#

Understand where you spend your time. Set an alarm every 2 hours for a week and keep a journal to see what’s consuming your day.

Focus on building your business, not running it. Ask yourself, does this task require interpretation, strategy, or building relationships with key people? No? Take care of it remotely.

###Know What You Want#

Know what you want, and then have someone else find it. Magnesis Concierge is fantastic at restaurant research and booking, but don’t just say “find me a restaurant. Instead, say, “I like Lupa, find me something similar that has good vegetarian options.” The more specific you are, the better.

###Cross Examine Results#

With mTurk, throw the same data into a few streams. Cross-reference the results. Always look at the results before passing it on. Ultimately, you’re responsible it. If something looks off, it probably is. And if you’ve blindly forwarded bad material, it’s your fault.

Now that you’re on your way to being a virtual boss, tell me how it goes. Share in the comments how you’re automating the monotonous parts of your day.