Bill Perkins joined me on The James Quandahl Show and challenged me to start spending money to buy time.
I need to be outsourcing more in my life... I do things that other people could be doing for me and I could be providing a valuable job or opportunity instead of doing it myself. I could then free up time to pursue other interests such as staring at clouds, walking in the park, or swimming with dolphins.
1. Podcast editing
I recently started editing my own podcast... After having an editor for the first 40+ episodes... This makes publishing one podcast episode take 5+ hours:
1.5 hours to record
30 minutes to fix cross talk and equalize sound
2 more hours to listen to the audio and cut redundant mhms, uhs, you knows, like like like, etc and other pointless conversation that doesn't benefit the listener very much.
.5-1 hour to publish on Captivate, create images, put in newsletter, post on social media, etc
I could record two more episodes with the extra time if I hired help again.
Or I could focus on video for my podcast and help it grow... Or I could go read another book. But instead I'm sitting here cutting f bombs from the audio.
2. Booking travel
I'm the best in the world at picking the least expensive flights, finding the coolest and most rare find on AirBNB, and scouting the most rental car you can get for the money.
I'm also an expert and finding neat places to visit, explore, and taste while in a foreign location... After all I once was paid for a while to put together home schooling plans for a family that traveled internationally, but that is another story.
But how much time will I spend finding lodging, etc for a trip to Podcast Movement this fall or to Natural Products Expo East... WAY TOO MUCH!
3. Planning my workouts
I take pride in knowing how to workout my body and get the most from a workout session. But oftentimes repeat the same workouts over and over again. Imagine if I had a trainer for working out like I do for tennis or chess? They would be paid to keep me in the best shape of my life. I just have to do what they say and not think about it.
Why do I spend so much energy thinking about things that I could pay someone else to stay on top of for me? Then I could do what I do best...
Which is what exactly? What is my tip of the spear? What do I do that no one else can do... Sometimes the reason we don't outsource may be because we don't have anything better to be doing with our time?
My time isn't that valuable, so I might as well clean my own toilets, take out my trash, and go grocery shopping.
But is that true?
4. Writing thank you notes and birthday cards
Not sure how I feel about this one... I love writing a hand written thank you note or birthday card to a loved one. But would if I recorded a 30 second voice memo and sent it to someone else and they handled writing the note, applying a stamp and writing the address, and dropping it off in the mail maybe I'd send more cards? Hmm...
5. Researching the best price for whatever I'm buying
Call me cheap, frugal, or thrift and you're probably right on all three.
Sometimes I'll spend hours to save 15-20% on a $200 belt or wallet.
It makes me feel good to know I got the best price and that I was able to email customer service or send the company a DM on Instagram to get it. I've done this three times in the past week!
Here's how I did it:
I've been gaining a little weight, so I need new khakis, so I sent this message to the awesome USA made brand Jack Donnelly, "Hey there, Gregg! Any plans on having a sale soon? I've gained a little weight and need to replaced my pants and get a blue and a khaki slim in size 31!" His reply? "Hey James! Nothing official, but happy to get a discount code. I’ll send this evening when back at my desk."
Bam I just saved $40.00 with one message. And I feel great and loved and respected as a loyal customer.
And this one to Lotuff where I'm getting a new slim Made in America wallet to replace my big honking wallet, "I've been on the list this entire time and only spotted free monogramming codes.. I'm ready to buy a wallet and have received the swatches-- any way you can extend a 15% or 20% coupon for a first time buyer, please? Thank you!" and their reply? "Hi James, feel free to use code NEW10 at checkout for 10% off your first order!"
BAM! Just saved like $15 bucks!
And finally this one for a new hand crafted belt... Not sure why I'm on a style kick lately, maybe because I just got back from Europe and realized my wardrobe is sadly out of date and falling apart... But it makes my point! "Hi there, I was looking at belts at http://lotuffleather.com but then I discovered your site.. I see a place to enter a discount code on your shopping cart-- do you have a discount for a first time buyer, please? Thanks!"
Their reply? "Hi James. Try sm10% :-)"
Moral of the story... Don't be afraid to ask for a discount. I almost always do. I actually have a policy for any e-commerce company I start that if someone asks for a discount to provide a 15% off code no questions asked. Why? Because there is price conscious customers out there like me that feel better and have less buyer's remorse when they get a little discount. Why not bake it into your plan and account for it?
I spent so much time getting these little $20 and $40 dollar discounts that could easily be outsourced or abandoned all together and instead focus on getting one more client that would pay for a lifetime of belts... Full price. Ha!
6. Social media
How important is it to be active on social media if you are trying to build a company, brand, etc?
I'm not great at it... I like to use Twitter occasionally and Instagram is the platform I'm most comfortable with. But I'll go months without posting on either.
There are people who LOVE social media and could either write a strategy for me to follow or they can force me to make the content I need to make for whichever platform I'm trying to reach an audience on.
I'm not sure... I wrote this message to a friend recently, "Keep on keeping on. Long form content that has a long shelf life will win in the long run, IMO. Podcasts, blogs, videos, webinars... Look at [name removed because who cares!], not that great on social, but epic long-form engagement with a huge back catalog. Some of my blog posts from two years ago are starting to hit first page of Google and bringing me traffic, and I thought they were dead. Social media is a beast that must be fed... DAILY."
I also wrote a long post about why social media is bad... Talk about screen less Sundays where there's no social media.
But businesses and personal brands need social media because that is where the people are... Right?
Probably something I could outsource. I dunno. Any TikTok experts out there that will help me convert my message to that platform?
I'm convinced you could grow a brand just by choosing one platform and sticking with it for a while and being consistent. But I haven't been able to prove it myself.
7. Running errands
When looking for a virtual assistant or a personal assistant I keep falling back to thinking someone in my town is the better choice. Sure I can hire someone for $1,500 per month in another country and they'd be well paid in their country and have amazing skills. But wouldn't it be nice to have someone local that could go to the post office for me, pick up yogurt at Kroger, mail my James Quandahl Swag bags at the UPS store, return items to the store that we don't want, etc?
Could you take that $1,500 and pay someone locally for $25/hour 15 hours per week to do random chores for you. Most likely, yes. And you'd be providing a decent and fun gig to someone that may not be able to work a full-time job or not want to... Would be a great gig for a retired person wanting a little extra income and to stay busy. Or a mom or dad that is raising children and running these errands anyway.
I think I'm more of a fan of the local person. Or maybe I need both. I'll just do neither because who can train someone which yogurt to buy anyway? (and this is the type of excuse I made that Bill roasted me for, but I'll keep making it anyway)
8. Business tasks
Speaking of the personal tasks above-- there are dozens of business tasks I could easily hand off to someone if I tried.
I've been recording five minute video analysis of brands on Amazon to teach people how to sell more: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjd-642hN8AdCENh-iIqPLg Could I have someone take these vidoes and send them to the leaders of these companies and maybe get 1 new client for every 20 videos? Probably... Feels too impersonal to me, I love to build long relationships and then offer my services. But it is probably not efficient and there is probably a middle ground.
Writing copy... I'm not the best person to be writing product page copy, but I do it anyway. Maybe I should follow up with that copywriter I saw on Linkedin that is looking for freelance work. But I tell myself, "Will they know this category? Will they do it as well as me? Will they know how Amazon works and what doesn't work?" All trainable.... But still I do it anyway.
Managing inventory for my clients and doing their advertising. Both of these are big parts of my business that I could hand off to someone. After my podcast with Bill I did contact a friend that I taught how to manage Amazon inventory years ago... Asking if he'd like a part-time job. If I can hand some of these tasks off it will create space in my brain for new tasks or selling my services to new brands... Or inventing better ways to serve my customers. Instead of pressing buttons myself.
I also scheduled a call with an advertising automation company to take my advertising for my clients to another level. We'll still manage the advertising, but we'll have more data and automation. Wow! A method to save me time and improve the quality of the product for my clients at no extra cost to them... Win-win, baby!
I used to manage a team of 100 employees. And I was good at it! Why am I afraid to outsource? I think I don't have competency to manage people remotely. When I had 100 employees I saw their eyes and the work they were doing each day. I knew if they were doing a great job. It is a bit harder to do this in the remote world, so I do everything myself. Not great.
9. Researching what to buy
Starting to sweat now... It's getting harder to pick what I should be thinking of outsourcing.
This idea is similar to #5... But I spend even more time on it.
The amount of time I spent to pick the best mattress would shock you.
Or to find the best coffee, the best salmon, chicken, shrimp, shoes, laptop, podcasting setup, video camera, desk, cheese knives, leather cleaner for my couch, kettlebells, you name it.
I always want to find the best product that is the most durable. And this usually means finding a diamond in the rough. Because most stuff is mass produced and won't last more than a year or two.
Seriously. The time and energy I put into finding stuff really would shock you. But I have found some amazing products from small companies doing things the right way... The old fashioned way. Made to last, with the finest quality ingredients, and made with expert craftsmen, not crappy robots.
But could I pay someone to do the majority of the work for me and I just pick from three options? I always like three options. If you are going to pitch me on something given me three options. I think most people like to feel like they have a choice, so always offer more than one.. two isn't enough, four is too many, three is perfect.
Still... I'm not sure I would trust their research. Sadly, but I have never "ran the experiment" as Bill said to me. How would I know if I haven't tried?
10. I don't love this one... Outsource reading/podcasts
I spend a lot of time reading and listening to podcasts. I don't think I ever would do this, but I could... I could continue to read the same amount I do now (which is 1-2 books per week), but with all the free time I have by doing 1-9 above instead of reading more I could listen to summaries or read summaries of additional books from other fields. Then if I love the summary I could read the whole book-- or just expand my knowledge with new stuff from other fields that I maybe would never get to.
I don't know. I don't like when someone tells me what is important in a book. What I find is important is usually not what someone else would.