By Josh Ledgard
Profits go to those who are always one step ahead. And the savvy business owner always stays one step ahead by systemizing and outsourcing tasks outside of their core competency. This allows them to focus intensely on what’s in front of them.
Zapier allows users to automate tasks between different online services. Instead of waiting around hoping that your favorite service will start working to integrate with other services, Zapier does that for you.
You start by setting up a “Zap”, which is essentially a rule that “if A happens, then do B”. WIth Zapier, you can automate over a dozen of KickoffLabs related events! For example, you can automatically send every KickoffLabs lead that comes in straight to Salesforce or a CRM like Highrise.
It’s a simple tool that can spare you time from doing repetitive tasks over and over again. Right now they boast integration with over 249 web services and offer a free plan for a limited number of Zaps and tasks per month.
If your business relies heavily on social media, this one is for you. Buffer helps you manage and automate (to an extent) your activity on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and App.net. I love it because I can dedicate half an hour a week and fill up a buffer of posts for our audience that goes through the next week..
People check social media at various times during the day, and Buffer lets you schedule your updates at the best times so the most people see, comment, like, and share your updates.
With their free plan, you can connect one account on each platform. With “The Awesome Plan”, you can link up to 12 different social profiles, and have unlimited posts/updates for just $10 a month. You can also add a user to have someone manage it for you, and you’ll get analytics and tracking capabilities to see how many tweets, shares and comments you get.
Elance and oDesk are the two large companies (or websites) that people go to for their freelancing/outsourcing needs.
A company or individual in need of a particular service posts a job description on the market, and contractors write detailed cover letters and bid for the job. After a round or two of interviewing, you sign the contract and it’s off to the races!
You can find almost anything you need, as the platforms are not geared to any service in particular. Contractors and companies are not qualified in advance, and although they do offer a level of protection for contractors and employers, there has been the occasional horror story, so make sure you do your due diligence. But if you proceed with caution you can probably find some great people to help with your project.
If you’re looking for a designer, check out 99designs.
What’s cool about 99designs is that once you launch a contest (i.e. project), you’ll get anywhere from 30 to 90 designs (maybe even 99!). We’ve used them for logo designs and to generate graphical banner ads based on the copy and dimensions required.
Once you have the designs in front of you, you pick the one you want, sign the contract to transfer the rights to the design, and that’s it!
They have 4 price levels (Bronze, Silver, Gold Platinum) depending on how much money you’re willing to spend.
FreeLancer is similar to Elance and oDesk. You post your project and people bid according to your budget and specifications.
We’ve used them in the past for a similar role to 99designs for graphic designs work. To date, they’ve had over 5,000,000 completed projects, and it doesn’t cost anything for an employer to post a job.
Fiverr is a fun website where you can hire people to do your bidding for just $5. Like oDesk and Elance, you could work with pretty much anyone on the internet. Services vary from professional voice overs, song recording, and pretty much everything you can imagine. You can even hire someone to spam a high a busy Starbucks with your flyers.
Pricing starts at $5, but you can buy extras and a “gig” can run up to $100.
VoiceBunny is another specialty service similar to 99designs, but with voice acting. If you hate listening to your recorded voice, hire someone to do it for you! They have thousands of voice actors with professional equipment ready for your advertisements, audiobooks, videos, and more.
They offer a full 100% guarantee (don’t pay unless you love it!) and you can hold auditions and search their database for the voice that fits your needs. Prices vary by how long your recording session is, your required turnaround, and how you select the actor. We’ve used them to narrate our help videos and they typically have narrations back within 2-3 hours of submitting the script!
Creating a video takes a lot of time and costs a lot of money, so the guys over at Powtoon created some software to easily create animated videos and presentations.
If used effectively, videos can significantly increase your conversion rate. With Powtoon, you can create one for your website, for a product demo, as a guide, or for your social media needs. Their software is easy and intuitive, and provides all the animation tools you’ll need to create a professional looking video. Videos you create are available in full HD, and it’s integrated with YouTube to make uploading easy. They also have a marketplace of people willing to create Powtoons for you.
The final tool we’re presenting is Gun.io. They’re an open marketplace for both full-time and freelancing software developers. Whether you’re a developer or looking to hire one, Gun.io has the resources you need.
They boast a community of tens of thousands of independent software developers from an open source community.
If you’re looking to build web or mobile apps, fix bugs, write code reviews, or design a project specification or estimate, check them out. Posting a job normally costs $250, but if you’re non-profit or if your project will be opened sourced, we’ve convinced them to let you post your project for free (you won’t find this link anywhere else!) Go here: http://gun.io/friendpost
Let us know what your favorite outsourcing/automation tool is!
Co-Founder – KickoffLabs
P.s. Here’s a bonus tool! We just created a new way for you to promote your landing pages (and it’s free).