When you’re running a business and you only get paid for the business you create, time is money. I outsource anything that I don’t want to do (laundry, doing the dishes, mowing the lawn) which creates more time for me to focus on starting and growing businesses.
Running a business demands outsourcing. There are lots of online and offline tools you can use to automate and outsource your business. You can also use them to outsource your personal life.
For a lot of people, especially us women, Christmas is very time-consuming. There are presents to buy and wrap, cookies to bake, dinners to prepare. While there are some fun things I enjoy doing during the holidays, much of it I would rather skip.
I’m busy juggling a whole lot of balls in the air right now (we’re planning a move cross-country, and I’m starting two new businesses). This Christmas is an absolute breeze for me, since I’ve outsourced almost all of it.
How I Outsourced Christmas
1. Christmas Tree – My daughter and I went to pick it out, which was fun. What I did not want to deal with was hoisting it onto the car, getting it into the house and set up, etc. For a cool $40, I had it delivered. A guy even came to set it up for us. All we had to do was decorate.
2. Christmas Cards – I suppose I could have made digital Christmas cards, but I think it really says a lot to get a Christmas card in the mail. And it was so easy! I went on Shutterfly.com, created Christmas cards (business and personal) in less than 15 minutes. Created some cute return address labels, too. Even with expedited shipping, it only cost around $100 (most of this cost was all the business cards I made — of course, now it’s all tax-deductible).
Unfortunately, I did have to stuff the envelopes and go to the post office to buy stamps. If I had planned ahead though (which I will do next year), I could have outsourced this whole thing. The photo cards don’t really have a place for you to sign them, so all you have to do is stuff and lick the envelopes, and you can either hand address them (time consuming) or you can print some address labels on your laser printer.
Next year, I will have my housekeeper or assistant do this task (I plan to get a local personal assistant — probably an intern from the local college).
You can buy stamps on Alice.com. If you haven’t heard of Alice, it’s one of my favorite online services. I can order paper towels, toilet paper, coffee pods, toothpaste, deodorant, and yes, even stamps — all that stuff I used to have to schlep to Target or Costco for. Alice (named after the Brady Bunch’s housekeeper) remembers my purchases and reminds me to order them again at the time I specify (i.e., remind me to order toilet paper every 6 weeks). Best of all, shipping is always absolutely free. There is no reason not to use Alice.com.
3. Christmas Gifts – Shopping, especially around the holiday season, is extremely time consuming. I bought all of the gifts online. bought a lot of stuff on Amazon.com. They even gift wrap for you for a few bucks extra.
I signed up for their Prime program, which I believe is like $75 per year and entitles you to free shipping on pretty much anything shipped from Amazon. So whenever I want to buy something like a gift for someone’s birthday or a book I can’t get in digital or audiobook format, I just get it on Amazon. The $75/year pays for itself.
I bought some other gifts on Wine Country Gift Baskets. They have one of the best selection of gift baskets, and the shipping is cheap (and they often have free shipping specials). Gift baskets are a great thing any time of year for family members or business associates. You can order from them on Amazon too.
For the gifts I ordered on Amazon that need to be wrapped, my housekeeper is going to do that today. She’s also going to put together the dollhouse I bought online.
4. Christmas Eve – We’re going out for dinner on Christmas Eve. This is the way my family used to celebrate. My parents would load us kids into the car, then my dad would announce that he forgot his matches or something and he’d run back inside. Little did we know, he was putting the presents out under the tree. Then we’d come back home to find that Santa had visited us first!
I think this was a very smart way to do Christmas, for a few reasons. (1) You get better photos because everyone’s dressed up — not wearing robes and PJs. (2) The parents don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn. (3) My mom would be free to cook the turkey in peace the next day since we’d be busy playing with our toys.
5. Christmas Dinner - We’ll be flying on Christmas Day (the flights are cheapest). My mom is making us her specialty — homemade chicken pot pie — which we will eat when we arrive.
We’ll be spending the week after Christmas in Austin, shopping for a new home. And since our we work at home so we’re also looking for office space, this trip is also tax-deductible.
This article is contributed by Susain who is working as a freelance writer on Elance & ODesk.