Be Positive and Outsource the Busy Work

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Jan 8, 2015

This regularly appearing column gives you quick, easy-to-implement ideas on various subjects. Today’s topics have to do with hiring virtual assistants and the power of questions.

Hire a Personal Assistant

I conducted an experiment recently to see how much it would cost to hire people for various tasks in my business via Elance versus what I was actually paying my staff of contractors.

What I found was a real shock; I was able to cut my labor costs for certain support tasks by more than 50%. For example, I hired a person to do transcription work for $20 per hour, whereas I previously was paying $75 per hour for the same work. I also found skilled American support staff willing to work on contract for $9 per hour.

This is amazing. What this means is that you can hire someone to do basic research and administration tasks for far less than most of us are paying. If you hire people from overseas, rates can be even lower. You may find that some of these people could grow into a senior researcher role with your firm. Also, because these are contractors, they’re a “flexible workforce” and can work for 5 hours one week and 20 hours the next week.

If you are not in a position to pay those rates, could you afford $119 per month for your own assistant? has plans starting at that price and it was named the #2 website of the year by Time Magazine a few years back. The tasks workers perform for you are more personal in nature, but if it helps you to be more organized and productive, it’s worth it. There has never been an easier to time to outsource your time-bandits to people who are eager to help.

The Power of the Query

Did you know that the quality of the questions you ask yourself on a consistent basis have a profound effect on your mood, your self-confidence and therefore your productivity? Weak questions lead to weak results. Empowering questions lead to creative solutions.

Here are some examples:

Questions That Will Put You In A Weak State

Questions That Will Put You In A Stronger State

  • Why doesn’t anyone ever return my calls?
  • How come I can’t seem to “get” this business?
  • Why do I have to make all these calls?
  • How come my clients don’t respect my time? 
  • What’s the fastest way to my next sendout?
  • What is the closest thing on my desk to revenue?
  • What system am I missing that could solve this problem?
  • What are 3 easy calls I can make right now to get into action?
  • What am I proud of right now?
  • What do I love about this business?
  • What hidden opportunities do I have on my desk right now?

One way to quickly change your mood, and your productivity, is to ask yourself better questions on a consistent basis. The questions you ask yourself send your brain on a fact-finding mission; its job is to come back with an appropriate answer.

The first step to asking better questions is just to be aware of their power. The next step is to develop the discipline to think more mindfully about the questions you are silently asking throughout your normal day.

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