11/04/2014 07:22 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Secret Sauce for Running a Small Business in the 21st Century


After attending BlogHer14 in San Jose, I was challenged by one of the panelists to identify at least one task I could outsource in my business. As a small business owner, I find myself performing 90 percent of the tasks in my business. I soon discovered this practice left me with less time to work on fostering partnerships and driving the strategic direction of my company.

Many times emerging business owners believe outsourcing is expensive or for more established companies. Listen: you cannot sustain a business working as a one-person shop. You are your greatest asset. This means optimizing your health and productivity will yield incredible dividends for your business.

Here are three affordable ways to outsourcing on a budget:

1. Online Professional Services Company is a global online marketplace offering tasks and services, referred to as 'gigs' beginning at a cost of $5 (yes only $5) per job performed. The site is primarily used by freelancers from around the globe who offer a variety of services.

I used Fivver to secure graphic designers, placements in top beauty blogs, social media engagement and logo designers. Typically the turn around time is approximately 3-5 days. There is usually an options to you pay an expedited fee if you want the gig completed faster. I've saved tons of money especially by outsourcing the creative design process of my business to Fiverr. On each gig you are typically allowed at least 2-3 revisions and the tool allows you to rate the seller once the order is completed. Fiverr publishes and makes all ratings visible to you by seller before selecting a gig. and using virtual assistant tools are alternative platforms for outsourcing on a budget.

2. Bartering
Bartering is another great way of getting tasks accomplished that require more of a specialized skill set for free or at least a fraction of the cost.

Every business owner should take an account of the things they perform well. Keep this in mind as you meet other small business owners or other professionals that become part of your network. I organize this critical data by tracking majors contacts in my rolodex. This resource helps when a business need arises. Bartering has worked well for me because everyone gets something out of the deal and it doesn't feel one sided.

3. Hire an intern
I encourage all business owners to get at least one intern. They are tons of students who would be willing to work for "free" to gain the experience in the area that they are passionate about and/or studying.

Prior to bringing an intern onboard, business owners should develop a solid work plan and set clear deliverables you want the intern to accomplish by the end of their internship. Outside of the experience perhaps local universities may be willing to extend credit for the internship and/or offering free products or services from your business as a way to compensate the intern. This also gives the business owner people management experience. Additionally, once your business is able to hire employees you'll have a good base of talent to pull from who already know your business.

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