Outsourcing small jobs cheaply

I probably have about 100 different ideas a week. They can be anything from future Applingua plans to completely new business ideas to something as simple as a blog post. Most ideas are instantly unviable, but there are often a few which get jotted down in The Hit List for future consideration. Unfortunately they often get left there simply due to time constraints.

One such idea was a blog post I recently published to Applingua’s Blog, listing the Top 100 Paid Mac OS X apps and their localizations. I knew in order to make the blog post more valuable to me, my clients and the blog’s audience, I needed to delve a little deeper than just studying one app store. I also knew surveying 100 apps across several stores would take a lot of my time, which I needed for client projects.

After weeks of putting it off, I decided to write a quick job on oDesk (if you are interested, the job post is at the bottom of this page). The applicants had to be able to navigate the Mac App Store proficiently, enter information into Numbers or Excel and do a little research on Google to find out where each developer was located. It’s a classic data entry job.

Within 15 minutes I had 4 applicants. I sent three of them the job and asked them to do the research and get back to me in their own time. There was no rush.

A few hours later, a guy called Ramon got back to me with the finished work. I was amazed not only by the speed, but also quality of his work and friendly replies. His portfolio told me he was based in the Philippines and is an iWork and iLife “expert” looking for all kinds of work including mundane data entry. Perfect. I instantly hired him again, asking him to do 4 other stores and then to amalgamate all 7 excel sheets to find a set of statistics. I provided the sums and short descriptions.

A few days later all the hard work was done and all I had to do was quickly check over the stats and write the blog post. In total, my time ~1 hour. Had I done the store research myself, it would have been ~2 hours per store * 7 + amalgamation + statistics + coffee breaks + the data entry boredom effect. Easily 2 and a half days on one blog post. The post is an important one, but I can’t justify 2.5 days off client work for it.

The point of this post is you can do this too. Look at your todo list, set aside a small budget and outsource all the small, time consuming jobs you can.

Just because you don’t want to do them, doesn’t mean others won’t.

Hi Guys! *** Max 1.5/2 hour job ***

I’m looking for several Mac users in different countries to do some research for me on the Mac App Store. 

I am looking to extend this blog post:

You must be:
– A Mac OS X 10.6.x or 10.7.x user. If you don’t know what this is, stop now 🙂
– Know what the Mac App Store is. How to access it. How to navigate it
– Have Excel or Numbers installed to work on spreadsheet

What you would need to do:
– Look at the attachment to this project. There is an excel sheet and a screenshot. The excel sheet tells you what you need to record.
– Launch the Mac App Store
– Go to the Top 100 Paid Applications in your Country’s Store
– Click on each app. 
– Make a note of the available languages (See screenshots)
– Now, the difficult bit: go to the developer’s website and find out where the developer works (USA, UK, etc). You may need to use http://www.who.is if it’s not obvious.

Any questions, just ask!!


I would love to hear your thoughts…
  1. Keith Mander says:

    Nice! Have a link to that guys Odesk profile? I like to bookmark good people for future tasks 🙂

    BTW, you should switch to FB comments!


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