How to outsource small personal projects to micro-contractors

I have stacks of CDs waiting to be ripped to MP3, boxes of photos I would love to have scanned and 200 book purchases I want to add to my media management software.

These are typical of the sort of minor personal projects that I am would really like to compete but are so time consuming I find myself putting them off.

I would love to just be able to hire someone – a micro-contractor – a safe, reliable and reputable person to come in and do it for me for an agreed price.

I also have the odd collaborative project, something that needs to be done for a group or community but no one has the will or time to volunteer to action the public good. An example might be getting graffiti removed, or doing data hygiene on a community website’s database. In these cases it would be super useful to be able to raise a fund to pay for the work then then hire the micro-contractor.

Luckily by combining the services of two new sites could solve the problem:

1. (UK version at

Jobazaar is an online bazaar for every kind of job. Not necessarily occupations. You can quickly find someone doing something for you. It doesn’t matter what it is. It is completely free, has tags, RSS and a ratings reputation system for both applicants and hirers.

As Lifehacker wrote:

Just-launched JoBazaar is a free community job listing site that lets you post and apply for jobs tagged by keyword and location. Less corporate than traditional job-hunting sites like Monster or HotJobs, the starting posts on JobBazaar include mowing a lawn and setting up a weblog. Use the siteís RSS to keep track of job posts and prices/bids on the job youíve posted. A good alternative to craigslist for finding someone local to paint the living room or design your new web site.


If you first ned to raise the cash for wages and you would like to have your community members contribute to the kitty, go to funable create a group action.

This is done when a group leader creates a group action, setting a target amount of money to be raised as well as the number of users who will raise it. The group action remains unlisted (but accessible via direct URL) until the first three users give money. The group action becomes listed on fundable for anyone to join. After all money is collected, fundable transfers the total to the group leader.

However, if the amount collected fails to meet the group action’s target on deadline, contributors get all of their money back.

The group leaderarranges completion of the group action’s objective, which may include the distribution of a product or thetransfer of funds to another party or in our case, paying the micro-contractor when they have completed the agreed job.

So it is simple:

1. Plan the job and describe it in detail.
2. If you need to raise funds first, use to raise the money.
3. Go to Jobazzar and post the job.

Here are some things to keep in mind when doing this:

1. Plan the job/project (unless this is part of the job). Use David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) Natural Planning model. At the very least carry out Outcome Visioning – imagine and write down exactly what the desired outcome is.

2. Give plenty of thought to safety and security considerations especially if you are inviting people into your home or office or they have acess to your computer systems or sensitive data.

3. Decide exactly how much you are willing to pay. Decide in advance how and under what terms you pay. Make sure you have the cash.

4. Remember to following the principle that one should outsource any jobs where one’s hourly rate is greater than the hourly wage of someone you could hire to do it for you. Give this a shot!

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