**There’s an UPDATE to this story…Quicker Than a Celeb Marriage…Zirtual is Back!**
If you follow my blog regularly you know that I’m a huge fan of outsourcing. I’ve given lots of ideas of what to get off your to-do list by giving it to someone else. Plus I’ve talked about some of the best new apps and websites to help with your outsourcing. The good and bad of some of these new startups is that some can’t hack it in the startup world.
I’ve told a lot of people about this service and I even mentioned it in my book Listful Thinking — so I feel it’s only fair to give you the skinny and a few alternatives to keep on outsourcing.
Here’s What Happened
Outsourcing website Zirtual has closed its doors. Due to an accounting error almost 400 employees lost their jobs overnight. According to Fortune’s interview with the CEO Maren Kate Donovan — Zirtual outsourced some of its financial management to a Silicon Valley company which provided turnkey CFO support and services.
Unfortunately a payroll error went unnoticed and Zirtual projections had missed two additional payroll cycles. With hundreds of employees, that’s a lot of unaccounted money.
So they had to close up shop quick!
What Does This Mean For You?
Sadly Zirtual has not yet announced any plans for reimbursing customers who had not used all their hours. Startups.co aquired Zirtual after this snafu and they will most likely strike a deal with old Zirtual customers to keep their business. But I don’t know what that deal will be.
Even if you’re not a Zirtual customer — we can learn an important lesson from Zirtual. Just because you have outsourced a task doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check in on that task every once in a while.
Some Outsourcing Alternatives
Here are some replacement apps you can try:
Fancy Hands – Outsourcing is one of the best ways to get more done. Fancy Hands is like having your own virtual personal assistant. Assistants can do research for you, make appointments and even make annoying calls to customer service on your behalf. They just can’t do any physical tasks.
TaskRabbit.com – Similar to Fancy Hands, except they do physical tasks as well. TaskRabbit is great for crossing items off your list like putting together Ikea furniture or picking up groceries and laundry. Currently, TaskRabbit is available in 18 cities across the United States, as well as in London.
Alfred – This service specializes in taking care of your chores for you, which you know I’m all about. The cheapest package is a tidy-up service that costs $15 a week, including things like making the bed, doing the dishes and taking out the trash. If you want the option to ask for something special, like food delivery, you’ll shell out $22 bucks a week. Alfred is only currently available in New York City and Boston.
How do you outsource your tasks?