Hey entrepreneurs, want to stop taking out your own trash? Let Time etc help

Pressmaster/Shutterstock
Ten or twenty years ago, a job description that included taking out the trash, scrubbing toilets, and cleaning the office was generally attached to a janitorial position. Today, in 2015, we’ve come up with a new term — entrepreneur. According to recent research carried out by virtual assistant service Time etc, self-described entrepreneurs across America are doing much more than pitching to venture capitalists, and some of it isn’t as glamorous as we’d like to imagine.

In fact, according to the joint study between YouGov and Time etc, 70 percent of senior decision makers have had to take out their company garbage, over three in five have restocked bathroom toilet paper, and over 60 percent serve as their own cleaning service. And while these are all important and necessary tasks crucial to the function of any organization, large or small, it certainly highlights the less desirable reality of entrepreneurship in 21st century America. 

Survey results that included responses from 501 senior decision makers across a variety of small businesses further found that 63 percent of entrepreneurs or senior executives in startups have changed lightbulbs, over 60 percent have assembled office furniture, and 50 percent act as their own personal IT department (for both themselves and their staff). And given the inherent limitations that the 24-hour day places on small business owners, having to carry out these tasks in addition to running and growing a business begins to seem like a truly daunting task. 

Barnaby Lashbrooke, the founder of Time etc, is looking to offer a bit of help by providing virtual assistants for entrepreneurs, promising that with just a little bit of outside help, entrepreneurs will be able to have the kind of freedom they need to succeed. “Whilst technology has made it much easier to start a business,” Lashbrooke told me in an email, “In many ways, those new businesses are becoming increasingly complex and the demands placed upon new entrepreneurs in 2015 are higher than ever before.” Lashbrooke says this is because “communication is increasingly instant,” pointing to the burgeoning demands of social media, creative marketing, and maintaining a public persona for a growing brand.

“So in other words,” wrote Lashbrooke, “Entrepreneurs today are pulled in many more directions than they were a few years ago and therefore need more help to ensure that they tick all of the boxes required to successfully launch and succeed at business in 2015.”

The Time etc founder experienced this multiplicity of needs firsthand when he established his own startup before pivoting towards his new business, and noted, “I often needed help with everything from the day-to-day to the specialized skills but didn’t have the overhead I needed to actually bring someone on full time.” But with Time etc, Lashbrooke believes he’s found a solution. “Time etc allows you to work with people on a freelance basis,” he said, “allowing entrepreneurs to keep costs down in the beginning, which is critical. Not only that, the freelance assistants range in skills, allowing users to tap different assistants based on the area they need help in, growing their business in more ways than one.”

Today, for the first time in five years, entrepreneurship is on the rise. Individuals from across the country are once again in a position (and in a mindset) to take risks, and the Kauffman Foundation’s Startup Activity Index suggests that over 500,000 Americans become new business owners every month. Still, in a country known for its DIY attitude, startup activity remains below historic norms, no surprise given the economic climate of the last several years.

But as the tide begins to turn once again, companies like Time etc want to ensure that small new businesses are given a fair shot at success. “What Time etc and similar platforms do,” Lashbrooke says, “is allow for you to take out the trash if you need to and be the IT person if you must, but not at the expense of things getting done.”

So invent and found start-ups all you want, entrepreneurs. And if you need some help, know that there are other small businesses out there looking to help you out.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Business

4 women innovators who are using tech to help others live better lives

Meet four women leaders who are not only at the forefront of technology today, but also using tech — from robotics and medicine to food and undergarments — to help others.
Mobile

Saving for a vacation? Here are the best apps to help you manage your wealth

Looking to start managing your money, but don't care for intricate software or spreadsheets? Lucky for you, we made a list of the best budgeting apps designed to help you rein in your expenditures.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Smart Home

Smart home technology may help senior citizens remain independent

Seniors just want to stay active, healthy, and independent and a new survey finds they and their caregivers are willing to adopt smart home technology in order to achieve those goals.
Emerging Tech

Singapore’s stunning airport complex could be a tourist destination in itself

Singapore’s Changi Airport is gearing up for the opening of the Jewel, a beautifully designed shopping, dining, entertainment, and accommodation complex that also features an abundance of greenery.
Mobile

Sprint calls out AT&T's 5G E in full-page New York Times ad

Now that the 4G network has already "evolved," network giant AT&T controversially plans to rebrand potentially millions of 4G smartphones to make it appear as though they are on 5G networks.
Computing

Google may cancel future laptops, tablets as it makes cuts to hardware team

Google could be cutting back on hardware. According to a report from Business Insider, the company is reassigning dozens of employees in its laptop and tablet division as part of "roadmap cutbacks."
Emerging Tech

U.S. hops on Boeing ban bandwagon, grounds 737 Max planes until further notice

The U.S. government, led by an executive order from President Donald Trump, has issued instructions that Boeing must ground all 737 Max aircraft operating inside the United States.
Movies & TV

Disney Plus: Here’s what we know so far about the upcoming streaming service

Disney is bringing the full weight of its massive content library to its own streaming service in 2019. How will Disney Plus compare to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime? Here's what we know so far.
Mobile

5G is going to cost you a few bucks more, at least on Verizon

Verizon is in the midst of a massive 5G rollout. In addition to fixed 5G service, it will also begin deploying mobile 5G in the coming months. Here's everything you need to know about Verizon's 5G network and when it will be in your town.
Cars

Can electric cars be S3XY? Tesla says yes with the new Model Y crossover

Tesla introduced a crossover named Model Y at its design studio in Los Angeles. It's a more spacious alternative to the Model 3 it shares 75 percent of its parts with, and is a smaller sibling to the Model X.
Mobile

Jury fines Apple $32 million for infringing on three Qualcomm patents

In a serious blow to Apple in its legal battle against Qualcomm, a San Diego jury fined Apple $32 million for infringing on three Qualcomm-owned patents. The decision marks the latest news in a string of court dates for the two companies.
Mobile

Why premium is the most overused, and least understood, word in tech

Everyone has heard the word premium, and many of us will have purchased a premium product, but what does premium actually mean, and why is it used so much in tech? Here's why it's so popular.