There is a new term being used in the Internet-connected services industry and it is called Turking.
Amazon made this term popular with a service you may have never heard of called Mechanical Turk (or MTurk). According to Wikipedia, the word Turk comes from an 18th century device that could play chess with an opponent. It turns out this device had a real human chess player in it.
The idea behind Turking is you submit a job and a pool of experts bid on completing all or some of the task. Here are some I have used recently with excellent results. Fortunately (or unfortunately?) I am not a paid shill for these companies so no money is passing through my hands for this article 🙂
GLOBAL OR NATIONAL SERVICES
Graphic Design: If you need a new logo, product packaging design, or images for an important presentation, try out 99 Designs. For $299, I received 270 different designs from 51 designers for my company logo. It was a great experience. Here is a link for you to see some of the process I went through: http://bit.ly/Win3J8
Software Design: While I have not used Freelancer (formerly vWorker) to do a full-on software product, I have used them to help me build websites, web parts, and complex Excel and Word macros. You place your job with an estimated cost, then people and companies will bid on the job. http://www.freelancer.com
Legal Matters: I set up my company, had the paperwork filed, and got some free legal advice from a law firm by using Legal Zoom. http://www.legalzoom.com
FOR LOCAL USE (LIMITED TO SERVICE AREAS)
Postmates: I live in San Francisco. After my car was stolen twice, I sold it. Now that I am carless, I do not always have the time to head out to that nice restaurant 3 miles away and over two large hills. Postmates is a delivery service that will literally get you anything you want from almost any store. I’ve had Postmates pick up a new iPad before a business trip, deliver lunch from my favorite Vietnamese restaurant, and even pick up packages I could not carry myself. http://www.postmates.com.
Car hailing services: As mentioned, I no longer own a car, so services like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar have been my alternate form of transportation when public transportation is not an option. http://www.uber.com http://lyft.com http://sidecar.com.
Task Rabbit: Recently, I had some guests visit and needed a grill put together and have large amounts of recycling removed from the house (the giant cardboard box from the grill actually). For about $50, I had two different people do these chores. I recently required the installation of a new [and fancy] kitchen faucet. I shopped around and the cheapest plumber was $350. On Task Rabbit, I got a fully licensed plumber to do the installation and even shop for some additional parts for less than $120. http://www.taskrabbit.com
(Editors note: This article was originally posted on LinkedIn here.