outsourcing - thinking outside the box

I love the book “The 4-hour Work Week”. A mate of mine just posted in his blog about the beginnings of his adventures in outsourcing, using outsourced workers from the Philippines via oDesk.com to do property research (great post by the way – I thoroughly recommend it especially if you haven’t ready 4-Hour Work Week). Another alternative for hiring outsources is Elance.

There are SO MANY possibilities around this… especially for those of us who are full time employed and want to built our thing on the side – but don’t have the time throughout the week and like to retain some semblance of a social life. But really, ANYONE can benefit from outsourcing. Once you try it the possibilities become obvious and VERY exciting.

Here’s a very good exercise: For 3 days write down EVERY task you do that doesn’t require your physical presence. Work related, business related, personal – whatever. At the end of the 3 days, look at the list, figure out the recurring or otherwise unsavoury tasks that are taking up your time. Then – outsource them. Use Ryan’s recipe in the blog post and just give it a go. What do you have to lose? $8. And plenty to gain…

As an aside to this, I have started using a personal concierge service provided by my credit card provider. A personal concierge is essentially the same as a directly hired outsourcer, with two main differences:

  • The person you end up with is a part of a team (i.e. if they get sick, there will be a replacement and your tasks will still get done), and

  • They have been vetted for quality by the banks (i.e. you don’t risk wasting your time with someone who can understand you/complete your tasks/etc…)

The total annual cost for the card that provides the service (as well as a bunch of other services) is $245AUD per year, and additional cards (i.e. people who can use the service) can be added for $65AUD per year.

So, for a flat fee of $310AUD both my wife and I are in a position now where have UNLIMITED outsourcing hours available to us. At $1.33USD per hour, or $1.50AUD per hour, once we pass 200 hours of usage we are breaking even, after that is essentially a free service. Obviously this requires more of a commitment than the $8USD experiment, but if it works for you and you would make use of more than 200 hours a year, it’s a good way of pursuing the wonderful world of outsourcing.

Leave a comment! I’d be keen to hear from others who’ve done this, or creative ideas about things you can outsource…