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Vox Pop: Have you tried outsourcing your life?

A lot of my friends have been reading The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, and, to varying degrees, several of them have started trying on some of his more audacious ideas, such as checking email once a week, finding an "income muse," going on an extreme information diet -- a few people I know are considering outsourcing pieces of their personal and professional lives.

For reasons I can't fully explain -- and will, for now, just write down to Tim's engaging style -- I also found this outsourcing idea weirdly fascinating. You identify the tedious tasks in your life that don't represent the best use of your time, and assign them to an overseas worker who can complete them for a few bucks an hour. This apparently can be virtually any kind of mundane task, from booking a dinner reservation to doing research on a company to -- heck, why not? -- answering your email.

So, while I know lots of people share my theoretical interest in this, I wonder how many of you have tried it, and how many of you are using outsourced help on a regular basis. What's your experience been? Does this work? What sorts of task are most amenable to long-distance assignment?

By the way, if you haven't read the book yet, here's an excerpt from Tim's chapter on outsourcing.

Comments are open for your stories. I'd be grateful if you can try to limit your comments to firsthand experiences hiring and utilizing outsourced employees or in regard to evaluating the quality of their work. Thanks.

Jaya Schillinger's picture

I've had my American Virtual...

I've had my American Virtual Assistant for 2 years now, and she's been a god-send for this solo-preneur. Over that time, we created our own system based on the GTD ebook for Outlook and a hosted MS Exchange Server. She books all of my appts and handles all customer service such as chasing down leads for introductory consults, managing clients with frequent schedule changes, and mailing out workbooks and dvd sales off our website. She's more patient than me, and buffers me from clients who can be annoying from an administrative standpoint. It keeps me from getting burn-out by them.

The downside of having an AMAZING American VA, is she's $40/hour. I try to keep her to around $500/month, but last month squeaked up to $1000 because I had a lot of leads she had to follow up on.

I'm confident enough in working virtually that I am considering hiring out of the country for OTHER less-important jobs. I'm reading that book too right now, trying to decide what? else can I outsource now?




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