Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Opinion

Reclaim your life: 'Offchore' your work to a Bangalore butler

Want more time for what matters most? Here's how.

(Page 2 of 2)



Start with a basic digital concierge service such as AskSunday.com and then graduate to providers such as Elance.com, where you can implement more ambitious plans. I'm now at the point where I outsource all e-mail and convert more than 500 requests and messages per day into a once-daily 10-minute phone call with a virtual assistant.

Skip to next paragraph

How much is reclaiming your evenings, your weekends, your life, worth?

Test small but think big. Start with the menial and move to the major.

Outsourcing benefits everyone

Ten US dollars buys groceries for a week for someone in Bangalore. I pay my assistants there $5 to $10 per hour. Can you buy a week's worth of meals for one or two hours of work? Probably not – so who's really being paid more? This is an example of "purchasing power parity," a concept TV-hungry politicians should bother to learn.

After I keynoted the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco, an American asked me how I felt about "stealing American jobs and supporting slave labor."

A Swiss gentleman jumped in with a retort: "Outsourcing is social development. The technology firm I work for realized two things once we experimented with outsourcing: First, for each Swiss job we moved to India, we were able to hire five people and thus support 25 people at an average of four dependents each; and second, we are helping create a middle-class of consumers for our own products and services, which we've already seen come back and allow us to hire more Swiss than before."

Rewarding those who are most competitive on a global scale ultimately creates a larger economic pie, higher quality-of-life in developing countries, and broader consumer demand for US-based products. It comes full circle.

If you can think it, they can do it

One friend of mine insisted last April that there were serious limitations to what could be outsourced. I accepted his challenge by outsourcing my dating.

The result? More than 20 coffee dates in a single weekend and a long-term girlfriend, all for less than $200.

From the sublime to the ridiculous, the lesson is a good one: If it can be done via phone or computer, it can be outsourced.

Thousands of my readers are successfully offchoring everything from professional meal preparation to all of their job minutiae, and – even if you have to train your boss to value performance over presence – you can do the same.

Make 2008 the year you spend more time on vacation than in the bathroom. "Philip" and "John" are waiting.

Timothy Ferriss is a guest lecturer at Princeton University and author of the No. 1 national bestseller, "The 4-Hour Workweek." He blogs about personal outsourcing at fourhourworkweek.com/blog.

Permissions