Tag Archives: Outsourced Workers

Enjoying the “Four Hour Work-Week” by outsourcing

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There are people out there who run small businesses who have read the book: The 4-Hour Work-Week by Timothy Ferriss. It was a very interesting book that gave me a lot of new insights about outsourcing. The basis of the 4-hour philosophy is to outsource almost all of the tasks that you do. You need to calculate exactly what you do all week, how long each task takes, and who you could outsource it to. Part of my problem is that I like doing as much as I can myself, so I know that it gets done correctly. If you outsource without knowing who you are dealing with, you could get into a lot of trouble. You need to make sure people are reliable and not ripping you off.

Outsourcing mundane tasks so you can grow
Regardless of whether you want to enjoy a lot of free time, or free your time up to use it in other ways to grow your business, you need to understand the concepts of a four hour work-week. If you bog yourself down doing mundane tasks that someone else could be doing for you, you will not have time for more critical tasks that you need to grow your business. You will also not have enough time to take a long daily walk and keep your weight down.

Finding the right people
Finding overseas virtual assistants in the Philippines or India is easy. There are so many of them. Outsourcing your bookkeeping to someone in India or locally is also easy. There are many people who are good at that. But, what about harder tasks like blog writing. If you want to find someone who can write viral blogs, you might spend more time searching for them, that they spend writing blogs. As hard as it might seem, it is worth it to learn to be an expert at hiring people to do more difficult creative tasks like writing and blogging. It will take a lot of time, but if you find the right person, the rewards could be huge.

Empowering people to make decisions
Part of the philosophy of decreasing your workload is enabling your outsourced workers or employees to make their own decisions. If you let them make smaller decisions themselves, they won’t be bothering you while you are on vacation or working on a big deal. Your time needs to be spent making big decisions, or creating the rules for making small decisions which you share with your workers. The more your other people can do themselves, the more you can do more critical tasks.

Finding great travel deals while you enjoy your free time!
To get to the point in your business where you can outsource almost everything means that you probably worked twelve hour days for over a decade to get into that position. That means that you deserve a vacation. Optimizing your vacations is a skill that is quintessential to any four-hour work-weeker. There are particular cities in the world where you can enjoy five-star comforts for a very affordable price. Timothy Ferriss mentioned that Berlin, Tokyo, Buenas Aires, and a few other locations offered a great lifestyle for less. That was many years ago, and it is unclear where the bargains are to be held these days. But, if you search around, you can find great deals on villa rentals, dance lessons, karate lessons, and other fun stuff to do.

Personally, I enjoy travel in America and to other fun locations in the world. I am less worried about the daily cost, and more interested in how cool my experience will be. But, for domestic travel, I learned that Albuquerque is a wonderful place to visit where I can get a comfy hotel room for $55. Going to Phoenix when it is hot, I stayed at the Hilton for $95 which can get up to $500 during peak season. Tucson is more mild during the summer and I was able to go hiking every day and get 4-star hotels for $89! The bottom line is, if you have money and time, and an eye for optimizing your experience, you will find great deals in parts of the world you never thought of. You will be using the same skills you use when finding optimal employees who can do it all for a reasonable price. BTW, next year I want to visit Bali and enjoy comfortable hotels at $20 per night and great spicy meals for $2 per dinner. Wish me luck!

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Outsourcing might make more sense than seasonal hires

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Do you need more workers at a particular season of the year? It is not fun taking your chances with strangers. Maybe it is better having an overseas agency who can find you outsourced workers. If you find a reliable company or a few companies, you might have a channel to reliable work!

If you hire in-house workers for a few months, consider the following. You will have strangers in your office which will alter the chemistry or your work force’s delicate equilibrium in its ecosystem. What if those new people don’t get along with your existing staff? What if they take up too much room? What if you like them so much that you miss them when they are gone. You will not have this problem if you outsource your task to some foreign destination like the Philippines, India or Romania.

Additionally, hiring people in a hurry has its consequences. Having an agency in some other country that specializes in a particular type of work ensures that they can get you an unlimited quantity of suitable workers in a snap of a finger. Okay — I exaggerate. But, they already have people on staff which takes the mystery out of hiring. If you don’t like them, you can always find another agency or fire them without any legal consequences.

If you do seasonal hires in India, be aware that monsoon season is the wrong season to do this. They might have to take an inflatable raft to work. If you hire people in the Philippines during tsunami season, their call center might become a mud flat when you really need them. Use common sense and caution if outsourcing seasonal work. Their seasons are considerably different from your seasons.

Interesting factoid:
By the way Summer comes in India at the same time that Spring comes in the USA, and Autumn comes in Australia — March for all three seasons.

Speaking of seasonal hires.
Here is a section of a menu at an upscale Chinese restaurant that I found interesting:
Maine Lobster — $40 (choice of sauce)
Fresh Atlantic Salmon Steak — $25 (w/ginger soy sauce)
Spring Rolls — Seasonal