Outsource Manufacturing; Outsource Menial Tasks; Outsource…Thyself

In the past, I opened my presentations on offshore manufacturing and sourcing with a slide "The Global Economy is coming…"  Senseless.  I corrected myself by stating the obvious: the Global Economy is here, but the endless possibilities it presents us are only just becoming apparent.  We are limited only by our creativity and willingness to try new ideas.

Outsourcing is nothing new.  But now, more and more people, not just companies, are trying outsourcing on for size by sending a variety of tasks off to outsourcing firms and contractors across the globe.  I first came across this concept at the individual level in Tim Ferriss’ book, 4-Hour Work Week.  An intriguing book that offers a slew of thought-provoking tips on how to save time and energy from the author’s experience in outsourcing much of his life. 

And it’s not just data entry, graphic design, web design, phone receptionist tasks, product development and manufacturing sourcing/management (ahem…) and aspects that businesses either like to or ought to delegate to someone better suited for the job.  The idea can be extended to booking travel plans, haircut appointments, buying movie tickets, sending flowers to your wife, and even…dating?

I’ve tried this with a few business and personal tasks myself.  I found a few small firms on Elance in India as well as the U.S.  Firms and contractors range from $30/hour to $3/hour.  More often than not, you get what you pay for.  But, as is often the case with manufacturing, the nature of the Global Economy is that some tasks  are better completed by a hard-working person in another country, for a reduced cost.  After qualifying the firms for capabilities like the ability to write English, follow instructions, and checking references, I chose a small firm in India and sent off some relatively simple tasks that I preferred to have someone else spend their time on–data entry and the like. 

After seeing their competence, I decided to see what they were capable of.  I had the firm research the internet for specific kinds of companies and take down their contact info and a company description in an excel spreadsheet.  Once I approved the list, I had them email out a message, drafted by me, to these companies.  Half of the companies responded and I realized I had just completed hours of marketing research, data entry, and a small email marketing campaign in a matter of 20 minutes (the time it took me to draft the instructions and message for the Indian firm), for approximately $20-$30.

Just like offshore manufacturing, spending the time upfront to find competent groups and people you can outsource tasks to is a must.  But, once this is developed, the investment drops near to zero.  Keep the tasks you’re good at and outsource the rest.  Big companies, small companies, and now individuals, are learning how to do this and reaping the benefits.

For more on how to accomplish this effectively, I recommend starting here:

And this was just too good not to post:

Report: Many U.S. Parents Outsourcing Child Care Overseas