Outsourcing is a difficult concept for many to grasp. I know when I first heard of outsourcing, I scoffed at the idea. I felt like I could handle anything. Why should I ask for help? I also felt like I could save so much money by doing everything myself. Then I read the very popular book, The 4-Hour Work Week by the one and only Tim Ferriss. He states that we all have tasks to outsource and should absolutely have someone else do them for us. This frees us up to pursue things truly worthwhile. He convinced me.
If you haven’t read the book, you’re probably not convinced. What I’m about to say may shock you.
Tim Ferriss recommends you get a virtual assistant even if you don’t have any idea what they will do. Just hire one. Give them random tasks. Make up tasks you wouldn’t normally do. Ask them to send flowers to your wife. Ask them to find the cheapest flight for your next vacation. There’s always something to outsource. Hiring a VA for random tasks leads us to the first of many tasks to outsource…
1. Outsource Research
One of the best tasks to outsource? A virtual assistant. For me, I went to Fiverr first. There are many tasks which would take you hours to complete that someone in India, Pakistan, or Chile would gladly do for $5. It’s incredible. But yes, there are language barrier issues. The best path is to be direct with what you want. Being super polite will confuse many non-native speakers. Give direct orders. If you’re dissatisfied, Fiverr has been very good at giving me refunds. Outsource research projects, data entry, vacation ideas… anything that you don’t want to spend the time figuring out on your own.
2. Outsource Cleaning
Cleaning is a task few people enjoy. But those who do enjoy it, often become professional cleaners. Let them do the job. Hire a house cleaning service to come in and clean up your space. You can have them do a variety of tasks, but you may want to start with just the basics: cleaning windows, cleaning floors, cleaning toilets, cleaning showers, and dusting. I for one hate doing those things. I believe cleaning professionals are a worthwhile expense. Whenever I think of outsourcing… I think, “On my death bed, will I really be happy I spent my time doing that?” I don’t want to spend my time cleaning toilets, which means it’s immediately on my list of tasks to outsource.
3. Outsource Head Hunting
We live in a society. We are social, not solitary creatures. Use a VA to find and interview more potential helpers. These can include plumbers, babysitters, auto mechanics, tutors, piano teachers, and more. Have them ask around and read online reviews. This will help assemble your all-star team of those you trust.
4. Outsource Budgeting
Have them monitor your budget and give you ideas on how to save on costs. They won’t want you to cut out their services. That means they’ll find other ways to save! This may earn you a free assistant. This is awesome because it can be things like negotiating your DIRECTV bill or finding you a reduced rate on auto insurance. They can also serve as an accountability partner for keeping your spending in check.
5. Outsource Grocery Shopping (or Even Meal Planning)
Grocery shopping is tedious. It’s virtually the same each week (unless you’re into diet fads). Outsource this. Some grocers offer free delivery. Amazon Prime offers a grocery delivery service as well. Or you can get a personal shopper. There are many ways to streamline the grocery shopping experience.
To take things a step further, consider getting a meal planning service. Some services simply send you meal plans accompanied by a shopping list. Others send the exact measured out ingredients right to your door. This is fantastic. You can still eat fresh, home-cooked meals, but they only take a fraction of the time. Think about it… no planning, no chopping, no confusion, less mess. Yes, you actually can have fast and fresh.
As you can see, there are many tasks to outsource that we should all seriously consider.
Remember… I’m a very frugal person. The idea of paying someone else to do something I can do myself was shocking at first. But I read the book by Tim Ferriss. I expanded my mind. I began working more. I realized I can save more money if I outsource stuff I hate to pursue the stuff I love. Outsourcing just plan makes me happier. That’s what life is all about.
Have you read The 4 Hour Work Week? Do you outsource? If so, what? I’d love to talk shop with you!
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.