Can You Really Outsource Your Life?

  • April 23, 2009 by Corbett Barr
  • 8 Comments

outsourcing-conspiracy

A lot of people on the Internet these days make it sound like you can live a life of luxury by outsourcing everything you don’t want to do. Tim Ferriss has made himself famous through his book The 4-Hour Workweek, which promotes a number of extreme “lifehacks” including outsourcing to overseas resources.

Outsourcing has been sold as a perfect solution for people who want to start a business, but are too busy or lack the necessary skills to succeed. Just carve out the parts of the business you know and want to work on and have people in Third World countries do the stuff you don’t understand or don’t want to do for you on the cheap.

Does it really work? Does outsourcing your life or your business lead to wild success and happiness?

Jon Morrow and Brian Clark don’t think so, at least not for everyone. They published a free eBook report this week called The Outsourcing Conspiracy. They contend that outsourcing isn’t magic, and that it is especially unsuitable for beginners in business.

They’re right in a number of ways, but I think they’re using Tim Ferriss just to create hype around the report. It’s true that a number of so-called Internet marketing gurus are wrongly making money selling people the dream of becoming rich by leveraging outsourcing to start an internet business. But outsourcing is just one small potential part of the concept of lifestyle design that Tim Ferriss and others are proponents of.

Lifestyle design is about planning how you want to live and building a career that fits that plan. It’s about not accepting the status quo when it comes to how you should live. It’s about doing unconventional things when they can make your life better.

Outsourcing may be one of those unconventional things that can be used as part of an overall lifestyle design. That doesn’t mean it’s for everyone, but it can used successfully in the right circumstances.

Jon Morrow and Brian Clark explain many of those circumstances where it can be used successfully in the report. They also cover a number of obstacles to using outsourcing. Overall The Outsourcing Conspiracy is a must read for anyone thinking about using outsourcing.

Do you have any experience with outsourcing? Let us know in the comments!

Written by . Corbett is cofounder of Fizzle, a place for creative entrepreneurs, writers, makers, coders and artists, all working to support themselves doing what they love independently on the Internet. Follow Corbett on on Twitter.


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Writer Dad April 24, 2009 at 10:06 am

I read this and loved it. Yes, I’ve outsourced. Yes, I’ve done work for others who are outsourcing, and yes I think it can be terrific. But partnerships are better, no doubt about it.

Corbett Barr April 24, 2009 at 10:09 am

Thanks for the comment. I neglected to include the partnership stuff in my article. The eBook delves deeply into why partnerships are better than outsourcing. In the end, the authors pitch a training program they’ve built around leveraging partnerships in business.

-Corbett

Lance June 23, 2009 at 12:43 pm

Nice article. I have been outsourcing work-related tasks for a while now for my business but I can’t believe the things you can outsource these days. Just last week I read a TechCrunch article about VirtualDatingAssistants.com, a company that lets you outsource your online dating. Unbelievable…

Tom Kean June 25, 2009 at 11:44 am

About a year ago my friend came to me and told me an idea for a website where you could post jobs and people would bid to do the work, kinda like ebay but reversed. I thought this was a great idea and wondered why nobody had done it, we looked around and didn’t find anything. So, we started making the site. As we got further into the building of the site we found that there were examples, like Elance. Well, we thought that there was still room for another and kept going. Our aim is to get it working on a local level, to stimulate the economy around you. We’ve finished the site (version 1 at least) and it’s free to post jobs, bid on jobs, make a profile and showcase your work. In fact, all the basic features are free!

Stanley Lee August 21, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Well, outsourcing life isn’t something that would work magically by itself, even Tim Ferriss pointed that out in the book. It has to be done and developed properly in order to harness the full benefits. For example, you have to be very clear on what you want out of the tasks and the deadlines/milestones for them in order to outsource it properly, assuming you can trust the team already. It takes several months to consistent practices to a point of at least not getting screwed. At the end of the day, it’s the successful implementation of the business idea that would earn you the lifestyle.

Building a career around outsourcing is even more challenging. It requires you knowing about certain tasks inside out before doing so if you want to reduce the risks of screw-ups. If you don’t know the topic, other than forming partnerships (it’s very challenging to ask questions back and forth in an outsourcing relationship), there’s a huge risk of money poorly spent and the job not being done.

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