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The 4-Hour Workweek: "Testing The Theory of Outsourcing "
I put the outsourcing theory to the test.

by Geno A Bulzomi

Timothy Ferriss’ book “The 4-Hour Workweek” is a great read.  It is entertaining and enlightening.  I am always the skeptic, so when I started reading the book I could not believe some of the things on this man’s resume.  Kickboxing champ, tango dancing and of course outsourcing everything were just too much to believe, so I checked him out.  He seems legit!  He holds a few titles, makes good money and is enjoying life.  That was good proof, but I had to take it one step further—I had to outsource something.  I went to Elance.com and put a project out for bid.  I was skeptical of the potential that Tim swears to in his book.  My skepticism was unwarranted.

I came up with a relatively simple project and totally random in nature.  I devised a list of eleven countries and requested that contractors bid on a research project that identifies the Gross Domestic Product, by year, of each country for the years of 2003 thru 2007.  Doesn’t sound hard does it?  Well, I tried to look for the information for myself, to put a price tag on the project from a perspective of my wages.  I spent an hour looking for a consolidated source—I could not find one.  I had a few rough figures, but nothing complete for any of my countries on the list.  That one hour wasted, cost me $30.00, my hourly wage.  I did not want to spend anymore time on figuring a cost, since I would not want to spend more than $30.00 on this test anyway.
 
I posted my project.  I limited the open project time to 1 day, because I am impatient.  Within ten minutes I had a bid.  Within two hours, six bids.  Within four hours, a completed project with the results in hand and the money paid.  The total cost $21.00!  Now, believe it or not I am still skeptical, so I had to research the results.  I spent the next hour looking for the figures myself again to see if I had been handed a bogus product.

My efforts to find the data to validate my project proved fruitless.   Yes, I found supporting information that proved the odd year here or there was accurate—to the cent, but I could not find all the years for all the countries.  The ones I did find proved valid, so it is safe to assume that the product requested was the product received.  It would have taken me hours to run down this data and cost a hundred dollars in wages, whereas outsourcing the same project cost me only $21.00.  Oh, that $21.00 includes a tip!

I was amazed by this project.  Outsourcing is not only for big companies or millionaires.  It is for anyone looking to save money and free up time.  Tim is on to something big, as his book’s success proves, but for the skeptics out there I had to run this test.  I can promise that I will use Elance again.  Actually, I am thinking about my next project right now!  This really is a no-brainer.

Bonus! Here is a chart from my project data--feel free to use it for your own projects.

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