Can I make you some bucks?

how the net is transforming the way we work and earn

Paying others to do your dirty work May 27, 2008

Today I had a long chat with my brother. Well, it was more like one long venting session with me moaning about this blog post and how I had no idea what I was going to write about. Now before you roll your eyes and stop reading there are a couple of things you need to understand. I’m in Grahamstown. My brother , at that point was remotely connected to work from his home in Joburg and in between moaning about his dirty, hole-ridden socks, chatting to me and watching his daughter of 15 months he was working (or so I’m lead to believe). How incredible is that? And it really has little to do with him having exceptional multitasking skills, sorry to break it to you Gary. That’s the power of the internet. So by the end of the conversation I knew all about my brother’s socks and how he has now resorted to wearing two pairs to cover up the holes. Okay, it wasn’t that bad, we did discuss other things besides socks and by the end of it all I had effectively outsourced a topic.


I hope he will forgive me, but I just couldn’t resist. Here’s a snippet from our conversation:


Gary: lol

i want to pay to have a hit on someone

does that make me a bad person?

is organised crime really that bad?


me: mmh, i think u may have just given me my blog post

9:47 AM wow


u need help

like seriously


Gary: no i don’t


me: ahh , yes u do!

082 – 498 – 6230 .. that may help



It’s a very tempting thought



me: LOL

committing murder is a tempting thought?


9:48 AM ppl have and do go to jail for less


Gary: no

not me you tool

someone else can do the dirty work


me: there’s my topic



Out-sourcing murder? Sounds like a crazy idea and he was joking, I hope. The point is that outsourcing is becoming quite an industry and the possibilities seem to be endless. You can outsource your child’s homework. Just think about it, no more irritating questions about high school algebra that you can’t remember. GetFriday , offers services that range from paying bills, organising for electricians to do repairs to reading bed time stories to children over the phone. Think of all the mundane things you have to do every day. They can probably all be outsourced. And no I am not joking.


One man , A. J Jacobs, did just that. He outsourced every aspect of his life that he possibly could with the help of a remote assistant from Brickwork India. Jacobs used his remote assistant to send emails to his colleagues and to patch things up between him and his wife when they’d had a fight. Yes, he got someone in another country to email the person he sees every day. And it doesn’t end there. Some women in India have started outsourcing babies for just over $5000. I suppose it isn’t as terrible as it sounds but it’s still interesting and begs the question, what can’t be outsourced?


Personal outsourcing, as it known, makes up a tiny portion of the entire outsourcing industry but the internet is making it easier to exploit cheap labour in countries like India, China and Bangladesh. Things like instant messaging and VOIP make meeting in person unnecessary. Why hire a tutor in your own country when for a pittance you can find one online? In the US, the average tutor charges $40 to $60 an hour while a skilled tutor in India charges between $2 and $3. And it’s because it’s so cheap that outsourcing is rather appealing.


Take a look at some of the outsourcing services available online:


  • Payroll is a South African service which enables you to outsource the payment of domestic workers and can also be used by companies which have less than 50 employees.
  • Workaholics4hire is a service which caters to the needs of both telecommuters looking for freelance work and to businesses who wish to outsource.
  • YourManInIndia is for outsourcing only in India. They describe themselves as “a much needed lifeline for Indians worldwide to keep their bonds with home alive”.
  • DoMyStuff is for outsourcing a chore or can be used to find a task and make some money.
  • RentaACoder is for people who wish to outsource their specialist programming skills.
  • There are also several virtual assistants that you can hire and outsource certain tasks to like confirming appointments, managing your calendar or for bookkeeping tasks. These companies include World Office Support and Odesk.


While this is good news to those who want to pass their responsibilities on to others it should also make job-seekers smile. The internet has opened up the workplace and means that the job search is no longer restricted to one country or time zone. Now anyone with the relevant skills and access to the internet can register on one of these outsourcing sites and offer their services. And it seems there is definitely money to be made in this industry. According to Evalueserve:


Outsourcing revenue from small businesses was more than $250 million in fiscal 2006, and is likely to grow to more than $2 billion by 2015.