The term outsourcing is typically associated with large companies and refers to the process of hiring external businesses or individuals, usually overseas, to perform mundane, time-consuming work. The obvious benefit of outsourcing is the freedom to focus on more important, essential tasks. More recently, the concept of contracting out personal affairs has risen in prominence, made popular by Tim Ferris’ best-selling book entitled, “Four Hour Work Week,” where he refers to a story about AJ Jacobs of Esquire magazine. Jacobs famously performed a trial in 2005 to test the limits of how much of his life he could outsource to virtual assistants in India. As it turns out, Jacobs and many people who followed suit, found that nearly any aspect of one’s life can be performed by somebody else, for a relatively low cost. From cleaning to scheduling, shopping to laundry, the possibilities are truly endless.

When considering if personal outsourcing is right for you, it’s important to understand that creating extra free-time is only useful if that newfound freedom benefits you in some way. For some, it could result in more productivity at work while others may relish the opportunity to spend more time with loved ones. Either way, running a cost-benefit analysis is the first stop on the journey to outsourcing. This means that you need to quantify your time in some manner. For most, knowing exactly how much money you make an hour, and calculating how much more you could make by eliminating mundane busywork is the natural starting point. However, you may decide that time with family, extra vacation days, or reduced stress levels are worth the price of a virtual assistant. For most people, the benefits of extra time almost always outweigh the costs of outsourcing remedial work.

People usually show an interest in outsourcing personal or work-related aspects of their life, but usually, assume that the work won’t be done properly. On the contrary, outsourcing firms and platforms hold their workers to extremely high standards. Reputation and trust is everything in that business and bad reviews are like the kiss of death. Even if you do have one bad experience, the vast majority of service proves to be exceptional, meaning that you can and should overlook an outlying case. It’s also up to you to choose the best provider for your needs, understanding that different companies may align more appropriately with your tasks and produce better results. If you’re looking for something done that would typically be taken care of by an assistant, consider AskSunday, Your Man in India and Brickwork. These India based companies provide exceptional service for a wide variety of needs with prices ranging from $4 to $17 an hour. Typically, these assistants are hired by the week or month(s) but exceptions can be made. North American based companies, Fiverr and Upwork are more suitable for those looking to complete one-off or short-term projects. The prices typically run more in the $10 to $30 range, but you are able to choose from a throng of competing freelancers all eager to provide you with a quality product for the most competitive price.

Ultimately, personal outsourcing has been demonstrated to bring value to people’s lives in a number of different manners. From increased financial opportunity to more family time, the possibilities are endless. The market for freelance services grows by the day, meaning you have an endless array of people eager to do your work and prove themselves capable of making it in an increasingly competitive industry. If you find yourself interested but still on the fence, start by outsourcing the easiest and smallest tasks to get your feet wet. Should the experiment go successfully, ship out a little bit more work. Eventually, you’ll be running a well-oiled machine that helps you reach maximum productivity levels, leaving you with more time to do whatever it is you please.