Offshore Outsourcing for the Masses

As a university professor, I was fond of assigning group projects. Besides teaching leadership and delegation–not to mention the wisdom of contingency planning–group work is the central mechanism for getting things accomplished in a business setting. I often pointed out to my students that there are no sole proprietorships among the Fortune 500.

So, having recently read Timothy Ferris’ best seller The 4-Hour Workweek, I may have to reconsider that oh-so-20th-century assertion. Mr. Ferris takes the notion of organization and delegation to new extremes via the time-shifting, currency-altering, Web-based world of the 21st century entrepreneur. In light of the variety of outsourcing scenarios presented in his book, those Fortune 500 corporations may well find themselves being successfully challenged by techno-savvy sole proprietors backed by legions of virtual assistants.

Spotlighting firms such as Brickwork India and, the author points out that it’s not merely the relatively modest pay-scale for highly educated, offshore knowledge workers that makes them perfect candidates for rounding out an understaffed Western business. An equally strategic element is that an assignment made at the end of an American or European work day can be accomplished overnight during normal working hours in India.

So what kind of tasks can a virtual assistant located halfway around the globe perform for your company? Well, virtually anything that doesn’t require a physical presence. They can perform information research, draft written documents, maintain the firm’s accounting books, and even sift through an overloaded e-mail backlog.

Of course, that does raise the question: How many virtual assistants does it take to screw in a light bulb? Well, some things continue to be best done in person. Still, all those outsourced tasks could provide you with enough time to write a best-selling book of your own! So next time, will examine how technology has transformed the modern world of publishing.

–J.D. Mosley-Matchett, Ph.D.
The Data Doc

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Dr. J.D. Mosley-Matchett

As advisor to a broad range of clients, including IBM, Texas Instruments, and J.C. Penney, Dr. Mosley-Matchett combines both practical experience and advanced training in modern marketing methodologies. Her background includes multimedia and video production, Web development, and the latest in marketing research methodologies. Internationally recognized as a published author and noted researcher, Dr. Mosley-Matchett has been a member of the graduate faculty at the University of Texas at Arlington and has conducted numerous seminars on a variety of marketing topics for the International Institute for Research, various conferences, and numerous professional organizations. She currently serves as the Managing Director for Words & Images, Ltd., an interactive communications development firm located in the Cayman Islands.

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