We started in India, then moved onshore. A few weeks ago, we added a new assistant to the roster, and he lives right here in Chicago.

Meet “Hank”: a 17-year old high school senior. He’s a sharp kid, and he’s finishing his last semester of school via home school. This means he gets his school work done in less time, and has a very flexible schedule. Perfect :) . And of course his rate is a little lower than what we pay George (who is currently working on a Masters degree).

I wanted to test two things:

  1. Outsourcing tasks that require some in-person local help.
  2. Requesting and coordinating tasks in person as an alternative to digital means, even if those task could be done by a remote assistant.

It’s been working quite well. Sometimes he works beside me, sometimes he works from home. When we’re working in the same spalce, it’s really tempting for both of us to interrupt each other- him to ask little questions and get confirmation, and me to jump in and suggest and correct. While this can sometimes save a little hassle and effort, it also takes away from the “set it and forget it” aspect that makes personal outsourcing so appealing. We both try to keep the chatter to a minimum, but when it’s necessary I try to work on things that don’t require as much sustained mental focus. For example I might cook a quick breakfast while he’s walking through a vaguely-defined task and encounters unexpected snags.

I’ll share more specific examples in the coming weeks. To start, let’s take it full circle here. In my first Outsourced Wednesdays entry, I described how George helped me find a good mechanic. That was last summer, and the car is once again in need of a little tune-up, an oil change, and a thorough cleaning. Tomorrow morning, Hank will be taking care of that for us, and I’ll get a couple hours of my life back.

Ed. note: It’s times like this that I’m glad I don’t own an expensive sports car…