One of the books I’m most recently excited about is Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Work Week. I actually caught Tim live at SXSW last February, but I didn’t really get interested in his book until I read a great review and decided to give it a read. I was blown away by it. Like a lot of other people, I really felt like it was speaking directly to me.
One of the areas I found most interesting was his suggestion at hiring someone through India to be a remote personal assistant. This would have made a lot more sense if just about every project I ever did with an offshore development firm went to complete crap. But I decided to give it a try and attempted to hire one of the firms mentioned in his book, Brickwork India. You can read how that went in my review of Brickwork India.
Since that was a dead end, I tried another company he mentioned, Your Man In India, who has a new site just for this, GetFriday.com. Again, the response was slow and when we finally did hear from someone I had to listen to the voice mail a few times to understand what he was saying. I finally caught the words “Ed” and “Get Friday”. So this was clearly not going to work.
With changes at USWeb, I needed to fill a couple positions quickly. I put an ad up on Craigslist and found someone who fit the bill pretty quick. He was available right away, so I started him part time for his training. This person was handling a very specific task, but I needed someone as an assistant to help me with all my small daily items at USWeb.
While waiting for GetFriday to get back to me, a friend let me know that his wife was looking for a position. Having met his wife and finding her to be very intelligent and friendly, it seemed like a perfect fit. I have a rule about working with friends, but after a quick talk that was worked out and we decided to start, again on a part time basis to get trained and see how things go.
If you do some research on Brickwork India, you’ll see that the average rate they charge for a person right now is $15 per hour. And that rate is supposed to go up because of huge demand. But I was able to get both the above mentioned employees for $15 per hour. Keep in mind, these are experienced, educated Americans with no accents, time differences, or telephone issues. Both people wish to be employed as contractors, and have their own computers and telephones.
I will of course have to offer raises and the occasional bonus to keep them up with the value they have to the company, but like I said, the offshore firms are planning on raising their prices as well soon.
I can’t help but wonder how we go to the point where we pay offshore firms in India more than we pay employees here. I’m sure that these firms would argue that this price point gets you someone highly qualified, and they often tout MBA’s, but are you going to use someone in a foreign country to do anything that would require an MBA? Personally most of what I need in the people I hired was good communication skills, a little better than basic knowledge of the Internet, and competency.
I’ll do a follow up to this post in 30 days and let anyone interested know how this went with my new hires.