Ruminating on the joys of outsourcing


A few years back I went on a three-week jaunt in South America – Chile and Argentina.

Our base and the core part of the holiday was spent with our good friends Hamish and Sarah in Santiago (thanks again guys!). Hamish has set up and runs a loyalty business in Chile and as a result is enjoying what all successful people in that part of the world do – having a live-in maid. Not the uniformed curtsying type but a modern and relaxed version that translates into someone who has their own space and takes all the hassle out of day to day living.

The concept came into its own after a week snowboarding when we returned and Hamish said “just give all your dirty gear to Loos”, which we did, happily! Now I’ve always been the type to outsource domestic chores wherever possible and we enjoy a cleaner/ironer (the list keeps expanding as I convince my good lady that it’s in all our interests to do so!) but a large amount still needs completing each week (cooking, cleaning up, dog walking, shaving etc). Likewise – and this will fly in the face of many kiwi DIY’ers – when the house needs painting, car servicing or lawns mowing – I turn to specialists!

Now, getting to the point – by not doing something, we lose our effectiveness at best and at worst we forget altogether how it’s done – the old “use it or lose it” adage. So, by turning to the experts, I make it harder for me to be able to do this thing again in future. With more menial and repetitive tasks, I have no issue at all, but I know that in business my saw is not as sharp as it could be on the Accounting front for instance. This example is a prudent one, however, for me to keep abreast of this industry and the associated legislation (for example tax changes) – I would need to spend a considerable amount of time away from my normal job, whatever that is. For me, it comes back to an opportunity cost assessment (that tooth needs no sharpening!) mixed in with enjoyment, i.e. the cost of me doing one thing over another and my ability to be more productive both personally and for my business. That all said, there’s always exceptions – I still prune the creeper on my front fence – I’ve been training it for the last 3 years to take a certain shape and it gives me some strange satisfaction exerting my will over nature. It is a balance thing I guess. Ah well, I’m off to iron a shirt as I’m heading out in 2 hours...