It seems that these days, people will pay exorbitant amounts of money to other people to do things for them, things they could do (and probably used to do) for themselves if they weren't so stressed/busy/time poor/overworked/lazy/unmotivated/organisationally challenged/reluctant/allergic/confused/drunk... whatever. Everything is outsourced. I know loads of people don't even own a lawnmower any more, some bloke called Jim does their garden for a fistful of money every fortnight, whether it needs it or not. Jim is laughing. Although, given that more people are building homes with small courtyards and fake turf, Jim may not be laughing into the future, unless he works out how to vacuum plastic grass.
Not just services; advice, ideas and strategies are for sale everywhere you look. How to sell your personality. How to get more followers. How to promote your 'brand'. Blog topics for sale. Blog makeovers. None of it cheap. There is even "Mummy Mentoring" for Mummy bloggers. I don't even want to know how much that costs, probably two and a half souls.
(please note I am not bagging these things per se, I am an advocate of the "each to their own, do whatever you want, I'm very happy for you, but it's not for me, I'd rather spend my money on wine and shoes" mantra)
I recently saw an ad that was selling, not just to business blogs but to bloggers in general, a 'virtual bundle' , including blog advice, content suggestions, digital marketing strategies and a gift pack of ten blog posts, for well over $600. Ermahgerd.
And on a very popular reality TV show last week, a young renovator mistakenly made a phone call directly to the Heritage Trust (or whatever it's called) to ask a question about his heritage listed home, and was going to be sent a bill for $500 for the privilege of talking to them, instead of going via the site foreman. That's one expensive advisory mouthpiece.
I AM CLEARLY IN THE WRONG BUSINESS.
Actually, I'm in NO business. I've changed my mind. I think I should start one now and have been mulling over some ideas to be the new Outsource Queen.
NAIL TECHNICIAN This title kinda makes me laugh (apologies to nail technicians reading this, but...) Technician? My daughter could paint her own nails when she was 6. I have been painting my nails and looking after them all by myself for my whole life, and they haven't dropped off yet, and I am regularly complimented on them. Going by the queues at my local shop I could probably cut in on their business, charge half what they are charging, and still be holidaying in Dubai on my earnings by November.
Wait, what? You want a pedicure too? YOU MEAN I HAVE TO TOUCH FEET?? Next...
PERSONAL/VIRTUAL ASSISTANT People are paying others to do the crappy little things they either don't like doing, or don't make time to do. Like running errands, paying bills, picking up dry cleaning, grocery shopping, walking the dog, making travel arrangements, picking up schoolkids, organising tradesmen, waiting for deliveries, working out a budget.... wait, I don't like doing any of those crappy things either. Next...
CAKEMAKING AND CHILDREN'S PARTIES Gone are the days when every mother organised their own child's birthday party with party pies, fairy bread and frog-in-the-pond, entertainment was Pass the Parcel and Musical Chairs, they baked their own cake, the fanciest cake topping was multi-coloured sprinkles, and the mandatory message iced on top always ended up as
HAPPYBIRTHDAYbecause they ran out of room.
Now it's a competition. "Did you see little Johnny's cake? It was a one-tenth scale replica of Hogwarts, including Quidditch pitch, Hagrid's hut and Whomping Willow. It's a shame little Penelope vomited her sushi on it before anyone tried it. I'm getting an even bigger one, including edible figurines of the entire cast for my little Archibald's party. One of the Masterchef winners is doing the catering, and my personal assistant is flying Daniel Radcliffe in for a guest appearance. It'll be a 1st birthday party nobody will ever forget. Penelope is NOT invited".
There is SO much money to be made in this. Wait, I would have to bake... and cook... and maybe even deal with small children... and the MOTHERS.... Next....
HOME HANDYWOMAN My parents rarely got anyone in to do anything around the house, except for essentials like major plumbing or electrical problems, and even then it was family friends who did the jobs for mate's rates. They fixed, renovated and changed things themselves, for the most part. Okay, so the bathroom tiles fell off the wall and the wallpaper in the hallway was upside down, but they DID IT THEMSELVES. Now people don't seem to have the right tools or enough time, let alone the courage or knowhow to have a go, so I could totally step in. I can tile, paint, do design and styling, I can cut with any kind of saw, I can hammer and screw (shut up) with the best of them, and I wield a mean cordless drill with multiple attachments. Except when I accidentally knock it into reverse. Oh, and I won't go up into ceilings or under floors. No confined spaces. I don't work when it's hot. And I don't like ladders. And I have this back problem.... yeah.... Next...
BABY WHISPERER In the old days, people had to put their own babies to sleep. And by that, I mean they had to have sleepless nights, bags under their eyes and a grumpy demeanour while they tried every trick in the non-existent book, until their kids finally caved in and started sleeping through the night. Now parents expect their babies to be slumber experts at four weeks, and there are MANY books on this subject. I had crazy babies with crazy sleep/wake patterns, off and on, and I can bore you for hours with all sorts of pointless advice and suggestions, charge you for it, and then smugly count my money while I let you discover that all kids are different, and bubs will sleep when he/she is damn good and ready, and not when you force it. Hey, my no-method-go-with-the-flow attitude finally worked, my son is now 20 years old and I CANNOT WAKE HIM UP.
No? Hmmm. Okay then, let's go back to PERSONAL BLOG ADVISOR. (I'll leave business blogs to the experts). Here's my 'Six-step Virtual Bundle For Personal Blog Success'.
1. Start a blog
2. Start writing
3. Write your own stories
4. Write with warmth, honesty, humour and passion
5. Don't have a 'strategy', people can smell it a mile off
6. Most importantly, don't listen to me, because every time I publish a post, it reminds people to unsubscribe from my blog, so WHAT THE HELL DO I KNOW?
That will be $645 thanks, you'll all get your invoices soon.
The Outsource Queen
(I will sell you this name, along with a gift pack of 10 stupid ideas, for a discounted $375, offer ends soon)