Living on Arbitrage – How To Outsource Your Blog

In economics and finance, arbitrage is the practice of taking advantage of a price difference between two or more markets and striking a combination of matching deals that capitalize upon the imbalance. The profit you make is the difference between the market prices.

One example of arbitrage would involve the New York Stock Exchange and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. When the price of a stock on the NYSE and its corresponding futures contract on the CME are out of sync, one can buy the less expensive one and sell it to the more expensive market.

Another example of arbitrage is done with currencies. Suppose that the exchange rates in London are £5 = $10 = ¥1000 and the exchange rates in Tokyo are ¥1000 = $12 = £6. Converting ¥1000 to $12 in Tokyo and converting that $12 into ¥1200 in London, for a profit of ¥200, would be arbitrage.

In reality, this “triangle arbitrage” is so simple that it almost never occurs. But more complicated foreign exchange arbitrages, such as the spot-forward arbitrage are much more common. Currency arbitrage is what made George Soros (picture at right) a Billionaire.

In the Internet marketing world, the most common form of arbitrage is the Pay Per Click marketer who buys ads on search engines to send traffic to a landing page filled with other ads or affiliate offers. The hope is the income made from the ads or affiliate commission will be greater than the money spent on the ads. It is not true arbitrage in the sense that you do not know the condition of the two markets. Therefore, it carries far greater risk than a currency or market arbitrage play.

What does all this have to do with blogging? Well, when you outsource your blogging work, you’re in a sense, living on arbitrage. I do not write the sponsored reviews on my blog. Instead, I have Michael Kwan write it. I charge $500 for a sponsored post. I pay Michael less than that. The difference between what I buy it for and what I sell it for is the arbitrage profit.

If you want to build your blog into something really big, then you are going to need help because it’s impossible to do it alone. And you should never do it alone unless you want to create another job for yourself.

How To Find The Right People

As a single person, there is only so much you can do. You need other people to do what you don’t like to do or what you don’t know how to do. One of the biggest excuses for not doing something is not knowing how to do it. You should never let that stop you. Find someone who has the skill set you need and get him on your team.

The key to living on arbitrage is not to have any full time employees (or as few as possible). Every time I need something done on my blog, I outsource it. As long as the price I pay is lower than the price I can sell it for, I can’t lose. Sure, I can make more if I did it myself but then I would lose my time, which in almost all cases, will be worth more than what I would have paid for the job.

You have to assign a dollar value for your own time. Many entrepreneurs make this mistake. They think their time is free but it’s really not. You would never see Tim Cook cleaning the floor at Apple because that is a terrible use of his time. At the rate Apple pays him, they can hire 10,000 people to clean the floor. So put a dollar value on your time and if a task can be outsourced for less than your rate, then outsource it. Here’s where to start.

eLance and vWorker

If you’re looking for designers or coders, eLance and vWorker (formally rentacoder.com) is a great place to start. Both sites allow you to post projects online and candidates will start submitting proposals on what they can do for you and how much it will cost.

Net Solution India

If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to create a Facebook app for your blog then Net Solution India is your place. In addition to creating Facebook and iPhone, Net Solution is a full service web development house.

Your Man In India

Your Man In India offers virtual assistants to help you run your blog or do anything else you want. The company was made famous by the book, The 4 Hour Work Week. I have never dealt with YMI before but I’ve meet people who have and their experience were mostly positive.

BestJobs.ph

The Philippines is one of the best places to find full time virtual workers. Philippine people are hard workers and they speak good English. BestJobs.ph provides all the information to find and hire top Philippine workers for a fraction of the cost. You can get people to start working for you full time for as low as $250 a month.

OffShoring.com

I’ve meet these guys (well, their booth was staffed by a girl) at AdTech and Affiliate Summit. The nice thing about OffShoring.com is they manage the outsourcing for you. Tell them what you need and they’ll find the best Philippine for the job. Workers start at $4 an hour.

Some people might think we’re taking advantage of people by outsourcing but the truth of the matter is, they’re making more working for us than they can doing anything else. Everything is relative. No two markets are the same, and that is what makes arbitrage possible.

Virtual Staff Finder

Virtual Staff Finder is owned by my friend Chris Ducker. Normally, a lot of work goes into hiring virtual staff, such as searching job boards and other freelancing websites, short-listing applicants, interviewing, background checks, collecting references, testing, etc. The Virtual Staff Finder service eliminates these things for you, saving you massive amounts of valuable time.

At the last Blog World Expo, I cornered Chris and asked him how does it feel to know that he’s destroying the US economy one Philippine at a time? His answer was typical Chris Ducker.

How To Hire At Home

You say you rather take advantage of people at home instead of offshore? No problem! Here are some tips to do just that.

Don’t Ever Hire Your Friends

Hiring friends and family is generally a receipt for disaster. They’ll expect special treatment and can cause friction with other employees. Even if your friend is the most qualified for the job, I would not hire him.

Do a Trial Period

You should never hire someone full-time off the bat. You should always do a tryout period to see if the person fits your requirement.

Don’t worry about trying to find someone fast. The key is the hire slow and fire fast. If you’re not sure if someone is a good fit, then don’t hire that person. There are no maybes when it comes to hiring. It’s either a YES or NO!

Offer a Revshare Instead of Cash

You can get burn pretty bad by hiring people by the hour. The longer they drag out a project, the more it will cost you. Instead of hiring at a fixed rate for a new project, I offer the opportunity to share in the income the project the makes. In the long term, this usually works out better for everyone.


55 thoughts on “Living on Arbitrage – How To Outsource Your Blog”

  1. HYVAssistant says:

    In regards to finding a reliable Virtual Assistant, you can either go the

    Do It Yourself (DIY) or the Done For You (DFY) route.

    Going the DIY route:

    1) Check out Virtual Assistant Forums such as VirtualAssistantForums.com and VaNetworking.com. Virtual Assistants from around the world hang out on sites like this to network and exchange ideas. You can go on there post your job request.

    2) Check out Freelancing sites such as Odesk.com, Elance.com and the great thing about sites likes this is that you can get to review the feedback left for the providers and ratings on similar work that they have completed.

    3) Make use of Job Boards like and if you are specifically looking to place ads for Philippine based Virtual Assistants, check out Jobstreet.com.ph and BestJobs.ph. Just be ready for a flood of responses.

    Going the DFY route:

    1) Virtual Assistant Placement companies such as VirtualStaffFinder.com for a one time fee will help you find a VA who matches your requirements and can get the job done.

    2) Virtual Assistant Services Providers are firms like ContemporaryVA.com. AskSunday.com and http://www.HireYourVirtualAssistant.com (full disclosure – this is my firm) who provide Entrepreneurs with a team of Virtual Assistants and also project managers to handle all you time consuming business tasks so that you can focus on what really matters in your business.

    My final point is that even though you find a Virtual Assistant to help implement the work, you have to realize that you have to monitor and manage the process so that you get the outcome you want. It’s never going to be totally hands off don’t believe the hype! That said when you hire the right VA, or team of VAs they will make your experience pleasant!

  2. Rick says:

    Great information thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi,

    Great post and a great overview. I’ve used oDesk with some success before. What do you make of that?

    Also I recommend specialist communities for certain jobs. For example, translation communities exist to translate text.

    Good post 🙂

  4. Great post John…I love the thought of outsourcing my blog-sometime in the not too distant future. I run a site where I write PLR articles and once tried to outsource that at Freelancer.com … let me just say it was a disaster. I will try the places you mentioned, who knows…

  5. FranescoMurich says:

    my neighbor’s step-mother makes $81/hour on the computer. She has been without a job for 8 months but last month her check was $8988 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more here LazyCash28.com

  6. Oz says:

    I personally had a great experience a year ago hiring on elance for technical work. Only remember Brickwork and YMII from 4HWW – thanks for posting these other good resources.

  7. Dzulhelmee says:

    Outsourcing the jobs definitely saves valuable time. Its like an investment. I have slightest disagree with hiring friend & family. Look ! If they are committed and qualify for the job, you have to give a chance to them or at least a 3 or 6 month probation period. The main thing is to let them know that you mean business and no special treatment will be given.

  8. Kash says:

    Most examples of arbitrage flow from West to East, that is, you are an entrepreneur / business owner in USA or Europe looking to outsource your work to Asia / developing nations. There are not enough case studies to show if it is vice versa as well.

    I wonder if it is still called arbitrage if you are in US and outsource your work to somebody in states, rather than offshoring.

  9. aatif says:

    outsourcing saves lot of time and if you find some good service than it will be well and good . I am also thinking to outsource some of my work . Till now i was doing all the jobs my self

  10. Cyza says:

    I think this is one of the most important element being covered for bloggers and IMs. Thanks for sharing this info and providing several important links for people like me to start outsourcing.

    In actual fact I do outsource some of my blogging and other related jobs but on a minimal basis due to lack of cash to pay. Perhaps I need to really sit down and plan my business and start thinking of offering a revshare instead of cash (just like you mention at the end of the post).

    I just wish I can master this outsourcing skill as soon as possible.

  11. I’ve been thinking about outsourcing for a while, but I’m not sure if I want someone I can meet and speak to physically or not. I’ve been trying to find someone locally for a while but it hasn’t worked out so far, I’ll check out some of the companies above.

  12. Mompreneurmogul says:

    This could not come at a better time. I had thought of hiring others and have for some past tasks. I’m in the throws of launching my first ebook, setting up the page etc; I’m using Clickbank and Market Press it’s my first time for both and I’d rather eat nails then work on this aspect of the process- Thanks for the resources.

  13. Tribalblogs says:

    I would outsource on an as needed basis but never for writing on my site unless the person hired dreamed in the language of my site. I read too many blogs written poorly that look as if they have been spun, and maybe they have on top of that. The information they present looks cheap and incorrect due to the language barrier. I know too many good writers who are in need of work that I would gladly pay top dollar to write for me. It is the outsourced work force who has decimated the writers in the US and UK.

    Coding is completely different. I outsource for that because it’s behind the scenes and I want the best person for the job for the least amount of money. The bonuses I pay are often several times the cost of the job but the work is excellent and well worth it.

  14. Stefanie says:

    This is pretty interesting. Something I will need to read a couple times to digest. I think in theory I am beginning this process, but I’m so new at this that I am also in the learning stage and trying not to get frighten away by it. Like you said don’t let not knowing something stop you from doing!

  15. Beth says:

    As a SEO content writer, I highly agree that you should outsource your writing. I’m not sure you need to go to overseas to do so. There are plenty of quality writers here in the United States. Also, you do get what you pay for. Quality content doesn’t come from paying a couple of dollars from an article. Beth Sager http://www.stonebrookseowriting.com

  16. Hotdogman says:

    What is the best place for a writer to find freelance web work. I have thought about hiring myself out to do this kind of writing, but don’t know where I would be compensated the highest.

    1. Tribalblogs says:

      @Hotdogman put up a website offering your services. Put ads on Craig’s List (it’s free) telling people that you will write for them. Don’t forget to look at the job postings on Craig’s List. They always have writing gigs available though most of them don’t pay that well. I offer jobs on Tribal Blogs so send me an email and I will keep you in mind. I have many new clients signing on and expect to hire a couple of writers in the next month. Make sure your grammar is up to par and don’t forget to take the time to edit. Make use of Twitter and Facebook to get the word out. All you need is one happy client for referrals.

    2. jed1 says:

      @Hotdogman Come check us out at blogmutt.com. We have a solid staff of freelance writers who have done pretty well writing for a variety businesses on a range of topics.

  17. DustinGrant says:

    Another great post John. I’m looking to outsource my blog and article writing soon. This will free sometime an I will be able to concentrate on other tasks. Looking forward to your next post!

  18. DustinGrant says:

    Another great post John. I’m looking to outsource my blog and article writing soon. This will free sometime an I will be able to concentrate on other tasks. Looking forward to your next post!

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  20. DustinGrant says:

    Another great post John. I am looking to outsource my blog as well as my article writing soon. Look forward to you next post.

  21. Gene Villas says:

    Nice post and tips. Time is always the problem when you have a blog. Now I know where to find people to hire. Thanks for the tip.

  22. DustinGrant says:

    <a href=http://Grant-D.net

  23. DustinGrant says:

    Another Great post thanks for the tips. I am looking to out source my blog as well as article writing soon. Look forward to your next post. http://Grant-D.net

  24. There are some great ideas… I agree with many here that content development has to be in-house. This makes sure that the content is original and reflect your personal style. I guess with time you might be able to train people to do specific content type things.

    Software and back-end stuff is entirely different thing and needs best technical resource with least money spent. So can be outsourced. It could be off-shored, in-sourced or near-sourced…

    1. Hotdogman says:

      @ConnectWithInspiration just like moving, it could be beer sourced too. 😉

  25. fas says:

    Awesome John, but then wont take the essence away?

    1. John Chow says:

      @fas That depends on what you outsource. Except for the reviews, I don’t outsource the writing on this blog.

  26. And what’s your opinion about Fiverr? Thanks

  27. SirCraig007 says:

    I’ve been to the Philippines 16 times and lived there for most of 2008. I was going to open a phone center but my cargo got hijacked on the way over there and things fell apart. During that year, I discovered how easily the Filipinos adapt to whatever the situation is and that if you want to outsource anything there having to do with the English language, there are thousands of college grads with English degrees who are unemployed. Try sulit.com.ph for a place to advertise your help wanted post.

  28. Gary Parenti says:

    Hey John,

    I have no one that knows what I know about

    what I Blog about John…Everyone is either

    trying to do what you have mastered,or just

    try to sell something to their readers…So I do

    all my own posts…Thanks for the info anyways…

    This is another great John Chow Post…

    Gary,

  29. Hi John! It’s good to outsource but quite frankly I prefer to outsource my work to Americans. I pay more but I feel better about myself and the fact that I am providing Americans with jobs. I have run into too many people who have outsourced a programming project overseas never to see their project completed but there money was gone. I’ve read Michael Qwan’s articles and they are good. Is he based in the U.S.? Thanks!

  30. GuyRich1 says:

    自分でやったら損をすることを安くやっていただいた方が良いということですね

  31. Softster says:

    This is pretty interesting. Outsourcing the jobs definitely saves valuable time. Its like an investment. Great post and a great overview, thanks for posting.

  32. A friend has a phone dialer companies in Gambia, Africa for the Finnish market and she pay good salary to the full-time employees who speak English, their salary is 25 dollars a month. In Finland it would have been at least $ 2,000 per employee. You have to find the right costs relative to income.

  33. Recently I came across a company that combines arbitrage, outsourcing, and ppc all into one. They’re called Trada and what they do is professionally manage your ppc campaigns across Google, Facebook , and Bing. They make their money from the difference of what you bid on keywords and the lowest bid they ACTUALLY get it for…if they can’t get your keywords below what you bid then they do not get paid!

    I found out about them while on a webinar hosted by some known marketers. Trada goes above and beyond by creating tons of ads for you and constantly tweak them because their payment is directly related to their performance.

    If you check them out , make sure you tell them the MarketSecretsBlogger sent you 😉

  34. When it comes to writing, many business owners find it difficult to write down the essential features and new product/service updates in their business blogs. And to ensure a search engine friendly business blog, turning around new content on a regular basis is one of the primary requirements.

  35. mootonandrew says:

    Hi John Thanks a lot for this great article about blogging with arbitrage . Tweeted! Everything you say is true, although I think that just taking action is the hardest thing for modt people. I also have a site about the different ways to make money online get money

  36. TT_admin says:

    Hi john, i ran a relatively successful soccer blog http://www.theirtactics.com. I just like you to check it up and give me a few pointers. Appreciate it, thank you!!

  37. Mayur Patel says:

    very helpful me..thanks for sharing…:)

  38. iLeader says:

    Thanks John, some good tips on hiring people, i particularly agree about friends and family, it just NEVER works. We also always use the trial period and the motto “hire slow and fire fast” is one we aspire to.

    Our company does SEO in Southern Africa and yes, even in Africa SEO is important. South Africa is a fairly modern country with a good infrastructure, but our labour costs are relatively low. not as low as the Pihilippine people mind you, but still we can do the job at a fraction of the typical cost in USA. english is one of the official languages here and thus most people can communicate with internationals. I’m going to hook up with the off shoring and virtual staff guys and see if we can’t be a part of their offerings. Thank you for the heads up!

  39. DonX69 says:

    Interesting. I’ve met one person that I’ve used that is outsourced. Other then that everyone I’ve ever tried to use was a total waste of time and money.

  40. zainuuuu says:

    Outsourcing your works to the professionals is indeed a great help for a startup business. This is because, as being a startup, you know less or nothing at all in the internet marketing and online business promotion industry. Just as long as you could come across a reliable one, outsourcing your works wont be that much of a hassle.

  41. conorology says:

    Outsourcing your blog got lots of benefits but unfortunately, it also has many disadvantages. Examples are you could lose your blog’s identity, your blog’s focus and your personal voice.
    However, I am not totally discouraging you on blog outsourcing. It is just mainly a warning or a precaution. There are lots of things you can do to prevent or avoid those disadvantages. You should have a solution prepared just in case you’d encounter some problems along the way. Studying and reading articles would definitely help you get ready. I’ve recently read an article that’s very helpful, you might want to check it out for yourself.
    http://www.timedoctor.com/biz3.0/why-100k-developers-are-dead/

  42. Very few people know that you can outsource even your blog. In this blog-post it says very clearly how outsourcing your blog is a sensible business decision. Along with your blog, if there are any other processes, projects you want to outsource, get in touch with us at VirtualEmployee.com and let’s tell you how we can do a good job of your outsourcing.

  43. williamsam says:

    Thnx for sharing your mind blowing knowledge among us 🙂 I like this article so so much 

  44. Very Nice Posting 
    and Thanks For Sharing
     

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