Business models are all around us, people all the time talk about doing something apart from your real job to actually find something to provide with a second source of income. One of the ways you can make some money is by helping someone with a service you are good at, s that they can pay you for it. Outsourcing in other words. Basically outsourcing in the broad sense could be interpreted as ‘sourcing’ services or products ‘outside’ of your normal routine business line.
The buzz word in India is Outsourced, so much so that jobs lost to Outsourcing in Bangalore got their own word in the dictionary, Bangalored. Initially I was annoyed, but then proud that Bangalore is featured in more places around the world not just for software development (which in itself is outsourced work). Moving on, Outsourcing solutions, call centers, engineering etc is one thing. People who like the concept sometimes have taken it a step too far. Of course when it comes to taking things too far creatively, we Indians are hardly featured. Most of these examples are from the US, and am sure that if someone thinks of doing them seriously else where, they might accumulate income doing it. Like they say, if someone is will to pay money for a service there is always someone else ready to do it. Here are 5 interesting examples :
5. Fake Paparazzi to make others feel that you are important and famous
There is no better way to let the world know you have arrived, then have paparazzi follow you around. From being pinned to the death of princess Diana, right up to making Paris Hilton famous. But this service makes you think how genuine most of these Paparazzi are actually ? The Insider magazine reported of such a service operational, on further research I stumbled upon Celeb4aday the service that allows you to have fake paparazzi follow you around for as little as $500.
Basically, you schedule a time and place, and the company sends its photographers out to call out your name, barrage you with questions and take endless photos of you. It has packages starting at $500 for 30 minutes of irritation and going all the way up to a heroic $2,500 for two full hours. With that package, you also get a bodyguard to protect you from the fake paparazzi, a publicist to field the fake questions for you, a limo, a fake gossip magazine with you on the cover and after the whole thing is over a DVD with a handful of the pictures that your pretend entourage took of your’s.
It might get you noticed, but publicity, I think is a long distance away. Anyway, I guess that some of the struggling Bollywood stars could use this service. Although you could get a bunch of friends do it for you for lesser maybe.
4. Alibi service
If you are into something that you don’t really want people to know about, you always need to have handy alibi’s ready. Alibi’s can range from covering up your tracks when you are caught with something as simple as not being in the office on a particular day to a court case. Generally people rely on their general knowledge, common sense and what they see like movies, series etc for inspiration. However backing up your story with hard evidence is something that everyone falls short of, cos more people knowing about the hoax, means that it can actually be leaked.
Now step in, the Alibi Network; It will come up with some crazy story like how you were actually going for a secret job interview, but on the way you were in a car crash; the hospital had to save your life, and you’re groggy from all the morphine — and you will have all the documents from the “hospital” and “job interview” to prove it. Its as if MI6 prepares documents for their spies a.k.a 007.
You can even get the company to help you fool potential employers into believing that you have attended certain classes and seminars to boost your resume. The prices run $75 and up, depending on how much effort is required to back up your story. One thing to note for sure is that these guys do not really help in criminal activities, although the entire operation somehow seems illegal for me.
3. Break Up with someone
Now your eyebrows are really going up, I can see. Breaking up with someone when a relationship goes sour is one of the hardest thing to do for most of us. Unless you are a person who is just there for a short stint, this is the part of a relationship that causes the most heart ache. The company iDUMP4U has decided to capitalize on your pain (or happiness, depending on which side of the breakup you’re on) by offering its services to dump your significant other. For a nominal fee of $10 for a basic breakup, $25 to call off an engagement and $50 to announce a divorce, they not only provide the service but also records the whole thing to play on its YouTube channel, providing your significant other with their 15 mins of fame as a parting gift.
The company’s online form provides an interesting warning, below.
“Remember, we are ASSHOLES … we dump people for a living. So if you feed us fake information, or wrong info, and waste our time. We will make fun of you on the web. That is what we do …”
Breaking up over the phone is something that is generally frowned upon, Facebook and twitter even worse. If that is the case then really this service should be rated the worst way to end a relationship with someone. However, it does let you get away from that awful deed yourself. Would you use it ?
2. Someone to wait in line for you.
Now we are down to the grand daddy’s of these outsourced services. Someone to wait in line for you. I don’t have enough words to describe how stupid this service really is. But the fact that they are operational and doing business should really shut me up. Standing in line is the bane of our over populated, overgrown life. We stand in line for everything, for the tickets for a match to even getting a decent cup of coffee at the Starbucks.
Most people including me, hate this. Imagine if someone would be your personal “line stander” to stand in lines for work. All you have to do is call this queuing agency in the U.K. called Q4U, and for 20 pounds an hour, you can get a full-time professional line-stander to hold your spot. This service is so poplar that companies in the US and Ukraine are also adopting it. There are also freelancers who get paid up to $1,000 for the particularly desperate — for instance, if you need tickets to the next Shah Rukh Khan movie on opening night. Yes, people are paying for this service.
1. A rented relative / friend / company
At some point in time we all have considered using an older friend as an uncle to visit the school / college and get you out of trouble. The idea is not really new, its being tried and tested in Indian movies many times over and with good result. However, the idea is not being used in India. But Japan. Yes those guys who are full of Zen Gardens and fans of Rajanikanth movies. Japan apparently has some of the most loneliest people in the world, maybe due to over indulgence in technology, social media or just plain fact that they as a society are growing apart. But the fact that a lot of people are lonely means that there would definitely have some people who would pay for someone else to talk to.
No listening to their sorrows, no being a weeping pole to others, but to have someone listening to you in the form of maybe friends, family or a relative. One such person-renting exchange occurs in places called Campus Cafes, where grown men pay to come and hang out with college girls. There’s no sex or groping involved — the men are literally paying money just to talk to girls about whatever. Hagemashi Tai (which is Japanese for “I want to cheer up”) is a friend-renting agency. You can hire one of its actors to act as just about anyone for just about any situation. For example, at a wedding in Saitama, Japan, the groom’s manager gave a heartfelt speech about how great a guy he was and how lucky everyone at the company was to have him. The thing is, this “manager” had never set eyes on the groom or anyone else in the wedding before. The groom hired him from the friend agency to the tune of about 20,000 yen.
It doesn’t stop with fake employers — you can rent people to play absolutely any part you want them to, for any occasion you see fit. You can hire a husband to tutor your kids and yell at the neighbors. You can rent yourself a father to walk you down the aisle at your wedding. You can pay someone to go to Disneyland with you. Creepiest of the lot !!
So what do you think ?
People always say, that if you are able to solve a problem for someone, then you can provide them with a service that they will pay for. This goes for Blogs, service industry professionals and also these extremely personal services. Its ridiculous to think that some of these services exist, but traditionally we are all known to use outsourced services in India, and even in Dubai. Household help to do your chores, tutors to help with the time in college where you were lazy enough to concentrate, and even chauffeurs to drive our cars. Would you really use any of these services if they opened in your city ?