Mom-and-Pop Multinationals: How to Go Global


The Wilburns have used freelancers in India, Israel, and Britain. (Photo: Dana Smith)

Here is the beginning of a worthwhile article in the current issue of Businessweek called “Mom-and-Pop Multinationals.” Ever wondered how much personal outsourcing really costs? How to divide and delegate the various tasks that consume your time? This article includes several useful case studies:

From the outside, the gray Victorian with the stained-glass windows on a gentrified block in Dorchester, Mass., is a typical middle-class dream house. But it also is the headquarters of what you might call a micro-multinational. Randy and Nicola Wilburn run real estate, consulting, design, and baby food companies out of their home. They do it by taking outsourcing to the extreme…

Read the entire article here. I was not aware I was featured until my agent sent me the link.

Posted on: July 8, 2008.

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67 comments on “Mom-and-Pop Multinationals: How to Go Global

  1. Read the book…nice.

    Is it just me or doo others ahve the problme of NOT KNOWING how to get a business started?what to seell, how to sell???


  2. Two years ago, I hired a Marketing/ Grant writer out of Florida, USA to write Letters of Intent, Proposals, WRAGS, etc for my non-profit called Urban City Renewal ( In short, I lost $4000.00 to someone who was highly recommended by another non-profit and did zero work. As the founder, my mission is to revitalized distressed communities by building/ renovating housing for people with Disabilities (Mental, Cancer, Physical, Immune Disorders, etc). Our latest project is to create a 6 bedroom Cancer Respite Center in our community. I have turned into an army of one. We were considering contacting HGTV to profile and renovate our Victorian Rowhouse in Washington, DC. We did get our first grant for the whopping amount of $800.00. I am very grateful for the $800.00 and was considering donating a portion to a children coats fund and a low income/ homeless food pantry at a local church. We need ” serious help/advice” to write proposals, Letters of Intent, raise cash to renovate, operate, pay mortgage, website design, (I was thinking of buying a template from and then outsource), etc. Any ideas out there, please?


  3. Hi Tim,

    Having been in the outsourcing business for a few years now, reading your book was like meeting a long-lost friend! There is, however, one point I’d like to add (disciple to guru, if you don’t mind!). A common complaint about outsourcing which I was hearing regularly, and I’m sure you heard countless times too, was the language barrier. Way too many people were saying that the additional time and effort that was necessary because of the language barrier just made outsourcing unattractive. Not to mention all the mistakes it caused, which also made it less of a money saver. It was actually because of this, almost consistent, complaint, that we revamped our company. We took advantage of the huge pool of American expats here in Israel, to offer our clients actual and real American English (and service), at offshore rates – the exact arbitrage you said was required to win! Indeed, we’ve spent the last year and half growing really fast and now have more than 300 corporate accounts across the US and UK, besides the countless mom and pops including the Wilburns! Although our company is unique in this fashion, I think that this is the best response to the only downside to outsourcing.

    I thoroughly enjoyed your book, and we’re all big fans of yours here at GlobeTask!


    Richard Weinberg


  4. I have a full time graphic designer in Pakistan. He earns 18,000 RS per month ($1.30/hour). The great part is he works by the hour and takes much time off. So he only costs me about $150/month. It's easy to pay him with Elance escrow too. I use Team Viewer to monitor his work (

    My advice is do your research on typical salaries in foreign countries. Don't listen to Elance bids or Americans. $1.50/hour is like $2,000 to $3,000 per month standard of living in Pakistan. But if you excepted their elance bid for graphic design of $4 or $10/hour you'd be a smuck.

    He has a friend who has an MBA and wants to work for me for $4/hour. The future looks bright.


  5. After reading the T4HWW I have been toying with the outsource idea but cannot seem to make the leap to outsourcing, mostly because I am hesitant to opening up my personal space to complete outsiders.

    Now for my question(s)
    1. Are there any service providers that T4HWW community can vouchsafe?
    2. Any service provider I should avoid (ok, not a pc question, I know)


  6. The best thing about reading case studies like these are the ideas that come to mind of tasks that I can and should be outsourcing. When I first listened to “The Four Hour Workweek”, I knew I wanted others to do the work, but had no clue what to actually have them do. Now, I am actually getting my first Virtual Assistant next week to take do most of my research and to handle my appointment setting. Starting small and going to grow from there. Thanks for showing us how others do it Tim. You da man!!


  7. Hi Tim

    Good story as always. Inspired by your book, we have started to outsource some tasks for our New Zealand website helping homeowners outsource their DIY to tradespeople ( if interested). We started small – first designed a viral video, and then the monthly newsletter template. The people we have used (ironically in the US, and also in Portugal), have been as good and responsive as any employee. Its giving us confidence to take it further, and also giving us more hours to spend with family!




  8. Hey Tim, I am starting a vitamin supplement company myself. I was wondering which contract manufacturer you eventually settled on for BrainQuicken, and also which “dishonest supplier” it was that you mentioned almost bankrupted you in the first few months. And did you ever deal with a company called Atlantic Essentials out of Hauppauge, NY?


  9. Hi everyone just wanted to share a virtual assistant company that we setup after reading Tim’s book! If anyone is interested in trialling out the service we would be very happy to hear from you!


  10. Outsourcing is definitely the way to go. For the longest I was trying to do EVERYTHING related to my on-line business. I was building the websites, writing articles, posting reviews, working on SEO, etc. I was doing it all, plus working full-time. It was just too much. That’s when I read about Elance. Wow, what a difference it made to my business. I get so much more done know in a fraction of the time. Thanks Tim for your AWESOME book 4HWW. It must feel special to know that you have made such an enormous impact in so many lives. I for one am eternally grateful. You are the best.