Over the last few years I’ve experimented with different ways to offload some of my daily/weekly tasks and one-off work.
None of those services stood the test of time. Right now, only one outsourcing service is still being used on a regular basis.
It’s called Fancy Hands.
Fancy Hands is a virtual/personal assistant service that has hundreds of people on standby to do whatever you need them to do.
- Want to find an apartment in a certain part of your city?
- The best sushi restaurant within 5 miles of your home?
- Need someone to call AT&T and sit on hold for 20 minutes and then patch you in when a human picks up?
Fancy Hands can do it.
My Fancy Hands Experience
One of my favorite Fancy Hands experiences was when I asked for someone to find out if the writer Charles Bukowski followed any sort of writing style pattern. His style blows me away and I was curious if it was a known method (like Haiku) or if he was just doing his own thing.
The Fancy Hands person I got was a huge Bukowski fan. Not only did she answer my question, but she told me all kinds of history and interesting facts about how he wrote and how people had tried to copy it or figure it out in the past but could not.
The personal touch was amazing – something I’d never get with a low-rate outsourcing service based in Bangladesh.
They have a great iPhone app that I used most of the time. I either speak or type a task, press go and within 30 minutes it’s done.
The plan I use costs $30/month for 5 tasks. So it costs about $6 to make something happen. Sure I could probably find a foreign outsourcer on Upwork that could do the work cheaper – but I’ve tried that and the quality of those workers can sometimes be awful.
Also, the tasks rollover. So if I don’t need the service one month, my tasks are added to the next month and get stockpiled. Then, when I really need to get some stuff done, I use all the back-logged tasks.
^^ A screenshot of my Fancy Hands dashboard. 6 HOURS of phone time saved.
90% of the time Fancy Hands nails my task perfectly without asking questions or wasting time. The other 10% of the time I get an unmotivated or uninterested person who does the least amount of work possible just to complete the job.
I think that’s a pretty good win/lose ratio. No matter what service you use, if they employ actual human beings, you’re going to get a bad apple every once and a while.
I’ve had a great experience with Fancy Hands so far – and if you’re looking to offload some of your work to outsourcers, it’s a great place to test.
Now – this Fancy Hands review could have ended here – but I thought I’d give you guys an example of what you get from the service.
About 15 minutes ago I created a task and said I was doing a blog post and wanted to interview a Fancy Hands worker for it. I included 5 questions.
^^ This is the actual request.
Within a few minutes I had a great response from ‘Barbara’ who is working for Fancy Hands right now as we speak.
I asked 5 questions. Here’s what she had to say.
Interview with ‘Barbara’ from Fancy Hands
1. Can you give a brief explanation of what you do at Fancy Hands? What makes it different than TaskRabbit and other similar services?
Although I have never used or worked for TaskRabbit or other similar services before, I can tell you what I do for Fancy Hands. As an independent contractor, I select jobs from a task board that interest me or that I know I am able to complete correctly and in a timely manner. The type of jobs that I like to do are:
- Setting up Dr. Appointments
- Restaurant Reservations
- Simple research tasks
- Calling Stores to check on availability of products
- Data Entry Tasks
- Simple phone call tasks.
I do not have a lot of computer technical skills, so I try to stay in my comfort zone with the skills I do have.
2. How did you find Fancy Hands and decide to start working there?
I was looking for a work at home job. My elderly mother who lived in Oklahoma became disabled and is starting to go blind.
I had her come and live with me. I needed a job that I could stay home and take care of her. She needs full-time assistance at this point. I saw an a post online for a mom’s work at home site. While I was looking at that, someone posted about Fancy Hands.
I checked it out and it showed a link to check it out and apply. I applied and have been working with Fancy Hands since February of 2014.
3. What types of tasks and people do you think are best suited for Fancy Hands?
I have seen all types of tasks come through Fancy Hands. Anywhere from appointment setting, phone calls, research. We have travel search, hotel search. There are even tasks to write blog posts for clients. There is also the more complicated computer tech stuff that I stay away from, unfortunately.
There are just so many different tasks that you see every day. As to the people best suited for Fancy Hands, I would say anyone needing to earn extra income or to make it a full-time job. The person does need to have plenty of patience with all types of clients who can get extremely rude and difficult to work with at times. I haven’t had too much experience with that luckily.
They need to be detailed oriented and responsible and to follow through. If you asking for people suited as clients, anyone will be suited that needs a little bit of their day to day responsibilities removed from their plate and we can help do that.
4. What is the weirdest task you’ve ever done? (Or heard of someone else doing?)
That is a good question, I have had some really funny tasks.
April Fool jokes played on friends and such. I have seen some pretty mean ones come through as well. Just the other day, a woman wanted us to send her ex-boyfriend the meaning of the word “cheater”.
I have seen clients ask us to break up with their boyfriend or girlfriend. I love getting a chuckle from the funny ones…
It is hard sometimes not to laugh when doing them, especially when they want us to play it off seriously.
5. What do you do besides FancyHands? (Hobbies, other jobs, passions)
This is my only job presently. I do love to read….have to have a book in hand most days. I like a real book, not online or e-reader. I like the feel and smell of books. Does that make me crazy?
I also love to travel when I can. A little harder to do now with my mom. I also love to go to museums and art galleries. My favorite thing is anything Victorian. I just went a couple of weeks ago and had my first Afternoon High Tea at a tea room. It was fantastic it was Downton Abbey themed.
I hope this information helps. It was my pleasure assisting you today.
Kind regards, Barbara B.
Thanks Barbara! You’re awesome for playing along.
And no… you’re not crazy for loving the smell and feel of books. I do too.
If you want to offload some of your research, phone calls and other day to day tasks WITHOUT hiring a full time employee, I recommend checking out FancyHands.
Using their iPhone app you can quickly send tasks and have them completed by real, live human beings.
The quality of work is higher than most other serives I’ve tried. That’s why I’ve been a paying customer for almost a year now.