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What We Learned This Month: March

Welcome to our monthly post about interesting facts your assistants have learned from working on requests over the past month. 

What kind of sunglasses does Leo wear? There are HOW many blogs on Essential Oils? How do you make a Leprechaun trap?

This isn’t an April Fool’s joke. Find the answers to these questions (and more) below! 

You can find out what frames/sunglasses your favorite celebrity was wearing on tv or in the movies at SunglassesID: http://www.sunglassesid.com/“- Jessica O.  

I learned that there are some very interesting developments being made in the automotive field involving autonomous vehicles for public transit, as well as for future public availability/purchase. Apparently 2017 will be an exciting year for technological advancements.”- Samantha H. 

“I learned what a leprechaun trap is and how to make one. AND there's a popular new treatment called Kybella that they're injecting into under-chin fat and it dissolves the fat cells! Crazy!”- Tammi D. 

“I learned that, through Fancy Hands, I can escape my wheelchair and my small apartment and travel, in a virtual manner, around the world and beyond. In March, I was in Cambodia helping a social worker who runs an amazing program for youth. I was in Maine locating the perfect home to host an upscale bachelor party weekend for 18 people. I was in Chicago planning a birthday celebration that had a small guest list and a huge budget. And I traveled to a galaxy where the Force has reawakened as I provided assistance to a client who has played a part in the Star Wars franchise for a long time. All this without ever going out my front door! Thanks Fancy Hands.”- Susa C. 

“ I have learned how to create not one, but two Slide Masters on Power Point Presentation and how to Apply a built-in theme to save time and frustrations over creating the same background for numerous pages.” - Heidi W. 

“I learned that there are over 200 blogs that blog about Essential Oils!”- Zella Y. 

“There are services available that will help you plan your entire stag party. They don't just offer the typical adult type venues either. Have fun with a paint ball war among your friends or go dirt bike riding and even wake boarding are some adventures that they can make happen. Pretty cool right?! I had no idea this was even a thing.”- Kelley P. 

“I learned about travel options in China and Yiwu Market - a wholesale market that has almost anything imaginable. Everything we buy really is made in China and available for pennies in wholesale quantities. We pay outrageous markups.”- Susan B. 

Join us at the end of the month to find out what interesting facts were learned in April! 

What We Learned This Month: February

Welcome to our monthly post about interesting facts your assistants have learned from working on requests over the past month. 

Dinosaurs in Oklahoma? Shipping micro pigs from China? You’re going to want to read this. 

I've learned that the most popular Twitter accounts for January were:

@KatyPerry

@JustinBieber

@taylorswift13

@barackobama

@YouTube” - Aaron S.

“I've learned, there's new technology coming for commercial window tinting, no need for films anymore, just get a smart glass and change your window from clear to shaded with the touch of a button.

I also learned you cannot ship micro pigs from China to the US as pets because they are genetically modified.”- Edgardo G.

“I've learned that the price of roses increases in a ridiculously dramatic fashion in the days leading up to Valentine's Day. Order early fellas!”- Jessica O. 

“I learned venues in San Francisco don't care if you have a 20ft inflatable with your event.

I learned there's a huge statue of a dinosaur in Woodward, Oklahoma.”- Jessica D. 

“I've learned that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to find a salon in Serbia that will do a Brazilian wax on a man. In conjunction with that, I have learned that a product called sugar scrub will wax your nether regions without as much pain as wax”- Susan C. 

“I learned that shipping containers are being recycled globally and architects are turning them into amazing micro-houses. In Amsterdam, Keetwonen is the largest container project in the world and they are used for student housing. Google the images, it's so cool :)”- RK S. 

Join us at the end of the month to find out what interesting facts were learned in March! 

TGIF: Weekend Plans

Looking for something do to this weekend? Here's 5 things we can help with to brighten up your winter weekend.  

1. LOCAL EVENTS: Looking to check out some new music? Interested in free events for the kids? We'll help you find local events happening in your 'hood, and let you know how to get there. 

2. FOOD: Let us make your brunch or dinner reservation at a new spot or an old favorite. 

3. DAY TRIPS: We'll help you plan a quick day or overnight trip, whether you have a car, want to rent one or prefer public transport. 

4. AROUND THE HOUSE: You're finally going to hang those shelves- yay! We can find out where you can get the tools and supplies you need for your at-home projects. Prefer to have someone else do it? We can help you with that, too.   

5. MOVIES: Whether you're trying to catch up on all of the Oscar films before Sunday, or still need to see 'Deadpool,' we can find you movie times and get you tickets.  

Happy Weekend! 

Valentine's Day "Do's"

Valentine's Day is already three weeks away.

That's right.

THREE! 

If you're running behind on planning, or want to get a head start on gift deliveries- we're here for you! Here are some ways that we can make you look good (like, really good) this Valentine's Day: 

FLOWERS, CHOCOLATES,  OVERSIZED STUFFED BEARS: That's right. We can order flowers, chocolates, stuffed bears and much more for you this Valentine's Day. Surprise your loved one with something special. If you order through us, we have an exclusive discount with 1800Flowers.com where we get 20% off everything on the site. Tell us what you're looking for, and we're get it ordered for you for delivery by Valentine's Day. 

BRILLIANT IDEAS: Planning is hard. Luckily you've started early and you've got your assistants to help you decide what to do, and how to do it! We can help with everything from finding a great deal on a real BnB in the mountains to finding the perfect gift. 

RESERVATIONS: Once we've helped you figure out what to do, let us help you plan your itinierary for the day/night (or weekend, or week...). We can make dinner reservations, spa reservations, mani/pedi reservations. You get the picture. Let us make your reservations and make sure you've got the perfect plan in place. 

HOMEMADE GIFTS: Looking for homemade gift ideas? We can help with that, too. We'll even help you get the supplies you need for a gift that'll put Martha to shame. 

Now that you know you've got the tools, start building the perfect Valentine's Day for the person you love. Especially if the person you're planning for is you.

 

Fancy Hands Year In Review: What You Delegated in 2015

"You spent how many hours on the phone with Comcast?!"- You, after checking out our Fancy Hands Year in Review: 2015.

Find out how many hours we spent on the phone with your least favorite cable company, plus tons of other stats and fun facts about what you delegated to us in 2015! 

Gift Giving

'Tis the season...to be gifting!

This holiday season, give a unique, easy and worthwhile gift to clients and colleagues: a subscription to Fancy Hands! You can purchase the gift now and it’ll be delivered in the form of a fancy gift email on a date of your choosing. It can even be delivered immediately if you’re racing the clock.

Perks of a Fancy Hands gift subscription:

·      Access to a full team of virtual assistants to help with personal & business needs

·      Appointment scheduling & free conference calling

·      Sales and marketing research and prospecting

·      Items purchased on your behalf and delivered to your door

As a bonus, our gift subscriptions are discounted every day through 12/20. The discount drops every day, so act now and save more.

Save time for yourself and for someone else. Give the gift of productivity this holiday season, and everyone wins!

CYBER MONDAY

Cyber Monday is upon us! Check out some highlights below for the best deals on clothes, gadgets and more!

*If you're looking for the perfect gift for the person who has everything, check out our own Cyber Monday deal which will give you 20% off of all Fancy Hands gift subscriptions today only!* 

 

AMAZON:

Amazon is pretty well known for providing daily deals for an entire month, so you’ll be able to check back for the daily deal each day. If you’re only interested in the deals on Monday, here are the things you need to know:

 

Amazon Echo on sale for $149

Kindle and Kindle for Kids Bundle: $30 off

Kindle Fire: $34.99

Fire Kids Edition: $84.99

Amazon Fire TV: $25 off

Amazon Cloud Drive: 1 year of Unlimited Photo storage $1/1 year of Unlimited Everything storage $5

4k UltraHD $349.99 (reg. $899.99)

Sparin Ultra Slim Mini Bluetooth Keyboard $10.90 (reg. $29.99)

Singer 7258 100-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine $124.99 (reg. 299.99)

 

It’s recommended to bookmark this page so you can easily go back daily to see what deals you can get.  

 

BEST BUY:

Apple Products up to $50 off an iPad Air & $100 off certain MacBooks

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7in 64GB for $450 (reg. $600)

Samsung 4K Flat 65-inch $1,700 (reg. $2,300)

Samsung 4K Curved $3,000 (reg. $3,500)

XBox One Controller save $10 with purchase of select Xbox One console

GoPro Hero4Silver for $400 includes 64GB memory card & $80 gift card

Dishwashers 25%-40% off select dishwashers

Free installation with purchase of KitchenAid Dishwasher

Up to 35% off LG and Samsung microwaves

Up to 50% off select cookware

MICROSOFT:

Xbox consoles starting at $299. Save $50 on select consoles + $60 Microsoft Store gift code and a select game of choice

Up to $30 off of select Xbox One controllers

Several games on sale including GTA V ($42, reg. $60)

$40-$50 off of select drones

 

STAPLES:

Apple iPad Air 2 & iPad mini 4 are both 25% off (any capacity)

16GB iPad Air is $319 (reg. $399)

16GB iPad mini 2 $254 (reg. $299)

Amazon Echo $149 (reg. $179.99)

Office Home and Student 2016 $99.99 (reg. $149.99)

Amazon Fire TV $74.99 ($99.99)

Xtreme 2600mAh Portable Battery $4.99 (88% discount)

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 128 GB 12” Display $799.99 (reg. $999)

 

LOWE’S

iRobot Braava 380T Wet-Dry Robotic Mopper $254.15 (reg. $299)

Stanley Fatmax 25ft Locking SAE Tape Measure $22.48 (reg. $24.98)

Stanley 16oz Flat Straight Handle Hammer $6.98 (reg. $9.98)

Dewalt 5 Tool 20v. Max Lithium Ion Cordless Combo Kit $429 (reg. $579)

Studiosync Shelf with Bluetooth Speakers $29.98 (reg. $49.98)

 

TARGET

15% discount website wide with the code CYBER15

 *Target will have several items on sale all week, but they will be revealed daily

KOHL’S

Take an extra 20% off with promo code DEALSEEKER + additional savings all week here.


JCPENNEY

Over 50,000 online deals available Monday only + a chance to win 1 of 10 $10k cash grand prizes

 

OVERSTOCK

 Up to 50% off + Extra 10% off select furniture

Extra 10% off home décor

Up to 60% off + Extra 10% off select bedding & bath

Up to 70% off + Extra 15% off select jewelry & watches

Extra 10% off kitchen & dining

Up to 40% off health & beauty

 

VICTORIA’S SECRET

Select bras 2 for $49.50

Yoga pants 2 for $65

Up to 40% off over 200 styles of clothing

Pajamas 2 for $75

Free shipping on $50 + $20 off $125

Free secret reward card with any purchase worth $10-$500 off your purchase 12/1-15


GAMESTOP

Xbox bundles starting at $299

Buy 2, Get 1 Free on any vintage game title

Xbox One Elite Controller + Halo 5: Guardians, $209.99

PS Vita Aqua Blue $169.99

GUITAR CENTER

15% off sitewide + massive markdowns & flash deals all day! 

DSW
30% off 3 pairs of shoes + free shipping (w/no minimum) 

GAP/OLD NAVY/BANANA REPUBLIC

40% off all items, no exclusions. 

HAPPY SHOPPING! 

Tradition!

Everyone has their own Thanksgiving traditions. Whether it’s watching the game, not eating Turkey or maybe hiding out from everyone, each person has something that makes Thanksgiving their own. 

This year we've asked our assistants to share their own special traditions with us. Keep reading to get a glimpse at what makes their Thanksgiving, well, Thanksgiving! 

My family loves the holidays. We all get together on Thanksgiving for lunch at noon on the dot. We eat turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams (my personal favorite), cranberry sauce, corn, and of course, pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Afterwards, oddly enough, we decorate our Christmas trees! Haha. My parents have theirs up already so I don't even know what they're going to do this year. Probably critique mine.” – Megan P.

I always do a shrimp and crab boil with new potatoes, corn on the cob, green onions, garlic, fresh sourdough bread and fresh fruit salad! YUMM!! I'm a beach baby!- Beth S.

I kind of stretch my Thanksgiving out over several days. On Thursday, my hubby and I head out to east Texas to his grandmother's house. She starts "dinner" around noon, but everyone comes and goes and eats (and eats!) all day. This usually includes her three sons and their wives, eight grandkids, and their wives/kids. It's such a blast to get to see everyone and it's totally informal.

Then, Friday is my cooking day. That's because on Saturday we have folks over to our house. This includes my Mom/Stepdad, my sister and her hubby, my mother-in-law, and a variety of other folks (neighbors, friends, family) who happen to be in town at the time. Our house is a little more formal, as we all sit down at the table to eat together. I love to cook, so I do as much of the food as possible from scratch, and each year I try out all kinds of new recipes. There are few things I like better than filling the house with the smell of baking pies and boiling cranberries!”- Holly M.

“Since our son was born five years ago, we've started the tradition of travelling for Thanksgiving. Rather than trying to appease the grandparents on both sides, we spend our time visiting a new place or revisiting a favorite and enjoy the day as a small family.”- Tiffany J.

“Since I've been with my husband (about 5 yrs now)- it has been my relatives (about 50 of us!) for lunch. Turkey is almost a 'side-dish' there, as we have all the fixings plus our Chinese/Singaporean background favorites (and lately the highlight is a roasted pig). Then after hanging out and catching up with my cousins, their kids, aunts, and uncles- we head back down to my husbands family. Then- we have Thanksgiving #2 plus Filipino favorites (pancit, flan) at my in-laws house. My multi-cultural Thanksgiving, but I love it! I think a sit-down traditional meal would be boring for me now! :) And- as a result- I have never made a turkey- as my family always gets together on Thanksgiving (more than any other holiday).- Evelyn E.

In my family our tradition is to watch 'The Wiz' ( MJ & Diana Ross Version) & 'The Last Dragon.'Each family member has to be a character from the movie for the whole time we are together. And you MUST quote lines from the movie, even if we are in public. When I tell you it's the funniest thing on earth... Imagine someone walking up to you in the store asking you "Who's the master?" and 3 people run up and say "Sho Nuff!" (thats from 'The Last Dragon') Or, my momma used to call me Fleet. "Fleet?" "That's right. Fleetwood Coup De Ville. Momma had High Ideas."('The Wiz') It might be corny to some but it gets extra cool when we bump in to people that know the movies. They actually play along. Welp that's our silly tradition. I look forward to doing this every year, so if you are in NYC and you hear some crazy people in a store singing a song or quoting a movie come say "hi." It's probably me and my crazy kin folks.”- A. Nicole S.

"I always have an "Orphan's Thanksgiving" -- even if I'm with my family that year. Anyone is welcomed to join. We don't always do everything traditional on the dinner table, but all is free to join. Then, we do the typical "what are you thankful for" conversation after our blessings.- Mandie S.

The celebration starts the night before for us. This will be the 12th year that my best girlfriends and I gather on Thanksgiving Eve to bake pies and have our own celebration. We start about 3 pm and it's great, because we chat about what everyone will be doing for the holiday with their own families while we bake and sip champagne. Usually we get about 12 pies baked (pumpkin, pecan and apple) and just as many no-bake pies ready (two of our favorites are chocolate silk and lemon cream...yum). The holiday itself is full of family and an assortment of people who we won't let spend the day alone. It's a great time for everyone and a time of year that we reflect on how blessed we truly are. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! XO”- RK S.

“Thanksgiving has always been a day long event for my Italian family, with two full meals and dessert. We go to my parent's house - my parents, my two sisters and myself. Now it also includes all of our spouses. And my two kids - neither of my sisters has kids yet. Throughout the years it has also incuded various close family friends and relatives who stop by either during the second dinner and join us or after dinner for dessert. 

For our family dinner we have the traditional things - turkey, stuffing, potatoes, pie, cranberry sauce, etc. That is the first and main family meal, usually eaten around 2:00 PM. (My parents always try for 12:00 PM - after a few decades it still hasn't happened). As my family is Italian, we also have a second type meal consisting of homemade stuffed shells, salad, meatballs, sausage, stuffed peppers and mushrooms. This is usually eaten a few hours later, around 5:00 PM or so. And a few hours later, we have dessert.

This year is going to be extra special. I have been living in Florida the past 3 years and have not spent Thanksgiving with my family. So this is the first time I will be home for Thanksgiving, since we moved back home in May. (Huge difference between Turkey Day in Florida where you can swim after dinner and Turkey Day in New England where you can ice skate, haha) This will be the first year my 2.5 year old and my husband will be able to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. We will have it at my sister's new house this year. So I really do have a lot to be thankful for.- Jen M.

"We go out to eat for a huge Turkey Day dinner then we head to the casino!"- Kimberly C.  

 "We're a blended family and trying to start all new traditions. We moved to Florida full time last year and are having my husband's sister and her husband for dinner and my husband's son and his wife. This will be the first Thanksgiving my husband has spent with his son in over 20 years. They live about an hour away and I assumed he would go to his mother's (who also lived an hour from him). I took a chance and invited them and they said "yes" right away. I'm very excited and nervous all at the same time!"- Pam G. 

Giving Thanks

It’s hard to believe, but another year has gone by and it’s time to start preparing for family and friends, hopefully some fun(?) and food. Lots of food. 

Holiday planning can be stressful, especially if you’re hosting. Feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to get started? Here are some helpful things we can do to help take some of that stress off of your, er, plate. 

 MEAL PLANNING

You’re hosting Thanksgiving- yay! Your sister’s vegan, your uncle is dairy-free and your second cousin twice removed doesn’t eat gluten. You’ve got this. Send us the dietary restrictions and we’ll come up with recipes to make the perfect meal for everyone. 

HOUSECLEANING: BEFORE AND AFTER

When you’re running around prepping, cleaning is the last thing you want to do. Let us help you find a reliable cleaning service to make your home sparkle before your guests arrive and after they leave. It’ll be so clean, even your mother will be happy. 

CATERING

Skipping the cooking this year? We don’t blame you. Send us your meal requirements and we’ll find and help you order a delicious, hassle-free meal. 

TRAVEL COORDINATION

 Oh yes, it is the middle of November already. Let us help you find the best deals on last-minute holiday travel and accommodations. Save yourself from sleeping on an air mattress in your childhood bedroom, which has lovingly been turned into your parents’ gym.   

BEING A GOOD HOUSEGUEST

 We’ll help you have a nice flower bouquet delivered to your family or friends. Or we'll find a nice wine to bring to Thanksgiving dinner. Whatever you want to bring, we'll find it. We can even arrange to have you pick it up on the way there so you arrive in style. 

There you have it: another Thanksgiving and you’re going to crush it. Now let’s get out there and have a good one, team! 

PRO TIPS

You may have noticed a little tab that’s now showing up on your Dashboard

What is it? Great question: This tab leads you to a page full of Fancy Hands pro tips. If you click ‘See More’ you’ll be directed to a page that has tons of tips for making using Fancy Hands like a pro. 

This page will show you everything you need to know about getting started with Fancy Hands. You’ll find information such as what types of requests you can submit, what can be contained within a request, and what our assistants can do for you. 

Interested? Check it out

New Features. New Look. New App!

We’re extremely excited to announce the release of our updated app for iOS and Android!

The app now boasts our updated task list, and has a ton of new features to help make sending in requests a cinch.

Once you log into the app, you’ll be brought to your task list. It will look something like this:

That red circle at the bottom will help you create a request by typing or recording your voice. It will also enable you to start a text request and create a new action item on your To-do list.

Clicking on the three lines in the top left corner will show you the app menu. You’ll find things like your Archived tasks, your To-do List, and your app settings. You’ll also be able to search through your tasks or send an email to Support.

Our newest feature is the To-Do list, which will allow you to store short and long-term action items in the app. Simply click the field that says ‘Create a new to-do’ in order to create your new action item. Once you create the new item, you’ll see it appear in the list. If you’d like Fancy Hands to take care of one of these for you, you can click the arrow next to that item, and it’ll allow you to create a new request within the app.

You can edit any item on your To-do List by clicking the edit button. You’ll also be able to take items off of your To-do List by clicking the checkbox next to each item. You can clear all completed items by clicking those three dots in the corner on the right.




And that’s it...for now. Having trouble with anything? Feel free to let us know: support@fancyhands.com.



Client Post: 'If You Don't Have An Assistant, You Are One'

Wilko van de Kamp is a best-selling author, award-winning photographic artist and long-time Fancy Hands client. He also runs a weekly magazine called Living By Experience where he shares helpful tips for making the most of your time. Keep reading to find out how Fancy Hands has prevented Wilko from becoming his own assistant. 

Time is the one currency we all cannot get more of. We’re all on borrowed time, which sooner or later will run out. Yet we fill our time with being “busy”, claiming we “don’t have time”. It’s time to get your priorities in order, and starting making time for the things you love. Get your time back, before it runs out!

If you don’t have an assistant, you are one (quote by Raymond Aaron)

I’ve had a few assistants in the past that have helped me with building certain parts of my companies, and there have been several situations where I would just delegate anything I didn’t want to do myself. Not because I didn’t have the time for it, but simply because I didn’t feel like doing it. The fact I didn’t feel like doing it was a form of feedback I was ignoring. Some things I didn’t feel like doing shouldn’t be done in the first place as they didn’t serve any purpose. When I started focusing more on my core business, my assistants got more productive too. I don’t just delegate for the sake of delegating, I delegate for the sake of saving time. True efficiency meanseveryone gets to focus on the important things.

When was the last time you scheduled a difficult meeting? How many times did you have to email back and forth to select a date, time, and location that worked for everyone? How many travel websites do you visit to research your next vacation, trying to make sense of it all? How much time do you spend waiting on the phone listening to annoying music and (even worse) on-hold messages? Did you know this can end today? Don’t worry about the back and forth of scheduling meetings anymore. Spend more time enjoying your vacations instead of planning them. Stop making phone calls you don’t want to make. And much more.

Having a personal assistant used to be something reserved for the rich and famous, but not anymore. Thanks to the internet you can enjoy the benefits of having a “virtual assistant”, saving you time every day. Your time and money are worth more when you are able to concentrate on what you do best and leave the rest to an assistant. Virtual office assistants work from their own home-based offices and are highly trained in their skill areas as well as a variety of technologies. Many of them have advanced degrees as well as years of professional experience. Not only can a virtual assistant relieve you of mundane, everyday tasks, but also in many cases, s/he can even help you grow your business.

One of the biggest benefits to hiring a virtual assistant is the ability to delegate work to people who have better skills, and can do work you don’t know how to do, don’t have time to do, or just don’t want to do. The next big draw (when considering virtual assistants over bricks-and-mortar assistants) is that virtual assistants only clock-in and work when you need them and use their own resources. In other words, they’re not charging you to sit there and play solitaire on a computer you purchased for them.

Is it time to hire your own Virtual Assistant?

 

Top 10 Ways Solo-preneurs Use Virtual Assistants

1. Your VA receives calls routed to his/her home office phone so a call from your prospective customer does not go to voice mail.

2. You need to confirm appointments for the week. Your VA calls the appointments and notes who is confirmed and who must be rescheduled. Your VA even updates your calendar online, if you’re using a mutually accessible calendar program.

3. By using online invoicing software, billing can be done off-site by your VA. You email information to the VA, who then does daily electronic billing or accounting services to get your billing done.

4. You are preparing a marketing plan and need further information. Your VA can contact possible advertising outlets on the Internet, magazines, periodicals, newspapers, etc. and acquire information on pricing, publishing dates, publishing deadlines, payment policies, etc. All information is compiled into a report for you to review.

5. You are preparing a direct mailing and need to verify your database. The database is sent to your VA via email attachment. Your VA telephones each name and verifies name, spelling, title and address. All corrections are made, old names are deleted, and new names are added. The corrected database is “zipped” and returned to you via email attachment.

6. You need a brochure, business card or flyer for your business. Your VA can design, type and print your advertising material using your own artwork or stock art. Your VA can also make the materials ready to print by a professional print shop and simply email the file to the shop for printing.

7. You have a blog or website, but do not have time to update entries regularly. Brief ideas and thoughts or links can be emailed to your VA, who then helps with research or even updates your site for you.

8. You dictate letters, reports, notes or memos and e-mail it to your VA the MP3 file of your recording. S/he transcribes the audio and emails the completed transcript back to you.

9. You cannot keep up with the volume of email and are missing important messages. You or your webmaster set up a general email account (info@). Your VA retrieves all email, sorts, responds to routine requests, and forwards items of importance to you at your personal email account (myname@).

10. You would like to write a book, but can’t get organized. Your VA can compile rough drafts, notes, fragments, letters or memoirs and get them into an editable form to begin the process of formatting the book, research publishers, and send out queries.

Virtual assistants are here to stay. The above shows that virtual assistants can and do work well for most small and home-based businesses and especially solo-preneurs. Over the next couple of years you can expect your conversations with regards to virtual assistants to go from “What is a virtual assistant and what does a virtual assistant do?” to that of “Who provides your virtual assistant services?”

Implementing the use of a virtual assistant, especially through a virtual staffing agency, is a low-cost, low-risk undertaking. If the virtual assistant doesn’t work out, you simply request another, perhaps for a better fit. What’s more, coupling the use of a virtual assistant (or several virtual assistants) with your already up-and-coming business can catapult your income and success to the next level and beyond.

To see the full post, click here

Client Post: 'How Delegating to Fancy Hands Personal Assistants Has Made My Life Easier'

Lawyer, entrepreneur and all around leader, Cynthia Conlin knows how to make the most of her time. Cynthia has been using Fancy Hands for around a year and she's written about her experience using Fancy Hands on her blog, Facing The Sun. Keep reading to see how Cynthia delegates to her assistants! 

I read about Fancy Hands in a blog a while back and figured I’d give it a whirl.  Since then, my life has changed for the better.  Fancy Hands is a team of personal assistants to whom you can assign specific tasks.  Now, they won’t come over and do the dishes (but please sign me up if someone launches that service), but they can accomplish anything that can be done remotely with a phone or computer.  They also do it in a friendly manner, and they are accessible via web browser, iPhone app, or email.

While I don’t use Fancy Hands for things that involve client confidentiality, I still have plenty of other uses for a virtual personal assistant, and I have truly put them to work!

Fancy Hands has four monthly plans, starting with the “basic” at $29 a month for 5 tasks per month.  If you do not use all the tasks, they roll over.  Plus they give you free extra tasks for things like connecting your social networks.  I have not yet reached a point where I need to upgrade but so far have gotten great value from the service.  Since I enrolled last October, Fancy Hands has, for me, processed a total of 46 requests, placed 262 telephone calls, sent 11 emails, and spent more than 17 hours on the phone.  This is a huge value for me, and I’ve been hooked.

Another thing that I love is the convenience of the iPhone app.  If I wake at 2 a.m., which I’m akin to do on occasion, suddenly remembering something that needs to get done, I can pick up my phone and delegate the task right then.  This ability has put me at ease on more than one occasion as I am able to fall back to slumber knowing that a particular task is sufficiently delegated.

Here are a few things my personal assistants at Fancy Hands have helped me out with:

Scheduled Appointments

I received a promotional postcard showing that if I test-drove a new Fiat 500X I could get a free tote bag, but it required me to call and schedule an appointment when the dealership was open.  In the late evening, I told Fancy Hands to take care if it for me.  The next morning, my personal assistant booked an appointment on my calendar, and I never had to pick up a phone.  (Fancy Hands has access to my calendar through Google Apps, so my personal assistants can review and book appointments directly onto my calendar. Awesome.)

Had a Ceiling Fan Replaced

I have a house I rent out, and the ceiling fan needed to be replaced.  I asked Fancy Hands to locate a competent and honest handyman in the area and coordinate a time for him to meet with the tenants and replace the fan.  They did this entire job seamlessly, and it saved me a lot of time searching the web and making phone calls.

Researched Transport Services

I had a client who needed to transport a car from Orlando to Georgia.  Now I know that this is not a legal issue, but sometimes when you are a lawyer, your long-time clients tend to come to you with all kinds of issues.  Practicing law is part legal analyzer, part counselor, part problem-solver.  So, when I can, I try to help my clients as much as I can.  For this issue, I asked Fancy Hands to search for transportation services, and, within a day my virtual assistant responded with a whole list of contacts and exact price quotes that I was able to relay to my client, which, in the end, makes me a better problem-solver.

Compared Prices

After buying a new color laser printer, I asked Fancy Hands to determine what company sells the most inexpensive toner cartridges and compare them with my existing vendors.  My Fancy Hands assistant researched prices and gave me a full report including my usual vendors and a few more, with direct links to the exact toner I needed.  I was able to click on the links and buy toner in about two minutes, and the new vendor’s rate was about $15/cartridge lower than my usual vendor, saving me a total of $60!

Tracked Down Garbage Men

One week, the city waste management service skipped our address and failed to pick up our overflowing recycle bin.  Normally, I would just have to suffer and be buried in recyclable garbage for another two weeks.  However, Fancy Hands took care of it for me by calling up the waste management company and asking them to send a truck over.  Within 24 hours, a truck came by, and the recycle bin was emptied.  Success!

* * *

If you’d like to try Fancy Hands yourself, please use this special referral link because you can get 50% off your first month, and they will credit my subscription with referral credits.  Super awesome deal.   They are not paying me to write this blog, but because the service has been so helpful to me, I am giving it a glowing review.  I cannot recommend this service enough.

See the full post here

To-Do List: Check

If you haven’t noticed (which we hope you have) we’ve added a slick To-Do List to your Dashboard! Now you can store your to-do list on your Dashboard, and you can turn your “to-dos” into Fancy Hands requests with the click of a button. Literally. 

But how does it all work?

Click the text box to enter your action item. To save it, hit the ‘Enter’ key on your keyboard and you’re all set. You can double-click an item to make changes. Once you’ve completed that item, you can have the satisfaction of clicking the circle to the left of the action item, and you’ll see it checked off your list. 

If you want to convert your action item into a request, click the link that says ‘Convert to request’ and you’ll see a request pop-up. Hit ‘Submit’ and you’re on your way to productivity. 

 

Need to prioritize your To-Do List? Just click and drag your action items to order them in the way that works for you. 

And that's it! Who knew it could be this easy to be so organized?

Well, you did, because you're smart. 

Get started prioritizing now

Tips for Moving in the Summer Months

Planning a summer move? Check out these very helpful moving tips from our friends at FlatRate Moving!

Everyone dreads moving in the winter because the thought of dealing with ice and snow on moving day is a nightmare. 

However, summer has its own challenges that often get overlooked. You don't want to wait until your big day to be aware of some of these obstacles that could put a speed bump in your plans.

  • Schedule Movers Early - Lots of people just like you have purposely scheduled their move in the summer. This is a busy season, which means moving companies have full schedules. So, you may have a hard time finding a company with an opening. If possible, aim to move Monday through Thursday. Movers generally have a little more flexibility in their schedule on these days. If you’re short on time, you can enlist the help of Fancy Hands to research and book your move, making your experience as stress free as possible. 

  • Pack Heat Sensitive Items Separately - If you are planning a summer move pack DVDs, video games, candles, photos, and other items that are super heat sensitive together in a few boxes to be transported in your car. If they can't go in your car, at least have the movers load them on the truck last, so they are the first to get moved into the home at the new location.

  • Move Early or Late in the Day - When possible plan your move early in the morning or late in the afternoon. The heat of the day is usually most intense starting around noon and lasting till about 3 pm.

  • Dress Appropriately - If you are standing around watching the movers then your wardrobe may not be such a big deal. If you are doing a self-move, you should wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Dark fabrics attract the sun. Ideally, you will avoid cotton, as it stays soaked when you sweat, and can make you feel uncomfortable. Moisture-wicking athletic wear is ideal. A wide-brimmed hat will protect your face and ears, but if you just wear a ball cap or visor apply sunblock to your ears. It is also a good idea for everyone to wear gardening gloves. Sweaty hands make it hard to hold onto smooth surfaced furniture. The gloves will provide a bit of traction.

  • Take Breaks - You may want to hurry and get everything done, but your body needs a break to cool off, so it can lower your core temperature. Encourage your movers to stop and rest for a few minutes periodically, as well.

  •  Stay Hydrated - It is easy to become dehydrated quite quickly when you are sweating in the heat. Have plenty of bottled water handy for everyone. Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, as they dehydrate you faster.

  • Cooling Cloths - You can buy cooling cloths online and in stores. You just pour cold water on one, and put it around the back of your neck. There are cooling bandanas available, too. Frogg Toggs is a popular brand with a full line of cooling products.

  • Be Prepared for Bad Weather - High winds can be very dangerous and torrential downpours and hail can really make things soggy. Have a few rain tarps handy. If you hire movers they should have some, but if you move yourself pick a couple up wherever camping supplies are sold.

  • Protect Kids and Pets - Ideally, kids will be with a sitter all day. Otherwise, they will need a place to stay cool in the shade. Pets will also need to be kept somewhere cool, and they will need water bowls available at all times. Never leave a pet in a parked car. Even if it is only in the 70s, the temperature inside a closed car can raise to over 100 degrees in less than 15 minutes. If you need a pet to stay in the car while movers are going in and out, park in the shade and leave it running with the air-conditioning on. Check on them frequently, just to make sure they haven't managed to turn the air off.

Text Request Update: Pricing Information

We hope you've been enjoying the new text request feature we rolled out a few weeks ago. If you haven't tried it yet, you can read more about how to get started here

Today, we've rolled out a pricing plan for text requests, so text requests will no longer be free.  

How does it work? 

You’ll get 20 minutes of “text time” per request, so when you send us your first text request, your 20 minutes will start. We’ll update you to let you know how many minutes you have left after each text request is closed (see above).

What happens if I go over the 20 minutes allotted in my first task? 

We’ll automatically deduct another request from your account and you’ll get another 20 minutes of text time. We’ll continue to let you know how many minutes you have left after each request is closed. For example, if you have 1 minute left on your first request, and you send in a text request that ultimately takes 3 minutes, we’ll deduct another request from your account and you’ll have 18 minutes of available text time left from that second request. 

Is there a difference between text requests and my regular subscription requests?

Nope! They’re all the same. As long as you have requests left in your account, you can text us a request.  

I don’t have a subscription. Can I purchase one task and use that for 20 minutes of Fancy Hands texting? 

Right now, the texting feature is only available to users with a recurring subscription. If you’re interested in texting your requests, we’d encourage you to consider becoming a full-time Fancy Hands subscriber. You’ll be able to text in your requests, not to mention you’ll get a ton of other great benefits! 

That's it- quick and painless. If you have any questions, let us know at support@fancyhands.com. 

What Did We Learn This Month? April Edition

Did you know you can rent goats to mow your lawn? This was one of the very cool things our assistants learned from working on tasks in April. Keep reading to learn some more interesting facts and skills learned this month!

“I learned how to do canned responses in Gmail. Never had a need, so never knew!”- Ashley L. 

“I learned that Harvard has a debate camp for high schools students. That's good to know for the 2 little geniuses I'm raising (LOL). I also learned why WiFi sometimes gets sketchy in hot and humid weather.”-Kelli P.

“I learned the pricing of billboards in LA. It was one of my favorite tasks!”- Phylecia T.

“I just learned you can rent goats to mow your lawn!”- Rebekah R. 

“These past couple of weeks I've gotten quite the education in 'Boozy Brunches.'”- Delores B. 

Text Me, Maybe

We are thrilled to announce that you can now text your requests to Fancy Hands

Yes, you read that right. 

Basic, Pro and Premier subscribers can text requests on-the-go and will be instantly connected to an assistant for real-time responses. 

How does it work?

Text your request to (646) 755-9298 and you’ll be connected to an assistant. Then you can text as you normally would with a friend. It’s that easy! Your assistant will be able to see your entire text request thread, as you would be able to with any text conversation. 

But wait...there’s more. Learn more about how texting is priced here.

Here’s an example of what a text request looks like:

A few things to know before getting started: 

You’ll want to make sure you’re texting from the number that’s connected to your Fancy Hands account. If you’re not sure which number is connected, you can view or change this here

We’d suggest saving (646) 755-9298 as ‘Fancy Hands’ or ‘Fancy Hands Text’ in your phone for easy access. It’s the same number you’d use to call in your requests. 

While we can access your calendar to schedule appointments, we can’t yet make payments on your behalf through text. Don’t worry -- we’re working on it! 

A good rule-of-thumb for sending in text requests: Anything that wouldn’t work in a text to a friend probably won’t work well in a text request to Fancy Hands. We’d suggest sticking to sending larger tasks through email, the mobile apps, or your web dashboard.

Here are some examples:

Any other questions? As always, feel free to email support@fancyhands.com for assistance with this or anything else Fancy Hands related. 

Happy texting!

Meet Dawn: Assistant

Meet Dawn: a proud wife and mother of six, count ‘em, six boys, hailing from Norway (a town in Maine, not the country). She’s been a Fancy Hands assistant for over two years and has done everything from finding a live camel for an office party to finding the perfect dance class. There are very few tasks she hasn’t tackled. Keep reading to find out more about Dawn!

What has been the most memorable task you've handled? Oh.... There have been a few... I guess the most memorable would have to be to find a live camel to parade around the office (IN the office).

What is one interesting fact you've learned from a task? Being a Fancy Hands assistant, I have learned so many things. I learn something new practically daily. 

What do you want to say to the Fancy Hands community? Keep being Fancy!

If you were marooned on an island, what are the three things you would take with you? A fire starter, My husband, and a tent

What charity is the closest to your heart? I am very passionate about homelessness and poverty in America.

What is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you? My family and I were in a tough spot and our landlords were selling our house. We didn't have the money to move. They bought a house for us, and then let us finance the house through them. They are truly a blessing!

What is the silliest thing you have ever said or done? I am a joker and I am always saying or doing something to make people laugh. I once put my son's room contents on the porch. I told him that we had to sell all his things to pay for feeding him. (It didn't go over well)

What is the strangest food you ever ate? Squid

What’s your favorite flavor Jelly Belly? YUCK!!

What super power would you like to have? To go back in time.

What would be the title of your autobiography? Where Do I Begin? 

What’s your favorite myth, legend or fairy tale? Cinderella

Do you have a favorite board or card game? Skip-Bo


*Some* of Dawn's boys having fun with pumpkins. 

Meet Joslyn: Assistant

Meet Joslyn: a mother of two hailing from what she calls a “small town” in Lawton, Oklahoma and a Fancy Hands assistant for over two and a half years. When asked what the title of her autobiography would be, she replied “Making It Through Each Day Still In My Pajamas”…that’s a book we don’t want to miss! Keep reading to learn more about Joslyn. 

What has been the most memorable task you've handled? 

One of the ones that sticks out to me the most was when I helped a client surprise his wife by planning her a day full of pampering. It was last minute, but we were able to pull it off. 

What is one interesting fact you've learned from a task? 

I learn something new everyday! I have become so knowledgeable about a variety of topics since I started working here. 

What do you want to say to the Fancy Hands community?

I am so happy to have the opportunity to work from home with such a great group of assistants and clients! Everyone does their part to make things run smoothly. 

If you were marooned on an island, what are the three things you would take with you?

I would have to say my two boys, chocolate candy and an electronic device to keep up with all my reality shows! 

What charity is the closest to your heart? 

The Humane Society. I have such a soft spot for those poor animals and wish I could bring them all home! 

What is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?

I appreciate the little things more than a grand gesture. My husband taking out the trash, watching the kids so I can get a few minutes of quiet, those sorts of things mean the most. 

What is the silliest thing you have ever said or done?

Lately it would probably have to be that I have to sing the ABC song with my toddler all the time, no matter whether we are at home, or standing in line of the grocery store with strangers around us. 

What is the strangest food you ever ate?

I'm not the most adventurous foodies, so probably eel. 

What’s your favorite flavor Jelly Belly?

Buttered popcorn- yum!

What super power would you like to have?

I would love to be able to travel at lightening speed so that I could get anywhere in the blink of an eye. 

What would be the title of your autobiography?

Making it through each day still in my pajamas.

What’s your favorite myth, legend or fairy tale?

Snow White has always been one of my favorites since I was a child. 

Do you have a favorite board or card game?

Scrabble!

Joslyn & Family

Monthly Yearly
Up to 15% off yearly plans

Basic

5

Requests a month
$6/request
-20%

Premier

50

Requests a month
$4/request
-4%

Professional

15

Requests a month
$5/request
-12%
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