Meet Mandie: Assistant Operations Manager

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve added Mandie as the newest member of the Fancy Hands HQ family. Mandie is joining us as Assistant Operations Manager, and while this is a new position for Mandie, she’s no stranger to Fancy Hands. Prior to joining us at HQ, Mandie was as a Fancy Hands assistant for over two years and it’s likely she’s completed at least one task for you during that time. In order to help you get to know Mandie a little bit better, we’ve asked her to answer some questions. Enjoy! 

What is your go-to karaoke jam? 

There is not enough alcohol in this world to get me to sing karaoke. Trust me….this is a good thing. 

What is your go-to dance move? 

“That girl has had too much to drink.” 

What is your favorite guilty-pleasure TV show? 

NCIS and Persons of Interest- I threaten people to disturb me on Tuesday nights. 

What are your top 3 apps (technology) right now? 

I’m simple in this department: Pandora, DropBox and Google (Hangouts/Gmail and the Google voice search “OK GOOGLE!")

What are your top 3 apps (food) right now? 

Wings, Wings, Wings (Hot with a side of celery and ranch)

What are the next 3 movies in your Netflix queue?

Reign Over Me, The Numbers Station, Fire With Fire

Who is your inspiration?

My mom. When people question how I am today (all of it) it’s okay to blame her. She’s proud! 

Where did you grow up?

Sumter, South Carolina

If you had to choose one food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?


If you could grab a drink with any historical figure, who would it be and why?

Benjamin Franklin- he was a pioneer inventor. 

What are you most proud of? 

My life- all of it. It may sound like a cop-out response, but there’s no one thing I’m proud of. I’m honestly happy with/proud of everything. 

Welcome to the team, Mandie!

Fancy Face. Redesigning our Dashboard

Yeah, redesign! Yeah!

Welcome to the newly improved dashboard.  Some changes here will be obvious while others are but a single note in a large orchestra. We’ve dug in deep to examine and improve all aspects of the user experience and while we still have a healthy list of improvements and features we want to roll out, we now have a solid base to build upon — and most importantly, a structure to make web and mobile experiences identical. 

“How?” you say? CARD UI!

Much has been said about card UI (here, here, here, here and here to start with) but the reason everyone is talking about it is because it answers a problem we (designers) all have with the ever changing nature of web browsing. Cards allow you to unify your product with a design that transcends any singular viewing format. They can easily be restructured to display information beautifully no matter what device you’re using.  The dashboard was only phase 1 of this overhaul (I’m looking at you iPhone and android apps!).

My personal theory on the benefits of using a card based UI is that these smaller, self-contained morsels of information are easier to take in than an infinitely growing email-like list. They clear up clutter visually and mentally. When I open my email and see a wall of text demanding my attention, it just feels like work and that’s the opposite of what someone has come here to do.

Some unsung heroes that deserve a shoutout in our new UI: the new color palette and redesigned icons (now with consistent line weights!) that make up a simple color coding system to match the type of task you’ve placed (coral: Call, turquoise: Schedule, blue: New Request, gray: Research, green: Purchase… of course). We’ve (well, I really) pined over spacing and the relationships of elements to help bring the focus of your attention where it needs to be giving more weight to important items and less to secondary items. Simplicity and straightforward-ness were my top priorities for this redesign.

Speaking of straightforward-ness — a seemingly small but important tweak to our new navigation is making a more visible, general purpose “New Request” button that stands out front and center. We’ve kept the 4 other quick links to the request categories since these have proved to be successful in speeding up response times and assistant replies, but sometimes you just want to get something down and our of your brain without having to tackle the new problem of mulling over where to file your request. After all we’re aiming to simplify your life.


Finally, lets talk about sorting. Although the ability to sort out archived and recurring tasks isn’t brand new, we’ve improved visibility ofthese features and given them a more prominent home. For those who haven’t seen it, the “archive” function will allow you to tuck away old requests to keep your focus on newer requests. You can do this by either swiping right on a request or by clicking the floating archive button inside a request. We’ve also pulled your recurring list out of the menu drawer and into this tab structure.

And thus concludes my brief design overview of dashboard changes. Enjoy them and be on the lookout for more to come!

Good day.

Decoupling the Dashboard

The Fancy Hands dashboard has seen a number of different iterations. At first, you couldn't even call it a 'Dashboard', it was merely an input field and a text area where you would write and send your request. Since then it has evolved to be more of a central place where you can create new requests, browse your old ones and see your usage statistics. With our latest iteration, the design has shifted to a more modern theme that places more emphasis on what's important to you right now. One of the biggest changes though, has less to do with the design and more to do with the way the front-end is architected.


Our stack at Fancy Hands is based on Google App Engine Python SDK. Built into it is Django’s templating system which works extremely well for displaying static (Ok, maybe static isn’t the right word. I think technically it’s considered dynamic since its retrieving values from a database. Let’s call it unresponsive....) content. We can fetch stuff from the database and display it, but it didn't change without a page refresh or (later on) a lot of ajax calls and jQuery dom manipulation. We wanted something that would have a more fluid user experience and also be easier to develop and extend. We chose to go with a frontend javascript framework, and the one we picked was AngularJS.

Why Angular?

Well… simply because we were already using it for small things on the site here and there. Last year we leveraged the framework to create a simple forum for our assistants. We also used it to rebuild our TeamWork dashboard. One of the nice things about Angular is that you can use it in conjunction with whatever framework you already have in place, and use it as you see fit.

So why use it in the first place?

One of the main benefits of Angular is it’s two way data binding system. Meaning that if something changes in the model, it will automatically get updated in the view and vice-versa. The beauty of this really begins to shine when you are able to get rid of all your jQuery code that targets certain id’s only to update some text. Instead, the views get updated seamlessly once the model is updated. You then are able to build views that automatically update to reflect the state of a model. For example, in the new Fancy Hands dashboard when you load up a request and send a reply to an assistant. What happens is the reply gets sent via an ajax call to our server, the server then responds with a JSON object containing a list of all the messages associated with that request (including the new one). We then set the newly retrieved list of messages as our model, and BAM, our view gets updated automatically with the message we just sent. No fussing around with jQuery trying to recreate the message template, the new message just appears as it should.

So what do you mean by Decoupling the Dashboard?

The main goal was to move from server side rendering of the templates to client-side. By doing this, we could keep front-end concerns out of the server-side logic as well as build a more fluid UI.

Angular, and frameworks like it, work astoundingly well when you have an API you can hit that spits back JSON. We fortunately already had most of our private API built for use with our mobile apps. With just a few tweaks here and there, our API could be used to power the entire dashboard and request pages.

Before, the process of rendering a page was like this: User sends request -> server makes appropriate database requests -> server renders values onto template -> server serves the fully rendered page. This often resulted in long wait (4 seconds + )periods between pages where the server rendered the template.

Now, leveraging Angular and our API, all of the view logic is done client side instead of server side. The flow looks like this now: User sends request -> Multiple (if necessary) ajax calls get sent to the server (API) -> Server responds with JSON -> client asynchronously updates each part of the UI as necessary. The great thing about this method is that instead of having a 4 second wait between pages, we can now instantly show the user an updated view when they click, and load in content as soon as we get it. The result is an app that feels a lot more fluid and a lot more responsive.

Cache Bonus

As an added bonus, we’re able to easily cache request data locally. Since we’re dealing with JSON objects exclusively, we can store the data we receive into localStorage and then load it up on subsequent visits. The result is a dashboard that is even faster since we don’t have to wait for the server to respond at all.

Try the new dashboard out now and let us know what you think!

Fancy Hands API Wrappers

Earlier this year, we launched an API to allow developers to build apps and provided a single developer SDK (for python). The API gave developers the ability to make a custom request using the Fancy Hands platform. This type of request allows you to submit a request in natural language, specify a price that you're willing to pay, specify the data (including datatype) that you'd like back, and a human would get right on it. 

We thought this endpoint was super powerful, and many developers agreed. This endpoint has been used by everyone from laundry delivery startups to Lipton Iced Tea's huge summer promotion.

While this API endpoint has proved powerful, we've learned from feedback and have recently launched even more endpoints.

General Request APIs

We've added fancyhands.standard.Standard, which lets you make requests in plain text and get your responses in plain text. This also includes fancyhands.request.Message so you can communicate back and forth with an assistant.

Call APIs

We've added which is an endpoint dedicated to making outgoing telephone calls. Developers can specify customized scripts, make a single API call, and an actual human will be making the call within seconds. The scripts can be as simple as a "Hello, goodbye" and as complicated as custom sales scripts with logic trees based on the responses we hear. We can even transfer the call to another number at any point.

Next week we'll be launching additions to the outgoing call API including:

  1. The ability to record phone calls
  2. International phone calls
  3. The ability to specify windows when we should call (make an API call in the middle of the night telling us to make the call at 9am)
  4. Lower prices for transferred calls

We'll also be launching incoming calls. This will allow you to set up the same robust scripts and use them when people call you, not just on outgoing calls.

Developer SDKs

When we launched the API, we launched with only one SDK, the python SDK. Since then, many users have built their own wrappers for other languages. There have been forks and pull requests and bugs squashed. We've come a long way. 

Now we're thrilled to announce that we have official wrappers for Python, JavaScript (Node), Java, PHP, and Ruby. There are also third party libraries for PHP, Ruby, and Go! 

We're not experts in any of these languages, so please send us pull requests!

NewCo New York

Exactly one week from today we’ll be hosting our very first session as a part of NewCo, a new kind of conference that’s hosted at various offices in NYC. NewCo allows you to attend sessions hosted by some of the most innovative companies around (for free!), and we’re proud to be a part of it this year.

We’ll post some updates from our session next week, but if you’d rather be there in person you can sign up (again, for free!) here.

We hope to see you there!

San Gennaro

Today we continued our 3 year tradition of visiting the San Gennaro festival. It originally started because we were so close to the festival in our Manhattan office, but today we made the trek from our new office in Williamsburg to keep the tradition alive. Here’s a smattering of photos from our Manhattan adventure.

In order clockwise:

  1. Our CEO, Josh, experiencing his first visit to our favorite pizza place, Toby's Public House
  2. The sign outside of Toby’s, because we love it so much.
  3. Lindsay posing for a pic with a real, live cannoli
  4. A San Gennaro street corner
  5. Hands up! The Fancy Hands HQ crew (minus Lindsay) celebrating San Gennaro

  6. The Empire State Building peeking through the San Gennaro decor

Totally Zen

After a few years of using our own system, we thought we’d try out a system built specifically for Client Support. We’ve officially made the switch to Zendesk which allows us to easily and quickly log and respond to your Support requests. This gives you faster responses and leaves all of us feeling, well, totally zen.

Seriously, look at that face!

Too Cool For School

I feel the first line of one of my favorite movies, You’ve Got Mail, says it best:  “Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.” (If you haven’t seen it, first of all: what? Second of all: get yourself to the nearest device with streaming Netflix, and get out the tissues!)

While Fall may not have officially graced us with its presence, the start of the school year certainly has! The beginning of the school year can be as stressful as it is exciting. Perhaps you’re a student embarking on that self-discovery journey we call “college”. Maybe you’re a parent sending your little cherub off to build a contraption that keeps an egg safe when it’s dropped off of a building in the name of science. You might be a teacher getting ready to mold the minds of the next generation. No matter who you are, your life is busy and there’s always going to be something you need to get done, but don’t have the time to do it.

That’s where Fancy Hands steps in and helps make the beginning of your school year slightly less stressful. Below you’ll find a few examples of what Fancy Hands can do to help you out now that school has started. Heck, these might even be things you need help with once you’ve gotten into the swing of things! Either way, we’re here to help make your life easier.


  • Did your child go into the first day with an Anna backpack, only to find that everyone else had an Elsa backpack, and now they need an Elsa backpack too? We can find an Elsa backpack near you, and even purchase it for you. We unfortunately won’t be able to prevent you from hearing “Let It Go” for the millionth time this week.

  • Want to make healthy and creative lunches for your kids, but don’t have the time? We can plan out a menu for you, complete with shopping list, for the entire school week so all you have to do is assemble. Naturally, you’ll need to add in a bag of Cheetos for cafeteria trading purposes.

  • Extra-curricular activities can be overwhelming. We can help you add these and any other family events to your calendar so you never miss a beat.


  • Need to manage your extracurricular calendar, or maybe just your class schedule? You can connect your Google calendar and we’ll add events and classes so you don’t have to add them yourself. Now you can be social and on time for every class!

  • Are you having difficulty doing some research for an assignment? We can help find you resources that’ll help you ace that paper. We’ll pull the all-nighter for you.

  • Books for classes are expensive! We can help you find, purchase and ship you the right book for the right price.


  • We realize how exhausting lesson planning can be. Let us help you organize your lessons in a spreadsheet, so you can be sure you’re on top of your coursework.

  • School holidays are a time for you to relax! We’ll coordinate your school’s schedule with your calendar so you can look ahead and know when your next vacation day takes place.

  • As a teacher, you can take advantage of several discounts in your community. We can help you make a list of these discounts, so you know where you’re eligible and what the discount will be.

For more ideas on what we can do to help you, check out our Common Requests page. If you’re ready to take the plunge, you can do so here.

Here's to a great school year for everyone!

*In honor of the First Day of School and Throwback Thursday, here's a pic of me and my sister on our first day of school an undisclosed number of years ago. I mean, look at that color coordination. Seriously.*

Moving Tips from FlatRate Moving: Things Most Commonly Forgotten When Moving

If you are planning a move, you may hear this nagging voice in the back of your head telling you that you are forgetting something. Don't ignore it, because you probably are!

There are a lot of small details that go into a move, and there are a few that are constantly forgotten. Chances are good there is at least one thing on this list you are forgetting. Luckily for you, FlatRate Moving and Fancy Hands have teamed up to help make sure you don’t forget a thing. You can now get $25 off of your move with FlatRate Moving! Just use the code "FANCYHANDS" before requesting your quote to get $25 off.*

And, for after you've booked your move, here’s a helpful list of some of the most commonly forgotten things to keep in mind when planning a move.

Reserve Freight Elevator - You may not know it, but if you are moving into an apartment or condominium building with an elevator you may need to reserve the service elevator. In many cases, this needs to be done at least a week in advance. You definitely do not want your movers to arrive to the new building with all your belongings, if you can't use the elevator. No time to call? Don’t worry, Fancy Hands can reserve the elevator for you.

Trash and Recycling Bins - If you paid for your bins, don't leave them sitting behind the garage in their hiding spot. If you pay a fee to rent them through the waste company and will have a different provider in your new area, make sure the company picks them up before you move. Fancy Hands can call the waste company andschedule a pick up for these bins.

Memberships, Subscriptions, and More - When moving a considerable distance away, make sure you cancel your gym membership, and change your newspaper and magazine subscriptions. Use a Fancy Hands task to stop or switch your newspaper and magazine subscriptions. We’ll also take care of cancelling your gym membership!

Gathered Items - Everything from dry cleaning and shoe repairs to school transcripts and vet records fall in this category. If you have loaned out items to neighbors, make sure you get them back. It's a good idea to create a list of things you need to gather and check them off as you get them. Fancy Hands can help you organize this list, as well as help you schedule times to pick up the borrowed items.

Spare Key - You hid a key under a rock and in a tree somewhere. Now it's time to find them. These need to be left behind for the new owners or residents. While you're at it, take the garage door opener out of your car to leave, too.

Microwave - You are probably thinking it is pretty strange anyone would leave an entire small appliance behind. Well, in a lot of homes, these do stay behind intentionally, so movers will often assume they stay, especially if the fridge, stove, and dishwasher are remaining in the house. Schedule a reminder to have your Fancy Hands assistant call to remind you to take that microwave with you!

Mail - You know you need to change your mail. In fact, you have thought about it several times, but decide to do it later because there is plenty of time. Now it's moving day, and as the mail truck passes in front of your house, you realize you didn't take care of it. You can do this right online at the USPS site, or send Fancy Hands your

moving details to set up your mail forwarding.

Outdoor Items - Hoses, solar lights, wind chimes, and bird feeders are all commonly forgotten. Although, sometimes, some of these are nice to leave for the new occupant.

Odds and Ends Inside the Home - In addition to the microwave, household items commonly forgotten include floor lamps, shower lines, full length mirrors, plants, magnets, pet bowls, toilet bowl cleaner, plunger, and the coffee maker.

*The fine print: This Offer is valid only for moves booked through FlatRate Moving’s New York branch after the date of this Offer where both the ‘pick up’ and deliver take place between August 19, 2014 and September 30, 2014. This Offer is only valid if presented to FlatRate Moving prior to receiving a FlatRate moving quote. This Offer may not be combined with any other offers, discounts or promotions. Valid on moves valued at $1,000 or more.

Delegation Lessons

Phil Buckley is new to Fancy Hands and has graciously shared how he’s learning to delegate to his new personal assistants, one task at a time.

“Delegation has never come easy to me. It’s definitely not a strength. The first time I had access to an assistant, I didn’t know how to help this person help me.

My justifications for this poor time management cover the range of productivity misconceptions: it would take more time to explain what I want than to do it myself, I do this task really fast, I can do it the best, etc.

Starting a consulting business didn’t make delegation any easier. Often, there was only me to delegate things to and completing tasks myself gave me the satisfaction of keeping expenses low. I had no problem calling in experts to do work that I couldn’t do myself, but the small tasks remained areas of opportunity. My accountant offering to file my quarterly tax payments. I responded “No thanks, I like to do it.” Another productivity mistake.

I became interested in a virtual assistant when Michael Hyatt shared the benefits of and tips onusing this service. He made a compelling and pragmatic case, but I didn’t take action.

Last week, I was reading a blog post by Steve Scott about his Kindle book launch. He shared that Fancy Hands, a virtual assistant subscription service, had completed his research for a small fee. I clicked on the link and became intrigued by this service.

Fancy Hands offers most types of tasks including setting up appointments and conference calls on your calendar, booking services, admin tasks such as editing emails, making calls on your behalf, research, etc.

I decided to start with the basic 5 tasks per month for $25 package to test how much I would use the service. The set up process took minutes on their easy to navigate website. It was great to see a 50 percent discount for the first month adjustment to my invoice too. Every step of the process made me happier.

This year, I haven't had a lot of time to market 'Change With Confidence' or my consulting business. This seemed like a perfect area to get help with. I wanted to send copies of my book to professors to see if there was interest in including it on their course reading lists or to have me as a guest lecturer. I have had excellent experiences with a few profs, but have not had time to expand my connections.

My first Fancy Hands request was to compile a list of profs who teach organization development or change management courses in the US and Canada. In time, I will create another task for the rest of the world.

Once I hit send, a banner appeared saying "relax while we take care of that for you." I thought, this is also a de-stressing service.

I can't wait to review the results of my request. My guess is that once I get used to the service I will think of many other tasks that are better completed by Fancy Hands.  Delegation is easier than I thought.”

For more on Phil’s Fancy Hands journey, click here.

Time Management Myths: Uncovered

The Harvard Business Review blog just published a post entitled "4 Things You Thought Were True About Time Management" in which they discuss the various Time Management myths floating around.

"It’s about managing your time. False.

Time management is a misnomer, says Jordan Cohen, a productivity expert and author of “Make Time for the Work That Matters.” He says that it’s really about productivity: “We have to get away from labeling it ‘time management’. It’s not about time per se but about how productive you can be.” He likens it to the difference between dieting and being healthy. “You can diet all you want,” he says, “but you won’t necessarily be healthier.” In the same way, you can pay close attention to how you spend your time, manage your email, etc., but you won’t necessarily be more productive.

Teresa Amabile, the Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and coauthor of The Progress Principle, whose expertise in this area comes from reading thousands of work diaries of workers who documented their struggles to get work done, says it’s more about managing your overall workload. Many managers simply take on too much. “If you don’t keep an eye on the commitments you’ve made or are making, there is no time management technique that’s going to solve that,” she says. Sure, this might be an organization-level problem — many managers overload their team members ­— but she says that most professionals have more control over their workload than they might admit. “It is possible to say no. It is possible to negotiate,” she says. Cohen agrees: “While your schedule may not be yours per se, you can be judicious about what you go to and how you manage it.”

You just need to find the right system or approach. False.

“Having a system can be useful, but it takes more than that,” says Amabile. “And what works for each person, like spending an hour and a half on focused work at the beginning of the day, will not necessarily work for another person.” The key is to continually experiment with techniques. “Some things may or may not work in a particular context or situation,” says Cohen. Try lots of different approaches — really try them. Don’t change the way you check email for a week and declare it a failure. Set metrics for measuring success, give the approach time, and consider involving someone else — your boss or a coworker — to help you evaluate whether it really worked.

You need to devote time to change. Somewhat true.

One person I spoke to said her biggest challenge was finding time to put time management systems into place. She didn’t have the day or two she felt she needed to set aside. Amabile says this may not be necessary: “Small tweaks can make a big difference. The best approach is to start out with a few small things. Progress in this context might mean that you find yourself with some additional time each day when you can reflect and think. Even if it’s just an additional 20 or 30 minutes each day, that’s progress.” But it depends on how bad your situation is and how desperate you feel. Amabile mentioned one person who decided to use her vacation week for a major overhaul to achieve less stress. She looked at how she was using her time, her level of commitments, and experimented with a few techniques that people had suggested. “She felt things had gotten so out of control that she wanted to give herself this gift. But that was an extreme measure that was necessitated by the extreme situation,” says Amabile.

It’s up to you — and only you — to get it right. Somewhat true.

This may be partly true. “There is no one who’s responsible for how productive you are,” says Cohen. In that sense, this rests on your shoulders. He is clear: “You’re expected to be productive, so you better take this puppy on yourself.” But Cohen and Amabile both say you can’t do it alone. “If you’re in an organization where there are pressures for immediate responses or turnarounds on all requests or there is no room for any kind of slack, it’s very tough to do time management on your own,” says Amabile. She points to Leslie Perlow’s research about small tweaks you can make in any work environment. Still, it may be tough. “Organizations unknowingly put a lot of barriers in front of you to get your work done — unclear strategy and clumsy processes, to name just a few,” Cohen says.

If this sounds like your company, Amabile suggests you make attempts to change the culture. “I would urge people to push back in ways that they believe will be effective,” she says. Raise questions like, “How can we be more productive around here?” This can often be more effective than focusing on getting out of your own bind. “You have a responsibility to push back on the organization,” she says. Cohen also thinks it’s worth talking with senior management, because it’s often bigger than any single manager. “It requires a redesign of how work gets done, where decisions get made, how they get made. There’s only so much that a system can take,” he says"

Are you managing your time efficiently? Find out here.  

Defend Net Neutrality

Let Fancy Hands help you take a stand for Net Neutrality! We'll call your local representative on your behalf and ask them to vote NO on the amendment to H.R. 5016 that strips away FCC authority to enact meaningful net neutrality rules. (

Click here to take a stand against Net Neutrality. 

No susbcription necessary. Just fill out your name and address and we'll take care of the rest. We'll help you tell Congress that the future of the Internet matters to you! 

Young Architect

Here's Mike showing his love for Fancy Hands!  

Not only is Mike Riscica an architect, a writer and an avid yellow labrador fan, he's also having Fancy Hands take over so he can manage the rest of his busy schedule. He's taken time out of his busy schedule to show his love for Fancy Hands on his blog Young Architect

"An Imaginary Friend

For the past few months I have had a little imaginary friend that does all the annoying things that I don’t want to do. Ya know thinks like: make appointments, research things on the web, call this person or place for me to find an answer on something and even copy and paste something over and over and over again.

After they finish each one of my little tasks they send me a neat little email with the summarizing results from whatever task I gave them to do.

Sounds crazy, but I can’t tell you how much more productive I have been by getting all these silly little things off my plate.

What the hell am I talking about?

Over the winter (shortly after I built this Young Architect website) I started using a little service on the web called Fancy Hands.   Fancy Hands is a virtual assistance subscription service that does small tasks, which take about 15 minutes. It works like this.

I send Fancy Hands a task either by logging into their site, email or by leaving them a voicemail. Just for an example say my task is something like:

Subj: Find exterior Pictures of a building in Portland Oregon

Hey Fancy Hands,

I am working on an architecture project. Can you find me as many pictures of the building located at 2023 NW Hoyt St, Portland Oregon? The building is also called the William Temple House. Shots that show as much of the exterior of the building are gold.  Interior shots are of no use to me.

Please send me the JPGS. Include the screen shots from google earth and maps, but also look elsewhere on the web.

Feel free to ask any questions.

Thanks so much.

- Michael Riscica

This request then sits on the Fancy Hands server where it waits for someone to pick it up, do the work and email me the results.

After the task is completed they send me an email, which sends a notification to my phone and updates my account on their website with the results from that task.

20 minutes later, I got back a .zip file containing the files I requested above.


Heres why I am using Fancy Hands for as much as I can.

I am insanely busy
In an average week, I attend between 5-15 meetings, make routine site visits at various locations, and meet with many different people. I need help. Often, I call fancy hands while I’m running from one meeting to the next asking them to make a call or look something up that I just don’t have time for.

I get distracted
Looking for pictures of a building on the internet? Sure it sounds simple enough. But I guarantee you it will take me twice as long to accomplish this task than someone who isn’t invested in the process. I’m a sucker for  being derailed by something while I am in pursuit of an answer. I have learned that letting someone else vet the information as a first pass is more effective process. These small 15 minute minutia tasks are derailing me from getting larger, more important work done.

Sometimes I need a fresh point of view
A lesson I learned a long time ago early in my architecture career is that when you have been working on and looking at the same drawing for many hours at a time there could be a very blatant and obvious error on the drawing, but because you have been looking at the drawing for long time You just can’t see it.Are you a bad Drafter or Architect? No! definitely not. But I bet if you walked away and came back a few hours later you would immediately notice that error.

Fancy Hands has been a great place for me to run something past someone with a fresh point of view to make sure that something I wrote makes sense.  (PS – that was just an example, I doubt Fancy Hands can check your Architecture drawings. But you can try it and let me know how it works out.)

My Small Tasks

Here is a short list of some of the things I have Fancy Hands doing for me.

  • Research the purchase of a laptop that meets 10 different requirements.
  • Create a list of quotes on various topics.
  • Find the lowest price of a product I am looking to purchase.
  • Find the number for the building department in this town, call them to see if they have building permit records on this property.
  • Find a local store that has a certain product.
  • Help me narrow down when to take my vacation by looking at the cost of flights.
  • Find me the cheapest non-stop flight that works best for my schedule.
  • Make a dinner reservation for 7:30pm, if that doesn’t work then call these 2 other restaurants.
  • Call the print shop, send them this PDF and tell them I want 50% scale prints in black and  white. Print and bind 4 sets. I will pick up tomorrow at 11am , they can bill my account. Give them my cell to call if they have any questions or problems.
  • Proofreading professional emails that I have spent a great deal of time crafting.
  • Fancy Hands has proofread all blog posts written on this site. Yep, even this one.
  • Search the internet for the office number of Mr. Engineer and tell him that I need to cancel our afternoon meeting, but reschedule for next week.
  • Search the web and find out who designed the building at 2023 NW Hoyt.
  • Call my 5 local art supplies stores and find out which one has this specific glue.
  • Research which dog food I should be buying.
  • Help me find answers to my never ending cell phone problems. "

But wait...there's more! You can check out the rest of Mike's post here:

Fancy Fourth

Kick off your 4th of July weekend with a discount from Fancy Hands!

Get 15% off of your first month of service, or an additional 15% off of our already discounted annual subscriptions. Just use the code 'fancyfourth' when signing up, and you'll see the discount applied before you submit your payment. Click here to take advantage of this discount, now through the end of the weekend.* 

From all of us here at Fancy Hands, have a happy and safe 4th of July! 

*Discount good through 11:59 PDT on 7/6/14. Only applicable to new subscriptions. 

Payments Are Back

After a not-so-brief hiatus, we’re pleased to announce that Fancy Hands can now make payments on your behalf again!

We’ve rolled out a smoother payment process that will give you the ability to pay for the items you need through Fancy Hands, and increased the limit per purchase to $200.

How It Works:

Whether it’s flowers or a new gadget, let us know what you’re looking for and we’ll find you the best price on what you want to purchase.

Once we’ve found the item, we’ll ask you to approve the payment. 

You can approve the payment from your email:

Or from your Dashboard:

After you’ve clicked the ‘Approve Payment’ button, your assistant will be able to pay for the item on your behalf. 

What’s New:

We’ve revamped the payment process, which means there have been a few changes. We’ve doubled the payment limit, so we can now make payments on items up to $200. There will also now be a $0.99 transaction charge on every payment to cover Fancy Hands transaction costs. This will be rolled into the final total you see when approving the payment. 

What’s the Same:

We’ll continue to search for the best price on each item we purchase. We’ll also continue making high quality, secure payments on your behalf. There is absolutely no credit card information required when making your payment, and each payment will be charged to the card you have on file. 

Sit back, relax and let Fancy Hands make a payment for you today

Working Smarter


Meet Nick Loper: Fancy Hands subscriber since 2012, head of the #1 virtual assistant company directory and review platform, and published author. 

Nick’s new book, Work Smarter: 350+ Online Resources Today’s Top Entrepreneurs Use to Increase Productivity and Achieve Their Goals is now an Amazon Bestseller, and we’re proud to say Fancy Hands helped. We asked Nick to weigh in on how he used Fancy Hands to help him write his newest book.

In his own words:

“How Fancy Hands built an Amazon Bestseller, 15 minutes at a time.

Recently I undertook a big project to find out what online tools and resources today’s top entrepreneurs are using to run their businesses.

My original idea was that it would make a viral blog post, but as the post grew past 10,000 words (10x the length of a typical blog post), I knew I had something bigger on my hands.

The final project became a book called Work Smarter: 350+ Online Resources Today’s Top Entrepreneurs Use to Increase Productivity and Achieve Their Goals.

In total, over 500 entrepreneurs contributed their favorite tools – which included Fancy Hands.

The book went on to reach the top of the Amazon charts during launch week, generating more than 20,000 downloads and earning dozens of positive reviews and a position as the #1 free business book that week.

As you can imagine, there was a lot of research and preparation that went into this project, and I actually relied heavily on Fancy Hands to build the foundation of the book.

For this book project, Fancy Hands:

**Built a spreadsheet of all the contributors and resources named.

**Categorized the resources.

**Found/wrote descriptions for the tools I hadn't heard of, which was a lot!

**Found links and pricing information.

**Transferred the spreadsheet data into sentence format.

**Found contact information for the contributors and the companies named.

**Submitted the book to free kindle promotion sites.

**Found relevant questions on Quora related to the book’s content.

Most of the work was done in shared Google Docs spreadsheets and document files. We could collaborate and have multiple people working on one file at the same time.

All said and done, I used 79 requests over the course of 6 weeks to research, build, and support the launch of Work Smarter. (I had to upgrade to Super-Premium after running out of tasks!)

At 15-minutes a pop, Fancy Hands contributed nearly 20 hours of work to the project, and proved that a non-dedicated VA service can still be an asset for larger projects.”

You can check out Nick’s new book, as well as his other books, here

In the meantime, we'll be awaiting Nick's tasks for his next book! 

Introducing: Recurring Requests

We’re excited to announce our launch of recurring requests!

Whether it’s a haircut, monthly expenses, or combing through all your new twitter followers, you can now create a task once and have it repeat on a weekly or monthly basis.

It’s super easy to do -- just click on the recurring request icon before sending your request.

You’ll then be able to choose how often you’d like the request to repeat on a weekly or monthly basis.

Once you’ve scheduled how often you’d like your request to repeat, click ‘Confirm’ and then ‘Send Request’ -- that’s it!

You’ll see that all of your recurring requests are marked with the recurring request icon, and you’ll also be able to see the next time the request will automatically send. You will also receive an email reminder before your task is set to recur, allowing you to reschedule.

If you want to stop the recurring request or skip the next cycle, you can click on your task and choose the option to skip or cancel the recurring request. This will not cancel the current request.

You can start scheduling your recurring requests now on your fancy new Dashboard. 

Rad Dad

Father’s day is right around the corner, and if you’re still looking for the perfect gift, look no further than Fancy Hands! We can help you find a gift that will show Dad how much you care. 

Is Dad's favorite place outside in front of the BBQ? We can help you find cookbooks, utensils, aprons, rubs, spices and sauces.

Does your Dad need to upgrade his bar? We’ll help him keep it classy with items like whiskey glasses and decanters, home brewing kits, beer and wine clubs and cocktail recipe books.  

Keep Dad hip with a new wardrobe. We can do all of the legwork and find you shirts and sweaters, ties, belts and hats, shoes and socks, and athletic, outdoor and swimming attire.

Need to update Dad’s entertainment system? We can get you the best deals on tablets and phones, stereos, speakers and Sonos, Set-top boxes and e-readers, and TVs and computers.

So, your Dad is a huge sports fan. We can scour the Web for gifts like golf gear, tickets to the game, autobiographies of sports legends and rare baseball cards.

Does your Dad love gear and gadgets? We can help you find popular new items like headphones, fitness tracking wristbands, watches and bags, backpacks and briefcases.

If you’re looking at this list and you’re thinking: “My Dad doesn’t want or need any of these things!” you can give him the gift of time with a gift subscription to Fancy Hands. You'll find gift subscriptions here.

In addition to helping you figure out a gift, we'll help you plan a special day for your Dad if you're going to be visiting.

No matter what you need this Father's Day, Fancy Hands has got you covered. 

Happy Father’s Day, from all of us here at Fancy Hands!

All In The Family

Jennifer and Felicia are a mother-daughter team based in Massachusetts that work as two of our Fancy Hands assistants. Felicia was first to become a Fancy Hands assistant, and, after learning the ropes, she immediately thought her mom would be a great fit for the Fancy Hands team. Felicia was right, and Jennifer became an assistant just a week after her daughter. Both ladies have been helping make lives easier since January 2014.  

We asked these two some questions to help you get to know them better: 

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

Jennifer: My most memorable task was helping a gentleman propose to his girlfriend at the college they both met at.  It was so sweet.

Felicia:  Helping a Mom find educational toys for her young sons. I used to be a preschool teacher so I found it very enjoyable to provide some of my own insight, as well as the researched information.

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

Jennifer: There are A LOT of possible masters and graduate programs to study at New York University.

Felicia: All of the wonderful websites available for finding vacation home/villa rentals.

What are your hobbies?

Jennifer: I walk daily. I also love to sing, dance, read/learn and spend time with family and friends. I am also an avid hula hooper.

Felicia: Painting and drawing, watching Say Yes to the Dress and HGTV, and going for walks.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

Jennifer: Jesus. I am in awe of how loving, kind and inspirational He is.

Felicia: My mom. 

What is your favorite karaoke song?

Jennifer: "Love Shack" by the B52s

Felicia: "Picture" by Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock

Where would you go if you could go anywhere in the world?

Jennifer: It would be great to go to Europe.  If only I could get up the courage to fly that far.

Felicia: The Caribbean

What is your go-to dance move?

Jennifer: That would probably be the Wop (bringing back the 80s). 

Felicia:  Hip shake

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

Jennifer: I love working for Fancy Hands. I have always enjoyed helping people and learning in the process. Fancy Hands allows me to do both. In my time, outside of FH, I am a homeschooling mom.

Felicia: I absolutely love this job, helping people in a variety of ways every day! 

Life's a beach! Jennifer and Felicia catching some air on the beach



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  • Submit requests via website
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  • Your requests roll over
  • Referring new users, get free months
  • Tons of usage stats
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