I Paid Someone $9 Per Hour To Do My Job For 5 Days

Fancy Hands Review

Yes, I paid someone $9/hour and they did my work for 5 whole days.

That statement would have seemed ludicrous to me just two years ago. How could you possibly pay someone $9/hour to do your job for you? That can’t be legal, right?!?! Something about it just doesn’t seem right.

Today, I’m going to reveal the results of my two-year experiment with virtual assistants. In addition, five lucky readers will each get a task done by one of my virtual assistants (more on that later).

What Is A Virtual Assistant?

We all know what an (administrative or personal) assistant is. It is a person that comes into work everyday and helps a president, CEO, or someone else of importance get things done.

A virtual assistant doesn’t come into your work. They work from home, wherever in the world that may be. And they typically don’t work for CEOs. They usually work for entrepreneurs or office slugs like you or me.

I’ve been fascinated with the idea of virtual assistants since I read Tim Ferriss’s The Four Hour Work Week. But at that time, many of the virtual assistants were overseas. Usually, they were people from India or the Philippines. Even though these people spoke English, there were some cultural and language hoops you had to overcome. Certainly, it was doable…but I really didn’t have the patience for that.

And they were a little expensive for a guy like me. Yes, you could get a full-time virtual assistant for something like $500/month. But there were two problems with that. First, $500/month is a lot of money to test something out (at least in my book). Second, I wasn’t sure I had enough non-sophisticated tasks to keep a person busy full time. Not to mention, it is natural for most people to feel like they don’t deserve or are not important enough for an assistant, especially a full-time one.

The idea of bringing a virtual assistant on to help me was a little too daunting for me at that time. But somewhere deep inside, I dreamed of having my own virtual assistant.

Enter Fancy Hands

fancyhands dashboardSomehow, I can’t remember how, two years ago I stumbled upon Fancy Hands. Fancy Hands uses only US-based virtual assistants. You can start at $29/month (although I took the $49/month option). And you receive a specific number of tasks to use per month.

So, I decided to try it out. You can read my original Fancy Hands review here. I was pretty impressed after two weeks, but would I continue to find the service useful? Could I successfully work with virtual assistants?

I think it is officially enough time to call the experiment a success. You can look at the statistics yourself.

Over the last two years, Fancy Hands has spent over 129 hours doing stuff that I would have otherwise had to have done myself. That includes spending 17 hours on the phone on my behalf. Now, granted I have a full-time job, manage this website, write books, etc. But still, they did my work in some capacity. And rather than rest on my laurels, I spend that time accomplishing even more.

Two years of $49/month comes to $1,176. Do the math, and that’s $9 per hour. And what did I pay someone about minimum wage to do for me?

  • Manage my calendar
  • Create a SF330 template
  • Transcribe hours of video I had recorded
  • Recreate charts and forms
  • Type up my handwritten notes
  • Enter contacts into my CRM
  • Arrange hotel and flight reservations
  • Coordinate countless meetings and phone calls
  • Set up a photoshoot
  • Create book covers and logos
  • Manipulate images
  • Research tasks including who had won specific contracts
  • Proofread minor documents
  • Edit Microsoft Word files
  • Suggest great Christmas gifts for my family
  • Arrange the return or replacement of products I purchased
  • Recreate forms in Microsoft Word
  • Manipulate Excel spreadsheets
  • Compare documents and identify differences

Now, these might sound like minor tasks that wouldn’t take much time. But you have to realize that the time you spend on minor tasks really adds up. In fact, despite having this help, I still did not complete everything I wanted to get done. So, not having to do those tasks really made a huge difference in my life.

Security and Virtual Assistants

I know this question is going to come up. What about security? Here’s a rule of thumb you can use. Don’t give assistants anything you would panic if you found on the street outside your office. For example, if you found your cover letter or price proposal on the street outside your office…time to panic. You don’t want to ask virtual assistants to help you do anything with those.

But if you walk out of your office and there’s the ad you were drafting…no big deal. If you walk out of your office, look down and there is that competitor’s contract you were looking for….awesome!!!

There are even steps you can take to secure information within your systems. With my CRM, I set up a special account that can only enter information and see what they entered. After a month, the contact records entered shift over to my account.

When it comes to security, really at all times, you just have to use your common sense. I don’t see any real security concerns with using virtual assistants.

The Good With The Bad

I would be lying to say that I didn’t have my hiccups with Fancy Hands. First, you never know who you are going to get. And my sense is that as the service grew, they had to take on less adept virtual assistants to meet their client’s needs. In 2013, I was routinely blown away with thier immediate work product. But in 2015, being blown away with their first try is not the norm.

Sometimes their initial work is pretty bad. You have to keep sending it back until they do it right. That’s usually only one or two times. In the worst case scenario, you might get “radio silence” for a day followed by a new assistant apologizing and then doing it right.

But for me, it is a lot easier to hound someone until they do it right if they are working for a service. I wouldn’t walk into a coworker’s office and say, “This is terrible. Read my directions closely and do it again.” That would only cause problems for me. But when dealing with a virtual assistant, being forthright and honest (in my experience) doesn’t cause problems.

There is also a minor problem with the interface, which in general is pretty good. It is my understanding that assistants get paid more when you give them a thumbs up. But what about when the first assistant screws up royally and then another swoops in and does an amazing job. Do you give them thumbs up or thumbs down?

You Know That Client Or CoWorker You Hate, For Scott…That’s Me

Then there is Scott, Fancy Hands’s Customer Experience Supervisor. He’s the guy who is charged with making sure the assistants can do your request and that the request complies with Fancy Hands’s terms of service. Actually, Scott is a pretty nice guy…but I’m sure he hates me.

With Scott’s help, I’ve become very familiar with their terms of service. For example, all tasks should be reasonably completable within 15 minutes. This means you have to break up large tasks into smaller 15-minute chunks. I know there is a problem when I send a task in and don’t hear anything for a couple of hours. This means I’m going to get an email from Scott.

Scott is going to say this task will take longer than 15 minutes and suggest that the assistant stop after 15 or 20 minutes. I usually respond with very detailed step-by-step directions that can clearly be done within the time limit. I can’t recall ever having to use an additional task to get one of these complete.

Another issue Scott had was with entering info into my CRM. Fancy Hands terms of service is pretty clear that they don’t want to do anything for you that can be considered spammy. Specifically, their terms of service prohibits assistants from gathering or collecting contact information for you. That’s because you may use that information to spam people.

But I wasn’t asking for the “collection” or “gathering” of contact information. People had handed me their cards. I had photocopied their card with a note about who they were and how I met them. I asked assistants to enter that data into my database. There was no gathering or collecting involved. It was strictly a data entry task. Not only that, but Fancy Hands had done this task for me many times before. Now, I always identify these tasks as data entry and I haven’t had a problem since.

Fancy Hands assistants are also not graphic designers. At one point, I thought that specific tasks were sent to assistants who had certain skill sets. I sent a small graphic-related task to Fancy Hands just to see what would happen. And this assistant, Dionne B, knocked it out of the park. In fact, it was the creation of the Help Everybody Everyday logo displayed on this site. I immediately sent in other graphic-related tasks and the same assistant kept knocking them out of the park. It was a glorious day to say the least.

I continued to send in graphic-related tasks, but Scott stepped in and explained to me the problem. His assistants do not have the software tools or the skillset of a graphic designer. So, I always send suggestions for what commonly available tools could be used to accomplish the task (like Powerpoint or Canva). And I always provide whatever directions I can and let the assistant know I’m just looking for them to try their best. Recently, they took the background out of a photo for me. The first try was a little rough, but they went back and did a commendable job the second time around.

In my experience, graphic manipulation tasks are OK, but you have to be careful before you send in a “graphic design” task.

Then there was the time I asked for several videos I recorded to be transcribed. I got another email from Scott. He was puzzled why I would ask the assistants to do that. Why not just use a transcription service? Well, the website states that assistants will transcribe up to 5 minutes of monologue per task.

Let’s do the math. I pay $49 for 15 tasks. That’s 75 minutes of transcription at 65 cents per minute. It’s actually the cheapest transcription service out there.

You can learn more about what Fancy Hands will and won’t do at http://www.fancyhands.com/not/good/for.

The Best Feature

For me, the best feature is the ability to create a new email account and connect it to Fancy Hands. By doing that you create what can be described as a consistent identity that will be used with those you interact with. When you email someone and copy this account, the assistant will interact with the person you emailed as the identity you defined.

For example, the assistant I created is Pat. Some of you may have even interacted with Pat. And since I never knew whether Pat would be a boy or a girl, I thought the name was appropriate.

Pat virtual assistant

Looks like Pat got me a birthday cake!

 

How Fancy Hands Has Changed Since My Original Review

The major changes since my original review are that they:

  1. No longer arrange meetings for free. Yes, they used to arrange meetings and manage your calendar at no cost.
  2. Now allow unused tasks to “roll over” like your cell phone minutes.
  3. Charge a small fee when making purchases on your behalf.

My Verdict

In the last two years, I have opened and closed accounts with many services. But I haven’t closed my Fancy Hands account because I have to admit it is really useful. In my experience, the math just works in favor of using Fancy Hands. In addition, I think the service will only continue to improve over time.

I don’t care who you are or how low on the corporate ladder you are, I urge you to give a service like Fancy Hands a try… if nothing else, for the experience of having an assistant.

Put My Assistants To Work For You

I’m making it easy for 5 lucky readers to get something done. Just leave a comment and tell us what you would have my assistants do for you. Keep it under 15 minutes. Five lucky readers will be randomly chosen to have my assistants complete their task. So, don’t forget to comment!

Comments

  1. An option/supplement to VA services such as you propose are selective use of offshore contractors. The days of really cheap (less than $1.00 an hour) labour are gone — with the consolidation of odesk.com and elance.com, the minimum hourly rate is $3.00 unless grandfathered) but strategically, you can still get a lot done for very little money with some planning and trial-and-error.

    I currently have two primary offshore contractors. One, in Bangladesh, is my website maintainer. He uploads copious content, fixes bugs, sets up new domains, and does a diversity of other chores including data entry and list management tasks. He’s grandfathered at $1.50 an hour, but I’m now paying him (with bonuses) closer to $2.50 to $3.00).

    The second is my Pakistani-based writer/editor. He works for $3.50 an hour. He rewrites news releases and third party-articles in good (and copyright compliant) English and sends me the files for various websites that need updating a few times a week. I then often forward them on to his counterpart in Bangladesh for uploading.

    The risks with these offshore services are that the service quality can be uneven until you find the contractors who can deliver the goods. And you don’t want them doing “oral” work or stuff that would require a North-American presence (Happy Hands would be much better for these tasks.) I currently have a budget of about $600 a month for the services, however, and estimate I am getting about 30 to 40 hours a week done — Imagine how much that would cost if I used North American labour, even at $9.00 an hour.

    • Matt Handal says:

      Mark,

      Thank you for commenting.

      I’ve used elance/odesk for specific projects in the past. And I do plan to use them again in the near future. But like you said, you really have to be careful about quality. And when you are getting someone to write something, you certainly have to check it for plagiarism.

      The idea of getting an offshore contractor to be a full time (or anywhere close to that) VA is just too daunting for me. For now, Fancy Hands seems to be a good fit for my needs.

  2. I am curious if your firm pays for the service or if you do?

    • Matt Handal says:

      Jana,

      I do.

      • Great article there, Matt, as I’ve considered applying to work with Fancy Hands. I enjoyed hearing the customer’s perspective. (ok. I love customer service. Good. Customer. Service… that is.)

        Now for what it’s worth… I believe in short engagements (when applicable), but that up there just might be the shortest engagement I’ve ever witnessed. (aka “Jana, I do.”) But ok. Bless you! 😉

  3. Peggy Amor says:

    Thanks for the review! I jotted a note down about Fancy Hands during the Proposal Mastery program and this was a great reminder to check it out. I have an excel file I need re-formatted, I’d love for someone else to do it!

  4. Another great post and tool recommendation. I’m going to investigate for my personal use as well. I’m interested in knowing if breaking things down into 15 minute chunks/tasks took more or less time than completing the task yourself? Also, how did your VA keep you posted on follow-up information (ex: Bob wants to know if you can move lunch to Thursday?).

  5. As someone who used to work for Fancy Hands, please know that what they tell you is totally different than what is actually happening. That $9/hour that you felt you paid to get your work done, was probably done for far less than that.

    Their vetting process is next to nothing – complete an application and you’re basically hired. The training? A video that you can complete in a few hours that shares with you how FH works, how you get paid, and that’s about it.

    Now, as for the work, well….when clients submit their task, it’s open season and anyone can grab it. Most folks look for the easier/less time-consuming tasks with a higher pay rate, as the pay rate is usually on the low end. I’ve seen a task for $2.18 – and it’s paid, whether it took that VA 15 minutes to complete or 4 days.

    You even have some clients who will submit a request/task, it will be completed and then they’ll open it up again, adding on more work that had nothing to do with the original task. No worries, you’re still getting paid the original amount as FH very rarely approves additional time.

    Also, please don’t take too long completing a task – and there’s no rhyme or reason as to what’s “too long”, it all depends on who the mentor/manager of the moment is, (you see, there’s no uniformity/consistency in policy with FH) – as the task can be reassigned to another VA and the original VA gets no credit. So, in essence, the original VA, who could have spent a few hours on a task, did not make anything.

    Please know that my information is not a one-off complaint from a disgruntled ex-contractor. Visit Glassdoor.com and see for yourself.

    I joined FH in the hopes of picking up a little extra money, but after 2 weeks of work, (10 days), and only making $40, (that’s $4/day), I decided it just wasn’t worth it for me.

    I understand that everyone wants to save some money, but when you realize that your task asking for someone to recreate forms in Microsoft Word took 2 hours and they only were paid less than minimum wage, maybe folks will think twice about utilizing this service.

    • Matt Handal says:

      Thanks for your input. If an employer is not paying the required minimum wage, that’s a legal question. And this isn’t the appropriate place for legal advice.

      A debate is starting about the “gig economy” ushered in this country by services like Uber and Fancy Hands. There are many sides to the debate and it will be interesting to see which way the politics fall.

      It really sounds like fancy hands wasn’t a good fit for you, especially if you could only successfully complete 2 tasks per day.

      Good luck on your future ventures.

      • Cheeky Sharp says:

        There’s a huge difference between doing individual tasks and working as an assistant in an office. In an office, an assistant is NOT confined to dealing with one task at a time and is absolutely not sitting around doing nothing while waiting on communications regarding one specific task.

        As an assistant for a busy person – especially back when people actually had secretaries covering them everyday – the number of tasks performed in relationship to wages would have been measured in pennies. Its not a matter of how much is being paid for the task to be completed.

        The art in such a flexible position as “assistant” or, in the old days, “secretary” – meaning the fun in it – is in multitasking. Having 22 irons in the fire all at once and hammering out top notch work very quickly at the same time. I know it sounds like a sweatshop but I’ve had super busy jobs that I would have paid THEM to let me work!

        If there was some way to do that virtually, aside from working in Bangladesh, I’d be doing it. And I’d be making money at it if the price/pay structure was as Fancy Hand’s.

        If I was going to try to do it, I would use a team model. I would identify those like me – let them allocate their own time to as many tasks as they like and take on as much as they want – and provide them a team of assistants for themselves, from the pool. The very idea of being able to work at my own pace with a team of assistants enabling me to take on even more work…yeah. I reckon that might be the ultimate job. The “juggling”, the creativity, the fast thinking and miracles that can only come out of that kind of fast-paced atmosphere…wow. Yeah, I’d do that. Hell, I’d probably do it at a discount. I might even pay my assistants out of my own pocket. ROFL~!

  6. I also worked for FancyHands and agree that it’s exploitative.

    The biggest issue I had with FH was the mentors who would ok or ask for revisions. The slow back and forth process that happened was over the smallest things like “You need to number these instead of bullet points.” or “Describe the landmarks in more detail”. In many cases, the revisions were unnecessary and/or the mentor could of corrected the “problem” themselves. The back and forth takes up way more time than needed.

    These tasks have to take 15 minutes tops to be worth someone’s time but FH doesn’t provide ample support to make sure the tasks are 15-minute tasks. As a result, the assistant is rushing to finish a task that cannot be done in an appropriate time and this means, the assistant is exploited.

    You say that not being paid min. wage is a legal issue and this isn’t the place to talk about legality. More importantly, this is a moral issue and it’s always the time and place to consider morals. Morality doesn’t follow the law, the law evolves to people moral standards and I think we should strive to treat everyone as best we can.

    How would you like to be paid $2.12 for something that unnecessarily took you a several hours? I encourage you to try working as a Fancy Hands Assistant for a few days. I really hope you give it a try.

    As for me, I’m learning how to code, so I don’t have to put up with BS like Fancy Hands. I hope they go out of business. I don’t want anyone else to waste their time with them.

    • Matt Handal says:

      Amy,

      Thank you for your comment. Again, if you feel you weren’t paid minimum wage, that would be a legal issue. There are laws to protect employees in the US from being exploited. Google the “Fair Labor Standards Act.”

      As for the morals of the issue, that topic is way more complex that you let on. And if we were to talk about morality, we could not restrict it to the US. Morality, unlike laws, does not change from country to country. If it’s amoral in the US, it is amoral in India and China.

      Again, it’s a legal issue…not one of morality.

  7. Linda T. says:

    Minimum wage is not an issue here because the Fancy Hands assistants are not employees, they are independent contractors, which are not protected by labor law the same way salaried employees are. You can pay an independent contractor however little you like, as long as it’s agreed upon in a valid, enforceable contract.

    Having said that, the concept of Fancy Hands is nice, and the work is often very interesting. But for the assistant, it’s difficult to get a lot of tasks done in the time allotted and to make any meaningful income. I have yet to acquire a task that I could do in 20 minutes. There is much going back and forth between the assistant and client–questions of clarification, asking what to do next when you hit an obstacle, asking for additional payment because the task requires more time than estimated, etc. Since all communications pass through the approval filter of the managers and monitors, the time in which even a small task can be completed depends on how responsive the manager/monitor is in passing your communication to the client, and how responsive the client is in responding to you. You can have a $2.75 task sit unfinished on your board for days before it reaches conclusion, simply because of these stop gaps. And if you have accumulated a certain number of unfinished tasks sitting on your board (due to no fault of your own), you are precluded from taking any new ones.

    There also is the issue of tasks getting unintentionally “unclaimed” by an assistant. Clients may not be aware that an assistant has a limited amount of time within which to respond to a task in some way (either by completing it, asking the client a question, asking the manager for guidance, or requesting a delay). If the assistant doesn’t respond in a timely manner, the task is taken away and put back on the board for anyone else to claim. Sometimes this happens by mistake in the wee hours of the morning because a client decides to respond to a question at, say, 9:00 p.m. If the assistant doesn’t see the response or know that it’s coming, the task will have been unclaimed by the time he or she gets back to his/her desk in the morning. This is especially unfair if the assistant has already done substantive work on the task, leaving it as a simple task for another assistant to claim and finish (and be paid for) with little effort.

    Of course, these are all issues between the FH assistants and management,** but it does present a moral issue to the client who should ask himself if he wants to help perpetuate this type of system.

    ** (although these issues are rigorously discussed with management on the FH assistant forum, management is very resistant to change; they are more interested in providing a cheap service to clients than to have happy, satisfied workers.)

    Then there is the issue of quality and continuity of assistance. I see so many tasks that are abandoned before they are finished, and I can see that whatever little work was done was really off the mark and beyond the assistant’s skill set. Since anyone can claim a task, regardless of their skills or experience, I tend to think this happens with some frequency. I often wonder if the client is frustrated that his task is being passed around so much and not getting finished–or not being done well.

    I still think that at the end of the day–wouldn’t you prefer to work with someone you knew, who you could communicate with directly, quickly and easily, and who has become trained and experienced to handle your particular variety of tasks efficiently? Maybe not. If FH works for you, great. But I don’t think it works well for the assistants, the same way Uber doesn’t work for the drivers (read their reviews). I question whether these types of businesses will continue to thrive in the U.S. market because they are creating domestic worker pay and standards that are starting to resemble those which are typically found in economically challenged countries. It’s a frightening trend.

    • Matt Handal says:

      Thank you for the insightful and well-articulated comment.

    • Linda-

      I hope this is the Linda T I am looking for, since I couldn’t reply back to you through our previous channel.

      My email is fabeku my name at gmail dot com.

      Please email me so we can continue our discussion.

      I am praying you see this comment and will send me a reply.

      With thanks, Fabeku

  8. FH Assistant says:

    Let me begin with this … I am a Fancy Hands Assistant.

    Take everything you’ve learned about Fancy Hands over the previous experiences, all of the assumptions you might have made only to discover otherwise (such as tasks are assigned to people with certain skill sets), and so on and so forth – and know that we assistants are just about as clueless as how FH looks from your perspective as you were about how it looks from ours.

    1) We’re not employees of FH. In fact, we’re not even issued a 1099 at the end of the year. I’m not exactly sure how FH gets away with paying us to do tasks for you without having to issue a 1099 for those of us who make more than $600 a year but they do. We have to track every cent that we make as assistants and then report it as “other” income when doing our taxes. This means we’re not much different than the kid who mows your lawn for ice cream.

    2) We’re never asked what kinds of special skills, education, certifications, etc. we might have. We have to be able to type more than 45 wpm if memory serves, and we have to prove that we can communicate effectively and professionally. Beyond that, FH doesn’t really care that I received my Associates Degree in Information Technology with an emphasis on Computer Programming with a GPA of 3.98 or that, before that, I studied Constitutional Law and Political Science for 2 years. They also don’t care that I have over 10 years of experience in web design and graphics modification or that I’m currently working on my BS-IT with an advanced multimedia design certificate on a full-ride academic scholarship or that I have Adobe Photoshop CS5 and know quite well how to use it. I get paid the same crappy $2-3 per 20 minute task as someone who dropped out of high school and never made it out of their parents’ basement.

    3) FH assistants aren’t actually assigned tasks at all. We choose them. When you submit a task to FH it appears on a dashboard for all FH assistants to see and we claim them on a first-come, first-serve basis. FH also doesn’t care that I have 0 knowledge or experience in, for example, the medical industry. It’s up to me to take tasks I know I can do and avoid the ones I’m not sure about, but assuming I’m desperate I could absolutely accept a task that requires skills I don’t have, muddle my way through it, and send it back to you hoping you’ll accept it. We don’t have managers, after all, we have mentors – employees have managers. Most mentors just check our response to make sure everything is spelled properly and even then they miss things because they’re skimming before moving on to the next. The mentors aren’t FH employees either, they’re assistants who’ve done particularly well and they get paid per task just like we do, except they get paid to do tasks and they get paid to approve the tasks that we do. This means the less time they spend actually reading and checking our work, the more they get paid.

    4) Interestingly enough, if you check the GlassDoor.com reviews for FH you’ll find most of the assistant reviews complain about clients having unrealistic expectations. I suspect this ties back to 2 and 3. It’s obviously not made clear enough to you clients how FH really works behind the scenes. It might be perfectly reasonable to expect a full-stack designer such as myself to, say, set up a WordPress account for you, load in an attractive template, and upload an app that you really want all in a 20 minute time frame. On the other hand, however, you might get an assistant who’s full extent of computer knowledge is how to use Facebook and Google. They’re going to be able to set up a WordPress account in 20 minutes but then they’ll need another 20 to Google how to load the template you want and get that done, plus another 20 to upload your desired app, maybe another 20 to figure out how to make changes if you request that they fix anything, and so on.

    5) Don’t worry about offering that thumbs up to a job well done. It’s actually far more likely to work the other way around. Example: say you post a task for a spreadsheet you want created. An assistant picks up the task, works on it for 20 minutes and knocks it out of the park. You accept the work, give her the thumbs up, and that’s that. Next day you need another, similar task done and you decide that since she did such a great job with the first one that you’ll just re-open that job and ask her to use an additional credit to complete this new job. (This happens more often than it doesn’t). What you don’t know is that particular assistant left for a vacation in Hong Kong shortly after you approved her work on the original task. She’s not going to be anywhere near a computer for a few days and even then, she’s on vacation, so she just might not check her email or dashboard for 2 weeks until she gets back. You’ve reopened the task she did for you which means it sits there for a maximum of 16 hours waiting for her to respond, if she doesn’t respond the task goes back into the public dashboard for anyone else to pick up. The new assistant picks it up, requests the additional credit from a manager, does the task and does it well. You approve, thumbs up again, and presume assistant #1 got paid for the first credit and assistant #2 got paid for the 2nd credit. You would be wrong in that assumption. Most likely, assistant #1 went on vacation assuming she would get paid for the work she did for you only to find out when she gets back from her vacation that she didn’t get a single cent and that assistant #2 got paid for both credits because you reopened the original task. This scenario is possible. Thumbs-upping a task well done after it was dropped by a previous assistant will never result in the previous assistant getting a bonus they don’t deserve.

    Finally, you might want to change the title of this article. Most of us don’t get anything close to $9 an hour. When you factor in the amount of time we spend reading over the task descriptions to find tasks we’re capable/willing to do (which we don’t get paid for), the amount of time we spend emailing a mentor to ask for more credits on a large task (which we don’t get paid for), the amount of time we spend emailing a client asking them to be more specific about what it is that they actually want done because most of the time client’s are insanely vague (which if we factored into our 20 minute window, would make every task a 2 credit minimum), and the amount of time we spend waiting for mentors/clients to respond to our work (even if we’re actively looking for the next task while waiting) – we’re lucky to make $5/hr. Sure, a 20 minute task might pay $3.00 and three of those = 60 minutes for $9.00 but for every 20 minutes we spend doing something that we get paid for, we spend an additional 5-7 minutes not getting paid and that ads up. Not only that, most tasks don’t pay $3. The vast, vast majority of tasks are closer to $2-$2.25 per 20 minutes which works out to only $6.75 per hour (less than minimum wage in my state). Heck, I could actually make more money flipping burgers. It’s an obscene cut from the $15-$17 /hr I’ve been making for the last 8 years and not even on the same planet as the $60,000/yr starting salary that jobs in my degree field offer.

    So why do I do it? It’s temporary. I am a full-time student and a published author looking to supplement my husband’s income without having to worry about getting a 2nd car on a part-time salary. I can work around my class schedule, from home, in my PJ’s, and bring in a little extra money while I finish school. And when I say “a little” extra money, I really do mean A LITTLE! Do I take it seriously like I would a normal job? No. If I wanted something that I had to take seriously, I’d get something that pays a heck of a lot better than Fancy Hands. Do I do the best job I can for the tasks I take? Of course but that’s because of my own personal sense of pride and my OCD need to get perfect ratings as often as humanly possible.

    p.s. we don’t get paid more if you give us a thumbs up. We might get the occasional bonus for accepting a task from a high profile client such as yourself but it’s not guaranteed and there’s also no set-in stone bonus amount so it could literally be 50 cents. FH is a great business model for the right people but definitely not for everyone. To some of us it feels shockingly akin to slave labor.

    • Matt Handal says:

      This is a very good comment. Thank you for joining the discussion. You were honest and straightforward without being inflammatory. I appreciate that. I really do.

      So here’s my question. What can I add to my requests that would allow the assistants to be paid for the time it actually takes? Is there some language I can add?

  9. I don’t see a way to get notified of follow-up comments, unfortunately. I would sure like to thank the FH assistants who gave such detailed descriptions of their experiences, so I wish they got notified–Linda T and FH Assistant especially. I came here after googling “fancy hands reviews” because I’ve found it really helpful to do that as I try to assess which WFH opportunities are worth pursuing. Fancy Hands sounds fabulous for the clients, and far less than ideal for assistants. It’s a shame they don’t just switch to overseas workers, because “low pay” for US employees could be great in another country. Our cost of living forces us to not be stupid about what hourly wage we accept.

    Fancy Hands sounds like it could be fun and rewarding with just a few changes to improve outcomes for assistants. But all the worst-case scenarios described sound extremely likely to happen, and I couldn’t handle that if the pay ends up so low. Having worked in offices for multiple coworkers at one time (kind of like having clients), I am very familiar with the problems of confusing/incomplete communication, unrealistic expectations and/or deadlines, or a bait & switch approach to getting more than you originally asked for. I started out enthusiastic and obliging, but after many years I’ve learned that only a tiny few won’t take advantage of that. I’m more wary now. I’ve finally learned enough so that the warnings have helped me avoid more of the same old same old. So thank you with all my heart!

    P.S. My Internet research skills are excellent, as you can see, and this time I got to use them for ME. 🙂 And no, this isn’t the only site I’ve consulted. A few of the others made Fancy Hands sound more reasonable, with some very positive comments, but the negative reviews didn’t go into enough detail about how the whole system works and whether the company backs you up when you need to be compensated fairly. These details change everything.

Speak Your Mind

*