lady va getting ready to work on online tasks

Fancy Hands is a crowdsourcing virtual assistance website – one of myriads of microwork sites that harness the power of the multitude to do copious amounts of work. If you’re wondering whether it’s a legit working opportunity as well as who and how can join, you’ve come to the right place. This review will cover not only the technicalities, but will also give you an impartial assessment on whether it’s profitable as a full-time job or a side hustle. You don’t want to waste your time on registering with just about any site that promises to help you make money online. So it’s in your best interest to read this before you hit that Sign Up button!

But first, let’s see who virtual assistants (VAs) are and what they do.

How many hours per day do you spend on menial yet necessary tasks such as making phone calls or researching gift ideas for your niece? I don’t know about you, but I know that many busy people have no spare hours to spend on these tedious daily activities. And Alexa or Siri or any other artificial intelligence virtual assistants aren’t all-powerful – at least not yet. That’s where people like you and me come in and do these tasks for money.

Once upon a time, they may have worked as secretaries in those big firms, managing everything from schedules and lunch arrangements to flower deliveries to finding the best daycare for their bosses’ kids. Today, more and more people are looking for assistance online.

Do you still think you need specialized IT skills such as programming to work online? The truth is, almost anyone can make money online, regardless of their skills. And VA jobs are the best proof of that.

fancy hands homepage preview

Company Overview – Is It Legit?

Fancy Hands have been around since 2010. The company is based and headquartered in New York City. In a way, they made it a part of their sales pitch, as they only recruit U.S. based virtual assistants.

Like so many things, the idea was born on Craigslist. The founder, Ted Roden, was a very busy man juggling a full-time job with multiple gigs and a new baby. So he looked up Craigslist to find people who would do simple, one-time tasks for him. He was so happy with the results that he decided to start a VA company. And that’s how Fancy Hands came into existence. If you want to know more about the company and even meet some of the staff, take a look at this Business Insider article.

So, to sum it up – yes, this site is legit. You may rest assured that they won’t trick you, rip you off, or steal your sensitive info. Joining as a VA is free, which is another proof of their legitimacy. The only people they charge are the clients.

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How Does It Work?

The system is simple. As a VA at Fancy Hands, your responsibilities are as few or as many as you choose. There is a list of current tasks, most of which shouldn’t take up more than 20 minutes of your time. Pick up one and start working on it. When you finish it and it gets approved, you’ll get a certain amount of cash.

How much money are we talking about? As a beginner, your rate will be $3 to $7 per task. Later on, if you continuously get good ratings and advance to a higher level, the pay will grow too.

So, if it’s $3 per a 20-minute task, that works out to at least $9 per hour. But that’s just theory. What if the task actually requires more time than the client had designated? Or if the client is asking for so many revisions that it really makes no sense to do it at this rate?

Then you should appeal to your so-called mentor or manager. It is kind of a middleman between you and the client. If you have any complaints, it’s their call to determine who’s right.

Unfortunately, it seems that managers and mentors often take the client’s side, as illustrated in this comment on the WAHM forum.

wahm forum post preview

But should we believe this disgruntled user? It seems we should, seeing all the negative reviews on Glassdoor. Most of them mention disrespectful managers, poor organization and low pay. So, keep these potential downsides in mind when you apply. You may have a better experience, but it definitely helps to know what you may be in for!

Pro Tip

It’s super important not to postpone working on a task that you already accepted. If you try to “snooze” it for the next day, your mentor may delegate it to another VA so it could get done as soon as possible. Which means no pay for you, even if you had made it halfway through the task!

So, you should only accept tasks when you’re absolutely sure you’ll be able to commit until they’re done.

What Type of Skills Do I Need to Work as VA?

I’ll say it again: you don’t need to write code in order to make money online. And virtual assistance proves it.

You’ll be a perfect person for this job if you have:

  • A reliable Internet connection
  • A headset
  • A quiet room at home
  • Native-level English (both spoken and written)
  • Decent online research skills
  • Communication skills

Basically, if you’re a responsible person with a basic knowledge of search engines, you’re good enough. To get in, you will need to pass a very easy test to check your English, communication, and research.

Types of Tasks

It’s probably impossible to make a definitive list of all the things the clients could have you do on their behalf. But here are just a few, to give you an idea:

  • Booking flights and hotels
  • Researching various stuff (e.g. particular products or services, companies, brick-and-mortar or online stores)
  • Making phone calls and reservations
  • Online shopping
  • Scheduling various appointments
  • Data scraping and entry (e.g. find all the gyms in a certain town and arrange them into a list containing membership plans, URLs, phones)
  • Managing and/or updating social media profiles
  • Proofreading articles or transcribing audio material
  • Managing email correspondence

Note that these types of tasks aren’t exclusive to Fancy Hands. Any virtual assistant (VA) needs them. So, once you master these (mainly soft) skills and gain a certain speed, you’ll be able to apply for various full-time jobs – in an office or from home.

Advantages

  • Flexible hours bring you a high level of freedom. Sure, you can still arrange to work from nine to five if it suits you. But you can do it in your PJs, which is awesome.
  • A handy opportunity to supplement your income and gain some VA experience. Naturally, the more experience you have, the better your chances to get an actual job as VA.
  • It can scale into a full-time job. Every small task pays anywhere from $3 to $7 – at least when you’re a beginner. The average amount people manage to earn via Fancy Hands is about $12 per hour. Far from brilliant, but a decent sum for easy tasks that you can do anywhere. 
  • There is a possibility of climbing up the ladder. You can advance to a managerial position where your responsibilities would involve managing and supervising other virtual assistants. There is no info on the pay rates for managers, but they are certainly more attractive than with the entry-level VA.
  • They pay bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and they use Dwolla as a payment processor. Which works similarly to PayPal and is almost as convenient. 

Disadvantages

  • They are only accepting VAs from the U.S. If I wrote this review from a client’s perspective, I would probably single out this point as an advantage. Not that there’s anything wrong with non-U.S. based workforce, mind you. On the contrary! But a VA has to have a native-level English proficiency both in writing and conversation.
  • Sometimes, the workload per task is too great for the pay. It’s one thing to make a list of ten best hotels in this or that town. But if you find out that there aren’t ten hotels there, you’ll have to search other lodging databases such as Airbnb. Things get more complicated when you run the list by the client, who then may ask you to exclude the Airbnb listings for whatever reason and search for something else. Before you know it, you’ve already spent two hours on a task that will still, in all likelihood, pay a meager $3. Or maybe $5. But probably not $18, which is its true value.
  • Judging by user reviews and testimonials, some clients can be difficult to please. Now, that’s a regular state of affairs in all jobs where you work with people. But the problem is that a dissatisfied client may decide not to approve your work even after multiple revisions. It means no pay for you, even though you have already invested a certain amount of time. Obviously, the company would fare better to pay more attention to their VAs, instead of focusing exclusively on the clients’ happiness.

Conclusion – Does It Make Sense to Register With Fancy Hands?

From what I’ve seen, I wouldn’t recommend relying on this panel as your primary source of income. Even though they have a respectable 10-years experience in the niche, they still haven’t managed to improve the workers’ experience. And if a company cares about its clients more than its workforce, it won’t get far. Not for long!

However, this is not to say that you should just ditch this opportunity. If you’re patient and diligent, you could use it to earn $200 to $500 extra cash every month without too much hassle. Getting small gigs as a VA certainly pays better than, say, taking surveys. Plus, you’ll get some tangible online experience that could help you land a well-paid full-time VA job in the future.