I've been trying to put more and more time into finding ways to become more productive. As most time-management and entrepreneurial blogs/info will reinforce, time is the one thing you can't make any more of. Being a web developer and online marketer, time is my most valuable resource and really the only thing I "sell" as a product to my clients.
Knowing that time is a very limited resource means that in order to get more "done" during the day you either have to sleep less or find ways to make better use of the time you've got. The older I get the less apt I am to steal time from my bed, so increasing how efficiently my time gets used is a key play for me.
Enter FancyHands. FancyHands is a virtual assistant service that allows me to send tasks out to a team of US based, english speaking virtual assistants. As long as it's a task they can do remote, with online access and a phone, I can have them do it instead of me. This leaves me able to focus my time on the items I am neither able nor interested in delegating out. It also helps keep me focused, since it's so easy to get caught up in doing low-value work or get pushed down the rabbit hole of "doing research" online, under the veil of "learning valuable things".
When I task something out to my virtual assitants I get sort of a double whammy. Not only is that work getting done, without my involvement mostly, but I also get to cross it off my list without even actually doing it. Plus, half of the items I task out to them are likely to get done better anyways! Most specifically negotiating cable/tv bills, sorting out stray charges on my bills, and all sorts of internet research. For scheduling/admin type tasks, they connect directly to my calendar and my email, so most anything they do on my behalf is quite seamless.
To give you an idea of what they can handle, here are some of my favorite tasks that they've completed for me:
- Negotiate Comcast Bill - I took a picture of my Comcast cable bill and sent it in to FancyHands. The task was to go through the bill with customer service and make sure I had the best pricing possible, as it had seemed to be getting out of hand. 45 min after tasking this out I got conferenced in by FH so I could authorize them with the Comcast representative. 30 min after that my bill had been lowered by $45/mo, AND they got me 6 months of free Showtime!
- Schedule Contractor Estimates at My House - A month or so ago I decided it was time to get some work done on my house. I needed new gutters, some electrical work done, and yard maintenance. I submitted 3 tasks, one per service needed, with each task requiring the VA to get 3 scheduled appointments for each service, all on the same day. Needless to say, after seeing dozens of phonecalls logged, I had a very busy Tuesday that following week, with 9 appointments that day spread out 30-45 min apart. Not only that, they followed up to confirm each appointment the day before!
- Transcribe Voicemail and Schedule - I had a client send me a very long voicemail, referencing 3 URLs to websites they wanted me to see, along with some details of what they needed, and a request to meet. Instead of having to listen to that voicemail over and over, I was able to forward the voicemail to FH with instructions to transcribe the voicemail to email, test all the URLs, and then call to schedule that meeting.
The FancyHands dashboard shows you each call made, along with time, and shows how many emails are sent. The Comcast task ended up being an hour and a half on the phone ( including hold times and multiple calls ). The contractor scheduling ended up needing 12 to 15 calls each, not counting confirming the appointments the day before, and that doesn't even account for research time in locating contractors to call in the first place!
All said and done, as of the writing of this post, FancyHands has saved me 1.7 days worth of time, 15.5hrs of that spent on the phone on my behalf. At less than $3 per task for the plan I use, it has quickly become an invaluable resource for me. Taking all sorts of tasks off my plate that don't require my direct time, and allow me to spend my time on tasks that are more important, or at least more appropriate to my skills. Plus, half of the things end up being done even better!
If you think a VA could be of use to you, follow this link to get 50% off your first month, plus I get a few free tasks in my account, which I can always use :-)