Tools

How to Interview and Hire Like Google (Insights from a Former Googler)

Video Version

Text Version
Total Reading Time: 6 minutes.

Why Is Hiring So Difficult?

Hiring is one of the most difficult things to do. But it’s also one of the most important.
We all know that if we can align ourselves with the right people and bring in the best talent, that’s what will take a company or a business to the next level. And if you’re working for a company and responsible for doing the interviews, there’s an equal responsibility there.
If you’re starting to scale as a solopreneur/entrepreneur and you’re bringing on different kinds of people into your business, it’s absolutely critical when you’re a team of 2, 3, 4 or 5 people, right?
One of the ways that I learned to interview is from my days at Google. Google has a very specific set of protocols and a methodology they follow for every single interview.
Every single new hire has to go through this interview process, which consists of 4 categories through which we rate people.

The Process

As a former Googler, I’ve used this exact strategy when I was interviewing people, also, when I was being interviewed to get my job at Google.
I still continue to use this strategy when I bring in new candidates that I’m working with at my businesses and my company. Even when I’m hiring a contractor to work on a project, I’m still putting them through this process.
Here are the 4 buckets:

  1. General Cognitive Ability
  2. Leadership
  3. Job-Related Skills
  4. Googliness (will change depending on the culture of the company)

1) General Cognitive Ability

General cognitive ability is a really fancy way of saying, “How smart is this person?”. (And I’m not referring to their IQ or their EQ.)
How does this person think?
That is what Google is trying to uncover with their tricky questions when they ask you thins like, “Do you get wetter when you run or walk through the rain?” Or when they ask you, “How long will it take to clean every window of a skyscraper?”
When they ask you these types of mentally stimulating questions, it is not about the result of the question. It’s not about getting to the right answer. It is about watching the way the person thinks and observing their thought process.
It doesn’t require being a genius. It just requires thinking critically step-by-step and showing that there is a logic behind your thinking.
So, when you’re interviewing someone, ask them a challenging question that stimulates their thinking, and allow them to show you their thinking. That’s it.

2) Leadership

Is this person naturally a leader? The way I like to think about this is how Mark Zuckerburg once said that he only hires people he would work for himself.
How crazy is that?
The CEO of Facebook says he only hires people that he would be willing to work for himself.
The next time you hire somebody and you’re going, “Oh I just really need to fill this role and we really need this person” and you are just doing it for the short term, you will probably regret it because it doesn’t pass the threshold of leadership.
This person should be willing to grow within the role and the company. So, it’s very important that they want to take on leadership.

3) Job-Related Skills

The 3rd thing is going to be your Job-Related Skills.
The question we’re trying to answer is, “Does this person have the actual skills they need to be successful in this role.”
Some jobs require hard skills such as being able to program in a certain language.
Other jobs, such as a sales role, requires a person to have high emotional intelligence. Extremely high work ethic. A desire to really crush and hit quotas. Does this person have a history of hitting their quota?
Here’s the question I like to ask people to really check the box off for job-related skills…
First, I tell people I don’t care at all what it says on their resume. Those are just words. I don’t give a shit what people say they have done in the past. What I care about is what they have you actually done and can do.
So ask them, “What pieces of this job can you actually do today, and can you prove it or show me examples?”
When I’m going to hire a designer, I ask the designer to show me that they’ve done this exact type of work in the past. If they’ve done it and they nailed it, they clearly check off the job-related skills bucket.
So, ultimately, it’s about getting people in the door who have actually done the work already.

4) Googliness

Finally, what Google calls Googliness. Which is just another way of saying, “Does this person benefit the culture of our company?”
If you don’t know what the culture of your company is, you’re in trouble.
If you’re working for a company and all they have is a lame 200-word vision statement they found in a magazine, that’s your opportunity to go talk to your boss and help them come up with a better vision.
As Simon Sinek has famously said, we all need to know what our why is.
If you’re a solopreneur or an entrepreneur with a small business, you better know what your why is.
You better know what your vision is so that you know your culture because that becomes the final filter. When people pass through that filter and they fit into your company’s culture, they will become attracted to you as a result of having that why in the first place.
You will attract a certain kind of person because your company exudes that why and exudes that vision. People know what you stand for. There’s no mystery about it.
Your vision is clear and people know exactly what you stand for. If that person checks off that final box, then you are good to go.
Those are the 4 categories that Google uses to hire every single employee and attract the world’s best talent.
I highly recommend you try this out in your own company because I’ve been doing it for years and it’s a great way to find people — and ultimately — that’s one of the only ways to grow.
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Photo credit: Interview — CC license

The Complete Guide to Snapchat Takeovers for Entrepreneurs and Influencers

Total Reading Time: 10 minutes.
Oh, Snapchat…
Are you just the latest social media app, or a pioneering multi-billion dollar platform at the forefront of digital media capturing consumer attention that’s destined for the long haul?
A lot of people say it’s the latter. Solopreneurship is exploding, and for the right influencer, brand, or company — Snapchat is the single most effective and engaging way to connect with a new or existing audience.
After some careful consideration and thinking through a list of ingredients every business needs, I decided to go “all in” on Snapchat and have been building my account while also connecting with other Snapchatters.
One of those influencers is my friend Suzanne Nguyen, known as String Story on social media. Suzanne is a “curious geek of the future that loves fried chicken, tech, and communication”. She’s also one of the most popular influencers teaching Snapchat marketing tactics. 
I performed a “takeover” on her account utilizing the exact strategies she teaches (strategies that she’ll be breaking down in detail in this post). You can see the actual video from the takeover below. What is a takeover you ask?

Definition of a Snapchat Takeover: A Snapchat takeover is when a person/brand allows another user to log in and share content to the account’s public story.

Note: String agreed to share her proven, step-by-step guide on how to produce awesome Snapchat takeovers here exclusively on the blog. The entire guide below is a guest post by Suzanne Nguyen. Please make sure to:  

  1. Download your free ebook and takeover worksheets — see form above
  2. Add Arman Assadi and String Story on Snapchat
  3. Watch the takeover video below, study the guide, and leave a comment on this post with your thoughts
Arman Assadi's Snapchat Snapcode
Arman Assadi’s Snapchat Snapcode

 

String Story's Snapchat Snapcode
String Story’s Snapchat Snapcode

 

Open Snapchat and take a photo of these Snapcodes OR click the image to automagically add.

Arman Assadi’s Takeover on String Story’s Snapchat Account

Introduction: Enter String…

Many have complained that Snapchat, as a closed network, is a hard channel to grow an audience. Whilst this is true, it took me just 3 months before I hit the 1k mark. Now, I realized from all the takeovers I’ve done, that it’s a hard number to reach for most people.
So, I decided to write this guide to let you digitally-pick my brain, and get some incredible results by doing Snapchat takeovers with entrepreneurs — but, without the pitfalls I’ve encountered 🙂

TL;DR: Takeovers have been a great tactic to help discover new peeps and grow my viewership

I’m super-excited to work and collaborate with you on helping YOU make the most of Snapchat Takeovers!
My role here is to act like a Producer and help you provide value to your audience. To date, I’ve successfully completed 15 takeovers (and counting!). My results so far? They’ve been overwhelmingly positive.
Sit back, and read my own notes and thoughts on how to produce awesome Snapchat Takeovers!

1) Who Is Your Audience?

Hint: It’s never about you.
Even though it’s your channel, it’s never about you, it’s about the audience and the value you provide them.
To help figure out your target audience and audit your numbers before you approach others for potential takeovers, click below.

My Snapchat Audience is made up of:

    • Geeks, startup, tech entrepreneurs and creative entrepreneurs.
    • Mostly men, between the age of 25-50.
    • Australia and the United States, mainly.
    • So far, they do enjoy takeovers because they get to discover new Snapchat Users and Content Creators.

2) Stats: Numbers You Need to Know

Most of growth came from taking over a high influencer’s Snapchat account

From the pie chart below, I was able to reach a snap view of 1000 by having regular takeovers, 23.8% have been from takeovers, which is why it’s important to use this tactic as a way for others to discover you and follow you on your Snapchat account.
Refer to Worksheet 10a (page 15) to gauge and audit you SnapChat channel.

 

Based on my own data and stats, here is an overview of my numbers:

    • Avg. 18k total snap views within 24 hours (#SnapchatMonday)
    • Avg. of 800-1000 per snap  views
    • Avg 350+ screenshots
    • Avg 30 comments (#TechTuesday), it once peaked up to 87  comments.

3) Engagement

Screenshots = the new Snapchat likes

My Followers are trained to be personally­ engaging, now they understand the concept of screenshots. They now also incorporate screenshots in their stories to help drive user engagement.
My audience tends to want and respond better to visuals such as flow charts, lists, and schedules. For example, when Arman Assadi (@armangeddon) jumped on, his slides and giveaway images were screenshot hundreds of times.
Lately, my mind maps and flow charts (refer to image below) have been getting the most amount of screenshots.

4) Sweet Spot for Takeovers

90 – 200 seconds

(which is approximately 10-20 snaps)

From experience, to create 1.5 ­- 2mins of quality Snapchat content, it takes approx. 1 hour of your real time.
NB: Snapchat is not a YouTube channel: it’s best to treat with brevity ­- use a “keep it short and sweet” attitude. Being succinct is key.
NB2: Any content that goes over this limit will be edited by me. I’m ruthless with my quality and content! You’ve been warned! 😀
I suggest that you have the same editor type attitude too, again you like to ensure takeovers to provide value to your audience.

5) Handover (Passwords and Security)

Keep the handover process simple.
But, if you’re scared someone will steal your account, here are some ways to protect it.
Ah, the Big One! Most people are scared of someone hacking and stealing your passwords. Understandable. BUT, we have a really cool system that’s baked ­right into Snapchat. We’re going to talk about 2FA -­ or, “Two Factor Authentication”. On Snapchat it’s called Text Verification.

Here’s how to streamline and switch accounts:

  1. Change your password into a temporary one.
  2. Pick a primary form of communication (i.e. Facebook, Whatsapp, email)
  3. Exchange your Snapchat passwords (and second Text Verification)
  4. Put into your diary when you both start and finish (work out the time zones too!)
  5. Swap Snapcodes & pre­introduce the Snapchatter beforehand.

Setting up Text Verification

NB: make sure you have a Text Verification setup beforehand!. Here’s how:

  1. Open Snapchat on your device.
  2. Tap the ghost icon at the top of your Camera screen.
  3. Tap the Settings gear in the top right-hand corner of your Profile screen.
  4. Tap ‘Login verification’ under the ‘My Account’ section.
  5. Tap the ‘Continue’ button.
  6. Tap ‘SMS’.
  7. Enter the verification code sent to your mobile phone and tap ‘Continue’.
  8. Every time you swap accounts, make sure you are on standby and exchange the second text verification codes.

6) Social X Promotion

Promote the Snapchat takeover on your social channels.

Share the news about the takeover on your various social channels. Yup, I’m looking at you Twitter, Facebook ­ and even pre­introduction on your Snapchat channel.
Leading up to your takeover, you can let people know that you’ll be on the @stringstory Snapchat channel. It’s also a good idea to tweet it out and share on Facebook during your takeover. Engagement during your takeover has a noticeable increase when you do this kind of cross-platform promotion. Give them your Snapchat GhostCode!

Providing feedback to other Snapchatters on Twitter, and having them do the same for you is a great way to cross-pollinate your audiences. Private replies on Snapchat increase your engagement with only one person at a time.

7) String’s Tips on Ultimate Takeovers

All winners! No Fillers!

    • Be short and sweet.
    • Provide value. “All winners, no fillers!” Make each snap count.
    • Avoid follow-my-day types, you can watch this on any other Snapchatter account. The goal is to encourage the audience to follow you on your own Snapchat.
    • Have fun.
    • Remember you’re a guest on someone’s channel.
      • Be yourself, but respect their differing audience demographic and culture.
    • Yes, people are known to tap away, so add text captions.
    • Do a pre-introduction on your own Snapchat account, introducing the Snapchatter.
    • Save your ‘stories’ before handing over the accounts back to the original owner.

8) Tips on Providing Value for Takeovers:

Here are more tips from other Snapchatters

Avery Rats: a digital Marketer based in Israel

Snapchat: AzrielR

  1. Give tips people can use right now.
  2. My general theory with content creation is that every 3 minutes a person should walk away thinking they learned at least 1 new thing, so that would definitely apply to takeovers.
  3. Give the people a reason right now to follow you back, like continuing the tips on your page. So in one takeover I have 5 tips for motivation and the 5th one was on my story, so they needed to follow me to get that tip.

Adam Cinemre: a digital designer based in Australia

Snapchat: AdamCinemre

  1. The set up – Direct people from your channel, and be sure to introduce yourself on the takeover account. Choose one (maybe 2) areas of your skill set to focus on
  2. The content – Come up with 1 awesomely actionable task or piece of content that will help people fall in love with you. Maybe offer a discount for your service or a tip that can help them (instill wisdom)
  3. The Praise – Thank them (audience/channel/host) for their attention and the opportunity to meet. “See you back over on my channel”.

Yopickles: a digital nomad known for her creativity, music, and tattoos

Snapchat: ieatpickles1111

    1. Keep it short and   simple
    2. Interact and make it  fun
    3. Do takeovers with people that are similar to you

Tien Wong: a CEO and VC based in Washington DC, USA

Snapchat: stienwong

  1. Know who your audience is and WHAT they are interested in.
  2. Be organized, plan your story deliberately so it flows sensibly.
  3. Keep it crisp – make 3 to 5 major HI IMPACT points.
    • “HI IMPACT” means “substantive, meaningful and appropriate content” which the audience would greatly benefit from.

David Ma: a Cancer Researcher from Australia

Snapchat: Frostickle

  1. Have a strong intro which clearly explains who this new face is and why they’re there.
  2. Use the caption on each snap to summarize the point of that snap, this makes the entire story much easier to skim through, resulting in more viewers making it to the end. Viewers who skim quickly to the end are more satisfied than viewers who drop out halfway because they couldn’t follow the story.
  3. Satisfied viewers come back for more and follow takeover-ees.

9) Format Is Key

Provide value by curating high impact content with a format.
In TV production, reality and game shows have a preset structure called a “format”. I’ve found that having a format and sharing the program encourages your viewers to tune in or allow them to opt out. Refer to Worksheet 10c and 10d (page 17 and 18) to help format your Takeovers. Feel free to send the worksheet to your collaborative Snapchatter, who will be taking over your account.

String’s Suggested Takeover Format

  • Introduce yourself
      • Who you are
      • What your areas of expertise are
      • Where you are located

NB: here’s a challenge, try to keep your intro to a maximum of a two snap video – 20 seconds

  • What’s your topic? (one snap intro)
    • If you let the peeps know what you’re planning to do, they are more likely to stay tuned in (i.e. share a list of a program)
    • Mark Suster (@msuster) is a good example, he shows the program of the week/day.

  • Pick ONE style and stick with it

Below is a list of few styles to choose from

    • Interview influencers/industry based peeps
    • Tips on ‘x’ topic
    • QandA format
    • Review
    • Tell your story about your startup/business
    • Play a game
    • Set up a competition
    • Demo of a service or product
    • Use your imagination and be creative.
    • Follow my day*
      • *NB. Personally, I have found this to be least engaging takeover style, so try to avoid if possible.
  • Conclusion/Recap/Thank you
  • Share your Snapcode

Examples of a Takeover format

Example #1
Adam Cinemre, Graphic Designer   (@AdamCinemre)
Main topic: Snapchat Geofilters

  1. Intro who are you?
  2. What is a Snapchat Geofilter? (one snap response)
  3. Why would a business/brand use a geofilter? (share 3 benefits)
  4. 3 tips on how make awesome geofilters? (share some design tips)
  5. Show’n’Tell­ share cool examples of awesome geofilters
  6. Where can we find you and Design My Filters? (Share website/Snapcode)

Example #2
Jonathan Caras, Cofounder of Glide (@Madcapslaugh)
Main Theme: “Faster Horses, If I asked them what they wanted me to build, they would have said faster horses”

 VS  

  1. My background working with startups
  2. My company and how it was founded
  3. How to engage and listen to your audience
  4. How to hear the underlying message
  5. How to apply this to your product

10) Instagram Story Takeover

This concept can be used to do collaborative takeovers for Instagram Stories too.
On Snapchat, you hand over your password to the collaborator to access the account. While on Instagram Stories, the host receives multiple videos or stills from the collaborator.
Snapchat has the white borders and Instagram Stories has none, making it a more seamless experience. Essentially, Instagram allows you to upload strings of content from the last 24 hours in your camera roll.
Again, takeovers can be used as a backdoor access to a new audience and demographic.

See the image below for instructions on how to upload from your camera roll on Instagram:

Step 1

 

Step 2

Conclusion

Within 8 months, I consistently treated Snapchat like my own TV channel that I’ve gained business and connections. This post about takeovers is just one of many Snapchat tactics I cultivated. I share all my thoughts and tactics, including how to grow your channel at my Snapchat Marketing Accelerator.

This course will suit anyone who wants to leverage video to build up their brand, confidence, and personality.
How will you use Snapchat going forward — and if you haven’t yet — what questions do you have? 

3 Magic Self-Awareness Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Now

Video Version

Text Version

Total Reading Time:  5 minutes.
I want to discuss this idea of emotional intelligence. This idea of increasing your self-knowledge and your self-awareness. At this stage we all know the importance of emotional intelligence.
In fact, we know now based on the science of it that your IQ is pretty much fixed. By the time you’re done being an adolescent, that IQ that you have is mostly permanent. What we do know though is that your emotional intelligence (EQ) is malleable.
 

 
It can change, it can grow, it can increase, whereas your IQ is quite fixed.
[Edit: The fact is, everyone is becoming “more intelligent” over the course of their lifetime, but the IQ scale keeps everyone in the same context.]
 

Why Does This Matter?

What researchers in this area of emotional intelligence have found is that your mindset, your level of emotional intelligence is more likely to predict your success than your IQ. You can have an extremely high IQ but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee success.
By success they look at things like the amount of money that you make, the relationships that you have, your overall level of fulfillment and happiness, so on and so forth. Everybody measures success differently, that’s fine.
What we do know is that when you open that door to increasing your self-knowledge, it’s actually quite fascinating.
One of the things I’ve studied and worked on is Carl Jung the Swiss psychiatrist, his original theories around your cognitive functions. He broke out the personality into these sixteen different types (more on each type here).
 

 
It was actually quite brilliant because he nailed it better than anybody ever had before and he spent a tremendous amount of time musing on these various ideas of your cognitive functions and the order in which they are.
That might be way further than you care to go but what’s important is that there are a series of questions you can ask people to just even begin to increase your self-knowledge. By doing so you can be more successful, you can be more fulfilled, you can know your unique advantage.
With just the first question alone you could see a radical change in the way you approach your career and the way you approach everything you do in your work because it will help you identify your unique abilities, your unique advantage.
 

Mastering a Skill

The way you go about doing this is you want to identify seven different people of varying distances to you. It might be your coworker, your family member, brother or sister, husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, friend of a friend, maybe someone you don’t know that well. Seven different people.
I challenge you to do this exercise by the way, and you’ll see the power of it. Even if you only ask three people these three questions you’ll see the power of it. Find different types of people, not just people you’re super comfortable with, but people you think you could really learn from.
Question number one is:

What is something that I do better than most people?

Why is this important? By getting the answer to this question you’re going to be able to begin to identify your unique ability, your unique genius, and your talent. Something that you do better than most people means you’re above average in this area and most likely you’re either not aware of it, or if you are not appreciating the power you have with that ability.
If you were to just double down and invest even more into mastering that skill, you would become unstoppable at that one thing and all it takes in life is being really good at one thing to get everything that you want.
That’s the path to mastery.
That’s the path to what Alan Watts talks about when he said, “What would you do if money were no object?”
You have to identify that unique ability. People constantly are asking me or telling me things like, “I don’t know what I’m into. I don’t know what my passion is. I don’t know what I’m even good at.”
This question is going to help you get there. That’s question number one.
 

Good/Bad Habits

Question number two:

What is a habit that I may not be aware of?

This is a fun one. If you notice with people, if you ever notice that somebody is doing something and you really want to tell them and you wonder to yourself like, “Are they even aware of this?”
Generally this happens with things that are annoying and that we don’t like about somebody and we wish we could tell them. Chances are, the person that is most aware of that habit is themselves.
If we were to tell that person what to do, it almost never matters to them. It almost never clicks. They almost never make a change. We ourselves have to want to make a change, right?
First step is admitting there’s a problem. Even more so the first step is identifying the problem. We need to identify that problem by asking people around us, “What is a habit I may not be aware of?”
And you’re probably aware of it and you’re going to hear it. Such as you biting your nails or you’re always late or you talk over people or whatever it may be. It doesn’t have to be negative. It might be a positive thing. It might be a positive habit, but by being aware of it we can either decide, this is useful or I’m going to get rid of this habit. And that’s a beautiful thing to begin to increase your self-knowledge.
 

Personal Brand

Finally, question number three that you need to ask at least three people, if not seven people on this challenge, and I challenge you to do this.
Question number three is:

How would you describe me to a friend of yours?

This is actually a really fun one because we don’t generally have conversations like this with people, at least most people don’t. You’re going to hear some things about yourself that I think you’re really going to appreciate and like. That person is going to open up to you and tell you things about yourself that will be great to hear.
You’ll begin to identify more of the things that make you special and unique, and begin to really understand how you’re branded. This is the key, especially for entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, people with their own companies, executives, CEOs.
The way people describe you or your brand or your company is critical because if we don’t learn to describe ourselves and brand ourselves, someone is going to do it for you. People are going to do it for you. That’s why this is also really critical.
As an individual it gives you insight into who you really are.
That is all. Those are the three questions. Make sure you do this challenge, and let me know how it goes because I guarantee you if you just ask these questions and you open yourself up to people, and you allow yourself to receive this information, you will be opening a door that is absolutely awesome into increasing your self-knowledge. There is a whole host of benefits to that.
Enjoy.
 
Photo credit: young man with a bookCC license

10 Must Have Apps for the Travel Lover

Total Reading Time: 5 minutes.
It was the late Summer of 2013 and I had just finished traveling all throughout Southeast Asia for 97 days. This was my first experience with traveling while working, and many lessons were learned. The most difficult aspect of these nomadic 3+ months was not knowing who or what to trust when it came to: accommodations, transportation, and general information.
Whether you have to occasionally travel for work, or are a location-independent entrepreneur, full-time vagabond, digital nomad, or travel junkie—there are a handful of apps and services that are critical to your survival. The issue is knowing which ones.
As we already know—there is an app for just about everything—although we’re still waiting on the one that prints greenbacks. Every day a new app company launches looking to earn the trust of the travel community.
Since my initial overseas voyage, I’ve been averaging around one trip every two weeks. Sometimes these travels are domestic, while other times they’re international. At this point, I’ve tested enough services and apps to know what is essential, and what is superfluous.
In this guide I’ll outline the best and top must-have apps for the frequent (or occasional) traveler. I’ll also include sign-up links, and where available, I’ll include codes to discounts and bonuses for signing up.
 

Travel Accommodations

1. Airbnb

Airbnb travel app
 
It’s only fitting that this is the first app listed, because it’s also my favorite. Airbnb is indispensable. I’ve used this incredible service all around the world to find beautiful homes, beach bungalows, modern apartments, and even private rooms. And I’ve also been a host, so I know and trust them inside and out.
If you don’t already know about this app, you’re in for a treat.
Use this link to sign up now and get $25 toward your travel.
 

2. Hotel Tonight

hotel tonight travel app
 
If you like to travel last minute like me (or just happen to need a place to stay ASAP), Hotel Tonight is your new best friend. This wonderfully designed app gives you incredible deals at hotels worldwide. The app now also allows you to book in advance, not just the same day.
You can download the app here and use my promo code AASSADI3 to get $25 off your first booking.
 

3. Booking.com

booking.com app
Similar to Hotel Tonight, this app from Booking.com is essential for travelers and lets you book both in advance and get access to last minute deals. What I like most about this app is the abundance of choice. While Hotel Tonight hand picks just several deals for each day, Booking.com provides access to a wider variety.
You can download the app here.
 

4. Hostelworld

Hostelworld travel app
Hostels can be a fantastic way to meet other travelers, and a great way to get to know a city. There are some incredible hostels in various parts of the world, and Hostelworld has been my go-to app for this. While there are other competitors in this space, this app has been my favorite.
You can download the app here.
 

5. Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing
Couchsurfing is first and foremost a community. If you’re on a low budget and still want to travel the world, or simply enjoy meeting interesting people, Couchsurfing will be your new favorite travel app/service.
I’m often asked if this is safe and trustworthy. Close friends have used the service to travel the world for free and made lifelong friends. Plus, there are verifications and a review system.
You can check out the service here.
 

Transportation

6. Lyft and Uber

The two big giants of ride-sharing, Lyft and Uber, are essential for travel. The days of traditional car rentals are long gone, and the on-demand economy is here to serve our every need. Want a car to pick you up from anywhere in minutes? You need these two apps.
Lyft
As the first ever official Lyft user/passenger (yes, seriously, and I still have no plaque for this cough) I tend to favor Lyft when I can. I also find that the drivers are more sociable, and the experience is similar to getting a ride from a friend of a friend.
The app you use depends on your style and its availability, so give both a try if you can. Lyft is currently only in the U.S., but expanding globally. Here’s a full list of cities.
You can download the app here and you’ll also receive $20 in Lyft credit towards your first ride.
UBER
Uber is available in 58 countries. Not cities. I used Uber all throughout Rome, Italy during a recent trip for cheaper than a taxi. Here’s a full list of cities. I find Uber to be professional and fast.
You can download the app here and even claim a free ride worth up to $20.
 

7. Getaround and Turo (formerly RelayRides)

While Uber and Lyft are great for on-demand rides, sometimes you’ll want to rent a car for a few hours, or even days. Why not borrow someone’s car for a fraction of the price? That’s where car-sharing comes in. No membership fees, and a wide variety of cars available on-demand.
Tesla anyone? I no longer use traditional rental car services, thanks to the two apps below.
turo_logo
 
Turo is fully available in cities throughout the U.S. Here’s a full list of cities.
Getaround
Getaround is currently available in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, Austin, Portland and Chicago. Sign up for the service here, and you’ll also receive $25 of driving credit.
 

8. Zipcar

Zipcar
Car sharing is great, but the service is still expanding. If you need a car and want it done quickly, Zipcar is the way to go. They do have a membership fee, but what I love most about Zipcar is its wide availability in most cities throughout the U.S., Canada, and even some in Europe. Here’s a full list of cities.
You can sign up here and download the app, plus receive a $25 bonus toward your account.
 

Travel Information

9. TripAdvisor

tripadvisor travel app
This app does it all and can be used all around the world in even the most remote cities/countries. Find reviews for just about anything, get a list of top things to do, plan and book your trip, check flights, download maps for offline use, and much more.
You can download the app here.
 

10. TripIt

tripit travel app
This all-in-one travel app stores your entire itinerary and all pertinent information in an easy to use interface. Stop sifting through your email to find your flight number or hotel’s address—TripIt can handle it for you.
You can download the app here.
 

Information & Resources

11. Fancy Hands

fancyhands
With all these apps you may start to get overwhelmed with the planning and researching side of things. Did I mention I don’t actually do any of it myself?
I use a virtual assistant service called Fancy Hands that handles it all.
When most people hear personal assistant they think, “I can’t afford that!” Well, it’s not expensive to get started, they’re only $29.99 a month. And you can also get 50% off your first month with this link—so only $14.99 to start. Do it.
Here’s my complete review on Fancy Hands along with best practices and tips for getting started.
 

12. Snapchat

snapcode Arman Assadi
This is my Snapcode! Just point your Snapchat camera at this image to add me.

Not a travel app you say? I beg to differ. No wanderlust-driven excursion is complete without the best social media app available right now. What better way to connect with your family, friends, followers, and share stories in the moment?
I’ll be exhibit A. Just click here to add me or point your Snapchat camera at the image above to add me on the Snap and get ready for a mix of off-the-dome philosophical rants, random voice impressions, and adventures around the world.
 

Photo credit: Lost AdelaideCC license

15 Best Online Business Ideas for Solopreneurs and Wantrepreneurs

Intro & Bolded Text Reading Time: 2 minutes.
Full Content: 13 minutes.
One aha moment can change your life. It did for me. I’ve gone back and forth on whether to write this piece for a long time. There are thousands all over the interwebs, and in my clearly opinionated opinion — 99% of them are junk.
I’m certain of this, because I typed these same words into Google search when I first started out as a solopreneur: “online business”. Even so, I know this is something that needs to get addressed properly and I owe you an honest answer.
This is an attempt to provide a comprehensive, factual, and actionable guide to the popular question of what the best online businesses are. My goal is simple: to not fall into the 99% garbage pile.
Let’s start with some straight-forward, important truths:

  1. The only way to build a real business (and eventually quit your day job if you choose) is with patience and perseverance. It’s all about taking tiny steps each day.
  2. There is no such thing as overnight success or getting rich quickly. I promise, no matter how amazing the opportunity looks, you are wasting your time. These aren’t real businesses, and they don’t provide real wealth. When they do, they’re temporary and fade quickly. Plus, the rich know that the idea is to build assets, not make cash.
  3. Working for yourself doesn’t have to be complicated. We make it that way because we get distracted and lose focus. How do you prevent this? Cure your procrastination for good and develop laser focus on one thing.
  4. If you invest your time and energy into more than one area, you won’t get anywhere. You must choose only one. Dedicate yourself to it, and settle for nothing less than mastery.
  5. With a traditional venture-backed business, there is a risk of failure. If you squander your investor funding, you fail. As a solopreneur, the only way you can fail is by giving up. So do the work.

Finally, read about my 7 biggest mistakes, and promise me you won’t make them too.
Okay…ready to dive in? Here are the top 15 online businesses for existing and aspiring solopreneurs and entrepreneurs (in no particular order):

Products

1. Physical Products

This business is where most people want to start (or think they should) by default. It’s the one that actually makes sense to the first-time solopreneur. Creating the next hot product is an exciting journey that is great for the creative solopreneur.
A lot of work, cost, learning, and dedication will be involved. Working with a partner may be helpful in this business. If you have a strong desire to see your product become a reality, you will have a great time with this.
Where to Start:
Validate your idea. Talk to real humans and get feedback until you’re positive people need this. Make sure it solves a pain/need.
Then, validate again. The easiest way to do this is by creating a blog or website for the product. Put up a landing page with photos and details for the product, and push some traffic to it (paid traffic is faster, but you should also look into content marketing and social media).
On the page, ask people to opt in and give you their email address so you can notify them when the product is ready for testing. If you gather a lot emails, you’re probably onto something. Harry’s has a
Harry’s has a fantastic case study on how they gathered 100,000 emails in one week for their launch. Another excellent resource is the The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, specifically the sections on finding your niche, or “muse” as he calls it.

2. Online Retail/Amazon/E-commerce

The online retail/e-commerce niche is enormous, and growing. Potential to scale is high, with many people creating six-figure or more niche product businesses on Amazon. There is a wealth of knowledge, resources, and community in this area.
E-commerce is another great example of passive income. But it does require a lot of up experimentation, upkeep, and dedication in the beginning. If you strike the right niche/market and deliver a hot product, you can find success.
You can also sell products through your own online store. The products never even have to be touched by you, there are many ways to have the fulfillment handled by someone else and have products drop shipped directly to the customer.
So, you can either go the Amazon/eBay/Etsy route, or create your own e-commerce store. It just depends on your goals.
Best E-Commerce Platforms

  1. Shopify
  2. BigCommerce
  3. WooCommerce (for hosting on your own WordPress site)

If you’re looking for education, I recommend checking out Amazing.com, the creators of the sensational Amazing Selling Machine program.

3. Mobile Apps

This industry is not showing any signs of slowing down soon. The landscape is constantly evolving too, which means lots of opportunity for the dedicated student.
You do not need to know how to code/program to become an app entrepreneur. In fact, we already have a free 8 day business plan you can use if you’re interested in getting started with apps.
Who to Know: Without a doubt, there are two people I recommend you follow in this space. The first is Carter Thomas of Blue Cloud Solutions. Carter has an awesome free webinar you can check out for getting started and has gotten tens of millions of downloads.
The other is my close friend Chad Mureta, founder of App Empire. Chad has had incredible success with apps (over 150 million downloads), and has been featured on 60 Minutes, MSNBC, and more. All the information, tools, resources, and networking you need is available inside this large community of app entrepreneurs.

4. Software

Creating a piece of software or Saas is a fantastic way to start an online business, and you don’t have to create it yourself. This true passive income model can open the doors to more opportunities as well.
Your software should provide an immediate solution to a pain or need for a niche of people. The software can be standalone (e.g. CrazyEgg), or it can supplement another software or service (e.g. AWProTools, an add-on for Aweber).
Personally, I like this model a lot. There is lots of room to scale, and you can also cross-sell and upsell other products and services on the backend.
Who to Know: Neil Patel, founder of Kissmetrics, HelloBar, and CrazyEgg is the person to know. I’ve worked directly with Neil on multiple projects and I can tell you with certainty — he is the real deal. He has one of the best blogs out there at NeilPatel.com and Quicksprout, where he shares a lot of his most valuable lessons and strategies.
You should also definitely check out Dane Maxwell and The Foundation. His online mentoring program has guided 1,600+ new entrepreneurs to start and scale software companies, and the community continues to thrive. He’s an incredible person on a grand mission.

5. Art

Online business is not limited to just the technical, internet savvy folks. If you are passionate about a particular form of art, you can turn this into a successful business.
The possibilities are wide and many. Photography, videography, art, crafts, and so on. If your art is something you feel drawn toward, pursue it. How you monetize is completely up to you.
Who to Emulate:

  1. James Law. My friend James went from disillusioned sales/marketing guy, to world-traveling UFC photographer. It’s an incredible story and case study, check it out here.
  2. David Huting. When I was at Google, I worked with a solopreneur photographer named David who created a brand and product called Epic Wall Art. He takes photographs of amazing places, blows them up on giant canvases, and sells them on a website. He has since created a new brand called Nature Relaxation, this time using video.

Services

6. Consulting/Coaching

Productivity, business, social media, health/fitness, financial/wealth, life — the options are endless. Consulting or coaching has a low barrier to entry, requires little technical work, and is a quick way to get started. It can also be completely virtual (online).
Consulting requires that you are an expert in the niche your choosing. I italicized expert because expertise is relative; e.g. as long as you know more than me about fitness, in my eyes, you’re an expert. And there’s value in that, which people are willing to pay you for.
There are many solopreneurs with successful consulting businesses. I have my own and while it took some time to build, today I have a waiting list of clients and get raving referrals. I’ve worked with people like Timothy Sykes (celebrity stock trader), Lewis Howes (NYT bestselling author), Neil Patel (co-founder of Crazy Egg, Quicks Sprout, etc.), Gerard Adams (co-founder of Elite Daily), and helped companies like Whitepages, Qualaroo, 24option, Qualaroo, and Xenon Ventures (a VC firm in Silicon Valley).
You can even do coaching for individuals, sites like Clarity.fm are awesome for this, check out my Clarity page here. If you like working with people and have some value to bring, this might be a good option for you.

7. Design

The design industry is a big opportunity for the right person. If you have a knack for creating aesthetically pleasing work, you can be successful here. If you are willing to learn some basic technical skills, you’ll do even better.
The quality of work designers are delivering across the board is low. There is a strong need for web design. You could combine your design skills with some WordPress development.
Some Popular Sites for Hiring Designers:

  1. Dribbble
  2. Envato Studio
  3. Freelancer
  4. 99 Designs
  5. Upwork

Once your portfolio is built and you have some happy clients, you can begin to shift from being hired to being in demand. Learn how to market yourself and soon you can start your own virtual design agency.

8. Copywriting

One of the most in-demand, valuable skills you can have is copywriting. Think of it as a combination of writing, marketing, sales, and psychology. People pay very good money for a good copywriter’s work. Every entrepreneur is forced to either learn this skill or hire someone to handle it.
You can begin by freelancing on sites like Upwork to build a list of happy clients — this is exactly what I did. Again, do good work, get referrals, and the demand will shift your way.
Who to EmulateMike Williams is a highly sought after copywriter and friend of mine. He’s worked with/at Mindvalley, Kissmetrics, AWeber, Neil Patel, Noah Kagan, and Ramit Sethi.
You should also check out…me. What? I had to. There’s a reason Neil Patel says:

“Arman is a brilliant, world-class marketing strategist and copywriter. He’s also one of the most driven and down-to-earth people I’ve ever met.” – Neil Patel

9. Software development

Programming is the new literacy. — Tweet this!

At least that’s what Mark Zuckerburg and Bill Gates are saying. Programming isn’t for everyone (definitely not for me), but it’s the biggest and most reliable opportunity. You will want to focus on web development and mobile applications.
Just to be clear, you can get started and make a living by learning some HTML/CSS and getting familiar with WordPress.
The more you learn, the more in demand you’ll be. Better yet, you could create anything you wanted for yourself. Pick a programming language and master it. There are many, many places you can learn to code.
Where to Learn (for Free):

  1. Code Academy (over 24 million students)
  2. Coursera
  3. Code.org

Just imagine the opportunities a bit of online and offline networking can bring you.
Prospect: “Hey John, I have this idea for a mobile app, but I have no idea where to start!”
You: “No problem — that’ll be $10,000 please.” You get the idea.

10. Speaking

A fantastic opportunity for the right person. If you enjoy getting in front of people and delivering your content, a speaking business could be for you. The online piece of the business doesn’t have to be complicated.
You can’t however just throw up a website with a speaking page and expect the phone to start ringing. I did this. I know, very amusing, but don’t laugh too much. It was those all damn over-promise, under-deliver articles that told me this would work (refer to the “99% garbage” comment in intro).
First, you’ll need to master the art of speaking, start with these 11 quick lessons. You’ll need to start practicing right away (probably for free), get videos of your speeches, and put together a presentable speaking packet. Then you’ll need to work on building a personal brand. Work hard and hustle, you could soon be on your way to a great business.
Where to Learn:

  1. Toastmasters – The most highly recommended place for polishing up your speaking skills. There are Toastmasters meet ups in most cities.
  2. National Speakers Association – A great resource and network for getting started.

Who to Know:

  1. Michael Hyatt is a successful author, solopreneur, podcaster, and speaker. His speaking page is excellent.
  2. Matt Church is a leader in the area of Thought Leadership. He has many resources and training programs to help you build your speaking business.

11. Affiliate/Internet Marketing

This is an enormous online business industry, and I probably shouldn’t chunk the two categories together. Affiliate Marketing is where a business rewards you (the affiliate) for bringing them new leads or customers. This can feel like a roller coaster ride because you’re hoping you’ll hit the jackpot with your offer. Many people crash and burn, but the persistent survive and make a great living.
Internet Marketing involves is simply using the internet to deliver a message (marketing) to potential customers. There is more control, but it’s a different strategy. You can create your own products/offers, or simply promote other people’s work. The key is building an email list of raving fans (this isn’t important just for internet marketing by the way).
Where to Learn:

  1. Digital Marketer: This company is the leader in online marketing. They have awesome courses/programs and do a few different live events that I always enjoy attending.
  2. Neil Patel’s free Customer Acquisition Webinar: This is a truly valuable, action-focused webinar you can watch to learn Neil’s best hacks on everything related to internet marketing and turning prospects into customers.
  3. Autoresponder Madness (ARM): I highly recommend checking out this course. ARM taught me how to develop a real relationship with my readers, create raving fans, and monetize effectively.
  4. CopyBlogger: Internet Marketing for Smart People: A great free resource that was created by a trustworthy, successful group of folks.

Education/Information

12. Courses/Information Products & Membership Sites

Creating a course, information product, or membership site is a fantastic way to start an online business. My first venture into online business was creating an information product on email management and productivity. Since then my training programs have been implemented into companies like Intel, T-Mobile, IMB, 1-800-Flowers.com, and Century 21.
This is actually a publishing business, as you’re creating and selling information/content. The learning curve is steep. You will need to learn a lot of new skills and gain a strong understanding of marketing and sales. It is important that you learn from the right person.
An online business course or membership site is an excellent asset. There are many examples of people continuing to sell their products for years after launching, especially if the content is evergreen. I believe information is the key to business success in the future.
Udemy has a great free course on how to create your first course. Whether you use Udemy as your platform or not is up to you. Publishing the course on your own website is a good idea as you have more control. But publishing on a site like Udemy is also smart as they have a massive marketplace and the technical aspects are easier. The key to remember is that marketplaces are competitive, and any existing users do not guarantee sales.
Who to Know: There are a lot of people teaching this, but my favorite human is Eben Pagan. His free content (get on his email list) is better than everyone else’s paid content, and his success speaks for itself — tens of millions of dollars in sales, dozens of courses, and a massive virtual organization. You want to learn from the best, and he is the best.

13. Blogging

First of all, regardless of what business you pursue, I highly recommend that you have a blog or personal website. Why? So that you can begin to create a personal brand (see bonus below) and build an email list.
A blog is not a business in and of itself. A blog is the platform that enables many of the other businesses listed (courses/products, podcasts, books, consulting, etc.)
Most people don’t make money blogging (I would estimate over 75%). The ones that do have been working at it for years. If you love to write, make videos, or create any form of content, publishing on a blog is a great idea. Start by sticking to a consistent publishing schedule, and creating useful, valuable, actionable content.
Get Started: How to Launch a Blog or Website in Under One Hour
If you’re less interested in the writing and more serious about starting a profitable blog/authority site, there is a way. It’s not with blogging, it’s about building a media property (see Authority ROI below).
Where to Learn:

  1. Authority ROI is the best training I’ve come across. I highly recommended the course, and have been through it myself.
  2. The Complete Guide to Building Your Blog Audience – This free complete guide by Neil Patel is one of those “I wish I had known about this” things. You will be far ahead of the rest if you implement what Neil shares in this guide.

If you enjoy writing, another option is to work as a freelancer. You can create content for small businesses, write for authority sites, magazines, and other people’s blogs.
Who to Know: Chris Guillebeau of The Art of Non-Conformity, James Clear of JamesClear.com, Pat Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome.com, and Tim Ferriss of Four Hour Workweek Blog.

14. Self-Publishing/Writing

There’s a revolution happening right now in the publishing world. With the explosion of self-publishing, you now have the power to create, publish, and promote your own work. The power is moving from traditional publishers into the hands of people like you.
If you enjoy creating content/writing, a self-publishing business can be very exciting and lucrative. As with all businesses, it comes with its challenges. Here’s the biggest tip I can share with you:

The day you finally decide you’re a writer and act like one — everything changes.Tweet this!

You can publish ebooks on Kindle — here’s a free downloadable guide on that. You can publish on Apple Newsstand (digital magazine). You can self-publish a book and sell it on your own site — there is a lot of flexibility.
Who to Know:

  1. Jeff Goins – Jeff has a fantastic blog, podcast, books, and a lot of content on self-publishing. He also has a course specifically on finding an audience for your work called Tribe Writers.
  2. Guy Kawasaki – Guy has multiple bestselling books and is an excellent person to learn from. His most recent book APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur is highly rated and recommended.
  3. James Altucher – James is a successful self-published author and blogger. His post How to Self-Publish a Bestseller: Publishing 3.0 is an excellent guide.

15. Podcasting

You may have heard already — podcasting is blowing up. Podcasting is similar to blogging, in that it is not a business in and of itself. However, it can be approached as one if viewed as a media platform and extension of your brand.
You can monetize through sponsorships, and/or use as the platform to reach a new audience and create brand awareness. You can drive traffic to your website, sell your products and services, and create new opportunities.
Podcasting is an exciting space, and for the right person, it’s a no-brainer. There’s a lot to learn, and getting set up can be confusing.
Where to Learn:

  1. John Lee Dumas of the Entrepreneur on Fire podcast. John interviews successful entrepreneurs seven days a week, but he is truly on fire himself. He has an amazing free webinar training, and even a free course, on how to create, grow, and monetize your podcast. His community, Podcasters Paradise, is the best out there on this topic.
  2. Pat Flynn of The Smart Passive Income podcast. Pat is an honest, likable family man that wants his audience to succeed. He has a free How to Start a Podcast tutorial on his site that includes everything you need to get started.

Bonus: Personal Brand

I’ve listed this one as a bonus on purpose. We have to be careful because I don’t want you to solely focus on the personal brand itself as the business. A personal brand is something you build over time. Your business(es) should all lead back to your brand.
Software, a YouTube channel, social media, books, courses/information products, podcasting, speaking, webinars, services, live events, and much more. Each new business or property feeds back into the personal brand. Why do this?
Your personal brand is an asset no one can never take away. Investing in your brand is critical and highly recommended.
It is not necessary to have a personal brand, but it is recommended. Your business may go away, but your brand won’t. You could potentially start an online business, make a living, and never show your face to the world. That, I leave up to you.
Who to Know: Lewis Howes (lifestyle entrepreneur, podcaster), Gary Vaynerchuk (video blogging, social media), Chris Brogan (entrepreneur and publisher/author), Jeff Bullas (social media marketing expert), and Neil Patel.
##
After years of researching, experimenting, and learning, these are my most recommended ways for building a solopreneur online business and making money online. All of them take work. All of them will test you to your limits.
But most importantly, all of them can provide the freedom you desire.
More than anything, each one of these businesses has integrity. They give you the opportunity to bring value and contribute to the world. They are paths to long-term fulfillment. If you can align yourself and your passions with your business, you will be one happy camper.
Do you know someone who wants to start an online business, but doesn’t know where to start? Share this post with them so they can learn about the best options for getting started. They’ll thank you for it! 
Photo credit: Idea — CC License

Fancy Hands Review: How to Hire Your Own Virtual Assistant for Just $15

Total Reading Time: 6 minutes.
Today, we’ll be talking about Fancy Hands, a service that offers U.S. based virtual assistants to anyone in the world. I’m also going to show you exactly what to expect, and how to make the most of this investment in your freedom.
The best part? It’s not expensive to get started, they’re only $29.99 a month. And you can also get 50% off your first month — so only $14.98 to start.
Now, let’s dig in…
fancyhands
We all want one thing:
More free time. For what? Mainly, more time to focus on the more important things. Who defines these “important things”? Well, you do. How often do you find yourself handling annoying, random BS tasks that you wish someone else could do. Too often. Right?
If only we could blow away the competition by getting more actual “work” done and not having to deal with these boring, nonsense tasks. Or what if we had someone to help with the little things so we could focus on being creative and producing good work?
There are far too many judgements and preconceptions about what having an assistant really means. But here’s the deal, we’re living a self-directed lifestyle, right?
And if we want to be free and achieve great things we need to focus on what’s important. Outsourcing the minutiae of everyday life is one of them.

Snapshot of My Dashboard

This snapshot of my Fancy Hands dashboard shows you my usage for the last few months. The statistics that blow my mind the most?
451 CALLS that I didn’t have to make, and 4.1 DAYS of time saved. Remarkable.

Fancy Hands - personal stats
A lot of time and money saved.

Examples of Recent Tasks

Fancy Hands will handle just about any type of task for you, within reason. Below are 5 recent tasks I had my assistants perform:

  1. Shipping issue: Call Frank & Oak (an online retailer) and find out why I haven’t received my shirt yet. If it’s still available please have them send it to me, I still want it. If it’s no longer available and they can’t send it to me just get a refund please.
  2. Lost Kindle: I just took this flight (see below for details and seat number) and forgot my Kindle in the seat pouch in front of my seat. Can you please contact the airline and recover it? Contact them locally and specifically ask them to grab it from the plane. I will pay for shipping if needed.
  3. Accommodations: Can you please find me accommodations for the night of June 30th in Rio de Janeiro? Highly rated is the biggest priority. Hostels are fine, but decent reviews with cleanliness as priority. Please reply back with 3 options, and then secure a reservation for the one I choose.
  4. Purchase: Can you please find me an Apple (genuine only) 60W MagSafe 2 Power Adapter? I’m okay with used (this will be a backup). Once you find the best priced one just purchase it and ship to my home address.
  5. Research: I need to find best service that will handle my postal mail. I want this service to receive all my mail, scan it, and forward me any items I specifically request (no packages, just letters & regular mail). I need this service to give me a California mailing address (preferably San Francisco) that looks like an actual address. I need great customer service and a strong track record (FYI: I went with Virtual Post Mail).

If it’s legal, they’ll probably do it. Here’s a huge list of common tasks they can do. What can they not do? Here’s a breakdown of that.

How to Effectively Assign Tasks

This was by far the hardest part for me, and is generally the most difficult piece for most people.
Delegation is a skill that takes time to learn (a very valuable one at that). Always approach your assistant with an “if this then that” framework to your task.
Just remember “IFTTT = If This Then That”. Don’t confuse this with the service. The more you can think of obstacles and “what if’s” ahead of time, the less back and forth you’ll have. Patience and detail are key to your success here.
Note from Arman: Think of it as a game. If you’re able to get your tasks completed with no questions or obstacles, you win. The better you get at this, the better you’ll eventually be at managing a dedicated assistant, and eventually, an entire team.

Fancy Hands Final Review and Notes

Value

Overall, Fancy Hands offers an incredible value. With the smallest plan you receive 5 tasks for $29.99/month. According to Fancy Hands, the average task is something that can be completed in under 20 minutes.
My statistics show that I’ve saved 4.1 days or over 98 hours of time. This means each task is taking approximately 27 minutes. So let’s find out how what this would cost you per hour, based on the entry level plan.
At $29.99/month for 5 tasks, that’s $6 per task. Each task at 27 minutes means you’re paying around $13 per hour of work. This doesn’t even consider the money your assistant can save you through the tasks.
Here’s the key: If you make more than $13 an hour, you’d be making a very wise decision to use a service like Fancy Hands. The more you can free yourself from things that don’t require your personal attention, the more successful and fulfilled you can be.

User Interface/Accessibility

The service is constantly evolving and keeps getting better. To submit a task, you currently have all these options:

  1. Email
  2. Through the website
  3. Fancy Hands mobile app
  4. Record a voice memo through the app
  5. Call them
  6. Text them (SMS)

Very flexible. I love the voice memo feature, because as tasks come to mind I can quickly record and outsource immediately.

Quality of Work

I find that the average assistant wants to go above and beyond your expectations, especially if you’re friendly, clear, and use the IFTTT method above. Fancy Hands assistants are all U.S. based, sharp, and detailed.
I’ve had assistants put together massive amounts of research, build beautiful spreadsheets, and fight for me with customer service departments. I’ve been thoroughly impressed on multiple occasions.
I’ve also had assistants that complete tasks quickly, and don’t always ask the necessary questions to deliver exactly what I asked for. In part, that’s my fault because I wasn’t clear enough.
As I mentioned, it’s important to be as clear as possible, otherwise you’ll get what you ask for.

Consistency

My experience has been pretty consistent. Most assistants do the job as asked, and occasionally one will go far beyond expectations.
There have been two or three occasions where I was disappointed with my assistant. The fix was simple: ask for the task to be reassigned.
After each task is complete you can leave a thumbs up or down, so it’s clear that quality is being monitored.

Responsiveness/Speed

The biggest benefit of a non-dedicated assistant service like Fancy Hands is that you can submit as many tasks as you like at the same time. A single, dedicated assistant can only handle so much.
This means you’ll have multiple assistants working on your tasks, and as you become an experienced delegator your needs may grow. This model is the most scalable and many people opt to stay with Fancy Hands rather than Zirtual for this exact reason.
Most tasks are looked at within an hour or two, some right away. Many are even completed that quickly. Time to completion all depends on the type of task. I’d estimate most are completed within 48 hours.
See my final review and ratings below. Overall, I recommend Fancy Hands to anyone with no reservations.
[review] 


 
Use my link (it’s basically a referral coupon) to try Fancy Hands at 50% off your first month. That works out to only $14.98. It’s an investment in yourself that will leave you instantly feeling less stressed, less busy, and more in control.
Please comment below with any questions and feedback. If you do sign up, please let us know how it goes. Help us all learn from your experiences and share your successes/struggles.