They have degrees in everything from fashion design to visual merchandising. Some are moms, and others are dog moms. Some are veterans. One overcame Lyme Disease to build her own business. Another is renovating an airport shuttle into a tiny home. In honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating the handy women of TaskRabbit who hammer through expectations and glass ceilings every day. See how they got started, their advice for other women looking to roll up their sleeves, and what projects they’re currently tackling.
To find out more about these amazing women, check out our latest report, “Owning It.”
How I became handy: My mother was an immigrant single parent and growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money or help to fix things. So, my brother and I fixed anything that broke. My first “fix” was in 3rd grade when my mom’s sewing machine broke and she told me not to touch it … 10 minutes later it was fixed.
Advice for other women looking to boost their handy skills: Research, research, research. Show your knowledge. Be confident. Be prepared. Sometimes you might get stuck; something might be too heavy or too large. It’s okay to ask for assistance, I do it all the time and people respect that. Know your limits. There is always an easier, quicker way to get things done and female handy-ladies are naturals at that. Lastly, invest in a step ladder (trust me).
Latest projects: I’m more of a mechanic, so I work more on my truck vs. my home. Recently, I installed 3″ exhaust for a little more rumble, tinted windows, 2″ lift kit, sidesteps, remote start, bed cover and coated my trim in black bed liner for the sparkle.
How I became handy: I got the handy bug from my mother; as a single parent she had to know how to do a lot of things around the house since she was the only one taking care of my siblings and me. She made sure to teach me how to use tools so that I’d always know how to do the job for myself if the need arose. I took what she taught me and just expanded on it over the years, getting better at and more comfortable with working with my hands.
Advice for other women looking to boost their handy skills: Measure twice and cut once. Yes it takes a little extra time, but when I finally do drill I know that the holes I make will only be the ones needed to complete the task.
You don’t need a full tool bag to start! Start with the basics — a few screwdrivers, a stud finder, level, hammer, rubber mallet, and a measuring tape. Over time you’ll start to get a feel for what tools you use on a regular basis instead of just going out and purchasing a lot of random ones that may not be necessary.
Latest projects: Painting a piece of furniture I purchased from Craigslist.
How I became handy: When I was a kid, we owned an antique shop and did a lot of furniture refinishing. My mother always let me be creative and do whatever I wanted with the old furniture. When I got a little older I worked in a lighting and home decor store and picked up being able to install lights and fans. That’s also where I got the inspiration to paint architectural pieces and faux finishes in people’s homes. Since then and the creation of YouTube, I’ve tackled countless DIY refinishing projects.
Advice for other women looking to boost their handy skills: You CAN do it. Tackle some smaller projects in your own home until you get comfortable with the tools and gain confidence in your techniques. A lot of skills can translate into other tasks. I use skills and techniques I learned sculpting to patch drywall and I used those skills to patch a concrete porch and do bodywork on a bus. Mostly, I’m just not afraid to do most things but I’m never afraid to admit it’s also over my head. Know your limits and don’t be scared, you got this.
Latest projects: My partner and I bought an airport shuttle bus and we are turning it into a tiny home so we can travel while we work on TaskRabbit. I did all the body work on the bus, and next I’m going to learn how to trace the electrical system and set up solar power.
How I became handy: I first learned my handyperson skills by helping my grandfather on projects when I was a little girl. Making all manners of things — from fine art to clothing and crafts has been a lifelong passion. I also have worked for ten years in the event and outdoor festival decoration business. This has really helped me learn how to solve less-than-usual problems on large-scale constructions while working in the elements and under pressure. Most importantly, I have DIY’d many of my own home projects and assembled all of my own furniture. It’s allowed me a space in which I could make mistakes and discover what works and what doesn’t.
Advice for other women looking to boost their handy skills: Read ALL the directions. A lot of this work is about being able to correctly decipher directions and diagrams. Most things come with directions of some sort, these directions should be used. The other advice I would have is to DIY … Mount your own TV, hang up your art, help a friend assemble their furniture. Hands-on experience is great at building confidence.
Latest projects: I cut, stained, and installed a new bedroom door, hung curtains, and mounted large shelves on some pre-war walls.
How I became handy: I started skateboarding and riding bikes when I was pretty young, so I was always getting my hands dirty working on those. My dad was always tinkering with something and could scrape together a solution for anything using only the scrap pieces and random parts he had on hand. It didn’t always look pretty, but it did its job. I think I was able to inherit a bit of that handy ingenuity from him.
Advice for other women looking to boost their handy skills: Don’t be intimidated that handyman tasks are considered more “masculine.” Even if you are a smaller person, it’s more about brains than brawn, so just be diligent and detail oriented and you’ll do great.
Latest projects: I helped a woman move everything out of her house into a U-Haul. That included a log cabin-style doghouse that weighed at least 300 lbs, if not more.