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Do The Laundry, Walk The Dog

Ok, they won't do that, but virtual assistants can help you with administrative tasks.

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This story appears in the July 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Virtual world, virtual reality, virtual offices . . . in today's high-tech environment, it seems everything is going virtual. Even the office assistant: In case you haven't heard, virtual assistants (VAs) are one of the latest must-haves to hit the modern entrepreneurial arsenal.

VAs-that is, independent contractors who handle clients' noncore support needs via e-mail, fax and phone-go far beyond the traditional role of temporary employees or even business support services. In fact, as entrepreneurs themselves, they have vested interests in their clients' success. Typically, they become integral parts of their clients' businesses, handling a wide range of duties like basic administrative support, accounting services, human resource assistance, concierge services, collections, sales and marketing support, research and more. They generally charge by the hour: anywhere from $20 to $45. But on the plus side, you pay only for the time they actually spend working for you, and you don't incur any other employment costs.

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