Small-business owners often wonder how they can work so hard all day and accomplish so little. Much of the problem is an inability to multitask. If you are doing important work in your office but are interrupted by an equally important call or question from an employee, for example, you’re forced to divert your attention away from the original project. In this way, your focus is strained and nothing receives the attention it deserves. A personal assistant can handle these types of intrusions so you can continue to focus on what's most important.

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While home-based businesses are starting to become more and more acceptable, with several major enterprises, such as Amazon, having started out as home-based businesses. As such, having the physical address that comes with a virtual office will add legitimacy to your business since your clients will be privy to a location that isn’t simply someone’s home.
Depending on where you live, one of the first places to start is the US Small Business Administration, the Government website for Industry Canada or whatever small business agency your country has to provide resources. It is important to understand the specific business regulations and legalities to becoming a business owner in your own country. The International Virtual Assistant Association is another online resource for virtual assistants. The following qualities are important if you want to become a virtual assistant.

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A virtual assistant is either self-employed or an employee working offsite in a home office. Virtual assistants are considered independent contractors instead of employees for a company. Due to this status, the client does not take any taxes out of the pay compensated to the VA. Such assistants are responsible for paying in their own quarterly tax payments, as well as obtaining their own independent contractor’s insurance and medical benefits. Virtual Assistants can work independently or as an employee of a multi-VA firm. VA clients can include small businesses, corporate offices, medical practices and entrepreneurs. According to statistics, it is estimated that there are approximately 25,000 virtual assistants worldwide and that number is growing daily. (Source: Wikipedia)

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These are just the basic versions of intelligent chatbots. There are many more intelligent chatbots out there which provide a much more smarter approach to responding to queries. Since the process of making a intelligent chatbot is not a big task, most of us can achieve it with the most basic technical knowledge. Many of which will be very extremely helpful in the service industry and also help provide a better customer experience.
You might decide to hire a PA on your timezone, who can work (virtually) alongside you each day. But, thanks to modern technology, you could also hire a PA on a completely different timezone which means that while you sleep, work gets completed. This gives you the space to set tasks throughout the day as you think of them, then wake up to a completed to-do list. For entrepreneurs who aren’t able to forward-plan tasks, this gives you the time and space to allocate responsibilities and make the most of your virtual PA.

Think about your to-do list. There’s likely tasks piling up. Only those that rise to the top because they can no longer be delayed get done. Often times, this delay causes something that might have been inexpensive to increase in cost. For example, putting off scheduling the furnace cleaning may lead to needing to have the furnace replaced. It’s also pretty likely that you’re not going to ask for help with these seemingly “small” tasks. You don’t want to bother people, or maybe you’re not sure who to ask. Lucky for you, that’s where a personal assistant comes in.


Another way a PA who’s also a daily money manager (DMM) helps you is by taking over the often time consuming tasks related to managing your budget and paying bills. These are highly necessary, but often wind up being put off. The power company doesn’t care how busy you are, they just want to be paid on time. Delegating your daily money management tasks to a DMM keeps everyone happy.

Fortunately, the next advancement in chatbot technology that can solve this problem is gaining steam — AI-powered chatbots. By leveraging machine learning and natural language processing, AI-powered chatbots can understand the intent behind your customers’ requests, account for each customer’s entire conversation history when it interacts with them, and respond to their questions in a natural, human way.
Right Click is a startup that introduced an A.I.-powered chatbot that creates websites. It asks general questions during the conversation like “What industry you belong to?” and “Why do you want to make a website?” and creates customized templates as per the given answers. Hira Saeed tried to divert it from its job by asking it about love, but what a smart player it is! By replying to each of her queries, it tried to bring her back to the actual job of website creation. The process was short but keeps you hooked.
“Burnout” is a phrase that’s thrown around so often it’s lost some of its impact. Yet any entrepreneur or CEO who’s experienced burnout knows just how debilitating it can be. So how do you avoid it? Many will agree that the first step is delegation. Ensuring there are other hands to pick up tasks that you just don’t have enough hours to do. When you begin delegating to a virtual assistant it’s like paying money into a bank of time and energy. That you can easily reclaim, ensuring your account doesn’t run on empty.
In all fairness, despite its glorious perks, being a personal assistant is not for everybody. You often need to sacrifice your own hopes and dreams for the sake of the person you work for, but making that sacrifice might just be the one thing that helps you reach something you never even dreamed of achieving. Just think about Pepper Potts in Iron Man: she started off as an assistant but ended up being in charge of the entire Stark Industries.
Virtual work or telecommuting requires self-discipline, motivation and a tremendous amount of focus. Individuals who do their best work independently are often the happiest with telecommuting than workers who need to have regular contact with others. The managers who supervise telecommuters bear a large responsibility as well. Managing employees remotely can be very challenging, and it is ultimately the manager's responsibility for determining which of their employees demonstrate the necessary skills and traits for performing successfully in a remote location.
Similarly to helping keep track of your to do list, a personal assistant is also a second pair of eyes. Whether it’s checking that your calendar is well-organised and you haven’t double booked, or thinking ahead about booking travel transfers, it’s the type of forward-thinking that will prevent problems before they’ve happened. When you’re trying to keep multiple balls up in the air this is how you place a safety net underneath, helping to catch any that might drop.
Virtual work benefits the environment because fewer people are traveling in cars, buses and trains, which lowers the amount of vehicle emissions and decreases fuel usage. In 2007, CNET News published an article touting the benefits of telecommuting with statistics pertaining to congestion and traffic in Texas. Commuters face significant increases in traffic congestion in all 437 metropolitan areas in the United States. Adding up all the associated costs, the Texas Transportation Institute in early 2000 concluded that gridlock cost $78 billion annually in terms of 4.2 billion lost hours, not to mention 2.9 billion gallons of wasted fuel. That's one convincing argument for telecommuting, especially in an area such as Houston where environmental pollutants are a serious concern.
Similarly to helping keep track of your to do list, a personal assistant is also a second pair of eyes. Whether it’s checking that your calendar is well-organised and you haven’t double booked, or thinking ahead about booking travel transfers, it’s the type of forward-thinking that will prevent problems before they’ve happened. When you’re trying to keep multiple balls up in the air this is how you place a safety net underneath, helping to catch any that might drop.
Small-business owners often wonder how they can work so hard all day and accomplish so little. Much of the problem is an inability to multitask. If you are doing important work in your office but are interrupted by an equally important call or question from an employee, for example, you’re forced to divert your attention away from the original project. In this way, your focus is strained and nothing receives the attention it deserves. A personal assistant can handle these types of intrusions so you can continue to focus on what's most important.
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.

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