Meet your new assistant
By Reed Tucker

(FORTUNE Magazine) – You don't have to be a big shot these days to have a personal assistant. All you need is $50 and a burning desire to make someone call you "boss" and learn how you like your shirts starched.

The newest wrinkle in rent-an-assistant services comes from Thirsty Muse, a Canadian firm that is branching out into the U.S. Unlike other such services, Thirsty Muse sells blocks of time called "delegation units." Each sells for $10--at least five must be bought--and is good for one phone-call-oriented task, such as help making travel arrangements. (Full-blown errands, such as taking a car to be repaired, can eat up as much as six units.) In Canada, companies such as KPMG and Telus have bought units to distribute as perks to employees or in lieu of hiring a staff assistant. President Jay Rawn, 33, hopes American corporations will soon be doing the same.

Not all the requests are mundane. Hillary Keegan, a Muse assistant, says she gets plenty of unusual demands. The strangest: One woman wanted Keegan to break in a pair of vintage (but never used) stockings. "It sounds crazy," she says, "but we have fun doing this stuff." Not as much fun as you'll have asking. -- Reed Tucker