Entrepreneurs have hectic schedules as they go from meeting to meeting and project to project. You often snicker to yourself when someone responds after you tell them what you do, “You work for yourself. It must be nice.”

While it may sound easy, hanging out your own schedule is hard and full of stressful, long, and exhausting hours. Research shows entrepreneurs log more hours than the average worker—a lot more hours in some instances. A study by the Alternative Board found that 30% of small business owners work 50-plus hours and 20% work 60-plus hours. A whopping 80% say they feel that they work too much. Another study by Penelope reveals comparable numbers, with entrepreneurs logging an average of 52 hours per week, 63 percent longer than the average worker.

One way entrepreneurs manage their busy schedules and bring an imbalance to the work-life equation is engage receptionists. But receptionists aren’t cheap, with the average salary range falling between $31,187 and $38,941 annually. Add another 30% for benefits, sick, and vacation pay, and the cost of a receptionist approaches $50,000.

The rise of live—or virtual—receptionists such as Davinci Live Receptionists provides entrepreneurs with a completely different model. No longer required to hire full-time receptionists, entrepreneurs can engage live receptionists on-demand—only using them when they need them. So, what are some of the ways live receptionists can help entrepreneurs?

1. Incoming Calls

Dealing with nonstop incoming calls can become a huge time synch. It’s hard to determine what calls require a real-time response and which ones can wait. With live receptionists, those calls that you need to answer are forwarded to you, whereas those that aren’t urgent can be forwarded to voice mail or, if you have them, other members on your team. Worried about urgent issues going to voice mail? Make sure your voice mail can get transcribed to your email or text.

2. Scheduling Appointments

Managing a calendar full of appointments can consume valuable time. With live receptionists, entrepreneurs can offload that responsibility so that they can focus on running their business and meeting with customers and partners. Live receptionists can handle meeting requests over the phone, via email, or even in text. And for entrepreneurs with busy travel schedules, live receptionists can manage the logistics related to travel. Multiple time zones and business meetings can become a huge headache to manage, something live receptionists can oversee.

3. Making Outbound Calls and Emails

Not every call requires you to be on the line. The same goes for email. Whether scheduling a meeting, placing a work order, ordering office supplies or food for a business meeting, or making a travel reservation, live receptionists can be an invaluable resource. Suddenly, rather than spending hours on the phone, entrepreneurs are focused on their businesses and customers. 

4. Providing Customer Service and Order Processing

Most customers say they will not call back if they are placed on hold for more than a few minutes or pushed into voice mail. Their expected response time to emails and texts isn’t much longer. And when the initiate a live web chat, seconds count. Rather than hiring expensive full-time or contingent customer service agents, live receptionists who are trained on your business are a cost-effective alternative. The same is true when it comes to order processing. In these scenarios, you have the flexibility to scale their use up or down depending on your business requirements. You only pay for what you use.

5. Helping with Administrative Tasks

Digitization of business records and communications makes it possible for businesses to have virtual receptionists to fulfill various administrative tasks. They can be done online. Staying on top of your business licenses, managing calendaring and email, and faxing documents, among other administrative functions can be handled by live receptionists. 

6. Conducting Business Development Outreach

Just as live receptionists can help entrepreneurs with customer service, they also can help in business development. Prospecting for new business can take time, and hiring dedicated sales professionals is costly. Plus, it takes significant time to train them on your products and/or services. Often, the break-even point on a new sales hire doesn’t occur until six or eight months into their tenure. Live receptionists can serve as the initial business development arm for an entrepreneur. They also can supplement existing business development teams, providing you with the flexibility to scale your business development activities up or down.

7. Improve Your Productivity

When the time an entrepreneur spends managing their email, calendar, voice mail, administrative work, and much more is added up, the tally can be huge. At the same time, the constant interruptions these things cause can sap your productivity very quickly. Research shows it takes upwards of 20 minutes to get back on track after being interrupted. This tallies to 6 hours of wasted time each week. Virtual assistants help entrepreneurs to ensure they remain focused on the business rather than recalibrating to get back into the swing of things after fielding an ad hoc incoming call or email.

To discover other ways that live receptionists can benefit your business, check out the Davinci Virtual report, “Davinci Live Virtual Receptionists: Connecting with Your Prospects and Customers.”