Samantha Kozuch – From Startup to Out of Business in 36 Hours

Samantha Kozuch is an ex-fitness influencer who pivoted her brand after many started asking her for help on how they too could grow and monetize their following. In 2019, she took a huge financial risk by shutting down her 6-figure video production company while also breaking thousands of dollars worth of influencer contracts with infamous brands to go all-in on launching her business courses teaching both influencers and entrepreneurs the importance of building a list outside social media and how to build a personal brand, grow an engaged following, pitch to land paid partnerships and methods to monetize social media platforms by selling products and services; and by taking the risk of going “all-in” allowed her to 10x her income!

She’s passionate about helping influencers and entrepreneurs ‘think beyond their follower numbers' and monetize their social media accounts using her Social Media Funnel Blueprint. She teaches using “soul and goal” strategies which incorporate daily rituals like her Maniscripting Method paired with business strategies to help her students build their brand, create content and increase their bank account all while in alignment!

She’s also the co-founder of the Transformational Leadership Program (TLP), a unique personal and business development program for entrepreneurs consisting of a 6 month mastermind, the 3 Day “Launch Your Business In A Weekend” Workshops & Live Events with her business partner Lauren Schwab.

Connect with Michael:

[00:00:00] Michael King: Hey everybody, welcome back to In the Trenches with Michael King where we talk with business owners, leaders, and executives about the lessons they've learned while fighting in the trenches of the business battlefield. I am Michael King.

[00:00:21] This week's episode is an absolute must listen to for really any early stage entrepreneur or anybody that's thinking about starting a business or building a personal brand. You've got to hear this. Today I'm talking with my friend Samantha Kozuch. Samantha spent eight years building a following on her YouTube channel where she put out original

[00:00:42] fitness videos and workout videos and things like that. This was just free videos that she was putting out to serve her audience. And after building a tremendous following over the course of seven or eight years, she decided to monetize that effort and she hired a developer and invested thousands of dollars and hundreds and hundreds of hours in building an app.

[00:01:04] And within 36 hours of the apps lunch, she received a cease and desist letter. Basically, there was somebody out there that had a very similar name, trademarked, similar kind of product, service industry. And, the lawyers sent her a cease and desist letter. So today, Samantha is going to talk to us about the importance of trademarking and how this.

[00:01:28] paralyzing experience led to an important pivot, in some important lessons learned. And, she's going to tell us how she's thriving today despite what was a horrible experience a few years ago. So, without further ado, here is my interview with Samantha kozuch. Samantha, how's it going?

[00:01:50] Samantha Kozuch:  I'm doing so great. How are you?

[00:01:51] Michael King:  I'm awesome. You were telling me that not that long ago, you weren't doing so great. You had built your own little empire and that empire was crushing it until you got a cease and desist letter one day. So pause there. Let's go back in time a little bit before that. How did you get to the point that there was something that needed to be ceased and desisted?

[00:02:16] Samantha Kozuch: So, I started my entire personal brand, I would say on Instagram, and when I got started. It was just a new platform, like nobody really used it and no professional way. There were no influencers or anything like that. I literally was just using it to share my modeling and fitness experiences and posting, you know, fitness pictures and workouts and all the things, and slowly I grew traction with that, of people coming to me and asking me, Sam, how do you stay fit?

[00:02:42] How do you book these modeling jobs? How do you do this? How do you do that? And I started to just post content related to that, and then as I was growing this community, I saw what else was happening in the news story with YouTube and everything, and Instagram still hadn't blown up in the influencer space yet.

[00:03:00] So I decided, okay, I'm going to start a YouTube channel and start posting my workouts there so I can share it with other women to teach them how to work out. I started creating workout guides and all of that, and when I got on YouTube. It was a time when everyone still had usernames. So this is coming back, you know, from like my space and AOL and all that.

[00:03:18] So, you hide your usernames. So instead of using my real name, I want it to brand myself as the daily fit girl because I love to work out every single day. I was a fit girl and you know, all of that. So that's the username that I created. How long ago was that? Gosh, this was probably like eight, nine years ago.

[00:03:36] Michael King: Yeah. A lot of times when I talk to people like, Oh, it was so long ago, and I said, how long ago was it? 2017 I was like, okay. It wasn't that long ago, but eight or nine years ago. Pushing a decade.

[00:03:45] Samantha Kozuch:  Yeah, that's it. Yeah. So I was, you know, in college and kind of doing it that route, and things started growing like my YouTube channel started growing, known as the Daily Fit Girl.

[00:03:56] Everything was branded, all my training guides, everything was branded that way. Everything was great. The blog was great.

[00:04:01] Michael King: Were you making money off of that?

[00:04:02] Samantha Kozuch: I was making a little bit of money. I didn't at that point know yet really how to monetize it, but I was, you know, if a girl wanted to buy a training guide and sell it to her for like 50 bucks or something like that, it wasn't my priority because I was still just focusing on, you know, my modeling and fitness stuff like shoots and all that and like the real life world.

[00:04:22] Michael King: This wasn't even really a side hustle. This was just like something fun to do.

[00:04:25] Samantha Kozuch: Yeah. Yeah. I loved filming workouts, doing the workouts and being in that creative space of editing videos and all of that. And from that, I grew a video production company later on. But as I grew this brand, I started when I moved to LA about five years ago, I started taking it a little bit more seriously cause now I'm in LA.

[00:04:43] Okay. I can actually turn this into a hustle, fitness influencers where now the thing, I learned kind of the pathway to be able to monetize my programs and training guides. So I was approached by a company to create an app, a fitness app, and I was like, oh, this is perfect. Like, yeah, I totally want to go into that space.

[00:05:03] This is a better way for people to get, you know, workouts and videos and all of that. So I ended up building this awesome fitness app with all my training guides and videos all in there. And then I ramped up to launch the app, which is super, super exciting.

When was this now? So this was four years ago.

[00:05:22] Michael King: Okay. So, you really treated this as a hobby for multiple, multiple years and just built an organic following dumpster. You weren't doing paid ads or anything like that. These are people that are finding you through Google searches, and so four years in, you say, okay, I'm going to turn this. You're approached about the app and you say, okay, I can make this an actual thing.

[00:05:42] Right. So you're in Los Angeles, the epicenter of pretty people.

[00:05:45] Samantha Kozuch: Yes.

[00:05:45] Michael King: You're like, this is the perfect time. Yeah. I have a following, the perfect place. I have the perfect experience and branding. So you decided to do it.

[00:05:54] Samantha Kozuch: So we built out the app, which takes a little over six months, maybe eight months total, where I've shot all the content, edited it all.

[00:06:03]Given it to my developers. We've built out the app, all the tech like back and forth. This is like thousands and thousands of hours of work putting into this app to launch it

[00:06:12] Michael King: Thousands of hours. What about from a financial perspective?

[00:06:18] Samantha Kozuch: It was, well, because I did a lot of it myself cause I knew how to film the videos. I created a studio in my home and it all by myself. That took a lot of financial pressure off, but to invest in the app itself was about $5,000 and then probably a little bit more after that, probably a couple thousand here, a couple thousand there just for like minor additions and things like that.

[00:06:39] Michael King: So for the six month period, were you also doing other work or were you solely focused on this?

[00:06:44] Samantha Kozuch: Oh, I was definitely doing other work because this wasn't making me money. I was spending lots of money, so I was definitely, you know, still focusing on, you know, modeling and stuff, doing other, outside things, growing my brand.

[00:06:55] So we finally get to the day where we launch. We did a huge campaign for it. Almost a thousand downloads within the first couple hours of launching this app. And it was just so exciting cause I had a free trial with it. And the feedback I was getting was incredible. And then about 36 hours after the launch and the iTunes store, I get an email.

[00:07:21] And it was the cease and desist letter. And the only reason I got the email is because they found my email on my website, and my actual LLC is actually located in Arizona. So I didn't get the letter at the time, but this. The branding is infringing on a trademark with the Daily Fit Girl, and it was the most devastating moment of my life.

[00:07:45] Just opening up that letter. No one wants to get a letter from another law firm or attorney and I just fell apart at that moment, reading that letter.

[00:07:55] Michael King:Tell me about that.

[00:07:57] Samantha Kozuch: Well, they had obviously been watching what I was doing for, I don't know how many years or months, but the timing of it, like they knew that I was going to launch this app and they were just waiting and sitting and waiting until I had done something that I could prove made me money, to come after me.

[00:08:12] So it was like a, you know, it's like a backhand slap in the face, but also like confirmation that I was onto something because if they didn't think I was a threat, I don't think they would have come after me like they did, but it was just awful because I was so excited about launching this.

[00:08:27] And now literally within, you know, two days, I now had to think about, okay, now I have to find a lawyer, an attorney, figure this out. What do I do? I've never received one of these letters before. I had no idea as an entrepreneur what I had to do and what my next steps were. So it was a really emotional, scary time.

[00:08:46] A lot of tears, stress when one of the times in my life where I should be the most excited about launching this amazing product that I put my heart and soul into that was possibly about to be taken away from me.

[00:08:58] Michael King: What did you do next? Once you wiped the tears off, right. And probably had some ice cream.

[00:09:04] Feels like a thing that I would do if I got that upset. you called an attorney?

[00:09:08] Samantha Kozuch: Yeah. So I did, I reached out to a few people and I reached out first to my app development company because I was honestly kind of. Not, it wasn't their fault, but I was kind of annoyed that going into this project, you know, that they kind of didn't do the research either of other, you know, brands or companies or apps out in the fields as well, with similar names or anything like that.

[00:09:30] So I reached out to them asking them what we should do. And they said, you know, get a lawyer. So I then reached out to a few people they knew were not helpful. I'm sorry, reached out to a few people, got some recommendations. I finally got one from a friend of mine, and I immediately called them, told them my situation, and we immediately set up a meeting to figure out what my position was in this.

[00:09:52] So moved forward with that. And lawyers then drafted up. They said, you know, you are infringing. So Fit Girl was the trademark part of the name that I was infringing on. However, it was one of those things where, yes, I could go take them to court and go after them and, or not after them, but like fight it.

[00:10:11] Right. but they, you know, they're a bigger Vic. I think it was like Fit Girl. Anyway, it was a company with, for, I'm not going to say the actual full company name. You guys could probably figure it out, but, they're a bigger company. And for me to go try and fight. This was going to cost a lot of money.

[00:10:26] So I think I spent overall probably almost like $10,000 in lawyer and attorney fees in order to try and go after my name to keep it. But at the end of the day, they were just like, Sam, you can take this to court and try and fight it. But. You're going to spend 50 to $100,000 just to try and keep the Daily Fit Girl name, and is that worth it?

[00:10:45] And it was at that point where I decided to, after this was months, I decided to just let go of the app because at this point it was just such a negative feeling and association with the app, that I decided to just let it go. I let it run for a few months and I think you can still download it actually now, but I had to do a complete rebrand and rebrand everything to my personal name.

[00:11:08] Michael King: So eight years building this thing from a hobby to your full time thing. Well, to hoping to make it your full time. Fiveish thousand for the app. Yeah. 10 plus thousand dollars for attorneys. So your thousands of hours, eight years into it, 15 grand. Only to come to a crossroad.

[00:11:32] You say you either have to abandon all of that or spend another maybe upwards of a hundred thousands of dollars. To fight a battle, which we don't even think you can win.

[00:11:43] Samantha Kozuch: Right? Yeah.

[00:11:45] Michael King: And you chose to walk away.

[00:11:47] Samantha Kozuch: I chose to walk away.

[00:11:49] Michael King: Talk to me about how, what did that feel like? How did you make that decision and what did that feel like?

[00:11:54] Samantha Kozuch: Oh, it was so I was, I was paralyzed honestly. And that decision, just to put it into perspective. My friends and people that I knew would literally just call me the Daily Fit Girl. I wasn't even Sam, like I was the Daily Fit Girl. Like that was my personality on social. That was me. Like that was my identity.

[00:12:12] It was literally like if someone had come and said, Hey, you can't use your real name anymore. Like that's what it felt like. And it was such a big part of me. Like I had started this from like, you know, college and grew in and everything. So at the time in that moment. It was awful. It was, I just felt like something was taken away from me and I was mad.

[00:12:34] I was angry. I was frustrated. I felt just kind of a little bit stupid too, for like, gosh, why didn't I even trademark this? Like I didn't even think that far ahead. I was so new to entrepreneurship and the fact that when I did look up the trademark. For like the Fit Girl name. It was literally like eight months prior that they found that trademark.

[00:12:55] So I'm like, wow, if I had just done that when I started or when I was even thinking about releasing an app, I would have had the name and it would have been fine. So it's just that kind of pissed me off to where I'm like, damn it. Like it was just the little things that you just learn as an entrepreneur.

[00:13:10] So it probably took me a good three, four or five months to get over it. Like I really was in that space of just like, Oh, this sucks. Like what am I going to do? And everyone's just like, Sam, just go to your name. Like, just put everything in your name. And I'm like, but people don't know me by my name.

[00:13:25] You know? It was that starting over phase. But hindsight. Well, looking back, it was definitely probably one of the best things that had ever happened to me. That's the learning experiences as an entrepreneur and just moving everything to my name and growing my brand from my personal, my name is. The best thing that's happened.

[00:13:47] So why? Because no one can take away your name. I mean, it is your name. I have learned recently that you still do have to trademark your name just in case. Like if there's another Samantha Kozuch and I know that there is, cause I've seen them on Instagram. But hold on. Yes.

[00:14:06] Michael King: In case there's another Samantha.

[00:14:13] Samantha Kozuch: There is actually, which I just learned recently and the mastermind that we're in from Andrea Seeger, she's like, yeah, you have to trademark my name because if anyone does have your name and does the same thing as you, like business coaching or fitness or whatever, like if they trademark, their’s, you can't use yours for that business.

[00:14:30] And I just was mind blown because I was told by even lawyers years ago where it's like if you use your own brand, your name, like no one can take that away from you, that's your legal name. You're allowed to use it. So now it's even coming down to like trademarking your name, especially if you have a very popular name.

[00:14:45] I'm in the space. So it's just been such a whirlwind of learning and, I think now just building my personal brand off, my name. It just provides a better platform. Like that's what I want to be known for.

[00:14:57] Michael King: I was imagining you and he said that everybody, like people even called you that in person. I'm imagining that you're at a restaurant, you know, waiting to be seated in there, like the daily fit girl table for the daily fit girl.

[00:15:09] And you're like, Oh, that's us scurrying to your seat and now you're stuck with Samantha.

[00:15:15] Samantha Kozuch: So, yeah, it's just been, it was a roller coaster back then, but now it's one of the best learning lessons that happened to me because now as a business coach, I can use that experience to teach my students and show them exactly like, Hey, like trademark, figure it out.

[00:15:32] Like don't create programs, guides, brands, anything that if you go into that, trademark search and if it's taken, don't even touch it with a 10 foot pole unless you're going to try and fight it or trademark it yourself.

[00:15:43] Michael King: Yeah. I just went because of your story and because of Andrea's advice, for my new company, which is under my own name for my personal brand, I was like, are you shitting me?

[00:15:55] I've got to go trademark Michael King. And there are, I promise you way more Michael King’s. I won't brag that there's a lot of us. We're kind of a big deal in the world. but yeah, so I went through and paid to have my name trademark for those same reasons. I heard your story. And then the course that I'm getting ready to release.

[00:16:15] It's the same thing. And you know, to your pockets, it's kind of expensive, but it's way less expensive than that. You know, time, capital of years and years and years, almost a decade. And then the, you know, 10 to $15,000 that it costs you just to talk to lawyers about the decision if you wanted to. So it's way less than that.

[00:16:38]an order of magnitude less so. Yeah. Business is expensive.

[00:16:42] Samantha Kozuch: It is expensive. Yeah. When done right. It's not as expensive

[00:16:47] Michael King: as the alternative. Yeah. So you abandoned the daily Fit Girl and then you moved into your own brand. Did the product change at all? Or just the branding?

[00:16:58] Samantha Kozuch: The product didn't change. I just, yeah, I kept doing what I was doing and my following state like, and I think at that time of even that happening, it started even getting popular to start even using your name.

[00:17:12] So people were getting away from the usernames, like on, even on YouTube and Instagram, like now is coming into that new wave of people really building their personal brand on their names. So, in my case. It was totally fine. It worked out. And you know, Instagram makes it really easy to even just change your handle.

[00:17:30] YouTube not so much. Like I still have, and I can't change it until I get to a certain amount of subscribers. So that's still there. But with the negotiations back and forth with my attorneys and the other side, that was the one thing that we had left it at. Like, look, the branding's completely changed.

[00:17:48] There is no infringement happening. We just cannot change that URL and we are not shutting down that channel. So, eventually that will change to Samantha Kozuch.

[00:17:57] Michael King: What are the details on how long, how long do you have to wait or what? How many subscribers do you have to have to change it?

[00:18:02] Samantha Kozuch: I believe it's 10,000 subscribers, so I'm just shy of that right now.

[00:18:07] Michael King: Once you have 10,000 then you're allowed to change the URL. Yes. Okay, so what do you do now. Is it you don't do fitness videos now?

[00:18:15] Samantha Kozuch: No, I don't actually. So I grew my entire, you know, fitness, personal brands, got into the info I was an influencer before the word influencer was ever even coined.

[00:18:25] So as I grew my personal brand, I was landing collaborations, doing fitness commercials, all everything related to fitness. And when I started getting a lot bigger in that space, I started having a lot of my audience come to me asking me, Sam, how did you land a sponsorship with so-and-so? How do I get paid to post?

[00:18:45] How do I grow my engagement? How do I become a fitness influencer or just an influencer in general?

[00:18:51] Michael King: I want to commend you for how quickly your audience learned your name Samantha. They didn't come in and say, The Daily Fit Girl, how do you do this? They got your name is Sam Kozuch.

[00:18:58] Samantha Kozuch: I shouldn't do a poll and see if anyone from my Daily Fit Girl days still follows me or still engages or if they remember that time.

[00:19:07] Michael King: if it wasn't that long ago,

[00:19:08] Samantha Kozuch: it wasn't that long ago, but it still feels like another lifetime.

[00:19:10] Michael King: Okay, so please, everybody's asking you like, how did you do this?

[00:19:14] Samantha Kozuch: So I'm getting all these questions. And for me, I have always created products, services, anything that helps my audience from what they ask me. So when they're asking me, you know, Sam, how do you get fit in summer? I would create a training guide for that and give it to them.

[00:19:29] Or, you know, if I was getting certain questions a lot, I would create programs around answering those questions in order to serve my audience. So in this aisle, I started getting these questions and I'm like, Oh my gosh, I'm getting more questions now about social media and being an influencer and building a brand and getting paid.

[00:19:45] More than people asking you about fitness and health. So I'm like, okay. My entrepreneurial mindset is I feel like I'm answering the same questions over and over and over again to these people cause I do. I communicate a lot with my audience back and forth, especially in the DMS to grow the relationships.

[00:20:01] I was like, you know what? I need to start taking note of the questions I'm getting asked. And I started making a whole list. I just used the notes section on my phone and I'm like, you know what? I keep answering these questions. I need to create some sort of program or course around this, and I'm, you know, not a business coach.

[00:20:18] I've just, you know, built my own business and gone through a lot of trials and errors through it. So I started pulling my audience, especially on Instagram, asking them. Hey, would you guys like help and figuring out or learning how to become an influencer or how to grow your Instagram or how to get paid to post and all the things, and the numbers were staggering on those polls.

[00:20:38] Like I was getting like 90% yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. We want this information so I decided to take all those questions, to print them all out into different modules of it, like a course, answer them, create videos, and I created paste to influence, which is a social media course for influencers or people who want to become an influencer.

[00:20:57] Teaching on the step by step process on how to. Grow their social media, how to position themselves as an influencer, how to pitch themselves to brands, to land collaborations, sponsorships get paid to post, how to create media kits and just really literally teaching them exactly what I do on my day to day basis behind the scenes, in order to land different contracts and everything.

[00:21:16] And I put that course out and it went off like with a huge hit. And so I kind of released that course. And then from there what had happened was other people that were watching what I was doing that weren't influencers or had no really interested in being an influencer, so to speak, but they wanted to grow their personal brand or sell their products or services.

[00:21:36] They started coming to me, be like, Sam, well, I'm not an influencer, but how can you do, like, how can you help me like sell this or whatever. So I basically kind of almost took that same course but tailored it a little bit differently to help entrepreneurs or business owners how to use social media to sell their products and services.

[00:21:53] So I created a second course, which is called pace to engage because basically with that one, it's just teaching you how to grow and scale your social media, how to be authentic with the audience, how to cultivate those relationships so then you can sell to them. And then there's also strategies and stuff on teaching people how to sell, how to

[00:22:08] grow their communities and just how to grow their income doing that. So over the past, so this was pretty much two years ago, so over a year I released two courses and I was loving it, and at the same time I was kind of losing my passion for being a fitness coach and trainer online and creating these guides and these videos and all that, it's very, very time consuming.

[00:22:31] Like just imagine having to go to the gym, film these different workouts, then edit them, then come home, then post these pictures, post the videos, all the things. It was very time consuming and I was also traveling a lot as well, so it was a whole situation where I was just feeling very burnt out in that space of the creation process, burnt out with fitness.

[00:22:51] I'm almost to a point where I'm not even taking care of myself anymore cause I'm helping so many people that I just, you know, I let go of it for myself. So when I got into the space of teaching and coaching. It lit me on fire. I was like, oh my gosh. And hearing my students come back and be like, Sam, you helped me.

[00:23:06] Made like 500 bucks this past month. Like I landed the collaboration. I followed your steps. This is amazing. Thank you so much. When I was hearing that I was making an impact, still helping people, but in a way to help them financially. That was life changing for me. So. I started to pivot my brand from fitness into business coaching, which was a very tough pivot.

[00:23:27] It was harder to do that, but why? Because I grew my entire following in the fitness space of me posting pictures and sports bras and leggings and working out and doing all that stuff. So when I started posting more business related content, social media strategies, all that for like the first six or eight months.

[00:23:46] Man, my engagement just plummeted like the likes nine down. The comments went down, everything went down, and I'm just sitting here like, Oh my God, am I doing the right thing? Like should I just turn back around like what's happening? But behind the scenes, my bank account was going up. Because people were buying my courses more so than ever with the training guides.

[00:24:07] So I was like, you know what? Screw it. Like, I know everyone can see me, like they probably people that are watching, you know, thinking I'm like failing because I'm not getting likes or engagement anymore, but I'm just gonna stick it through. and I'm so grateful and glad that I did because just pushing through the pivot of going from fitness to business for a good, like eight months.

[00:24:26] Now at this point, like this is like now, six months after that, the engagement that I'm getting on my posts are incredible. It's like way back up again. So I just had to take that time to cultivate my new audience and just push through that time of just feeling like I was making the wrong decision with pivoting.

[00:24:46] Michael King: So when you transition from the old brand. To the new brand and then from the new brand with the fitness influenced to the focus on business. What were the key mistakes that you made in those, let's just say in the pivot from the fitness personal brand to the business personal brand. What did you assume about that market or the teaching you had to do there that turned out to be wrong?

[00:25:16] Samantha Kozuch: You know, I can't even, I don't, I'm not even sure any mistakes that I made. I think if anything, I was, at this point, I had learned a lot just about social media in general and just learning from others in this space. And. I don't, I don't know if I made any mistakes, but I was very honest about the direction that I was heading.

[00:25:36] And I think that's the biggest thing that if you are going through a pivot in business, especially publicly through social media, don't tiptoe around it with your audience. Be straight up. Like I went on with my life. I put up posts like, Hey guys, I know you guys love my fitness content and everything. But yeah.

[00:25:52] I am helping, you know, I'm transitioning into this and if you want to keep on following me, awesome. If you don't, I totally get it. I understand if this content no longer interests you. So I was just more so very clear on doing this pivot and just kind of not turning back, even though behind the scenes I was kind of freaking out.

[00:26:10] And of course I even told my students, don't worry about the engagement. Like, stop looking at the likes topically. Can't the comments when I'm over here like, Oh my God, no one's like you. No one's commenting. but I think. By doing that transition. It just made it seamless. And I think I just learned from just like everything in my past history of being an entrepreneur about certain mistakes, though I don't even know if I have any mistakes to share on that.

[00:26:34]it was just sticking to the plan and not, I think if I, my mistake would have been if I decided that engagement would have. You know, if I listened to my engagement and I turned back to fitness, that would have been my mistake, but I just kept going with it.

[00:26:51] Michael King: What's the biggest problem you have to solve in 2020

[00:26:55] Samantha Kozuch: So my goal for this year, I am going through a complete rebrand with my name.

[00:27:03] So none like changing my name or anything like that, but just, I'm doing a complete refresh from my website, my courses, updating a lot of things. So my biggest goal now is just to do that. And then also get my name more out there. I think I've been hiding, not hiding, but I've just been sticking to Instagram and showing up on likes and all the things, but I'm really excited.

[00:27:25] One of my goals this year is just to speak on more stages and have more impact in the community. As much as I love being on social media, as connected as that makes all of us, I think there so disconnected. In this day and age. So I want to cultivate more in person experiences, whether it's at workshops or speaking at live events and meeting people in real life and just like creating those in-person communities.

[00:27:50]So with that, that is why I have created with one of my business partners, Lauren, we've created a mastermind for women. That's a 12 month membership program. So that's one of my goals is just to continue that, fill that. And my biggest problem to solve this year is just to be able to grow my personal brand and business and outsourcing more, or just hiring more team members.

[00:28:16] Right now I have one VA that helps me a lot with, you know, my course management, my community management, all of that. But just so I can outsource more so I can just focus more so on creating the content and creating. The courses and the programs that my students need.

[00:28:33] Whether it's a subcontractor or an employee, hiring is one of the scariest obstacles early stage entrepreneurs face.

[00:28:44] Michael King: Why is that scary? You're shaking your head over here. Why is that a scary thing for you?

[00:28:50] Samantha Kozuch: It's scary when you don't really know how to go about it, because there are so many options in this day and age to hire people, whether it's hiring, you know, a person that comes to your home or you know, works with you, hiring a VA, because a lot of the stuff that you do in business is very personal.

[00:29:08]so bringing somebody in to you know, manage your emails or you know, any sort of communication or just managing any of your products and services when you're an entrepreneur, like you've had your hands in everything and you've been doing everything alone. So just releasing that, not power, but just releasing that for someone else to help you with that is, is scary because

[00:29:30] You don't know what they're going to be writing in an email or a message or just creating stuff for you. So that's the scary part about hiring, but the way that I've gone about it is I've always gone off of recommendations. Now, because I've used places even like Upwork or Fiverr or other job posting sites to hire VAs that haven't, or just anyone, just even just to outsource video editing or anything like that.

[00:29:55] And yes, some of them do work out, but some of them don't. But whenever I've gone off of  personal recommendations, or I even have some friends that actually coach and train people to be virtual assistants, so if I know that they've gone through. My friends program, I know they're probably a top notch VA and they'll even go for them as well.

[00:30:12] So I always go off of recommendations. But the second that you do hire an outsource, especially like just like the minimal tasks that aren't needle moving in your business and that you know your time is worth, you know, X amount of dollars, and if you can hire someone for a fraction of that time to do it for you, I always recommend to start outsourcing ASAP.

[00:30:33] Michael King: But you also have to balance that with the cash in the business, right? A lot of times, you know, when you like, I know, like Chris Harder has his formula for figuring out what your hourly worth is and you should outsource anything you're doing that is, you know, less than that. That's all great. But you also have to be able to actually pay them.

[00:30:53] And so a lot of times we feel like our worth is here based on the goals we want to hit and say, I'll make up a number, let's call it $100 an hour. And you say, okay, well, I could hire somebody for $20 an hour to answer some of these emails and manage my social media, but you actually have to be able to pay them that $20 an hour.

[00:31:11] And so there can be a disconnect between what you want to be worth in what you're actually worth right now. What are you actually generating per hour right now? How do you bridge that gap?

[00:31:21] Samantha Kozuch: So my recommendation is to everybody, especially as an entrepreneur, I always preach like you want to learn every single aspect of your business.

[00:31:29] So even with newbies that are just getting started, it's like, no, I don't think you should hire a VA right out the gate. Like you should be learning how to manage and do all of the things. And then when you get to a point where you have that. Generated revenue coming in every month, whether you're selling programs or you're coaching, or you have courses or anything like that.

[00:31:46] Like once you have a good amount of money coming in where you can allocate a certain percentage to a VA and that's your budget for the month, and so you have to find a VA or any help to fit that budget of yours, that's when you should do it. So I just recently, like this year, hired my first VA, but before then I was literally doing everything myself.

[00:32:06] Like I had a few VA's here and there beforehand, but this is right now. I just now started to finally hire because a lot of the, I did want to learn myself and just see like even with my whole entire pivot, like I had to figure out, okay, where am I focusing? What is working? What is not working?

[00:32:24] Because if you don't know what's working like you could be. Creating a big Facebook group to nurture, or you could be on YouTube or whatever, and if you outsource all of that right away to a VA, they're not going to give you the report and the results of what's happening. So you really have to know your business and where you need to focus and then whatever is not as needle moving as you'd like.

[00:32:43] That's when you get to the point of hiring someone.

[00:32:46] Michael King: Why did you go the VA route instead of somebody in person?

[00:32:49]Samantha Kozuch: With the VA. We do zoom calls all the time. We voice note back and forth all the time. So to me it didn't matter to have someone in person because I am constantly on the go and I don't want that pressure of, okay, well so-and-so's coming to my house from one to two to work on this project.

[00:33:09] I didn't want that pressure. So virtually my girl is in the U S. She's actually in Texas. So for me it just worked out that way. But I feel like right now it works right now. But you know, I start growing and growing even more, which obviously is the plan. Sure, I'd love to have, you know, a whole team that works with me side by side, you know, and my home office.

[00:33:29] But right now it just works.

[00:33:31] Michael King: I never could figure out how to make the VA thing work. I tried for, I think shit shows. And a lot of it was, some of them, I was too early. To your point, I didn't really know what I needed from them yet specifically. But for me, I also have realized I like to have somebody that's right there because I'm a very stream of conscience person.

[00:33:58] And so something hits my brain and I'm like, Hey, could you write this down? Or Hey, can you go add this to our, you know, project management platform. And I know you can still like, you know, chat somebody on Slack or whatever. But I've got clients that are doing millions and millions and millions of dollars a year, and I see the executives hitting brick walls, and it's like the stuff that you're spending your time worrying about.

[00:34:24] Is holding you back and I'm going to soapbox a little bit more here. What I think a lot of people don't realize and see if you can, what your thoughts are on this is you spend a lot of your mental bandwidth thinking about things that are in these details. And they're important. They need to be solved, but it doesn't need to be you that solves them.

[00:34:44] And when your brain like that takes energy, like there's an assets, you know, that is being depleted daily thinking about, or even if it's just a little bit of concern or a little bit of anxiety that that's pulling you away from solving bigger problems or having those creative ideas that are going to move the business forward.

[00:35:03] Right. And so, yeah. You can do that right there. Maybe you have the hours in the day to do that, but it's depleting your brain power and your brain energy and you don't realize how much it can be holding you back because you're worried about why you're locked out of this account right now or why, you know?

[00:35:23] So you know, this vendor is wondering where their payment is, or a customer is wanting a refund or whatever the case may be. It's like that's pulling you away from doing your best work and your team, your customers, your vendors. They need you doing that. And so it's like, that is for me a month end. But hands down my philosophy on that until somebody convinces me otherwise.

[00:35:47] What's your experience?

[00:35:48] Samantha Kozuch: Right. I couldn't agree with you more. That is definitely the reason why I even hired a VA cause I, I took an inventory of my daily tasks and I read a book called The One Thing by Gary Keller and I read that over Christmas time, and that book literally changed my life because we've all heard about multitasking.

[00:36:08] And I, we glamorize it too with doing all these different things. And I know as entrepreneurs, we're literally multitasking our days away with all the different things that we have to get into. And that is one of the worst ways to run your day because just what you said about brain power, like whenever you're focused on, say, writing an email, but then you'll get say another message or

[00:36:27] Someone calls you or something like that. Every time your brain has to shift gears, you're losing that zone. It takes time to do that. And then even when you come back to it, or sometimes you'll now forget about that email and you know, it goes into oblivion or whatever. You figure it out a couple of days later, they forgot to even send it.

[00:36:44] Michael King: Hey, when are you going to respond? I responded to you the other day and you're like, shit, it's in draft right there in draft.

[00:36:49] Samantha Kozuch: Yup. Yup, yup. so with me, just hiring my VA, like I knew the things that I could offset to her, which were so important in my business. But I didn't need to do them. I didn't need to take that energy because I now know like I probably have a good four solid hours.

[00:37:08] If I zone in on my project or whatever I'm working on, I have four good hours of solid brain power that I can really commit to something. After that. It's like, it's not that I'm like just done for the day, but I know that, you know. I'm, I'm tired. I need a break. I need to go do something else. and I need to focus on that.

[00:37:26] So if I can lock in on four hours of content creation or creating courses or responding to students, or working with them one on one, whatever that looks like for that four hour period, that's going to move my needle. So much further along in business, so much faster, especially when I don't have to like to do the little bitty tasks of, Oh, I need to add somebody.

[00:37:44] Like I have a big Facebook group that I'm nurturing. I'm like adding someone to my Facebook group and then, you know, writing them a message saying hi or whatever. Like those a little things that I know might be a can do that takes that kind of effort off my plate.

[00:37:58] Michael King: How many hours a week does she work

[00:38:00] Samantha Kozuch: right now?

[00:38:01] She's actually between five and 10 okay.

[00:38:04] Michael King: Yeah, so not breaking the bank, but adding a lot of value.

[00:38:06] Samantha Kozuch: Yeah.

[00:38:07] Michael King: All right. Well, how can people find you if they want to learn more about business coaching? If somebody is interested in a business coach and you're like. Hey, this is the girl I need. How do they find you?

[00:38:19] Samantha Kozuch: Yes. So if you need help with social media strategy, attracting ideal clients, launching any products, services, or offers, you can find me on Instagram, which is my, at Samantha . So you can click, I'm sure in the notes on my page, you don't know how to spell my last name, but you can find me there and connect with me there.

[00:38:38] I'm on social media all the time and I love connecting with everyone that I follow. So send me a DM. Don't be shy, and also click the link in my bio and then you can get my free like a boss checklist.

[00:38:50] Michael King: Awesome. And I will post a link to that as well in the show notes. Thanks so much for coming out today.

[00:38:54] This was fun doing all the things live over here and over there. So cool. Thanks so much.

[00:39:01] Samantha Kozuch: Thank you.

[00:39:09] Michael King: Thanks for joining us today. Please don't forget to subscribe to In the Trenches with Michael King on your favorite podcast platform like Apple, Google, or Spotify. Once again, I'm Michael King with KFE Solutions. We'll see you again next week.