Barry Coziahr is the CEO of Stampede Branding and owner of Freetime Solutions, a virtual assistant placement agency. We discuss how to get the most out of a virtual assistant, selling your time for the right price, and how to become better at delegating tasks to VAs.
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Crush Delegation with Barry Coziahr
Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.
So, Barry, you’ve got a really interesting story because your father was a serial entrepreneur himself. And in many cases when someone, at least this is how it played out in my family, when you have a successful parent, then kids can feel intimidated and then they leave for other pastures and try their strength in other areas. But you actually stayed and became an entrepreneur yourself. So tell me a little bit about your journey.
Well there certainly was some parts where it could have been intimidating, and it was. There were certain times when I was growing up where it was intimidating, the idea of doing as well or as he did was definitely a thing. But I think now it would be, I was just thinking about him the other day, I would be, I think I’m gonna dedicate my book to him because we’ve kind of reached the point where it’s like, okay, yeah, now I definitely know that I can help you and we can learn together if he was around today, that’d be amazing. But basically, yeah, he was a salesman and a manager from when I was born.
He moved from a really small town called Galesburg, Illinois, to not that much, a small city called Peoria, Illinois. And he was put in charge of a department store, a clothing store for men and women. And he ran that for a number of years. And then eventually, I mean, and he’s a salesman. So he inspired me. And so I had little businesses when I was growing up. I think I was out selling door to door stuff from school at eight years old, and so I could win contests and get money from those and had other little businesses that I started and all these different entrepreneurial ideas. And as I grew up, he ended up starting his own business and starting a number of businesses and employing quite a few people.
I don’t think I’m quite there yet where I’ve employed as many people as he did at his pinnacle. But anyway, so it was pretty amazing. So he had all these businesses and he’s quite an inspiration for that. up working for him in customer service and also in marketing. Back in the days, we had to drive over to the graphic designer’s office to get the graphic design work. So that was a while back. It was back in the, what, the 80s or something like that. And so, but anyway, it was great working for him. I learned a lot about, I mean, with the internet, I developed my first website with him. We developed a website and a shopping cart back in the 1990s, as a matter of fact, when I worked for him, and I took charge of those projects. So I definitely got my start in marketing at an early age.
And then, yeah, I broke out on my own and went to work. I did a few other different sales gigs, including work for a publisher, and then worked for a non-profit for about 20-some years. And doing community outreach for them, and that was incredible. I really enjoyed that. I got my hands into a lot of different types of marketing, large scale and small scale marketing, also running teams and running groups of volunteers, and that was fantastic. Then about halfway through that, I figured out that, “You know what, I really need to make some money.”
So, I started my own business, and the business, I started a marketing company and we used remote personnel, we used freelancers a lot of the time for some of the work that we did. And my wife and I ran that company and I did that job full-time while also doing marketing company. So that was exciting. I had two full-time jobs until we grew that business up to a certain point. And we actually sold our first marketing company in St. Louis that we have for about 10 years, moved down here to Clearwater, Florida, where we are today, and we opened a new marketing company, but also opened a virtual assistant agency.
Because we decided that we were doing so well with running people, establishing great personnel, and picking great personnel, and putting the other systems, that we decided we wanted to help other businesses to do that. Because that’s sort of the name of the game, is to help small businesses expand. So yeah, so we started that. My wife has coached me and worked with me all along. She’s great. She’s a great teammate. And yeah, and she’s a full-time author now. She’s doing her thing while I do this. And so we’ve got this great virtual assistant agency. We’ve actually had two of them, and we’re helping tons of businesses.
Yeah, that’s super exciting. I think we talked maybe a week ago or 10 days ago, and I was telling you that I’m just about to onboard a few of these virtual assistants myself. And so far, I’m very excited about the process. And you helped me as well with some pointers what to do, you know, first week, so about learning, and then the processes and go from there. And it really helped me. And I’m super excited. They are really enthusiastic. They seem to know their stuff and they really want to learn and want to do a good job.
So I think it’s a huge opportunity for small businesses to tap into this resource. I think that’s going to be the airplane fuel that can really give small businesses an edge that maybe big corporations don’t have. So we talked about step one as being identifying the 20% that’s the most important and the 80% that’s not so important and you can outsource it. 20% you need to focus on. So, what’s the next step when determining what you can actually delegate to virtual assistants?
So, you really look at those particular tasks for one thing and we even have a list of those tasks that you can look at we’ve got an ebook which the folks out there can get from you as well. It’s called 249 things that a virtual assistant can do for you. Between the booklet and understanding that 80-20 principle, you should be able to put together a pretty good list of what exactly you want your virtual assistant to do.
Ok, Alright. So, there are 249 different things you put it together. And, so you now have defined those functions that you want them to do. So where do you go from there?
Yeah, So basically, you define those functions using the 80-20 principle and what we’ve talked about. one other point I’ll mention too is, which I went through and explained, just the whole concept of that 20% and that 80%. And another thing you think about is the fact that your time is worth something. So, you have some tasks that are like $10 an hour pieces of work. Some are worth $100 an hour, some are worth $1000 and some of your time is worth $10,000 an hour sometimes. You obviously want to do more of the $10,000 an hour time, and you want to offload and get somebody else doing the $10 an hour time. And heck, if you can get somebody to do some $100 an hour time too that’s great as well. So that’s another concept that you can think with as well, along with 80-20 principle, I just went over, and that list, and you really figure that, that you’ve got it nailed down exactly what kind of work you should hand over to somebody else.Your time is worth something. You have some tasks that are like $10 an hour pieces of work, some are worth $100 an hour, some are worth $1000, and some of your time is worth $10,000 an hour sometimes. Click To Tweet
I once read about this, that if you want to make a million dollars a year, for example, there are 2,000 hours, work hours typically in a year.
So, you basically have to make $500 for each of those 2,000 hours. So if you do $500 for 10,000 hours versus 500 hours, you’re going to make a million dollars. And so anything that is worth less than $500, provided you can sell all your time for 500, you should absolutely stop doing it. If it’s a $200 task, you should find someone else to do it because it eats into your million dollar save.If you want to make a million dollars a year, you basically have to make $500 for each of those 2,000 hours in a year. Anything that is worth less than $500, you should absolutely stop doing it. Click To Tweet
Yeah, it’s true. Yeah, and you should be working for, you know, find some of those $10,000 hours as well while you’re at it, because those do happen. You know, sometimes those do happen. I mean, if you think about it, if you close a client who’s gonna pay you, you know, X amount of money, you know, every month for the next 12 months.
The lifetime value. Yeah, that’s right. And it’s very easy to not think about that, how valuable the selling time is that maybe we are not. That’s right. But when you write the book, that’s even, that could be even a bigger multiplier because then this book could be selling for years on end and without any time investment for Tyrus and from your part.
Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, my virtual assistants are helping me, me and them, and we’re putting together my whole book, which is great. So it’s just that they’re helping me to bolster that 20%. They’re not taking the 80% off my plate, but they’re helping me to bolster that 20%. Those key items. But I’ll tell you, the next thing is who. It’s not often people are like, how are we gonna get this done? It’s more about who are you gonna get to do it? So we jump in and what we do is we, I mean, we’ve already picked the country that we like to work with for lots of good reasons that I already mentioned. Then we’re also digging in with personality testing so we can find out the right, make sure those people have the right traits.
Like we want a great communicator. We want somebody who’s stable, who’s aggressive, who’s goal-oriented, who’s just a good person. And with all of those traits, we also, so we do personality testing to make sure we’ve got those people. We also do IQ testing to determine if we have problem solvers, right? Whether the person’s a problem solver because we’re interested in people that actually take initiative and solve problems. And then we do another test called aptitude testing, which aptitude testing measures a person’s ability to follow instructions. And so, we’re really interested in whether or not the person can follow instructions well, because that is quite painful to have to spend a bunch of time giving instructions and having them followed incorrectly.
It’s not good, so we do that and some special interviews that we’ve constructed. And it’s all about really finding a great person, right, who’s actually going to be the right person for the job. So that’s step number, that’s the next step. The next step after that right person going through that is onboarding your assistant. So when you go into onboarding your assistant, there’s a whole process which includes giving them access to your tools. I recommend a tool called LastPass, doing some training with them and even recording that training, having them learn about your business, and then laying out exact processes and procedures that they’re gonna follow. A great little tip on that process and procedure thing, by the way, is have them write up the processes.Find a great person, who's actually going to be the right person for the job. Click To Tweet
If it’s a brand new process that you haven’t designed before, you don’t have written up already, actually have meetings, go over it with them, show it to them, record that meeting, and then take that meeting, that recording, and create the process and show it to you. And it’s a great way for you to double check if they understood what it was you were giving them. And then you can make some corrections before they start digging in. But that’s brilliant time.
And when you think about that 80-20 and that value time, by the way, you can take the time to write up a process and train somebody, that is actually at least $1,000 an hour time. Because you’re just gonna get that time back again and again and again from that individual. And then taking the time to write up those processes as well, as you well know, is time that you get back again and again and again. Great. Yeah, so that’s the next step that I find to be the next step of your journey of putting your team onto it.
Okay. So number one is identify the 20% that really moves the needle that you need to bolster. The 80% you don’t worry about it. You essentially focus on 20%. You bolster it. You then find the great people. You look at their IQ, you look at their aptitudes, their personal testing, you do the special interviews and then you identify these rockstar employees and then you onboard them, you give them training, you give them access to stuff, you give them processes, and then you have them, maybe step five is to actually have them create more processes for you because the way they understand it and document it, it’s gonna be actually more useful for them from how their brain works, right? Because we all have a little bit looking at things differently and like to understand according to our logic, and if it’s according to their logic, that’s great. And I find that this is what they are doing. They are creating their own process. Even if I give them a process, they’re gonna create their own.
So, okay, so you on boarded these people, you gave them processes, so what’s next? Is there a next level?
Yeah, so you’ve given them work, and you’ve got a particular task that you’re trying to get done, and you’ve kind of nailed down what those are. Well, you should definitely make sure you get some sort of daily reporting from the individual. Working free every day, then they’re giving you, yeah, like a plan at the beginning of the week. Great, here’s what their week is gonna consist of and you can look at for what they’ve set as priorities. They’re giving you a daily plan, just yeah. We set up and we use a program called Slack, which basically allows me to get short little messages from people on, I get the beginning of the week, I get their plan for the week, I get their daily plan, and then at the end of every day, I get key statistics or KPIs that they’ve accomplished throughout the course of the day.
And I usually try to get, work out some specific KPIs for statistics, key performance indicators, numbers for each person so that they have numbers that they’re trying to move every week. And then I want to see their sort of daily progress. And when it gets too big, I then I might have a few people that report to me that give me those kind of reports. And then those people summarize what’s happening below them. So I don’t have to, so I can just get a summary and I don’t have to see everything from every single person. Because that’s the only way you can grow, right? You can’t actually like expect to run every person individually yourself. You’re going to take your best virtual assistants and put them in charge of other virtual assistants.
And I have those people reporting to their boss and their boss giving you their plan for the week along with a summary of what’s going on in their area. So I get these numbers I’m able to look at every morning from just a few of my executives and that are helping me run my organization that are just virtual assistants who have come up the line. And yeah, they’re just great. And so I go over the reports, tell them what to fix. I teach them various processes on how to fix different things and what they should be looking for to correct. And yeah, it’s great. It’s a wonderful thing. That’s the next step. And then, yeah.
And then what I do from there is we’re constantly engaging in continuing to develop the individuals that work with us. I actually encourage people to keep training, right? And I use different, we’ve got tons of classes that we put our VAs through. We actually recommend, like we had somebody who’sdoing go high level, they want to move their entire CRM into a new CRM called go high level. So we’ve got this great course that the virtual assistant can do. So the virtual assistant is already a super smart person because that’s who we hire. And so we got a course, we put them through and the clients, yeah, want to do that. So we’re putting their virtual assistant through the course. And yeah, now the person’s next for them to go high level.
So essentially, you can build a whole company with multiple layers of management of virtual assistants who are going to be working in the Philippines. So you don’t even have to go to the office. You can have whatever lifestyle you want. You’re staying in, you know, you can even travel, you can be a digital nomad, and then you have a company working for you, a company of people, motivated people, who are excited to be part of your vision, working for you and building your company and essentially orchestrating everything around you. That’s people.
That’s pretty cool. Yeah, that’s exactly right, that’s awesome. Like, I’m going to England, my wife’s an author, I mentioned it, she’s a best-selling author, she sells a lot of books, right? So she needs to do research to learn more things regarding future stories and such. So her books are all set in England, so we’re going to England for five weeks, and I’m gonna work from there, and then we’re gonna pop out to go see large country homes and castles, and go to the Bath, which is, and different things in London that we’re gonna check out.
But because you’ve got this, because I’ve got a team, I can actually do that because I’m set up remotely 100%, I can do that as well, which is great. It doesn’t work for every type of business, but it does like afford you to minimally build up a business that you could then, you can create. You’re not constantly stuck in it. You can start spending time creating the business, working on the business, where you can get other people who can do work while you’re away, if it’s a physical location that you have. So, yeah, but the only way to do that is to build a team.The only way to build a business that you can step away from and create is to build a team. Click To Tweet
So, yeah. When you go to England. It’s even easier because now then you’re five hours closer to them or even more if you’re not in Eastern time and its communication gets even easier.
It’s funny, I’ll just stay on the same exact schedule with them while I’m over there though, because, and now I’ll actually have my mornings free every day, and it works out perfect, because my mornings are free every day, and the weekends are free, and I just stay on the same schedule for the most part. So it’s actually kind of, yeah, but I guess it depends where you’re traveling.
So do you actually have them work in your time zone?
You let them work in their own time zone?
No, most of them work in our time zone. Occasionally some of them have tasks which can be done on other times other than our time frame. And so we, it depends. It’s different for each individual, but most of them work on in our schedule so that they’re, yeah, basically so they’re available when I’m here, you know? So they’re working. Having them on a schedule is a basic too that you always want to have too. You want to give your virtual assistant a schedule so that you can expect when they’re clocking in, when they’re clocking out. These are all the same basics that you would put in a business, any business. These are the great basics that you should put in no matter what kind of business you’re growing. It’s the same way with having a great assistant.
Right. Okay, so a great framework, the delegation framework to virtual assistants. You can build the whole company below you and it’s much more cost efficient than if you had to hire people, you know, $15 an hour or much, much higher. And you get really highly educated people in the Philippines and in other countries. I heard from one of my podcast guests who outsources a lot of writing to Kenya in Africa that 60% of the population is college graduates in Kenya, which I couldn’t believe, and that they are really good English speakers there, especially women can speak very good English in many cases.
Yeah, Kenya’s great. My wife’s from actually from South Africa. So we actually had virtual assistants from South Africa and we’ve also got people from Mexico. We focus on the Philippines, but we do also have a few others from a few other countries.
What’s amazing is that we have 330 million people here in the US, but we have another couple hundred million working for US companies as well as in India, as outsourced, and probably even more. So these people are all powering the US economy. This is quite mind-boggling. So if someone would like to follow in the pathway that you just outlined and add some virtual employees to their company, or want to learn more about you and what you do, where should they go?
They can reach me at barryfreetime.solutions and then I’ll send you my email link for that and then there’s also the link that I just shared which is that 249 things booklet.
I highly recommend downloading that and that’s a great place to start.
So it’s. https://freetime.soultions/download.
I just threw it in the chat.
Backslash download and then you can download the 239 different things that virtual assistants can help you with. Fantastic. Well, Barry, thank you for coming on the show and sharing this treasure trove of information for small and medium-sized businesses that can really be a jet propellant for our businesses.
Absolutely. Yeah, it’s a lot of fun helping people. Thank you.