1612 – What A Small Business Owner Needs with FreeTime Solutions’ Barry Coziahr

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to the CEO & Owner of Free Time Solutions, Barry Coziahr.

Barry Coziahr, owner of Free Time Solutions, shared some insights into virtual assistant (VA) staffing. Free Time Solutions stands out due to its comprehensive VA services, linking clients with suitable VAs and providing robust HR support, monitoring, and coaching for both parties involved.

Distinctively from other platforms, Free Time Solutions offers a personalized hiring process, managing all stages and enhancing the likelihood of a good match. They extend their role to become a part of the client's team, ensuring the correct execution of tasks and providing accountability.

Barry also emphasized the importance of AI tools and training for VAs. Although AI brings efficiency, it should complement rather than replace human creativity and personal touch.

He suggests focusing on high ROI activities, advocating for personalized social media outreach and creating engaging content rather than sales pitches. This approach encourages genuine connections and networking.


About Barry Coziahr:

Barry Coziahr is a well-regarded business consultant and trainer with a distinguished track record in small business growth. He has directly advised over 10,000 small business owners and delivered over 1,000 seminars nationwide.

He focuses on actionable growth and marketing strategies substantiated by real-world examples and case studies. This approach has led to the successful expansion of numerous small businesses, authors, and nonprofits.

Barry's unique skill lies in strategic advice and effective systems implementation. He assists companies in scaling up by establishing high-quality personnel structures and systems, ensuring the optimal utilization of resources. Barry Coziahr's contributions to the small business sector are considerable and instrumental in fostering growth and success.


About Free Time Solutions:

Free Time Solutions is a professional organization providing expert virtual assistants trained to handle various business tasks. Their staff operates remotely, helping businesses manage crucial operations that can be delegated effectively. The services offered are comprehensive, from lead generation and social media management to telemarketing, project management, and event scheduling.

They also cover bookkeeping, web design, administrative work, and customer service tasks, providing businesses with a broad spectrum of support options. The virtual assistants at Teambuilders Agency are not only proficient in their respective fields but also dedicated to delivering top-notch service remotely.

This combination allows businesses to delegate essential but non-core tasks effectively, freeing up their in-house team to focus on strategic operations. The convenience and efficiency provided by Free Time Solutions make it a practical solution for businesses seeking to optimize their operational workflow and overall productivity.


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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Free Time Solutions website at

Check out Free Time Solutions on LinkedIn at

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Check out Free Time Solutions on Instagram at

Check out Barry Coziahr on LinkedIn at

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Check out Barry Coziahr on Facebook at

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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now, Barry Coziahr. Barry, you are the owner of Free Time Solutions. Your website is free time dot Solutions. Barry, thanks so much for joining us. Thanks for having me. All right. So you are in the VA staffing world. Give us an overview of like what makes free time solutions unique compared to all the different ways that we may be able to connect with VA's.

Barry (00:01:24) - Well, I have a lot of businesses, so I've learned a lot and I've done consulting, coaching as a life coaching as well as business coaching over the years. So I guess what I've done, we used Vas a lot ourselves to grow our different businesses and so we figured out what what needed to be incorporated to make sure you get a good hire. So we go hardcore. On selecting the right person. Extensive testing, interviews, interviews I've put together to make sure that we and I'm constantly like working over and working on who. There's a great book called Who out There that I'm a big believer on choosing the right, the starting and choosing the right person. And so it all starts with choosing the right person. And that includes like knowing exact really, really fully naming out exactly what the person needs, what needs they need to fulfill. And then and then from there we act as sort of like an outsourced HR department monitoring and coaching and coaching both the client and the VA, making sure everything just kind of comes together like a good HR department should do and then our good coach would do.

Barry (00:02:36) - And then and then, you know, and then putting in all the other things that we forget to put in our business sometimes, which is like daily reporting so that you constantly know what the person's up to and you can monitor progress, writing up their processes so that you can one know that they understood your instructions and two, you can pass it on to the next guy. And then we constantly invest in our people. Just training the training is a big deal. I mean, these are all things that I do myself for my people and I have a lot of Vas that work for me because like I said, I have a number of businesses and so I know this is exactly what a small business owner needs to make sure it's going to work.

Josh (00:03:18) - Yeah. And you know, here we are in 2023 and, you know, obviously I know I can speak for ourselves. You know, there were some things that, you know, we were paying staff to do. And, you know, when ChatGPT really hit the scene, you know, I was able to kind of reassign them to other tasks.

Josh (00:03:41) - And in some cases, you know, we're able to lower our outlay just because we were able to do some things more efficiently. You know, creating content, obviously, for social is a big one. How did you see your company or your, you know, the staff that that you connect with? How have you seen an evolution taking place this year because of AI tools?

Barry (00:04:04) - Yeah, it's kind of interesting. I mean, content is a big deal, right? We're able to like do a lot more content for people quicker. The Vas are able to work on that. That's one of the areas we've really, really focused on was content, both the you know, illustrations and, you know, pictures and stuff, graphics as well as like the text part of the thing. And obviously the client still needs to look it over in the VA, still need to look it over to make sure that the AI thing is really just another assistant, Right? It's not it's not a thing that you should I think that you should rely on or count on.

Barry (00:04:43) - It's just a machine. It's just a tool. And so the AI has the VA has to be trained in AI. There's a lot of a lot of letters flying around here. But the AI has to be trained in that. And, you know, sometimes the client doesn't want to be trained in it. So that works out great for, for, for the client because he can take advantage of these new tools or sometimes the client's really good at it and wants to pass along his processes so he can move on to other things. And that's what I've done. I basically say, Great, here's exactly where I want, how I want it done. Good. You guys now start taking care of that. I'm moving on to other important pieces of the business. It's all about like if your listeners haven't read it. 8020 principle. Richard Cash is a great book on it, doing the important things within your business and then and figuring out how to like get more and more onto those things that are key and the tools help you do it as well as the people.

Josh (00:05:45) - Yeah. And Barry, how would you how would you compare working with free time solutions versus, let's say, connecting with overseas talent through like a platform like Upwork, for example?

Barry (00:05:59) - Yeah, I'd say I mean, one. You have to go through all the hiring process yourself. When you go and you find somebody you know for yourself, that can take an incredible amount of time or you're sloppy about it and you pick somebody and then they don't work out. We basically figured out who's not going to work out and what kind of people are definitely not going to work out. So your odds are greatly increased that you're going to have a much better person from the get go. We do all of that work of selecting the person, and I mean, that makes it completely different. And then you've got somebody who helps you with accountability, who helps you to make sure that your processes are recorded. You know, it's like it's like having a team member rather than having just like somebody who, you know, you throw something, some work out for them to do and hope it comes back correctly.

Barry (00:06:51) - You've actually got somebody that you can groove in and make part of your team and develop a relationship with. And that's why I like it.

Josh (00:06:59) - Yeah. And how did you get into I know you're like many of us, serial entrepreneur, right? Like once you, you know, once you got a taste of, you know, running the show, it's a hard game to get out of. But how did you find yourself into this? Into this space?

Barry (00:07:18) - Yeah, it's kind of like I mean, the journey was my dad was a serial entrepreneur and I'm 57. I worked for I started working for him when I was 16. So I got to see what he was busy doing, creating all these different businesses. I worked for him for quite some time and other sales jobs and then went to nonprofit running volunteers. So I'm used to running lots of people. And then I was and then halfway through my nonprofit career, I decided I need to make some money. So I started my own business and use everything I learned about community outreach and marketing and sales for my dad to start my own businesses and started using remote personnel.

Barry (00:07:55) - And so I've been working with freelancers, I guess, now for 17 years. So that's how I got where I'm at, basically. And I just start I keep pouring everything I learn. I love to read, write. I'm reading books every week. I keep pouring everything I learned into making these guys better and helping the entrepreneurs that we work with. And so that's kind of like the brief.

Josh (00:08:19) - Yeah. What would be, you know, kind of back to tasks that the VAs are doing. What do you see as just like, what would you like if you were to rank like the top three? Like, oh, come on. Like if you're not doing this, you are really missing out on like super, super high ROI activity. What would you put in that on that top three list?

Barry (00:08:44) - Yeah, I mean it. I mean, the first thing, I mean, it's like, really, you should do like a little assessment of your business, right? What are the things, what are the you take a look that 8020 principle, what are the things that are the 20% that are the key things in your business that make it grow? Well, good.

Barry (00:08:59) - So you should get some backup on those things. Maybe it's lead generation, maybe it's setting appointments, Maybe it's like whatever it is, maybe it's finding you speaking engagements or getting on the podcast. What are those key things that actually push and grow your business? So like podcast guesting is one of the things. Lead generation ends up being one of those things and there's a list of others that might fit in with somebody's particular business. On the other side of it, you got the 80% of those things that are kind of like they have to get done, but you shouldn't be doing them and that would fall like maybe you. Cold calling has always been part of your business. You shouldn't be doing it, that's for sure. I don't like to do bookkeeping. I should never nobody should ever make me do that. I have a person for that. We those. One of the things we do, we do for doctors. We do things like medical billing, which works out really great, but we literally have a list of an e-book 249 things that a virtual assistant can do for you.

Barry (00:09:56) - And I'd say, But you really should start with that 8020 principle. What are those 20% vital things and those 80% maybe have to get done, but you certainly shouldn't be doing it. And it's really $10 an hour work for somebody else to handle.

Josh (00:10:12) - Yeah. Yeah. What? And again, I don't know if you can really get into this a whole lot, but, you know, obviously, you know, using a VA for social media is pretty valuable. What might be some of those areas of social media that are like an immediate. Yeah. Hand this over. Get this. Don't be doing this yourself. VA's can do that perfectly well because I know maybe some people might be concerned about their voice or, Oh, this VA is going to be representing me on social media. I don't want to screw up. Any advice there?

Barry (00:10:42) - Yeah, I mean, I would have I mean, yes. VA Basically, one of the things they can do, like I have somebody reach out for me on LinkedIn.

Barry (00:10:51) - I have three people that like spend about 20 hours each reaching out on my LinkedIn profile, introducing me to people just seeing on the.

Josh (00:10:58) - DMS.

Barry (00:10:59) - Direct messages. All right, All right. I mean, and really, I don't do like a sales pitch type thing. It's really like, Hey, I'm Barry, I'd love to meet and chat and network, see how I can help you, how you can help, you know, see if we can help each other and meet. I meet about 20 people a week. Sure. You know, just. Just introducing myself to people and I mean, it's great, you know, so.

Josh (00:11:23) - Don't, don't make any big asks, but, you know, just again, be cordial because, again, you know, I think.

Barry (00:11:29) - What I can't stand that on LinkedIn. It's like.

Josh (00:11:31) - Yeah, no, I think what people hate is they go right into a robo pitch and it's like.

Barry (00:11:36) - I write the message, I write the message for that.

Barry (00:11:39) - So it needs to be your voice. So that's one aspect of social media just reaching out and making introductions, right? But it needs to be your message. It shouldn't be salesy. I can't stand that, right? I mean, I'm a salesperson, but I don't want to be a high pressure salesperson. Right? Other tasks on social media could be like, you know, just creating graphics and putting together a social media calendar with all sorts of stuff that basically then you have to look over and make sure it fits your voice and then coaching that person into the right space. I love using LinkedIn, I mean LinkedIn, but there's so much stuff like doing that outreach is great for me. Doing the posting is great for me, helping me create content that I have to look over really quick and make sure it fits my voice and then have them fix and then posting those on other platforms. Yeah, a virtual assistant can organize all that for you and get it done. And again, it needs to be in your style and it shouldn't be.

Barry (00:12:39) - I mean, nobody really wants to be sold on social media. It has to be like interesting, fun, you know, all about just connecting and making a new friend. Like the people I connect with. I'm like, Hey, I'm great. If I give them some great advice and that's all that happens and that's great, you know? And people really like my approach for that too. So I've taught my Vas when they're working for clients to use that same approach, it has to be kicked back, relaxed, all about meeting people and getting to know other people. Yeah. And go from there.

Josh (00:13:13) - Yeah. All right. So your website FaceTime dot solutions. When somebody goes there, what would you recommend that they do? Alissa I bet I know what you're going to recommend. I'm looking at your web page right now.

Barry (00:13:25) - Yeah, it's free. It's free time dot solutions, right? If you.

Josh (00:13:30) - Say wrong, I'm so did I say.

Barry (00:13:31) - No, no, no. You said it's right.

Barry (00:13:32) - You said FaceTime dot solution.

Josh (00:13:34) - Oh, I don't know what that was thinking about. Free time dot solutions. Thanks for catching me there. Yeah.

Barry (00:13:38) - What they find when they go to FaceTime says oh.

Josh (00:13:41) - Don't go there.

Barry (00:13:43) - But basically free time dot solutions if you go there's a there's a link we can share which is a little e-book 249 things that a virtual assistant can do for you and or they can help you with. And you can download that little e-book, check it out. You can also just reach out via the website if you want to talk with me and and get a little bit of consulting consultation on that 8020 principle and how a VA can help you. So there you go.

Josh (00:14:12) - Yeah. All right. Free time dot solution. Scroll down to the bottom here. You can see a big button that says Download a free checklist. Today, 249 Things a VA Can Do for You. Barry Coziahr I love that last name. And it's you're also I'd recommend connecting with you on LinkedIn as well.

Josh (00:14:31) - Your good LinkedIn. LinkedIn or yeah. And again once again your website free time dot solutions. Barry thank you so much for joining us.

Barry (00:14:38) - Great. Thank you.

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