Episode 274 Featuring Alex Bond

Embracing Speed Bumps with Samantha Kozuch

Embracing Speed Bumps with Samantha Kozuch

amantha Kozuch is the Founder of the million dollar e-commerce business, The Manuscripting Journal, a manifestation, self-care, and goal-setting journal targeted for female entrepreneurs.

Samantha has experienced over a decade of transformations and changes in her life during her entrepreneurial career which started right after she graduated college. She is an ex-influencer and social media business coach now running an e-commerce business while teaching others how to step into power and create their own reality.

On this episode, Samantha and I discuss her pathway from getting arrested to creating a million dollar e-commerce business, embracing failure, self-care, and much more.


What is Manuscripting Journal

Samantha Kozuch: So the Manuscripting Journal is a journal that I created for women. It's a 90 day journal to help you just get really clear on your goals, desires, and it helps you stay accountable by using this journal every single day so that, you know, as you know, as an entrepreneur and business owner. Stuff always comes up. Roadblocks get in the way. We get all up in our heads. 

So I created this journal that helped me starting off about six, seven years ago. And I just decided finally, it's time to put it into a physical product. Cause I know it's going to help so many people. So now we have a beautiful, gorgeous, stunning journal that's in the hands of thousands of women all over the world.

From College to Manuscripting Journal: Tracing an Unconventional Journey in eCommerce

Alex Bond: It's cool there I see a bunch of them in the background there and they're just really beautiful spiral notebooks. We're going to do things a little different on this episode than we usually do, and that's kind of just map out your trajectory from, you know, graduating college to now with the Manuscripting Journal, because you have a pretty compelling story that I wanted to give you the opportunity to share.

So first off, how did you kind of get in the e commerce space right out of college? Was it as a social media influencer or how'd you get into that? Can you kind of lay the land for us a little bit? 

Samantha Kozuch: Yeah. So actually my first 10 years out of college, I was an entrepreneur, but only in the online space, the eCommerce, this eCommerce company, the Manuscripting Journal. I started it. We're going into our third year, third birthday at the end of this year. 

So I'm fairly quote unquote, new to the eCommerce space. But everything that I did over the past decade before that literally got me prepared to start and launch this company successfully. So right out of college, I was already, you know, that's kind of when I'm kind of like dating myself here, but that's when Instagram and Facebook started.

So Influencers weren't a thing yet. Social media, all that, all what we have today was not a thing. I was just like kind of anybody else at that time, just posting at that time. What I was into is just like working out and healthy eating and all that sort of stuff. Just kind of slowly just started posting all of that.

And then started posting workouts and slowly but surely, I became a fitness influencer, quote unquote, before influencers were even a thing. So from there, brand started, it was like the time where brands would start reaching out to sending you products and everyone's in this new world of like, oh, cool, like free stuff.

Oh, people are willing to pay me to post on Instagram. Like, what is this? So I just really dove into it because already I was in this entrepreneurial space. And I really love the idea of Having different streams of income because I'd already learned that kind of right out the gate of how important that is.

So at the time I was like modeling and acting and I had started a video production company, which now is technically what like an influencer marketing companies are today where, you know, I was basically just a talent for a bunch of companies, made my own kind of business out of it. And then the social media influencing, and then slowly over a few years of doing that, I started having other.

Now what you would call them as creators come to me and ask me for advice. Hey, how do I get brand sponsorships? How do I get collabs? How did I grow my social media? So from there I turned into, oh, well, I already make fitness plans for people. I could make like a social media plan for people to follow, which turned me into like a social media coach.

Again, this like, wasn't a thing yet. And then from there, businesses started coming to me and be like, Sam, like we need help with our business growth. Like, I know you work with influencers. Can you help us? Like, what do we post? How do you do this? Like, how do you grow social media? So I started in business coaching and teaching entrepreneurs and business owners how to grow their social media platforms.

And then from there, it just turned into literally just being an online business coach, because at that point I knew how to set up all this sort of stuff. So I was starting to teach that and I just slowly just started sharing my morning routine of journaling of how I stay focused and how I like tune out the noise, because even with what happens, we all go through something like this in a different point where it could block us, where we get nervous about launching something or creating something or just staying focused on our goals.

And then that's when it hit me. I was like, oh my gosh, this needs to be an actual physical book. This needs to be a journal. At this point, I had done nothing in e commerce, knew nothing about it. And I just decided, well, I've built my entire career off of not knowing how to do it. And I just dove into YouTube and forums and learning how to manufacture, learning how to set up Shopify, learning how to do shipping and literally everything.

I just figured it out. And here we are sitting here almost three years later with a multimillion dollar company. And it's just growing and scaling like crazy. And it's just been an incredible journey. And I'm more fulfilled than ever before in any of my other previous companies, because I know that it's just helping so many people.

Alex Bond: No, that's amazing. It feels like that's kind of the theme of your career to this point is figuring out as you go along a little bit in terms of breaking ground in the influencer space and then the social media coaching space. And now this I'm curious when you went to, was it Arizona? When you went to Arizona, were you studying business?

Samantha Kozuch: No, no, I was actually studying to go to med school all throughout, like, since like high school, I was doing like AP classes, doing all the extracurricular things to go to graduate. So I graduated in pre med and I was supposed to go to med school. And then my senior year of college, it was my first time in my life where I was like, wait a minute, this doesn't feel right anymore.

This isn't what I'm supposed to do. And it was extremely confusing because one you're so young like was like 1819 or maybe I was like 2020. I don't remember when you graduate college, but it was really confusing because you spent so many years focusing on this one thing. And all of a sudden it's like. Oh no, this isn't it. 

So no, I didn't because I'm first generation immigrant. So if anyone listening is a child of immigrant parents, like you have a lot of pressure, you know, they did so much for you to get you here and you're going to be a doctor or a lawyer. Like that's kind of the pathway. Like you gotta be something prestigious, something super successful.

And here I am graduating and I'm like, I don't want to do this anymore, and I don't know what I'm going to do. So that really lit a fire under my butt because they were like, not saying they didn't say, oh, you're so stupid. But it was like that disappointment of like. Well, you're making a bad decision. So that put that fire under my butt to figure it out.

And that's when I dove into entrepreneurship. I dabbled a little bit in MLM back then too, at such a young age, which was so helpful because that's where I started learning a lot of the entrepreneurship, that success mindset, all of those things, you know, that they get all those tools that they give you with the books and the videos and all that sort of stuff. 

So that really showed me and opened up my eyes to what I could potentially do. But at that point in time, I had no idea what I was going to do. I just like follow the excitement and joy and the money and figured out like, okay, well, my talents here are making me really good money.

Let's lean more into that. And just that consistency. And then from there, as you know, the rest of the story, I just followed, kept on following my gut, following my intuition. You know, I was very open and flexible with where guidance and the success was taking me. 

The Genesis of Manuscripting: A Journey into Mindfulness and Holistic Entrepreneurship

Alex Bond: And I'll tell you what, that's kind of similar to my story. I'll be honest is, is like, I went to college for four years to become an actuary and throughout that time, I started making music, did audio production, and then dropped out of college. And totally just went down the production path and never really looked back. I mean, I ended up having to work in restaurants during that time period because it's not always easy to make ends meet.

But I understand and empathize with the point where you kind of just look around and be like, how did I get here? Do I want to keep going? You know, so it's, I think a lot of entrepreneurs can resonate with that moment and it doesn't just happen once in their careers or in their lives. There's numerous times where they have to kind of reflect on what's next. 

And so I'm curious what kind of led to the idea of manuscripting. I mean, there, there's multiple accounts of yours. In terms of the mindfulness piece, you know, the mind, body, spirit, wellness, the kind of holistic approach to entrepreneurship. And I'm curious how you got onto that path specifically.

Samantha Kozuch: Yeah. So that path hit me in my mid twenties when I actually got arrested. So it was, I was living, I was living a really fun, great lifestyle. And I got arrested or something really stupid, like so stupid. It's like embarrassing even to talk about, but I got arrested. And at that point, that was my wake up call because it was like, okay, Sam, you're doing all these things.

Yeah. You're making money. Yeah. You're having fun. But I knew deep down inside, like there was no longevity in what I was doing, nor like, could I imagine myself doing that? And like the job, the job and the company that I had in my twenties, like, I couldn't imagine myself doing that in my thirties or forties.

Like there was none of that. And I was ignoring the red flags with it all. And I knew I was made for more. I knew I was supposed to go do more. I knew I wanted to leave Arizona and, but I was scared and I was in that fear. And I. You know, held that fear back because hey, look on the outside. It's really shiny.

Like the successes, the success, quote unquote success that I thought the success was there. So that was my wake up call. And right after that, that's when I really dove into more deeper mindset work, self development work, like yeah, okay. Well, if I don't necessarily love the life that I have right now, even though I'm so grateful for what I had, how do I change it?

And that's when I dove into just reading books, watching YouTube. I watched the secret for the first time, like that came across my table. And if you're not familiar with that, if listeners aren't familiar with that, it's more just about how like literally you create your reality, like your thoughts, your actions, like you literally create your reality.

Regardless if you believe in manifestation or not, we are manifesting every second of the day with our thoughts, with our feelings, with our emotions, like we are manifesting our reality. So when I was, you know, exposed to this, I was all like, wait, what? Like, it made sense, but it was like this new thought process.

And from there, I really started getting super clear on what it is that I wanted, like, where did I want to live? What did I want to be doing for my career? What type of friends did I want? How did I want to like. Do life on the weekends, all that I got super clear on that. And I just started focusing on that every single day and this whole entire journaling process and everything that I did.

And it slowly evolved over their time. It completely changed my life. Like I ended up within a month or two leaving Arizona and just everything just literally changed. So I just stuck to it because I became obsessed with like, Oh my gosh, things are actually happening super fast. So that's how. It all began and I've just been doing it ever since.

So then when this, you know, three years ago, when this happened in our world, I was all like, wait a minute, I've been in my rock bottom before. And for a lot of people like that time period is their rock bottom. I'm like, I know how to get out of this shit. And I know how to like get out and like focus on the positive. And that's how this all just kind of came about. 

Destigmatizing Vulnerability: The Power of Sharing Your Entrepreneurial Journey

Alex Bond: And in a way that is so understandable and digestible to people. I don't want to like beat a dead horse, but do you feel that you're arrest as part of your story. Do you think it's important to kind of like de stigmatize what that means and be a little more vulnerable to people as a position of strength or, or, or what's kind of your opinion on sharing that?

Because I feel like some in the entrepreneurship e commerce community might feel uncomfortable about something like that, about sharing something like that, and I'm interested if you have any sort of opinions on why you share your story, the way you do, and if there's any sort of methodology there?

Samantha Kozuch: Yeah, so I totally understand all of that. And to give people a frame of reference in time, that happened to me when I was like 25, 26. I'm now 36. I just started sharing my story fully four years ago. Because in that first six years, I lived in so much shame and guilt around that. Because around that time, all that I received around that situation was shame.

I was shamed shamed for it by my family. And because I had that reaction, I told nobody because I thought this was like being arrested. Like it's something bad, right? Like this is bad. Like no matter what the story is, like it was bad. And I was just so embarrassed. And then finally, I literally, the first time I ever shared this story was actually on stage at an event. And it wasn't even part of my talk at all. 

And for some reason it came out and I have the chills saying this because it came out and it was a room full of women. And after I did it, I was like what the heck did I just say? What? Why did I just do that? But afterwards, I had a handful of women come up to me, thanking me for sharing my story because similar things had happened to them.

And they had told nobody because they were living in that shame and that guilt and all of that. And they were like, thank you for giving me permission to bring it up. And like. Have, have this conversation of like, wow, like I don't have to hide this part of me. So it just happened organically. And then slowly after that, it's not like I just started blurting it out to everyone.

Like I recently, again, it came up a few times and just like really good conversations. And now I talk about it more just kind of openly and freely because holy crap, like. So like crap has happened to all of us right. And I felt like by me not sharing that part of my story, people want to understand the full picture of why I've done what I've done and what was that catalyst to doing it.

And now I use it as a teaching experience because for me, I'm helping people get out of their own way. I'm helping people realize the red flags. And for me, I ignored it so hard. It took me getting arrested to change my life. Right. I don't want that to happen to somebody else or worse, or, you know, not even as bad, right?

Like we're always being told through, through our intuition, our bodies. And we love to ignore it so much, but I share it from a place of like, Hey, this happened to me. It was really shitty. But Hey, it's not the end of the world because also at the time I felt like it was the end of the world. Like, oh, I will never be a success.

I will never be hired by anyone. Not that I was ever interested in being hired by anyone, but I was like, oh my God, if anyone finds out I'll lose my jobs, I'll lose my career. People won't want to work with me. And it's so much further from the truth. And when you're holding that shit deep down inside you, oh my gosh, does it carry a weight? And that carries through with it. Everything that you do. 

So I'm not saying you have to go out and share this type of information from the rooftops. But also if it's part of your story, if it's going to help someone else, whether it's inspire them or prevent them from going down that same path or just something, I feel like these things happen to us, of course, for a reason, and if you can make it a teachable moment, like, why not?

I feel like it's just helping people more than, like, holding back and acting as if you're so perfect, because no one is. And, yeah, so that's why I kind of, like, share it, and I'm more comfortable sharing it now than ever, because I'm more confident in myself, too. 

Empowering Women Through Entrepreneurship: Navigating the Path to a Targeted Audience

Alex Bond: And so your focus and I wouldn't really say niche, but your demographic and audience is empowering women. Now, is there a specific reason for that? I mean, it sounded like you went to a conference shared in a room full of women and. You know, tada. Or was that just the natural kind of inclination from the social media days that you then kind of just kept pivoting the needle toward? 

Samantha Kozuch: Yeah, it's interesting you ask that because it was just more from a place because even when I had social media, like, even when I was a business coach and stuff, I had male clients.

Because I could teach them like it was, it the same, but when it comes to this side of being in a business of helping other people go through their processes, whether it's self development, mindset work and all the things. I felt like I could only responsibly help women because men and women are so different.

We're so different in our thought processes and how we deal with things and all of that. And I personally just don't feel comfortable holding that space for men because I know, like I know so many powerful men that help men. And I'm just like, even when I'm like hearing them and in their presence, I was like, wow, it was all like, as a woman, like I wouldn't even think to go that way because.

I don't necessarily quote, unquote, think like a man or, you know, like those things. So I feel super like confident with helping women one. Cause I am, when I've been through those experiences and pretty much every single story that pops up, it's like, oh, I've been there. I've experienced that. Or all of those things.

So that's why it's just for women. We do have a men's journal coming out. I think we're doing our Our drop at the holiday season. And I'm going to have a really amazing group of men to help facilitate and hold that space for any men that come into that side of the journey. So that was something that I just really wanted to make clear.

And then also when we do host like we have masterclasses and meetups and events and retreats I wanted to make sure like women had their own container. Cause it's a different type of energy when you have men and women together. So that was really important to me too. 

From Today Show to VH1: Media Features and Lessons Learned

Alex Bond: You've also been featured on it. The Today Show, Oxygen, VH1. Can you tell me about that experience a little bit, how you got into that circuit and what you learned from it? 

Samantha Kozuch: Yeah, it's interesting. Once you start getting into media and PR, I'll be honest, it is, it's such a game. It's such a game. It's, it's really about It's very politics, a little bit, you know? It really is. It's really about who you know who your PR team is. 

And sometimes it's through direct connections of, like, people that I've met I would go to a lot of events and connect with people and that sort of stuff, but it is definitely just this, this world of, I don't know, I don't even know like how to explain it, but you do have to put energy towards that kind of thing.

Alex Bond: Do you feel when you're doing something like that, the same as when you're doing something that's like you have to kind of play dress up a little bit? I mean, I'm interested in the roles that you have to play from, you know, making a video for Instagram versus going on the Today Show versus doing something like this.

Are they all the same version of a role or do you consider them kind of, are some more you're able to be more authentic than others. I mean, I'm kind of curious because for me personally, when I get on something or doing something, I just show up as me and and hopefully that works. And if it doesn't, and I don't get invited back, then I learned something.

But that's been imparted with me in the last four years that like authenticity wins. And I'm curious if that's the same case with you, or as you mentioned, it is politics, so you got to play a role and a part. And I totally understand that. I'd love your take on that, Sam. 

Samantha Kozuch: Well, I love to hear that you show up authentically you because I am the exact same way I show up authentically, whether it is on Instagram, TikTok, podcasts, interviews, my own videos in real life.

No matter where you meet me or see me, you will forever and always see the same version as me. And I, one, learned that from a very young age of being an influencer. And two, there's so many people that I've met that were either influencers online or someone online or on YouTube or something like that.

And then you meet them in person and I'm like, what the F? This isn't even the same person. Like they are totally this persona online and then you meet them in person and you're just like, it's a complete letdown. And you're just like, what the heck? Like, I feel like I've just been lied to. So for me, authenticity is key.

And if someone doesn't like what they see or hear, then I'm just not for that platform or for that audience or for that network or for whatever opportunity it is. And I'm fine with that. Because I'll never try to dilute myself or pretend to be something that I'm not or even filter myself. Like I, you know, I'm known to drop F bombs and all that sort of stuff in interviews and stuff.

Stuff like that. But that's just always been something very important to me to be fully authentic because I would hate for someone to, you know, come across my YouTubes or podcasts or social media and then meet me in person. I hold in person events. So it's like, if they met me in person, they're like, wait, this isn't Sam.

Like that just, it just loses all authenticity, right? So now I'm fully on board. Like you have to be yourself. You have to show up authentically you. And I know that's a big buzzword in the online space right now, but on the flip side of it, pretending to be someone else online or social media or in podcasts, it gets freaking exhausting.

So I feel like those that are pretending to be something else, You're going to get burnt out and that's when you burn out your social media, you burn out your company because you're constantly every single day having to show up as this personality where deep down inside that you're just not that person. So authenticity, a hundred percent every day. 

Lessons in Authenticity and Success for Entrepreneurs

Alex Bond: I'm curious if there's other things in that vein that you've learned along the way. I mean, again, you've had a pretty wavy trail or path to get here. And I'm curious if there are other takeaways like that, like authenticity wins that you've been able to learn that you might want to impart our audience with?

Samantha Kozuch: Yeah, I think the only other thing apart from authenticity is just being consistent and This goes from me one with my own consistency and showing up and then just also just like having worked with so many people in their own businesses and companies, especially in the social media days and business coaching days. 

Where I would just see it like, you know, they would be posting on social media or doing whatever platform for like a couple months and they're just not seeing success or whatever and they give up and they quit and they pivot and then they try that again and they just never build out anything.

And then they all I can say is like even with this newest company today, like it started at zero, started at zero followers, started at 0 in revenue. And now it's like, and even in our first year in business, we didn't even break six figures in sales. And that especially in today's day and age, like you see so many, so many people talking about like their companies and they're hitting like multiple six figures, their first year, their first million dollar year and all of that.

And it seems very like deflating sometimes to make you want to, well, this isn't the idea, but now look at us now and our going into our third year, it's a multimillion dollar company. Like our growth has been insane, but if I gave up and I quit, because in the first six months to a year, we didn't break six figures.

Because of that alone, like I wouldn't be sitting here today. So I think it's just that consistency and showing up and believing. Here's another, there's another point believing in the product or brand or yourself or whatever that is that you're putting out into the world. You have to be 100 percent obsessed with it. You have to be in love with it. 

Like you have to fully be in it because if you're also just faking it just to make those extra bucks right now, like you're not going to have that longevity. Just like I didn't have my longevity in like my previous, previous businesses. I already knew there wasn't going to be a longevity and I was just excited in the moment because it was bringing me cash and I'm like, cool, but I knew, and that's why I ended up moving along and pivoting and that sort of stuff.

But having that passion and that fire, like I can't tell you, I being in this company now for three years, every single day, I'm still so freaking excited to wake up and work in my business, no matter how hard it is. It's freaking hard. There's always shit that pops up, but I cannot say that about my previous companies.

I experienced burnout multiple times. I hated like posting about it online and creating the content and I got bored. But this one, because I'm in such alignment with what I'm doing, that's where the longevity is going to be.

And that's also, what's going to push you through those weeks or those months or that year where you feel like, oh, well, the money isn't there yet. Who cares? Keep going. It's going to come if you believe in it. If you see the potential of it, like it's going to come, it's just being consistent. And I think people give up too early and too soon. 

Alex Bond
Alex Bond

Meet Alex Bond—a seasoned multimedia producer with experience in television, music, podcasts, music videos, and advertising. Alex is a creative problem solver with a track record of overseeing high-quality media productions. He's a co-founder of the music production company Too Indecent, and he also hosted the podcast "Get in the Herd," which was voted "Best Local Podcast of 2020" by the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia, USA.

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