Ryan McLean : Slightly Unconventional

#13 Reigniting My Passion


It is amazing how passion can just disappear over time. It can just fade. I did not know that my passion had disappeared until today when I actually saw a video of myself about 6 months ago.

It was an On Property video and I was sharing on the topic of Should You Buy an Investment Property Or Should you Pay Off the Mortgage On Your Own Home? And all of the advice out there that I had researched and found basically said that everyone should pay off their own home and I disagreed with it and I was looking to stand up and say I disagree with it and encourage people to think through their life and think what they want to do.

But the thing that I noticed in that video which is totally lacking from the current videos that I am making for On Property is just the passion and the excitement and the enthusiasm that I have. Where has the passion gone?

Hey and welcome to Instructions Not Included. To start the story about me and my journey as I try and grow a little online business into something that generates me significant income online and helps me live the life of my dreams.

So I saw that video and I was slightly depressed. I felt like this is a good video. I am excited in this video and that is what makes it a good video. The content was probably similar to what I would create now but back then I was excited.

How can I pay off my home loan faster and purchase an investment property at the same time? And believe it or not but asking that slightly different question puts your mind into overdrive and will help you to come up with solutions for that. One simple solution would be to purchase a positive cash flow property.

I have lost my passion and I need to find it again. And I feel like when I am recording Instructions Not Included, I have passion. When I am thinking about the podcast project that I am going to be working on next year, I have passion. But when I think about On Property, I kind of lost that passion.

So let us go back to a video that really inspired my overarching vision. My vision is to build a network of educational websites that allows anyone to learn for an affordable price. I was really inspired by this video that I am going to share which is actually a TedTalk by a guy called William. And if you want to find this talk, just go to YouTube and search for William Build a Windmill or William Windmill or something like that.

Add in the word Ted to make it easier to find and basically this is a kid who lived in a super poor country. Basically, he and his family were starving to death. He could not go to school because they were too poor and too hungry, dropped out of school but then used the local library to learn about physics, build a windmill that could be used for irrigation and for charging phones, and change his life and the lives of everyone in his town. It is so inspiring; it is my favorite TedTalk of all time.

Before I discovered the wonders of science I was just a simple farmer in a country of poor farmers. Like everyone else, we grew maize. One year our fortune turned very bad. In 2001 we experienced an awful famine. Within 5 months, all Malawians begin to starve to death. My family ate 1 meal per day at night. Only a few swallows of nsima for each one of us. The food passes through our bodies, we drop down to nothing.

In Malawi, second day of school we have to pay school fees. Because of the hunger I was forced to drop out of school. I looked at my father and looked those dry fields. It was the future I couldn’t accept. I felt very happy to be at the festival of second day of school. So I was determined to do anything possible to receive education. So I went into a library. I learned books, fast books especially physics. I couldn’t read English that well. I used diagrams and pictures to learn the words around them.

Another book put that knowledge in my hands. It said windmill could pump water and generate electricity. Pump water meant irrigation. It defends against hunger which we were experiencing by that time. So I decide I will build 1 windmill for myself. But I didn’t have materials to use. So I went to a scrap yard where I found my materials. Many people including my mother said I was crazy. I found a tractor fan, shock absorber, PVC pipes. Using a bicycle frame, an old bicycle dynamo I built my machine. It was 1 light at first and then 4 lights with switches and even a circuit breaker, modeled after an electric belt.

Another machine pumps water for irrigation. Queues of people started lining up at my house to charge their mobile phone. I could not get rid of them. And the reporters came too which led to bloggers and which led to a call from something called Ted. I had never seen an airplane before. I had never slept in a hotel. So on stage that day in Arusha, my English lost. I said something like, I tried and I made it.

So I’d like to say something to all the people out there like me, to the Africans, and the poor, who are struggling with your dreams, God bless. Maybe one day you watch this on the internet. I say to you, trust yourself and believe. Whatever happen, don’t give up. Thank you!

How awesome is that. How awesome is it that a kid can just go to a library, can learn something from a book and can change not only his life but his family’s life, his town’s life and the lives of many people around the world who have heard his story.

It was his story that really inspired me to go into some sort of educational stuff because I felt like what he did is what we are moving towards in this world. He went and he pursued his passion and he learned in a non-linear way. He did not go to school where they say learn this and this and this, physics and math and blah blah blah. He went and he was excited about science. He learned about science and he applied it to his life.

It is very much the way that I learn; I am excited about business so I go on YouTube or I go on podcast or I buy an audiobook to learn about those sorts of things. I am excited about church and Christianity so I talk to people about that sort of stuff and they share things with me and I read articles and I listen to podcast about that. I did not go to business school. I did not go to university and truthfully I would not actually want to.

Should you go to business school? Well, let us see what one of the founders of Y Combinator or one of the guys who run Y Combinator, which is a successful startup incubator – these guys helped Dropbox, helped incubate Dropbox and some other pretty big companies. Let us see what he had to say about whether you should go to business school or not.

Okay. The question is “Is there any value in business school if you’re interested in entrepreneurship? And if so, what?” So, basically no. It sounds undiplomatic but the point is what business school was designed for is to teach people management. Right? And management is a problem that you only have after startup, if you are sufficiently successful. So really, what you need to know early on to make a startup successful is developing products. You’d be better off going to design school if you want to go to some sort of school. Although frankly, the way to learn how to do it is just to do it.

One of the things I got wrong early on is that I advised people who are interested in starting a startup is to go work for someone at some company for a few years before starting their own. But honestly, the best way to learn how to start a startup is just to start on your own. You might not be successful but you’ll learn faster if you just do it. So not really.

Business schools are trying really hard to do this but honestly they were designed to train the officer core of large companies, right, which is what business seemed to be back when it was a choice of either the officer core of large companies or Joe’s shoe store. Then there was this new thing Apple, which started smaller than Joe’s shoe store then turned into this giant mega company. But they weren’t designed for that world. They’re good at what they’re good at, they just do that and screw this whole entrepreneurship thing, just because it’s cool.

So it is pretty clear. He does not think that the general education system is going to help people when it comes to business. What about Gary V who is a successful business guy. He built up his family’s wine business from a few million dollars up to $40 or $60 million business. And now he has one of the fastest growing media agencies, social media agencies in America. Let us see what he had to say about whether or not people should go to college and study business at college.

Professors aren’t relevant to a lot of their students today more than ever because the behaviors of how we act aren’t mapping meaning. So many people have emailed me literally because of the show, emailed me that, “Hey! I’m in class right now and what my professor’s talking about makes no sense compared to – I’m watching your power.. I’m listening to your podcast right now. My professor’s talking because he or she are so out…”

Literally professors in major universities that are putting kids in debt right now are telling them that there is no ROI in social media like Ludacris — saying dumb— like, “Hey kids! Hey students! We’re gonna connect through modern things like you know…” It can’t even come out of my mouth. I’m so disgusted with what’s going on in universities across this country. And so it’s relevance. There’s eye-rolling and checking the — going out in classrooms all across this country and it’s sad because of the romance of how professors’ think it should be versus the reality of what it’s like.

So I shared these things to show you that learning is changing. People are learning in different ways and that is really where my passion came from, from teaching people and helping them to learn the way that they want to learn. So that is where my passion is derived from, that sort of learning. But the content that I am creating at the moment with On Property, I am finding it dry. It is uninspiring and it is just not me.

They say that when you are building a product, when you are building a startup, that it is important to go after a small group of people who are going to absolutely love your product.

It’s really important to take care of that first. Step 1 is to build something that users love. At YC, we tell founders to work on their product, talk to users, exercise, eat and sleep, and very little else. All the other stuff I just mentioned: PR, conferences including  advisers doing partnerships, you should ignore all of that and just build a product and get it as good as possible by talking to users.

Your job is to build something that users love. Very few companies that go on to be super successful get there without first doing this. A lot of good-on-paper startups fail because they merely make something that people like. Making something that people want, that only a medium amount is a greater fail and not understand why you are failing. So these are the two jobs. Something that we say at YC a lot is that it’s better to build something that a small number of users love than a large number of users like.

So if I am creating dry and uninspiring videos is there is going to be a small group of people who will love that.

I am trying to go after the mass market by answering hundreds of questions and getting access to that in Google but if people see those videos or if they see those blog posts and they are not inspired by them and they do not want to go and look at my other videos because it is not inspiring, is it actually going to grow the way I want? So rather than just doing the shotgun approach that I had planned and I had talked about in, I think it is episode 2 or 3, that I was just going to do these videos and smash them all out, maybe I should actually do something different and create less videos but videos that people will gravitate towards and they will absolutely love.

So I have decided, well I think I have decided – you guys know me, I change my mind almost daily but definitely weekly. I have decided to stop daily content for onproperty.com.au.

This is the big, big decision for me because I feel like daily content was my plan all along. The more content I build the more people would come to my website and the more money that I would make because I would be able to convert those people. But now, I want to create great content.  I want to create inspiring content, not just lots of content.

So I am going stop the daily content for On Property. I am going to focus on tightening up onproperty.com.au so there are a lot of articles on there, whether the transcriptions are not very good or I have not edited it into a blog post or there is no text on those pages at all, just a podcast episode or just a video. So I am going to tighten up onproperty.com.au and focus on fixing some of those areas. I want to do weekly episodes maybe, I am not 100% sure whether I will do weekly episodes or whether I will just do episodes sporadically but I definitely want to still create some content for the site, just maybe not as much as I have been creating.

And I also want to make sure that my product at On Property and my sales and marketing around the products are absolutely excellent. At the moment it is pretty hodge-podge. It is riddled with errors. It is not very convincing. It is not very clear.

So I want to make the product awesome which I think I am not very far off making it awesome, making that solve that one problem of helping people find positive cash flow properties. But I also want to make that sales messaging and that funnel awesome as well. So then really, I can just focus on maintaining On Property, letting it sit there and really tightening it up and making it an awesome experience.

So moving forward, anything I do at On Property now, that is  not just fixing old sort of stuff, is stuff that I want to be inspiring and I want it to be great content. I am not as focused on lots of content but I am focused on creating good content and letting my passion shine through.

So if I am not passionate then I will not do a video. If I am not pumped then I will not record. Really this is a big step back for me to say, Okay well, daily content is not actually important anymore. But good content is important. So it might take me some time to find my way around that, to find my schedule and to see what I am going to do but that is where I stand at the moment.

When it comes to this podcast, Instructions Not Included, I have been doing it daily on weekdays so 5 days a week. I do not think I can continue to maintain that especially if I am going to start this new podcasting project and I am still trying to tighten up On Property. So I might move to weekly, I might move to twice a week, maybe 3 times a week but I am going to take a step back from doing one episode every weekday. So episodes will not be as frequent but they will be at least weekly and potentially even more than weekly.

If we move to weekly then my guess is that they are going to be longer episodes so they will be like half an hour to an hour or something like that because I will still want to record little bits here and there each and every day as I have insights or as I grow my business or as I change my mind which is something you guys – if you have been following me since episode 1 you know I change my mind often. It has only been a couple of weeks and I have changed my mind quite a few times. Before I go, here is a quick snippet from the next episode.

I am actually thinking of spinning this off as a new product which I am going to call property tools. I have the website propertytools.com.au which I can set up and doing a lower price sort of thing for that. So On Property Plus is $300 a year or it is $50 a month and I am thinking for Property Tools it is going to start at $5 per month or $50 per year.

If you want to make sure you do not miss that episode or you want to get access to the back catalog of episodes then go into iTunes if you are on an Apple device or go into Stitcher Radio if you are on an Android device and search for Instructions Not Included. Hit the subscribe button and listen to the episodes, it might be worth starting at number 1. And you can also go to instructionsnotincluded.tv to see all the episodes over there.

So I hope that you have enjoyed today’s episode. Go out there. Make a change. Grow your own business. And remember, if you want instructions, buy some furniture.


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