Ryan McLean : Slightly Unconventional

#2 The Email That Cost Me $300

Last night I got an email that cost me $300 and it made me PISSED (at first) and it almost made me change my refund policy.

But after sleeping on it I decided to keep my refund policy (for now).

I am also implementing a new video strategy to help me create more videos faster.

life-lowresIn Today’s Episode

Today, on Instructions Not Included we talk about an email that cost me $300.00, how my training videos went yesterday and a new video strategy I’m trying moving forward.

Hi, and welcome to Instructions Not Included, featuring me Ryan McLane and my life as I try and make a decent living online. I hope that it teaches you a thing or two about marketing along the way.

First I wanted to talk about an email that I got last night that cost me $300.00, and it made me really pissed for a while and then I realized that I shouldn’t actually be angry about it.

Okay, so here is the email: “Hi Ryan, could you please cancel my membership and refund the money to my account. Thanks.”

I leave the person anonymous just for their sake.  Basically this email is from an annual subscriber to my On Property Plus Membership which is $300 per year.  And they signed up in mid to early October, so it’s been two to three months of using the service and now they want a refund. I was a bit annoyed when I first received this because I have heard that a lot of people do use open refund policies in order to refund things around Christmas time, so that they can afford to buy their Christmas presents and things like that.  So, as soon as I got this email I automatically went to that assumption.  I was like, “Ah, man, these people have been using my service, they haven’t given a reason. They’re not cranky like, there is nothing wrong with my service because it does exactly what I say its’ going to do, I think.” And I was just, you, frustrated. And I was like, “That’s it, I’m going to change my refund policy.  I’m going to have a 30-day refund policy because this is just ridiculous.”

But then as I slept on it and when I woke up in the morning I started thinking, “You know, well, this is kind of the way that I’m operating. I’m operating in an open honest way trying to attract open and honest people as well.  And I know that from my experience I’ve used refund policies in the past and then become a customer again. One of the major ones is my website host which is WP Engine.  I signed up for their service. I got frustrated with it, couldn’t use it and I asked for a refund. It was only $4 for the first month, so I got a refund of my $4.  But then three months later I was back using them again because it turned out to be the best option.  And I’ve had experiences as well where I’ve refunded my members in the past and they had then gone on to purchase other products of mine.

They might purchase a product like my self-leasing kit or my eBook or they might have bought an affiliate or something like that.  So, I do think refunds do buy a lot of goodwill and so I was pissed when I first received this. But I will give the refund and I will probably leave my policy at what it is which is a 365-day refund policy for my product.

So yesterday I talked about how I wanted to create some training videos as a way of outsourcing to a VA or virtual assistant and getting some of my time back so I can use that time creatively. I was actually able to create five videos yesterday for one particular process and it actually took me about half a day or day to create these five videos. And to do this process per week is probably about half a day of my time.  In terms of the time that I spent on it and the time that I’m going to get back, I’ll probably get that time back in about two weeks.  For me, that’s a pretty good investment.  That process is now done and I now need to look at creating more videos so I can outsource more of the things that I do so I can do less and less of the boring stuff and more and more of the fun stuff.

Just to give you an idea of some of the boring stuff that I do and I’m probably going to go into this in more details in a future episode so you can see step-by-step exactly what I do.  But I record videos so I then need to edit the videos which is not the funnest thing in the world. I then extract the audio from that video to turn it into an mp3.  I upload those files. I order transcriptions. I receive transcriptions. I create blog posts and publish it so that people can get access to it. I go through and I edit transcriptions.  That’s the kind of the list of some of the things that I have to do.

I enjoy making the videos. I enjoy coming up with the content, thinking creatively, talking, creating the video. What I don’t enjoy is that admin behind it – editing transcriptions, publishing the blog posts, even ordering transcriptions.  These are the things that I don’t need to be doing. And I’m not really adding any value by doing these myself, so it’s probably time that I outsource them.

The next step for me is actually trying to work out these processes before I go ahead and create the video. What exactly is the process to order transcription?  And what exactly is the process to take a transcription in a timely manner, convert it into a blog posts, etc. I therefore need to work that out. So I guess today that has to go on my list is work out some of these things that I can outsource.  Work out the process so I can then go ahead and create a video for it.

I’m pretty lucky today. I’ve got the house to myself.  I work from home and usually it’s a pretty busy house. We got two kids in this house. I’ve got a pregnant wife as well and usually I’m working to the sound of someone whining or crying. But today I had the house completely to myself which means that I’ve got peace and quiet which means I can record some videos.

Recording videos is difficult to do. It’s not so much difficult in that it’s very technical or you need to know what to do. I literally record my videos with my iPhone and I have a lapel mic, which is one of those clip on mics and that literally just goes into the headphone jack on my iPhone. And then I have a tripod, so I set it up and I film myself. I don’t write out a full script. I’ll do dot points of what I want to talk about and I’ll then just work off-the-cuff.

So in terms of technical knowledge or being able to do it technically, it doesn’t take a lot of work. And I now shoot videos start to finish. So if if I shoot a 10-minute video set up time might be one minute and I’ll then record the video, it literally takes me ten or eleven minutes. I’ll then end the video and then extracted into my editing software, and I do very little editing so there’s not a lot of time stuff there.  But it does emotionally drain you, it just sucks you of your emotions because you need to be happy on the camera.

You guys don’t want to be seeing me as I really am when I’m super depressed and I’m like, “Oh my God, I don’t want to do a video. I just want to sit here and I want to do some boring stuff because I just don’t have the emotional energy to record a video.” So being on camera, doing my hair, putting on the clothes that I need to wear to video and then doing all the gestures and everything like that kind of drains me a little. And I get a bit sick of it, you know, it’s fine doing it every now and then or once a week or whatever. But when I’m doing daily episode and I do daily episodes, doing that in video format is pretty stressful and pretty emotionally draining.

So I thought, “How can I do this?” I was thinking about it and thinking about my future in this industry and what I’m doing.  And I’m thinking, okay Podcast is good but the growth is slow, you know. I think podcasting will be big around four to five years time. I think we’ll see better podcast search engines; we’ll be seeing better indexing of content; people who’ll be listening to podcasts differently.  So rather than just subscribing to a podcast they’ll be searching for different podcast just on the topic, like you use Google at the moment.  But I thought video, video is apparently growing faster than Google searches and, you know, I wonder if video one day will take over Google searches and so YouTube for me is very big and a very growing area that I want to be a part of. And the fact is it’s not many people on the property space in Australia that are actively making YouTube videos. There’re a couple of people who make a couple of videos every now and then but nothing serious like what I want to do. And so, I want every episode that I do to also be on video. But then I’ve got that emotional stress of  trying to create the video.

So my new strategy which I invented (oh I didn’t invent it), but I thought about yesterday was to actually create a screencast so I just do up a quick keynote presentation. Really quick, literally like five slides of my dot points that I usually write on my piece a paper. And I just recorded an audio podcast like I’m recording for you guys right now but then as I did it I just went through the different slides on my computer and record my computer screen. And so now I’ve got a video which has five slides, it’s not super exciting video, but hey it’s better than nothing. And I’ve got the audio which I can then convert into a podcast and do my  radio thing. And the benefit is, I didn’t have to be on camera; I didn’t have to do all the gestures and everything that makes me so stressed and so emotionally tired.  So I’m hoping that this will allow me to bang out more episodes without the emotional and creative stressed so then I have more creativity to focus on other things that I want to do.

Before I go, here are some scenes from an upcoming episode:  10 views – no one celebrates 10 views on the YouTube video.  A million views maybe, 10 million views definitely. But 10?  Why would you celebrate 10 views? Well, I celebrated 10 views today. And I’m going to share with you why these 10 views are so important to me.

“Patience and passion, but for with passion there’s way too many people in this room right now that are doing stuff that they hate, please stop doing that. There is no reason in 2014 to do what you hate. None! Promise me you won’t because you can lose just as much money being happy as hell.”

If you want to hear that episode or any other episodes or subscribe to the podcast search for “Instructions Not Included” in iTunes or Stitcher or got to instructionsnotincluded.tv. So, that’s what I’ve got planned for the day.

I just want to encourage you if you’re listening to this today, go out and take one step towards the future that you want for yourself or go out and try something new.  Yesterday afternoon, knock on my door at 4 o’clock and it’s my next door neighbour Kell who is 93 years old, dressed in his tennis gears, ready to play tennis with me. And so, we went out and played tennis for about an hour together and he was pretty good, very good, and he was teaching me how to play, teaching me how to serve and all of this sort of stuff, and we had a good game.  I actually won, but I think he went easy on me. Next time it won’t be so easy.  But that is something that I haven’t done in ages. I haven’t played tennis in ages and I’ve definitely never played tennis with a 93-year-old.  But it was great fun and it was something different and so I encourage you, go out and do something fun today, do something different and find a way to inspire yourself in the work that you do up. Just for fun trying to inspire yourself.

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