Ryan McLean : Slightly Unconventional

My 3 Year Goal and Rough Plan

iniartworksmallI think we’ve worked out partially what we want our lives to look like in 3 years and I might even have a plan to get there.

Hey and welcome to Instructions Not Included, the series about me, Ryan McLean, as I try and make a decent living online. In this episode, I’m going to talk a little bit about where I think we want to be in 3 years’ time because I’ve got some clarity around that. As well as becoming a content business.

If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you know I’m constantly changing strategies and so, this may be just another one of those changes or it may be a new direction moving forward.

First, let’s talk about where we want to be in 3 years’ time. I talked to you in the previous episode about looking at my business in terms of where I want to be in 3 years’ time and designing my business so that I can achieve those things in 3 years’ time.

I see so many people starting businesses not thinking about the future and basically finding themselves trapped in the future because their business isn’t designed to give them the life that they want.

For example, Ben the buyer’s agent, he makes a great deal of money. He has a really solid income from his business. However, his business is very reliant on him, very reliant on a lot of client interaction. If he wanted to work less or didn’t want to be a buyer’s agent anymore, in order to get himself out of the business, he would need to hire sales people.

He would need to hire people to manage clients. It would just be very difficult because then he’d be managing those people, which is still a job in and of itself. So in terms of his business, it isn’t really a business where it can just be managed and he can go and do what he wants.

He does have a rental agency on the side that I think he partnered with his mom in order to start that. And that, he doesn’t have to do a lot in because his mom runs it. So he started a business, he’s not the only person in it.

Someone else is running it and he basically doesn’t have to play a large day-to-day role in it. So that’s 2 examples of 2 different types of businesses that generate different outcomes for you. Really, you need to think at the start; okay, what business do I want?

Anyway, to get to the point, I talked about thinking about where I want to be in 3 years and trying to design a business around that. Well, something that me and my wife have always been inspired about is kind of this tiny house living, traveling in a caravan or a motorhome – even thinking back to 4 or 5 years ago, when I used to work for Alpha Pharm, a large pharmaceutical company, we always talked about getting a caravan.

Potentially doing some travel around Australia. Even quitting my job to do it or maybe just getting a caravan and doing weeks away in it. So, we’ve been talking about this for 4 or 5 years and it’s gone through a lot of different phases – from caravans to tiny houses.

Now, we’re kind of on the vein of it’d be awesome to get a camper van that could be my second car rather than having the little second car that I have. Sell that, have the camper van as our second family car. But have it so that it could seat 5 people, so we could all fit in it. And also, sleep 5 people and then we could do trips away, just for the weekend or something like that.

We’re not going to live out of a camper van with 5 of us. That would probably just be insane. But that idea of being able to get away whenever you want is something that is really important to us and something that we definitely want to work towards.

I’m thinking with my business in the future, I definitely want to me more hands off. My ideal business, I would be able to take basically a week’s holiday every single month would be my goal so I could work for 3 weeks and then have a week off and do something fun with the family.

We home school my daughter. We may be sending my son to school next year, so that might change things. But we basically have the freedom and the potential, if we decide to home school our kids, to be traveling whenever we want because we can just still do school while we travel. That’s pretty cool. Basically, I’m thinking about that and I was talking – no, I wasn’t talking, I was writing down. I was talking to myself.

I was writing down in my notepad the sort of things that would make a perfect website or perfect business for me.

The perfect website in terms of – this will lead into me talking about my content strategy – is something where I can create content for the website and I can help people through the content that I create. It’ll be a website that would generate no incoming emails for me to deal with, so no customer interaction, basically, there. A third party website or I’d recommend third party products would be the ideal. So things like Amazon affiliate sites, AdSense websites. Sites where you recommend other information products and stuff like that.

Ideally, you would just be an information hub and then you’d go ahead and recommend people to other places. So, in a perfect world, that’s my perfect site because it’s something that I can work on building and I can create content when I want, but it’s something that I don’t need to actively manage so it gives me the freedom to go away when I want.

It’s not really going to affect my website. Whereas, at the moment, in 2 days, we’re heading off to Sydney for a week. I’m going to have to keep monitoring my emails for things related to On Property. Maybe new customers, maybe customer issues, etc., etc.

Basically, in a perfect world, I’d be rid of that and I just have these probably niche websites that I would run on the side and build those up over time. In a perfect world, I’d also have websites where I could pay writers to help me write content for those sites so I wouldn’t be doing it all myself and it wouldn’t be all built on me. Because at the moment, in terms of my content empire, all the websites that I have, it’s all built on me and the content that I create. So in a perfect world, I would have websites where I could hire people to write for me and that would be a viable option.

Thinking 3 years into the future, and this leads me into the content strategy and things like that, is the business that I would like to have is a very hands off business, but it’s something that makes sense in terms of I can continually build this because I continually add in content and the more content I add, the more money I can make, which can pay for more content. So it kind of got this perpetual machine feel to it. However, there wouldn’t be ongoing management, which is a thing that I want to get away from.

Now, looking at my current situation and where I am now, I’m definitely not there yet. I don’t own enough money to be able to take a week off every 3 weeks. Firstly, we couldn’t afford the holidays. Secondly, I need to be working in order to generate enough money because I just need to kind of make things happen. So I’ve still got a bit of a ways to go to get to where I want to be.

At the moment, and I think I talked about it in the previous episode, On Property kind of generates around $40,000 a year through my own products and $40,000 a year through recommending Ben the buyer’s agent. I would really like to see that continue. I have made some changes to my products so On Property is no longer a yearly recurring subscription.

It’s just a one-off payment of $299. Property Tools is now a one-off payment of $99 and you get 12 months access. I’ve moved from a membership model, which I feel like wasn’t necessarily working for me to a one-off sales model, which I’m hoping will have less friction and, therefore, be able to generate more consistent sales for me – things that I can predict. It sounds strange to move away from a membership model where you think will be more predictive to a single sales model.

However, when I look at generating $30,000 a year or $40,000, I look at really, I need to get 2 sales per month for On Property. No, not 2 sales per month, 2 sales per week. So that’d be 100 sales in a year or $300, that’s $30,000. And then I have Property Tools on the side as well as eBooks and courses that will kind of make up the extra $10,000. So, $40,000 would be covered there if I can get 2 sales per week.

So I have changed On Property from a blog that also has products into On Property is now this membership and I also have a blog to help market the membership site. That change has just taken place – haven’t had any sales yet. It will take time to work out; is this having an impact that I want and is it going to generate the income that I want? In terms of recommending people to Ben, we’ve got a lot of great strategies. We worked together on Friday.

We got a lot of great strategies to send people to him. Basically, we’re in this situation at the moment where I can send him more leads than he can deal with. And so, we’re just working on how to communicate better with each other so that I can deliver him the amount of people that he needs and that he can handle and help while maximizing the return on investment for both of us. So, not sending him too many people like we did with the webinar a couple of months ago, where he had 100 strategy session requests.

That’s an hour of his time each, so even if he works full time for 2.5 weeks just to make strategy sessions, 40-hour weeks, we would get through those 100 people.

It will take him 2.5 weeks, that’s doing nothing else. So 100 people is not really viable. And so, we’re working on strategies to basically maximize the quality of people that are coming through so he can work with less people but they have a better chance of converting into a sale. And then also, just managing it so that he’s getting just enough – not too little, not too many. And so, we’re working on the communication there.

Hopefully, in a perfect world, $40,000 from him would be great. And then, I’d also like to build up my content website. This is things like Public Speaking Power. This is things like my niche website. I’ve got an audio book website. I’ve got a website about podcasting. Each of these makes a little bit of money. I think Public Speaking Power makes $50 a month or something like that. The goal for these sites were basically to build them up where they could maybe make $20,000 a year within the next 12 months. And so, we’ve got $80,000 coming from On Property, but then we’ve got $20,000 coming from these niche websites.

The goal towards as we get to the 3-year mark, would basically be to have a sustainable income coming from websites that don’t require email assistance, don’t require ongoing customer support, that sort of stuff. So 3 years’ time down the track, that’s the goal. So I’ll be creating a lot of blogs, a lot of audio, a lot of reviews, all of this sort of stuff so that I can make affiliate commissions, be diversified in the affiliate things that I recommend. So I’ll have lots of different income streams coming through. And so, they’re more protected and also, that it’s more passive.

That’s kind of where I want to be in 3 years’ time as well as the strategy for getting there. At the moment, On Property is still my biggest website, so that needs to play an important role in it. But overtime, I would love to see these new sites do even better. That way, we could even change the strategy for On Property and just recommend Ben or go the advertising route or do whatever we want with it. We’ve got the potential there to do what we want with On Property if we have other income sources.

So that’s where I’m at in my business. That’s my goal for the next 3 years. I hope that you’ll follow me for the next 3 years and see how this happens. And hopefully, in 3 years’ time, I will have the camper van, we’ll be going on weekend trips. I’ll be having a week off every 4 weeks and I’ll be living the life that I want. We’ll see how it goes.

Life never works out as planned, but we’re going to try for it and see what happens. That’s it for me and my business. Go ahead and work on your business and just remember; design a business that’s going to give you the lifestyle that you want, rather than just creating a business and hoping that the lifestyle will come in the future because you might create this perpetual machine because as businesses get bigger, they feed on themselves and they require so much more.

Just be careful when you’re starting out. Design a business that’s going to give you the life that you want. That’s it for me. Until next time, if you want instructions, go and buy some furniture.

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#71 Old Project Updates Plus A New Project

iniartworksmallWhat I am doing in 2016 has already changed from the original plans I had in January. Here is an update on some old project from 2015 and what I am doing now in 2016.

Hey, and welcome back to Instructions Not Included, the podcast where you follow me, Ryan McLean, as I try and create a decent living online.

If you followed any of the episodes for 2015, basically, 2015 was all about On Property. Creating, growing and eventually getting to the point where On Property was quite successful, but wasn’t going to be the runaway success that we wanted.

I’ve done one episode for 2016 already, but I through I’d do another episode and just update you guys and update myself on what’s been happening. You may remember from 2015, if you listened to those episodes, I created a website called dreamydad.com where I talked about night terrors in children.

I created a bunch of videos around night terrors and a solution that I linked to on Amazon on how to solve them, which is called the Lully, which is a vibrating disc that goes under your kid’d bed. It’s a solution I’ve used myself. It’s basically the only solution for this problem out there.

Well, an update for that is it’s had a total of 352 views on Youtube.

It’s had a total of 15 visitors to the website and it’s made a total of $0.02. So given that I probably invested $50-$100 into this website, we can basically say that this is a flop. And Dreamy Dad, I will leave it up and see how it goes, but I probably won’t renew the domain next year and I’ll probably leave the Youtube videos up there just to help people out. But in terms of making money, Dreamy Dad, definitely a flop.

Pelt, as well, P-E-L-T dot C-O was a site that I created to talk about how to do particular things online, like how to run an evergreen launch funnel, how to setup a membership site. I went through and I created a bunch of episodes for that.

It has done better than Dreamy Dad, but it hasn’t been the business that I had hoped it would be. I think back when I was looking at moving on from On Property, moving on to an educational website, that being Pelt, I was hoping that Pelt would be the be all and end all of my business.

I would start with teaching online stuff and then I would move on to other areas and it would basically be like Lynda, which is just a site where there’s so many different courses on there. It would be like that, but it would be free and I make money through affiliate deals and that didn’t turn out as expected.

I think I’ve made over $100 in affiliate commissions through that site and I am making some money in terms of Youtube ad revenue as well. I think I checked it yesterday and this moth so far, it’s made $4.15. So definitely better than the $0.02 that Dreamy Dad made.

I invested less money into this. I have invested some transcriptions into the episodes and things like that. I think I’ve got $20 a month that’s recurring subscription as well, like a recurring affiliate commission as well, so hopefully that will continue and we’ll get more of those, but Pelt has been put on the back burner for now as I ran out of things to talk about. And I just wasn’t excited enough to do reviews of every internet service out there, every hosting company to do comparisons and all that sort of stuff.

It was something that I was interested in when I was creating courses how to start a membership site, how to create an evergreen launch funnel.

That was exciting, but when I looked at the keyword data and looked at what am I going to need to do to make this site successful, I was going to have to create a lot of content that just wasn’t going to be very interesting for me, so it’s there. I may re-approach it, but it’s kind of just on the back burner at the moment. We’ll make a little in affiliate commission and some ad revenue, but nothing major.

PodcastFast, I did plan at one stage to create a new series on how to create a podcast because a lot has changed since I created the last series about a year or 18 months ago. So I wanted to do an updated version of that, but just haven’t got around to doing it. So that’s all my list of things to do this year.

When it comes to On Property, that has been a journey and quite an exciting one recently. I had been umming and ahhing about selling On Property versus keeping it on autopilot.

Basically, I approached a friend of mine who’s in the industry and said, “Hey, look, here’s where my head space is at. Think of selling On Property, not 100% sure. Would you want it?” and that led us down a whole path in terms of conversations, in terms of talking about partnering with each other and talking about him acquiring On Property and acquiring me to work for his business.

We had a lot of back and forth discussion. I really had to dig deep and really come to terms with what do I want for my business? What do I want from my life? In the end, what we’ve decided on or, I guess, what I decided on because it wasn’t his first choice. I decided that I couldn’t sell it and go and work for someone else. I wanted to be the captain of my own ship and run my own thing and that’s just something in me that wants to do that and so I’ve decided moving forward, I’m keeping On Property.

I’m not going to sell it, but I have decided to partner with this person and to basically turn On Property into a lead generation tool for them. So I’ll be de-focusing a lot of my own products. They’ll still be there, but I won’t be putting a lot of focus on them in terms of marketing and I’ll spending more of my focus on marketing this person and their service.

So, On Property, we’re moving forward doing that. Hopefully, this gives us an opportunity to – I found that one of the hardest things about On Property was that a lot of my time was being spent doing customer service and I didn’t like that. I wasn’t passionate about that. I love creating free content. I love the aspect that I’m helping people to not get stung, helping people to make good decisions.

I loved that aspect, but I was just getting bogged down in customer service. Bugs for my products that needed to be created, all this sort of stuff. And so, this seemed like a great opportunity for me to market someone else’s business, help them grow their business. But at the same time, I can stop focusing on customer service and focus on what I do best, which is creating great free content.

You know, building an audience, building a community, all of that sort of stuff. So I’m pretty excited about this and I’ll talk more about it in a few episode, but On Property, it’s not on autopilot anymore, so I will be updating it probably about 3 times a week. So I’m looking at putting about 2 days a week’s work into On Property. And then, I’m also building out a new niche site, which will hopefully be one of many this year.

I did state in a previous episode that I wanted my income, which is now 95% or more comes from On Property. I would like 50% to be coming from On Property by the end of the year. So 2 days a week, I’ll be focusing on On Property. 3 days a week, I’ll be focusing on different things. Partly on this new niche site, party on things like this – Instructions Not Included – and maybe some other niche sites down the track.

I found a niche that I’m very interested in that I’m not going to reveal to you guys, but I’m excited about it and I’m going to work that and see how it goes. So far, I’ve had 10 or 20 people visit my site. So nothing special is happening there at the moment, but as I build it out, I will give you guys periodic updates as to how things are going. I’m looking at building out a whole bunch of different niche sites to try and build up the income and I guess diversify my income.

That is where I’m at, at the moment. Dreamy Dad, dead and a dud. Pelt, on the back burner, not really doing anything, just leaving it there, but it is creating a little bit of passive income. So that’s nice, it’s great to get that ad revenue. Views do look to be growing on Youtube as well. So hopefully that will improve and continue to become better. Podcastfast, I would like to create a new series for that when I get around to it. On Property.

I’ll be building a lot of new content and marketing someone else’s services as the primary revenue source there. And I’m looking at creating a new niche site as well.

So things are evolving in 2016. Already, I’ve changed tack from what I thought I was going to do at the start of the year and I’m looking at different things and I’m sure that by the time we get to the end of the year, I would have changed 5 or 6 times again. I’m just trying many different things to see what works. Hopefully, we’ll get there and by the end of the year, we’ll look back and we’ll see that this has been a great year.

I hope that you continue to work on your business. You don’t give up that when things don’t go your way or things don’t work out perfectly, you just keep striving along. Because that’s what I do, I just keep trying, keep trying, keep trying. Oh, let’s try this. That didn’t work, try something else. That didn’t work, try something else. That didn’t work. Oh, that worked okay, but we need to try something else and just goes on and on until, hopefully, we’ll achieve the success that we want.

Look, I’m pretty happy with my life, pretty happy with the way things are turning out and I’m happy to keep working at this.

I hope you guys go and work on your business. Be encouraged that it’s not going to be perfect every time, but that’s the best thing about online business, is you get a lot of different go’s. And one of the things I love about On Property is I have an audience of over 100,000 people a month come to that website and so I can try something.

If it doesn’t work, then I can try something else. And I’ll keep trying until I hit on something that resonates with the market and then, basically, I can run with that. Alright, guys, that’s it, Ryan out. Until next time, if you want instructions, go and buy some furniture.

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#66 My Business Strategy Moving Forward

iniartworksmallSince I realised my current business strategy wasn’t working I have created a new strategy that I will be testing.

Hey Guys, Ryan here from Instructions Not Included. I wanted to give you an update on my strategy of my business moving forward.

I last recorded and episode a little over a week ago how I made the realization that my business wasn’t actually viable the way I was approaching it and I needed to make some major changes to my business and to my business model. And so, I wanted to give you guys a bit of an update on where I’m at with that and some of the plans I have moving forward. So, if you haven’t listened to the previous episode, go back and listen to that so you can see the realization that I had.

But basically, the way that I was looking at it, I thought I was running a sticky membership site where people would recur over and over again, but what I’ve discovered was that 90% of people were leaving within the first year.

So basically, ever single year, I’m starting from scratch with new members.

So what has that affected? Well, it’s affected the way that I sell On Property Plus. I now think of it more as a single one-time product than I do as a recurring membership subscription. So I’ve gone back to selling it through an evergreen sales funnel. So people come into the funnel, they get some free videos and then the door’s open for them for a limited time – for 5 days.

They get special links for that and they get 5 days to act and to purchase. Otherwise, it then closes for them and they can’t access it anymore. So it adds scarcity to the situation to help get people over the line and it’s actually real scarcity because they only get that only opportunity for that set period of time and if they don’t take action, then they can’t actually sign up after that. I’m also considering doing a couple of major launches throughout the year, but I haven’t taken any action on that.

A bit of an update there. My first cohort is going through this week of I think it was around 60 people or something like that. It opened the doors yesterday. I’ve already had one sale of $300. So that is a positive outlook for me seeing as I can already see that it’s working. I haven’t had annual sale in like 2 months. So to get an annual sale on the first day that doors opened was very exciting and I think it’s next week from the tracking that I looked at, we’ve got over 300 people going through the launch sequence next week.

These people aren’t as targeted, so we’re really going to have to track that and see how things go, but it’s going to be really interesting to see if this is going to be viable. If I can achieve my goals through this. So that’s set up – that’s really good.

I’ve also gone deep into the tracking. And so, what I’m going to be doing is tracking what freebie people signed up for. And then, I can track based on what people signed up for, how likely are they to convert into a sale. So I can estimate; okay, someone who signs up for the new build checklist, they’re, on average, worth $1 per user. Someone who signs up for the free properties checklist, on average, they’re worth $6 a user. So then I can focus on creating free content that attracts the right people. So that’s the idea behind it. So I’ve got about 5 or 6 things that I’m tracking there.

I still got a bit of work to do to setup the tracking in full for that, but I’ve got a little bit of it going, which is good.

What else are we at? Okay, Property Tools is just ticking away. No changes there at the moment. I don’t have any plans for that, but basically, On Property is going on autopilot. I did get another commission from Ben. But, yeah, On Property, in terms of content, in terms of marketing, it’s going basically on autopilot.

I’m going to collect some of that data and based on what the data tells me, that will drive what sort of content I create in the future because I want to create the right content that attracts people who are likely to buy from my product. So I’ll scale that up slowly through content marketing, but I just want to focus on the right content for me and for the product that I’m selling. And then, hopefully, I can just fund that with On Property Plus as well as commissions from Ben.

So that’s On Property out of the way. That was the big thing that we had to deal with last week was that it wasn’t viable and now we’re in a situation where we believe it’s going to be viable moving forward. It’s not going to be a homerun success. It’s not going to be the future of my business, but hey, it can tick along in the background. It can generate enough revenue to keep us going and for me to pursue other things.

Now, let’s talk about what I am doing and the plans that I have moving forward. When I started working for myself full time, when I quit my 6-figure income job to work for myself full time, I had big dreams about what I wanted to do with my business and the kind of thing that I wanted to create. When I was talking to my wife about our whole situation, she said to me, “Go back to the place where you last felt like God was saying to you, ‘Yes, this is what you’re meant to do.’ where you last felt like you were on track to create what you wanted to create.” Going back, the last thing where I was absolutely like, “Yes.

I’m really passionate about this.” was when I was thinking about creating an education company for adults, basically. What I want to do is help teach people basically any form of education that’s going to help them improve their lives in some way. I want to be a part of that. I always wanted to create really practical education things that they can use to apply to improve their lives.

So going back, that’s kind of the last time I was really happy – the last time I was really passionate. And so I went back to that and I thought, “Okay, let’s just say On Property ticks away and we’re going to survive. I’m not going to have to go back to work for myself, how do I want to move forward with my business?” The problem with On Property, you know On Property was great. Creating your own products is a great way to make money, but there’s a lot of maintenance in creating your own products.

There’s a lot of effort that goes into creating your own products, which takes away from creating free content to market those products. And then, once you launch them and sell them, obviously, there’s ongoing support and maintenance for that. And so, I was thinking, if I want to build a large, scalable company, I need to think about things other than my own products. There’s definitely going to be some situations where I will create my own products, but if I want to go broad, I need to think of a business strategy that is going to work better.

Something that was really cool was I created this mini course on how to start a podcast fast. So I talk through it, it was really practical, step-by-step guide on how to create a podcast. And I just created that, I put it on Youtube.

I put it on my website, podcastfast.com and basically set it up. And I had big plans for the site to launch my own products, but I never got around to it. But anyway, that course has been viewed thousands and thousands of times by people and it’s made me over $1000 Australian in referrals to a web host which I recommend, Arvix. Basically, people go through the tutorial. Part of the tutorial is here’s how you setup a website for your podcast and here’s a host that I recommend, it’s Arvix, and I got a coupon code.

A special coupon code that gets them 20% off, but then also that’s an affiliate link, an affiliate code and so it’s get tracked to me and I make money every time someone signs up. So over the course of how ever long it’s been since I launched that – I would have to go back into the Instructions not Included archives to work out when I launched that, but it’s made about $1,000 for me.

I feel really great about it because I was able to put out free content, really help people and then, obviously, there’s the financial reward of the $1,000 that I’ve received. And so, I thought, “Okay, well, this is a business model that I’ve kind of micro tested and kind of proven to work. Maybe I can take this idea and I can take it to other things that I know how to do.” And again, my wife was really encouraging me to go down this route.

She’s been talking about it for months. For me to create videos, to create podcast, to create lessons on the things that I know how to do. Things like how to create a website and stuff like that. But I never wanted to be in the make-money-online niche. I have been in that in the past when I wasn’t making any money online. I don’t want to be one of those make-money-online gurus and have the majority of my income come from me telling people how to make money. I was really put off by that for a long time.

But then I thought about this podcastfast series that I did and I thought, “You know what I could do, I could create series that showed people practically how to do some of the things that I do.” So rather than saying to people, “Here’s how to make money online.” I can say to people, “Okay, you want to make money online in X way, here’s how to go about setting that up.” The same approach I’ve taken for On Property.

I don’t own any property so I can’t say to people, “Here’s the best way to invest. Look at me, I’ve invested, I’m so successful.” I say, “Okay, you want to invest in positive cash flow property, here’s how to find them. I’ll teach you how to find them or provide services for you on how to find them.” So I’m telling them they should invest this way. I’m not saying I’m successful. I’m just saying I know how to find positive cash flow properties and so, here, I’m going to help you.

I like to relate it to the gold rush. I am someone who’s selling pans to the people who are coming to the gold rush. So I’m not selling a course on how to become rich through the gold rush. But what I’m doing is I’ve got a shop where I’m just providing people with pans or with Levi jeans that they can buy that’s going to help them when they’re out there panning for gold. So rather than saying, “Here’s how you should pan for gold.” People are like, “I’m coming here to pan for gold.” and I’m like, “Well, here’s a pan.” or “Here’s some jeans to keep you warm while you’re panning for gold.”

The first course that I’m going to be creating is how to create a membership site with zero coding. So how can you setup a membership site and sell your membership site without touching a line of code at all? And so, this will be a mini-series.

It ended up being broken into 12 parts and it’ll walk people through exactly how to setup a membership site that they can go ahead and sell. Start from the very beginning, about buying a domain name, getting a hosting, all of that sort of stuff. And I have a couple of affiliate products in there that I’m recommending – domain name, hosting and LeadPages as well and WishList member. So I think I’ve got 4 affiliate products that I recommend as part of how to create this membership site with zero coding.

The goal is this is the same as podcastfast – to put it out, to create this awesome, epic mini-series that just walks people through exactly how to do it and then the goal is to create affiliate income through that, through the products and services that I recommend.

I also have plans for how to create an evergreen launch sequence. Maybe some stuff on email marketing. Maybe that’s all I’ve got – the membership site and the evergreen launch sequence are kind of the two that I’m mulling over at the moment. I’ll do the membership site one. Move on to the evergreen one and then, hopefully I’ve come up with another idea for something I can create after that. So that’s what I’m up to. That’s my strategy at the moment. Get On Property ticking away and then use my time to create these educational videos that I’m giving away for free. And then, the business model is that there’ll be some affiliate income through that.

That’s where I’m at at the moment. That’s where my business is at. All of these lessons will be hosted on my website, Pelt. So I’ve got pelt.co and so that’s a brand name that I’m going with. Originally, I wanted to make it stand for something like, “Personal Education Life Transformation” or “Personal Education Learning and Tools” or “Learning and Training” or something like that. But in the end, I’ve gone with Pelt – Learn Faster. That’s my tagline at the moment. I don’t think it’s awesome, but I think it’s good enough for now.

So all of these tutorials, you guys can find. Just go to pelt.co and you’ll be able to find them all over there. Yeah, I’m really excited for this. I’m really excited to create these really helpful mini-series for people. I think it’s going to help a lot of people and I think it’s also a potential for me to create the passive income that I want to have the live that I want in 3-5 years where I can travel with my family and have the freedom and flexibility to do a whole variety of things. Some of these stuff that I recommend will be one-time payments and I’ll get a fee, like with hosting. But then, some of it is recurring as well, so the email marketing stuff I’ll recommend will be recurring.

I’ll also recommend Snappy Checkout to receive payments, so that’ll be recurring. So if you need to receive payments for any of your products, there is no better solution. This is my shameless plug for Snappy Checkout, I’m affiliate for. Go ahead, check it out. Go to pelto.co/sc for Snappy Checkout and you can go ahead and check that out. It’s absolutely my favourite way to collect payments.

It integrates with Paypal or Stripe so they can pay credit card or Paypal. Their fees are really low. I was just actually looking at their fees and it’s 2% or $0.50, whichever is lower. So I worked it out – if you have a product over $25, the most you will pay is $0.50. That’s where it becomes $0.50. I sell a product for $300, right? If I went to somewhere like Gumroad, they charge 5%. So, on top of Stripe, which is 2.9%, I’m paying an extra 2.1% if I go with Gumroad. Let’s just call it 2% to make it easy. So on a $300 product, an extra 2% is $6 for me.

If I sell 10 a month, that’s $60 a month. If I sell 100 a year, that’s $600 a year if I go with Gumroad. If I go with Snappy Checkout, then I’m paying $0.50 rather than $6 on that $300 product. So it’s no-brainer that I would use Snappy Checkout. And also, their checkout, I really it because it looks really professional. It looks really trustworthy. And also, they don’t require people’s shipping addresses. Often, you’ve got this checkouts and people need to put in their shipping addresses to buy an electronic product and I think that lowers conversions and so less people checkout.

You can tell, I use it for all of my products. I absolutely love it. Please go and check it out through my affiliate link, I’d really appreciate it. Go to pelt.co/sc for Snappy Checkout and sign up for an account today.

So that’s where I’m at in my business. Not planning on doing Instructions Not Included episodes daily at the moment because I just don’t have enough to keep updated, but I’ll probably keep them going about once a week or just whenever I feel the urge to say something to you guys. So I hope that you are moving your business forward. I hope that you’re learning from my mistakes. And if you want instructions, you know what to do – go and buy some furniture.

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#64 I’ve Lost My Niche

iniartworksmallAfter feeling like I had no idea how to move forward I have decided to refocus in on my niche of investing in positive cash flow properties.

I think I have worked out the solution to my problem. I am not 100% sure that I have worked out the solution, but at least I’ve got something to go with now. So if you have listened to the last episode or if you haven’t, go back and listen to it.

Basically, I am struggling at the moment because revenue has decreased in my business and I don’t know what I did wrong, and I don’t know what to do. So it has been laying very heavily on my mind as to what exactly I need to do to get myself out of this rut and to transform my business, get my business healthy again and keep it going.

On the bright side, I have spoken to Ben and he was saying that there are some good leads coming through his buyers’ agency. so in terms of cash flow I don’t think I have anything to stress about. But in terms of the longevity of my business that’s what I have been stressing about and I don’t really have a solution.

And then I was just thinking about it and thinking about it, talking to my wife about it, thinking about it some more and I came to the realization that I used to be the positive cash flow guy and everything I would talk about on my site would all be around investing in positive cash flow property. And then the issued that I had was that I had kind of tapped out that market in terms of organic traffic, in terms of search engine traffic and SEO because only so many things you can write about how to find positive cash flow property which is really the problem that I solved.

And so what I then did was I started to create content that was just about general property investing. So, I expanded my niche.

But I think the mistake that I made is that I should have still remain the positive cash flow guy and still focus on that niche but my free content is just more general in nature in order to reach a larger audience. So what I did and the mistake that I think I’ve made is I went from the positive cash flow guy to the property guy.

And being a property guy in a space of thousands of property advisors, buyers, agents, property marketers – all of these sorts of people, I’m just one in a sea of thousands. And so I think the mistake that I made and again I could be wrong on this and I could need to change my mind, but the mistake that I have made is I’ve gotten away from my core message which is investing in positive cash flow property and helping people invest in positive cash flow property.

And so I was thinking about my products. I was thinking about my offerings. And the way that I came upon – I guess, this discovery that I had lost my niche was I was wondering with this problem – Is it a product problem?” “Do my products suck and I need all new products? Is it a pricing problem? So my products are overpriced or under-priced or just not priced correctly? Or is it a marketing problem and I’m not marketing my products correctly? And I do feel like it’s a marketing problem – that I’m not marketing my products correctly.  Because I’ve got a lot of people that signed up for my services and my products and are happy with them.

Therefore, I’m pretty sure that it’s not the products. I’m pretty sure it’s not the pricing. I’m pretty sure that it is nothing. So I’m thinking along this train of thought and then came up with I guess the idea that I’d lost my niche.

As a result, I was rethinking through my products and what I have to offer and how I can position them and I only got back to being the positive cash flow guy or on On Property to be all about finding positive cash flow property. So what I’ll have is On Property listings which I’ll probably might even change the name to Positive Cash Flow Listings just to make it more obvious. I’m not 100% sure about that but I have the listing so that’s a service that I hope you will find real positive cash flow properties.

I’m going to merge my courses into one which I’m going to call Positive Cash Flow Boot Camp. This will be a three-part course. Therefore, the three courses that are selling as individual units will now become one boot camp. And I really feel like when you say boot camp it makes you think about an intensive something that you go through. You can chew on the content quickly. You build up the skills quickly. To me, that’s exactly what a boot camp is. Therefore, to take the three products that I have, packaged them together into positive cash flow boot camp I can show people how to find positive cash flow properties, how to research an area and also how to evaluate individual properties. So I’m confident with that.

Also, property tools I think I may need to put – not on the back burner but just not a huge focus on my site.  Nevertheless, there are property tools I’ll be marketing as tools to help you invest in positive cash flow properties. So I’ve got all of that same sort of products – a tiny bit of repackaging with the boot camp, but basically the same. I’m just changing the marketing around it and changing my focus back to my original niche which is helping people find positive cash flow properties.

I also wanted to record this episode quickly because I’ve listened to something and I don’t want to forget it. I was listening to The Fizzle Podcast which is great. It’s an awesome bunch of guys over there at Fizzle and they were talking about finding your true voice and there were two things that they’ve talked about in the podcast episodes. It’s episodes one and two of that podcast if you want to go check it out. But two things that they talked about that resonated with me around this topic of finding your voice, finding your niche – all of this sort of stuff. And one thing that really resonated with me that was really cool was when they were talking about choosing the niche or choosing the market that you go into.

Often we talk about passion. We talk about our calling. We talk about all of this sort of stuff and that can just be so overwhelming. I know I’ve been overwhelmed at times thinking about, “Am I passionate enough about this market, about this business to pursue it for the next five or 10 years? Am I passionate  enough? Do I feel like God is calling me to work in this business?” And I have really struggled with that.

But reframing it – they reframed it as, “Is this something you care about?” And by reframing it to building a business around things that I care about just makes it so much easier. Do I care about the property market and helping people invest in property? Absolutely. But then I also care about helping parents with night terrors and I care about a whole bunch of other things and I could add those into my business.

So by changing the language to what we’re passionate about, to what we care about has really inspired me in terms of choosing my niche, feeling comfortable with it. Even though it may not be my biggest passion in the world or my biggest calling in the world, it’s something that I care about, it’s something in an area that I want to have an impact and so that’s important.

And they also talked about finding your own voice and a lot of them have gone through this passage – I guess you would call it, of starting with very generic content or copying someone else that they had seen, some guru in the market or something like that and just not getting a lot of traction. But then, they found their own voice, start putting their personality into things and then things really took off. And they interviewed one of the guys – the guy who started a [inaudible7:28] fitness.

He was saying he was writing five articles a week for nine months and he got no traction or generic articles. And then what he decided to do was to move back to two articles a week but to really inject who he was – really inject his new newness and his passion and family guy references and style was references into his blog post and that’s when things started really taking off for him.

So when it comes to finding my voice, I guess what I want to do is find what is my voice, what makes me different in the property market. Because I’m not just a property guy, as I think if I’m just going to be a property guy then there’re other guys who are better. I therefore need to find my specific angle; my specific voice and I’ll be trying out a whole bunch of things. I’ll be trying out how to podcast. I’ll be trying out high quality videos with more editing. I’ll be trying out longer podcast episodes potentially when I’m doing rants and going on rants and things like that.  What I’m going to do is try a whole bunch of things to see what resonates with me, what resonates with my audience and to try and find, I guess the voice that I want to have in the market.

So I was feeling very stuck. I’m feeling a lot less stuck now. I’m passionate to get back to work tomorrow. I took Friday off so I’m going to be working on Sunday and I’m passionate to get back to redo my homepage to focus on positive cash flow property. I’m also excited too I guess, to redo my products, to put a much larger emphasis on finding and investing in positive cash flow properties and then moving forward into the free content things I’ll be creating.

Then I will be looking to find my voice, trying a few things and I guess, injecting up as much of whom I am into things. And so that may be like so much about these references. That may be my new newness that I have. That may be just me being quirky or whatever. I’m not 100% sure yet but I’ll go ahead and I’ll give it a try.

There were emails that I sent out and I’ll just give you a quick update. I did make four new sales for property tools so I got four new members for that. I think I got three new annual members, one monthly. So that was good. However, that was four emails sent out to like a database of 10,000 people. So it’s definitely not a massive conversion to make $155 on a database of 10,000 people over four emails.

Actually, as I’m recording this I just got a new customer – let’s open this up and see if it’s from property tools. That takes it from four to five. Actually, they have spent $99 so they must have bought a course – “How To Find Positive Cash Flow Properties Course.” As I said, I will be selling them individually again so take that $155 up to $255.

All of the way that I receive my payments and stuff, I use a product called Snappy Checkout which I have an affiliate relationship with which you guys can check out. They’re sponsoring this podcast in a way because they are an affiliate deal. They are something that I absolutely love and recommend. I’m looking to do a whole bunch of videos around how to use them and some of the cool things you can do with Snappy check out now that I’ve got this affiliate thing. So that’s another thing that I care about -helping people sell their products and helping people do things well. I think Snappy Checkout is an awesome tool and that’s something that I’ll consider creating some episodes about, some tutorials about.

So you can check out Snappy Checkout – just go to www.pelt.co/checkout  and you can go straight through to see that product. It’s absolutely awesome and will help you sell your products or subscriptions, memberships, all that good sort of stuff. So go ahead www.pelt.co/checkout  and I’ll get a small affiliate commission if you end up using them.

I absolutely appreciate you guys listening. I appreciate you taking the time and letting me vent what I’m feeling and the conclusions that I’ve come to. Hopefully as I get to work this week we’ll start to see some results and we’ll start move things forward.

So until next time if you want instructions go and buy some furniture.

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#58 Drinking A Beer And Celebrating

iniartworksmallToday I am drinking a beer and celebrating with you guys just like I promised? Long time listeners will remember this promise and why I am drinking this beer.

Hey guys, Ryan here from Instructions Not Included. I am drinking a beer and celebrating because I made a promise to you guys that when I got my first sale of something. Now, can you remember? I will go ahead and drink a beer and celebrate with you guys when that actually happens. So, here we go. I’m going to drink my beer. It’s good stuff.

The reason we are celebrating is that I made my first sale for outspoken.co, which is my public speaking site. I made my first sale on the product for this site, which is the $30 US sale. So, $30 – definitely not life-changing by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m super stoked to have taken this step and sold my first product and proven that at least someone wants to buy this product.Maybe this person is the only person in the world that wants to buy it, but at least someone did.

Yesterday, I got the notification from Snappy Checkout that someone has purchased my course. Snappy Checkout, as you guys know, I’m affiliate for them now. So, best way to collect payments, absolutely. Go to pelt.co P-E-L-T dot C-O /checkout to check out Snappy Checkout.

I definitely recommend them. The guy, Mike, who created it, is a stellar guy. Awesome customer service. But yes, I got the notification from Snappy Checkout through my email that I got a new product. I didn’t really think anything of it, because I get those notifications all the time through On Property.

You know, new subscription to Property Tools, new product sale, new course sale. And I have been marketing my course on suburb research, so I thought, oh, you know, maybe it’s something like that, just kind of left it. And then, I went through my emails to take action on these items and follow them and stuff like that and saw that it was actually for outspoken.co. This was actually a public speaking sale. I was like, Yes! Yes! This is absolutely awesome!

The marketing that I did for it was pretty pathetic, really. I’ve got a products page on the website where I’ve got a little spiel about the product with the Buy Now button, which takes you through to Snappy Checkout, but no good sales page or anything that. And then, I’ve also got an email that goes out about it.

So, nothing super serious that is going on there. But I made a sale. And so, I’m very happy with this, which means I’m making some money through outspoken.co, which means that maybe, just maybe, it’s time to re-invest in outspoken.co. Begin creating some videos for that where I can teach people about public speaking. And now that I’ve got a course and I can send them to the right website because all of my episodes talk about publicspeakingpower.com.

I can talk about the product as well and mention that and try and get people to buy it.

I haven’t actually decided that, yes, I’m going to go ahead and market this product more. But at least, one person bought it and so the day’s work that I did to create this course wasn’t for absolutely nothing. So far, it’s been for $30 and really, we wanted to create this to see whether we could sell it. And also, so we could improve on the product over time. Because, obviously, the more customers you get, the more feedback you get, the better insights you get about what products to create.

So, I’m super excited about that. Super excited to be celebrating with your guys, drinking my beer. Very good. It’s Friday afternoon. In terms of the suburb research course, the sales haven’t gone too stellar. I think I’ve had 2 sales. Definitely considering changing the cost of the product to $99 rather than $100 just to see if that makes any difference. My mate, Ben, said when they tested it, if a number ended in a 9, people were 16% more likely to buy it. So, experimenting with $99 versus $100 could be something to do.

I really just did $100 for transparency purposes and because I had done it on Property Tools, I had made it $5, but that was because Property Tools is so cheap. I wanted people to be able to say, yeah, there’s this tool, it’s just $5 a month. Go ahead and check it out. But I’m thinking maybe I should make it $99. And maybe I should make On Property Listings $49 instead of $50. I’m not 100% sure, but thinking about that.

Also, I’ve created 7 videos for that, so that’ll go out in November. I’ll send out some emails next week. I didn’t get around to sending another email this week, but I’ll send some more emails next week about suburb research because I’ll have content to send out about it as well. And so, hopefully, we can drive some more sales next week for that product as well.

Also, I’ve been working on Instructions Not Included today to get more episodes out to you guys. I had a break in recording, which means there was only one episode that I had missed the publish date for. So, that will go up today. So, that’s good. So, people didn’t miss out on much because I was too lazy to get the episodes edited. And also, for Instructions Not Included, I did a cool interview with the guy from Lully, which is a company that sells this vibrating disc, I guess you would call it, that helps children who have night terrors and I’ve got a child who has a night terror.

It really helps with them. So, I had a cool interview with him today, which I’m actually going to schedule earlier just so we can get it out sooner rather than later. I think that’s episode 44. So, ryanmclean.net/44. You can check out that interview. It’s called a [inaudible 5:51] story and how they came up with the idea and the research they went through in order to get it and to create a product that they could market and create a company around, which have now raised funds for and they’re doing really well.

It’s a great product. They’re meeting a real need. That was a great interview. So, that’s where I’m at. Nothing too serious, but definitely, I want to create more and more episodes for On Property and for the suburb research sort of stuff. But then, also, I was thinking after doing the interview with the guy from Lully, they actually sell that on Amazon. And so, I was thinking that could be a cool affiliate site for me.

A site about night terrors because I’m a parent, I have a child who experiences night terrors. I could definitely take that angle on it. Market the product through Amazon and then just have it as an Amazon affiliate site. I’ve been talking to them, shared some ideas about how to market stuff for their product. I really like the product, I would feel very comfortable marketing it and it’s just something very interesting. Obviously, the big risk with that is if they product off Amazon, decide to sell it directly, well, then I just kind of lose my entire revenue stream from that. So, I don’t know.

It’s something that I’m going to mull over and consider this weekend. Should I create an affiliate website on night terrors to market this product? Because I have that experience, I can do some research and some knowledge into it. The product sells for $150 or something. So, a 5% commission is $7. I have to sell a lot to make any decent amount of money, but definitely something worth exploring. So I’ll mull over that and see how I go.

Well, that’s my musings for today, guys. I’ve been working hard. I’m keen to grow my business even more. I talked to Ben. No payments coming through for the end of this month, which is disappointing. But I have had some product sales, $50, $100 here and there. So, I do have enough money. I don’t think I’m going to run out of money. And I do have a lot of personal savings as well, which I’m okay to spend if I need to. But I spoke to Ben, I got 2 extra sales, which is like another $2,500 coming from him eventually.

So, it’s not coming at the end of the month, so cash flow is going to be tight, but I will make it and I am doing enough in product sales to get me through this storm. Even if I’m not, then, I do have some savings that I can work upon as well.

That’s it for me today, guys. Wish me the best of luck in musing about this new website and also dealing with my cash flow issues. I hope everything is going well for you. And until next time, if you want instructions, go and buy some furniture.

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#50 We Are Not Drinking Beer Today. Zero Sales :(

iniartworksmallSometimes you just get lucky first go…and sometimes you don’t. This is an example of me not getting lucky.

Sometimes you just get lucky first go, and other times, you don’t. I remember, it would have been 3 or 4 years ago, I was still working as a pharmaceutical rep and I had a property blog and I had a little over 1,000 email subscribers, over 100 articles, less than 120.

Were getting a decent amount of traffic and I thought, you know, I need to make some money from this – I want to make some money from this. And so, I decided to create and launch a membership site where I would teach people how to find positive cash flow properties. So, what I did was I created a single page.

Literally, a single webpage that was password-protected. That was it. It’s a functionality within every single WordPress page or WordPress post – you can set a password on it.

So, I created that and I put a video on it or a couple of videos or something like that. It wasn’t even complete, the product. I sent out an email to my list saying, “Launching this product.

Here’s a 50% discount.” or something like that and I sold it for $50 and I had $2,000 in sales in the space of 1-2 days. Before then, the most I’d ever seen in terms of a month was maybe $300-$500 in AdSense revenue. So, for me, this membership site was a big kicker for me.

This membership site, eventually, over the course of a couple of years evolved into OnProperty Plus, which is now OnProperty Listings, which makes me a good 4-figures per month and means that I can work from home and I don’t need to have a job.

That was striking it lucky. I was very lucky to launch that and to get so much success off the bat with that. Just really struck a cord with the market and what they wanted. One that’s not so lucky is my public speaking course. Yup, no sales. We are not drinking beer today. We are not celebrating and getting drunk together because there are no sales for my public speaking course.

I sent out an email to my list of about 700-800 email subscribers talking about the course. Had a bit of traffic to the page, but absolutely zero sales, nada.

I was thinking that maybe today I create some free videos for outspoken.co, but at this point, I just don’t see the point because I’m not making any money from the site. I haven’t “nailed the coffin” so to speak. I haven’t given up on outspoken.co or given up on this product.

I will still give it probably a month to see do people go to it? Are people interested in it? Do I get any sales? All I need is one sale to really encourage me to push this site forward. But I know this is my first product that I’ve ever created and it may not be aligned with the market, it may not be what they want. It has a good learning experience for me, but I definitely did not strike it lucky with this course.

It’s not something that I just launched and I sold a whole bunch of copies to this course. So, I don’t know if that means it’s a dud course, I don’t know if that means that public speaking is a harder niche to monetise. I’m not 100% sure what it means, but definitely didn’t strike it lucky. So, I’ll wait a little bit longer and see what happens and then, maybe go again and create another course or try and market it in some other way.

So, yeah, I was hoping to strike it lucky. Hoping to get a little bit of traction with this course so I could then justify working more on oustpoken.co, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. So, I’m back to just focusing on OnProperty, focusing on creating more marketing materials for that. So, more free content and driving people to my products.

I am thinking about the long term and longevity of OnProperty and me and this business and what it’s going to look like moving forward. And something that I’m doing is at the end of each of my videos, I’m doing a call to action to one of my products. So, rather than just trying to get more and more email subscribers now – which I actually think is becoming less and less relevant, less and less valuable over time. But the content is going to hold it’s value and so I really have this sense that the value is in the content. The value is not in the email list, as people say.

Obviously, collecting people’s emails are very important. But when you’ve got people who are so segmented online now, so many people surfing the web through apps. So many people go into a lot of different websites using Facebook and stuff like that. But you still develop a relationship with the person.

So, whether you’re watching someone on Youtube or you’re watching their video on Facebook or you’re interacting with them on their website or they send you an email, it’s all the same person. And I think that as I grow this brand, as I build up this brand, I think email will become less and less important over time.

I can’t remember the last time I actually bought something from an email that was sent to me; which is really interesting. But I do know that I follow people like Gary Veynerchuk, I love all the stuff that he does. I follow his podcast or his Youtube channel. And he’s the same person there. He’s the same person on iTunes as he is on Youtube and when he has a book out or a call to action, I find it through the videos he does and I then go ahead and take action.

So, I’m thinking that emails aren’t as important as they used to be. Still important, but they’re not the be all and end all. And so, what I’m doing, because I believe the content will hold value for longer into the future than collecting email subscribers, I’m actually marketing my products at the end or within each of my videos. So, I’ll do a subject like I just did one about the biggest mistakes that people make when doing suburb research, when investing in property.

So, at the end of that and throughout that video, I was talking about I’m launching a course on suburb, which you can get at onproperty.com.au/suburb. So, I’m integrating it into the videos. I did other videos and marketed other products, like my course on how to find positive cash flow properties or my membership site, OnProperty Listings.I’ve been doing more of this free content with a call to action.

So, we’ll just see how that goes and see whether that’s going to work. But I think in terms of long term strategy, I think that’s going to be the most successful way to do it, is to just have in-content discussions about my own products. I think that’s going to be pretty cool.

I am considering moving back to daily videos. I did this back in 2014, so last year. What I did was I release a new video, podcast, article every single day. So, the video gets transcribed into a blog post. It also gets converted into an MP3, into a podcast. And I saw huge growth over my site in that period of time and I’m still seeing upwards of 1,500 people visit my site every single day from the content that I produced partially during that period. Some of the content was before that.

I have noticed that as I release articles talking about the courses that I’m creating, like I’ve released some of my videos are sales videos, I’ve noticed that I’ve had sales that I feel are related to that – not to the emails that I sent out. And I know this because some of the people who purchased my product weren’t even email subscribers of mine. So the only way they could have found out about it was through the actual episodes themselves or through the menu tab on my website.

I think that it’s powerful. I think that getting people in the routine of listening to me, I think the idea of getting more and more content out there and just smashing my competitors in terms of how much content I have, how much I can be found in Google and have people find me is going to be super valuable. And I think the long term strategy of absolutely owning this space in terms of the market and getting people to come to me really allows me to have a more positive impact on people’s lives than if I was to do affiliate deals to try and sell my products and stuff like that.

I want to be like Apple and basically be fully integrated. Everything from my marketing to my products. I don’t want to make money selling other people’s products. I don’t want other people acting as affiliates for me. I want to do everything myself, which is, I guess, less like Apple, more like James Shramko and what he does over at SuperFast Business where he doesn’t have any affiliates marketing his stuff, but he just does it all himself. And I think that’s going to be the best long term strategy for me and for my business. And if I’m creating all these free content now and I’ve got the backend, like my virtual assistant Dipti, she’s absolutely awesome.

She can get all this stuff up. So I can create 3 videos in the space of a couple of hours. I then upload them, let her know about it and then, bam! She’s away, gets everything scheduled, gets everything ready and published on time. So I don’t have to worry about all that backend stuff anymore. It’s not sucking my time. So, I think it’s more achievable for me to do daily videos now than it used to be.

So I’m excited about that. That’s going to be good. I think we’ll move towards that I was doing 2 videos a day for a while and I’ve just started moving to 3 videos a day. I’m going to get my way up to 5 videos, so Monday to Friday there’s going to be a video every single day. And then, as soon as I have enough content and I feel like I can keep it up, then I’ll go ahead and I’ll do fully a video every single day.

I think that’s going to be exciting because then once I’ve created this course on suburb research and then I’ve created the course on how to evaluate an individual property, then I can just focus on marketing those courses.

The free videos could be all I do. That could just be the only stuff that I have to do on my business. It’s just, I do free videos and I do customer service, like emails and stuff like that. And then I could definitely work 5 hours per day. Working 5 hours a day has been pretty rough.

It’s been getting difficult to get into the habit. But I think now that I’m starting to do it, starting to get used to it. I think there’s massive value in it for me, for my family, for my wife – to help her out. But then, also for me, in terms of socially, I will then have more time. My wife will be less stressed, so she’s okay if I go for a surf or if I go to someone’s house and play Smash Brothers or something like that. I think it’s going to be good, I think it’s going to be long term.

I think I can definitely make enough money – if not more money doing just 5 hours a day than doing 8 or 9 hours a day. So, it’s definitely something that I’m going to be working towards and it’ll probably happen faster than I expected.

Anyway, I have rambled on enough. I’m excited to get on with the day to go ahead and make some videos. I’ve got 4 hours until I finish work. So, let’s see how many videos I can get done. If I get 3 done, I’d be happy. But why not push for 4 and then I’ve done 7 this week, hey? Well, we’ll see how we’d go. Hope you guys are having an awesome day. I hope that you are working on your business. I hope that sometimes you get lucky and you get a quick win like I did when I first launched my membership site for OnProperty.

Sometimes you just don’t get lucky and you need to re-evaluate and think, “What did I do wrong? What can I do better?” And also, I want to encourage you, it’s not about doing the grind and working 12-16 hour days. It’s about achieving what you want to achieve, having the biggest influence that you can – positive influence on people’s lives. And then living the life that you want. Living the life that you want is super hard to work out. So hard to work out what kind of life do I actually want. What I want to do for work? What I want to do with the rest of my time when I’m not working? But it’s totally worth it if you can work it out.

I’ll keep you guys up to date on that. Until next time, if you want instructions, go and buy some furniture.

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#44 On Ending Night Terrors With Varun From Lully

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[youtube id=”ouMUg28noJk” align=”left” mode=”normal” maxwidth=”400″]Night terrors occur when your child has a tantrum but isn’t actually awake. Today I talk about Lully, a product that stops night terrors in children.

Hey guys, Ryan here from Instructions Not Included. Today is a great episode because I actually interview another startup founder. This guy’s name is Varun and he started a company called Lully or Lully, depending on how you pronounce it; tomato, tomato. But this is a really cool company. They solved the problem of night terrors in young children. Now, if you don’t know what a night terror is, then consider yourself lucky.

A night terror happens when your child – they wake up but they don’t actually wake up. And generally, it results in them having a tantrum but they’re not actually awake. And so, you can’t console your child, you can’t fix the tantrum. Often, when you go to try and help them or hold them down to stop them hurting themselves or something, they don’t respond to you and, in fact, they get worse. So, night terrors are a really serious issue for parents because it’s very traumatic as a parent.

I have a child who gets night terrors. It’s very traumatic as a parent to watch your child go through these traumas, to go through these nightmares where they don’t wake up, but there’s nothing you can do about it.

Varun created a company with his co-founders that solves this problem. Basically, they created a product which is like this disc that goes under your child’s bed and vibrates. Along with software, it’s an app on your phone, that tells you when to turn it on. We talk about how they started the company, a whole bunch of stuff around night terrors and how they ended up going through and getting this product created.

This was someone that I really wanted to interview because I really love this product. It solves the problem of night terrors for my child and I hope that by creating this, some people out there will learn about night terrors and learn about how to fix it for their children as well. So, here’s the interview with Varun from lullysleep.com.

Ryan: My kid had night terrors and I actually found out about you through This Week in Startups. Do you listen to that podcast at all? Jason Calacanis.

Varun: Oh! Yeah.

Ryan: Yeah. So, anyway, he was interviewing a VC and they were talk about, “Oh, yeah, we invested in this company that helps people whose kids wake up screaming in the night.” I was like, “Oh my god! That’s my kid!” I didn’t even know what a night terror was. And then, I heard that and so I went on a Google spree to find you. Because they had mentioned, “Oh, they were from MIT or something” so then, I’m googling “MIT night terrors”. Eventually, I found it and I was able to get one and ship it out to me.

How did you even start to think, “Oh, I know, we’ll deal with this issue that’s like night terrors and we’ll just put like vibrating disc under kids’ beds and that’ll fix the problem.” Because there seems to be no other solution out there. It’s just so random solution. What happened?

Varun: Stepping back a little bit, it sort of started because my co-founder grew up with a sister who had night terrors and more recently, his nephew had started experiencing night terrors. Both of us were at Stanford at the time doing a healthcare innovation fellowship. It’s a program that essentially helps you find ideas what’s [inaudible 3:28] and a lot of the times, it results in companies being spun out. Anyway, so, we met as a part of that program and he brought up night terrors as an interesting area.

He’s a clinician by training. It was sort of an interesting insight where the clinical community looked at night terrors and really thought they were benign. They’re something that kids will eventually grow out of. There were really no terrible adverse outcomes from night terrors. And so, the clinical community had said it’s not a problem. But in reality, for a parent dealing with night terrors and specially a family with consistent night terrors, it’s pretty draining. And it’s pretty emotional to see a child in that state. As we were looking at the problem, we thought it’s something that definitely warrants solving. So, that’s sort of how we got started working on night terrors.

Ryan: I think that’s interesting because night terror, for people who don’t know, is like your kid wakes up screaming in the night sometimes throwing a tantrum but they’re not actually awake. And if you try and console them and try and calm them down, usually, it makes things worse. Super frustrating as a parent because there’s nothing you can do.

But I can see clinically why people have ignored it because my child doesn’t even remember having them in the morning. So it’s really stressful as a parent, but as a child, I don’t even know if that registers for them that these things are happening.

Varun: Exactly. The kid doesn’t know. I think another part of it is pediatricians really didn’t have a tool. If they did start seeing night terrors was a problem, their hands are still tied because they can’t really offer you a solution to it. Part of it is that playing out as well.

Ryan: Yeah. Do we know what causes night terrors? Like, why does this happen?

Varun: Yeah. So, we don’t know exactly what causes night terrors. When you do overnight sleep studies or polysomnograms with children who experience night terrors, they tend to have a lot more spontaneous partial awakenings from their deep sleep – a lot more frequently than other children.

Ryan: Does this mean they don’t have a standard sleep cycle where they go into REM sleep and then come out and go back in?

Varun: Overall, their sleep architecture remains the same. But most kids, they’d go in a deep sleep. During a continuous period of deep sleep, they may partially awaken once or twice very, very briefly but they’re in deep sleep for majority of that time. Children who have night terrors have multiple – significantly more of these partial awakenings from their deep sleep. What people believe is those are triggers of night terrors.

Ryan: So what is a partial awakening? Is that like, when you kind of wake up and you roll over and pull the covers on yourself or something like those sort of moments?

Varun: That’s one type of partial awakening. The clinical definition of a partial awakening or non-sustained awakening is, I believe it’s less than 3 seconds. There’s no recollection of the event in the morning. You may do something that you typically do when you’re awake, like, yeah, roll over and pull the covers over. But you really haven’t fully woken up from sleep and you really don’t remember ever doing it.

With nigh terrors, what tends to happen is during some of those partial awakenings, the brain enters a dissociative state. And what that means is, part of the brain is awake while the rest of it is asleep. With night terrors, the part that’s responsible for motor activity is awake but the parts of the brain that are responsible for processing external stimuli and for laying down memories is asleep. So, they act like they’re awake but they can’t process any input. So, if you’re trying to hold them, you’re trying to control what they’re doing, trying to keep them in bed, they tend to fight you off.

Ryan: Yeah. So, why does it result in a tantrum? They can move around but they can’t respond to input. So, they don’t know you’re there or they don’t know that someone’s touching them or something. Why is a night terror not just like the kid stands up and walks around the room or something like that? Why is it so severe in terms of a tantrum?

Varun: Yeah, yeah. It’s interesting. We’ve gotten a couple of questions along that [inaudible 8:45]. There are actually a spectrum of sleep disorders called disorders of arousal and night terrors is probably the most intense. And then, the middle of the road is sleep walking. So, your child is still appears to be awake, they walk around the room but there’s no yelling, there’s on screaming, there’s no crying. And the mildest form of disorders of arousal is called confusional arousal. So, your child usually is still in bed. They may mumble a little bit, they’ll toss and turn, they may moan a little bit, but nothing…

Ryan: Is this like sleep talking?

Varun: Yeah, a little bit. So, they all fall under the same umbrella of sleep disorders and they’re all tied to the same dissociative state in the brain. They’re all very, very similar.

Ryan: So, with Lully, so it’s a vibrating disc under your bed that you, as a parent, turn on at a certain point in time. You get an app on your iPhone that connects to it and you turn it on and it vibrates for 3 minutes or you turn it off when your kid starts moving.

How did you guys come up with the idea, “Let’s use vibration to interrupt like a sleep pattern”? I think it’s genius because I don’t have to medicate my child. I hardly have to do anything. I let the app know when my kid goes to bed and then it notifies me and says it’s time for Lully and I do it when it’s time and that’s all I have to do. How did you come up with the idea, like, “Let’s skip medication, let’s just try vibration?” Did you try a bunch of things or was it just…

Varun: Yeah. It was sort of 2 parts to it. The program we were in at Stanford, called “Biodesign”, it teaches a very specific philosophy to innovation. You really identify the problem that you’re trying to solve and then you build a set of criteria that the solution to that problem needs to meet. This is way before you even start thinking about whether you can solve the problem or not or how you’re going to solve it.

Ryan: So you just say, “Here’s our problem. In order for this problem to met, we need to meet certain criteria.” And that’s kind of how you start.

Varun: Exactly. One of our most important criteria was it shouldn’t be drug-based. Criteria like that are things we gather talking to customers. So, we talked to moms and dads who are dealing with night terrors and try to understand what are the most important aspects that a solution needs to meet for it to be adopted by a parent dealing with this problem.

So, it not being something that was drug-based was really important. It not being something that interrupted with sleep routine or the sleep environment was really important. It not being something that they’d have to wear was important from a compliance standpoint. So, we put together this list of 8 to 10 requirements that are really important for a solution to meet. That’s sort of phase 1 of coming out with a solution.

Then, phase 2 was really clinical-research-driven. Spend a lot of time looking back at early literature about night terrors. Honestly, there isn’t a lot about night terrors, but…

Ryan: Yeah. It must be hard if clinically, they think it’s benign so let’s not worry about it.

Varun: Exactly. So no one wants to study it. No one gives you a grant to study night terrors. But we did find a handful of papers – they were just case reports. So, 2-3 kids being studied back in the ‘80s and some clinicians describing a technique called  “Scheduled Awakenings” where they suggested keeping a track of your child’s night terrors and then walking into the room at some point in the night fully waking up your child, keeping them up for 5 minutes and then putting them back to bed. It was a small sample size in terms of clinical studies, but the results look really compelling.

These were families that were dealing with night terrors for years on end and all of a sudden, they do this for a couple of weeks and in 12 months of follow up, these children didn’t have their night terrors come back.

Ryan: Was this something that parents would do every night?

Varun: Yeah. Parents would do it every night for up to 7 weeks. So, there was some clinical data which said, “Hey, there’s something about interrupting sleep cycles that looks like it may make sense.” So that was sort of data point number 1. The second was, we were at Stanford and we were really lucky to be at Stanford because sleep medicine as a field was created at Stanford by Bill Dement and Christian Guilleminault back in the ‘60s and ‘70s and Dr. Guilleminault still practices there. So, we went and started working with him and he’s sort of a walking encyclopedia about sleep.

We’d walk into his office on a Friday afternoon and just rattle off questions and he’d just answer them off the top of his head.

Ryan: So it’s like Google, but for sleep disorders and stuff.

Varun: Yes! Exactly! For a very, very specific space [inaudible 14:26]. We were also lucky because there was a clinician from the University of Minnesota who used to come to Stanford once a month only to run their parasomnia clinic and nigh terrors are considered a parasomnia. He’s someone who’s being invited to Stanford only to run a parasomnia clinic because he is one of the best in the world. So we had tremendous resources at Stanford, 2 clinicians who understood what was going on.

And then, the third bit was talking to pediatricians, talking to the sleep community about why scheduled awakenings hadn’t caught on. The data looked so compelling.

Ryan: Yeah. That’s what I’m thinking, if it was done in the ‘80s, why has no one picked up on it?

Varun: Yeah. So no one practiced it. That was always curious for us. What we learnt through talking to both clinicians who recommended it and parents who had tried it was your clinicians would talk to you about scheduled awakening in a 15-minute appointment and tell you, “Keep a track of your child’s night terrors and then at some point before that, go into the room and wake your child up.” So, this has a bunch of problems once you get back home.

One, you never know when you should be waking up your child because no one really told you when to wake up your child. The second is you’re breaking a cardinal rule of parenting, which is wake up your child once you’ve put them to bed.

Ryan: Yeah. Never wake a sleeping baby, isn’t that the rule?

Varun: Exactly. So, you’re stuck as a parent with not having enough information to implement it and being really worried about implementing it because it took you an hour to put your child to bed and now they’re telling you to wake them up. So we sort of looked at that and said, “Compliance, education, automation and awakening were the big problems with scheduled awakening as a therapy as it existed.” We looked at it, can all of this be automated? And technology is a great way to automate things that have compliance problems.

Technology is a great place when you have a compliance problem. And so, we looked at this entire problem and said, “Okay, is there a way to reduce this technique to something that can be taken home with someone and implement it without really needing to know anything more than, ‘put this under your child’s bed and start using it’?”

So that’s sort of how we learnt about this being an effective solution and started defining and designing the product. This is a long, withered answer to your original question of, “How we thought about the vibrating pod under the bed?” It sort of came back to some of those really important criteria that we set out for a solution. We wanted it to be something that wasn’t wearable and outside of the – that didn’t disturb the environment of the bed, didn’t disturb bedtime routine; which is why it went under the bed.

We also learned that about 40% of children share a bedroom with a sibling.

Ryan: Yup. That’s true for my children. They share a bedroom.

Varun: Okay. Yeah. And so, we didn’t want, you know, if you think of other ways to partially awaken a child, it’s light, sound, vibrations and light and sound could potentially wake up someone else in the room as well. Whereas, vibrations is very personalised. And so we picked that as an intervention mechanism.

Ryan: Was your original goal that we use these vibrations to actually wake the child up?

Varun: That was the other key bit that we learnt working with the clinicians at Stanford. A big hypothesis we had was – all the studies previously had said you have to wake up your child and keep them awake for 3-5 minutes. We said, if that was required, we couldn’t productise this. No one’s going to do that.

So, we instead tried to understand why waking up your child worked. And the reason was it sort of resets the sleep cycle. It gets the entire brain into the same state so that you don’t end up with part of the brain being awake and part of it being asleep. So we sort of speculated…

Ryan: Is that because the whole brain wakes up? Or, does it take you out of REM sleep and put you back to the start of the sleep cycle, what does it do?

Varun: Right. When you wake up someone, you take them out of whatever stage of sleep they’re in. You bring the brain entirely to the awake state. And then, if they nod back to off, they’d into light sleep and back into deep sleep. So that’s why fully waking them up works.

We were looking at whether we could do the same thing without fully waking up someone. So we came up with this concept of partial awakenings where you get the child, you bring them very, very briefly out of the deep sleep state that they are in, but don’t keep them in the awake state long enough that they fully wake up but let the body go back to sleep.

What the vibrations does is very briefly bring them out of deep sleep. And as soon as the brain sees that trigger, it tries to put the child back to sleep without ever letting them fully wake up. That was sort of a critical insight for us to be able to translate this technique into something that’s actually a product.

It was a hypothesis that we came up with while we were still at Stanford and then we ran a scientific study to validate it. We had children who had night terrors enrol in the study and we practiced this partial awakenings technique on them for a period of 3-7 weeks and saw comparable results to what was published in the previous studies back from the ’80s.

That was sort of our aha moment of, okay, we know how to build a device that doesn’t wake up the child but is enough to reset their sleep cycle. We can do it from under the mattress without preturbing their sleep and without interfering with their sleep. Now we have something that met all the criteria that we initially set out.

Ryan: Yeah. That’s awesome. Can I ask you, sometimes when I do the Lully, my child doesn’t move. So it goes for the 3 minutes and they don’t move at all. Does that mean they’re not getting that partial awakening? Or, are still getting it but their body is not responding?

Varun: Yes. It’s the latter. Because the brain can still be activated and have a partial awakening without the physical manifestation of a movement. But without having a bunch of leads on a kid’s head, you really can’t pick those up. When we see a movement, there’s a guarantee of a partial awakening, but once the vibrations are on, there could be a partial awakening that doesn’t result in a movement.

Ryan: This is so good for me to know. It makes so much sense now why you turn the vibrations off once your child starts moving, because they’ve obviously achieved that partial awakening state. I didn’t know that. I didn’t know why do you turn it off when they started moving. I thought it was just so you didn’t wake them up fully. So, yeah, that’s cool to know.

Varun: Yeah. That’s a good point. That’s probably something we need to spend some time educating our users about.

Ryan: The way it happened for me, my child would only have night terrors maybe once a week or twice a week to once a month, it really varied. So, we didn’t really know what it was. We didn’t know what a night terror was. We didn’t even know we really had a problem. We just had a kid who woke up screaming who you couldn’t fix.

We would fix it, we would have to put on a TV show like Peppa Pig and wake him up to get him out of that state. That was a solution we had come up with and it wasn’t until I heard about, oh, there’s this startup company that’s done this thing. And I was like, “Oh my goodness! That’s the problem that we have.” I didn’t know.

So, you did all the studies. You came up with the idea. Talk to me about how hard was it to start a company like this and to get a product created to be able to sell it? I sell information products, but I’ve never had to create something physical.

Varun: It’s definitely it’s own set of challenges. Today, all physical products have a software component, so I almost fell like we’re taking on the challenges of both the software and the hardware world when you build physical products these days. It’s definitely a journey. It takes a lot longer to develop physical products.

Rewinding the clock a little bit. So, we wrapped up at Stanford June-July of last year. We spent the rest of the year doing our clinical study to show that what we claimed was an effective way to help with night terrors was in fact effective.

Ryan: Is this so you could market the product as effective for night terrors? Because otherwise it could potentially be…

Varun: It sort of had 3 different reasons for doing that. One was to prove to ourselves that this was a product worth developing. And it actually solved the problem we were going after.

Ryan: Yeah. It’s not snake oil or something that you just think it helps but it doesn’t actually.

Varun: Right. Exactly, exactly. That, as a company, as founders, was really important to us. The second was to be able to make the claims that we do. We needed to have data backing it up. The third, honestly, was to get investor buy-in.

We were talking about a problem that isn’t talked about a lot and talking about a solution to a problem that hadn’t ever existed. So, there was definitely skepticism behind both whether this problem really existed and whether this problem could be solved the way we claimed it could be. That clinical study was definitely played a very big part in getting us across that hurdle.

We raised a little bit of money towards the end of 2014. We were fortunate enough to apply and get accepted in Y Combinator, which is Bay Area-based accelerate incubator now fund.

Ryan: Yeah. I didn’t know you guys were in YC.

Varun: Yeah. We were in winner 15.

Ryan: Okay. Cool. To get the product made, did you guys do – I think I pre-purchased the product or you had sold out and I purchased it before the next run. Did you go through YC and then do a Kickstarter or something like that to get it funded, to create it?

Varun: Yeah. We didn’t go down the Kickstarter approach because this really was problem that parents wanted solved today and not 9 months from today. It felt like something we needed – when we took someone’s money, we need to promise them a solution to it. So, what we did, we sort of did in 2 parts. During YC, we did 100-family beta.

This was to show that we could put a product in the hand of the lay consumer and they could use it and see comparable results to our clinical study. So, that was 100-person beta we did. And then, starting July this year, we started selling the full commercial product.

Ryan: Yup. I think that’s when I bought it. It was in July or maybe even a little bit before that. I don’t know if you did a pre-sale, did you?

Varun: Yeah. So we were taking pre-sales before our launch for a couple of weeks, that’s right.

Ryan: Okay. So I got in on the official launch, did I?

Varun: Yeah. You did.

Ryan: Awesome!

Varun: You’re an early adopter.

Ryan: The reason that I committed was just the sheer fact that there’s nothing out there. Once I realised I had this problem, you do some googling about it and really, there’s no solution out there that’s, like, this is actually going to fix my problem. And then, I think it was your sales video as well. When I saw the parents’ experience in that sales video, it’s like your kid isn’t waking up and then when you said you try and help them and they get worse.

I’m like, “Yes. That is me.” I’m like, if this is going to cost me $200 in terms of Australian money, then that’s totally worth it for me.

It’s so funny. As a parent, you’re willing to spend money on this even though your child doesn’t remember it and you’re child’s going to grow out of it. It’s such a traumatic experience that you’re like, “I will pay almost anything to not have to deal with this.” It’s just too much.

Varun: Honestly, it’s a combination of the trauma, the unknown, the heartbreak and the sleep deprivation. We have families that have 3-4 night terrors a night and it’s been going on for 3 years. I don’t know they’re functional.

Ryan: Yeah. I can’t imagine doing that. I have 1 every week or so and that was hard enough. I can’t imagine having a couple a night.

Varun: Right. It’s hard to deal with as a parent, each one is really hard.

Ryan: Yup. So, what do you guys think your plans will be from here? Is it just really get more distribution of the product and get it out there?

Varun: Yeah. Right now, we’re definitely focused on getting the product out there, helping as many families as we can. Both in terms of educating them about night terrors and then offering a solution if that’s warranted. Ultimately, our goal as a company is to be the children sleep company.

One of the things that struck us as really odd or struck us as a really good opportunity was the fact that technology had helped parents in so many different ways and it helped make parenting so much easier. But the one guarantee as a parent today is you’re going to be sleep-deprived for the next 2-3 years. It was sort of shocking.

Ryan: Yeah. I’ve got 3 kids a the moment and I’ve got a 6-month old who’s sick at the moment. And he is up all night with sickness. Yeah. I’m very sleep-deprived.

Varun: It was sort of shocking to us that in today’s day and age, with all the technology we have that was an area that hadn’t seen much of improvement and saw an opportunity to come at it from the medical, the clinical or the scientific side of things. A lot of products in the children and baby space are more consumer-driven products.

Ryan: Yeah. Like toys and colourful things and stuff like that? Cots and beds and that sort of stuff? Yeah.

Varun: Right.

Ryan: I know. I mean it. [inaudible 31:21]

When I shared this with my friends and stuff like that, one of the things that I was asked; I’ve got a friend who has – I can’t remember what the condition is called, but they had nightmares but while they were awake and they can’t move their body. Do you know what I’m talking about?

Varun: Sleep paralysis?

Ryan: Yes. Sleep paralysis. I was just wondering, can something like this or something you guys work on, will that ever help with sleep paralysis? Because that seems like one of those things that there’s just no solution and it’s just really bad.

Varun: Yeah. And that’s really scary for the kids themselves because in sleep paralysis, you’re actually fully awake and you know what’s going on and you have memory of the event.

Ryan: It kind of sounds like the opposite to night terrors. Like, night terrors your motor functions work but you’re not awake.

Varun: Yeah. They are. Right, right.

Ryan: Yeah. So they were asking me, can Lully be used for sleep paralysis? I’m guessing the answer is “No”.

Varun: Not the product we have. The product we have in the market right now is really for night terrors. But as we work through our product pipeline and get more and more products out there that are able to help with sleep, hopefully, one day, we are able to find a way to solve sleep paralysis.

Ryan: Are you able to tell me what other problems you are working on? In terms of what other sleep issues?

Varun: I can tell you broadly that it’s still within the infant-toddler-pre-schooler sleep space. I’m not sure I can get necessarily into much more detail, but we’re staying very focused. We’re not going into the adult sleep space. We’re not going into the clinical sleep space. We’re sort of focused at helping babies, infants, toddlers sleep better.

Ryan: Cool. I’ll definitely be monitoring you guys and finding what’s coming next. Because I still got toddlers and I still got young kids. And that’s the thing, I never knew I had a problem and so, if you’re saying the things that you’re creating can help parents with sleep deprivation, dude, I am all on board with that! That sounds great for me. I’ve been running off 4 hours sleep a night sort of thing for this week. Because I’ve got a sick kid and I’m like, “Oh! I just can’t do this anymore!” I can’t work. I struggle to focus. So, yeah, it’s really, really exciting.

Thanks for coming on. Thanks for telling me the story. This is a product I am pretty passionate about because it deals with such an intense issue that I have in my family and I hope that by creating this, some people will find it as well and will realise that there’s a solution to their problem. Where can people go to check you out and to find out any information that you guys have, whether it be your product or your educational stuff on night terrors?

Varun: They can go to lullysleep.com. We have a ton of information about the product. We’re constantly creating more and more content about night terrors as well. Hopefully, we’ll be the go-to resource for education on night terrors soon.

Ryan: Yeah. I hope so, too. I hope there’s a lot of parents out there who can find a solution. Because we don’t want them to have to deal with that.

Alright. Thanks, Varun. I really appreciate you coming on and I wish you the best with your company and fixing sleep deprivation for parents.

Varun: Thanks again and it was my pleasure sharing the story. It’s always really exciting to hear from parents and users of the product. So, really appreciate you reaching out as well.

Ryan: I hope you enjoyed that interview, guys. If you have kids with night terrors or if you want to check out Lully at all, go to lullysleep.com, L-U-L-L-Y sleep.com and you can check it out.

Just so you know, they currently only ship the product to the US. And this was something that I had a problem with. They couldn’t ship it out to Australia because I think they weren’t sure about the compliance and stuff like that. So, to get around this issue, what I did was I setup an account with I think it’s myus.com. Let me just go ahead and check that, myus.com. But basically, this is a US company that receives shipments on your behalf and then forwards it on to you.

So, obviously, there’s a bit of an extra cost there in order to get it shipped out to you. But you can purchase the Lully, MyUS gives you an address, you can give them the address, get it shipped out to you and you can then get myus.com to forward it on to you.

I think, also Lully is now available on amazon.com. Just going to check it for you. Let me just check for you. It’s called Lully Sleep Guardian – Proven to Stop Night Terrors. It’s on amazon.com for $129 at the moment.

I think I paid $169 plus all the postage, it ended up being over $200 Australian for it. But it was absolutely worth it for me and I totally recommend it if anyone has children who have night terrors. Absolutely, 100% works. I hope that you go ahead, check it out. And if you need it, go ahead and buy it. And if you don’t need it, I hope that you enjoyed this episode nonetheless to learn about someone else’s journey and how they came up with this idea.

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#42 Manufactured Deadlines

iniartworksmallPretty cruisy day today, not because I don’t have any work to do but because I don’t have any deadlines. All the deadlines I have I manufacture for myself.

Hey guys! Ryan here from Instructions Not Included and back to work today, on a Monday.

It has actually been a very cruisy day for me not because I have not done any work but just because I do not have any deadlines at the moment. Most deadlines that I have I manufacture for myself like I presold my course and had delivery dates for those so every week I knew I need to deliver 2 new videos this week for that course and so I had that.

And so the only manufactured deadlines I have at the moment is delivering my next course in a month’s time, on the 15th of October and then I have another deadline for my third course on the 15th of November. And so what I did was I sent out an email of Friday saying to everyone, “Look, final videos for your course on How To Find Positive Cash Flow Properties are out.

Go and check them out and here is a special offer as well for the next 2 courses.” And so I gave them 50% off the next course and actually 75% off the following course just because it is going to be so long between when they pay for it and when it comes out.

I just want to reward them and give them that discount. Of the 18 or 19 people that have signed up for my first course, 2 of those people purchased the next 2 courses and they both actually signed up for both the next 2 courses. It is good to see – yes it is not a massive portion, 50% of people coming across, but it is good to see there are people that enjoy my first course enough not just to buy the next one but to buy the next 2 and that shows me that I am not just filling a need in my course that someone is like, “Okay, I want to find positive cash flow properties. That is it. So enlist Ryan’s course to help me do that.”

But they are actually wanting to learn from me about investing in property, how to research an area, and the entire process. So to have 2 people that signed up for 2 more courses is absolutely awesome and that is another $150 in revenue for me which might have actually pushed me over my top month. So let us go and I am going to log on and check that out and see if we have actually beat our best month ever in terms of revenue for my own products.

Now I am very excited about my own products. I want to keep growing that, not so much fast about affiliate stuff. So oh yeah! So my biggest month was June with $5,817 and now for September, $5,883. So that is absolutely awesome! I am really, really stoked with that.

I was asking my mum the other day while we were driving, “What is $75,000 divided by 12?” Because my mum is a math nerd. And so she actually came back and she was right, $6,250. So if my goal is $75,000 per year that means $6,250 in revenue per month. And so what have we had? July, my revenue was very low, around $2,000. August was around $4,000. But then September, I am likely to hot that revenue target and then I have the whole year to grow.

So I guess what probably is going to happen is that first 6 months of the financial year will be slower with some bumps. This is obviously a bump this month because I did the closing down of On Property Plus and changed it to On Property Listings and upped the price so it is a bit of a bump in terms of revenue. But I am guessing it is going to be a bit slower in the first 6 months and I will continue putting out free content, continue building more courses and then get more and more sales towards the end of the financial year.

So my goal, $6,250 per month and that is what I am working towards and I think we can hit it this months. We are only $400 off hitting it this month so that is cool!

Another thing that I was I am thinking about is I want to start earning some US dollars. At the moment the Australian dollar seems to keep going down compared to the US dollar and I am just wondering with the world economy and the way that China devalued their currency, if the US currency is going to increase in value as people, I guess, pin their hopes on the US dollar as the one currency that kind-of the world relies on.

So I do wonder if the US currency will get stronger as more and more people invest in US dollars as China devalues their currency, etcetera and that is going to affect the Australian currency. And the reason that that affects me is I earn money in Australian dollars, everything from OnProperty.com.au is earning in Australian dollars but most of my expenses are actually in US dollars.

My hosting is US $100 per month. I have all of these stuff that are in US dollars and when I am paying US $100, at the moment that is more like $150 Australian dollars. And so what I would love to do is create a course for Outspoken.co or Podcast Fast and sell it in US dollars and just kind of cover my costs.

So I would love to earn enough US dollars that I could pay my virtual assistant and I could pay all of my expenses in US dollars from the US dollars that I make. In that way I am not just playing the currency game, I am just making enough in US to pay my US expenses and then I can focus on making my Australian money in order to pay for my lifestyle and pay for my wage and stuff like that.

Today I did a couple more videos for my virtual assistant just really around creating content and so now there is a complete flow for when I upload a file in Dropbox getting that all the way to getting that uploaded to YouTube, to SoundCloud, getting it on a blog post, ordering the transcriptions, all of that sort of stuff now flows all the way through. And so that is really exciting because I did not have that set up for a while and it has kind of held back my content creation.

So now that I have that system in place, it is going to encourage me to create more content and just makes it easier for me to get that content out because there is less management on my side that I have to do. And more content generally equals more money because more people drive into my site, more people learning about the products and services that I do have.

So that is where I am at today. Tomorrow, what else will I be doing tomorrow? I do not know, maybe some free videos or maybe I will work on some of the paid modules, I am not a hundred percent sure. But until next time guys, if you want instructions go and buy some furniture.

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#41 Could You Make The Same Earning Less?

Could you move from working 70 hours per week to just 2 days per week? Not everything in business as about increasing profits, it can be about improving lifestyle too.

Hey guys! Ryan here from Instructions Not Included and I am just doing some cleaning as I record this so if you hear some background noise or things like that, that is because I am actually doing stuff in the background. So hopefully it is not too annoying for you but I am not actually working. I am down in Sydney on holidays.

I actually live in the Gold Coast, in Queensland in Australia. So I am down in Sydney, my grandfather passed away as I think I mentioned in a previous episode. So we are down here for the funeral and we are just leaving one apartment to go to the next apartment and so I am just fixing up the beds, doing what I call the final sweep of the house which I just check under everything. I check every drawer, I check under all the beds just to make sure we have not forgotten some sort of toy or anything like that.

I have been actually listening to Instructions Not Included myself and I really loved it because it is 6 weeks behind where I am at now so the stuff that comes out today is actually stuff that happened 6 weeks ago. And so it is really interesting for me to see where I am at in my journey but then to look back and say, Okay, where was I 6 weeks ago? what was I thinking? How have I got to his place? It is a lot of fun for me to go back and look at that and I think the one that I was listening to today, I was talking about how I was just creating an eBook and I was creating the 30-day Property Journey eBook and I was going down that whole eBook path which has really been a bit of a dead end for me. I have actually removed the eBook link from my site.

I am selling like an eBook a day or something like that but selling an eBook for $2, making $2 a day, 365 days a year, what is that – $600, $700 in a year. That is not just going to quite cut it to feed the family of 5 that I have.

So I am now down the course path, looking at creating courses. I pre-sold my course for $50. I sold 18 tickets to that course. I have now closed it off. I have finished half of that course and so I still have half to go. And then I am going to be relaunching it at the full price. And so that will be interesting to go through and to say, Okay, this is something that I pre-launched.

People could have gotten this at $50 less but now it is actually available. What is the response going to be from people, are they going to be willing to pay $50 more. How much of this course am I willing to sell? I have actually the feeling that people will be more into it because it is not pre-launch, it actually exists. It is a course that I can download, that they could buy it and watch it straight away. That will be pretty cool to see.

But while we are down in Sydney, my best friend Ross is in Sydney. And so it was great. I caught up with him last night, it was after the funeral yesterday so I was absolutely shattered but it is good to see him. We text every single day but we hardly ever get to see each other. So it was great to see him. And then I was texting him today because I have really gone down the path of – probably the last 6 weeks to 2 months where I was saying, Yeah, I really want to grow my income. I want to make $150,000. I want to get rich.

We are not rich but I want to earn a decent income. Here is what I want to earn: $100,000 profit for the year which means I need $150,000 in revenue. And then I just kind of turned everything around and said, Well actually I do not want that. I just want a 20% increase in revenue from $60,000 revenue to $75,000 – $78,000 in revenue. That is my goal now. And I actually want to cut my work hours from 48 hours a week or so to 25 hours a week and I want more freedom to be able to go surfing and freedom to spend more time with my kids and family and stuff like that.

One of the things that really inspired me along with Jams Schramko, as you guys know, from SuperFastBusiness.com. He has a podcast as well. And he talks about effective hourly rate which means if you work out how much did you earn for the month and how many hours did you work in a month, well how much did you earn per hour? And I was talking to Ross and he was talking about his business. They do these market stalls at the big shopping center near here.

He was talking about how much they make at those stalls and how he could basically make the same profit that he makes in his little shop with these stalls being open in this big shopping center just 2 days a week. He was all inspired about all the profit he could make of these and I am making him aware of the fact that this could actually replace the income from your existing shop where you are working 70 hours a week. You could move from working 6 days, 70 hours a week to working 2 days or maybe 3 days, 30 hours a week or 40 hours a week, less 25 hours a week.

So I think I really inspired him. Not necessarily that they are going to do that and they close the shop, like I would not recommend that but just the fact that not everything in life is about growing your profits. Not everything in business is about growing your profits.

It is actually creating the lifestyle and the life that you want. And it depends like some people just want to run big business and that is the goal. I want tot grow the business into as big as I can be and that is completely fine. Some people have that motivation and I do not that that is a bad motivation. I do not think it is bad to not want to grow your business but definitely when you are in business, all the podcasts, all the business books, all the conferences, it is all about more, more, more, more, more, more profit. More business. Bigger business. More profit. Let us do more, more, more!

Let us actually sit back and say, Well, what is the purpose of more? How is that going to impact my life? If I earn an extra $20,000, is that actually going to change my living circumstances if I have to work more? Or can I actually improve my life better by earning less but working less at the same time? So I think I inspired him a little bit and as well talking about that kind of inspired myself.

See, this is why I do final sweeps. I just found this whole – full of food. So if you hear rustling, I am just packing some food. So I am at a point right now in my business where I need to work out really strategically how am I going to achieve this. How am I going to continue to increase my income but actually work less. And as I said, I think it was the last episode, I got through this week. I worked 2 days and I got everything done that I need to get done for the week.

There was more that I would have liked to do to grow my business but in terms of maintaining my business, 2 days a week — easy peasy. Just keep things going but yeah, I am getting there guys.

This course, we are good. I will talk you through the actual launch of this course and how that goes. But if the actual launch of this course goes good well then that will really inspire me for future courses. Because if I do the launch of this course and it sells well, then I can do a pre-launch for another course or I could potentially even skip the pre-launch all together and just go straight into the course and just create it and then sell it as a launch. I just need to work out what is most profitable for me. Pre-launch is great because you can test the market and you can say, Well, how many people are going to buy this? Is it worth creating it? But the problem is if you do a pre-launch and it is a minor success, is it worth the time putting in the time creating it? And I guess you need to have goals around that. But if I can do a good launch of this course selling for $100 each and if I can get residual revenue from this course, $100 every now and then, then this could potentially be the business model that I have been looking for that is going to move my business forward, provide lots of value to my customers. But also be residual for me and allow me to work less.

So, that is kind of where I am at in terms the business. That is kind of where I am standing at the moment. And it will be interesting to see like I still have those goals of growing my business bigger. I still have those goals of creating a big media company, education company, all of that sort of stuff but I also have this family goals and lifestyle goals. How do you balance that?

Anyway, I do not know why I created this episode. I am just cleaning. I am just inspired by listening to myself but I do not think I have anything super awesome to share with you guys or super awesome tips or anything like that. But I just want to share my thought process inspiring my mate in terms of setting goals, not just about earning more, more, more, more.

That is setting goals about living more, more, more, more rather than earning more, more, more because money does not always equal happiness. And he was working crazy and I was like, I saw him last night, met him at his shop because he was putting up shelving. And so I left at 10 and then he was going upstairs to do more work and then he was getting up at 4 to go to the shopping center. So he would be getting what, 5 hours of sleep at night, working like a dog.

Is it worth it to earn $50,000 more and to add more hours or to keep working more when you could just earn a little bit less, $10,000 less, $20,000 less but work a whole lot less. That makes a whole lot of sense to me and something that really inspires me and something that I want for my life. And I hope that inspires some of you as well.

Alright guys, I am out. Final sweep is almost done. Just have to take these stuff down to the car and then I will do the final final sweep just to make sure I have not forgotten anything while I am talking to you guys. Thanks for hanging out with me while I am cleaning up this holiday house.

Until next time, if you want instructions go and buy some furniture.

And also guys, you can check out all the episodes from Instructions Not Included by going to ryanmclean.net or you can head over to soundcloud.com/InstructionsNotIncluded and you can check out all the episodes over there. Peace out!

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#40 My Grandfather Passed Away 25th Aug 2015

My grandfather passed away and we are going to Sydney as a family. This time off is forcing me to get a lot done in a short amount of time.

Hey guys! Ryan here from Instructions Not Included. You can get all of these episodes over at ryanmclean.net and this week has been an interesting week. A bit of a sad week, my grandfather passed away on Thursday or Friday last week and so we are heading down to Sydney for the funeral this week, we are actually heading down tomorrow.

And so basically what that means for my work is that it cut my work week dramatically from 5 days to 2 days because we are heading down to Sydney on Wednesday, have the funeral on Thursday and then staying in Sydney on Friday, coming home Saturday. So spending some time with family which is very important; it is important to time with family especially when it comes to death in the family.

We need to prepare and get ready for Sydney. But one of the things that kind of threw a spin for the works for me was that I have pre-sold this course How To Find Positive Cash Flow Properties with the promise that I would deliver 2 modules each week for the next 4 weeks. So what that meant was they gave me just 2 days to create the next 2 modules rather than 5 days to working and create the modules.

So I have really been a nose-to-the-grindstone, did some work Sunday night, did a lot of work Monday. Got filming-all of the filming done for all the modules. Got module 3 up and edited and got the thumbnails done for that so module 3 is completely in the bag, done and ready for consumption. And then module 4, I have completely filmed and I just now need to edit it and upload it and then Tuesday is my last day working. So I just need to get it done today, get that up. And then I need to email out to the subscribers to say this is now available. We are not doing Friday because I am heading down to Sydney, blah, blah.

But it has really been interesting because as you may know if you listen to past episodes, my goal is to begin to work 25 hours per week. By the end of this financial year, by the 30th of June 2016, I am hoping that I would be working 25 hours a week.

That might be 5 hours per day or it may be 2 days and 10 hours and then a 5-hour day and then 2 days off and then the weekend or something like that. I kind of got that flexibility there but I really want to get into other activities, spend more time with my kids, spend more time at the beach, go surfing more or that sort of stuff. But this is kind of been good to say I only have 2 days this week, what is the most important stuff to get done and then just hammer it out. So go to work, work hard, get it all done and hammer it out.

So I think it has shown me that I can definitely work 5 hours per week and I probably could get as much done I think in 5 hours a day as I am getting done in 8 or 9 hours per day just because I will be so much more focused when I am working, less dillydallying, less poking around just doing random stuff, watching YouTube videos. Let us get to the point, what is my biggest impact activities, let us get those done and let us move on with our lives.

I guess sad week but then also a good challenge to try and get this work done in just 2 days and to see if my goal of 25 hours per week is actually achievable which I think it definitely is. So yeah, that is kind of where I am at. We will deliver those modules. This is going to be a really good course. I am really excited about this. I think the value is there to sell this for $100. I think it is going to be a good course.

I think it is going to sell continuously and it is going to sell in a not-heaps-of-copies, maybe one or so a month or a couple of months or something like that but it is a good course and is something that I will be proud to recommend that people purchase and something that I think will really help people do exactly what it says which is find positive cash flow properties all over Australia.

So I am excited to get this first course out. We will see how it will go and then I will be looking to launch a second course and probably do the same sort of thing, pre-sell it and implement it over a 4-week period, and then put it up for sale for real. And the next time will probably on how to research an area. That would be cool and yeah, I will just enjoy in building up all of these courses.

Alright, that is it for me guys. Until next time, if you want instructions go and buy some furniture.

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