Ryan McLean : Slightly Unconventional

#75 Interview With Tom Hunt On Starting A Business and Transparency

iniartworksmallHey guys, Ryan here from Instructions Not Included. And today, I’ve got with me Tom Hunt, who is the creator of Virtual Valley, which is a virtual employee marketplace as well as the podcast 0-$4 Million where he’s documenting his journey.

Very similar to what I’m doing in terms of his business.

Ryan: Hey Tom, thanks for coming on.

Tom: Ryan, it’s a pleasure to be on a very similar podcast, actually, as we were just discussing.

Ryan: Yeah, for those who don’t know you, can you just give us a quick outline of who you are and what your business is?

Tom: Yeah, sure. I’m 26 and I’m from England. Up until I was 22, I couldn’t do anything entrepreneurial.

I was just like the perfect student, I guess, or perfect employee. And then, we started selling male leggings as a joke to try and impress girls, I think. And I just got sort of addicted to selling. Not selling, but helping people and getting money for it. When that happened, when we started selling male leggings…

Ryan: So male leggings, are these like tights?

Tom: Yeah, yeah, they’re like – no, well, they’re not tights. They’re leggings, actually, Ryan.

Ryan: Okay, sorry. I don’t know the difference.

Tom: But they’re leggings for men. There’s whole story behind it. Basically, me and my friend wore tights, actual female tights to a fancy dress party and we looked really good and felt really good.

We were on the bus on the way home, actually, I said to him that we should sell them, but for men. But he was like, yeah, okay, but we’ll do it for leggings.

And then, one week later, we were on this marketplace in East London selling female leggings that we’d bought from eBay and like [inaudible 1:48] drew on a logo that made them male.

And we had this market stall, we had 18 pairs in stock and we were selling them for £15. So it was like $25 Australian dollars, probably, if I got that right? How many do you think we sold?

Ryan: Zero or 18, either.

Tom: Zero. You got it right. Anyway, so we still persevered and then we actually got male leggings designed and made them in China and we started selling them in an e-commerce store. Anyway, so the point of the story is that when we sold those [inaudible 2:25] pairs, I was like, “Yeah, I need to do this and not work in the city of London at my boring job.”

In the last 4 years, maybe similar to you, I’ve built loads of small online businesses and like failed most of them. I’m not saying you failed, but I failed a lot.
Ryan: No, I have. Definitely. A lot of them have just tanked.

Tom: Exactly. But there’s a couple that have stuck and if you should ask where I am now is focusing on the two – with the leggings company and this virtual assistant marketplace that have stuck and kind of working.

Ryan: Yeah. And so, you’ve also started a podcast to document your journey, which is 0-$4 Million. Do you want to talk a little bit about that? And why “0-$4 Million”?

Tom: Yeah. Great question. This is going to be interesting to compare your motives as well, but the motives for us having our podcast serve us value was; a) I don’t have much money. So I need to do content marketing for this platform to start with until we make some more money.

It just so happens that people that would be interested in what we’re doing would also potentially be customers of Virtual Valley, right? So first, content marketing. Second is to network with people like yourself. Third is accountability or myself. And fourth is improve speaking skills. So that’s the reason that we’re doing 0-$4 Million.

I had this goal since I started selling male leggings to sell a business for $1 Million and then, I was talking through some projections with another entrepreneur and he was like, “No. If you hit those projections, you’ll actually be worth $4 Million.” So then, I just changed it to $4 Million.

Ryan: Okay.

Tom: So my question for you is, Ryan, why did you start your podcast?

Ryan: I started my podcast probably out of boredom of my other websites that I was running. I was following a lot of business podcasts and things like that. And the StartUp Podcast, which I found really interesting and I thought…

Tom: Oh, the StartUp Podcast is so good, isn’t it?

Ryan: Yeah, so good. But then, they’re venture-backed and everything and I thought, you know, I’m not wanting to go down that path. That’s not my ambitions and so, I thought, you know what – it was kind of two-fold.

I wanted to document my own journey to look back on later in life because you just forget so much. And then also, boredom out of wanting to do something different than just talk about property, which is my most successful website. It was kind of like those two things, as well as, just a bit of fun for me. It’s always good to improve my speaking skills and things like that, which I want to do.

Tom: Exactly. And it’s not actually that hard. To promote this marketplace, I spend a lot of time doing guest blog posts. And so, by going on finding people’s blogs to write a blog post for, it takes like 6 hours, right? If you have a podcast, you can then speak to your podcast friends and you could jump on each other’s podcast, like semi-promotional point-of-view.

You just sit here and chatting, right? You can produce good content for people. Still adding value, but with less time investment.

Ryan: Yeah. Well, it takes an hour to record a podcast or something like that versus 6 hours to write a guest post and it’s so much more “intimate” is the wrong word. You get to know people better, you build trust better.

I get a lot more hits to my website in terms of blog traffic, but then in terms of the best customers of mine and the people that actually drive my business in terms of monetary value are generally people who either listen to my podcast or who watch me on Youtube. And I think it has something to do with just the fact that you build trust there even though that’s way less a traffic driver than the website itself.

Tom: Yeah. Can I ask about tracking? Sorry, I’m sort of hijacking this interview. But tracking leads from podcast, have you been able to do that effectively?

Ryan: Not really. You can track them so you can send people to a unique URL. So you go to ryanmclean.net/podcast or /freebie or you’d name it whatever you want. But you only give out that link to people on the podcast. And so, there’s a special offer through that and they go to that link, then you can track that.

Alternatively, like my main business driver of my property site now is buyer’s agent. So, requesting people to someone who will help them buy a property. So he asks those sorts of questions, like, “How did you find out about me?” and they’re like, “Oh, I found out about you through Ryan’s podcast.” etc. And so, that’s how I kind of made that assumption, but I don’t have hard numbers to back that. But just from the discussions that we have with the customers.

A large portion of them come from the podcast. And seeing as my web traffic to my website numbers would outrank my podcast and video views by – it’d be at least double, or maybe three times the amount to the website, to written content versus to audio or video content. But we’re getting probably more than half of people are coming through the podcast or video.

Tom: Which is what matters, right? The website views is just more a vanity metric.

Ryan: Yeah. Well, that’s the thing. You don’t really care. At the beginning you care how many people visit your website. I had a goal, originally, to get 30,000 people a month to my website, which is quite good for an Australian property blog.

You care about that in the beginning and you aim for that. Now, I get 2.000-3,000 a day. So we’re talking like 100,000 visitors a month to the website. I don’t even track it anymore. It’s just kind of like, am I creating the content I want to create? Am I driving the business forward and earning enough to get by?

Tom: Yeah.

Ryan: So let’s talk about Virtual Valley, which is a marketplace for virtual assistants. What caused you to start that and what gap did you think there was in the marketplace over things like oDesk, which is now Upwork or the other sites that are out there? What is it? There’s the Virtual Staff Finder as well.
Tom: All awesome sites.

We’re going to have to go back to the journey as well, back to the male leggings days. When we started the e-commerce site, I was in the corporate world and I was working in project management and I was working in outsourcing. We also had a virtual assistant that manage the admin and customer service for the leggings site. So we can just focus on selling and designing leggings, which is what we really like doing.

Ryan: Can I just ask you, how many leggings are you selling through this site or were you selling?

Tom: Year 1, 2013, 150 units. Year 2, 450 units. Year 3, so last year, 850. This year, we’ll probably sell 1,000 and we’ve increased prices. So it started like a side project that just me and my 2 best friends run with a couple of hours a week. So it’s not serious, but maybe we’ll all leave our jobs and [inaudible 9:52] and focus on male leggings, see what happens.

Ryan: Well, it’s definitely a very niche market. It’s amazing that you can sell 1,000 units of male leggings.

Tom: It is. Yeah. We started off trying to re-define male fashion, but now, we just sell them to people that do yoga. Anyway, picture this. I’m stuck in the corporate world. I’m selling a few pairs of male leggings a week. Obviously, not enough money leave. I needed to build a business that would enable me to leave the corporate world within a year. I wanted to leave within year.

I decided to take the service that we had with our virtual assistant and offer that to other startups in London and charge double the salary and be the middle man and use my consulting skills and project management and outsourcing skills to help them make it all work. So I did that and it was awesome.

I left the corporate world, but when we scaled to 6 clients, I was spending all my time working in their systems and not on mine. So I stopped marketing and delivering that and build this marketplace. I thought when I was spending time hiring virtual assistants for that first business, it was basically too time consuming and I was having to do a lot of admin to hire these people to do my admin or to do other people’s admin.

So the goal of Virtual Valley is really to just reduce all of the admin you have to do around outsourcing your admin, if that makes sense.

So there’s other services that you mentioned, like Upwork. If you go to Upwork, yeah, amazing platform. But you have to scour through the database of 200,000 freelancers and it takes time. While Virtual Staff Finder, again, amazing service where you pay for them to give you a virtual assistant. But then after that, you have to spend time managing them and you have spend time working how to pay them. With Virtual Valley, we have a curated database, which means that you can come on and hire someone really quickly – within 5 minutes or 7 clicks.

We have screenshots that you can look to check what they’re working and then the payment’s automatic. It’s just saving that time around outsourcing your admin, is basically what we do.

Ryan: Okay. So is it like a curated version of Upwork then? So you’ve got a higher quality staff on there.

Tom: You got it. “Curated version”, that is the differentiating factor from Upwork.

Ryan: I’ve hired people through Upwork before. I’ve hired transcribers. My virtual assistant, I actually found her originally through there. And now, she works for me. But yeah, there’s a lot of people who just aren’t very good on there. I remember I went to hire a transcriber for videos or my podcast. I had a little test in there and it’s just like, “Just transcribe the first 10 words of this video.” and I left a link to Youtube. And seriously, 90% of people couldn’t even do that. The first 10 words.

It was only 10 words. They would try and they would just make all these mistakes. I didn’t choose a super difficult 10 words. So I can see the issue there in terms of Upwork and I wouldn’t want to really go back there to hire someone because I know how much effort it’s going to be.

Tom: You have a good point that you’re making, but I don’t think if we’re going to be able to sell this marketplace for the $4 Million as you see on the podcast there. Having the curated version of Upwork is really differentiated enough? Because ultimately, I’m going to want to sell it to Upwork or someone like Upwork. And if all we have is built like a clone of them, then they probably not going to want to buy.

So this is the reason – I talked about this a lot on the podcast, actually, probably too much – is because I built this platform which is freelancers that I’ve just paid to build this spec. What I’m doing now, now we have some revenue and I’ve proven that I can build something and that people are interested in this service, is bring on a technical co-founder. I’ll give him up to 30% – him or her, up to 30%. And we’ll work to build something that’s truly differentiated from Upwork.

I’m not 100% sure what that is now. But we have the baseline of marketing and customers and feedback to do that now. That’s the plan for the next 6 months.

Ryan: So, is what you’ve done so far kind of like the minimum viable product that they talk about on laying startup?

Tom: Pretty much. Pretty much, yeah.

Ryan: So how did you or how do you curate people? Say I want to go to hire your services, how do I know that people on there are going to be good?

Tom: Here’s an interesting piece of content marketing, I designed this recruitment process based on a book called Topgrading by Brad Smart. All of the best companies uses Topgrading principles, apparently. So I designed the whole recruitment process. For 2 to 3 months before we launched the platform, we were recruiting.

I then posted this process on my blog, right? So I’m actually telling everybody how to go away and find your own virtual assistant, but the process is quite long and complicated so it’s sort of like innately saying, “You can go do this thing that’s really long complicated or you can click this link and go into our database and find someone.”

To answer your question, how do I prove that they’re good? I don’t really prove that they’re good. I show the recruitment process and then you go and try it. Because it’s free to go in and hire someone. You just get charged like all the time is tracked and you’re automatically charged to your PayPal account. If you feel that they’re not good, you’re going to lose $10.

Ryan: Yup. I find the same thing in my business. I originally wanted to teach people how to find positive cash flow properties. That was what drove me to start my website. And then I teach them how to find it and I kind of did this little add-on thing where I would go out and find a few properties and share them with my members. And then everyone just wanted that.

No one wanted to find them themselves. And now, even with the buyer’s agents that I’m working with, we recently ran a webinar, we basically went through step by step, here’s everything you need to do to research and find a good property to invest in yourself or you can hire Ben’s services for thousands of dollars. And a lot of people will do that because either they’re overwhelmed…

Tom: They just don’t want it?

Ryan: Yeah. People just don’t want to do it. They’re interested in reading how you do it and learning about it. But then, they don’t want to go out and do it themselves. They just want to hire someone to get the job done and I’ve seen that time and time again.

Tom: Which is perfect, right? It’s awesome. Like, yeah, you can just do that and pay me all the money to do it. That’s fine.

Ryan: I really like that business model now. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the guys Empire Flippers. Have you heard of them?

Tom: Yeah, yeah. Aren’t they just a marketplace for websites?

Ryan: Yeah, but they originally started out, they would build websites themselves and they started a podcast talking about how they build websites and giving people tips and stuff like that. And as a side thing, they were saying, “Oh, by the way, you can buy our websites.”

Originally, they were on Flipper and then they started selling them on their own site. And then people were like, “Can I sell my website through you?” and it kind of just all evolved out of them teaching people to do something that people didn’t want to do. They just wanted to buy websites off them.

Tom: That’s a great story. I’m going to check out their podcast.

Ryan: Yeah. Check out their podcast. They’re great guys over there in the Philippines.

Tom: They’re based in the Philippines?

Ryan: Yeah. They’re American guys based in the Philippines. Let’s talk about your podcast and some of the things that you’ve gone through moving from a leggings e-commerce business to a brand new virtual assistant platform. What are the ups and downs been of that?

Tom: Oh my God! If we talk about the evolution from the legging company to the outsource service company, to the marketplace, both of those first two – the leggings and the outsource service company.

It was very much I had just created myself a job. The three of us created ourselves a job with the leggings company with the fact that we were designing the leggings. Before we had our virtual assistant, we were doing the admin and customer service. We were doing marketing.

When I created the outsource service company, again, I was like working a lot within the business. And you have to do that when you start, right? When you start learning and when you read, for me, like The E-Myth: Revisited and Work the System by Sam Carpenter. These 2 books, I realized that I had just created myself this job and yes, it’s okay to do that when you start out.

But the goal is to start removing yourself so that you can work on the business and not in the business. So that’s when I stopped developing that outsource service company and start building Virtual Valley was because now, I wanted to build a system that I would sit on top of that would create value for people completely without my time. So that ultimately, I’d be able to sell this business.

Ryan: Yeah. So you wanted to create a system that created value. A business that you didn’t have to be a part of. Basically, that could run without you.

Tom: Correct. However, I am still recording a podcast everyday. So the marketing of that system is my job, let’s say. But when we start bringing enough revenue to hire someone to do the marketing, then I could just hand that over like the podcasting and everything.

In answer to your first question, like what are the pitfalls, what did you learn? The first thing that I’ve learned is to try and build this system and as soon as you can, try and remove yourself from that system. And then, you can have something you can sell. I believe that’s ultimately what an entrepreneur is and how an entrepreneur will be successful.

Make sense?

Ryan: Yeah. In terms of my own business and things like that, mine’s more like a lifestyle business so I don’t actually plan to stop working. But I do firmly believe in like as the business owner, slowly or as quickly as you can, I guess, is to take yourself out of the low value task and to hire someone to do them or to automate them in some way so you can do more higher-value things. Similar to your building the business and now you’ve kind of stepped out of it a bit, but you’re still doing all the marketing.

Very similar to me, I was doing everything in my business; from recording episodes to editing them to transcribing them myself sometimes, publishing them, doing everything. Now, I’ve got a system where I will record. Like this interview, I’ll do a quick edit and then I’ll put into Dropbox and then my VA will take it from there and she will upload it to everywhere. To Soundcloud, to my website, to Youtube or whatever.

The transcriptions will get ordered. Once they’re delivered, they’ll be published on the blog, etc., etc. So I’ve got like a full process in place.

I can spend more time doing the things that I enjoy, which is interviewing interesting people like yourself, creating content, all that sort of stuff. And then she gets it done in half or a quarter of the time it used to take me.

Tom: Are we filming this for Youtube, by the way?

Ryan: No, no. This will just go on the podcast.

Tom: Okay, that’s fine. I’ll just give you something to edit there as well. Okay. Should we talk about the pitfalls? Because that’s probably more interesting.

Ryan: For me, right. We were talking about it just before we started recording. I had that episode where I’m 3 weeks away from running out of money. Now, I’m in a place – I’ve still got like 3 weeks in the bank, but then I’ve got revenue coming in that’s going to give me 3-4 months buffer. So I’m not too stressed about it.

I’ve had situations like that where I’m like, my business isn’t looking viable, I’m [inaudible 22:13] for my own money, what the heck am I going do to? Have you had any of those circumstances?

Tom: Oh my God! Yeah. This is I want to say one of the lowest points in my life. But looking back, I’d think it’s funny now. After I quit the job and I had the outsource service company. It was bringing load of money. But then, I realized that I don’t want to do it anymore because I just created myself another job.

I stopped marketing that and I did a couple of other things. I had one website that was giving me money, but I didn’t really have anything that was working. And this marketplace was being built in the background. [Inaudible 22:45] marketplace, right? And with all the little things like I didn’t like them and they weren’t really working.

The hope that I had that I was going to be this very successful entrepreneur within the form of this marketplace. With the leggings company, we’ve never taken any money out, we just invested money back into the business. So there was one point, I was actually in Venezuela at the end of last year just waiting for this marketplace to be built and it was like almost ready to launch. We were launch no the Monday and it was Saturday. Now, two things happened in the next 48 hours, which my life felt like it was crumbling.

The first of which is my laptop broke. And so, I went to 5 different Mac Stores in Venezuela and they’re current situation does not mean that people – basically, they weren’t very good at fixing Macs, so I basically didn’t have a laptop. Second things is I let a different freelancer into my hosting account to fix the malware of one of those other sites I just mentioned.

A freelancer that I’d only worked with once and he took a backup of that one site that he was fixing and he just deleting everything else from the folder where all of my other domains were, like my personal blog. All the other websites that I’ve been working on, including the 5-6 months of Virtual Valley [inaudible 24:07]. I got loads of angry emails from the developers and I didn’t even know what was going on. I didn’t have a laptop to even go and sort it out. They were phoning this contractor, this freelancer in India trying to get everything sorted.

In the end, we had all of the functional code backed up on the developer’s hard drives or whatever, but the HTML and CSS had to be completely redone, which is another 2-3 weeks and another I don’t know how many hundreds of dollars. In the end, it was fine and we just delayed by a month. But that feeling, stranded in another country, no laptop, the feeling like your hope of being a successful entrepreneur has just been wiped off the face of the earth. [Inaudible 24:52]

Ryan: With the delete key – one delete key from one contractor.

Tom: Yeah.

Ryan: Did you have money coming in at this time? Were you still doing that contract services business?

Tom: No. The outsource service business didn’t exist anymore. They have one Filipino who was hired by a startup in London that still had – but that was like $300 a month.

I had this other website, which I’m not proud of. It’s not an amazing site. It sold like, if you wanted to get your app reviewed on the Play Store, it’s just the site that you come and buy it and then there was a pool of people that would review it for you. So, not very good, ethically. But I just bought it a year and a half ago, when I was desperate to leave my job and it was still running, managed by a virtual assistant.

So that was like $1,000 a month. And then, I think that was probably it for income at that point. So I had barely enough to live in Venezuela. I have savings and stuff, but I didn’t really want to go to that.

So, yeah, that was really horrible. But we got it back and we launched just a month later. And now, it’s bringing in a significant amount, I guess. Not really enough to live on, but enough to cover the cost. I’m investing in more development, which is what we need to do.

Ryan: Yeah. When you launched Virtual Valley, did you have a launch plan? Did it create a big splash or did you just launch it and it was just crickets? And you just had to – because I feel like a lot of people do like I used to get excited about launching something.

And now, I kind of just launch it and it’s like this piece of poo website that’s up there for 3 months, but I’m creating content or whatever. And then, 3 months ago, I’m like, “Oh shit, I’m getting some traffic here. I better actually improve the website and take it off the default WordPress theme.”

But were you expecting to launch it and to generate revenue instantly? And then, what happened after you launched it?

Tom: To be honest, I love the description of your product launch if you should start an internet marketing product called “Ryan’s Product Launch”. Okay, now, what happened? Because I had all this time while it was being developed, I spent a lot of time learning online marketing I’d have been for the past 2 years, but I spent more time learning about startup marketing.

So I actually have this 2-phase marketing approach that basically in the line, it was like the lean startup methodology. While the product was pretty shit – can I swear in here? While the product is pretty rubbish, I’m just doing some guest content blogs.

Creating our own content and going on Twitter, just to drip feed a few entrepreneurs, and that’s what’s happened. And then, we’re going to get their feedback, make the changes – like, try and truly differentiate. And then, when you turn on the tap in phase 2 with like [inaudible 27:50], affiliate program, referral program and partnerships with people that I guest blog with.

In answer to your question, no, there wasn’t – I had an email list of about 200 people. So I send an email, a few people started on day 1. But no, it didn’t make a splash. It wasn’t a big launch. But I had no reason to expect that. Just releasing a curated Upwork and not spending 6 months building a list for it.

Ryan: In a way, I think it’s smart to do the MVP, but at least you have a few people. And obviously, you get feedback, you try and iterate on it before. You want something to be working well before you turn on the tap. You don’t want to spend thousands of dollars in Facebook advertising and then get $100 back or something.

Tom: Exactly.

Ryan: It’s better to know how much money you’re making from each email lead or whatever it is and I can spend up to X amount to get a client. It’s just so much easier to scale because you know you’re not going to go bankrupt doing it.

Tom: Yeah, you know you’re not throwing water into a leaky bucket, right?

Ryan: Yeah.

Tom: Currently, I still think we have a leaky bucket. Which is why we’re not on phase 2 yet.

Ryan: Yeah. So how long has it been open?

Tom: For almost 3 months. I’ll drop some numbers on you. The goal over 2 years, I think this is pretty ambitious, is to give entrepreneurs back 1,000 hours of their time – no, not 1,000, 1,000,000 hours of their time. And if we do that, we can sell for $4 Million, I think.

Now, in total, in the 3 months, we’ve given back 1,500. And so, we make approximately $1 per hour for the platform. Because 20% of the hourly rate comes to us. So we made $200, $500 and $700 in the first 3 months. That’s revenue for the platform. In terms of hours to go on our 1 Million count, we still have another 900…

Ryan: 998,500 or something?

Tom: Yeah, yeah. Exactly. So we have a lot to do. I think once I have the bucket that’s not leaking, I can turn on the tap.

Ryan: And so, what is the plan? Until you get to phase 2, are you planning on – obviously, you’re doing the podcast, you’re doing guest blogs like you are on this. Is that the plan at the moment? Just use content marketing to grow the service at the moment?

Tom: Content marketing and Twitter, I guess.

Ryan: Is that just because they’re free? Or have you got a more long term strategy?

Tom: Yeah, pretty much. (a) They’re free. We have money to invest, but I don’t want to invest in something that I’m not 100% sure is really going to work or really going to be – I’ll get a return. Two, they give a foundation for me.

In my mind, like a foundation in SEO in content and social so that when, again, when we turn on the tap, people can come to our site and come to our blog and see that we’re actually doing stuff and helping people. I think that really helps. They’re free, they’re giving a foundation and number three, they’re giving it the right, I call it a “trickle”. So just a few entrepreneurs.

Like an entrepreneur will sign up everyday and maybe a team member will get hired or a virtual assistant will get hired everyday, so it’s just the right amount to make sure we have that 1-on-1 relationship with them. Make sure everything’s happening, like the connections are occurring and the virtual assistant knows what they’re doing. It allows us to control the process and get the feedback.

Ryan: Yeah. So it’s not happening too quickly for you.

Tom: And not spending money and building fund.

Ryan: Yeah. Like I just ran that webinar with a friend of mine the other night for his buyer’s agency and usually we might send like 5 leads a week or like people interested in his service a week. And I think we got close to 100 people interested in his service in one week.

Tom: Was he happy with that or was he overwhelmed?

Ryan: I think he was a bit of both. Extremely happy, obviously, because there’s just so much opportunity. But then, obviously, having so many more people compared to usual can make things difficult so you do need to be careful with that.

How do you go about making sure that you’re getting the right feedback from people? How do you get feedback from customers that are coming through so that you know how to change your product, how to differentiate, etc.?

Tom: So that’s coming into the end of phase one. I’m moving to phase two now. I haven’t been great at that. So I spend the time in the last month really trying to find a technical person who is going to really good and is excited about the vision. When I sorted, which will be in a couple of days, I’m going to go through and speak to every entrepreneur that’s charged time. Probably between 20 and 25 now and try and get them on a Skype call like this.

I think it’s very important, the questions you ask. You can be very leading with people and say, “Would you like it if we improve this?” and they’re probably going to say, “Yes.” But then, I’m going to start conversations just saying, “What did you think of the service? What did you like? What did you dislike?” and just take all of that information that is unbiased, without my leading questions. I think that’s the key.

Ryan: Yeah. That’s one of the hardest things that I’ve had to do; get feedback from people, but actually decipher the feedback into what the whole audience would want. Sometimes, I’ve taken something that one person and I thought, that’s great feedback, that’s a great either feature idea or product idea and run with it. And then, a month later, you wasted a month on it and then, you launch it and no one cares.

I did that once with property as I was listing. I think I did leading questions and I was like, “Would you be interested if we shared data around the suburb that the property’s in and the property itself? Like when it was previously sold or this sort of stuff?” and so then I went out and did that and it was just a waste. People liked it, but people weren’t staying any longer in my membership.

I had it even integrated into my sales page so no one was signing up based off it. And so, I doing like, well, I was paying for my virtual assistant to do all this extra work that was just unjustified. I think it went on for 2 or 3 months or something and then I turned it off and I just stopped doing it. I kept lists, like sharing properties but I just didn’t put the data behind it and I think one person might have asked me about it. Like, “Where’s it gone?” No one really cared.

Tom: After that, you were like, “Fuck!”

Ryan: There’s been a lot of things that have just been like, “Oh! Why did I do that? It was such a bad idea.” Like I just didn’t test it beforehand and I put so much of myself into it and I’m just like, oh, this was just such as waste. So that’s why now, when I launch new websites or something like that, I try to put minimal amount of effort into it and only when I see some signs you get some sort of return then I’ll re-invest. But that’s because I do a shotgun approach.

So I have a lot of different websites in a lot of different niches and so, I can do that because if something fails, it’s not a big issue. But if someone was just doing it with one product, like you with Virtual Valley, I probably wouldn’t recommend the Ryan McLean way of launching websites.

Tom: This can go in your internet marketing course as well. Product launches and shotgun approach.

Ryan: You think I should run one?

Tom: Yeah. I think you should start an information product on how to launch and build websites.

Ryan: How to launch and build crappy-looking websites. For me, I have this theory or I guess, an ideal that I live by, which I call “function before form”. So something needs to work properly because people don’t actually care as much about what a thing looks like if it doesn’t work very well. And that’s just come from my experience of spending hours and days and weeks perfecting the code on the site so it looks exactly the way it looks and all the while, I’ve got 10 people a day visiting my website or something like that. And then, a month later, after I spent all that time, I’m like, “No. This theme or the way this website looks is not what I want.” and so, I good back to the drawing board.

So I think I’ve spent enough years of doing that that I’m like, it’s a waste of time. When you’ve got the volume and you can measure a change that you make. So if I make X change, how does it affect the viewership or attention or whatever it is you’re measuring, then I’ll go ahead and do it. But otherwise, it’s just not worth my time.

Tom: Rapid feedback, I think, is the solution, right?

Ryan: Yeah. But it is, like you were saying, it’s hard to get the right feedback from people and it’s daunting to contact your customers and get on a Skype call with them. I find that daunting, to be like, okay, you’re paying me money and I want to get on the phone with you and get you to tell me what I’m doing that’s not very good. That’s worrying to me. Does that worry you?

Tom: Yes. I think so. I think I’ll just do it anyway. If they don’t want it, they can just ignore it, right? Or they’ll just say, “No”. If they agreed to go on the phone with you, they’re probably going to be okay.

Ryan: Yeah. So why haven’t you gotten feedback earlier? If you’ve been up for 3 months and you’ve had customers for longer?

Tom: Good question. I think the same reason why it took so long to get Virtual Valley launched, is because I’m scared. I know the reason, so it took 5-6 months to build and launch Virtual Valley.

We could have probably released something after 3 months, but I was scared of it not working. And as we said before, my image of being a successful entrepreneur with this marketplace, I was biased towards that. And so, I wanted to delay my face-off with reality. As I believe, probably, exactly what’s happened in the past 3 months is I had a little bits of feedback with a couple of the entrepreneurs that I know and have spoken with.

But I haven’t gone out and scheduled 10 Skype calls to get them to tell me that – to try and get them to tell me their thoughts because this face-off with reality that it hasn’t still actually helped people.

Ryan: How will you know if you’re ready for phase 2? Do you have a metric in terms of, I need X amount of entrepreneurs to – like, for each person that comes in, they need to make X amount of dollars to go to phase 2 or is it just kind of a gut feeling that you have?

Tom: Actually, phase one or phase two, it was actually only crystalized about a week ago. I had phase one and then people – I actually went to London to…

Ryan: So phase two is just something you invented a week ago? Is that what I’m hearing?

Tom: No. Here’s what happened. Talking to the [inaudible 39:30] co-founders and the serious ones are like, “So, what’s your marketing plan, Tom?” And then, I’m like, “So this is what we’ve done. But that’s only phase one. Phase two, after we work with you, it’s going to explode the traffic.”

I’m there like, I truly believe this, right? I have a marketing plan right from the start, be it with a clearly defined phase one or phase two. Phase two will start when the technical co-founder comes on. I’m 100% confident about our technical solution. We have a double-sided referral system in place. We have potentially innovated somehow with this whole outsourcing admin virtual assistant thing and tested that. Then, I’ll start phase two.

Ryan: So what do you mean “innovated and tested” that?

Tom: Okay. I’m just going to slur a couple of ideas about what we might do. This is actually top secret, Ryan. I have only discussed this with my adviser and [inaudible 40:22]

Ryan: I promise I’ll only publish this to the whole world and no one else.

Tom: But what I want to do and again, I haven’t even validated this idea. I haven’t tested this, but I think we can build an automated Slack app bot. So you know the collaborations of it.

Ryan: Yeah, I use Slack everyday.

Tom: I don’t know, 200 million users. If we can build an app within Slack that a business can install for free and then when they interact with us through this application, through this bot, they can interact with this bot to find a virtual assistant automatically.

We’re bringing you the correct candidate without any interaction with a human. You can hire the human, the virtual assistant, from within Slack. Once hired, you actually talk to the real virtual assistant. You communicate and you talk about your task within Slack. All that time is tracked and the payment is setup with a PayPal account that you’ve also done within Slack, if that’s possible. You know, it is very early stage.

Ryan: It sounds very difficult to do.

Tom: Yeah. It probably is. And all of this happens within Slack. I think that is going to be a key channel for first to scale. And I think that’s an innovation. I’ve searched a lot for anything sort of like this. So that’s just an example of one thing that we might do.

It’s still having that vision of 1 Million hours of admin, of time given back to entrepreneurs. It’s just the method of by which we do that, I think, needs to be a little bit more innovative than what we currently have.

Ryan: I guess what I’m hearing is that you’re pretty happy with the marketplace idea and what you’re trying to innovate in is the form or marketing that you’re using to market your marketplace.

Tom: Yeah. You’re right. That’s one part. There are other ways that we would potentially innovate. Not just on the marketing, but also on the way that you would interact with a virtual assistant or a pool of virtual assistants.

Another idea that I would like to do is just, again, a portal that you pay a monthly fixed fee for and you can just somehow throw your task really simply into the portal. You’re not working directly with the virtual assistant, but the tasks are being done and thrown back out at you within X amount of time and you get unlimited access for small tasks. Similar to WP Curve business. [Inaudible 43:11]

Ryan: I’m a customer of WP Curve.

Tom: What do you think?

Ryan: Well, it’s easy. All you do is email them. So you sign up. WP Curve is, for people who are listening who don’t know, it’s like a subscription service for small developer or coding task that take a developer less than half an hour.

You can only do on one, I think, it’s like WordPress website and it’s like $100 a month or something like that. But you just email a tweak that you want made or something that you want done out to them. And they just do it usually within 24 hours and then email you back to say it’s done. Here’s what it looked like before, here’s what it looks like after. And then, when you’ve got your next task, you just email it again. It’s pretty simple.

Tom: And that’s so simple. That’s just a simple business model. Relying just on email, right? That is so simple. That guy doesn’t have to set that. Fair play. He’s done really, really well there. I think we can innovate. I like to eradicate email on this.

It’s like this portal that you get access to. You just go in there and you chuck a task in we make it as simple as possible. But, yeah, he’s done really well. Because I thought with WP Curve, you had to login and there’s some not magical portal, but it’s like this cool thing that you submit tasks into, but it’s actually [inaudible 44:35]

Ryan: No. You just seriously, just email.

Tom: [Inaudible 44:38] That’s awesome.

Ryan: Yeah. When I email them, I don’t even say what website it’s for because my email must be linked to, obviously, one website so they know what to do. I gave them access.

They’ve got their own login and so, they’ve got those details on their backend. And often, I’ll get delivered a task and if it’s not 100% or something, I’ll email back and that’s tracked. And then, someone else, because the developer’s gone home for the day, so some other developer will finish it off. Yeah, so email’s pretty cool.

I tried to use Fiber the other day. I used to use Fiber for transcriptions all the time. And I went on Fiber and it’s super broken now and horrible. I was super disappointed.

Tom: Really?

Ryan: I don’t know. If you had eBay in Australia, right? You can search for things. But now, eBay has the option where you can have multiple different options for different prices. So you’ll search for something and they’ll put in – the sellers will put in one crappy option for $1 and every option is like $20 or something. You’re like okay, here’s a picture of this. It’s $1. And you go in and the thing that’s pictured isn’t actually $1, it’s something like a piece of paper for $1 or something equally useless.

Tom: It’s the same on Fiber.

Ryan: It used to be you’d go in, and like 1GB would cost you $5. And so, you go in, order transcription for $5 and now, it’s like, someone said, “I’ll do 30 minutes of transcription for $5.” and you go in.

Now, it’s like, “I will only do 30 minutes for $5 if you buy 1GB add-on.” which is like $20 or something. They’ve got all these clauses that you have to weed through so when you search for it, you can’t find what you want. So I’ve just given up on Fiber after that experience.

I have someone who hires people for transcriptions and stuff like that. Having an affordable service where you could get tasks done. Definitely useful to people who… Because I’ve got friends who run businesses who don’t need full time or even part time VA’s, but every now and then, they’ll have a task that they need done and that could be cool. I don’t know.

Tom: Yeah. It’s like working out what the pain is and solving the problem. With Virtual Valley at the moment, we’re solving the problem of recruiting, managing and the payroll of virtual assistants. I think there’s a problem that we can charge more that’s not connected with the time of someone.

So we’re not charging for time, we’re charging for solving a problem. And that problem is getting rid of the admin portion task in your business for $50 a month by access to this portal. I think that is more profitable and also, it’s going to solve the problem. So let’s see what happens.

Ryan: Which a very different business model to what you have now. Dude, you sound like me. As an entrepreneur, and you’re starting new business, you have to try all these different things and which sticks and what works.

Tom: [Inaudible 47:35] And then, we can move into phase two and [inaudible 47:39]

Ryan: And then phase two, the magical phase two. Where it’s all rainbows and unicorns.

Tom: Yeah. When we get to phase two, we should have another chat and see what I actually have.

Ryan: Does phase two really exist? And it was actually like, “I’ll just turn the tap on and all of a sudden, I’ll starting farting money.” or is it like more complicated and difficult than that?

Tom: Who knows what’s going to happen when phase two comes?

Ryan: Alright. We might call it a day there. Because it’s what, 2:00 AM or something over there now?

Tom: Yeah, yeah. Nearly.

Ryan: Thank you so much for coming on and for having this chat. It’s been good to learn about your journey. Where can people find you if they want to check out your business or your podcast?

Tom: virtualvalley.io. You got this [inaudible 48:27] linked. Well, virtualvalley.io/podcast so you can get to the podcast page.

I want to thank you, Ryan. I think that was the most honest podcast interview that I’ve ever had. I was very honest, maybe a little bit too honest. I also want to commend you for what you do for your podcast. A lot of podcasters take their podcast really seriously, you know what I mean? It’s just not as genuine or real as yours, of course. So I want to thank you.

Ryan: And I think we’ve learned through this episode that I obviously don’t take things too seriously because it’ll be months before I setup a proper website for anything I start. That’s half the fun, you know? We’re both working this out.

I like that and like being raw and real and I like that there’s someone else like yourself doing it out there as well that’s probably more polished than me, but at least you’re sharing the ins and outs of running a business and I think people crave that and people need that. So I wish you the best with your podcast as well and I’ll definitely be listening to it and seeing how you go and we’ll get back and chat at phase two.

Tom: Yeah, yeah. I think we should have you on 0-$4 Million as well. You can share some of your insights with my audience.

Ryan: Yeah, for sure. Well, let me know whenever you want me on and we’ll do it.

Tom: Yeah, yup. Sweet. Thank you.

Ryan: All right. Peace out.

Alright guys, that completes the episode with Tom Hunt. I hope that you enjoyed that. I enjoyed getting him on, having a chat with him. Just a fellow entrepreneur trying to break through and create a business that adds value to people’s lives, just like I am.

Hopefully, I can get on his podcast soon and we can chat about something because I had a great time talking to him. I hope that you enjoyed the podcast and you can check him out, as he mentioned, you can go to virtualvalley.io or you can search for “0-$4 Million” in the iTunes Store or Stitch Radio or wherever it is that you listen to this podcast.

Thank you, guys, so much for tuning in and until next time, if you want instructions, go and buy some furniture.

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#67 The Times They Are A Changing

[youtube id=”sbFj1qjdw8Q” align=”left” mode=”lazyload” maxwidth=”500″]

iniartworksmallTimes are changing as I embark on a new business idea with the goal of $75,000-$100,000 in semi-passive income.

The times – they are changing. Hey guys, Ryan here from Instructions Not Included. The times are changing for me because I’m working on a new business while On Property is kind of ticking away and I’m still thinking about what to do with that.

I just want to discuss where am I, how I’m feeling and what I’m thinking about my business moving forward.

This week I’ve been working pretty solidly on creating videos for my new website which is pelt.co so www.pelt.co, you can go ahead and check it out.

I’m going to be creating a bunch of instructional videos over there on how to do things – just videos to help people. The series that I’ve been working on at the moment is how to set up a membership site with zero coding.

So I’m showing people from the very beginning having absolutely nothing online how do you go ahead and set up a membership site that you can sell a subscription to.

I take people through that entire process. It is a 12 part series over there and I’m happy to say that I have nine parts done and dusted and I’ve also recorded part 10 and part 11 which I just need to edit. Therefore that series is almost finished. I’m excited to get that out and to have that series out.

The next series I’ll be working on directly after I finish that is how to create an evergreen launch funnel. The same sequence and the same things that I’ve been doing for On Property Plus to market that I’m going to teach people behind the scenes how do you actually create that and run that in your business.

Again, the plan – if you guys didn’t know, the plan to make money from this is to make money through the tools that I recommend for these products. For example, for a membership site you need domain name, you need hosting, you need membership software, you need a sales page software like lead pages.

I recommend those and if people go through my links then they go ahead or I go ahead and get an affiliate commission. It doesn’t cost them anymore but if they find it useful and they go through my affiliate links then I’ll make a commission through that.

I believe that it’s going to work because it has worked with Podcast Fast already and I’ve made over $700US dollars or over $1,000 Australian since I launched that which was under a year ago. Even if each video series made me $1,000 and I could create one every week – that’s optimistic – but then within a year that’s 50 grand a year, within two years that’s 100 grand a year.

So my ultimate goal is three to five years down the track to be able to generate enough income online – somewhere between $75,000 to $100,000 profits. To generate that much income online with not having to work fully to upkeep everything – working a bit yes, working to grow my business yes, but I’m not being stuck in the day-to-day drudgery of the business.

That is the goal so that my family and I can do what we want. We can home school if we want. We can travel if we want. We can keep doing what we want to build the business out if we want. I’m really excited because I’m working now on what I really had envisioned for my company which is an educational company that is creating videos and creating education to help empower people.

I’m starting with things that I know how to do, like membership sites, evergreen launch funnels and things that I know I can get affiliate commissions for. So that’s where I’ll start and then obviously I’ll move on from there into different niches and things like that as well. I’m super excited for this opportunity, super excited to grow this business.

I’m still ticking away with on property, still maintaining that, doing interviews every now and then, maintaining the membership site. I did have about 400 people go through the funnel this week and absolutely no sales. I don’t know what the go is with that – it closes tomorrow so I’ll see if I get any sales on the closing. But I definitely need to look into that because I feel like I should have got at least one sale from all those people.

I don’t know what’s going wrong. I don’t know if it’s just the season because we’re going into December which is my slowest month. I really don’t know what’s going on. I will stick at it but it’s hard to sit back and to watch and to just not be able to do anything to drive sales forward and just have to wait and then analyze it and see how you can do it better. So it’s painful to watch, it’s painful to not have those sales for On Property coming through.

I’ve got a few more sales from Ben which should definitely keep me afloat. I’m hoping that On Property sales mix with sales from Ben will keep me afloat until my new business picks up.

I also needed to think about how I can grow this new business faster so it doesn’t take me two years like it took with On Property. I’m actually going to be using a similar strategy to what I did with On Property in that I’m going to be releasing daily content and so I’m going to pump out a lot of content to try and grow my site and to grow the videos as quickly as possible. One of the problems that I have is what I call the Google lag.

Often when you release content it will take five or six months before Google recognizes that yes this is good content I’m going to go ahead and rank it. With On Property I had kind of got past that hurdle because I’ve been around for so long because Google trusts me and because I’ve got great content already and great stats already when I release new content I would automatically get viewers. I would automatically get people watching it and it would automatically rank for the keywords that I was going after.

Therefore with On Property I got to a point where it was quite easy and now I’m starting from scratch again so I need to work out how am I going to accelerate the process – I mean ranking for some of these things.

My strategy at the moment is I’m going to be doing these video series like we discussed but I’m also going to do a bunch of little videos just on one particular problem – solving one particular problem and solving it well. I’ll therefore create a bunch of small videos and the goal is those small videos are so specific that they rank a lot quicker than the series do but that people really like them, people enjoy them, people come back to them that I get some good stats in Google’s eyes and in YouTube’s eyes.

And then hopefully that will have a residual effect on my other videos as well. So that is the plan. That is basically it at the moment – create a lot of content and then create some specific content that’s going to rank well for small terms that get less traffic but that really solve that problem and really do it well. I’m hoping that that will speed things up. I don’t have any other strategy to speed things up at the moment so we’ll just see how it goes.

We’ll keep ticking along. I really only started tracking my YouTube a couple of days ago and I got a total of seven views across my entire channel. I have uploaded eight videos a few days ago and so I’m not expecting traction for quite some time.

Dreamy Dad as well, that hasn’t taken off quickly so that might be six months before we see any traction on that. That’s just not getting any views and I haven’t made any affiliate sales through that either. So really, On Property is keeping me alive and I still need to focus on that but I am very excited about this new business and creating this educational content and hopefully building that up over time.

I was talking to my wife about it last night and we were saying it’s a bummer to realize that what we thought we were creating (we spent two years creating On Property) wasn’t going to be I guess the money maker – wasn’t going to be the business that we had thought it was going to be or that we had envisaged and it’s just hard to realize that you spent two years and you didn’t get to where you wanted to be.

But we’ve learned a lot and we’re going to start again and hopefully this new thing that we’re starting is going to achieve those things. But who knows, I might look back in two years and say this business I started as well wasn’t the ticket.

Let me just leave you with one thought and that came from Robert Kiyosaki. I talked about how nine out of ten businesses fail within the first five years or whatever the statistics is, it doesn’t really matter, a lot of businesses fail. However, when people used to throw that statistics at Robert Kiyosaki they would say, “How can you recommend that people start a business when nine out of ten businesses fail?” He would say, “Well I know the statistics – nine out of ten businesses failed but I only actually need one business to succeed in order to be successful so I need to plan to start ten businesses in order to be successful.”

I think he started three before he achieved great success. Therefore he beats the odds. I’ll leave you with that thought that you may need to start ten businesses in order to get to the one that is successful. And that’s kind of the experience that I’m going through at the moment where I’m moving on and trying a new business and hoping that this will be successful.

I only need one to succeed. I don’t need them all to succeed in order to be successful. On Property has been successful enough. It got me to where I am today but it’s not going to get me to where I want to be and so that’s why my focus is shifting.

I wish you guys all the best in your business. 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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#61 Never Be Afraid To Hit The Reset Button

iniartworksmallWhen running your own business you often need to change strategies all the time. You need to never be afraid to hit the reset button.

Sometimes in business and in life you just get an intuitive sense of things, and I have often found that if I acted on those intuitions, acted on that feeling, then most of the time good things will come about. Occasionally, you would believe something or believe that you have felt something and you would realize to discover that it was not true. But the majority of the time, you get a sense of something without fully understanding the entire picture, and that is what happened to me today.

I understand the importance of sending out email broadcast to my list. It is not something that I remember to do on a regular basis. I am trying to do it consistently on Wednesdays, but today is Friday and I had not done one yet. I was listening to a podcast or something and they were talking about email marketing and I am like, “I have a list of 10,000 people. I need to send something out to them. I need to communicate with them, and I need to market my product – my suburb research course.”

I am in the fortunate position now that I have been paid by Ben and I am not in a cash-strap position, and so I do not need to send a thousand-dollar worth of this course within the next week in order to survive or to not have to pull from savings. So I am in that good position, so I decided – I wrote an article, I did an episode about what really drives capital growth or the appreciation in price of a property.

And so I just created an email broadcast about that with the marketing message at the in saying, “If you want to learn how to find areas that are likely to grow, and then check out my course.” And also, if they actually went to the article or went to the episode and watched it, then there is a call to action in that as well. And I sent it out and you know, fairly decent response in terms of opens and click-throughs and stuff like that. But how many sales? Zero.

I got a sale for the suburb research yesterday I think that kind of came out of the blue that may have come from one of my episodes. But all in all, not many sales for this course and I sent out this email, and within a couple of hours I had this intuitive sense that this course is not going to do as well as I have thought. This is not something that I can just market to my list and they will automatically buy. And this is something that is very specific to their situation. And then I have an idea.

I had an idea to reach more customers with my courses because I feel like these courses focused on a particular aspect or particular skill of investing in property, and by keeping them single courses I am only appealing to people who are looking for them right then and there. So if for example the suburb research course, I am only appealing to people who want to go ahead and do suburb research immediately because they are looking at buying a property right now.

So the people who are researching and looking to buy a property right now, that is going to be a small segment of my population, of my user base. So you have property owners, people who have invested in a lot of property, who feel like they know how to research suburbs, they do not want to pay a hundred dollars for a course. And then you have people who are not quite ready to buy yet so they do not feel like it is worth signing up yet. So really, it is just not appealing to enough people and so I had this idea and I realized I was not going to sell this course as much as I thought.

So I decided to do some data diving, which is looking into the data and traffic for my website to begin to understand why are people coming to my website; what do I need to create to sell to people who are then going to buy this suburb research course.

I discovered that a large percentage of my audience were coming to my website looking at things around building a property; and something that I learned through a video series with Ben, who is my buyer’s agent, and we talked about the ins and outs of building a new property. At the end of the course, there was a call to action to getting contact with him and organize a strategy session. And for all the people who went through that course, we discovered that not many people were actually ready to buy, ready to take action, ready to invest; that a lot of these people were actually just in the research phase of their journey and just researching about building a property. They were not necessarily ready to buy one. So this means there is a lot of traffic coming for this particular term, but there is not a lot of money actually being spent by these people, so it is a very small portion of the audience that actually wants to go ahead and buy property.

So I was thinking, “Okay. We have this audience, a large audience that is researching this topic. I know there is not a lot of good information out there because I have written some of it and I have also done the series with Ben. I just know my space, so I know there is not a lot of information out there. So I was like, “Maybe I could take what I did with Ben and create an eBook out of the key aspects of what we talked about and what I learned: so the ins and outs, the most important things to know when building a property.” And so I was like, “Okay. Yeah.” Create an eBook. I could sell this for maybe $9.95 to these people, and I have thousands of people coming each month around this topic. And so I thought $9.95, this is a great thing that I could market.

I could probably sell a couple of these a week. I was not really thinking about how many I would sell, how much I would make for a year, but I was like, this could be something. And I was thinking about what would I include in this eBook, and I wrote down an outline and I was like, I could create a mini-video course, not as high production as I usually do, but that would actually create the content that would then get transcribed, which I could turn into an eBook.

That would be the fastest and the easiest way for me to do that. And so then I am going down this avenue and I am thinking I will sell this eBook with a free course attached to it because that is a value-add. The course will be available for free anyway, but I will package it up and say, “You get the eBook and you get a free course.” And then for some reason – I cannot actually remember the exact moment, but I had the idea in my mind that this course is an extra course that I want to create. All of a sudden I am starting to get quite a lot of courses! I have How to Find Positive Cash Flow Properties.

I have the Suburb Research Course. I am about to create a Property Evaluation Course. I will then have this course and I was thinking, what other courses could I do? There is one on Saving a Deposit, which I get a lot of traffic from, and there is a bunch of other courses that I have thought of; mini courses like How to Increase the Cash Flow of Your Property, How to Do Renovations. There are just so many things that I could create courses on.

And so this is how my thinking is going, how my thought pattern is progressing. And then I am like, this could be a really good membership site in the way that James Schramko talks about it, which is a membership site is kind of like a supermarket. You go to the supermarket and you are never going to buy everything in a supermarket in one visit. However, you know everything that you need is at that supermarket and you often go back to that supermarket over and over again to get the things you need as you need them.

And so in the same way you can create a membership site that is a buffet, that is like Netflix, that has all of these potential things that you could want and you can then just go in as a customer and you can just access the things that you need. And I was thinking about this and thinking about the courses that I wanted to create and I am like, this would be awesome to get people over the barrier, who do not need a course in their specific situation right now. So I am thinking, people who do not need to do suburb research right now might not buy the Suburb Research Course but they might buy access to a membership site that has a whole bunch of courses in it including Suburb Research.

So Suburb research adds to the value of that membership site but they are not buying it for that specific situation. But then you also have people who want specifically to learn about how to do suburb research, I can say. “Look, this course is available inside this membership site. You just sign up and you get access to the course that you want.” So it kind of reaches out to people who do not necessarily want that exact course right now. And then also, it serves the purpose and the need of the people who want to get access to that course and want to solve that problem. So that is a massive plus.

And then I have also been thinking about the thousand true fans theory, which you guys may have heard of. If you have not, simply google thousand true fans, and this is the idea that an artist, that a creator does not need a massive global following in order to generate a decent income. If they have a thousand true fans, and these are the people that would come to every one of their shows, buy every one of their albums or artworks or whatever it may be. If someone had a thousand true fans that they could get to spend $100 a year with them, that would be $100,000 a year, and that would be a decent income. It is not a a multi-million dollar business but it is a decent income for a lot of people.

And so I have really been inspired by these thousand true fans, and my passion really does lie around providing high quality, low value products to the market. I get off being generous. I get off on pricing my products low. I get off on people saying, “Why are you charging so little for your products?” And I get off on just shocking the market because I can and because of who I am as a person, that I can give generously and I can do it because I do not need the money. And so in an ideal world for me, I would offer everything that I offer in On Property, the listings, the tools, all of that sort of stuff.

In a perfect world, I would love to offer everything for just $10 per month, and to have a thousand true fans and $100,000 and bygones be bygones, and then that would be it for me. I do not have the ability to do that at the moment because of the revenue needs of my business as well as the revenue needs of my family. But definitely if my site scaled to a point where I could do that that would definitely be something that I would want to do.

But then I thought, “Hey, if I tack this course onto Property Tools, which is my Property Calculator, where people are already paying $5 a month; and I have about 75 members that I have built over the last 3 or 4 months in there. If I added the courses onto this, change of pricing from $5 a month to $10 a month, then that is the exact amount that I would need to work towards that thousand true fans. And so that is exactly what I did. Today, I changed my sales page. I changed my pricing, and I set up the membership site to also contain these courses. And I launched the new version of Property Tools.

I did not tell anyone about it. I updated my homepage; just put an announcement on my homepage announcing the new version of Property Tools where you get access to all of these. And I am happy to announce that I launched it, as I am recording this – it is 8:30 PM; it probably went live about 4:00 PM. I have made my first sale within a couple of hours. My first $9.99 per month from one of my one thousand true fans has come through.

That was super exciting to see, super exciting to get that feedback and to get that instantaneous customer. And also, I just feel like I am passionate about this. I feel like this is really valuable. I feel like I know what I am offering is awesome, and as I build this up and as I build up more and more courses, really, you do become like the Netflix of the property industry. That would be something that could be really, really exciting. Netflix in Australia, I would not go with anyone else because Netflix just has such a wide variety of things. They have awesome documentaries. They have awesome Netflix show.

There is no point going with anyone else. I think if I can build up this repertoire of property information at such an affordable price, eventually people would be subscribed and they would be, “Why will I go anywhere else when I have access to all these information from Ryan at On Property and all the courses in there for $10 a month. Why would I pay $2,000 to do a course? Why would I go somewhere else when I can stick here?”

So within the space of a day, or a couple of hours, I went from trying to promote a course to completely changing the pricing model and the way that I am selling my products. And really, it is a move back to what I previously had in On Property where everything was bundled in there, which is a bit strange because I just moved away from that a couple of months ago and unbundled everything. And now I am bundling it all back together again. The listings are still separate but everything else – the teachings and the tools, are now bundled together.

So maybe in the future I will unbundle them again, once I add more and more courses, and if the community grows, then I could unbundle the tools again. But at the moment it is good to have the tools bundled in there because it is just  a better excuse for people to stay subscribed for $10 a month because that is the only way they could get access to that calculator. They cannot just go in, download all the content, and then leave because then they will not be able to use the calculator. So by having the calculator in there is encouraging people to stay and as I have said, like eventually if I get enough courses in there and it is Netflix where there is this buffet of content available, then maybe I can unbundle it again in the future.

But that is where I am at now, I am very excited, hoping to drive this forward. I am glad I do not need revenue straight away, and so I can work towards getting more and more customers at this $10 a month price range and work towards eventually getting a thousand true fans and a thousand customers at $10 per month and make about $100,000 a year. I will be very, very happy with that. I could go on and live my life and would not have to worry about things. So that is where I am at.

I hope things are moving forward in your business. One of the things me and my wife always say to each other is to never be afraid to hit the reset button; and in a way that is what I have done today. So I just want to encourage you, no matter how far you have gotten down a path in terms of your pricing strategy or the products that you are creating, never be afraid to hit the reset button, or to backtrack, or to change strategy. So I wish you the best of luck in your business and until next time, if you want instructions, go and buy some furniture.

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#60 Niche Site Update

iniartworksmallAn update on the progress of my new niche site. Good news is that I have finished all the work for it in just 3 days.
Hey guys! Ryan here from Instructions Not Included, and I want to give you guys an update on how I am going on the niche site or the small site that I am creating to market the Lully, which is the product that helps stop night terrors in children. My child had night terrors and this product helped him to stop having night terrors during the night.
If you do not know what night terrors are, consider yourself lucky; but basically that is when your child wakes up kicking and screaming and having a tantrum but they are not actually awake. So it is very stressful as a parent because you cannot console your child. It is very difficult to wake them up and to make them stop having these night terrors.
So I was really excited to find this product which solved my problem. And I was also quite frustrated with the product that it was such a hard solution to find out there.
If you are a parent and you have a child with this problem, then it is very hard to find out about this product and I locked into it because I was listening to this week in StartUps and eventually Capital Fund who was talking about how they funded this startup and so I had to do a lot of googling to find them and I found them through like a sleep study blog post on Stanford website about the Stanford Sleep Study or something like that. So it is very hard to find, so I want to help the parents out there who have children who have night terrors.
I want to share this with them to help them, but also there is the opportunity for me to market this product through Amazon, because it is available on Amazon.com. I thought I could create a website; I could market this product and I could send them through my Amazon affiliate link, and if anyone buys then I get a commission for that.
So that is kind of the basis for my website. I set the goal to creating about 10 articles and spending no more than a week on this site, was what I gave myself. And I am happy to let you guys know that I have created 13 videos, which will turn to articles, and I have only spent 3 days on this site. So today is the third day that I am spending on the site and basically everything is being done now.
I have just finished the videos and I am just uploading the videos. And then I just need to write a couple of descriptions and then I am done and I will hand it over to my awesome virtual assistant who will then go ahead and will upload all those to YouTube, will upload the podcast to Soundcloud and will order those transcriptions. And so really, I am done at the moment in terms of what I need to do for the site.
I will probably need to revisit it in a couple of weeks when I can actually get those transcriptions done. My transcribers combined can do about 2 hours of audio transcriptions per week, but they are currently working on stuff for On Property. So they will be finished with that in about a week or so, and then I can provide them with the Dreamy Dad ones.
In case you did not know, the site is called DreamyDad.com. So I will provide them with those transcriptions, that will take another week for them to deliver those; and my virtual assistant will then receive those and will upload those both to YouTube and to the website, so in a couple of weeks we should have the transcriptions done. We should have them up on the website, and then we are hoping to start to achieve some things, start to get some traffic and maybe get some sales. I am not hoping for a lot. This is really, I guess, a trial for me. But if I could get any sales through this, that would be pretty cool.
So at the moment, I think we have uploaded 7 videos of the 13 because I am still processing some of them. But let us go ahead and have a look and let us just use the term night terrors. I am searching in YouTube to try and find myself. I uploaded these videos probably about 24 hours ago now, and I am now on the second page and still have not found myself; third page, okay. So it looks like I am definitely not ranking for night terrors at the moment, but that is a pretty highly searched term so I am definitely not expecting to rank for that in the early days, maybe down the track if my videos do prove popular.
One of them was symptoms of night terrors. Let us search for that and see if we come up. Alright, so I am not on the first page, scroll down, not on there at all. So basically, I am not appearing in YouTube at the moment and I am not surprised by this. I am used to putting video up in YouTube for On Property, and if it is for an obscure term it is going to rank for that basically, instantly, for On Property. But I do have a couple of years history with that site, and YouTube knows that people watch my videos and that people like my videos and stuff like that. I am not completely surprised that my videos are not showing up. Let us try this one: how to deal with night terrors.
Let us have a search for that. Okay, if we search how to deal with night terrors in YouTube, I am actually the 6th result at the moment. And we have not created any thumbnails for these yet. Well, I have created them but they have not been uploaded.  I am actually the 6th and the 8th results on that page, so that is good. And we also have some thumbnails to upload which will make the videos more likely for people to click on. So nothing really happening in YouTube at the moment, but it has only been 12 hours so I will report back to you guys in the future.
But basically, I am super excited to get this done, super excited to work on something that is different from On Property. And it is also just good to get in the creative space of doing something new and then thinking about how can I take that across and apply that to my main site which is On Property. And so I have been thinking, I have been mulling over the last days about potentially doing more high-quality content in the future. So rather than just a talking head video, I am actually thinking about doing some higher production stuff here and there to really engage the audience and to have awesome videos. But that is not something I am going to launch any time soon, but it is something that I am thinking about.
And I did really enjoy creating this site for the Lully, creating DreamyDad.com, and I like the process of creating this mini-site to solve a real need out there where people need help and to recommend a product that I absolutely love myself. So definitely I will be thinking through things and how can I replicate this across another website. At the moment I have no ideas.
And then the other thing that I am quite passionate about is Super Smash Brothers Melee, but there are a lot of issues about copyright and stuff like that if you are going to be uploading footage of the game. And Nintendo does not seem to be very happy to work with players and creators so I am probably going to stay away from that market.
But so I am going to monitor my life and see what other problems that people might want solved on the internet, is there a product that I can recommend, or even if I just create videos and make some money through advertising on smaller sites, that is definitely something that I want to pursue and want to consider because my goal was always to be a media company, not to be a property company. And so for me to be working on this night terror website, I know it feels like I am doing what I wanted to do, which is creating content, creating media and then hopefully making money through that. We will see how we go with this, if it does well, if we start selling some products then I will expand it and do more videos.
And I will also consider talking about sleep in general and also I will probably go back to the founders of Lully and see if we can get another interview with them to cover topics in more detail and call on their expertise. But whether we see any traction before I go down that path and make the effort because I can see I am getting traction, I am selling their product then I can say, “Hey guys! I am selling x amount of your product per month. I really need your help in doing a video,” and they are probably more likely to do it.
So I am excited about this website, DreamyDad.com. If you want to go ahead and check it out, it is a small niche and I am not even sure if I am going to make any money, but hopefully I can help those parents out there who have night terrors.  So we will see how it goes. That is my update, so 3 days of work. Let us track it and see how much money are we going to make from this website. Was it worth the 3 days of work or should I have just spent those 3 days creating videos for On Property or working on other things.

But it definitely made me think again about Outspoken.co as well as PodcastFast, and particularly about not pursuing those sites and not pursuing creating my own products because it is just so much effort. And rather than pursuing those, to try and find other areas where I can create content and market a product and make money in easier ways. So I do not know. I will be mulling over it.  I will keep you guys updated as thing go. But that is it for me for today.
So until next time, if you want instructions go and buy some furniture.
At the end here, I just want to quickly mention the sponsor of the Instructions Not Included Podcast, which is Snappy Checkout. Now Snappy Checkout is the tool that I use to collect credit payments online, or credit cards online. It helps you manage all your products. It can help you deliver your products as well and provides a really seamless checkout experience for customers, both on mobile devices and on their computers. So it is absolutely awesome! It connects with Stripe, which is a very popular payment platform or back end system. And the fees are super affordable. I think it is something like you pay 30 cents or 2%, whichever is less per transaction.
For a lot of places like Gumroad, you pay a 5% transaction, so on a thousand-dollar product that is $50. With Snappy Checkout, you pay a Stripe fee which is 2.9% plus whatever fee – $2 or whatever percent it is, whatever is less. So if I went with Gumroad and sold a thousand-dollar product, I will be paying $50. If I use the Stripe with Snappy Checkout, then I end up paying – I think, it is around $31. So it is a big difference. It is a big saving and it is a really awesome tool to manage things on the back end and also provide you with a lot of analytics of how many products you are selling and shows you your monthly stats. So I track all of my sales through that and it is really useful. Great customer support as well, I highly recommend it. If you want to check it out, go to pelt.com, P-E-L-T.co/checkout.
That is my affiliate link for Snappy Checkout and thanks to them for providing me with that affiliate link so that they can be a sponsor of this podcast and hopefully drive some revenue for this podcast so we can keep it going and potentially increase the production value of this podcast. If it starts making money then I will spend more time investing in it and maybe even try and get some people to help me with it just to increase the production value of this site. So thanks again Snappy Checkout! Go to pelt.co, P-E-L-T.co/checkout to look at Snappy Checkout and sign up to day.

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#59 New Website (DreamyDad.com) And A New Approach To Making Money

iniartworksmallSo today I created a new website to approach making money in my business in a new way and I want to talk through exactly how I did that, what my plan is and how you guys can replicate that if you want to go down a similar path.

So while I was musing about – which I did talk to you guys about, was creating a website around the topic of night terrors. Now, this is a sleep disorder that happens in young children where they wake up and have a tantrum but they are not actually a wake. And there is a solution that I have discovered called Lully, which is a product, and it is now available for sale on Amazon.com.

So I was thinking about it, I have just interviewed one of the co-founders of Lully and I thought there is an opportunity for someone in this market to create good content and I was trying to pitch it to them, to say, “You guys, your product is so awesome! You need to create some good content in this market,” because really, their content is not very good because it was just really short articles that just do not solve the need that parents out there have. They want detailed information. They want to know how to solve it and they probably want it in a format other than written text as well.

So, what I decided to do was to do some research into this and to try and work out if is this a market that I can go after and to monetize this market would be through Amazon affiliates and recommending the Lully, which is selling on Amazon.com. Now, I understand there is an inherent risk with this. I am creating this website based on 1 product. If they pull this product off Amazon, if they stop selling this product, then the website basically becomes useless.

I could put some AdSense on there but yeah, it is probably not going to be as awesome as I would hope. So there is some risk in there, I do want to minimize my risks by not investing a lot of money and not investing a lot of time. And what I want to do to leverage my time is the same thing I do with all my websites. I just create videos, get them transcribed and also upload them to a podcast. So I am going to run a podcast, I am going to run a YouTube channel and I am going to run a blog. And so let me talk you through the process of what I did.

The first thing I did was keyword research because I wanted to understand whether or not I could go ahead and create this. I used a tool called Long Tail Pro, or I have the platinum version so Long Tail Platinum, which you can check out. Go to RyanMclean.net/LongTail, and this is an awesome keyword research tool. I just put in night terror and it searches for a whole bunch of keywords around night terrors and I saw that there is a lot of search volume for night terrors but there is also a lot of competition for night terrors.

So it is not going to be easy to rank for these terms, so that was definitely disheartening but just the sheer volume of what people were typing in as well that I know that there are forums and stuff out there, people asking questions. I now that this is a topic that parents write a lot about, that they are very passionate about so I am pretty confident that I can get some sort of traffic from this.

After I went through Long Tail Pro – that process, I then went to YouTube and I just search for some night terror-related stuff on YouTube and I found that there are only a couple of videos on there and most of them were 1-minute long and that is definitely not solving the need of the parents who want more information on this, and most of them are over 3 years old as well. So even though the competition was quite stiff in terms of Google, it was not as stiff on YouTube. But obviously there is not going to be as much volume on YouTube, but I did see that when I searched night terror the number 1 video that came had about 14,000 views.

While that is not a lot, it is a little bit and so I thought this is something that I am happy to move forward with and happy to give it a go. And also, just because this is such a problem that I had and a problem that I feel like parents need to know about, I kind of feel obligated to do it.

What I did after I did my keyword research is I then went on to GoDaddy to search for a domain, and if you want to buy a domain through GoDaddy, you can check out my affiliate link. Just go to RyanMclean.net/GoDaddy and you can check that out. Anyway, I went to GoDaddy. I ended up finding the domain DreamyDad.com.

I wanted something that was playful, something that was not serious because I did not want people to mistake me for a doctor or something like that. I am just a dad who has a kid with night terrors and who wants to help people. I am not a doctor who knows heaps about this. And so I did not want to appear that way, so I thought that a funny, kind-of-quirky brand would help me to get that message across. So I purchased that domain through GoDaddy. I found DreamyDad.com. I searched for a bunch of different things but that is what I ended up settling on.

I then set up web hosting and I used Arvix.com to host my website. And so I go to Arvix.com and there is a coupon code that I created called PodcastFast, which is another one of my websites, which gives you 20% off. So I went through Arvix.xom and I went ahead and I set up my website just on WordPress, through there. And also, while I was doing that I also decided to create a logo myself rather than waiting the 7 weeks to get one created.

So I just searched logo generator in Google and one came up from Square Space which I found really good. And I found a way to hack Squarespace so I did not have to pay for the logo and pay $10. So not really like a hack but a way to get screenshots and pretty high resolution images of the logo without watermarks or anything like that. That was really cool. Thanks Squarespace for creating that tool and for giving me access to that and sorry that I hacked the system and did not pay you the $10 but hey, you are getting a shoutout on my podcast, so it is not too bad. But yes, I use Squarespace’s logo generator to create a logo.

I also at the same time created some podcast artwork out of that and what I did as well from the keyword research is that I pooled probably about 30 or so articles that I could write. What I did was I got a piece of paper and each line just became a title of an article. I looked through what people are searching for, but then I also just came up with some things on my own like how to handle night terrors – that I came up with on my own, but night terrors in 2-year-olds, that was from Google.

So I got a mixture of Google and a mixture of things that I just came up with on my own just thinking about what would parents search. And I then went through and created outlines for the videos and I have 7 videos recorded. While I was editing some of those videos I went on to Fiber.com and I chose a video-intro bumper and so that will be delivered to me within 2 days, it is said. So that will go in my videos just to make it look a bit more professional. I did not want to upload it and it be like a bit dodgy. I wanted to wait a couple of days, get a professional. I also went to Audio Jungle and spent $20 on a new soundtrack, so I have a soundtrack for Dreamy Dad. That was where I was at.

I spent $12 on the domain name. I already had hosting so I did not have to spend any money on that. I then spent $5 on the Fiber gig. And then I spent $20 or $19 on the audio. So all up, I have spent $26. And then there is going to be some costs in getting the videos transcribed and getting my VA to upload them, so I need to take them into account. Basically, we are probably looking at somewhere between $50 and $100 to launch this site; and the goal is to seed it with 10 articles, somewhere between 10 to 14 articles. I have 14 that I would like to do but I will be happy if I stop at 10. So I have recorded 7 today and the idea is to record another 7 tomorrow, or maybe just to record another 3 tomorrow. And then hopefully, tomorrow I will also be able to edit them and be able to get that pre-roll bumper added in as well.

So my goal is to spend less than a week working on this website all up, and so at the moment I have spent 1 day. And what I am going to do is actually restrict myself, so I only have a week to work on this website and I do not have any more time. And so until I start to see a monetary return from this website, I will spend no more than a week on it. So that is my plan, that is the restriction that I have given myself and so far, we have done a day and we have done a lot: I have a website set up; I have a domain; I have a logo; I have a podcast at work; I have 7 videos recorded, which will eventually go into podcast; and so yeah, I am just waiting on a couple of things to come back and then we will be ready and rearing to go. And I will launch it and we will see how we go and I will keep you guys updated into how this little test goes and you guys can hold me to the fact that I will only work on this for a maximum of 1 week or about 40 hours.

So, so far it has been 1 day, I have 4 left. And then hopefully we can help a lot of people. Hopefully we can generate some sales through Amazon. I am not expecting anything huge even if I made maybe $500 a year, or something like that. That will be good, and this is just another way for me to diversify my income and a different way for me to make money. See, I have always thought that the best way to make money is to create a YouTube channel podcast whatever, drive traffic and sell your own products.

Selling your own products is great because the margin is high, people trust you so they are more likely to buy. But then the problem is selling your own product, you should then go to support those products. You have to create those products which is a lot of work. And so even though I sell a Lully, which is like $130 on Amazon, I probably make somewhere around 5% or 4, so I might make $6 or something per sale, so it is a lot, lot less than what I get from selling my own product. But if I want to be a media company, maybe I need to explore some of these things where I do not need to spend so much time creating my own products; and I can spend more time of being generous, putting out free content and trying to help more people.

So this is just, I guess, a new exploration into a new way of making money through affiliate sales and also diversify my income away from On Property. So that is where I want to get to with this; that is what I want to achieve. I will keep you guys updated on it. I hope that you are working hard on your business!
Until next time, if you want instructions go and buy some furniture.

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#57 Update On My Strategy To Market My Course

iniartworksmallI’ve decided to make the month of November “suburb research month” as a way to market my suburb research course. Will this help me get out of my cash-strapped situation?

Hey guys, Ryan here from Instructions Not Included. I just wanted to give you a bit of an update on my strategy to create content and to market my suburb research course. What I did was I created a bunch of content today. I did my list like I talked about in yesterday’s episode and I created outlines for 12 or 13 of the articles. I mean, of the videos that I’m going to create.

What I decided was – I had like 24 episodes, anyway, and then a couple more and I thought, why not just make the month of November suburb research month? I’ve wanted to move towards daily podcast episodes, anyway, and this is just the perfect excuse.

What I’ve done is the first episode is going to go out on the first of November, which is in a couple of days. Basically, I’m going to create podcast episodes so every day in November an episode goes out about suburb research marketing my suburb research course.

Now, I only did $200 in sales when I sent out my email, which is definitely not ideal. Money is going to be tight so I am a bit concerned, but we shall see how it goes. See if I can pull something off. I’ve got a computer to sell. I’ve got some other stuff that I can do. I am getting new customers to On Property Listings and On Property Tools, but these new customers are coming in at $50 a month, $5 a month, $50 a year.

So, I’m getting these small amounts of money. These small amounts of money will probably tie me over for another week or so, but it’s definitely getting tight. I don’t like it. I don’t like being in this situation where I need to work my way out and it’s quite difficult. I like being in the forward-thinking situation where I’m just like, okay, how can we move this forward? What’s the best step to take? I don’t like being under the gun.

That’s all right. Sometimes you need the pressure to move your business forward. Oh, yes! I forgot. I was just thinking. I’m getting 2,000 visitors a day to my website, which is massive for an Australian property website. And I’m just thinking, what I can do is I can put a title bar at the top talking about my course. There’s one called Hello Bar, I’m just googling it now. Maybe I could go ahead and use that one and create that and I can market my course to the website visitors and hopefully get some sales.

Maybe I need to do a sale on the product? No, we’re not there yet. If we get stuck and we’re legit running out of money, then let’s do a sale, but for now, we won’t, okay? All right. I’m going to go ahead and setup a Hello Bar. I’m going to put that on the website.

I created 5 videos today – nowhere near the 12 I had planned to create in a day. I can not do 12. It is too difficult. It is too mentally straining to create these videos. So, 12 definitely unachievable, but 5 today and I actually edited them and uploaded them as well. Well, they’re processing now and I’ll upload them overnight tonight. So, 5 done in a day – edited and uploaded. I’m pretty happy with that.

All right. I’m going to put this header bar up there and see if that helps at all. Wish me luck and I’ll keep you guys update with how everything goes. So, until next time, if you want instructions, go and buy some furniture.

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#56 Marketing Strategy To Sell My New Course

iniartworksmallToday I flesh out my marketing strategy for launching my new course and trying to sell myself out of my cash-strapped situation.

Hey guys, Ryan here from Instructions Not Included. I wanted to give you an update on my marketing strategy for the suburb research course and basically coming up with enough money to survive until Ben’s money comes through as well as some of the problems that I’m having and I don’t know what I’m going to about.

But I’m hoping that as I talk to you guys, some ideas will begin flowing. I feel that really creating this podcast does help me understand things more and getting things out there really helps.

So, I sent out my first email today to my list about my suburb research report. I didn’t do a special offer or anything. I just said, “It’s available. Go ahead and check it out.” I wrote it kind of as if writing to a friend.

So, it wasn’t super sales-y, but the whole purpose of the email was to get people to check it out. So, it wasn’t like, “Here’s some free content. Oh, by the way, I have this course. You should buy it.” It was definitely like, “Go ahead, check out this course. If you’re interested in suburb research, then I think you should buy it.”

So, I had 2 sales straight away. So, that’s $200, but that’s all I’ve had today. I definitely would have liked more than that. My goal is $1,000, but this is only one part of my strategy to achieve that. That was one email and then I’m going to create some free content and send out emails around the free content; which will also market the course and hopefully get more people into the course.

It’s hard because this is a course that’s designed to sell overtime to people who need it at that point in time. It’s not a course that I designed to sell in one big hit like I’ve done with previous products that are just like, “Go ahead, buy this product. Sale ending soon.”

The problem that I have now is I’ve taken the time to write down ideas for content that I could create. Originally, I was thinking, “Okay. I’ll do 7 episodes over 7 days.” I wrote down a whole bunch of ideas and I’ve got 20-30 ideas for episodes that I want to create. So, I put them all on individual index cards and I’ve kind of ordered them and I’ve got a row of primary things. Things that I think are super useful to market my product and to sell as many as I can in the next week or two. So, that’s in one line and I’ve got 4, 8, I’ve got 12 of those.

I then got a secondary line, which I think will be very useful to people and will help me sell this course over time. And I’ve got 12 of those, but one of those index cards should be fleshed out to 15 different podcast episodes. So, 12 to 28 or 27 in the secondary pile. And then, I’ve got a third pile which has 4 in it; which are kind of interesting but won’t necessarily help. It’ll just be a nice-to-have.

So, really, I’ve got 12 to create and then another 12 that I’d like to create. And so, my problem is, rather than do 7, can I do 24? And how can I handle that increased workload and how can I make that happen? So, that’s what I want to talk through with you guys today.

And then, I have one other issue, which I also want to talk about; which is this podcast and how can I get these episodes done more quickly and get them out. Because I’m finding I just don’t have enough time in the day to focus on Instructions Not Included and spend the whole day editing these episodes and getting them out.

Okay. So, let’s approach this. Let’s think, “How can we do this?” Alright, so we’ve got maybe 24 episodes that we to create instead of 7 and we’ve got a week to do it. Okay, well, the majority of my process is already done by my virtual assistant. So, she orders the transcriptions. She publishes everything to the blog. She uploads all of the episodes. So, that’s fine. But the things that I do is I’ve got to outlines for all of these. I’ve got to record the episodes.

I then got to get the episodes on to my computer, edit the episodes and then upload the episodes to Dropbox. I also have to export the episodes, I guess, after I’ve edited them.

So, how can I make this process quicker? How can I get 24 episodes done – not in a day. I couldn’t do it in a day, but in a couple of days. Well, I’ve got a week. If my entire week was focused to that, then it could be achievable. My day is almost over, so I can’t do much today. But what I can do is write, in order, each of these episodes. Or, I can write one piece of paper per episode, because that’s generally how I do my outlines.

Now, generally, I don’t like going too far ahead. 24 episodes is a lot of episodes ahead and I don’t like doing that because I find my mind changes and I just end up doing nothing with the data. But because we’re trying to do this over a couple of days, I’m going to try it and I think that’s going to be okay.

So, we’ve got an order. So, today, I can write out that order and maybe even begin working on some outlines. And then, really, it’s just a matter of focusing the majority of my attention this week on to creating these episodes. What I usually do is I’ll film an episode, I’ll import it and I’ll edit it. Maybe I should just record these back to back. Do absolutely no editing at all, but just check each episode and make sure the sound is good. So, record them all or record as many as I can.

And then, I could go through and do editing. Because you do get tired, so maybe I could record one day and just do a full day of recording. And then the next day, I could do a full day of editing. And then a full day of recording, a full day of editing and get as many done as I can. It’s worth a try.

This afternoon is outlines, as many as possible, get them all in the book. Tomorrow, which is Wednesday, will be record as many as possible and I won’t be editing any tomorrow; which means there’ll be nothing going out tomorrow. Thursday will be edit as many as possible. And so, I can edit them and then I can batch that and I can get them all uploading Thursday night to publish on Friday. Friday, I could be creating more videos. And then, maybe Monday, I could do some more editing. So, definitely achievable.

And I also need to think about Instructions Not Included and how I’m going to get around to editing this. Because I’ve got a 6-week delay, but at the moment there’s no episodes going out because I haven’t edited them. So, how am I going to find time to edit them as well and batch them and make them make sense? I have no freaking idea because the episodes aren’t even labelled. So, I don’t even know what they’re about to create a title in order to upload them. Yeah, I don’t know what I’m going to do for Instructions Not Included.

But I’m pumped about creating these 24 episodes and just going, “Bam, bam, bam, bam, bam!” for basically a month on suburb research to market this course. That’s going to add tons of value to people. Over time, it’s going to drive a lot of sales for me. It’s just a lot of work. Alright, I’m going to go ahead and get into it. I’m going to try and smash some of these out. It’s 3:09, I’ve got a little over an hour left until I finish the day.

Hoping to get on Smash Brothers tonight. But we’ll see how we go with the missus and if she’s okay with that because I have been out a couple of nights, so not 100% sure. With Smash Brothers, I did research that people who played Fox and Falco – which are the two best characters, but also the two hardest characters – tend to have more hand problems than people that play with characters that require less buttons.

So, I’m definitely happy with my decision to go with Peach. And I’ve got a secondary character now, which is Marth and I’ve been practicing a bit with as well. So, I’m getting better, looking forward to the next tournament that I’ll attend some time in December. You guys know I love Smash Brothers. Super Smash Brothers Melee – I don’t know why I talk about it in this business podcast, but it’s definitely a big passion of mine.

Alright, I’m done. I’m just rambling now. Until next time, if you want instructions go and buy some furniture.

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#55 Why I Created A Parody Sales Video

iniartworksmallToday I was working on the suburb research course sales video. I decided to create a parody video as a way to connect with my audience. Here is why.

Hey guys! Ryan here from Instructions Not Included. Basically this is my audio journal where I document my process trying to create a successful online business.

I talked in the last episode about my plans to market my suburb research course which I have now completed. I am very happy to say that the course has been completed. All the training videos are done. They are all uploaded. They are all on the page, everything is a go. All I am working on at the moment is the sales video and that is something that I have trouble with.

I am not a copywriter. A lot of the way to write copy goes against the grain of what I do which is being very upfront and honest and not trying to trick people like exposing bad tactics that the industry does.

So I find it hard to write sales videos and I have an idea from my wife for this sales video was actually to create 2: create one sales video that is like super sleazy, kind of like a parody sort of thing; and then create a second sales video which is the real one which is just me being honest with the audience and saying, “Here is my course. Here is why I created it.”

So that is exactly what I did. I have created 2 videos. One is short. It is less than 2 minutes, just kind of a parody thing. You are going to be super wealthy if you buy this course. I used heaps of stock video as well so it is quite stupid. I talked about being rich and then the printing press appears. I talked about flying first class and you got like the typical plane flying sort of scene, all these sort of dumb stuff. And so I kind of made it like a parody.

I guess my goal is I am going to in some way incorporate that into my sales and marketing. And so I will say there is a salesy video here. I will probably just incorporate it into my emails that I send out. So sales video, working on it today. I was hoping to get it done by today and to get the sales page up. But like I finished the sales videos which is good. they are just processing now. And so tomorrow I will be working on the sales page and hopefully I can send out an email tomorrow afternoon.

The first email in the marketing – the launch of this course and so hopefully I could send that out tomorrow because that allows me to send at least 2 emails this week: one next week or maybe one on the weekend as well. So that is kind of what I am working towards. I am definitely running low on money. I have a couple of weeks of revenue left at the moment.

Definitely do not want to have to approach Ben and ask him, “Hey bro! Like do you mind if I get paid early because I am about to run out of money.” I do have personal savings that I can draw from so I am not going to actually run out of money. But it is getting down to the well.

So I am excited to get this sales video done, to get this course launched and then market this course and create some podcast episodes marketing this course as well. I really need to drive some more sales. I have had a few On Property listings signup recently which had been good.

There have been monthly registrations which is great because monthly because it is the most per month in terms of cost. But then it is not great because I do not get a bunch of revenue upfront. If someone pays for a year upfront, I get almost $500.

If someone pays for 2 years upfront then I get about $750 or $720 or $740 or something like that. And so it is great when people sign up upfront to get that chunk of cash. But monthly is kind of the best long term because it is the largest source of revenue. I guess you would say because people are paying more per month and they are not getting a discount.

So ideally I would love to have 200 members that are all paying $50 per month which would give me 200 times $10 is $2,000 times by 5 that is $10,000 a month. Is that right?! 200 times $50 is $10,000 a month. That is insane! So I guess that is my goal. That is crazy. But I am not getting all monthly people. I am getting annual people. I also have people who are on discounts from back in the day. So I am not aiming for $10,000. But yeah.

So that is what I am working on at the moment. I am also going to sell my old computer so hopefully I am going to get some money on that, $500 to $700 or something for that which will keep me in the black. So I am still working on getting all my old data off that and will need to restore that computer, bring everything back up to scratch. But yeah, I am excited where this is going. I will keep you guys in the loop as to how the marketing goes and how the launch of this course goes and what sales we get and stuff like that. I think that this is a great course.

I hope that my sales message is good enough to get through to people so they will understand what this course is about and why they need it. And I am even thinking like get the draft of the sales video out tomorrow and get the sales page created but then maybe adding video overlays and stuff to the sales video of like inside the course and stuff which I could potentially do at a later date.

So that is something that I will be exploring. That is where I am at. Alright guys, 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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