Ryan McLean : Slightly Unconventional

#62 I’m Such An Idiot

iniartworksmallMaybe I hit the reset button a little too quickly. I made an idiotic decision that I had to immediately undo.

Oh my! I am such an idiot! My goodness!

Hey! This is Ryan from Instructions Not Included and I made a big mistake in my business. I was just silly. Last night when we were going to bed, my wife and I, I decided to ask her a bunch of questions because I felt stuck in my business and I felt like the idea that I had to merge all the courses into Property Tools to create this shopping center of property stuff was just a bad long-term plan.

I just had this feeling in my mind; bad brand name, bad idea, and talking to her I realized how bad of an idea it actually is.

Think about this right, the way that I was thinking, the courses that I created were not selling that well. So my idea was, how am I going to take the stuff on my site that is not selling that well, that people are not that interested in, and I make that that focus and I make those courses the focus of my entire product or big product.

Is it not that just ridiculous? If people are not interested in the courses, why would I put more focus on them? Really, I should be defocusing them and focus on the things that people actually care about, and the things that people are actually signing up for. And so I have been an idiot and I made a big mistake in that I created this, I sent out emails to existing members to say, “Here is what I am doing. You are getting a free upgrade.

Here is why it is going to be awesome. You are going to get access to all the courses that I have released.” And now I have realized my focus on courses – which is wrong to start with, that I should be focusing on other things.

So after talking to my wife about it last night, doing a big brainstorming session that went for well over an hour, we decided that my focus should not be on pushing more and more courses and marketing them. Sure, I should put out the courses that I have already created and the one that I promised which is the Property Evaluation Course – I promised that and it will be useful so I will go ahead and create it; and then just leave the courses there.

If they sell, they will sell; if they do not, they do not. Do not make them the big focus of your business, moving forward.

Another thing that I was stressed about was, my whole goal is 3 to 5 years’ time to have a pretty passive income online and have the freedom to explore and travel, potentially home-school my children, to do a whole bunch of things that we are potentially thinking about doing. And so if I am going to then create this website that needs new courses added to it all the time, and also I added a community aspect to it, a Facebook group.

That is a lot of upkeep and that is a lot of work and that is not going to create the business to free me up to do what I want to do. So I really need to think, not necessarily what is the best way to create recurring monthly revenue, what is the best way to make the most money from my site; but what is the best way to get to where I want to be in the next 3 to 5 years. And the plan that I set out, that I mentioned in the last episode, is definitely seems to not be the right plan. So what I have done – luckily I did not send out an email to my entire list so I do not need to backtrack on that. And so what I have done is I have just converted everything back, converted the sales page back.

And then inside my membership site I have added a new sort-of user role and that is like a tools user role. And so the people who I already promised to get access to courses and who I promised to get a free upgrade, they will still see all that stuff on the site. But then I have created this new user role called tools, so anyone who signs up now will just be a tools’ member and will only see the calculator.

They will not even know that the courses exist. They will not show up for them. It is not in the sales or marketing message at all. And I also did not create any free content around it. So I am glad that at least not too much damage was done.

So a couple of ideas that came out of our brainstorming session last night: the first idea was that listings generate the most of my revenue and obviously there is this thing in Australian property where people do not want to do a lot of things themselves. They want someone else to do it for them or they want it provided to them. And so we are kind of running off that idea and that thesis about the property market is that the stuff that I put out that people wanted done for them. People seem to gravitate towards that, stuff that are really easy like the listings, like the tools, and the stuff that works like you need to learn how to do this yourself and it is something that you are going to do yourself, does not sell as well. So I am thinking Property Listings, bulk of the revenue, how can we expand that?

We went through a whole bunch of different things. We looked at potentially expanding into reports that we could provide people on the suburb or on the property, and how much we could sell that for. But then, we came back to the fact that that is a lot of increase work. There is a lot of fact-checking that I need to do. There is a lot of human error because we go out and get those reports ourselves. So that probably was not going to be the most viable option for us. It was a good idea and I think it would create revenue but it is not going to lead to the life that we want in that 3 to 5 years’ time.

So the next thing that we thought about is something that I have been thinking about for a while, which is selling access to the archives of On Property, which over 500 high rental yield property listings now, so people can go back and they can see where these properties used to be listed, what areas they could potentially be looking in, and so it just expands people’s minds there. So we are considering doing that as an upsell and so we decided on that. And basically today, I just fixed Property Tools, put it back to normal. And then I am working on creating that upsell for the archives there.

Another thing that kind of inspired that was I was listening to a video by a guy that I would not recommend because he does not seem very ethical, but they were talking about some sales and strategies and even though a lot of their stuff is really sleazy, one of the ideas that came out of that was that when people are buying something they often want an upsell. And so there are upsells that you can offer them so that is what I think I am going to do there.

And then with the tools, we decided to reinvest in that, reinvest in the design of the calculator to make it easier to use and to make it look more professional. And also we had an idea for a tool that we could create for people doing suburb research. So I am going to think about that and explore that more.

So I guess the idea to roll all my courses into one big university fort of thing has fallen flat. And the idea now is to focus on tools and services which is my listings, which is my calculator. And then basically, the eventual goal is to be able to give all my content away for free, but within that content I am using my tools; within that content, I am using my calculator and that sort of stuff. So the free content encourages people to buy the paid tools because it makes doing the research for them a lot easier.

So that is, I guess, the end goal that we are working towards at the moment. So I feel like an idiot because I went down the wrong path, but luckily not too much damage is done. And I am now back, back to where I was but with a more clearly defined path of how we are going to move forward.

So hopefully this just encourages you that often in business, especially in startups, you are not going to get the product right first go. There is going to be a lot of innovating around the product and changing the product but I do not hear many people talking about innovating around the product in a way that you absolutely destroy it and go down the path that you do not want to go and then having to backtrack from that, which is exactly what I have had to do. So be encouraged by that.

If you end up down that path where you have created a product and you have to backtrack, do not be too alarmed and just find a way to make it happen. And tomorrow I am not working. I have a date day in the morning with my wife, which we do every Thursday morning. And then I am actually mentoring at my child’s school; there is an entrepreneur class or this program that is going into the school and help teaching young kids the concepts of running a startup and many valuable product and all that sort of stuff, so they are looking for mentors.

So I put up my hands up that after date day I am going to try and mentor and help a bunch of high school kids as well. That should be fun and I will let you guys know how that goes, what I got out of it, and I feel like whenever you give something, you always get something back in terms of ideas. So hopefully by giving my time to these kids, by hanging out with them, hopefully I can get some clarity as well and some things that I could do in my business and jump start some ideas of things that I could potentially be doing.

So that is where I am at. Hope your business is moving forward, and until next time, if you want instructions, go and buy some furniture.

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#43 Sitting Down Is Literally Killing Me

iniartworksmallToday I watched an episode of Healthcare Triage and learned that sitting down is literally killing me. For every hour I sit down I apparently lost 23 minutes of my life.

Hey guys! Ryan here from Instructions Not Included and I just watched Healthcare Trios and I learned that sitting down increases your risks of death quite significantly over the course of your life and so I am standing up and I am pacing around because it is advised that you get up and you walk for about 1 to 2 minutes every 20 minutes which is a lot which I do not know I can do. But maybe doing recordings like this, I can walk around.

It was saying that if you sit down for an hour to watch television, you are losing 21 minutes of your life. That is the equivalent of the risks associated with sitting for long periods of time. And so that is quite scary. But yes.

So today I moved my office around. We actually moved our bedroom. There is a larger bedroom in our house which we were in and there is a smaller bedroom in our house but that has a balcony which opens out onto the bush. It has a nice view.

It has that outside space as well and so we moved our bedroom and we moved my office into this room so that was a cool thing to do today. The kids now have the bigger room. We have a smaller room but what we believe is a nicer room so that is cool. And then in terms of work, I edited a few videos.

I did a video series with Ben Everingham, who is a buyer’s agent and we talked about all the things people need to know if they are going to build a new-build property and the goal with that one is when people get to the fourth video, there is a call action to organize a strategy session with Ben. So I went through and I edited those which was pretty good. I have most of them done. Actually, now that I think about it, I should set one of those up to export while I am doing this and so I did that.

And then I also created a template for my next course which is the Suburb Research Course. It is a 7-point checklist that people go through in order to research a suburb. It is a really simple way for people to research. And so what I did was I created that template and I also went through and I found some photos and started setting up some Keynote presentations.

So I set up my first Keynote presentation so tomorrow I should be able to record video number 1 of that course. And then also, I will probably be looking at it and I think this is going to be an easier course to create than the last one on How To Find Positive Cash Flow Property. So that is cool. Hopefully it will not take me as long as the last one to create which just means that I can get it out of the way and I can focus on other things of my business creating my third course or marketing this course more often.

So that is cool, I am just setting this to export. That already exists; I must have already exported that one.

It is going to be a cool course because something that I think I am good at which my wife said a while ago, was I am good at taking complicated things and just breaking them down and making it simple for them. And a lot of stuff when it comes to researching an area is just so complicated.

There is so much data to look at, there are so many things to analyze that people just get absolutely nowhere. And so the fact that I can create this 1-page checklist for people that they can go through, it is not going to give them everything they need and I will present it to them in that way – like this is not the be all and end all of suburb research, but it is going to give you a great outline, a great overview of the area. And it is just helping people take that initial action and helping people to at least get somewhere because somewhere is better than nowhere.

And so by breaking down and making it simple, hopefully people will not be overwhelmed about suburb research. And in the next course Property Research and I can really help them with that.

And so I am excited about this course. I will go ahead and record it tomorrow. I have another sale of the How To Find Positive Cash Flow course, that was $100 there so that is pretty awesome. Definitely I am over what I achieved in my highest month in terms of my own products sales. And now I am just trying to hit that $6,250 in a month which will put me on target for my $75,000 a year.

So that is where I am at, few videos tomorrow in order to create that course and I will let you know how that is going. But it just seems course sales are going pretty well. No sales on On Property Sales lately which I am not concerned about because I did a big push on it. But I do not need to start thinking about how am I going to market On Property Plus more so I can continue to get people through the door and I can reach that 200 membership limit that I want to reach which basically guarantees my income for the year. So yeah, I will start thinking about that tomorrow and see how it will go.

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

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#20 Thinking About 3-5 Year Goals – Mon 13th July 2015

iniartworksmallToday I want to talk about working towards what you want your business to be in 3-5 years time. What do you want your life to be like in 3-5 years time?

So, I just had a week off, which was great! So, if you notice that there was a gap between the last episode and this episode, that’s because I only really record when I’m doing work and I just record one a day. I’m not trying to push it to a daily thing or anything like that.

Today, I want to talk about working towards your business or whatever you want it to be in 3 or 5 years’ time. Something that me and my wife have been doing. We’ve been sitting down, talking about, okay, what do we want our live to look like in 3 years’ time?

Because I feel like I’m at the point in my business at the moment where I can go in a multitude of different directions. My business is self-sufficient, self-sustaining. Really, if I wanted to, I could walk away from my business, work a couple of hours a week, earn enough money to get by, not significant money but enough money to get by and I could do whatever I want with my life. But I love my business, I’m doing this because I enjoy it.

I want to keep working on it. So, me and my wife need to decide, okay, where do we want to be in 3 years? And what sort of business do I need to have in order for us to be there in 3 years’ time?
Because one of the thoughts that I had, my big vision for my business, which is an educational company, is to really start to give educational access to basically everyone.

Affordable education for access to everyone and education in such a way that people can learn as they want to and progress as they feel inclined. And then one of my big passions is, I got this big vision of the future where we can go into third-world countries and we can use the internet in order to deliver education over there and to create an economic sustainable model around education to just improve people’s lives.

So I’ve got this big vision of what I want to achieve but then I’ve also got a family, I’ve got 3 kids. And so I’ve got a vision of what I want to achieve in my family. One of the things that I was aiming and eyeing about is scaling up my business. If you listen to anything about startups, they talk about scaling up, getting venture funding, millions of dollars so that you can hire people and scale up. And so, really, my business, in order for me to scale, the biggest roadblock that I have at the moment and the biggest bottleneck is the fact that I create all the content.

So, I create the videos but then I have a team behind me who then take those videos and upload them and transcribe them and put them into blog post, etcetera. But I create all the videos. So if I wanted to scale, then I would really need to get people to come and work for me who can create content and create videos as well. Which would mean hiring people here in Australia and it would mean having a studio, having an office that people can come to, having a fixed location.

And we’re talking about, okay, what do we want our lives to look like in 3 years? And I think we came into the realisation that that wasn’t really what we wanted. We didn’t want me to be working excessive hours trying to manage a local team here in Australia.

We wanted the flexibility to continue to grow our income, maybe slower than we could if we scaled up but continue to grow it but then still have the flexibility for me to take time off work, for me to spend time with the kids, for me to leave my business almost completely if I wanted to. And so, we didn’t really know where we want to be in 3 years but we kind of know the feelings that we want to have and the lifestyle that we want to have.

We’re very inspired by tiny house living so we don’t want to go big house but we want to earn our own house and be able to do that and there’s some things we want to do.

And so, basically, I guess the decision that we’ve come to at the moment, and if you follow me, you know I change my mind every week so this could change. But, basically, just going to keep working as I’ve been working and I’m going to scale my business through the use of technology.

And because every video I create stays on Youtube and the podcast stays on iTunes and the blog post stays on my website, which gets indexed in Google, I can actually scale up and get more and more traffic and generate more and more income by doing work once and then it creates this passive traffic stream afterwards.

So, that’s really the direction we’re moving towards is just being able to scale up my business in terms of me being able to create more content, more products that I can sell and then I might scale up my backend team so that I can spend more time creating content and then the backend team can just spend more time working on that.

So, there’s still some things that I do on the backend so if I could pull myself out of that, and then my job would just be creating content, well then, I would have a lot of freedom in my business.

I could just create a video a day, spend 10 minutes and then I’d be done or I could spend the whole day and create a whole bunch of videos and a whole bunch of products and stuff like that. So, we’re moving towards scaling the business in such a way that the technology is doing the scaling, not people.

And then I’m not going to have any employees and I’m not going to have a fixed base here in Australia. So, I can work from home, I’ve got this dream of getting a camper van and turning that into an office so I can work from a camper van.

Basically, I want that freedom to work around and so that means no employees here in Australia.

So, that’s kind of where I’m at at the moment and just don’t have enough time in a day, I feel. I earn enough money so I’m okay. But there’s a lot of products I want to build, a lot of content I want to create and I just have to pick and choose which ones I do.

So that’s my biggest struggle at the moment, is picking, do I work on this PodcastFast ebook or do I create videos for OnProperty or do I create videos for TeachSpeaking and try and get a product out there? What do I spend time on? That’s probably my hardest thing at the moment.

So, I think, what I’m going to do today and for the rest of this week is try and finish that PodcastFast ebook, get the first draft done. And then find an editor who can go through that with a fine-toothed comb and just make sure that everything is good there.

So, that’s where I’m at. I hope that you’ve enjoyed this kind of inside look at my thinking towards how I want to grow my business. Because I really do believe that businesses tend to self-perpetuate once they get in a rhythm and once you start to earn money in a certain way. So you really need to be smart in the decisions you make in the early days because that will often define the way your business progresses in the future.

Alright guys, this is me signing off from Instructions Not Included. And as you know, if you want  instructions, go and buy some furniture.

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I recently started a brand new niche site. I am making videos, podcasts and blog posts for this site to get traffic.

The biggest thing I did was I took a high traffic page from a website that was generating no money and moved it to this brand new niche site. Overnight my traffic for this site was high and I started earning some Adsense revenue.

But that isn’t what’s crazy.

Last night (about 11pm) I set up a sales page for a membership site on this niche site. I didn’t think anyone would go there so I set the “Add to Cart” button to just redirect to my home page.

However, I put a tracker on this link so I could see if anyone was clicking it.

My thoughts were “If people start clicking I will go to the effort of setting up an actual PayPal sales option”.

Just 12 hours later (on a site with 0 community and 0 email subscribers) I have already had 2 people click through.

Tonight I will set up an actual shopping cart and see if I can launch a membership site from scratch.

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