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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