Posts Tagged ‘fixer upper and rental house business’

5 Keys to Sell Books Like Hotcakes with YouTube

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

YouTube is an inexpensive and powerful way to promote a book online. Maybe you’ve heard about it.

I make videos for YouTube on how to operate a fixer upper and rental house business, or on how to “carve out your niche” and how to self-publish. The best way to maximize views of YouTube videos that promote your books is to provide useful information that is helpful to people.

Five Keys for YouTube Success

Kodak Zi8 Movie Camera

1.) Be Subtle

Rather than making a video where you tell people to buy your book, it’s much better to make a video describing how your business operates, and why the type of business in general is a good business to be in. Subtlety always works better than beating people over the head with a sales promotion. Give your viewers something of value and they may return the favor.

For variety, and to broaden my appeal, sometimes I make a video designed simply to inspire people. I tell stories from my life that have inspiring messages, or describe ways that I find inspiration in my own life. In general, the better people know you, the more likely they are to become a customer.

2.) Keep it Short and Entertaining

Logitech Webcam

Many videos on YouTube are long and boring, when they should be quick and fun. I keep my videos short, and I try to include humor in them. I will tell a story that has recently happened to me, or use something that I have recorded in my “humor” notebook, where I record quips or jokes that I have come across.

3.) No Adlibbing

To make sure that I come across as professionally as possible, I write a script before I start recording. The script doesn’t have to be word for word what you plan to say, but just an outline so that you know the key points that you want to make. I always try to include quotes from famous people, and, of course, humor and stories.

Unless you’re Jay Leno, don’t try to adlib your way through a video. It just won’t look as good as you think it does. Think, “nose piercing.”

4.) Break it up into Pieces

Now I do my videos in segments. I will look at my script and decide what I want to say about one key point. I record myself talking about that one point. Then I stop the camera and study the next key point, and so on.

Try to look right into the camera, and speak in a friendly voice as though you were talking to your best friend.

5.) Don’t Overanalyze

Don’t try to overanalyze making videos. As Douglas Adams said,

If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a non-working cat.

What’s my motivation?

My First Video

For the first video that I made (where I was actually on screen), I was so nervous that I actually wrote out the entire script and read it into the camera. I had my son, Bryan, holding the script next to the camera so that it wouldn’t look like I was reading it.

My son commented, “Surely, people will know that you are just reading.”

I said, “No way. I’ll read it like I talk. And don’t call me Shirley!”

Bryan was right. It did kind of look like I was reading.


At the end of the video, I was going to stand up and walk away down a peaceful rural path with my dog Blackie (the Wonder Dog), and I got tangled up in the microphone wire. And, the camera pan was jerky as I walked away. The video was unraveling into a Three Stooges experience, but none of that mattered. All that mattered was I somehow got the first video finished and posted.

I did this video before I started using an editing program so, like live TV, we had to get it all on one take.

Here is that first live video, warts and all, entitled “Walk Away From Your Problems and Find Inspiration.”

Two Alternatives to Using a Movie Camera

1. For the Camera Shy

If you really do not wish to appear in a video, you can still produce videos. You can use Easy Screen Capture Video, or ESCV (or any number of similar companies) and just do a voice over of a power point presentation, or use screen shots. It’s amazingly simple to do. You don’t even need a camera.

Here is the first video that I made using the ESCV technology, entitled “Start a Fixer Upper and Rental House Business” (which, looking back seems to run too long).

2. The Economical Way 

If you want to do it the cheap and easy way, you can just record your videos using an video camera attached to your computer. I have a Logtech camera that captures sound and video. It clips onto the top of my screen and plugs into a USB port of my computer.

We’re Not Filming “War and Peace”

It’s tempting to think, “I don’t want to show this video to the world until it’s perfect.” Come on, you’re not Quentin Tarantino. We’re not aiming for a masterpiece here. You have to swallow your pride, and just put the video on YouTube, even if it has a few flaws.

People will overlook mistakes, especially if you have good content. My attitude is: my videos are not great, but I’m getting better each time I make another one. The more videos I make the better I get.

In this later video, “The Secret to Success in Less than 2 Minutes.” I employed several of the techniques that I have mentioned. It’s my most popular video with 3,200 views.

Camera and Editing

The camera that I use to record video is the Kodak Zi8. It’s small, easy to use and makes very clear videos. I also recommend that you have a tripod, a remote control, an external microphone, and an 8 GB flash memory card.

For editing, I use Windows Live Movie Maker, which is free if you have Windows. It allows you to cut and paste your video, and add music and titles.

Show People How to Do It!

Most people don’t want to waste time reading how to fix a leaky sink, or repair a car lock, or start a real estate business. They want to see how to do it!

They go to YouTube for answers.

That’s why your videos should be there.

This week’s recommended articles from the blogosphere:

Accepting The Value Of An Emergency Fund at Modest Money

Hi There, What Can You Tell Me About Yourself?  at Frugal Rules

Halloween Humor: Random Things I’m Scared Of Eyes on the Dollar

Reader tip: Earn a little extra change by becoming a mail decoy at Money Saving Mom

Trick Or Treat {Finer Things Friday} at The Finer Things in Life

How Not to Take a Blogging Hiatus at Making Sense of Cents

Real Estate 101: Finding Good Tenants at Free Money Finance

Save Money With Coupons This Holiday Season at Work Save Live

Fearless Men’s Beard and Mustache Competition | Movember 2012 at Fearless Men


Coming Soon!

How to Turn Your Home into a Rental House, Instead of Selling It

What to do when your property won’t sell

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

There are times when even those of us who are using the “fixer upper and rental house” strategy need to sell a house, despite at one point  having sworn that we wouldn’t sell an investment  house till the cows came home.

A Clintastrophy

Sometimes we have to readjust our priorities, and as Clint Eastwood/Dirty Harry famously said, but apparently disregarded at the Republican Convention, “a man’s got to know his limitations.”

Maybe it’s because the location is just not that good, or you can’t get good tenants, or maybe the property requires too much attention in terms of frequent repairs. In my case, I sold one of my properties in 2010 because of all the above.

So, what do you do if you want to sell a property and it just won’t sell?

Here are a four things that I suggest you do to sell your property:

This house might be overpriced regardless of the price

1.) Check comparable properties in the area and make sure that you’re property is not over priced. If you want to sell faster, and we all want to sell faster, put the price slightly below other properties.

2.) Offer your house for sale and for rent at the same time. If the offers that come in are too low, you can keep it as a rental for another year or two until home values rise again.

3.) Hire a well established real estate agent to sell you house. When I first started my rental house business, I wanted to do everything myself, including selling my properties. Now, I realize that some things are best left to the experts, and this is one of them. A good real estate agent has a lot of connections, not only with potential buyers but also with other agents. They can attract a lot more buyers to the property than I could.

4.) Offer seller financing. Many buyers won’t qualify for traditional loans because of strict requirements and large down payments. This should allow you to sell for a premium price and get a higher interest rate. (Thanks to Chuck at Landlordinvestor for this tip.)

Now for my semi-weekly roundup of other articles that I find interesting in the blogosphere:

I liked the tips by landlordinvestor on advertising to find tenants entitled Running an ad in a weekly paper.

Over at Louisville Gals Real Estate Blog is a provocative interview with real estate investor James Vermillion.

Fearless Men have another batch of highly motivational quotes in Fearless Men Quotes/ Volume 2.

Jewel had an inspirational article in 10 Lies that Will Keep Your Dreams on the Shelf – #1. If you liked “The Artist’s Way,”  you’ll like this.

I could relate to Guilt Induced Frugality at Modest Money.

I was educated by Get an Oil Change Without Getting Ripped Off at Blue Collar Workman.

I relished the article Can Introverts Succeed As Leaders And Entrepreneurs: YES! at Untemplater.

Coming Soon!

How to Turn Your Home into a Rental House, Instead of Selling It

Confessions of a fixer-upper-holic

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

As we approach the holiday season, I reflect back on why I enjoy the fixer-upper and rental house business.

My philosophy is to buy houses in need of repair, fix them up, and rent them out, in my spare time. I first began doing it because the economy was shaky and my full time job was looking shaky too. I wanted some security so that even if my job went down the tubes, I would still have enough income coming in to keep floating. And, I wanted some security in retirement since I haven’t socked away much in IRAs and I have little faith in the stock market. I wanted to control my own destiny, rather than letting some distant fund manager decide my financial future for me.

Buying fixer-upper houses allows me to get into a property at a low cost, paying as little money as possible. I try to buy bad houses in good neighborhoods. I make money through monthly rents, appreciation of the house values (5%/year on average), and through tax deductions and tax credits.

Becoming a landlord is the major obstacle most investors face in this business. Tenants can be cause migraines and make life difficult for us. There are two approaches to deal with this drawback. First, remind yourself that you can learn to deal with tenants only by doing it. The more you do it, the better you get., and the financial reward makes it worth it. Secondly, the 1997 Taxpayer Relief Act home tax credit allows you to sell a house you have live in for 3 of 5 years, and pay no federal income tax. In this approach, you never deal with tenants, but you also lose one of the greatest advantages or home ownership – long-term appreciation.

This profession is fun, most of the time. I enjoy repairing properties. I’ve always enjoyed fixing things that are broken, although I never got really good at it until I started buying houses. It gives me a great sense of inner satisfaction to return a broken house to its former glory. And, I have grown a lot as an individual by learning to deal with difficult tenants. It’s one of those cases where, we are forced to do the thing we most dread, but then we wind up learning immensely from the experience, like marriage (yes, my wife rarely reads these blog posts).

Most of the time the fixer-upper business is on auto-pilot. Tenants send their checks in and my major responsibility is to deposit them. After the initial repair work on a newly purchased fixer-upper, the major work comes when there are 1) minor repairs, things like leaky faucets, leaky roofs or washing machine malfunctions, and 2) when tenants move out and my wife and I need to get it ready for the next tenant. We now have it down so well that we can usually have a rental house put back together and the “For Rent” sign in the front yard in 1-3 days. My wife, two boys, and I march into the place like worker ants, each one understanding his/her designated role, and before we know it we’re done.

My tenants have been people that I would normally never have come into contact with. We live in different worlds. In many cases I have enjoyed getting to know them. For those I didn’t enjoy so much, I learned new people skills. Or, perhaps better said, I was forced to learn skills in people management , or I would have gone out of business. I admit that there were several times during the first few years that I was so frustrated that I thought about giving up this dream. But, fortunately, despite the frustration, I kept plowing ahead with fortitude and didn’t throw in the towel. And, of course, when I didn’t have the fortitude to carry on, I used the next best thing – three-and-a-half-titude!

To me, one of the best parts of life involves growing and learning, and my spare time fixer-upper business allows me to do both,. It doesn’t hurt that I make some money as well, and have some security for the future.

Info on Terry’s Book

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