A New Venture
Sometimes you need to walk away from something in order to see the obvious
Better Late than Never
This Newsletter is a little late for which I apologise, but all will be explained.
After having some work of mine plagiarised on YouTube, I decided to step back from the platform for a few weeks. For four years I’d put my all into the channel because, just like my former job on the railway, I absolutely love doing it. However, the short Hebridean winter days, the Christmas shambles in the UK that led to my self-isolation over the festive period, then the islands going into full lockdown, all combined to slap me around the face with a message. That message was to stop ignoring the winter, honour the long evenings, and join the rest of nature which was quietly dormant or semi-dormant, rejuvenating itself before a busy spring and summer.
Time to reflect
Since 2017 I have pretty much relied on YouTube and the Motorhome and Caravan Industry for my income. I felt it was only right that the industry, not the readers and viewers, put the roof over my head and the food on my table. After all, industry businesses make millions of pounds on the back of what I and other YouTubers and journalists do. However, when Lockdown 1 hit in 2020, the industry simply rolled down the shutters, and my peers and I were suddenly without work. We still carried on supporting the industry and our audiences though.
One year on, and continuing restrictions combine with the misconception that marketing isn’t necessary during times of boom. The work isn’t necessarily coming back.
It’s been about four years since I was escorted off a manufacturer’s stand at the NEC by one of the directors saying ‘When we need one man and his dog we’ll let you know, but that won’t be any time soon.’
Things have moved on at glacial pace since then, albeit with a few honourable exceptions. Most of you know who those exceptional businesses are. Expensive, disengaged corporate marketing is still preferred by some businesses over real, credible, engaging content. The MD of one manufacturer even told me: ‘We don’t see the value in video content.’
Humbled. Truly Humbled.
Something totally unexpected happened when I announced I was taking a break from YouTube. Contrasting starkly with businesses that had in the main remained silent, the outpouring of support from my audience, the people who really matter, was overwhelming. That support took the form of hundreds of kind and supportive messages, and an astonishing number of people using my Buy Me a Coffee page to help replace the revenue that I was set to lose by not posting to YouTube for a while. That amount comfortably exceeded any ad revenue I’d expect to make, and is now earmarked to go towards replacing my laptop later in the year.
Just one more time - THANK YOU all for your overwhelming support.
It got me thinking though. While YouTube is popular and I love how it gives everyone a voice and an opportunity to be heard, it’s still a third party and ultimately they are in control of the content on their platform, including mine. They call the shots on the business model. They can do whatever they like and I’m powerless to influence that. I love sharing my content on YouTube, but it makes no sense to rely on that content as a means of income.
Too Blind to See it
Taking this break, stepping away from the everyday busy-ness of maintaining a channel and re-evaluating, has allowed me to see something blindingly obvious that I did not see before.
If the leisure vehicle businesses are, in the main, going to continue doing their own disengaged and corporate thing, and YouTube is a precarious platform, why don’t I work for the people who really matter, the people who have been there for me since the beginning through thick and thin?
Yup, I’m talking about you. You, dear reader, you.
It has remained my mission to make my content free and available to all.
My time and my knowledge, however, are another matter. I’m happy to share them freely on an open platform. But there are people who want specific answers and tailored help, and while I would love to offer that freely, there is only one of me, and my energy and resources are finite.
Your Concierge Service
Buying a caravan, camper van, or motorhome can be an overwhelming process. The choice is wide, the stakes are high, some of the products are simply not up to scratch, and the marketing can be downright misleading. The risk of losing an insane amount of money on something that fails to meet your needs or is unfit for purpose is ever-present.
Having reviewed and used all kinds of leisure vehicles for the past twenty years, as well as taking the role of judge and assessor for the Caravan and Motorhome Club for over 15 years, I decided to put that knowledge to good use and help folks who are bamboozled and overwhelmed when trying to buy their first new leisure vehicle.
At the moment, the service is geared towards new leisure vehicles only. The used market opens up an entirely different can of worms, although of course I can help people ask the right questions to a vendor and to look for - and smell for - important details.
It’s taken many weeks, not to mention a considerable investment, to create and launch a service that is professional in its systems and its approach, as well as being fully GDPR compliant.
As I’ll be dealing with people’s personal details, it is crucial that robust systems are in place to legally process that data and securely store it only when necessary. It was building in this compliance that has slightly delayed the launch of the service, and subsequently this newsletter. However, I think you know that it is not my style to rush out something that isn’t right.
Meet the Team
There is no way I could have put this together on my own. I ended up calling upon the services of four extremely talented people, each experts in their field. GDPR and Privacy Compliance was overseen by a European Privacy Expert in Seattle. The mechanics of the web building was done by an extremely talented woman in Portland, Oregon, who was working under my Designer. My soul mate, inspiration, and Brand Strategist Shanna in Lisbon helped me tighten the copy and engineer system solutions. Check out her awesome newsletter Life: Examined. The whole project, from the Landing Page to the Questionnaire, was designed and realised by Portland-based Sophia Daly Design. Sophia has been amazing and her work, which includes my logo and all my brand design, is of exceptional quality. Here’s a little taster of what she did for my landing page.
Introductory Offer for Subscribers of Streamlining
Everyone loves an offer, right?
Twenty years experience plus a day of my time doesn’t come cheap I’m afraid. I’d love to offer the service for free, but there are set-up costs to cover as well as my time. If people don’t respect that, then too bad.
The fee for the whole package is £250. That’s not too bad when you consider the loss you might make on a leisure vehicle that doesn’t suit your needs.
The service includes a one hour 1-2-1 session via Skype or by telephone where I can get to know you better, and you can ask me anything that’s on your mind. Before the consultation you’ll need to fill in a comprehensive questionnaire that will help you to direct your thoughts, and after our chat you’ll get a report of what we discussed and any recommendations.
For my established supporters who have been kind enough to subscribe to Streamlining, there is an introductory offer of just £200 for the first five sign-ups during April 2021 only. It’s my way of saying thank you for sticking with me and for your support. After signing up, you’ll receive a Paypal invoice for £250. Don’t pay it, just reply to the email with your subscription email address, and if you’re one of the first five you’ll get a replacement invoice for £200. This is very much an introductory offer while everything beds in, and is valid for the first five sign-ups in April 2021 only.
Please go visit the site and check out the offering for yourself by clicking on the picture below:
If you want to write the address down for later, it’s andrewditton.com/leisure-vehicle-consulting.
The venture might fly, or it might sit dead in the water. Who knows. However, no matter what happens, I’ll never be wondering ‘what if..?’
I’ll still be making videos for Dougal’s - I mean my - YouTube Channel. If you read this newsletter in time, please join us on Sunday 4th April at 7.30pm UK time for a Live Broadcast with an update.
I’m still not comfortable with the loud, shouty, clickbait-y and disrespectful way that some so-called creators carry on, but that’s on them. I still love making videos and inspiring people. When I have something to say and something interesting to show you, I’ll post a video. If there is nothing to say, I won’t. In order to respect your time and mine, there will continue to be no content for content’s sake.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the summer and for some interesting trips to share with you. Let’s hope these trips can come to fruition.
How to Support Streamlining
There are two ways you can support me and this newsletter:
1. If you wish, you can show your support for what I do through Buy Me a Coffee. Although I’ll probably end up buying tea. Or snacks for Dougal.
I understand that not everyone who would like to will be in a position to support in this way, and that’s absolutely fine! My content is available to everyone, regardless of their circumstances.
2. Most importantly, please subscribe and share Streamlining with those who you think might enjoy it.