Hiring a Video Editor – 26th July, 2017

I've been trying to improve the quality of my videos for over a year now and it's been going quite well...

However, recently I decided that I needed to improve the "post production" stuff.   By this, I'm referring to supporting graphics, animations and text that helps to support the points that I'm articulating.

Picking My Battles

In my post about avoiding willpower depletion I talk about picking your battles.  On this occasion, I decided to take my own advice.

I briefly considered learning something like After Effects or Adobe Premier but in the end I decided that my time would be better spent focusing on improving my skills as a presenter rather than investing a bunch of time and effort to learn another new skill.  

My highest point of leverage for what I want to achieve is to focus on things like learning humor, storytelling, using metaphors to explain concepts and other specific skills that go into becoming an engaging talker rather than diverting my effort and taking a bunch of time to become an "average" video editor.

In the past, I've been too guilty of becoming a Jack of All Trades (JOAT) rather than specializing and dedicating my time and effort to get really good at one thing.  So, this time I won't make that mistake.  

Being awesome at one thing trumps being average at many things.  By vast orders of magnitude.

So, it was decided.  I would set out to find an awesome video editor.

My Hiring Process

I've previously had good results from using recruitment platforms like Upwork.com - so I decided to take this route again.

I created a new job offer that looked something like this:-

Background:- I have a YouTube channel and web site on which I talk about all topics relating to self development. Example topics include:- Habit formation, mastery, self esteem, book reviews and entrepreneurship.

Up until this point, I have been recording, editing and uploading all the videos for my YouTube channel myself.

What I need:- I need a creative video producer to take my video (which usually is me talking to the camera) and add supporting text, images, and video clips to really engage the viewer.

Important points about this:-

Quality matters - You must be dedicated to producing your best work and improving your skills over time.

Proactivity - If you see something that we can do to improve the videos, then raise your ideas with me. I want to hear your feedback.Autonomous - I'm not going to be on top of you. You need to be able to work consistently without being chased up all the time.

Language - you need to have a decent understanding of the English language for adding text to the videos.Communication - to work efficiently, you need to have clear and concise communication

Organisation - I produce a new video every day, so you will need to be able to i) keep up with the workload and ii) keep some kind of spreadsheet or log of videos and their status.


I will send you this video:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1H7EBHWHZKQI

I don't want to give you many instructions on what you should do because I'd like you to have creative freedom.

However, the following points are important:-

1) I should be presenting on screen for the large part of the video. There can be text, animations and video snippets to break up the video and support the understanding of what I'm saying. Comprehension for the viewer is key.

2) Don't change anything before the end of the Warrior Habits logo and music intro (00:20 in the video).

I'm looking for someone who can engage the audience and make the concepts I'm talking about come to life.

Here are some example videos that match the style I'm looking for:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjwCUxbHHME- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Acfdn-CTytM- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHE6LE0e-4s

Notice how the graphics and text really support the content, are professional and pleasing to the eye.

Next steps:-

If you're interested in this then reply to this job posting. Please write "red scissors" as the first two words in the reply to prove you've read this description.

This is an interview posting: I will be giving a number of freelancers the same video to edit and I will choose the one that does the best job for a longer term agreement.

I received a bunch of people interested in the job pretty soon after posting it.  

About 15% of the respondents completely ignored the part about "red scissors", so I removed those straight away.  

Out of the rest, I took on 6 candidates and had them do a video for me as a trial.​

The results were quite mixed​.  There were a few really exceptional candidates, a couple somewhere in the middle and one or two elementary.  

In the end, I decided to go with a guy who seems ultra keen to work with me, has great video skills, an interest in the topics that I'm presenting about and a solid developmental attitude towards his own work.​

How's It Been Going So Far?

We've only been working together for a matter of a few days, but the experience has so far been excellent.  

I think that one of the reasons why this has been going so well is that our working process has been agreed and documented and we have the necessary applications in place to make everything as smooth as possible.​

Here is what the current process looks like:-

  1. ​I record a video and upload it to a shared folder on Google Drive called "Videos to be Edited".  If I have any specific instructions, I'll also include it there.
  2. David, my video editor, then downloads the file, does his editing and then adds it to app.frame.io, a really great collaborative platform for video editing.  
  3. I will provide feedback on the video and suggest any changes that are necessary. This is where frame.io comes into its own - it makes commenting and suggesting changes on videos absolutely frictionless.  

    Previously, I found it quite cumbersome to provide feedback.  It was a real pain watching the video in one tab and switching to a document to write feedback. It's only a small thing, but I really hated it.  Definitely a willpower drainer.
  4. David makes the changes, I approve them, and the videos is uploaded and scheduled for publishing on YouTube.

An important part of this process is that we use something called Slack for communication.  I've been using this application for a few years in our software company - it's a really solid communication platform.  

One of the great advantages that Slack has over other chat applications is that it integrates with a lot of other services, including app.frame.io.  So, in short: we receive notifications in our chat application when feedback and changes are made to the videos.

It's flowing well: we're both clear what we're supposed to be doing and we're working well together.​

The Results

I think you'll agree that the videos are a lot more professional than anything that I could create on my own:-


I predict that these videos will get better over time as we deliberately practice our skillsets.

Next thing to improve: that intro and exit animation and soundtrack!

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How I’m Using the Habit System to Help Ingrain my Daily Habits – 15th July, 2017

I want to share with you how I'm structuring my habit system to follow through on the habits that I'm trying to instill...

Here is what I'm currently working on:-

  1. Daily ritual - every day I take five minutes to write the answer to a number of questions. The questions currently include:- What type of person are you? Why are you doing what you do? Where do you want to be by a certain date?
  2. Writing - I'd like to be able to communicate in written form much more effectively. I'd like to be able to write compelling content that people actually enjoy reading. My minimum commitment for this habit is 50 words per day.
  3. Video - I'd like to develop the skill of creating interesting videos about personal development that people want to watch. My minimum commitment for this is to record myself for 30 seconds every day (publishing to my channel is not a requirement, but preferable).
  4. Reading - I have a target of studying 140 self development books over the next few years. I'd like to improve the speed at which I read and the amount of information that I retain. Minimum commitment is 2 pages per day
  5. Gym - 3 times per week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Would like to work my way up to 5o0lbs deadlift, 400lbs squat and 300lbs bench (current pb's are 473/400/286 respectively, but I'm currently weaker than this). Minimum commitment is at least one working set for each training session.

I'm still playing with parts of my habit system to work out the best setup for minimum ego depletion.  

As an example, on days where I'm scheduled to work out, I've started to go to the gym first thing in the morning rather than in the evening as the last activity.  


I noticed that, in the evening, it was a bit of a strain to make myself go.  Switching this to first thing in the morning makes it much easier for me to follow through without resorting to using so much willpower.

My Current Habit System

  • I have triggers and rewards for each of my activities.  The whole list of habits can take anything from an hour to the whole day, depending on how much I decide to do for each habit.
    • ​On Mornings that I work out, I'll wake up and head straight to the gym.  My reward for finishing is a tasty protein milkshake.
    • As soon as I arrive at the office I do my daily ritual and reading.  My reward is a cappuccino
    • Once I've finished my coffee I'll write something for this site with a reward of lunch, a walk or a half an hour of billiards depending on my mood and the time
    • Once I'm back I'll start my daily work.  My reward for completing this is to motorbike back home for 20 minutes to where I'm living
    • When I arrive at home I'll shoot my video.  The reward is both a cup of tea and the satisfaction that comes from seeing a new video on my channel (for some reason I quite enjoy this).  I'll also move a paperclip to my momentum glass (see this post for more details about the paperclip strategy).
  • My environment is as streamlined as possible
    • My gym bag and clothes are always ready to go when I need to hit the gym.  I can just pick it up and go.
    • The gym is only about 5 minutes by motorbike from where I live
    • I'm lucky enough to have found a really beautiful co-working space - the best one I've ever worked at.  

      It's a pleasure to work in an environment with nature, great coffee on demand, dogs and cats running around (I love animals) and a whole bunch of like minded people.

      I'm much more focused in an environment such as this, rather than simply working from home or a normal office.  I've found that the separation between work and free time is really important for me.
    • I have invested in ear plugs for when I need silence to focus
    • I leave my phone in my motorbike outside the office (I don't bring it to work with me) to remove the possibility of chat distractions
    • I have a script on my laptop desktop that shuts down all communication applications at the click of a button - I use this first thing in the morning when focusing on my reading and daily ritual writing
    • I live in an area that's close to really healthy restaurants with lots of organic fruit and vegetables - it's pretty hard for me to eat unhealthily around here.  
    • I have melatonin tables beside that I can use on occasions where I'm struggling to sleep.  I also have a nasal decongestant next to it for times when I am finding it difficult to breathe (sometimes I have nasal congestion - I have to have an operation to sort this).
    • I have set up a video recording studio at home so I can record at any point just at the click of a button - no extra setup required.
    • My kindle is set up for one click book delivery.  No need to carry lots of books and efficient ordering process.
  • I have specified very clear minimum commitments for each of my habits.  Don't forget, minimum commitments are designed to provide flexibility and beat resistance - I very rarely only just do this amount.
    • Daily ritual - this is small enough that it only takes 5 minutes and it's pretty well ingrained at this point (at the time of writing I have 318 copies of my daily ritual) so no minimum commitment required.
    • Reading - 2 pages per day
    • Writing - 50 words
    • Video - 30 seconds in front of the camera, even if it's just nonsense, and no requirement to upload to my channel if I don't like it.
    • Gym - drive to the gym and do just one hard set of exercise to failure (this would take 60 seconds to complete)
    • Daily work - read items on my wonderlist, check emails and answer any Slack messages that have been fired my way.
  • I have a few sneaky little traps set up to make sure I follow through
    • Relentless video club - this is a small group that I setup for video creators.  We hold each other accountable for producing at least one video per week.  This added social pressure helps me make sure I don't slack off with my videos.  

      To top this off, I have a $100 bet with one of the members.  Whoever fails to keep the schedule owes money to the other guy.  This gets my competitive spirit going..
    • My Habit log page!  I'm transparently publishing to the whole world whether I stick to my habit schedule or not.  And, I'm publishing this on a site that talks a lot about how to build habits!  Added social pressure right there.
    • I'm currently looking at accountability apps that will check the location of my mobile to ensure that I hit the gym.  Once I've figured this out, I'll be publishing a post about it.
  • I track my achievements on a daily basis in a variety of ways
    • I have a calendar up on my wall where I put a big tick across every day that I succeed to stick to my habits
    • I am following the paperclip strategy for my videos - so each time I produce a video I move a paperclip form the full glass to the momentum glass.  When the paperclip store is depleted, I'll have a small celebration.
    • I record everything in my habit log spreadsheet and my habit log page. These both contain a column for momentum, so I can see how long I've managed to keep the string of daily habits going for.  This can be both very motivating but also make me very reluctant to break the chain!
  • Planning for enjoyment and downtime - this is very important for me because I know myself well enough that if I don't have enough flexibility built into this plan, then I'll fail.
    • Weekends I really try to only work until midday and then spend the rest of the day doing sporting activities or something else that I enjoy.
    • During the week I aim to have everything done by 1800 so that I have at least a few hours of free time to do things that I enjoy.  I try to disengage from what I'm working on and will only respond to urgent things.

To be finished.  Still need to write about:-

  • Core habits
  • Delegating non core stuff that depletes my willpower​
​Read More

Change in YouTube Publishing Strategy – 13th July, 2017

Nothing major to report at the moment - I've been sticking to the habit system pretty well so far.  

One thing I didn't fully consider:- I'm producing videos on a daily basis, but I think this is probably a bit excessive for my subscribers...

I'm not sure at what point delivering content is considered spam, but I guess I'm getting a bit too close to the line 🙂

​So going forward, I'll continue to produce the videos, but I'll make sure I won't publish them immediately...Instead, I'll schedule them for twice per week, most likely on a Tuesday and Sunday.

By the way, if you're not already a subscriber, you're missing out!​  At the time of writing, I have a massive 86 subscribers.... Yep, I'm famous.

Subscribe below 🙂

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