Pat Flynn SmartPassiveIncome.com
James: Alright. Welcome back my friends to yet another edition of the Big Value Big Business Podcast. I am your host James Lynch. I am really, big, big, big, big time super excited about my very special guest today. His name is Mr. Pat Flynn. Pat comes to us from SmartPassiveIncome.com which is all about discovering smart ways to live a passive income lifestyle on the internet basically, using systems of automation to do most of the heavy lifting so we don’t have to trade time for money but rather use our time to create awesome products and experiences. Pat is an entrepreneur, popular keynote speaker and a devoted family man.Let’s say hello to Mr. Pat Flynn. Pat, how the heck are you today sir?
Pat: I am doing amazing, James. Thank you so much for having me on the show.
James: No, thank you sir. I know you are a busy guy and just to have you for a little while, I am totally honored. Right upfront, I want to say you have had a huge influence on being both an inspiration and a motivation for me to start BigValueBigBusiness.com and I want to say thank you for everything that you’ve done for the online marketing community at large, you’re awesome.
Pat: That’s awesome. Thank you James, I appreciate that. But you know what I — I gave the content and I try to motivate but people still need to take action. So it’s really cool to see you actually doing this now, you have me on your show, you’re taking action and that’s really what this is all about, so kudos to you too James.
James: Thank you very much and I’m live on iTunes, I’ve been approved, yay!
Pat: It’s always — it’s such a good feeling, right?
James: It is.
Pat: Like, I have my third podcast now that I have put on to iTunes and I still get jazzed when I see that logo up there on the page.
James: Ask Pat, it’s awesome.
Pat: Yeah, thanks.
James: Alright. So, listen I’m super — to coin a phrase, I’m super stoked for you to share with us.
Pat: Just so funny how that’s like my phrase now. Like I just — I have been saying that forever. I’m from California so I stay stoke, like people are like, that’s what — like people like to acquaint Pat Flynn, I’m stoked. It’s so funny that you said that.
James: Well that’s great and — well I lived in California for a little bit, it just — I had to dust it off a little bit from hear, so, but I’m back East. So, anyway, listen, I am really — I want you to share with us just anything you can about putting together the most awesomest value driven content as well as, you know, some of the business and marketing strategies that have made you so successful. So, does that sounds like a plan?
Pat: Yeah, totally, let’s do it.
James: Cool. Can we start at little history, maybe you can tell us a little bit about who Pat Flynn is, where you came from and a little bit about your journey that brought you here to Smart Passive Income and where you are today?
Pat: Yeah. I mean it’s been a really crazy journey and I am just so blessed to have ended where I ended up. But, it wasn’t all, you know, smiles and butterflies in the beginning. It was, you know, actually me getting laid off from the architecture industry that started this whole path. And at that time, you know, I was so driven in that industry and I was doing everything I could to climb that ladder and I was ready to devote, you know, 40 years of my life to the architecture industry. I went to school for five years at UC Berkeley for it and I was just ready for it. And I had landed on my dream job after college and, you know, come 2008, I get noticed that I’m going to be laid off in about three months time.
And that was really hard for me because I didn’t know what else to do. I mean that’s all I was doing at that time. And I immediately called everybody I knew in the industry, from structural engineers to electrical engineers, anybody and anybody I have ever spoken with; the clients, you know, whatever. Just trying to get back in that industry because that’s what I was comfortable with. But nobody was building anything at that time, nobody had any money, so nobody was hiring any architects. And so, you know, I kind of had to figure out what to do. Long story short, I discovered this podcast called the Internet Business Mastery.
And on that podcast, I heard an episode with a guy named Cornelius Fichtner who was talking about how he was making a living online teaching people who to pass the project management exam or the PM exam. And he was doing this through a paid podcast and through eBooks that he was writing and things like that. And that’s when I had aha aha moment because actually when I was still working architecture, I had created website to help me and a couple of co-workers pass the lead exam which is an exam that architects and people in that industry take. And after I passed that exam, I just let that site sit there because I had no more use for it… it did its job. But when I heard this podcast, I took that blog that I had or that resource I created and I decided to sort of turn it into a business or see what I could do to help share it with the world. And, you know, immediately it turned into a very much a success.
I saw thousands of people coming to the site everyday which was happening already and I had no idea. It just happened because I had posted so much information on that website for over a year to help me pass this exam. Other people found it, people shared it, word of mouth and through Google search. Just, it became the resource for people. And I eventually in October 2008 wrote a study guide, an eBook, very much influenced by, you know, Jeremy Jason from Internet Business Mastery but also Tim Ferris who help me learn about building these systems of automation in a way where I could deliver this eBook and have people pay for it without me actually having to physically do it myself. You know, have these systems of automation put into place.
Well that book generated $7,908.55 that month which was more money than I would see in two or three months of architecture. And that just blew my mind that this was even possible. And then the next month I made more and that’s when I decided to create Smart Passive Income because I had no idea this world was possible. And my whole notion of online business before hand was just scammy, you know, dirty industry and here I was doing it but doing it in a way where I was actually providing value for people. People were paying, choosing to pay me money in exchange for information that would help them. And also beyond that, I would get these incredible lengthy emails of thanks and I actually got a few handwritten thank you notes from people from the information I provided to help them pass this exam too.
And, you know, like I said, I created Smart Passive Income to show people that this world existed and that — you know, I didn’t want to have other people go through what I went through, a layoff and like a month of depression. I wanted to just share everything that happened to me so other people could see what was possible and possibly create, you know, something similar to what I had created. And then over time, the Smart Passive Income blog has just grown like mad and I have created new businesses publicly on the site from anything in the security guard industry to, you know, iPhone applications to a resource that I’m building now for the food truck industry. It’s just, people love seeing me build these businesses and sometimes doing things right and a lot of times doing things wrong. And I love that people follow me for that because a lot of times, no matter if it’s something I do right or something I do wrong, there is always a lesson involved. And as long as I can help other people that, you know, that’s why I do what I do.
And now this site is generating quite a bit of money every month for me as a result to sharing as an affiliate products that I have used and that it helped me along the way that other people will use too and they’ll often find or seek out my affiliate link to sort of pay me back for the free information I have given. And over time that’s just what I’ve learned. This business model of, you know, you give, you get more back in return and the more I gave, the more I get back. And that’s why I always have my audience at the forefront of why I do what I do. And it just seems like the more I help them out, the more I get paid back in return. It’s a beautiful thing.
And I’m just so blessed and now I have this podcast, Smart Passive Income Podcast which has started in 2010, just passed seven million downloads. Just passed — it’s crazy, like seven million, like to even say that number in context of something that I am doing is ridiculous. And then I just released a new podcast called Ask Pat which is now a five-day a week show where I answer voicemail question from an audience member and feature that question to my answer everyday. And, just been live for a week and I’m loving the response so far, 50,000 downloads in a week is just, just beautiful things are happening and I’m just so blessed. And I want to give back even more and it’s just, gosh, I mean and now — I don’t know. So James, it’s just like life is amazing.
And the layoff which was the worst moment of my life or one of the worst moments of my life actually ended up turning out to be the best moment or the best thing that it could ever happen.
James: It is a great story, Pat. And you outline it so eloquently and let go the book that you have and I have listened to it actually, the audio version.
Pat: Thank you.
James: It’s a fantastic and folks the — Pat, flew through the ups and downs of the situation he was going. I believe you were going to get married during the layoff. I mean you are engaged and it was just so much there but you are indeed blessed my friend because the things just turned around for you and it’s been nothing but up. But, I know being a crash test dummy, that you self-proclaimed, there had to have been some challenges after the lead exam took off and you kind of like, hmm, I could probably replicate this whole situation and give people more than what they want and eventually I will get paid for it. Tell me about some of the challenges after the lead exam site and going forward. What are some of the bumps in the road for you?
Pat: I mean there were hundreds of bumps I mean and we could spend the whole…
James: Biggest, biggest, big bumps.
Pat: Big bumps. Well, stemming off a success of Green Exam Academy, you know, my wife got or my fiancé got really excited for what was happening. And we decided to create a site together because we are like, oh we just — we need to put something up and it will be successful. And so we came up together with this idea because I kind of wanted to get her involved of some of the stuff I was doing. We had this idea for a website where and now thinking it was like a ridiculous idea. But, you know, back then it seemed like a good idea. And it’s really cool because we could try it out and we did and learned that it wasn’t going to work out and at least we gave it a shot.
And I think that’s a big lesson in, you know, in itself. But, we had wanted to do a site where, you know, everyday would be sort of a new topic and then on one side of the page it would be my take on the topic and the other side of the page will be her take on the topics. So there’s sort of male, versus female, man versus wife or you know, boy versus girl type of thing.
James: Venus and Mars.
Pat: Yeah. So I had spent some of the money I earned to hire a developer to create this website, the person to create a WordPress theme that would have this sort of side-by-side layout and a featured topic in the middle. And we got that all built and then we started to write and we are like, this is hard. This is hard to write about. And it’s hard to come up with new topics and we started getting these little fights and we’re like, this is stupid. Like why are we putting ourselves in this position like it sounded like a good idea until we finally started doing it. And we had spent about, you know, $2,000 on this developer on a site that we’ve never ended up using.
You know, we thought the domain was cool. It’s going to be called ACoupleOfThoughts.com, right, get it? And we went with that but we, if we had actually spent time in the beginning before even hiring a developer, before even having a domain name, just trying to write the content that was going to be featured on the site. We would have quickly found out that it just was something that we shouldn’t get into. And we would have saved that money, we would have saved that time, the back and forth with the developer. So that’s one mistake and one bump in the road.
I mean, that’s one small thing. A big thing that came up was, this was in 2009 after I was in a sort of five figure range with GreenExamAcademy.com. I get, gotten a letter from the United States Green Building Council which is the company that — or the organization that administers the lead exam. And it was a letter that basically said, why I had just seen, you know, seize and desist and stop what you’re doing or else we’ll take action. And I freaked out. I was like, oh my gosh, I’m getting sued. This is not happening, please.
Like things are going so well and now I’m going to have no more income, like all the worst things were going through my head and I called a lawyer and, you know, obviously that sucked because I’m going to have to spend those money just to talk to them. But, I found out, I mean it was good because they told me that, okay, don’t worry, they are just telling you, you shouldn’t use lead in your domain name which I was. And it’s, they’re not suing you yet and they’re not doing anything but you basically have two weeks to not use that trademark in your domain name. So that was a little bit of a relief but all these thoughts were coming into my head like me, you know, this has should have been so obvious to me. Maybe I’m just not cut out for business. I should just go back to working for somebody else because this is like adult stuff that’s happening right now and I’m not ready for it.
But I changed the domain name and things are going well. I actually just did a redirect from the old domains at the new one which is Green Exam Academy and before it was intheleed.com. Again, I’m pretty creative with these domain names but they don’t always work out. And then a couple of weeks later, I get another letter form them saying, sorry, we see that you’re still using the domain name as a redirect which is still technically using it, you have to stop. And I was like, oh my gosh, these guys are crazy. But I get it and so I kind of did what’s technically called a 301 redirect. I gave Google enough time to realize that my domain was going to be the primary one.
So I didn’t lose any search engine rankings. I didn’t lose any keyword or link juice or any of that stuff. And then when I have finally had to take down intheleed.com which if you to it now, it just says, site none existent. It worked out. I mean it worked out but again those thoughts of, you know, this isn’t cut out, this is — I’m not cut out for this; that came across my head a lot.
Another time I had let’s see, my buddy and I, we created an iPhone application company. And that company has done really well. It turned well over six figures in the last four years. Really basically creating apps by having other people, you know, outsourcing the creation of those apps. We’re not developers but we come up with ideas and we outsource into people on Elance and oDesk and other developers we found. And that’s been working out really well. But I remember when we first started, we got really excited and we put up a job upon Elance or an app we wanted to be developed.
This was in 2009. And we were so excited that we, you know, after a day we saw that there were like four developers who expressed interest and of course they’ll shared different bids on working with us with our project. And we picked the lowest bidder because we were just like, okay, we’re going to go with this person. They said, they’re going to do it for $800 and let’s just go, we want to go now. We want to do it. And then we ended up spending $6000 over the course of three months working with these people just because they were terrible communicators.
They didn’t understand what we wanted and of course we are brand new so we didn’t understand what we needed to have to do to make things happen. And we didn’t create wire frames or any of that stuff which is all back and forth via email and then turn into things that we didn’t want. And that was a huge learning lesson for us. And so down the road, we started to wait longer before selecting developers. Actually, communicating with them before selecting them to see what that conversation was like and also looking into their portfolios and seeing the customer feedback and how many repeat clients that they had with those sorts of indicators to tell us whether or not these are people that we should be working with. And, you know, we’ve been very happy with the people we’ve worked with since then.
Gosh, James, I can keep going.
James: No, I hear you. Those are some valuable lessons but I really want to hone in on just for a second what you talked about the head trash, about I’m not cut out for this, you got, oh this negative talk, you know, just this one thing and it’s just amazing to know someone that’s been so successful like you is — I mean I get up in the morning and go, do I really want to do this podcast? Am I good enough? Is my voice good enough? And, you know, just all this stuff, you know. And you’ve taught and you’ve learned just we got to just put one foot in front of the other and just do. So, tell me about how you overcame just a little that head trash or I don’t have another word for it but…?
Pat: Yeah, I mean a lot of people call it, the resistance, you know?
James: Oh yeah.
Pat: It’s like a thing that just comes out of nowhere that tries to stop you in your tracks.
James: Steve Pressfield.
Pat: That’s Steve Pressfield, yeah or The War of Art.
James: War of Art and the Turning Pro and yeah, that’s good stuff.
Pat: I mean that that’s it’s a real thing. And all you listening, you know it’s there when you’re about to do something that’s uncomfortable, that resistance comes into play. When you’re about to do something you’ve never done before, that fear sets in and tries to stop you. And it’s more of a way for — I mean, it’s there as a way for you — it’s like a security thing as a human. Like okay, don’t do this, it’s dangerous, it might hurt you. And yes some of those things — I mean obviously you don’t want to jump off a cliff because you’ll hurt yourself or die when you hit the bottom.
But, you know, that those same sort of feelings come in when you are experimenting with new things in your life like when I started my podcast for example. You know, I doubted whether or not it is something I should continue to do. I actually recorded my first episode three times because I wasn’t happy with it. And I was just too afraid to put it out there. And gosh, I can’t remember who exactly said it to me and it’s been said to me several times by several different people when I get on these blocks. But at this moment with my podcast, I don’t remember exactly who it was.
But somebody said to me or maybe I just remembered somebody is saying this to me in the past and they said, you know, don’t think about what’s going to happen to you. What’s going to happen if you don’t publish this or you don’t go through with this? What are the consequences of you not doing this? Not just for yourself but those who could actually benefit from the content that you’re going to share? So James, like I said, you’re like, okay, you might be scared of your voice or you might be scared to publishers but think about the people who can benefit from everything you are sharing here or the questions that you’re asking people that can help them down the road. I mean, are we going to put own fear and resistance in the way of actually helping other people?
And when I think of it that way, I’m like, wow, I got to get over this and just do it. I felt those same feelings when I was getting on stage for the first time in 2011. That was my very first public speaking appearance at the Financial Blogger Conference in Chicago. Same feelings, probably even more so than the podcast because you’re actually up live on stage and, you know. I remember specifically thinking these thoughts in my head that, you know, before I get on stage — before I got on stage, I actually thought this, I thought that I would get up on stage, maybe fall on my way up, come up with a bloody nose, people would laugh then throw tomatoes at me and I’d run off stage and I cry and just wake up in a ditch naked somewhere. Like I literally thought that and it’s so stupid when you hear it but, you know, we think the worst things.
I mean we are our own worst enemy always. And when you ask yourself, okay, really what’s the worst that can happen? And I ask myself this all the time because, you know, I’ve been doing online business and this thing entrepreneurship stuff for five years. I still get that resistance. Those feelings don’t go away but you’ll learn how to control them. You actually learn that resistance as a sign that whatever is on the other end might be something awesome.
James: You say, whenever you are working, pressing the limits of your comfort zone that usually means that you’re going to experience a breakthrough.
Pat: Yeah. No, I love that. I mean, you have to take risks and bold actions in order to get big results. You know, you could just work to stay busy and do whatever you’re comfortable doing…
James: Status quo.
Pat: Yeah but you’re not going to get those results that you ultimately want if you don’t take those big risks or that bold action or get uncomfortable. And I always ask myself, well what’s the worst that can happen to you? And when I am realistic about that answer, it’s typically not as crazy as what I initially thought like waking up naked in a ditch somewhere. Usually, it’s just like okay, maybe I’ll forget something and people might say, oh that wasn’t as good as I thought it was going to be and that’s it. I mean, that’s not as bad as I initially thought. And then based on that realistic sort of potential outcome as far as what my negative, well then I can figure out what I need to do to make that not happen. I can rehearse more, I can work on a better closing statement so people remember that more than anything else.
I could, you know, I could actually take action that is going to help me get to where I want to go instead of just think in the worst things possible and being stuck.
James: That’s good stuff my friend. Good stuff. You know, I’m going to say another thing that I heard you say, when you are on stage, when you are — no one wants to see you fail. Nobody wants to see you fail for someone that’s public speaking. They want you to do a good job. They don’t want to be there and be bored or be disappointed. When you get up on stage, people want you to succeed.
Pat: Yeah, they want you to do well.
James: Sure did, sure.
Pat: They want to be entertained, they want you to do well because that means they’re going to have fun and learn stuff too and that was — I love that you brought that up because I have to remind myself of that too like they’re not you’re enemy. Your audience is not your audience isn’t your enemy. They are there to support you, you know?
James: Absolutely. I mean, yeah. Tell me about present day, what is your current value proposition? You gave us kind of a peak behind the curtain about giving more and expecting little and just take care of them and you’ll get yours kind of thing. But in own words, what — if you could put it in as succinctly as you could just the Smart Passive Income Pat Flynn value proposition.
Pat: Yeah. I mean if you can — I mean there are other a number of things I go on with it obviously, you know. I try to do what I can to be personable and to share things about myself that will help me connect with my audience. You know, people when they send me Emails, you know, they always say hey Pat, you know, Pat this Pat that when I go to conferences, people talk to me as if they have — you know, we have been friends for a long time already even though I don’t know their names because I’m on a podcast and they hear my voice and they understand that, you know, I’m more than just a person delivering content. I’m pat Flynn, you know, I’m me. And so I share me a lot. I share about my family and what I do and during the day and things I like, things I don’t like, that I’m scared of spiders and, you know, just random stuff that either has nothing to do with building an online business but everything to do with building relationship with my audience.
And that’s what’s most important to me, is building that relationship with my audience. And that doesn’t happen if I am selling something the first time I meet somebody. You know, so any sort of experience people have on my site it’s to give. It’s I’m giving. I’m doing what I can to help solve a problem or, you know, provide a potential solution for an issue that somebody might have. And I know that if I can provide that solution, even if it’s a little quick win and more importantly I mean you want to provide your audience with quick wins.
Because it’s those quick wins that help train their brains to understand that that’s a place to go for solutions and that’s when they can then, you know, get into that bigger transactions with you in the future. Not just monetary transactions but something like, okay, they read a blog post, you have helped them get more engagement on Facebook by doing this one little trick. Well that worked, I’m going to go back for more. Maybe I’ll subscribe for the email list and I’ll read more and maybe more things will work out and you’ll help me even more and then I’m going to buy something from you down the road. I mean so, if you can give away quick wins, those instant results. It’s like the first level of Angry Birds and lot of people don’t remember what the first level is like but that first level was the start of an addiction that people still have. You know, and it’s that small win.
If you go back, there is, you have three red birds and one bad piggy at the top of this tower. You hit any part of this tower, it’s going to fall. Like you’re going to win, it’s the worst architecture I’ve ever seen. But that, I mean those guys know that, you know, it’s that first level and you want people to understand what it’s like to win and to feel like they have achieved something. So do that for your audience, help them achieve something fast.
James: Right. I love that a low barrier to entry kind of thing.
Pat: Absolutely. I mean that’s why I got addicted to the game world of the War Craft because, you know, you level up really fast in the beginning and you get cool things. You unlock cool abilities and things and then you just start addicted and that’s why I spent three months of my life in college playing that game 24/7.
James: Oh, love it. Awesome, awesome, that’s great. I love little wins and you’re always giving, you’re always giving so, so much. Tell me Pat, taking a look at yourself, have you made it dude? Do you feel like you’ve made it or…?
Pat: I mean I feel like I do. I mean, because I always compare myself to that Pat Flynn that would have not got laid off and what I would have been doing instead. And, you know, I am pretty sure I’d still be happy. I’d be doing something I went to school for. And I love that initially that’s one of the unique things about my stories I didn’t want to leave my job. I got forced out of it. And, you know, thinking about how it would have been if I didn’t get paid off, I wouldn’t have gone down this path.
And even if I had the opportunity too because I think it was getting laid off and not having any other options that forced me to go down this path and actually do things that I wouldn’t normally do. Take risks that I really would never take before. So I think that’s an important lesson in and of itself but thinking about the Pat Flynn who didn’t get laid off, I just still be happy, I’d still be working really hard and progressing in whatever I was doing. But I don’t think I would be able to spend as much time with my kids. I don’t think I would have been able to, you know, have as much flexibility with my schedule and be able to do things that are helpful for the family like, you know, we go to Target at like three p.m. when nobody is there.
James: Love it.
Pat: Parking is easy, you know?
Pat: When nobody is there, there is no lines and we could save even more time. And, you know, just having –I mean, it’s not that idea of going to Target at three p.m., it’s the idea of the flexible schedule where I can, you know, live how I want to live and be happy. And I think like I said I would have been happy but I wouldn’t have known what it would have been like to be this happy. So yes, I think I have made it but I don’t like to say that because that means that I can stop. I don’t want to stop or I don’t want to potentially think to myself that I could stop. And I mean I know I could and things are going really well but I don’t want to. I don’t want to be that selfish and not be able to help others who are in need.
James: And I set you up for that. And I didn’t have it rehearsed to or but I did because I know you won’t stop Pat Flynn, you won’t because there is always, you’re always expanding your reach.
Pat: I mean, who knows who could benefit from the podcast I record tomorrow, you know. Who knows what that could create for me too. I mean, you never know what can happen with the content that you create. You never know who is on the other side, you know, listening to it or watching it and I’ll tell you a quick story. There was a guy named Michael from Poland. He sent me this incredibly long email and he told me the story about how he — he used to be a huge risk-taker and would go to these extreme sports.
And one time he took a jump off a ramp, snow boarding and crushed both of his legs, like he couldn’t use his legs anymore. And so he really felt depressed. He couldn’t provide for his family, he couldn’t go to work and he just felt like dead weight to everybody around him. And then he had some time and he discovered my podcasts through iTunes. And he heard a podcast episode where I started talking about setting huge goals that seemed almost impossible. And then chunking those goals or breaking those goals down into little milestones.
They help you achieve what almost is the impossible. And so he decided to create a goal for himself to run a marathon. Both of his legs are broken but he’s like, I’m going to run a marathon. So he went through physical therapy. He listened to my podcast everyday for inspiration. He said, this is in his email and just my jaw was like open when I was reading this.
And then all of a sudden at the end of the email there was this image that was attached of him running, crossing the finish line at the Warsaw Marathon holding a sign up that said, that said, thank you — it was like a huge banner. He is using both hands to hold it up. He had it rolled up in his pocket the whole time and it said, thank you to his family, thank you God and thank you pat Flynn. And my — like I was just red, I was tearing up and I was like, I can’t — like I can’t even describe how I felt when I was reading this. But the point of the story is to share that like I didn’t know this guy was listening to my podcast. I didn’t know that he was getting inspiration from me.
He was on the other side of the world. I never heard of him before but here I was getting his email. He had followed me for like nine months, nine to 10 months and this happened, I had no idea until he told me. So you have no idea who’s on the other end and who could benefit from what you have to share. And that’s why you just have to keep going I think.
James: That was heavy duty, man.
Pat: Yeah. It always gets me, you know, a little emotional until I was…
Pat: And because I visualize that image I see and you’ll have it obviously in my computer and whenever I’m down and whenever I’m just like frustrated with my work and stuff or something is not working out, I look at that, I’m like, dude, I have nothing to complain about right now.
James: Wow! I want to talk to you about business resources specifically networks and masterminds and tell me your thoughts like checking in with someone, what do you think?
Pat: Probably the most important thing in the world, if you want to succeed, I mean you ask any successful entrepreneur if they did it all on their own. If they’re honest with you, they would all say no. Like they’ve all had some type of help or some type of group or person to hold them accountable and they pushed them forward. Because the journey around entrepreneur is not always a happy thing, you know, there are times when you’re going to want to quit where that resistance comes into play and a lot of times for me when that resistance comes into play, I go to my mastermind groups. I mean I am in three different mastermind groups right now. We all meet each week. We just got — I mean, they are not in person either, they’re all done via Skype or free conference call or Google hangout and we meet every week and the way it’s structured is we start off the call, it’s an hour call.
We start off the call going one by one, sharing an awesome win that we’ve had the past week. So we start off the call in a very positive note. We all share something that happened in our business that we want to just motivate each other with. And, you know, I love that because that also makes me want to do things during the week to bring to the table. And so that’s the first thing. And then we spend 40 minutes, one person is in a hot seat.
And we know ahead of time who that person is and that person prepares with questions and, you know, sometimes we go on a website, we check something out. And that person just asks for help or an honest opinion on something or advice. And we are there, everybody else who is not in the hot seat, we’re there to give brutally honest advice or an opinion or thoughts to that person because when it’s our turn in the hot seat, we know that we’re going to get brutally honest advice and help from that person. And that’s so valuable because we get so involved in our own projects. We sometimes have a hard time seeing what it’s like from the outside. And to have multiple people tell us and sometimes and sometimes disagree which is good because you want to have these discussions and see what it’s like from the outside.
You will then be able to know where to go and move forward with. And of course once you talk about those things, you’re going to take action because you don’t want to let everybody down and have wasted their time talking about those things. And then we complete the call typically 10, five minutes at the end going one by one into what do we want to accomplish by the end of next week. So again, we hold each other accountable. We have Facebook groups or, you know, email group or email lists where we’re all connected to each other. So if somebody finds a really cool recourse or has a quick question, you know, they send it out somebody answers to tell.
You know, and I love everybody in my mastermind groups. You know, I trust them and I go to them for help and I seek that help. You know, I am not afraid to ask questions and that was the thing I learned quickly upfront how valuable it is, the skill called asking questions. I always try to do everything on my own. I thought I was superman or I thought I don’t know if it’s because I’m a dude and dudes don’t ask for directions, you know, when they’re lost, we always have…
Pat: We feel like we have to figure it out on our own but there is nothing better than just asking somebody who you trust who knows who you know has got your back because you have got theirs and they can point you into the right direction or just give you a quick answer. And then you could just move forward and continue with what you need to do. So that’s been incredibly helpful and I recommend everybody get into a mastermind group whether it’s an existing group that you can get into or, you know, to other groups that I mean, we started on our own because there is just, we found people who share the same values and we’re all not in the same niche. We all do online business but we are all doing different niches from, you know, from a magician to you know, Cliff Ravenscraft is in one of mine from podcast instrument to somebody in the finance industry. Just, it’s all over. It’s the biology, blogger, it’s just all kinds of stuff. And we all learn from each other’s niches.
It’s fantastic. Yeah, I mean you just kind of have to feel around and see how — I mean, just be involved a little bit, you know, obviously with comments and you know, even just asking, again, just being like, hey, who here is interested in mastermind group? I mean, you can ask that anywhere in a form or on Twitter or something or, you know, just like you’re doing with me now, just hey, do you know anybody who might want to join up with me and sometimes the answer will be no and sometimes it will yes.
James: Yeah, yeah, you’re right, you’re right. Get out there.
Pat: So I mean, yeah, I mean you already that that’s what to do. It’s just a matter of being persistent and also just being at the right moment in time when somebody else is there and he is like, yeah, let’s do it, you know?
James: Yeah. I have to do it.
Pat: Yeah, I mean.
James: Everybody needs them, everybody I talk to do it is, you have to have a group, you have to accountable, you have to have a mastermind, you can’t do it alone. You just need somebody to bounce ideas off of.
Pat: Yeah. I mean you know where most people find their groups, is in person. You know, they go to conferences, they meet people, they shake hands, they have a drink and you just find who you resonate with and be like, hey we should continue this off the conference and continue this conversation online. And what if we do this every week? And you know, that’s how it starts a lot of times.
James: Snow ball, love it. How about physical, I think you’re working out there, you are running for a while the advantages of being physically in shape, what are your thoughts there to get more stuff done?
Pat: You know, a lot people of ask me for productivity advice.
James: Yes, yes.
Pat: And things like that. And my number one answer which actually aligns with Richard Branson’s answer is to exercise and eat because you need a clear mind, you need a creative mind, you need to have energy in order to do the things you need to do to be successful online. I mean, if you are unhealthy or if you find yourself you’re always tired or you are just not in the right mindset to get things done, then you’re not going to get things done. It’s just not going to magically happen. So, you don’t — you need to make the thing that produces all the stuff. Your body work at its peak performance level. And so exercise — I mean, I’m not saying you got to go crazy and join the cross fit club or whatever and but you know, I’ve been taking care of myself and doing what I could and I found that when I stopped taking care of myself, I get sick and I don’t have the right mindset and I, you know, I get lethargic and I just don’t have the energy to do what I want to do or what I know needs to be done.
I don’t — sometimes when I don’t take care of myself, I don’t want to do anything even though I know it should or those things need to get done. So, you know, I’ve been eating much better lately over the past couple of years and exercising, I did my first half marathon last August which I’m very proud of and…
Pat: Thank you. And I’m signing up for the Rock N’ Roll Marathon here in San Diego which happens in June to keep me moving forward because I found that I need that. I need to sign up and have a specific date where something is going to happen on order to motivate me to get off my butt and do stuff. And, you know, I do that with projects in my business and I’m doing that with my health too. I have to have that, you know, that transaction of signing up for something in order to be motivated to take action and prepare for it. Much like building a business, it’s difficult to do it alone for as far as exercising and eating right. So I always look for other people and some of these people are in my mastermind groups and some of them are not, some of these people are just people I follow on Instagram or I read their blogs for example.
It’s just — any sort of way I can get inspiration to eat better and be healthy is a win. You know, that’s why I am a good friends with Lewis Howes. I mean, I’m good friends with him also just because he’s an awesome guy but, you know, he is super fit, he is on the Olympic hand ball team and I just see his Instagram photos, just working out and stuff. I’m just like, oh, man, I got to, maybe I should go on a run or something, you know? So getting inspiration and help from others and also when times are tough calling on this people for help too is very important.
James: Pat, that’s so comforting to hear that even at your level that you still struggle with those the simple things but it’s — I know I have to do it but do I feel like doing and you got to, it’s in the mind and if your body is not going to keep up with the mind then that’s so comforting to know.
Pat: Yeah. I mean those things never go away. They never go away.
James: Yeah, yeah, I know that.
Pat: It’s just a matter of, okay, are you learning how to control it or are you learning how to deal with it?
James: Yeah, I mean just keep dialing to it, man. Just keep one foot in front of the other. I love it. One other subject and we’re going to kind of take a detour but something that it gets back to value, give, give, give, give, give, you’re known as the guy that gives all this stuff, what happens when you want to start charging and you get pushed back. Where is that line, how have you and I know you’ve experienced that. People like — what happened to the free stuff? How come this is — how dare you charge me? Tell me about that.
Pat: Well it’s interesting, you know, when you give stuff away for free all the time like I do, there’s going to be a certain amount of people who are just — when you start to sell stuff, they’re going to think you’ve either sold out or you’re getting greedy or it’s just, you know, they’re not comfortable with the idea that you’re making money anymore because they have been so used to getting things for free. And typically, if you’ve given enough value over time, there’s going to be a little bit of a push back from those types of people but at the same time there’s going to be lot of people who are going to be glad that you’re selling them something, who are going to be more than happy to pay for something, to pay you back for all the information you’ve given them.
So even though when I came out with Breakthrough Blogging which is my first paid product, I did get a little bit of a push back and there was obviously some wonderful conversation on the comment section of that launch post. That’s from those who are — I would say maybe four people out of the 20,000 visitors I get every single day who had mentioned something negative. That’s four people out of the 500 people within the first three days of launch who actually purchased Breakthrough Blogging, who have enjoyed it. Who have said it has changed their lives. You know, so I can’t listen to the negative feedback. I have — excuse me, let me rephrase that. I can’t worry about the negative feedback because there are so many other people I have to worry about that will appreciate this. And, you know, yes you can give stuff away but you have to build the business too. Yeah, I have to make a living, right? And yes, I make a good amount of money through affiliate marketing however, I am not in control of that income. That is income that can disappear tomorrow if a lot of those companies were to fold or they were just like, hey, we’re not doing affiliate program anymore. Well then I’m screwed.
So I have to be able to create products for myself and that was the band aid I had to rip out eventually. Knowing that I was going to get a little bit of a negative push back and it’s those people who do push back and who say, hey, where is my free stuff? You can say, well, it’s not going anywhere. I have just added something additional for people who want to pay. This doesn’t affect you at all. And typically it’s those people who say those things that have something deeper in their mindset that’s having them lash out at you, something beyond your control. You know, so I wouldn’t worry about the negative feedback. And there are so many more people too that you need to worry about who can benefit. And every minute you spend worrying and having a conversation with somebody who was giving you negative feedback or negative criticism, that’s the minute that you’re taking away from people who could benefit from what you have to share or who deserve your time instead.
James: That is so, so perfect, perfect. I want to say in the words of Gary Vaynerchuk, you jab, jab, jab, baby, you got the right to throw that right hook.
James: Yeah, that’s awesome. So, as we wind down a little bit, tell us about some current projects, let us know what Pat Flynn’s up to so we can come check him out and where to find you?
Pat: Well, of course, SmartPassiveIncome.com is always coming out with new stuff. I’ve just recently published an update on foodtruckr.com to show people sort of what’s been up with that the last two months and what we’re doing to potentially monetize that site this year. Ask Pat just came out as well, AskPat.com and that’s going very well. I’m going to be actually — I am experimenting with publishing on the Sound Cloud platform as opposed to Libsyn way which I used to and I’m doing this solely because I want to see what it’s like and share the results and see if it’s better or worse, all for the benefit of the audience. And, this year I’m also coming out with some other blogging resources, they’re going to be really helpful. You know, I have some videos and stuff that’s been really helpful for people but I want to sort of take it up to the next level just to get people under staying the basics.
I mean, I found that a lot of people are able to get set up with their blogs and website but then they don’t know what to do next. So I’m going to give away some more stuff to help people sort of get started and maybe get their first hundred visitors for example or their first hundred subscribers. You know, get them to reach those small mile stones again, getting them into those quick wins or quick results so that they can then continue to move forward and grow bigger and faster from there. You know, just a lot of what I do is also the result of what the audience is saying. So, you know, a lot of what I do this year is going to be determined by what the audience is saying, what they like, what they don’t like and what — I don’t know — who — I mean, technology is changing so fast. Who knows what’s going to happen in six months where somebody might — or there might be a group of people who need help with something new that comes out or a new way of doing something that’s totally radical.
I mean, who knows but I will always be there to make sure to listen and stay up to date on everything and report on everything that happens from my end.
James: Awesome. So listen, thank you so much Pat Flynn for being so generous with your time or we will visit you at SmartPassiveIncome.com. Again, thanks a lot and we talk to you very, very, very, very soon.
Pat: Absolutely, thanks for having me James.
James: You are welcome Pat, take care now.