#4 – Powerful Communities with Pat Flynn
My guest today is Pat Flynn, host of The Smart Passive Podcast and the Ask Pat Podcast, two shows which combined have totalled 60 million downloads and have won multiple awards. Based in San Diego California, Pat owns several successful online businesses, is a professional blogger, keynote speaker, and is also a Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author. His podcast shows have been featured in the New York Times and Forbes. Pat’s mission is to ‘elevate entrepreneurs to within reach of their dreams.’
Pat joins me today to share his experience when his envisioned future was taken away from him in the economic crash of 2008. He shares the solace he found from his favourite childhood movie BACK TO THE FUTURE and how this sparked his ideas on how our present actions determine our future stories. We discuss the catalyst moments that can give you the self-belief to go out and build your own business and create your own future. We also discuss the internal struggles Pat had to allow himself to continue on the new path of monetizing his guidance and advice, and the doubting questions he asked of his own abilities at the beginning of his journey that ultimately proved unfounded when his business soared.
Most importantly… I get Pat’s recommendation for another must-watch movie for online entrepreneurs.
“The amateur changes their act. The professional changes their audience” – Jason Linett
“There’s another human who’s out there on a run or on a walk or in their commute listening to the podcast. An actual human being who may in fact be there, who might need you right now about this thing that you’re doing” – Pat Flynn
“This idea of setting up the business in a way that was not just there to make money, but also was there as sort of designed in a way to accommodate to the lifestyle that I wanted” – Pat Flynn
“I want people to earn more money doing something that they didn’t know they could do” – Pat Flynn
“I’m just the guy in the forest of online business with the machete upfront. I’m just kind of whacking the weeds for everybody so that I can make the path hopefully a little bit easier for you” – Pat Flynn
“When you can bring it down to earth and relate more to who it is you’re speaking to, it just makes that much more of an impact” – Pat Flynn
“What I love about my audience is they come because they feel like they’re a part of something. They come because they feel like they belong” Pat Flynn
“We’re in this together and I’m not just here to teach you. I’m also here to learn from you too” – Pat Flynn
This week on Hypnotic Language Hacks:
- How the 2008 financial crash became the rock bottom foundation of Pats new future
- How sharing failures as well as success strengthens the relationship with your clients
- Why Pat wanted a new way of working to accommodate his lifestyle
- The resources Pat shared in business to help others survive the recession
- How his transparency in his earnings and business practices reenforced Smart Passive Income as a brand to trust
- Why building your network need not be a slimy or sleazy endeavor
- How an early mistake in trademark infringement nearly made Pat give up
- Why a personal story increases client engagement
- Why you should remind yourself that there is a real human at the other end watching your YouTube video
- The Smart Passive Income Podcast
- The ASK PAT Podcast
- Book : Will it Fly?
- Book: Superfans
- The Four Hour Work Week
- Chris Ducker Website
Connect with Pat Flynn:
Connect with Jason:
- Subscribe on YouTube
- Jason Linett on Instagram
- Jason Linett on Twitter
- Jason Linett on Facebook
- Jason Linett on LinkedIn
Continue the conversation in our FREE Business Influence & Persuasion Facebook Community.
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Read the Session Transcript
I’ve taken notes for you. Each session of HYPNOTIC LANGUAGE HACKS is transcribed for your convenience. Click the section below to access the transcription with timestamps.
#4 - Powerful Communities with Pat Flynn
– [Pat] Besides April, my fiancé now wife, there was one other thing that brought me joy during his time and it was a movie, and this movie is called Back to the Future. And it was my childhood favorite movie. And so during this time of sadness and a little bit of depression I just escaped. I escaped reality and went back to this movie again and again and again. And I think part of it was because I just love the idea of oh, going back into time and changing things and coming back and everything is okay again. And that’s what I may be hoped would happen. But of course after the 1 hour and 56 minutes of each time watching that movie I was back to reality again. And it was a good three to four weeks before I finally started to have conversations with myself really to determine okay, well how do I want my future to look? I’m writing it right now and I’m choosing a path that isn’t going to help me get any better.
– [Jason] You know your business can change people’s lives but you don’t yet have the right words to inspire them to take action.
Imagine the changes you will create in your business as you tap into the secrets of ethical influence and positive persuasion to not only better serve your clients but also to supercharge your financial freedom. I’m your host Jason Linett and welcome to the Hypnotic Language Hacks podcast. I help entrepreneurs and business owners just like you to close more premium sales. And no, this isn’t about tricking or manipulating people not at all. It’s about helping your prospects to appropriately sell themselves into your products or services. Please hit subscribe and get all the episodes now at jasonlinett.com. It’s a simple three-step process: powerful communities leads to powerful results which create powerful impact. I’m Jason Linett and welcome to Episode 4 of the Hypnotic Language Hacks podcast where each and every week I’ll be here peeling back the curtain and revealing
to you the secrets of hypnotic influence for business. Imagine simply by putting the right words in the right order the changes you can create in your business. Not just for your own success but also toward the lives that you’re going to reach with what you do. That’s what we’re here, that’s what we’re all about. And that being said Episode 4, number four very clearly I’m just getting started here. And let me kind of detail a few nuances of my story which will be a perfect lead-in to my incredible guest and I’m so excited for you to listen to this conversation. Where words are influential we know that events are influential, but then again stories are influential. So not only in this series will I be sharing with you the specific words and patterns but also stories from people at the top of their game in business. Which first of all let’s go further back in time to a story all the way back to Vaudeville Theatre back at the turn of the 20th century.
There was a community of performers who would gather together and they’d go on stage each and every night and basically do a variety show. Now out of that world, there was a bit of a catchphrase that “The amateur changes their act, the professional changes their audience.” Which let’s apply that to you perhaps for a moment. That maybe you’re in a startup phase that there’s something that you would like to turn into a business. Well, at some point in that journey yes, you’ve got to change your act even to get started. Or perhaps you’re in a scale-up phase of your business where again taking perhaps what you’re already doing and changing that act just a little bit more and by doing so now helps you to then broaden that audience. Which we now fast forward to part of my story and this is the intro into my guest as well here. That it’s like seven years ago and at the time I was running a relatively successful educational business. I was running live training events, I was running a local meetup event,
and that’s where I read that quote “The amateur changes their act and the professional changes their audience.” And that’s about the time that I discovered the podcast put out by my guest today. The Smart Passive Income podcast with Pat Flynn. I’ll tell you I became ravenous. I went through the back catalog and it’s a program that still to this day I continue to listen to. And it’s where that inspired me to kind of change up my act just a little bit where back then I then changed the name of what I was doing. Now in that world, if you happen to be a hypnotist and you wanted to become a better hypnotist you would soon find yourself in the world of work smart hypnosis. And true story last year when I got a chance to meet and have a conversation with Pat Flynn in person, I had to reveal to him that either I stole or let’s use a more positive term,
I modeled excellence borrowing just the word smart from his business. And he said that was okay and clearly it was all right because here he is on the first interview program of this Hypnotic Language Hacks series. Which by the way, if you want to see the show notes and the resources attached to this episode head over to jasonlinett.com/4. And as I started to craft what was going to be the first you know, 5 or 10 episodes of this program, I knew again here were specific pieces I wanted to teach, here’s part of my story I wanted to tell. And from day one in terms of deciding to do this, Pat was number one on my list to be the first guest on the program. So great to hear back from his team as they said yes and you’re about to hear the entire conversation. For those of you that might not yet know Pat and might not yet know his work, I’ll read part of his bio here for a moment and again show notes you know where to go. I’ll tell you why it stood out to me that I aligned with his message and his brand.
It was the stories of what he was building. But at the time, I had children in preschool. Pat had children in preschool. And to hear where it was my personal mission statement as a business owner but also as a father as a husband to be there dropping off my kids in person where there were very few dads. And sure enough, as I was listening to The Smart Passive Income podcast, I hear Pat tell the same story and I went I’m in for life. I heard the ability to drop very occasional perhaps popular or even very obscure movie references and I was in for life. So this opportunity where we start to connect with somebody. And this is the ultimate goal of a business and let this be genuine as you do this. So that as people meet you as I got to meet Pat in person for the first time last year at an event in Colorado he was coming to the conversation with me for the first time. I was joining into a conversation that I had already been having with him for five
or six years. How about that? So here’s Pat’s story. Pat Flynn is a father, husband, and entrepreneur who lives and works in San Diego, California. He owns several successful online businesses and is a professional blogger, keynote, speaker, Wall Street Journal best-selling author, and host of both The Smart Passive Income podcast and the AskPat podcast which total combined have generated more than 60 million downloads, multiple awards. And they’ve been featured in publications such as The New York Times and Forbes. He’s also the advisor to Convertkit, Leadpages, Teachable, and other companies in the digital marketing arena. Quick personal message, Pat, thank you so much for saying yes and so great to have this conversation. And I’m excited for all of you to listen to this. Let’s jump in here’s Pat Flynn.
Before we get started today if you want to easily grab people’s attention naturally, build authority and organically have your prospects wanting more from you even before you make an offer, I’ve created a step-by-step strategy to help you to do just that. I call it The Video Influence System. This is your opportunity now to discover my highly-effective entirely free on-demand workshop at jasonlinett.com. It’s specifically for entrepreneurs who want to deliver premium value to their clients to receive premium value in return. If you want a proven framework to boost your confidence and deliver value every time you go on camera get The Video Influence System now at jasonlinett.com. So Pat part of your story begins with a moment which for many people could have been devastating and yet for you it became the ultimate of opportunities. To kick this off right can you bring us into that room where suddenly here was
news and it could have gone one way but you utilize that and let that become a massively influential moment for you.
– So June 17th, 2008 I was working at an architecture firm. Three and a half years into it climbing the corporate ladder very much excelling my career and looking forward to the rest of it. And this was right around The Recession of course. So they held me on as long as possible. I go into the office boss sits me down which is really weird because they never did that before. And of course, he gives me the news “You’re one of the youngest brightest guys we’ve ever worked with we’re sorry but we have to let you go.” And I got to tell you, you make it sound like I was quick to get back on my feet, but I definitely wasn’t. I was somebody who was initially very confused, very upset. I was confused because I had done everything the way that I was supposed to, the way that I was told. Good grades, good college, work harder than everybody else, and I still got let go. My reaction after that was what am I going to do? I literally just two months prior asked my girlfriend to marry me and we were planning this wedding. And we have Filipino blood in both of us.
So Filipino weddings, they’re huge how are we going to pay for this? So I immediately go back to my desk and I call every single architecture firm that we’ve ever worked with. I call every single engineering firm plumbing, all of it, mechanical, begging, pleading, to get back to find a job because that’s all I knew. I had made the decision that that was going to be the rest of my life. And then here was something saying, no, that’s actually not going to be the case. And that was very hard. And then I started to doubt myself, I started to consider well, maybe I’m just not good enough. Maybe, if I had chosen differently, this would be great I could maybe still have a job but here I am. And I remember going back to my apartment, and then my fiancé coming back after her work shift and just seeing me crying. Just not really knowing what I was going to do next. I never felt like this before. And she didn’t say anything. She gave me a hug. And eventually just kept repeating the same thing over and over again. She said, “We’re going to be okay, we’re going to be okay, we’re going to be okay.” And that was so huge for me to know that the “we” was in there, that we’re
still sticking together through this. And that was really important. And besides April, my fiancé now wife, there was one other thing that brought me joy during this time, and it was a movie. And this movie is called Back to the Future. And it was my childhood favorite movie. And so during this time of sadness, and a little bit of depression, I just escaped. I escaped reality and went back to this movie again, and again, and again. And I think part of it was because I just love the idea of going back into time and changing things and coming back and everything’s okay again. And that’s what I maybe hoped would happen. But of course, after the one hour and 56 minutes of each time watching that movie, I was back to reality again. And it was a good three to four weeks before I finally started to have conversations with myself really, to determine okay, well, how do I want my future to look? I’m writing it right now. And I’m choosing a path that isn’t going to help me get any better. And when I think about the movie, you know, it’s a fictional trilogy, right?
Like, it’s not real, there is no time machine. But there is some truth to some of the aspects of the movie. The idea that the actions that we take have a major effect on what happens to us and what our story is in the future. And so I was determined at that point to get up, and at least start trying things to see if I can make things work out. I decided to move back in with my parents, my fiancé did the same thing. So we could save some money. And it was during this time that I got really, really interested in how others were making it work during this time. And this is when I discovered podcasts. And there was one podcast in particular that I discovered called Internet Business Mastery. And I listened to…it just so happened that the first episode I listened to was with a man named Cornelius Fichtner on the show, telling his story about how he was helping people pass an exam called the Project Management exam, or the PM exam. And that was fate because I had just taken a number of different exams. And many of them were very difficult.One in particular called the LEED exam
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Most people have never heard of it but I know that for architects and people who wanted to pass, it was one of the hardest exams we could ever imagine taking. And I just passed it recently. So I decided in that moment to go, “Hmm, what if I build something, and I create it?” And then that’s what I did. And that’s what led to all of this. But even in that case, there was a lot of doubts, self-doubts, always creeping in. It was not an overnight thing that’s for sure. And I definitely had a lot of internal conversations going on to get myself out of that funk.
– What I love about that is we can kind of go in and look at how change is something that happens over time. We can often find that one specific catalyst moment, which was hearing here was someone speaking to project managers in terms of how they can overcome that exam. And what’s great about that is your specific set of skills, something that comes easily to you may be someone else’s very specific pain point. So hearing someone else have a similar respect, and now seeing an opportunity
what happened next?
– Yeah, it was interesting, because when I heard that story, I started to get really excited. What if I do something similar. And then I started thinking about well, when I was taking that exam, I was kind of leading all the little meetings about the study groups, and I never put two and two together. Oh, I can help other people around the world, too. That’s what this podcast did for me to open me up to the world of online business and connecting with others, and helping people all the way on the other side of the world. 24/7 a day…24/7 365 because it’s online. And so I immediately started to gather my notes and find all those notes because I had passed the exam a couple of months prior and I’m thankful I didn’t throw those things away. I created a website to pop in all that information. And not only did I do that, I was very active in forums that were learning how to pass this exam too. And I got so active in there I spent about four or five hours a day going in answering everybody’s questions, doing what I could to help people.
I didn’t even really have a website ready to post to anybody yet. Yet, I was being seen as the expert in there, because I was just engaging with people who had the same problem. And I didn’t consider myself an expert, I had barely passed the exam. But it was because I was stepping forward and offering help, people started to put me in that category as expert. And the truth is, to a person who is just starting out the exam, I was, in fact, indeed an expert because I knew the path. I knew exactly where to go, even though I didn’t get a perfect score. But for somebody who has just been starting out who has literally no idea, well, I’m definitely ahead of them in that case, I was still able to help. And I started to build a name for myself. And I built this website, and I put a study guide that I put and sold on there on the website. It was interesting because I got to the point where in this forum, there were people who were answering questions, saying, “Oh, just wait till Pat signs on because he’ll probably have a better answer,” right?
And I didn’t know the answer was off top my head often, but I would find them and I would do the research. And the fact that somebody was stepping up to help people who were in need, I think that’s what was making an impact. And then I was making a name for myself. But again, it didn’t happen overnight. But that’s what it allowed me to do. And what that did was it validated that people indeed, liked the help and needed the help. Which then gave me a green light to then put that information into a study guide, to then sell it. And then the whole idea of selling something was a whole nother ordeal where I was dealing internally with battles and things even after I started selling. I started to get to wonder whether or not that was the right path for me. It took me a while to make that decision mentally that this is my new path now. – I forget where I first heard this, but the definition of an expert can simply be that person who’s just a few steps ahead of you. That you had gone through the exam, you had accomplished something. And here were some people who had not yet done that. And to be that one step forward. And this is why and I sent this to you this message early on,
why I wanted to make sure to have you as the first guest here on this program that mindset of value first. Was that a conscious decision to jump into the forum and go, let me see if there’s actually a need for this? Was it just let me get to know this community? Kind of walk us through that step because I think a lot of people try to jump to selling too quickly that’s where they break rapport with their audience because they haven’t yet earned that relationship.
– Right. And, by the way, I’m honored and thankful that I’m the first guest here. And I cannot wait for many more hundreds of episodes down the road. and to come back at some point once you hit a milestone episode. But anyway, thank you again.
– Absolutely thank you.
– You know, it was definitely more of the mindset of is this something I can even do? And it’s interesting because now fast forward to 2016, 8 years later, I wrote the book on validation Will It Fly? How to take this idea that you have and sort of micro-test it. And it was interesting because it made me realize that I was doing this without even knowing it. By having these forums available to me, it allowed me to micro-test a number of things.
Whether or not my advice was even good enough. And if I felt like I wasn’t able to help out, then there was really no need for me to kind of go bigger with it. If I could help even one person pass the exam, then that would open up the doors for me. Number two, it made me understand whether or not I even wanted to continue to do this. Instead of going, okay, here’s what I’m going to do, I’m going to build a website, I’m going to create a study guide, and then I’m going to release it to the world. Imagine doing that and then realizing, well, this doesn’t actually help me or even though I might be helping people, it’s actually painful to do. I don’t want to do this. So by doing this in a more micromanaged kind of way, I’m able to kind of get green lights, that lead to bigger green lights, that lead to bigger green lights. And that’s what I was doing there. And it definitely did help to get that validation from others, especially when people were like, “Oh, wait till Pat signs on” then, like, oh, you could have answered that but maybe you couldn’t, which is why you’re deflecting it to me. And maybe I can step up and create something even better.
But it was definitely as much of an informational validation as it was a mental validation for me as well.
– That’s great. I love the aspect of I call them checkpoints. Where we’re getting these feedback mechanisms of our audience that they want more from that. I had a moment another side of what I do, where suddenly I’m in someone else’s forum, and I’m there as a guest. And in most of the answers, people are referencing my blog posts, my podcast recordings, and it was kind of that catalyst of going, “Oh, hey, this is working.” So fast forward when did the Smart Passive Income podcast come into play there?
– So I had launched my e-book study guide on Green Exam Academy, although before it was called intheleed.com L-E-E-D but then I got hit later on for a trademark infringement. I didn’t know what I was doing. That was the other part of this. I’m just like…I mean, I’ll tell you when I got that cease and desist letter in middle 2009 from the United States Green Building Council, the company that I was actually helping to help people pass the exam.
I was like, you know what, you caught me, I’m done this is not for me. I’m out. I almost gave up because of that. And eventually, I just realized it was a trademark issue and it wasn’t because of my website. It was because other people were using LEED and in order to take them down, they needed to take everybody down, who was using LEED in the domain name. So anyway, all that to say that book came out 2008 in October, early October, I launched that. And it completely changed everything so much so that I said, “Oh, my gosh, I have to tell everybody about this.” I had people asking me, “How were you able to survive the layoff and now continue to make money online?” I had people asking me for help. I had people saying, “Can you just unpack more of what you did?” And I said well, I know that sharing my information to the architects worked, let me share information to others, but just about now what I was doing online. So I started smartpassiveincome.com. And I was also very influenced by a man named Tim Ferriss, who came out with a book called The 4-Hour Workweek during this time.
So this idea of setting up the business in a way that not just was there to make money but also was there as sort of designed in a way to accommodate to the lifestyle that I wanted. I didn’t have physical books, because I didn’t want to deal with going to the post office returns, and inventory and management of all that. It was all digital because purposefully, I just wanted it to be as easy as possible. Again, very much influenced by The 4-hour Workweek. So that was where the idea of, well, ultimately, what I’m helping myself with and helping other people do is learn how to generate passive income. And passive income was an interesting term because it’s used in many different fields from investing in real estate and whatnot. And I had sort of a different take on it related to building businesses that can run automatically. Because this business that I created, ton of hard work, a ton of time to get exposure. But then, here was this online store that I had, that was getting traffic in from Google and other people who were linking to it without me having to do anything at this point. People were buying the product and getting it shipped to them via email and I would
have money in my PayPal account literally in the morning. And I just didn’t feel real. In fact, for many periods, I thought that like the FBI was going to come and go, “Hey, you can’t do that. That’s not right.” But it was interesting because I would also wake up to thank yous, and people saying, “I passed my exam, thanks to you.” And I’m like, wow, all I did was just post some stuff on the Internet, and then here it is kind of the systems are in place now. And I got a lot of help along the way too. And I was inspired by a lot of other people “Internet Business Mastery,” that podcast, I joined their program to learn the mechanics of all this. And so when everybody started asking me, okay, how did I do that? What did I learn? What would they do? Or what should they do? I said, “You know what, I’m just going to do the same thing I did to help the architects pass this exam.” I’m going to create a website. I’m going to call it Passive-Aggressive Income Dude, PAID, because I thought it was clever. I literally hired a cartoonist to create like a superhero guy with like, a dollar sign on his chest. And I looked at that and I was like, is that…do I want to be known for that?
Like, is this how I want to be known? No, I want people to earn more money doing something that they didn’t know that they could do. And I want to teach them the smart way to do it. Because there were also during this time, and even still, now a lot of people teaching people how to make money online trust me, I found them because I did the research and I was trying to figure it out, too. Who were super snake oily, they were just like scummy and scammy. And they would hold all the secrets behind the paywall. And I was like, you know what, I’m just going to share it all. I’m not going to charge for any of this, I’m going to share all the information, I’m going to reveal how many customers I’m getting, how I’m getting them, the lessons I’m learning. The absolute failures so that others can sort of learn too and hopefully save themselves from the recession or whatever other thing that they might be struggling with. And so that started in October of 2008, at the end of the month, so really soon, really quick. And so that started and it was a slow start. And I did the same thing to grow it. I was heavily involved in talking about what I was doing on other forums, very,
very same thing it worked before, why not do it again. And interestingly, the most valuable forum that I was involved with was with a site called ehow.com. I don’t know if you remember anybody listening to this. It was like a website where anybody could write an article and it would inject ads on it through eHow ads from Google, in fact, but on that eHow article, and you could get paid a share of the ad revenue from Google. And there were so many people doing that on the side. And I came in to this forum to go “Hey, you have this expertise on all these craft things, you’ve written 100 articles on them, and they’re making you $50. If you were to put that on your own website, and create a blog, just like I did on the exam stuff, like, you could make so much more.” And people started doing that. And they started to go “Oh my gosh, Pat Flynn guy’s teaching me how to take all this information I know and not have to share it with the middleman anymore.” Eventually eHow got affected by all the algorithms from Google and those things got de-ranked. So people were very thankful and then that started to spread Pat Flynn and
Smart Passive Income around even more. And then my income reports which I was only going to do once October of 2008, I shared how much money I made, which was $7,908.55 from that one $19.99 e-book. And when I shared that and how much money I spent to create it which wasn’t much at all, and what I did to promote it, that started to go viral. And people started sharing like, “Oh, my gosh, there’s this guy, Pat Flynn, he just got laid off but look at this e-book he created, he’s sharing all the numbers this is so different. And so I was like, wow, this income report is actually inspiring a lot of people, let’s do it for a second month, a third month, a whole year, three years, seven years, eight years down the road. Like revealing all the income, and you could see this sort of growth, and then you see a huge dip, and you’re like, “Oh, my gosh, what happened?” And then I just share it all. Because I feel like that I’m just the guy in the forest of online business with the machete up front. I’m just kind of whacking the weeds for everybody so that I can make the path hopefully a little bit easier for you. Yeah, I might get stung every once in a while or you know, brush up against a
thorn or something. But at least together, we can kind of as a tribe, find this next settlement, or get to the next position or whatever. So yeah, that’s kind of how Smart Passive Income came to be.
– Which I love the aspect of being that sort of guinea pig of testing it out. Where suddenly, it’s not the person who’s trying to sell you something, it’s instead, “Hey, let’s figure this thing out together.” And something that I’ve admired of your work is the ability to really bring a lot of your own personality to what you do.
– Thank you.
– Was that something that came naturally early on or is that something that you had to then bring in later on?
– It did not happen early on. In fact, my thought when I started my business was I need to look as professional as possible. I can’t let people know that I’m just a one-man band, because that’s not trustworthy, right? So what I did was I had all these professional logos done and all these things. And I would inject a little bit about myself here and there. But I started to notice on the LEED exam website, that the more I talked about my
own personal journey with this exam, the more people would reply, the more they would comment. The more I would say things like “We at in the lead, are here to serve you and your exam needs.” It’s like it would you be crickets. Versus “Hey, I went into the exam, and I remember, they were like seven computers there. And just like kind of telling the story and that’s what will get a response. I was like, “This is interesting.” And what really hit home for me was in May of 2009…So I’d been at this business thing helping people pass this exam for a while. smartpassiveincome.com was more of a side thing. And the United States Green Building Council came out with their own study guide, they didn’t have a study guide before. This is why everybody was struggling with it. And I don’t know if they came out with it because they saw that I was sharing how much money I was making with it or whatever. I don’t know what…
– Someone had proven market viability.
– Exactly oh, this is working for them we have more resources we can…like we write the questions. We can come out with a study guide and make more money and fund more of what we do.
And I thought I was done for. I was like, why in the world would people buy an exam guide from a rando online when they could go to the company that writes the questions. And in that month, I had more customers than I ever had before. And I started to go, what the heck is going on? Like it should have been the opposite. And I started to realize that when people saw that there was a study guide that came out, you know, they have all the emails to everybody. So they sent email out saying, “Hey, study guide, here’s our study guide it’s, you know, $249.” People started to go, “Oh, there are study guides out there? Well, let me see what else is out there. Oh, there’s this one by a guy named Pat Flynn. And wow, Pat’s like just a real guy just like me and he just recently took the exam.” Who can I trust more? Who is more relatable.” And in fact, when I ran a survey that month because again, I was just wanting to know exactly what was going on.
I heard these exact words from people in their emails, “I felt like I could relate to you.” Or “I feel like you were just a couple steps ahead of me.” And this goes back to what you said earlier about the idea of being an expert. Well, this also will help connect you with your audience more because you’re just more relatable. It’s very similar on my podcast, Smart Passive Income, I interview all kinds of people, all kinds of amazing stories pop up on the show. I’ve interviewed Tim Ferriss, Gary Vaynerchuk, all those big names. Well, I have interviewed some of my own students, people who nobody’s ever heard of before. Those episodes, get more downloads than the downloads with Tim Ferriss and Gary Vaynerchuk combined. It’s because those episodes are more relatable. They share, my audience shares those episodes more because everybody’s heard of Tim Ferriss and Gary Vaynerchuk. But when you hear Shane and Jocelyn Sams from Kentucky who listened to the podcast and quit what they were doing to start a business online and now are multimillionaires.
It’s like “Wow, those two people are just like me, I want to do that, too.” So that’s kind of…yeah, it’s just incredible the connections that can be made online. And when you can bring it down to earth and relate more to who it is you’re speaking to, it just makes that much more of an impact.
– And the beautiful aspect of that is that desire to actually share the story of success. That here’s somebody, here’s their start to finish, here’s what they’ve gone through. And you’re right, the fact that, you know, yes, indirectly, it’s validating that, okay, hey, the stuff that I’m teaching, this is working, look at their results. But it’s more so about bringing that person up to that same level that look what they’ve accomplished. Is there a story of a time where you’ve had that experience where maybe it was someone who had gone through your own training, and maybe they found a better way to do something? They found a different way to kind of reinvent the wheel that you started to model as well?
– Yeah, in fact, I had an interview today with a man named Casanova Brooks. And he is an entrepreneur who had been struggling in his early parts of life.
Had discovered The Smart Passive Income podcast, he invited me on his show first, this was a number of weeks back. And I started to learn more about his story, because within that episode, when I was invited on his show, he started to tell me a little bit more about how SPI had allowed him to get out of that funk, and to teach him a number of things, to help him build his online business. And then he started to talk about some of the things that he was doing especially when it came to how he was utilizing the relationships that he was building online. Which is something that I’m only now starting to talk more about the importance of relationships, and building relationships. And strategically how to build your network but not be slimy or sleazy while doing that. I invited him on my show to talk about those things because I thought he was just doing it in an incredible way. So I just love this idea of let’s keep passing the ball back and forth and then we can win together. And this is what I love about the way that I do what I do and how I communicate with my audience. And what I love about my audience is they come because they feel like they’re a part of something. They come because they feel like they belong.
And that’s why in my language and what I use online, I always say, together, us together, let’s do this, let’s figure this out. Not hey, let me teach you how to do this. Like, maybe you’re under me or something like that. No, no, let’s kind of work through this together. And I also share my failures along the way too which makes people feel better, too. In fact, whenever I write a blog post or do a podcast episode about my failures like it actually does get more downloads than my other ones. But all that just to say, like, we’re in this together, and I’m not just here to teach you I’m also here to learn from you, too. – I had a hobby of doing magic as a teenager. And there’s a premise that they talk about in magic called the too perfect theory. That if I had the ball in my hand, and it was red, and suddenly it turned yellow, that would be a miracle. But it was so good that you would think yeah, but it was never red in the first place. When somehow if it’s not as perfect of a trick if I held the ball and covered it and then it changed somehow that’s better, even though it didn’t happen in front of your eyes.
So to have that moment where it’s not flawless, it’s not perfect. Which I’d imagined community might be part of this for you. But what about those moments, let’s say where you’ve got the idea. There’s a specific…let’s say it’s a solo episode you want to do or a blog post, yet, for whatever reason, something’s not clicking. Either the motivation, the inspiration, isn’t there? How do you break out of that funk?
– Yeah, I mean, this happens all the time. I mean, trust me, it’s happened to me recently on YouTube, although I’ve got renewed energy for it now. It’s happened to me on the podcast I had for a while just stopped producing podcast episodes, because I just wasn’t, “feeling it anymore,” or it started to feel like a chore. So there’s a few things I like to do to re-energize myself. Sometimes if I’m doing something so much, sometimes a little bit of a break does help because I just need some breathing room, or to come back at it with more energy after taking a quick break. So that sometimes can work, especially in little micro-moments where maybe I’m writing and I have a two and a half-hour block to write for my book and it’s just not working.
Sometimes just a little mini-break and coming back will reset my mind and then I can sort of get back at it. But on a macro level, or like something like a big blog post or a book or a course that I might be doing or something like that, or consistently trying to come up with new stuff. Sometimes there are demons in my head that always try to stop me. But what I do is twofold. Number one, I remember why I chose to do this in the first place. Remembering why is really key. My, why is my audience, my family, and the people who I might be able to affect as a result? If I were to not move forward, then I imagine also well whose lives may not be changed as a result? Am I going to let my fear or my tiredness or any of this stuff get in the way of me actually helping people? No. And to further that and validate it number two, I will go back to the thank-you notes that I’ve received. I go into my inbox to look at a specific category that we’ve tagged for thank yous that come in. And it might sound kind of vain to go like oh, you actually like read those things
that say how cool you are or anything like that. That’s not what it’s about. It’s a reminder that there are real human beings on the other end of that email. There’s a real human on the other end, watching my YouTube video. There’s another human who’s out there on a run, or on a walk, or in their commute, listening to the podcast. An actual human being who may, in fact, be there who might need you right now about this thing that you’re doing. And although it’s something you’ve done before, although it’s, “beginner” for you to talk about now, because that’s another thing. Sometimes we forget how…there’s this thing called the curse of knowledge, which was written in many books, and Chip and Dan Heath in their book Made to Stick is probably the most famous book that talks about this idea of the curse of knowledge. Which is, when you know something, it’s hard to remember what it’s like not to know it anymore. Because it’s impossible not to….you can’t remove those things from your brain once they’re there. But for a person just starting out, like a beginner who you might be teaching something, they have no idea what to do or even where to start. So the connection between you as the instructor and the person who’s learning
can be very difficult to create sometimes because we’re so far removed from that. And sometimes going back into my thank you letters, or my gratitude folder, inside my inbox, I can remember that, oh, even though this information may seem basic, and that’s why maybe I’m not excited about it, it’s still going to be exciting and potentially groundbreaking for somebody who’s coming in fresh. And so that that kind of reminds me of that. – I love that, especially of you know, being able to connect back to that why of the audience. And, you know, we kind of transplant ourselves back to when we got started. I had a moment recently of somebody going through one of my programs, and there’s one simple thing about it’s not just the words that we say, it’s also the tonality to it. And I talked about asking a question with a little bit of a different tonality trick. And this is not the stuff that would impress somebody who’s already familiar with these methods. But for him, he goes, “That was the one thing I needed I’ve been using that. That is so helpful.”
Looking at we all start somewhere, we’re all beginning from one specific place. Something that I’d love to chat with you about is kind of recognizing where the dream began of, here’s my e-book,I can wake up and I’ve made money overnight. And now these stories are coming in which are keeping us motivated. What was that turning point for you in terms of realizing that I need more help? I need more people assisting me with this in terms of building that team that’s there now?
– Yeah, I mean, there were a number of science but I struggled with that. By the way, I need to know now what you told your student about that question thing that’s a good hook there. But for me, when it came to the idea of team, for me, I started business because I just wanted to be solo. I wanted to do everything myself. And it got to the point where even when it made sense to find help, I didn’t want it. And the reason was because I don’t know if it’s because of pride, or maybe because I was bullied in school.
And I was like, no, I could do this myself like, let me prove it to myself. Definitely looking back I wish that I had reconsidered trying to be so adamant about doing all the things all by myself. Because I eventually came to learn that there’s a lot of people out there who can do things much better and faster than I can.
– Yes indeed.
– Plus there are things that I can do that I’m also good at but I shouldn’t do to help the most people. It’s not that helpful for me to spend three hours editing a podcast, I can do that. I love it. And in fact, I can do it much more quickly now. But my time that I could have used to do editing a podcast, I could use doing a coaching call with somebody that I can record and put on AskPat. Or thinking about the future of the brand and visions for what we can do to help people even further, or what online course I could outline or what have you. So although I can do certain things, I shouldn’t.
And this happened, in fact…there were a number of different things so there were little things. Like the first time I tried to record my own audiobook it was a complete disaster. I didn’t have the best equipment. I didn’t know what I was getting into. I spent two weeks recording every single lesson in my guide for architecture. And at the end, it was just terrible audio quality. Even though I was reading off my lessons, I was still pausing randomly and saying, um, it was terrible quality. And eventually, I went to the guys at Internet Business Mastery, and I said, “Hey, I need some help I’m trying to record this audiobook, a lot of my audience wants it, but I don’t know how to record it in a way that’s going to sound good. I feel like I have to spend tens of thousands of dollars going to a studio or something to make it happen.” And they’re like “Dude, Pat, go to elance.com, put up a job there that you need some voiceover work and have somebody else do it for you.” And I was like, “That exists? Like I didn’t know you could do that.” And Elance and another website called oDesk were sort of the two big ones where
you can get virtual help. And then those merged into what’s now known as Upwork. But those kinds of sites exist, there’s all different kinds now from Fiverr to Upwork and several others. So I did that. And then, of course, I made up the cost of that within the first day of selling it. I just like, okay, yeah, I wish I knew about this earlier. But then there were other signs. For example, when my inbox, hit 10,000, unread emails, that was a big moment for me. And every time I go into my inbox, I’d be scared because I knew that every non-opened email that was there was going to be a person that I might let down because I wouldn’t be able to respond to them. And for me, what really helped me get my name on the map especially in the world of entrepreneurship was I did reply to every comment. I did respond to every email. I was very, very serious about how important that was to build my audience and to build my tribe, and to have them understand that I can be there to listen to them and help them. And I would respond very thoroughly. But it eventually came to the point as soon as I started to grow I couldn’t do that anymore. So I just let those go. And it was unfortunate, because who knows what connections could
have been made or who I could have helped. So this is when I thankfully had a friend and still have this friend. His name is Chris Ducker from chrisducker.com and Youpreneur. Back during this time, he was known for virtual assistants, he, in fact, has a book called “Virtual Freedom.” And he was always been harping on me, “You got to get some help, you’re going to burn out or you’re just going to let your audience down.” And he was right. I didn’t burn out, he burned out when he tried to do everything himself for a while which is why he wrote this book. But for me, I let my audience down and a lot of those people who were sending emails. So that was a sign that I needed to hire somebody. And I was very afraid because I didn’t want somebody to pretend to be me. And I eventually learned and Chris taught me this that you shouldn’t do it that way. In fact, you can grow your team in a way where you’re essentially creating clones of yourself. People who also share the same value for your audience, who share the same goals, who are going to be there as a representative of who you are and what you’re creating. But you have to nail who that is, who do you want to be? What are you trying to create? So that when you hire, you know that you’re hiring the right people who can support that.
And that one hire Jess, she was featured in Episode 115 of the podcast talking about what it was like to go through email bankruptcy together and all that kind of stuff. And then later on, I hired Matt Gartland, who’s now my COO, and CFO. And now we have a team of about nine full-time people working for me. And it’s the best thing that could ever happen because now I can focus on things that I know that are my superpowers. And they can focus on their superpowers too and contribute and they are responsible for those things. And together, we can help even more people, which is absolutely fantastic. So it took some time it took…you know, and it was working with them on contract for a while. It was only up until early this year that they all came on full time. I literally bought, I bought them all. I bought the company that I was working with so that they could all come in full time. And honestly, it was scary. I was like “Oh man, this is going to mean I’m going to have to pay payroll taxes and all this other stuff like contractually, it’s much easier.”
But I’m so grateful because now they’re all in on SPI and helping the audience. We’ve built some amazing things together now that they’re on board full time. It’s just been an incredible journey. And one of those things that, you know, people often ask me, “What do I wish I’d done differently?” Number one, it would have been starting my email list sooner, I waited way too long for that. And number two, it would be hire people sooner who can do things better and faster than I can.
– That’s amazing. Hearing you talk on your podcast about that team is what also inspired me of going “Oh, wait, if I hired somebody else for this project, they did it better than what I did badly in four hours” just done. It goes in Dropbox, someone takes care of it. I wake up in the morning, wow, look how good I am. There’s an element though inside of that which there’s an old line that comes out of Vaudeville Theater, which was that “The amateur changes their act, the professional changes their audience.” And your story is one of really addressing that audience in a different way.
Because correct me on this around the same time is where then after “Smart Passive Income,” the “AskPat” podcast came out. And then especially this year, can you talk about the project on YouTube?
– Yeah, I mean, “AskPat” came out in 2014, because I had so many people ask me questions. This is what many of the emails were about. So I had this idea of what if I answered these email questions that come in because many people ask the same question. And not only can I answer that person directly, but I can answer everybody else who has the same question. And this would become a database of live podcasts that people could kind of go to if they had a question or wanted to just dig in deeper. And so now Jess will go “Oh, we actually answered this question already on this episode of “AskPat.” So now people are listening to not just me answer this question, they’re listening to another community member just like them asking the same question too. And we, in fact, collect the voicemail question, play that so people are hearing the voice of somebody else in the community. And it entices them to come into the community as well to be welcome to feel
like they belong to something like they found their people potentially. And that was when I hired Mindy to help me with editing the podcast. That podcast would have only happened if I hired somebody. And that was a big hire because I loved editing my podcast, it was an art to me. But I knew that letting go that would get me five, six hours back a week, which it did, which then I used to write my next book “Will It Fly,” which was so key to the business. So yeah, that’s just an example of you know, sometimes you have to let go things even though you might be good or enjoy it if you know that there’s other things you can do further. This year with the pandemic, you know, March 2020, pandemic hits, everybody is in lockdown a lot of my audiences, “What am I going to do Pat, I need your help?” I said, okay, I could take individual questions one at a time and post them on AskPat and help. I can maybe write blog posts or maybe we can just all come on live, and I can help you all at the same time. So I decided to go live on YouTube. I share this with my audience, I get a few hundred people in there live and I’m just answering questions left and right. And people like “Oh, my gosh, thank you for giving me access,
and helping me out what time tomorrow?” And I’m like “Tomorrow?” “How about same time tomorrow?” I’m like, okay. So two days becomes three days becomes a week, becomes a month. And I start to see that there’s this show that’s forming right under me. It wasn’t meant to be the show but it became the show that’s now known as “The Income Stream.” And “The Income Stream” now has its own theme song. It has its own style. And it’s every day in the morning on YouTube. It lights me up, it’s what’s encouraging me to wake up and provide value to start the day every day. And now there’s a community forming there, there’s people who are getting to know each other. I know many of those people by name, they know each other. They formed their own Slack group without me even knowing it because they wanted to reconnect with each other after the show. And they even formed a lot of their own language. There’s a sound effect that I use that just became like a joke within the community. Now everybody says it in like all these things it’s so it’s super cool.
And today, this morning was Episode 205 straight. And we’re definitely going to go to 365. I don’t know what’ll happen after that, because daily forever is probably not going to happen. But I’ll at least get to a year and that’s a fun story. And of course, it’s been helpful for people during the pandemic, because my story and what I can do to help people is very relevant right now. And I had a couple of people message me after Episode 200 because Episode 200 was our big celebration. And somebody said that it saved their life, the fact that they had this community to come into now. They were thinking about taking it but because of the encouragement from others and the positivity that’s within the community, they decided that they were going to take those demons out of their head and smack them around and come back even with more positivity. I balled when I heard that story, because you know, you don’t often know that what it is you’re putting out there is actually having that kind of effect on people.
And it just made me realize that, you know, this one person decided to speak out and say something, how many others are going through the same thing who may not ever reach out? Which is okay, but I need to do it for them, I need to continue showing up for them.
– So what are you excited about right now?
– Right now I’m excited about a few things. I had just wrapped a brand new course. So we slowed down on courses this year and really decided to optimize the current courses that we have, new versions of them, promoting them, etc. But there was one course that was in high demand that we just wrapped filming and will be promoted later in November 2020. It’s a course about webinars. I’ve done about 200 to 300 webinars over the past couple years and I’ve gotten a good system down. And I’ve learned how to do it in a way that can be entertaining and engaging for an audience. And if you happen to want to sell something I can help you do it in a way where you’re not going to come across as bait and clicky or sleazy at all, in fact, you can even be thanked for it. And so I packaged all that info into an online course that will be launched later. I’m excited about that.
I’m excited about slowing down too. Slowing down in sense of this pandemic, I think has done a lot to slow people down and have them reconsider what is actually important to me. It’s done that for a lot of businesses. A lot of businesses are having to make changes to survive right now. And for many businesses, that means wow, remote work actually works. We don’t have to spend money on business buildings or anything like that we can have people work remotely and have them have better mental health too. And in a similar way, one thing that I got in a very good groove on was speaking, I was speaking all over the world keynote speeches, I was getting paid for them. And even though it’s like a 60-minute keynote that I might be doing somewhere that’s not just 60 minutes of my time, that’s five or six days total in terms of not just prep for the presentation, but gearing up and packing and traveling and coming back being rested and all that sort of stuff afterwards. That’s a lot on my wife and our two kids. And I’ve now realized that because we can’t travel anymore that wow, I in fact don’t need to do that anymore.
So I’m very thankful that this pandemic, although it’s terrible, obviously, has also many silver linings within it. And one of them is, while I’ve decided that I’m not going to be traveling as much anymore and speaking, because number one, I can do the same thing virtually. In fact, my “Income Stream” show is like an event every single day with more people than I can get in an event in-person. With less logistics, I don’t need to make hotel reservations or anything. And number two, you know, I think that I got what I needed out of the travel that I used to do: the connections, the relationships, the expertise. And now I can position myself in a different way as I try to do bigger and better things.
– What’s beautiful about that is the ability to take sort of the assets of different experiences that the same skills that are necessary to craft together, let’s say the webinar, I’m sure also directly converted over now here I am on stage for an hour, and now present. And then suddenly, when everything changed…I had a consulting client of mine, who was government contractor, and he goes…
the phrase used to be, “Can I work from home?” “Well, you can, but we’re not going to pay you” was what he used to hear. Then all of a sudden, that was what was happening. And of course, he was saving a screenshot of every email, praising just how productive he was. He goes, “I’ll give them a few days once we go back.” And now he’s full time online. So it’s proving a viability and the opportunity to get in front of people so much easier, and especially to create these relationships where we may eventually [00:51:30.] meet in-person. We may have this relationship or as your incredible story was someone who’s reaching out and it goes far beyond that I got more clicks, I got more downloads. Instead, this changed my life. I was curious to ask you out of the whole mindset of team and building what you’ve built. Is there one part of what you do that, let’s say is completely idiosyncratic, and that part has to be you what would that be?
– Yeah, it is the presentations. You know, most of my colleagues who also speak on stage say that they have somebody else create their slides for them, they have somebody else, script them for them. And for me, I’ve tried that before it just doesn’t work very well. And also that becomes my time to design, right? I’m not designing the website anymore. I’m not designing all these other things. But hey, I still have my presentations to get that fixed, if you will, for designing which is the world I came from in architecture. So that’s important to me. And also writing books. My last book Superfans, in fact, I hired a company to ghostwrite that for me. I hired this company because they did it in a way where they assured that it’ll still be me, that was really important to me. And the way that they were going to make sure it was still me was we were going to do extensive interviews. Like four months of interviews, once or twice a week, two to three hours of time to pull these stories out to hear my language, to understand how I would, in fact, write this book if I had the time.
But it was cool because I could be doing other things chores, or commuting or whatever, and still be able to “write this book.” And so after six months, I got the manuscript back, it was just the first couple chapters because we had these interviews. Then they spent some time developing the first couple chapters. I read it, it just didn’t sound like me at all. And I knew that…and in fact, we tried this again, we went through a different writer, a different person, and it still didn’t sound like me. And I said, “You know what this works for many other people, this does not work for me. I have to write this book myself but I don’t have the time.” So I was going to put “Superfans” aside. But November 2018, came around and November is a special month because it’s not just the month that you let your mustache grow out. But you also can participate in what’s called NaNoWriMo, which is called National Novel writers month. It’s a challenge that’s been going on for years where novel writers or anybody who wants to write a book will challenge themselves to write 50,000 words in that month.
So because of the community that was there, and just the idea of this challenge, and a space and a container to do this, I wrote my entire book of Superfans in one month and six days. I didn’t quite finish in November, I finished on my birthday in fact…
– We’ll allow it.
– December 6, and shipped it off to the team. By March, we had a hardcover version ready. And we were going to launch it at FlynnCon, which we did in July of 2019. And became a best-seller on Amazon shortly after that. And now is on set to do more sales than Will It Fly? eventually, and is making a big impact on people’s lives.
– That is incredible. And it’s been great to have you here in this first interview program on this series. And we’ll put links over at jasonlinett.com to your various projects. I’ve gone through a lot of it myself and can definitely endorse it. I have one burning question though, to kind of bring it all together. And unfortunately, you cannot say Back to the Future for this one. Which would be what movie for someone looking to motivate their business, what would that recommendation be?
– The Pursuit of Happyness Will Smith. Man, like this is a story about a man…true story but Will Smith is playing the character of a man who’s gone through some hardships, like many of us are going through right now. Who continued to get batted down, but also eventually came out on top. And that’s like many stories. But this story in particular, the way it’s told the movie, the way it’s cinematic, and the way Will Smith acts is just beautiful. And he has a son doing it as well and that kind of hits home with me too. Pursuit of Happyness, because that’s really why we’re doing what we’re doing, right? It also helps you define what happiness is, which I think is really important for those of us in entrepreneurship. Because sometimes we can get a little off track in terms of what actually is important when the numbers start coming in, or the business opportunity starts showing up. I think, many times it’s actually better to say no to some opportunities, if you know at least that keeps you on track to go to where you want to go in happiness and in life.
– This has been fantastic thanks for joining me.
– Thank you.
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