Shoulders Of Titans Interview with Pat Flynn:
Dan: Welcome to another episode of Shoulders of Titans. This is Dan Lok and today I’m so excited can you hear my excitement? I have the privilege of introducing you to another titan, a titan in the podcast world, a successful entrepreneur, a blogger and YouTuber and a family man. Pat, Welcome to the show.
Pat: Thank you for having me here Dan. Really, really excited about this.
Dan: Pat and I just kind of bump into each other at this summit recently and I walked up to him and said hey Pat, I love your show, I listen to your podcast I said I got to bring him on this podcast, so I’m very excited to share a lot of insights and I’m sure he will share a lot of insights with you as well. So Pat maybe take us back a little bit of how you got into the whole you know smart passive income world.
Pat: Yeah, oh man. This is quite a journey. Actually I went to school for architecture and that’s what I wanted to be for the rest of my life. I graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a degree in architecture. I got a great job in the Bay Area and I thought that the rest of my life was going to be like that. I was so excited to just put my energy and effort into that world and then in 2008 I was told I was going to be laid off which was just a complete blow to me because that’s all I wanted to do and I didn’t have a plan B, and I had a few months till I was going to be terminated. I actually moved back home with my parents in San Diego and I started to work to a sister office in Irvine so I took the train every day and I remember that train ride it really was like I called it the death ride because every time I got on that train I knew I was one day closer to my termination day and I was just trying to figure things out.
I was listening to my music and it was like really sad music, like really angry music, like Linkin Park. And then I ran out of music to listen to, and then I started to discover this thing called podcasts and I found this podcast called Internet Business Mastery hosted by two guys Jeremy and Jason. And I listen to an episode that was about a guy who was teaching people how to pass the project management exam online and he was doing this through practice exams and books that he was writing, and that was a big light bulb moment for me because he was making six figures doing that. I was like wow I couldn’t believe somebody was making that kind of money online based on helping people pass an exam and for me I was like holy moly. I remember taking a lot of exams when I was trying to be an architect and it was one in particular that was really hard, but I studied really hard for it that I knew a lot about that my co-workers always were asking me questions about. So I was like okay, how can I take this information I know about this exam and put it online? So I did that I ended up taking a couple months to write a eBook for it and after a few months I had built this website. I became pretty well known in a forum in the architecture space just because I was helping people with this particular exam.
So when I launched this book in October of 2008 I sold it for $19.95 and I sold it through a tool called E-junkie which allowed me to just you know deliver the eBook via email and people would pay me via Pay Pal. That month I had made $7908.55 which was two and a half times what I was making as an architect and that was the same month I finally got terminated. So it was a blessing that that all kind of happened the way it did because that month taught me a few things. It told me one, that I actually could make money online. I had never thought that that was possible and here I was doing it but B, I was scared because when I was doing research about internet business, all I could find were these people who were selling snake oil who are just like scammers who are like get rich quick and you know all this stuff
Dan: Push a button and money just comes, that kind of thing, right?
Pat: Yeah, exactly. I mean you all know what we’re talking about but then here I was selling this guide that was really helping people. I was making money literally I would wake up the next morning and there would be more money in my Pay Pal account. But more than that I was getting these e-mails and even some handwritten letters from people saying thank you Pat so much for helping me pass that exam. You helped me get a promotion you helped me get a raise. I can finally take a vacation with my family because we can afford it now and it was just blowing my mind that here I was doing that. And so all my architecture friends who had gotten laid off because everybody was getting laid off in the recession in 2008 at the same time they were like, “Pat how did you like, I don’t even understand how you did this. Can you share information about how you did this?”. And so that’s when I built smartpassiveincome.com to show and share with people just everything that I had learned, everything that I was figuring out and things that I wish I’d done differently etc.
And then smartpassiveincome.com after a year really started to take off because I was really the only one in the space for a while who was really just sharing everything. Like I said everybody who was in that space of teaching online business, they either didn’t have proof that they knew what they were talking about, and I did because I was helping people in the architecture space. And being very transparent with how many books I was selling, how I was selling it and you know all those kinds of things but B, I was only the, I was the other person who was only talking about it from like, hey I’m not here to like live in mansions and drive Ferrari’s right. Like I just want to survive from this layoff and be with my family that’s it. And so I think those things in combination with each other help me propel and now become a leader in the space of transparency and authenticity online. I was in Forbes magazine as one of the top ten transparent leaders in business and it’s just incredible the ride I’ve been on and since then you know I’ve written books, Wall Street Journal best seller book Will It Fly? I have a podcast that just passed 40,000,000 downloads. I’m doing conferences and speaking all over the world now and getting paid to do it. It’s just blowing my mind but it always goes back to how I did business and that is to serve first. Always serve others first and when I found that I’ve done that like the rewards always come back to me. So my business motto that I teach others is, how can you solve another person’s problem or another group of people’s problems? Do that and focus on that and you will be rewarded.
Dan: And I think one of the things why I respect and admire your work is we actually have a lot in common because back then almost like when I first got started online I also sold my first eBook for $19.95.
Pat: Oh, are you serious?
Dan: Yes and it wasn’t an eBook, it was actually a physical book and I wrote that book to actually protect consumers from all the snake oil marketer’s psychological tactics right? I was sharing like what marketers used to influence consumers to buy but you know ends up all the market is buying the book and actually then the first book that I sold was actually through a money order I didn’t even take PayPal back then.
Pat: Oh, no way.
Dan: It was a check a money order and I sold like a couple thousand dollars. I printed 100 copies and I sold all of them in 30 days, right. So it’s the same journey that I want people listening today so that they see like me and Pat and what we are doing and people who are successful in this space, and this is not over night. I mean this is back in like October 2008 think about it for Pat’s journey and I think partially what makes your brand so special is what you touch on is the transparency. That you’re not saying hey I’m the guru I’m the successful guy I have all the answers you listen to me. It’s more like hey you know what I’m on this journey. I’m trying to figure stuff out the good and bad, the ugly. I’ll share everything with you and I think also that makes you more relatable like over the years when you made a decision to start small passive income. Like the brand has to evolve over years or it kind of like stays pretty consistent?
Pat: No it’s definitely evolved. It’s evolved and how it looked it’s evolved in how confident I am in what I’m doing. But I love what you touched on there because even when I go back to that architecture website which still exists, it’s still generating a couple thousand dollars a month. It’s at GreenExamAcademy.com you can see my face there. You know what really got me was you know it was May of 2009 I think. So my business was doing really well there. I was making 20, 30 thousand dollars a month from this e-book I actually increased the price. The United States Green Building Council which is the organization that actually administers this exam, they write the exam questions. I think they saw how well my book was doing. I don’t know if they maybe were already planning on doing this, but they came up with their own guides to compete with mine. And I thought I was done. I was like oh this is it okay, let me go back to architecture because this is going to eat up all my income. I mean why would people want to buy from me versus the people who actually write the exam questions?
But that same month I actually had a record number of sales, and I couldn’t figure out why. I was like wait, this doesn’t make any sense. So I started to survey my audience and asked them. And a lot of them said, Hey Pat, we first of all we didn’t even know there were guides for this exam until the United States Green Building Council told us, and we started to do research on who else is out there and I trusted you more than them because you were just like me. You had a name, you had the same experience as me, you’re just a few steps ahead and that’s why I got your stuff versus the other guys’ stuff. And I was like wow this is blowing my mind so that’s why now when I do business, I’m always just trying to be me and not trying to be pretending to be somebody that I’m not. Actually even that exam I didn’t get a perfect score. I got so you have to get 170 out of 200 to pass, it has a 20 percent pass rate and I got 174 so I barely passed but because I was the one who was sharing this information and sharing my experience with the exam. W hat I wish I’d done differently just being very honest with it, people trusted me more than the people who actually wrote the exam questions which is really interesting, so that’s why now on smart passive income.
I love to try new things like they call me the crash test dummy of online business and I love that because that means sometimes I’m going to fail, but every time it’s going to be a lesson for those who are following along. So I actually love it when I fail because that teaches me a number of things that I shouldn’t do the next time, but also I know I can relay that information for people so that like a good crash test dummy does, they share the results so everybody else can be safer. So let me take those first steps to figure it out and then share it with everybody else and I think again that’s why a lot of people follow it.
Dan: And just so you get how transparent Pat is, you can go to his website and you can see that his income report every single month of his expense and the revenue where that comes from. So he shares all of that so you know that some months are great, some months a little bit slower but of course a significant amount number for anybody. I also am curious when you start the whole smart passive income. How long it took you to kind of reach that significant revenue point where you know what this is not just a part time thing. This is not something that I do on the side then maybe I’ll transition back to the job world. Like this is what I’m going to do for a long time or the rest of my life?
Pat: Well with smartpassiveincome.com specifically, which was built in October of 2008, I didn’t make a dime from that website until a year and a half later. It took a long time for it to get to that point where people would take my recommendations or buy my products etc. With the other site it happened a little bit faster but that was because I was very active every single day really proving myself as somebody who is knowledgeable in this space and there was less competition too. But really the big deciding factor for me internally to have me decide that yes this is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life. Actually it was in March of 2009. So this is before the United States Green Building Council came out with their own thing like I just mentioned earlier. But March of 2009, business was doing well, I got a call from my boss the one who had let me go from architecture the same one who told me I wasn’t going to be working. He gave me a call and he goes, “Hey Pat, are you okay?” and I’m like, “I’m actually doing really good” and he’s like, “It’s okay, I understand it was a hard transition,” I’m like no I’m doing okay and he goes, “Well here’s what I want to do Pat, I started my own firm.” So he left the company too and he started his own architecture firm, he brought my co-workers with him, he brought the clients that I had with him and he said, “Hey Pat, I want to offer you a job to work with me at this new firm I just set up. I’m going to give you a pay raise, I’m going to give you your own office and I’m going to give you a year’s worth of rent for free to come back and move,” and it didn’t take me two seconds to say thanks but no thanks.
Dan: Yes, thanks but no thanks. I think in some way you’re grateful for the opportunity’s diversity but it made you to be resourceful and creative and start this whole new journey, right?
Pat: Oh absolutely. I mean this whole layoff which led to probably the most depressing time in my life, it was a huge blessing in disguise. But related to this call I was very surprised that I had answered so quickly because if this person asked me a year ago to do the same thing, I mean I wouldn’t hesitate and I would absolutely say yes. But here I am saying no and that’s what told me internally wow like I need to go down this route. And I think what really affected my decision was when I became an architect I did everything right. I got good grades in school, I did all the extracurricular things, I graduated magna cum laude from Berkeley even when I started working. I was doing more than I was asked. I did everything right and more and I still got kicked out. Now this is me saying oh well, you know what I’m going to take control. I’m going to have it that if I fail it’s going to be my own fault not anybody, anything else can control.
Dan: And you want to control your own destiny I think. And what about now I’m curious your thought with let’s say new people they see what you do and of course you inspire a lot of people and they say yeah I want to be you know like just like you Pat and I want to have my own blog and my podcast and all that stuff. First of all let’s talk about podcast because you’re the titan in the podcast world. When someone knew let’s say maybe they are transitioning, they’re working in a job they say I want to make money from podcasts they want to jump into it or they have a business and they want to use podcast to promote their products, services or brand, what’s your advice?
Pat: My question will be, well, tell me why you want to start with a podcast? And what I’m trying to get at is, let’s instead of picking the platform first we have to figure out what problems we’re going to solve. That’s the most important thing. I think a lot of people see what people like what we’re doing Dan and what other people are doing and they say, “This is how I’m doing I’m using a podcast or I’m using online courses or I’m using a blog,” and then they just go,” Oh, if I create a blog then I can do the same thing,” no. What we’re doing is we found the way that we best based on our personality based on the way that we like to work that we like to serve that audience. We found a problem we’re solving that problem in the way that matches what we like to do and also what they respond to. If you start with the platform you might be setting yourself up for failure because you are not, you are not starting with the problem.
The person’s problem may be better solved in a completely different platform, maybe you should be on YouTube, maybe you should be on podcast, you don’t know yet. Talk to people to find their problems. If you have an interest in a particular niche, great that’s a great starting point. Go into that niche and start asking questions. “Hey what are you struggling with? What’s something you wish was different? What’s a tool that you have and what do you wish was done better with it?” Those kinds of questions can help surface really what it is that you can create and how to create it and then you can then determine okay now I know what the problem is how can I best solve that problem? Is it going to be with this platform or that platform? Is it going to be with this product or that product? Then or like it may not even be that, it may just be you coaching or maybe freelancing those are different options for first of all understanding what that problem is, too many entrepreneurs jump ahead of that really important research step and that research is really the best kind of research is conversation and I know a lot of people have ideas and they’re reluctant to share those ideas because either they want to keep them secret and they don’t want anybody to steal their idea, here’s a newsflash nobody’s going to steal your idea and then number two the other thing is they’re worried about what other people are going to say they’re too scared to hear what other people are going to say. How crazy is that thought that when you were an entrepreneur and you’re trying to build something to help people that you’re too scared to hear what they’re going to say?
You need to know what they’re going to say. You need to know your thing that you’re creating in your head right now is terrible so that you can get rid of it or change it. I’ve made so many mistakes Dan. I remember in 2010 a couple of my buddies released WordPress plugins and I was like oh my gosh I have this audience on smart passive income I could totally create a WordPress plugin and I found a developer. I spent 15 thousand dollars developing a WordPress plugin and when it was finally done after 6 months because first of all I rushed into it, I didn’t even know what I wanted so there was a lot of back and forth that was the first problem. But secondly after it was finally done then I shared it with my friends and a few of my power fans in S.P.I. they were like this is okay, and I was like what, just okay? I spent all this money on it I thought it was going to be great and what I realized is what I thought doesn’t really matter and so I wish I had talked to people about this idea first. Because the sad part about this is they were like oh well this idea is okay but what if you did this and maybe should include this instead but by then I had already exhausted my budget there was no more money I could put into this thing and so if I had those conversations at first I could then create the product in the way it needed to be versus creating a product trying to force people in and then trying to change it and spend way too much money.
Dan: Yeah, that’s awesome and that’s basically being strategic versus tactical. It’s not just the platform. Is it YouTube, is it podcast, is it a blog is it whatever it is, it’s just a form it’s a way to communicate with the audience and I think most people they look at what we do and they think that’s the magic pill. Pat is doing podcasts, I should do podcasts right? And it’s not as simple as that and what’s interesting is I had a brief conversation with you at the summit, I said “Hey, Pat what are you doing here? This is YouTube, this is video,” and you just said very quickly you know what I just want to diversify my traffic, it’s not just counting on one thing even though you’re the titan in podcasts but also now you’re also hey maybe I can expand different traffic sources and different ways and different platforms I can communicate with my audience. Share your thoughts on that like now you’re at this point and you’re getting you know millions and millions and millions of downloads and why are you still like hungry and expanding versus just hey you know what I’ll just do my podcast thing?
Pat: Because that’s what makes a successful entrepreneur right? Like that’s what separates the 1 percent from everybody else when you think about a professional sports player., Do you think that once they’ve hit a few home runs they can say to themselves, “Oh I’m just I’m good I could hit home runs forever now”. No, they’re getting swing coaches who aren’t even in the M.L.B. in the Major League Baseball, but they specialize to help that person get even better and more refined. So that’s kind of how I feel I remember watching although Tiger Woods isn’t great anymore when he was at the peak of his performance level he was still getting coaching for his swings he was still learning, still getting better. And that’s what I feel like I’m at right now I can always improve. Now when it comes to the different platforms and going from podcast to YouTube, I’m not going from, I’m just adding on to. Now that the podcast and now that the blog they’re pretty much run like machines now. I’ve gotten the systems down so well that it is very easy for me to produce those because I now have a team on board kind of helping. So now I have a little bit of extra time to devote to other places to find new people and I know for specifically that my YouTube channel has been completely under-served, there’s people there who are just dying for the information that I know I can share with them and the information that they’re finding now on there is just disgusting.
Like all the people who are ranking for the top make money online. Entrepreneur related stuff. I mean they’re getting sold. I mean they’re selling like the stuff that just the shouldn’t be there and so I want to step in and provide the best information on YouTube about starting an online business and entrepreneurship. So that’s my goal and then also because the other concept platforms are run almost automatically now. Obviously I’m still doing interviews and I’m still recording podcasts episodes but everything else is taken care of. I’m not as creative as I am anymore and I need something that I can be creative with and the quick story is, I went to Europe for the first time last month and it was Lisbon, Portugal and I just was so excited about this trip. I was going there to speak at a conference and so I decided just kind of to randomly vlog this so I bought a Sony RX 100 mark 5 and I just was like, oh I’ll see what happens and it was kind of uncomfortable like filming myself in public
Dan: And I saw the video too, it’s quite funny, it’s interesting.
Pat: Yeah I mean it was cool but when I was editing that I was like oh my gosh this is such a cool way to capture these moments and share it with everybody to bring people behind the scenes. I start to get really excited about video again and knowing that I was going to be devoting time into something new in 2018, I decided that it was going to be into video and then now getting more involved into YouTube specifically learning about people like yourself and Roberto Blake and Daryl Ease and a bunch of other people who are in that space. Like everybody’s really friendly there and everybody just is so welcoming of new people and so I’m just thankful to start to build those relationships and see what I can do in that space. I know it’s going to add more traffic flow but I also feel like I have some sort of a talent for video and it wasn’t always that way but I feel like now in my career I could I could do pretty well on it.
Dan: Fantastic, and what about in terms of traffic for your blog? What percentage of the traffic comes from your blog and what percentage comes from maybe your podcast at this point?
Pat: Yeah you know it’s really interesting to talk about this because it’s not always very clear. Podcasting unlike YouTube, iTunes is very, very secretive of what’s going on in terms of numbers so it’s not very clear even at all what’s happening in terms of how many people are listening versus how many people are visiting the website. I mean there are some things I can track but I did run a survey not too long ago which told me that the podcasts, excuse me, number one was the number one way that people were finding out and learning about me and my brand. It was about one out of every five so 20 percent of people, the second one was links from other websites then it was YouTube then it was social media and etc. so podcast is still number one but I haven’t been utilizing YouTube at all I mean my subscribers, I have 80,000 of them but I haven’t been giving them much over time. I started it back in 2009 and I know that I just need to spend a little bit more time being consistent in putting things into place which we already have you know over 150 videos planned for next year already. And I’m excited about that because it means I can deliver content consistently on that platform it’s going to be re-purposed and then put into blog post format too, but going back to your original question traffic you know a lot of it’s very diverse I would say 30 percent of traffic is coming from Google search and then the non-search related traffic number one is coming from podcasting. I would love for YouTube traffic to come and match or even surpass where podcasting is right now, although I’m still pretty heavy on podcasting. I mean I don’t want you to think that I don’t believe in podcasting now because I’m going to YouTube, no.
Dan: Adding on.
Pat: Oh man, like if I had to start over from scratch it would definitely be podcasting for me because that’s how I best kind of share my voice and my message and also for my audience a lot of them are listening on the go, and that’s the only place that you can deliver content to them is through a podcast.
Dan: And I think you mentioned something very important. That this has to be something that you enjoy, that you like it’s not just oh I’ll do this to make a quick buck. A friend of mine asked me the question when I first started my podcast two years ago. Oh, Dan, how many episodes are going to try? Are you going to try like a month like two months? I said no, no I’m just going to do this and he said well you know how are you going to monetize it? I said I don’t think about that as much. I launched the show because I can talk to fascinating entrepreneurs like yourself and just have a great conversation so I would pay to do that so I’m not too worried about oh I want to monetize it, I want to get sponsorship and all that. I still don’t make money from doing the podcast and I don’t really care but the funny thing is when you do that the doors open right?
You build an audience because you don’t have like an agenda right? And you just talk about whatever feels right and I think really like I just shared with Pat now the show almost a year and a half or so now somebody is approaching me and saying hey I want to sponsor your show, a year and a half. Even if they sponsor the show I still don’t make money from it you know what I mean? So it’s not like a you know a big cheque but you do it it’s your passion, it’s what you want to do I think if you start from that place it’s just easier when things get tough versus you try to do it. I’m sure I mean Pat you teach lot of people and they say hey Pat I’m going to try this podcasting for like a month right? I’m going to try this thing for two months. If that’s where you start it’s not going to end well right?
Pat: Yeah I mean it’s not to say that you start a podcast and then you decide after for a while oh I’m going to put it away for a while that’s fine. But you didn’t approach it knowing you’re going to stop. I mean I think that’s the important thing and I love what you touched on just the relationship building that a podcast specifically can have because here we are talking for you know 30 minutes already we’re going to talk for a number of other minutes. I mean this is we’re building a relationship right now. You and I and for me with my podcast too like even if there were zero downloads. Those conversations are so valuable that I have with people because some of those people have now become incredible friends, people who have then become J.V. partners and etc. So you know it’s so much easier to ask for a person’s time if we’re going to have them on the show versus, Hey Tim Ferriss I know you don’t know me but can I just talk to you for 45 minutes? Like no but I’ve had Tim on my show twice now and so it’s just really interesting so there’s so many benefits to podcasting. I think another benefit of podcasting for me in particular is just how much of a better communicator I’ve become. I was just so terrible if you go back to my first episode of podcast it’s I cannot listen to it, Dan, because it’s bad it’s terrible. I say um all the time it’s random pausing it’s just bad.
Dan: It’s like watching the first YouTube video right?
Pat: Yeah, exactly oh man. Let’s not talk about that but over time you just because you’re consistent, because you’re doing it over and over and over again you become a better communicator which has helped me in so many facets of my life in business. Getting on stage doing video, communicating with my friends and family with my wife, my kids it’s just again one of those things communication and relationship building, two important key ingredients if you want to succeed and podcasting can help you do those things.
Dan: Very, very true and Pat, let’s assume that someone listening to this that they are solving a problem, they are providing good service, a solid product and podcast is the way to go or blogging is the way to go. What are some of the strategies you could share that has worked for you over the years to build that audience to build attraction?
Pat: Yeah, I mean utilizing those relationships that you’re building with people who you interview is great because if you have a really great conversation and they want to provide value back to you, they’re likely going to share that show in front of their audience and it’s a great way for you to get in front of that other audience. Now if you interview an A-lister or a top guru or influencer then it’s going to be more difficult for them to take the time to share it because they have a lot of other things going on. So a few tips, interviewing the non A-listers is a great thing because A, many of those people will be more likely to say yes, B, they’re going to want to serve you back because you’re giving them this chance to get featured on the show and they’re going to be likely to share your show in front of their audience. Even though it may be smaller it’s likely going to be even stronger of an audience because they have that quality relationship with them because they’re not that big yet but here’s an even more fine tune tip that can help. This is one that actually everybody in my course loves and the people who have used it have said that this is the number one strategy that they’ve used to build their audience. And that is not just interviewing we’ll say B or C listers but going on to Facebook. For example, finding a group that is related to your niche and there are groups in there with thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of members and you go and look into that group, you don’t even have to join that group though I recommend that you should because that’s obviously where your audience may be. But you can even see the admins of that group before joining that group, you can see who owns that group, you can go to that admin and say hey admin my name is Pat Flynn I have a podcast about knitting.
If you look up knitting groups for example, I would just love to feature or I’m producing a show that’s featuring some of my favourite or top community members here in the knitting space. How would you like to come on the show? And so A, they are going to be more likely to say yes because they’re likely never asked to begin with. But B, if you make them look like a hero on that show you set it up properly what are the chances you think that they’re going to share it to their community? Very, very likely and their community is there and they’re listening to that admin. If you go in there and you promote an episode you’re not going to be listened to very much because nobody knows who you are, but if you utilize that trust that admin has had based on the creation of that group with their followers, well you’re going to be so much more set up for success. There so that’s a great tip as well when you launch your podcast don’t just launch with one, launch with multiple shows so that people can have more to get into. A lot of people binge listen to podcasts like we binge watch shows on Netflix and it just creates that deeper connection.
I love that because with a podcast even better than video, people are listening to you for much longer. People are listening to podcasts for hours sometimes and to have that much time in front of your audience in a very intimate way, it’s them in like with your voice literally in their ear with an ear bud it’s very intimate. It’s a great way to scale this intimacy and it’s to them it’s one on one like a one on one conversation where to you it’s a one to many. So again podcasting is a great tool for that and then finally definitely include call to actions that’s one of the hardest things with a podcast specifically versus YouTube or a blog where people can just go to that web page and click. People are listening on the go so you need to make a really easy for them to take action with you. If you say too many actions, too many calls to actions they are not going to take any. So one or two at most and make them easy. One thing I like to do is either create a pretty link on WordPress or even by if it’s a link that I know I’m going to mention many times and there’s like a funnel involved in it I’ll often get a Go Daddy domain for it that just then forwards to that page of my website. I want to bring people to so for example if I’m talking about email marketing on a show and I want to have people download a free guide I go to, I say well go to EmailTheSmartWay.com and that’s just a link that I got on Go Daddy for like 99 cents that forwards to a particular landing page on my website where people can then download that free guide.
Dan: Nice, nice and then do you take them from one platform to another and maybe they join an email list and then when you have a new video coming up you can also send them that as well so it’s kind of recycling re-purposing to the traffic as well, love it . So what about I’m sure you get this question a lot what’s the ideal frequency of the podcast is it once a week is it two times a week and also the length of the podcast, what’s been your experience?
Pat: Yeah it’s funny what will start with that cycle with the length I remember when I first started my show I was like OK it’s going to be 22 minutes because that’s how long a television show is. And I thought I was getting all like really smart with science and attention span. I was like it’s going to be 22 minutes but I did that first interview and it was like 22 minutes and I feel like there was so much more left to be done and to ask that person so if I were to cut it off there. I’d be doing my audience and that person a disservice and myself on the other side if I had an episode that was 15 minutes but it was so strong and it was perfect the way it was at 15 minutes should I just you know continue talking for 7 minutes just to fill up that space no so the answer to how long should a podcast episode be? It should be as long as it needs to be to provide the value you want to provide. That’s it I don’t think there needs to be a specific set time now on the other hand it’s nice if there’s some sort of consistency that’s not necessarily to the minute but at least we’re people because people get into a habit of listening. If they know that a show is between a certain amount of time well try to fit it within that certain time but you don’t need to make a specific mark now in terms of frequency of episodes that’s going to be up to you and what you’re comfortable doing. Some people out there as you know do a very good job of doing daily shows.
Pat: Which like Johnny Dumas is from entrepreneur on fire which is a great podcast.
Dan: Johnny is on fire every day.
Pat: He’s on fire. He’s also a machine because not many people can pull that off. He batch processes his episodes which is another great tip. I do the same thing so that means you know spending one or two days a week recording all the episodes you need so you’re not just kind of a slave to the microphone every single day.
Pat: So that’s a great strategy but you don’t have to go daily just because John is doing it daily. I would go with what makes sense for you when I started out it was every other week and it was funny because I remember doing it every other week. I was still blogging 3 times a week and I went to a conference a few months later and everybody was talking about my podcast, podcast, podcast, podcast. I’d spent so much more time writing and I was like What about my blog and everybody’s no, no we love the podcast so that’s when I doubled down on the podcast and went to weekly. I actually went from 3 posts a week on the blog to just 1 because I just saw there is so much more with the podcast. But you don’t have to go once a week either. It could be twice a week it could be once every other week, as long as those shows are great and you stay consistent then it’s going to be fine. There’s a show out there called hardcore history that comes out I think once every other month. And people eat up that show now his shows want to talk about like length of shows his episodes are like 4 to 6 hours in length.
Pat: Which is stupid crazy, but that’s what he does that’s his style that’s what his audience knows and with hardcore history. He goes really deep into specific moments of history like really deep and so it fits for his brand and it takes him 2 months to create an episode because it’s just so much research. But again there’s no right answer just what’s right for you and what makes sense for your production schedule.
Dan: And also Pat what’s your strategy let’s say you have the podcast do you believe in transcribing into a blog and post on your blog and then maybe like vice versa, how do you kind of re-purpose that content?
Pat: Yeah, I mean you don’t have to write a transcription it does become something that will be an extra expense. If you use a tool like rev R E V you can get it transcribed at 1 dollar per minute which it does add up but there are multiple ways to use that transcription you can actually offer it as a giveaway. My buddy James Schramko from superfast business he has people subscribed to his email list in order to get the transcript. So he’s collecting emails. I don’t do that I just give the transcript away for free as a downloadable so it becomes like a little extra add on. This adds more value. More perceived value to that episode other people copy and paste that transcription right on that blog post for a search engine optimization purposes.
Pat: Now the struggle with that is becomes a really long post so if you have comments on the bottom it’s going to take forever to scroll down. So there are plugins out there that allow you to kind of hide the transcript and then click to expand or click to close. So just keep that in mind I don’t know the names of those plugins but they do exist but also I would recommend this is what I do so I have a player that plays a podcast episode on my website and it’s important to have a player on your website because a lot of times people are finding your podcast for the first time on your website not on iTunes. So having them be able to listen to it on your website at least for the first time or second time is really smart. Secondly having show notes that is summaries you can get very detailed with that if you want where you can even put time stamps like for example at the 2:30 minute mark this is where we talk about topic number one at the 17:30 minute mark that’s where we talk about topic number 2 you can get it to that detail if you’d like to and then having called the actions that you mention in the podcast episode in your blog post that goes along with your podcast episode having that in there as well works really well to.
Dan: Yeah, and I hope you get this because a lot of what Pat is talking about it’s really consistency and fundamentals. It’s like hey let’s solve people’s problems let’s be consistent let’s put up good content let’s develop relationships like this.
Pat: It’s not very hard, right?
Dan: Like this is like it’s not super sexy pushbutton you know money falls out the sky kind of thing right it’s like duh.
Pat: Well let me rephrase what I said I said it’s not hard, well it’s simple but it’s not easy.
Dan: Yes very, very true and we played a long game. It’s not like the first remember the first time when I uploaded the video the first they took so long to get the first hundred subscribers. I mean I had my you know I have my 2, 3 Google accounts just to subscribe to myself you know my mum got to subscribe I get my friends start to subscribe.
Dan: Just to boost up the numbers and it took almost like a year to get the 1000 subscribers it was so hard so difficult.
Pat: Now I see you’re at like you just passed 60 K.
Dan: 60 K and now we’ve got almost a 1000, 800 to 1000 subscribers per day and it’s just real, right? And I’m sure it’s the same thing as you snowball as you build more traction and that’s how this works you got to give it some time it’s not overnight and it’s about doing those fundamentals again and again and again. And because you know I’m a martial artist I think Bruce Lee has a great quote he said, “I’m not afraid of the man who knows 10000 kicks and practice each kick 1 time, I’m afraid of the man who knows one kick and practised it 10000 times, it’s about mastery. What about Matt, a friend of mine Matt so he’s in social media and he sells different programs and I want to use it like a client avatar right. He’s thinking of setting up a blog and he’s quite well known in his space but he doesn’t have a blog it’s always buying traffic through Facebook now your blog it’s amazing I mean.
Pat: Thank you.
Dan: I’ve seen it evolve over the years I’m sure you spend a lot of money testing and tweaking it and rebranding it so it’s for someone like Matt who’s a friend of mine what would you recommend for him to set up a blog like what platform or what kind of designer do you recommend, and how do you come up even with the whole design and navigation.
Pat: Yeah, I mean first of all design navigation. I mean you can get so lost in that and never get anything done. It’s so easy to just worry about how things look versus just getting something up so first thing is have a deadline for when you want to get something up. I particularly recommend it like takes 5 days just to go from nothing to having a website and something that you can be proud of online and I actually have a free course that walked people step by step through that process. And you know I can share with you guys the link later but 5 days like that’s it you don’t need to worry about the theme. The nice thing about the design of a website is you can always change it later, there’s these things called themes which are like skins that you can choose and you can no matter what content is on your website you can just choose a different skin and it just reshapes the look of your website without changing what you had written. It’s not like starting from scratch every single time I recommend using the WordPress blogging platform just because there’s more customization options there’s more plugins for different needs that you might have. There’s more room for growth there are other platforms out there such as Squarespace or Wix that do pretty good at getting a website up and running but when it comes to long term success and customization for the business that you’re creating.
Definitely I would recommend going with the self-hosted website on WordPress and that allows you to have a lot more design options for what it is that you’re doing too. So that’s what I would recommend. I mean so many people worry about just how things look you can always make and perfect those things later. My biggest tip for everybody who’s getting started is just pick something and go on you can always come back later and that’s hard because we are conditioned to try and be perfect. Right when we go to school if you’re not getting a 100% on the test like you fail right you’ve done something wrong but no, you just didn’t get everything right yet but because of the way we’re brought up in school, it’s like we’re just conditioned to think failure is bad. We’re actually you know you can just make incremental process every single day or progress and make your way toward something that works because every day you don’t have a website up there running is a day that you’re not A, showing Google that you have something that you can offer to solve a person’s problem. B, you’re not getting clients or e-mail addresses and C, you’re just wasting time so when it comes to what contents are I think that’s what’s more important. Not just what it looks like but what actually is the content that people are going to be consuming but the best way to go is just to start answering people’s questions. Like what are the most common questions that you get and that will help serve you in many ways one people may find that answer before they even start to ask you so you’re able to serve them faster. You’re going to be able to build a relationship with them by sharing this authority and expertise that you have without you actually having to lift a finger because it’s all going to be evergreen on your website and on Google. Anyway so start with answering the most common questions the ones that like your competitors are not answering and then you can kind of take it from there.
Dan: And what about for people so where people who are maybe the start of entrepreneurs struggling they are creating content they are trying to get traction. That category another category I can see is people who influencers that they already have an audience and they have followers and they have a list but somehow they struggle to monetize it or their business model it’s not that good what are your thoughts on that?
Pat: Well if you already have an audience already that’s a great head start. Now your job is to find out within that audience what problems are there and there’s a number ways to do that. You could do conversations with them. I actually do Skype conversations with random people in my email list 10 times a month and I’ve gained so much insight from doing that. It’s so funny when I reach out to those people they’re like what? Is this an automated email you’re sending out? I’m like no this is like I really want to chat with you sometimes those conversations only last like 5 minutes because they don’t have much to say but other times they last you know an hour an hour and a half because I’m able to dig deep into what their needs are. What’s working what’s not working what I could potentially do to serve them something. And those conversations are great too because I often tease something that I’m potentially going to work on and trying to just kind of get a gut reaction from them on whether that’s something that should continue or not.
Secondly you could do a survey you can run something like a Survey Monkey survey to your audience where you’re asking you can even just ask one question and that is, what’s the biggest challenge you have right now with blank. Whatever that blank is related to your niche and the answers you get back are going to tell you so much and there might be a pattern in there you might see one struggle that is more than the others and that’s what you can then potentially create a solution. About now don’t create the solution yet what you do is you create either an outline or a prototype for that solution or something that allows people to consider what this product might eventually become then you go back to those people and you say hey this is what I’m thinking of creating. Now what I’m going to do is I’m going to run a beta program or founders group I’m going to limit it to you know let’s say 15 people and if I can get 15 people to sign up for this thing that I’m going to create, it’s not made yet you’re being honest with your audience this thing is not made yet but if you want to get in you can get in early with me at a cheaper price. I’ll be working with you we’ll create it together and I’ll make it the way that you need it to be and if you can get 15 people to sign up then you know that you can create it and then you already got paid for that to produce it and guess what if you didn’t get anybody to buy well that tells you something. And thank God you didn’t build that thing first in the way that you thought it should be built now you can go back to them, it’s not a loss, now you can go back to them and say hey well you said you had this problem and I made this solution that I was going to make but you didn’t go for it like why and they will tell you what’s wrong with it, or what the problem is that you can then make decisions from there to create it and turn it into something that actually works.
This is called validation and this is what I wrote about in my book “Will It Fly”. This is what it was the whole book is about this stuff and it allows you to test in small ways before you go big because traditionally many people they build something and they shout from the rooftops like buy my thing and then nobody buys it. And then you’re left kind of wondering why? Was it because of the product? Was it because of the way you yelled it? Was it because of the rough that you were standing on? Like you have no idea but if you take an iterative approach like this well then you are more able to determine what the problem points are but also you know like you move on to the next step only when you know this other step is completed it’s like another way to test something is like if you have this idea for a product you could register people for a free webinar on that topic just to kind of lightly cover it just to share some valuable information if you can’t get anybody to sign up for a free webinar. Well then that tells you something right then you can go back to the drawing board versus you creating a product spending time money effort on developers putting this thing together and then trying to force people into it. It’s not going to work so beta program founders group that’s how you do it and then with the beauty of that Dan is you can build that product with your audience in the way that it needs to be that way. It’s not like have you ever seen those remote controls for televisions that have like a 1000 buttons on them you don’t use all but like 4 of them right? Now you can build a product to create just the buttons that are needed you’re not creating anything extra, it becomes a better experience for them and by the end of it you’re going to have 15 testimonials from people who then you can use in that public launch that you’re going to do and go big.
Pat: Because hopefully you are kind of collecting a wait list at the same time.
Pat: That’s how you do it.
Dan: That’s awesome. As I always say you don’t have to be a marketing genius your client is the marketing genius, just ask them. We don’t have to lock ourselves in the room and try to be creative let me guess what they want instead of guessing why not just ask hey do you want this, do you want that, how much would you be comfortable paying? Just ask them they’ll tell you everything, right?
Pat: They will.
Dan: I’m also curious because Pat you’re a family man. I’m a family man. In this whole journey the entrepreneurship, how important is like your wife as a role in this and I’m also curious with like did your wife ever say to you hey when are you going to get a real job?
Pat: No, I’m so blessed. Like even the day I got let go, my wife was very supportive of whatever path you know we ended up going down and when I became an entrepreneur you know she didn’t sign up for that she signed up for when I was you know devoted to architecture.
Dan: An architect yeah.
Pat: And she’s been so absolutely supportive the entire way and especially now that we have two kids and you know I go and travel a lot she’s here watching the kids at home and I just she’s number one. She is the number one reason why things are the way they are because that support system is so incredibly needed to keep you motivated to keep you in. Especially families really important to you like it helps you remember what your why’s are, she also keeps me grounded. Like I remember one time she told me she’s like hey I know you’re doing really well in your business but if your head grows too big I’m not going to be there to support it and I was like dang! I love that because I actually had friends who started around the same time as me who got rich and got famous and they aren’t friends anymore because they change. They change who they are. They put money first before friendship. It just I don’t want to go down that route and I don’t blame them but it happened and I don’t want that to happen to me and that requires people on the outside telling me when things aren’t the way they should be so I’m thankful to have her there for that too. And of course she’s just an amazing mother who has sacrificed a lot of things that she wants to do, to just literally be there with the kids, stay at home mom, the entire time she works way harder than I do and I owe her everything for that.
Dan: Yeah I can emphasize like I think having the right partner that soulmate that spouse is so critical. I’m fortunate because my wife Jenny we actually we work together. We don’t have kids yet so we’re business partners, we travel together and she has helped me tremendously I always say behind every successful man is a smarter a woman, so in this case I think for both of us is very, very true.
Dan: Pat, if you could travel back to one of your early days and have a 5 minute conversation with your former self to communicate any lessons you’ve acquired with the intention of saving yourself of mistakes and headaches, what would you tell yourself.
Pat: So I would tell myself I would go back to 8th or 9th grade. I was very young, very tiny as a kid I got bullied a lot. I worried a lot about I was very self-conscious about what other people thought about me and I always tried to be cool and whatever and just I would always get so down on myself. When I wasn’t like everybody else and so I’d go back in time and tell myself a couple things. One: like ask myself and try to have me understand why it wasn’t that important what other people thought about me and I had put that at like number one. What other people thought about me and that’s just not a great way to live because you know you’re basing your life on what other people are thinking and not taking control for yourself. And I wasn’t very I just didn’t appreciate who I was until much later in life and my own unique weird things. But secondly, kind of along the same lines you know I was very shy as a result of all that had happened to me and I was very much just somebody who always sat in the back of the class you know. Would get good grades but would never raise my hand I would never initiate conversations with anybody especially if it was somebody I didn’t know. I would tell myself hey man like you got to meet and chat with and be friends with as many people as possible because you never know you’re just one relationship away from somebody really having a big impact on your life. In one way or another and you’re not allowing yourself to have those opportunities if you just sit in the corner the whole time and so it wasn’t until college that I finally realized just like how cool it was to meet people and to learn about their stories and to see how I can help them. And vice versa versus who I was in high school which is just like I don’t want any human contact I just want to focus on my own thing and not worry about anybody else.
Dan: Wow that’s powerful, love it. Pat any final thoughts and your contact information so that listeners can learn more and I know you mentioned about the guide that you have as well.
Pat: Oh yeah thank you for that. That course it’s called Build Your Own Brand or B.Y.O.B. for short and you can find that build-your-own-brand.co. C O thank you for allowing me to share that and you can also find me at smartpassiveincome.com. Everything else that I’ve been doing is mentioned there, smartpassiveincome.com. But my final tip would be to just again don’t worry about failing. Failing is a part of the process you have to fail in order to grow that’s how we learn. That’s how we scale that’s how we grow that’s how you understand what not to do. So fail fast I mean just get to that point where you are continually pushing things out there you’re continually shipping, sometimes what you ship out there isn’t going to work out so well but you’ll never know unless you try and put it out there. And so learn from those mistakes and keep growing, because I think it was I’m going to butcher this quote but I think it was Einstein who said like the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result. Things are not going to change unless you change something so put yourself out there don’t be afraid to fail and keep experimenting.
Dan: Pat thank you so much for inspiring us today with your amazing story and your generosity in sharing your thoughts and ideas. I appreciate it, we all appreciate it I mean we love you man thank you very much.
Pat: Thanks Dan, appreciate you guys thank you.