If I Had to Start Over…This is What I’d Do Differently

If I Had to Start Over...This is a follow up to my last post, the history of my first online business

I’m often asked: if I had to start over again, knowing what I know now, what would I do differently?

And more importantly, why?

There’s a lot, so let’s get right into it…

I Should Have Been Proactive – Not Reactive

When I created a blog to help me keep track of my notes and pass the LEED exam, that was being proactive.

Starting my first online business only after getting laid off, when it was an opportunity I had all along – reactive.

It was my lay off that forced me to look at my other options and give internet business a shot, and it’s pretty sad to realize that without the layoff to push me forward, I guarantee I would have never ventured into the online space.

I wasn’t looking for opportunities, and was very close to missing this one.

I’m not saying that you should quit your job to start your own business – I never encourage anyone to straight up quit their jobs without a plan.

What I am saying is that we all have the option to either be on offense, or on defense.

  • Those who are on offense are in control. It’s internal motive that create a customized output.
  • Those who are on defense take action based on external factors. They react. And as such, a lot of that control is given up.

I should have seen the opportunity I created and run my LEED exam business on the side while I still had my 9 to 5 job, but because I wasn’t being proactive I let the site sit stagnant for months until I was finally laid off.

And when you consider that in the early days after I began monetizing the site it was generating $20,000 to $30,000 per month…it’s pretty crazy.

Are you on offense, or are you on defense?

I Should Have Been More Confident in Myself

There are a lot of instances during my online journey, especially in the beginning, when I did not take action because I wasn’t confident in myself and my abilities.

For example, when I was told by a successful colleague to write an eBook for my site, I thought of every excuse not do it:

  • “I don’t know how to make an eBook.”
  • “I don’t think it’s going to sell very well.”
  • “People will be upset because most of the material can be found for free on the blog already.”
  • “I’m not a good writer.”
  • “There are probably other books that are way better out there already.”

This lack of self confidence delayed any sort of action on my eBook, and it was only after several other people begged me to write it,  including a couple of my own readers who heard I had thought about it and said they were already waiting to pay for it when it was finished, did I finally take action and do it.

As a result:

  • I finished it in about two months.
  • It sold VERY well.
  • Over $250,000 in sales later, not one person has ever complained about the same content being on the website.
  • I learned how to write well.
  • Maybe there are other books that were better than mine, but that didn’t matter.

If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that “my inner world creates my outer world”, which is actually a quote from Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker (affiliate link), a great mindset type book that I recommend.

In other words, if you don’t think something is possible, then you’re probably right – it will never happen.

Nowadays, I try to instill confidence in everything I do – from blog posts that I write to public speaking, and I recommend you try to do the same.

I Should Have Priced My eBook Higher

When I launched my first eBook, I sold it for $19.99.

After the first month, it generated $7,126.91, which I was extremely happy with!

Halfway through the second month (November of 2008), I receive an email from a customer who purchased my eBook. He also happened to be a business owner and he gave me some amazing advice along with his email.

Paraphrasing, he said:

“Pat, your book is excellent, but you’re selling yourself wayyy too short. Your guide is definitely NOT a $20 book. Please raise the price, I promise you it’ll be better for everyone.”

To be honest, I really had no clue what I was doing. I was happy with $19.99 because it was way below the price of any other guide on the market, and my thinking was that the lower the cost, the better, because a low price is attractive.

What I eventually learned is that yes – a low price is attractive, but only to certain point.

It depends on the product, but if the price gets too low, it cheapens the value of the product in the eyes of the customer to a point where they won’t buy it anymore.

After that (amazing) email, I raised the price for the rest of November to $24.99 (probably should have done more). Then in December, to $29.99.

Here are the results:

  • October of 2008: $7,126.91
  • November of 2008: $8,598.51
  • December of 2008: $10,900.70

Beyond the increase in earnings, I actually saw an increase in the number of units sold each month as well – which is amazing. A higher price seemed to yield a higher conversion rate!

That said, the price can only go up to a certain point before it’s viewed as “too expensive” – and after testing $34.95, $39.99 and $49.99 – the $29.99 price point turned out to be the sweet spot.

I’m glad I got that email – because even the smallest price change over a long period of time definitely add up.

It’s been 3 years since.

That $10.00 difference between $19.99 and $29.99, even at a rate of only 1 sale per day for the last three years, adds up to $10,950.00.

I Should Have Chosen a Better Domain Name (And Understood Trademark Infringement)

One of my  most interesting and stressful business experiences happened when I received a cease and desist notice asking me to immediately shut down my LEED exam site, or else legal action would be taken. They gave me a week to shut things down.

The reason for the letter was because I was using a trademark “LEED” in my domain name – which is a no-no. My domain was previously at intheleed.com before I switched to GreenExamAcademy.com.

Even though some companies don’t care about people using their trademark in domain names, many companies do – but either way if you do use a trademark in a domain name you take the risk of a company, at any time, nailing you for it.

I ended up hiring a lawyer the same day to fill me in on the details, and let me tell you – those fees adds up quickly!

I was basically told that I did have a slim chance of keeping the domain name if I wanted to fight for it – but it wasn’t worth the stress, price and hassle, so I was (er, my lawyer was) able to negotiate that I simply change the domain name – since the mark was the real issue.

I bought GreenExamAcademy.com and did a 301 permanent redirect to keep all of my link juice flowing and rankings up in Google, and anyone who went to an old link would be automatically redirected to the new page.

All seemed well, until I was contacted AGAIN with another letter saying that even the redirect was technically still a use of the trademark, so I had to get rid of the 301 redirect and close the domain.

Luckily, enough time went by that Google picked up on the new site so I maintained MOST of my rankings and traffic.

Definitely a learning experience…

Don’t use a trademark in a domain name unless you have the rights or license to do so.

I Should Have Started My Email List Right From the Start

One of the biggest mistakes I ever made (and I made it twice!) was not starting an email list right away.

With my LEED exam site, I waited an entire year after monetizing and selling my eBook before I started to get serious about collecting email addresses.

E-junkie (affiliate link), the shopping cart that I use, has basic email capabilities, but only those who opt-in during the billing process can receive emails, and even then there are not that many features that come with it.

Just think, a year’s worth of customers and I had no great way to contact any of them.

I had no way to tell them about the new audio guide that just came out, or that there was a coupon code that they could use or give to their friends during the holidays.

Big mistake. 

And you would think that I would have learned, but I didn’t even start building the email list for The Smart Passive Income Blog until January of 2010, nearly a year and a half later after this site was born.

Better late than never, but better now than tomorrow.

Here’s my beginner’s guide to starting a newsletter so you can start building your list right away if you haven’t already.

I Should Have Done More Video

Video has been amazing for the growth of the Smart Passive Income brand. At nearly 1.5 million video views and 8,200 subscribers (I’ve already reached my 2012 goal! Time to re-goal!), it’s definitely put my brand in front of more eyes, and I know it has helped with SEO and keyword rankings for posts on my blog as well.

With GreenExamAcademy.com, the only video I created is a screencast of some of the features within my eBook – and that’s it.

I definitely missed out on a lot of opportunity there, so if I could go back into time, in addition to studying by writing down my notes on the blog, I would create videos for it too.

I bet by recording myself  talk about the material, I would have learned and mastered the material even faster, and at the same time become an even bigger authority in the space.

I Should Have Built a Thriving, Long-Term Community

The biggest regret I have with my first online business is that I did not build a real, thriving community.

I had a small community of people, at times, in the comment section of the blog, but those people would always change as each person finished up studying for their exam.

There were a number of (dumb) reasons I didn’t create a community on my site:

  1. I thought that an off-site forum, one which I was a part of and always referred to on my blog, was a good enough community solution for my audience. Now that I look back, I think everyone would have benefited much more by being part of a community on the same site they were studying from. Not very proactive of me.
  2. I was so convinced that once people passed their LEED exam, they would be done with my site for good. Instead, I should have taken the opposite approach and thought that my site is not just for passing the exam, but for building relationships that can be useful even after people pass the exam. Not very confident of me.

An on-site community or forum would have been an amazing resource for testimonials, case studies, immediate feedback, a place to recruit affiliates, and a source for post-LEED exam related products I could have sold related to the field. When the traffic was up to 8k to 10k visitors a day that would have been amazing. Now, the traffic has died down, the industry is changing and it’s sort of in a transition period right now.

With Smart Passive Income, many of you know I have an active Facebook community of 21,000 people, which is awesome, but I am planning on something on-site sometime in the future ;)

To Finish Up

A few key takeaways here are:

  1. It’s obvious I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way – but those will never stop me. Mistakes are good, failures will come, and as long as you learn from them and keep moving forward, you’ll eventually get to where you want to be.
  2. I’m going to reiterate the importance of confidence in your business. Even though it’s just one section of this post, it actually pertains to many of the others – like pricing, being proactive, doing more video and building a community. Being confident will take you a long way, and if for some reason you’re around a lot of people who just seem to drain your confidence, don’t hang around them anymore – or find more ways to connect with people who will lift you up instead.
  3. There are always things that you “should have done instead” – that’s just the way life is. Don’t dwell on it though, because you can’t change the past. You can only change your future, and the future of others – which is why I shared all of this with you today.

Thanks, and please enjoy the rest of your week!

Cheers!

  • http://www.chasingpace.com/ Wesley Banks

    With your first two points I feel like you just read my mind!

    My wife just finished her first eBook and I completely agree that lack of confidence can be a killer. Her book is amazing, but she can’t help but feel like it stinks.

    I read this recently and think it fits in line with what you touched on: “Don’t doubt your future success.”

    Great post Pat!

  • http://www.johnnyfit.com JohnnyFit

    I find that one of my biggest challenges is completing the eBook that I’ve been working on for several months.

    A lot of the things that I do (which you’ve been a big influence on), such as sticking to an editorial schedule, creating videos, keyword research, and working on my next niche site take a lot of time.

    I know that I’m getting closer every week with all of these projects, but I’m sure my focus could benefit by prioritizing some things without sacrificing work on others.

    Anyway, thanks for paving the road map for many of us!

  • http://www.victoralexon.com Victoralexon

    Hey Pat,

    I am thinking about creating an ebook. Thanks to posts like these I think I am finally ready to start writing it. How hard can it be?

    How would you market an ebook (if you were an Internet nobody) if you had to do it again?

    Kind regards,

    Victoralexon

  • http://eselfemploymentideas.net/ Bob

    Great post, as usual Pat! Greatly appreciate your admitting that you could have done things differently and possibly better.

    For many of us aspiring E-preneurs, we have had some failed attempts, but look to you for inspiration. This kind of stuff definitely helps remind us that anyone can do it. We just need to “Be the one who starts things”. -Seth Godin

    Thanks Pat!

  • http://www.easyoptionstradingstrategies.com Dale @ options trading strategies

    “Being confident will take you a long way, and if for some reason you’re around a lot of people who just seem to drain your confidence, don’t hang around them anymore ”

    Could not agree with you more on that Pat. That lends to the other saying.

    “show me your friends, and I will tell you who you are”

    It is very important to be around people that build you up and support your dreams and goals. People that encourage you to dream and reach bigger heights than you ever imagined.

    Bad friends can derail you in a minute.

    Dale

  • http://www.websitemarketingtricks.com Marius

    It was a good read. i even didn’t feel how fast i read it.

    We are learning all the time from our mistakes. And even now it could be that you are missing some great marketing opportunity and will find it only in nearly future. But as you said it is always better later than never.

    By the way, if it is not a secret, how many subscribers you’ve already generated in your list, Pat?

  • http://www.calawreport.com John Corcoran

    There’s some great stuff in here, Pat. As someone who has been following your activities for a couple of years now, it’s fun to see you go back and do a retrospective on what you’ve learned.

    Of course, I’m interested in the trademark issues you had to deal with (being a lawyer and all…) but I actually think your experience is not uncommon. I bet others have had similar experiences of using a trademarked term in a domain. Take for example Lorelle on WordPress, one of the most popular wordpress blogs around. Her domain is http://www.lorelle.wordpress.com, because she has a site hosted by wordpress.com. However, if she had a self-hosted site at http://www.lorellewordpress.com (effectively just removing the “period”) she’d be infringing on wordpress’s trademark, and she’d likely be on the receiving end of a cease and desist letter like you were. It’s crazy that such a small change would make such a big legal difference, which is why I think it’s no wonder that people would mistakenly use a trademarked term in their domain.

  • http://newclientseachmonth.com Scott

    Hey Pat,

    Thanks for sharing this story as well as all of the other helpful information over the past years! You have been an inspiration to many of us in the IM world (and continue to be). I have to agree, if there is one thing that has made a HUGE difference in my business it has been taking ACTION – PROACTIVE. Thanks for the great reminder!

    All the Best,
    Scott

  • http://housewifeempire.com Nell @ Housewife Empire

    If you last post inspired me, this one definitely motivated me. Over the last few weeks, I’ve become a regular reader of your stuff. Your story makes me think it’s possible to finish my info products and veer from writing to IM for real. Keep the content coming! You’re really helping people.

  • http://www.slymarketing.com Jens P. Berget

    Hi Pat,

    First, I just want to say that this is one of the most interesting posts I’ve read in a long time. We always learn from our mistakes, and learning from yours, is one of the best benefits we can have in internet marketing. I read Steve Scott’s post about the same topic not long ago, and I loved it.

    I have some of the same experiences as you, but not at the same level :)

    I believe that your last point, and the one that you also state is one of your biggest regrets, about not focusing on building a long term community is a very important one (and the most important one). I feel the same. I didn’t start focusing on people until many years after I started blogging and doing business online. I was just looking at the numbers, and from numbers we look at people as being equal. But, the thing is, in business, people are not equal. Some will buy from you, and many will not. We can’t treat them the same.

    Thanks a lot for sharing your regrets.

  • http://www.CopySean.com Sean King

    Hey Pat, always such a good read. I experienced the same thing with the pricing models on my past sites. By going from $9.99 to $17, I managed to increase sales and pocket more cash! Really strange how the psychology of all that works into it.

    Anyways, I know you hear this all the time, but you’ve really help me with my success for the past 6 months. You taught me the importance of community which has really skyrocketed my online business. Thanks man!

  • http://truepassiveliving.com Austin

    Hey Pat, awesome post! It’s a goldmine, and I see tons of things I can apply to my site. Thank you for letting us implement based off your past experiences.

  • http://www.monthlyincomereport.com Adam

    Pat, great post again.

    Quick question on the email list point — is it possible to integrate an e-junkie checkout with your Aweber account? Basically, I’m wondering whether there’s a way to automatically segment out buyers (from e-junkie) and folks who simply take a free report or drop in an email address when they comment or something, or if it takes a little manual maneuvering?

    Thanks!

    • http://lisastoops.com Lisa

      Hey Adam, yes you can do that in ejunkie. I have mine set up to add buyers to my customer list in aweber. You can find the info on this page down toward the bottom -http://www.e-junkie.com/ej/help.integration.htm

      HTH!

  • http://www.lostcyclist.me Quinton Hamp

    Lack of confidence? Yeah, man. I live in that world right now.

    I just figure that if Pat can do it, I can too. One foot in front of the other right now.

    Your quote about being on the offensive was perfect “Those who are on offense are in control. It’s internal motive that create a customized output.”

    Good stuff. Now to go implement it.

  • http://talesofwork.com Kimanzi Constable

    I could say the same thing with all these points with my businesses, but you live and learn! I’m grateful for second chances!

  • http://www.wpsquare.com/ Bharat Mandava

    In my view confidence is the key for success, keep on trying till you get what you want.

  • http://www.experimentincome.com/ Ramy Khuffash

    I’m actually starting an email list for two of my sites today. So yes hopefully today is better than tomorrow!

    I few good lessons there Pat :-)

  • http://www.ifinishedmybasement.com/getting-started/cost-of-a-basement/ Jason

    Pat – Perfect follow-up post. Having an offensive mindset is something that’s super powerful. Everything changes and people around you can feel it and react in a positive way towards you. It’s something that can be difficult to change but you can change it in an instant.

    I used to think that the busier I got the more productive I was and the more opportunity came my way. The truth is, when I was “super busy” I was actually just be very proactive and not reactive, due to time constraints, I had to be. Now just take that same feeling and strip out the extra projects and only focus on one or two core projects. Jackpot!

    Jason

  • http://www.marcussortijas.com Marcus

    Your post came at the perfect time for me. Over the weekend, I was editing a video for my new site. Everything seemed to take 10 times longer vs. writing a blog post. Seriously made me consider “retreating” back into just writing. But now I’m encouraged to keep going with video.

    The supreme importance of building an e-mail list has been reiterated by you and every other online entrepreneur I follow. I know Mailchimp is free for beginners, but I want the powerful features that Aweber has to segment and send to specific portions of your list. Spending the monthly fee on Aweber up front without knowing if you’ll have an immediate return on investment is scary! I want to at least have some lead magnets created before I start building a list.

    To add to your list, I really wished I’d joined (or created) a mastermind group sooner. My progress has skyrocketed once I had be accountable to a group. Every meeting I need to report that I’ve got things done. Mastermind groups can be virtual, but it’s more effective if you can meet in person.

    On a related note, get a mentor or accountability partner if you can. I became friends with a blogger who has similar goals to mine, e.g. freedom, mobility, etc. He’s further ahead of me with blogging, outsourcing, and using various web services. So he’s given me a ton of advice on which things are worth buying and what would only waste my money. He’s also assisted me with logo design and web security after one of my sites got badly hacked (quick tip for fellow readers: install WordPress Firewall 2 and Limit Login Attempts).

    Going further, try to identify and build relationships with up-and-coming bloggers in your niche. The A-listers get so many requests they might be harder to reach (still worth trying). Make a list of rising bloggers in your field and start writing helpful comments on their sites. Then follow up with e-mails to cement the friendship. You may be able to help each other out in the future. Corbett Barr said something like, “Today’s up-and-comers are tomorrow’s A-listers.” If I remember right, Corbett connected with Chris Guillebeau (Art of Nonconformity) and Leo Babauta (Zen Habits) way before they hit it big.

    My overall message is create a circle of supportive, like-minded people. Maybe on a subconscious level, putting up a blog is sending out a message like, “Is there anyone else like me out there?” The sooner you create a community the happier (and richer!) you’ll be.

  • http://www.startwordpressblog.com Subodh

    Hi Pat, a great learning…now I am thinking “did I make a mistake in choosing the domain name of my blog?” think I should get it clarified before it’s a mess!

  • Beth

    Pat,

    Great post, thanks for sharing so much of your journey and paving the way for folks like me who are just getting started.

    Best,

    Beth

  • http://lisastoops.com Lisa Stoops

    You are still very inspirational even if hind sight is 20/20 LOL! Key take away for me is building community. I really think that is going to be my focus going forward!

  • Sean Chang

    Hi Pat,

    Great learning points!

    With regards to your first point, do you think being reactive may actually have played a part in contributing to your success as well?

    It seems many ultra successful people (e.g. Tony Robins) achieved their first major breakthroughs at some of their lowest points in life.

    Would you say the knowledge of, ‘I have to make this online thing work or I won’t have any income’ helped in cementing your determination to actually make it work?

    • Stephen

      Sean, I can’t comment for Pat of course, but I can say that I sometimes secretly wish I was in a position where I HAD to make my online business work. Oddly enough, my biggest obstacle right now is that I have a fairly secure career that I’m actually very happy with. While that’s not a bad “problem” to have, it is definitely slowing down my progress. Even Pat acknowledges that had it not been for him being laid off, he’s not certain he would have ever traveled down this path. In that regard, I think being “reactive” can be useful.

      That said, what I think Pat is saying is that, ideally, we should all get our businesses up and running BEFORE we are “forced” to do it. Pat left a lot of money on the table by waiting until he was laid off to start his business, and his lesson for us is that every month that we sit around without our businesses up and running, we’re losing money. To make money, you should be proactive before you NEED to be reactive.

      • Sean Chang

        Hi Stephen. Thanks for your thoughts. I have similar sentiments. Totally agree with this, “To make money, you should be proactive before you NEED to be reactive.”

        Similarly, I’ve heard that the best time to find a job is when you still have one. Few people actually do that though and it’s really interesting how the psychology of this works.

        Back when I was still studying, I remember one of my entrepreneurship lecturers sharing this analogy:

        “In a realistic world, a treatment that cures cancer will almost always outsell pill that prevents it – even if the treatment costs 10 times more.”

        i.e. Humans are generally more driven by pain than gain.

        Interesting thoughts :)

  • http://oszczedzanie-na-emeryture.weebly.com/ Michal

    You last two posts took your blog to a whole new level IMHO where you start to put things in a perspective. I also love everybody’s feedback – so much to learn. But enough of that – I need to concentrate on getting things done in my web empire.

  • http://szkoleniasprzedazowe.org/ tetsuo

    For me – I was to afraid of building lots of links. After my first website get into ‘sandbox’ I was very cautios with next websites – to cautios. Today I believe in many cases we can build lots of backlinks fast without a penalty.

  • http://www.crochetingforbeginners.org bryan

    Pat, Awesome post. but i dont think i understand where you would start if you knew what you know now, What methods would you use, ebooks?, Adsense?, amazon?, start a website like the SPI Blog? I understand in this post how you would proactively look at situations, and do more stuff now, not wait, and take action, but i dont feel i know what action you would take… maybe you should make this a series, how you would start from scratch in each different type of online buisness

  • http://www.techatlast.com/ Olawale Daniel

    Great resource and advice post from Pat once again.

    I’ve made some silly mistakes on my blog as well, and even making some more due to the fact that I failed to build a community of readers, capture emails when I was getting thousands of traffic on daily basis but, those experiences have taught me a lesson. And I’m glad you shared this article with us which is going to serve as a guide for putting me on the right track at all times. Thanks Pat for your effort. I really appreciate that.

    Olawale

  • http://www.newbloggerexperiment.com Rich

    Hi Pat,

    Thanks for the insight to your 20/20 hindsight, good info as usual. I would not have had a clue where to start on creating my blog if it was not for the good advice you and a couple of others have provided on your blogs. Now one of my struggles is making progress on my blogs. I get a little paralysis trying to learn as much as I can about building a successful blog and trying decide where to best spend my time. I’ve been reading and then trying to get the fouondation of the blog improved but not finding the time to actually get good content added.

  • Mike From Maine

    Pat,
    Thanks for the great advice. It’s interesting that you too give the advice about starting a list sooner. It’s the only thing that is google proof.

  • http://www.rankforprofit.com Vin

    Pat,

    I definitely agree with your statements on confidence. I spent so much time believing that I didn’t know enough to act that I probably missed out on a ton of money. The best advice anyone could have provided to me was to get started right away and be confident that any effort was worthwhile.

  • Eugene Matthews

    Hi Pat, thanks for the post – quite timely. I already have a book of poetry in print and selling okay, and recently published my first ebook and marketed it through Amazon Kindle. It too is generating some revenue, but after reading your post two things occurred to me; one I need to write a follow-on ebook and market it through Nook, and two I need to price it higher than .99 cents or free!
    Though my book isn’t all that long, it really focuses on leadership principles that, when applied, lead to success!
    Thanks for the encouragement – and away I go!

  • http://www.WebsiteBegin.com Joe Boyl

    I think it’s pretty cool to ponder what would happen if you started over. I actually did. My first blog launched in 2010, and I shut it down nearly a year later. I recently pulled together a bunch of strings and re-launched it – it was a lot easier. I think the overall experience you gain from the first attempts are the most valuable learning experience available. Nobody can really explain to you what will work for you – only you can do that. I think going back and starting back from scratch puts things into perspective.

  • http://www.ontargetcoach.com Brent Pittman

    Working to start on email list/newsletter for next month and hope to start drafting e-book in time for Christmas.

  • http://www.magicactionbox.com/blog Dean soto

    Great post, Pat!

    I mentioned this in your last post, but I know you say you should have had confidence to write an ebook and be proactive, but do you think that your LEED site would have been as powerful as it was and would have made as much money as it would have if you had planned to monetize it all along? It seems to me that the reason it was successful in the first place was because the content was created for you to succeed in the LEED exam, which then helped others to find your site and buy your ebook.

    Essentially, do you think having a monetizing mindset in the beginning of a blog hurts or helps, or both?

    Thanks for the inspiration :)

  • http://Www.afterhoursincome.com Adam Young

    Great post Pat! I have run into many of the exact same “lessons learned” over the past year or so.

    This should definitely be a must read post for any SPI newcomers…Save yourself some time and money and learn from experience here!

  • http://www.andrewsviewoftheweek.com Andrew Reynolds

    Confidence is a key point. Most people are far better than they give themselves credit for.

    It’s also true that everyone needs to do this looking back exercise once in awhile. It gives you a chance to improve and change course but at the same time don’t beat yourself up too much over past mistakes. The past is past and the only reason to look back is to learn so you can do better in the future.

  • http://www.sybersquad.com Christopher Knopick

    Hi Pat,
    I find it amazing that whenever I read an article like this one, many of the same points are discussed, “should have created an email list…should have priced my ebook higher…should have been quicker about just doing something…” and the list goes on. I guess you have pointed out that there really is a proven way to be successful in this business, so we all better get going.

    Also I really enjoyed your previous article. Not many people would go through so much detail on the earlier, non-glamorous part of their business startup, but a lot of people need to hear it. It doesn’t happen overnight, even when it seems like it does.

    Thanks for sharing,

  • http://ZeroLimitsPro.com?site=LiveWebinar Nicki Goff

    Great post, with very good points – I’ll be coming back to it.
    I’ve just put my first ebook on kindle, and your comments about pricing hit home – with another as a follow-up, I’ll be revising my price upwards.
    Thank you for sharing all this – you’ve definitely outlined what makes a successful business.
    I already have your ebook, and am working my way through it – point by point.

    • http://www.bigheadbiz.com/ Tim

      Hi Nicki,
      Do you mind sharing what you priced your first book at and what you plan on pricing your second book at? I’m in a similar situation, just looking to see what others are doing. Thanks.

      -Tim

  • http://www.totalmommyfitnessonline.com/ Tatum

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  • http://www.budgetwisefinancial.com Samirian

    Thank you for honest. I like to say that there is not a perfect straight-line up. There are learning curves (and dips!).

  • http://www.thehomeforsurvival.com Survivor Mike

    Pat – this is just what I was looking for. I’ve been getting a decent following at my site and am considering investing some $$$ into it to get to that next level.

    As always, thanks for the great content.

    Trying to do the same.

  • Donna

    Pat,
    You saved me!!! I was just about to buy a domain name with a branded word (like LEED) for my new niche site. Luckily I read your post first and now it’s back to the drawing board….
    Keep up the great posts, Pat!

  • http://www.smartrentalincome.com MIKE PURCELL

    Great post Pat. I really love when people post things that maybe did not go so well or things that they would have done differently. It almost inspires me more to hear these things because it reminds me that everyone, even the internet stars, have problems and they are human just like me. I really love your stuff Pat keep up the good work!

  • http://www.realshamballabracelets.co.uk/ Shamballa

    It’s very important and useful tips. I forget about several things you mentioned here. Thanks!

  • http://www.dormroomcash.com Adam

    Every business owner makes mistakes when they first start out, it is how they overcome those mistakes that makes them who they are. This is why you have such a great blog and following.

  • http://www.drdicty.com/eng/ DrDicty

    It sounds so easy when you describe it that way :-) Thanks for shareing

  • http://www.adulthockeyteams.com Adrian

    Once again, great post Pat! I’m hoping to get an ebook done on one of my sites…if the traffic ever gets up there :P
    I’ll be taking all your advice in when it actually comes round to making the baby.

  • Kylie

    Thanks Pat – I’m learning a lot from your blog. I’ve started the email links and it’s only daily or weekly updates thus far and slowly growing. For my second blog I’ll be using video to help explain the how to’s of the products.

    Kep up the good work.

  • http://got-toons.com/ Got toons

    Thanks for the story!

  • http://www.androidpaycheck.com/ Vickram

    Pat,
    Great recollection and what-ifs. But, you might not have realized what you did not do was so important.

    Mistakes are like feedback to a system. You will correct them on the way. A wonderful share so that no-one will do these mistakes, instead try newer ones ;).

    I am working on my site (supposedly) for the past two months on Android programming. I have used ‘android’ in my domain name. Would you advise me to change or hang on to it ?

    Planning right away to collect e-mails and starting up a community even though my site is at its infancy. :)

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. It really helps in my journey. Kudos to you.
    -Vickram.

  • Stephen

    Another great value-packed post, Pat.

    Unfortunately, I’m on the defense instead of offense with my business. My “problem” is that I have a very good paying job with a well-known company, that I honestly like quite a bit. (I know, I know…I may be a rare person in that regard.) Because I like my job and the people I work with, I tend to put in 50 to 60 hour weeks. And when I get home, well…I’m glad to just have a couple hours of downtime before going to bed.

    But a wise person once told me, “When people say they have time problems, what they almost always mean is that they have priority problems.” For the things in life that are REALLY important to us, we all somehow manage to find the time! I just need to manage my time so that no matter what, at least 1 hour per day is dedicated to my business.

    And it’s especially important that I find the time, because I feel as though all the other elements are there: I’ve researched my niche thoroughly and know there’s a huge demand for the info I have, my eBook is 2/3 done (and it’s actually pretty good, if I may say so myself), and I feel confident that I know what to do in terms of building the business. I just need to get my rear in gear and get on with it!

    For me, actually writing down precisely when I will work on my business (e.g., 6:00pm-8:00pm) seems to help a lot.

  • http://jeremy-ruggles.com Jeremy Ruggles @ affiliate marketing

    Hey Pat,

    I am still in the beginning stages of building my business and I have already made and learned from mistakes… so I can relate a little…. I can also take away some good things from what you have learned so far in your journey.

    I actively try to connect with new people and to create an active community as you said you wish you had. I just started this in the beginning of 2012 and am really liking the results. I have met a lot of neat people who are willing to help each other succeed.

    Thanks for sharing Pat!

    Take care,

    ~Jeremy

  • http://greencoffeeextracts.com Alan Green

    This is awesome, I have been a subscriber for sometime now and always enjoy your posts!

    Its not always the worse thing in the world to start over, learn and keep evolving as things change!

  • http://ihaveataxia.com/ Jon Anderson

    Pat you nailed it!
    I’ve grown to understand how much more effective I am when I’m dealing from a position of strength not weakness.

    best
    jon

  • Chris

    Another great post Pat! You touched on a lot of points that resonate with me. Sometimes we “think” ourselves into inaction. If we can recognize when we are doing it then we can mitigate the threat.

    Like you said, stay focused and be persistant. Not to mention, dont be afraid to fail.

  • http://www.nickloper.com Nick Loper

    I can totally relate to the scariness of a cease and desist letter from the attorneys of some big company.

    When I was first starting out, I had this site called NewBalance992.com, which was an exact-match domain for a really popular running shoe at the time. Everything was going great and the site was grossing about $100 a day in affiliate sales.

    I was dumb and happy, until the day the letter came. It made perfect sense but I’d never thought before that maybe New Balance wouldn’t be happy about someone using their name in a domain. I mean I was helping to sell their shoes, right?

    It was painful to have to shut down a profitable project like that but it ended up being a really good lesson and I learned a lot from the mistake.

    Cheers,

    Nick

  • http://www.alansinternetmarketing.com/blog Alan’s Internet Marketing

    Not the kinda post I thought it was going to be… thought it was going to be ‘a method’ rather than a philosophy. Which is actually more useful!

    Thanks for sharing and I’m still amazed at what a $29.95 eBook can lead to. Quite an interesting sales-page. Have you ever tried testing it against a single page with no distractions (ie. not like a blog page)?

    • Pat

      Actually yes – I have Alan. I tested it against a page that looked very similar to an amazon page, and a page that was a traditional single page landing page. The one you see up there now is what tested the best, to my and everyone else’s surprise.

      It’s actually structured directly from the book Moonlighting on the Internet’s sample sales copy page in the book.

  • http://www.jobsinayurveda.com Bill

    Pat,

    Looks like I really need to get off my butt and get the raw video I filmed into something I can put up on YouTube. I spent last Friday embedding videos into my wife’s website and she’s already getting traffic. Thanks to your post, I have a reminder from THE pro to get my visuals online.

    Thanks

  • http://www.colemanairbed.org/ John

    Domain Name is so important, wish I learned more about it early on. Thanks for the tips!!

  • http://keithbloemendaal.me/blog Keith

    Never knew about your trademark issues! I had the same issues with an online store I created, we’ll call my product “widgets” I bought buy-widgets.com as a domain, built the site, added all my products, and away I went, my story wasn’t near as profitable, but I made over $30k in the first 6mos.

    Before my forst year was up, I got the same letter. Someone had trademarked buywidgets.com and I had buy-widgets.com. Now, my domain was a general product, you could replace “widgets” with “shoes”, or “windows”, it would have been the same thing. How you can get a trademark for something like buywindows.com baffles me (windows was not the product BTW), but after consulting an attorney, I was told I didn’t have a chance since they had the trademark. He did advise me to just remove the products I had and I wouldn’t have to actually give them the domain. I did that and now my site is an adsense site (happens to be fairly profitable in that industry) but I still had to start all over with a new site…..

    More great testimonials as always Pat.

  • http://www.howtogetonrealitytv.net Dan @ How To Get On Reality TV

    Pat – as I read this, every time you mentioned “I should have” I had to laugh because it seemed that everything worked out well for you. ;)

    Your success has come through your willingness to make a mistake and move on from it – great post on making the superhuman seem human.

    I think it is about time you release so more info on your first SPI product!

  • http://dayjobknockout.com/ Chris Deals

    Lack of confidence is one of the being things that hold you back when starting any venture especially in online marketing.

    I know I suffered from “will anyone really buy from me”

    Thanks Pat for another inspirational post.

  • http://www.careerskillshq.com Brian W.

    Pat,

    I was one of the people that asked you this “what would you do?” question. You answered this perfectly and you basically read my mind on how I was hoping you would answer it.

    About videos, do you think you should start adding videos to a new blog from day 1 while you are trying to build a following? Like before you know if a new blog is going to be a good niche or not? My current blog is all articles at the moment but I have been thinking about adding some videos, just need to find something to record.

    Thanks

  • http://www.anesthesiamyths.com Dr Dave @ Anesthesia Myths

    Pat,

    It’s a gift to be able to go back and so vividly remember “what you knew” (and didn’t know) when you started.

    Thanks for such a valuable post as we near our one month mark. Somewhat similar to your LEED site, we are also in a niche where people’s interest is more intense when they are about to have surgery.

    Your insights are much appreciated.

  • http://www.simplyinvesting.com/blog/ Kanwal Sarai @ Simply Investing

    Hi Pat,

    I really enjoyed reading your story. I wish you had written this a year ago, I’ve made some mistakes but I guess that’s part of the journey.

    Thank you for sharing your lessons learned!

    cheers,
    Kanwal

  • http://www.mylearningprocess.com Miki Vicioso

    Thanks for sharing the info Pat. Loved your offense/defense approach. We’ve all made mistakes in the past, the best thing is to always learn and keep moving forward.

  • Jason P

    Hi Pat, you once said, “stand out from the crowd”. I can only tell you that my impressions of you are just that, you offer an approach that isn’t riddled with that scammy feeling of the late night infomercial guru’s that are just out there to make a quick buck. While likely I’m on the defense, I’d be happy to be on either side of the playing field at this point. I stumbled upon your podcast by accident and I have the feeling that it’s gonna be life changing. Your enthusiasm is catchy. Keep up the great work.

    Jason

  • http://helpstartmysmallbusiness.com Neil

    Pat,
    Everyone has things they would change about their past. Especially in business! The what-ifs can really add up. I can point to several huge mistakes I made when my brother & I started our remodeling company twelve years ago.

    But you can’t dwell on that. You can’t change yesterday. You can only start from where you are today.

    At the same time though, you can pass on the lessons you learned and help others get a head start. Thanks for sharing, Pat!

    It’s that same philosophy that led us to recently start a blog/podcast helping people create their own local service businesses. When starting our small business we didn’t have a clue! Twelve years later we are having fun helping people live their small business dream and using SPI for inspiration! Keep it up, Pat.

  • http://desertislandblogger.weebly.com DIBer

    Hi Pat, long time reader, but never been motivated enough to take this business anywhere. Would be great to hear how you get your motivation day-in/day-out and how you put off procrastinating etc. Any tips would be appreciated!
    Desert Island Blogger

  • http://www.eventualmillionaire.com/blog/ Jaime @ Eventual Millionaire

    Hey Pat- You might find this funny- I was contacted because I infringed on a trademark when I named my last free webinar.

    Apparently even Leo from Zen Habits had this same guy contact him because he used their name for the title of his post.
    Ah trademarks, fun stuff! :)

  • http://liveonblogs.com Sreekanth

    hi pat
    thanks for the share

    i have been thinking of it but never mind
    lets see for the future

  • http://www.learnnichemarketing.com Dave Tong

    Amazing how similar most of us are!

    Lack of confidence and not being pro-active…. The former is so true whenever we start a content-based site or product… The latter is so true when it comes to finally getting serious on starting a business (on or off-line)

    Great post Pat. :)

    Dave

  • http://www.royalonlineincome.com Omid @ Royal Online Income

    Pat,

    Thanks for the great post. This is the same I always keep saying to my blog visitors. I like your post such that I quoted a paragraph of this as my FB status. Your post is really inspiring.

    Thanks again,
    ~ Omid

  • http://www.yowangdu.com/ Yolanda O’Bannon

    I am so glad to hear that you are considering an online community. I for one am very interested in this. I have signed up for the community for another site and am very disappointed at the total lack of interaction in the forum. I have been thinking: if this were Pat Flynn’s forum, he would be in there all the time, and this place would be hopping! So I hope you launch your online membership site ? soon! Thanks for all you do!!

  • http://www.owenmarcus.com Owen Marcus

    The one mistake you didn’t make was sitting on your ass. You kept taking action and learned.

  • http://goldcoastspringwater.com Damon @ Gold Coast Spring Water

    Pat. Nice work. Have you ever spent any money on your business and not done your research properly? I spent 10K on a direct mail (not email… snail mail) campaign that returned such poor results that for a while my business went backwards rather than forwards… Ouch.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/getmoreinfo Sunny

    I always like reading your posts, Pat because I am thrilled to learn from you. For instance when you share your experiences with making money and your journey it inspires me to not give up but to keep pushing forward to reach my dreams as well. Keep up the good work my friend I will be right there following your lead.

  • http://ApprenticeMarketerGazette.com Fran Civile

    Thank you Pat for a very inspiring post! I have thought of giving up a few times but I keep on keeping on!

    Now you’ve encouraged me to not just keep on trying but to be more pro-active.

    Thanks,

    Fran

  • Sparkle

    Your post is so inspirational. I have cheated myself out of so many things for the lack of confidence in myself. I am trying to do a 360 on this. I have to say that I like your article and found it very useful. However, one of the things that you mentioned as lacking confidence, I see instead you simply didn’t know because you had no full experience with your business. I am talking about the Leed program. Where you thought your customers were no longer going to want to interact with the website after they had bought from you or took the test. I think this is a lack of experience and not due to a lack of confidence. I would naturally assume that people would be done with a website unless they offered other products that could help further their education or interest. I know from experience I don’t patronize anything that I can no longer find value in. But I may be wrong about the lack of experience vs lack of confidence. But it appears that way for that instance.

  • http://www.growbankaccount.com Jeff the Entrepreneur

    Well said! I think you have covered all of my mistakes. :)
    Thanks for sharing this one Pat

  • http://wsotesters.com Josh Escusa

    I know I probably should have started taking action a lot sooner! I spent my first year reading about things and then building websites, but growing at an incredibly slow pace. Now we’re finally starting to pick up because of one simple thing – taking action!

    BTW, I just started listening to your podcasts – Absolutely brilliant. I love the content you put out!

  • http://www.h2affiliatemarketing.com Tony Miller

    Great post Pat! I often look back at things I have done and wished I could have changed what I did with the knowledge I have now.

    Thanks for all the helpful tips you have given us! You have inspired me to start building an audience and do more than just make basic affiliate sites that only get traffic from google search.

    Thanks!
    -Tony

  • http://www.nichesiteadventures.com Johnny Bravo

    Pat, great post as always. The first point really hit home. I’m starting my online business and niche sites because I want to one day be able to live off the income. I’m not at the point where I have to, but I’m trying to be proactive…just in case.

    Thanks for the great insights.

    ~Johnny

  • http://www.firstanniversarygifts.org Any K

    Hello Pat,

    Your story really helps me to act on proactively keeping in mind that all that went with you might happen to me as a newbie. Great story and inspirational one.

    Your conclusion part touches me the most which I believe is very true
    “Don’t dwell on it though, because you can’t change the past. You can only change your future, and the future of others – which is why I shared all of this with you today.”

  • http://kurswordpress.pl Kurs Wordpress

    Nice post as always.

    If you were to start over again would you go for blog or samething more passive?

  • http://www.manvsbusiness.com Paul Thewlis

    Great article Pat, informative as ever. I think your advice about having confidence in yourself and your abilities is crucial. I spent about a year scrapping project after project because I felt I couldn’t deliver a quality enough, ‘worthy’ enough design which of course is a nonsense when even major web companies have their flaws. Now with about 4-5 web properties doing pretty well, I feel robbed that I didn’t start it earlier. Guess I only robbed myself!

  • http://www.tsmethod.com/blog/ Mark

    Heya Pat,
    thanks for the good stuff.

    I think the question foremost in many, MANY bloggers’ minds right now is how to start over…in their trafiic building link building efforts.

    Post “penguin”, that is.

    Move it all into facebook? as a back up? Any real world suggestions?

    Thanks,

    Mark

  • http://howtosellyourmusiconline.co.uk/ Dave G

    Hey Pat!

    Me again – I’d actually been planning to bother you with another awkward question, but this post was basically an answer to it before I asked!

    I would like to ask you one more tricky question though, and if you get the chance to answer it I’d be very grateful :)

    If you were starting over again, and had a small budget…say $200 or so – which of the paid tools you use now would you invest in? This maybe puts you on the spot, I don’t know…but are there one or two that you consider possibly the ones that do the most “heavy lifting” for the investment? The ones you couldn’t live without now….

    Thanks again for being so open, approachable, and actually answering questions from people like me :)

    • http://www.espressoenglish.net Shayna

      I would love to hear the answer to this question! There are so many paid tools available, and we beginner bloggers (on beginner budgets) often have trouble deciding what to invest in. What will really help our site grow, and what can wait to be purchased until more money is actually coming in?

      I’m no pro, but I’ve invested in:
      – A mailchimp subscription so that I can use autoresponders ($15/mo)
      – The optinskin plugin ($47)
      – The Thesis theme ($87)

      Everything else – professional logo design, blogging courses and marketing training, etc. – I’m waiting on until my income increases…

      • http://howtosellyourmusiconline.co.uk/ Dave G

        You know what Shayna, I was just about to invest in some stuff when penguin happened, and it got me thinking – I don’t want to be an internet marketer, just trying to pick up affiliate sales and adsense pennies, I want to help people in my area of interest.

        So I’ve opted for now to concentrate on making my site more useful to my target audience, and on creating valuable products.

        In my experience it can take a year or more for a blog to really find it’s feet and it’s audience – and that time and effort is the price that needs to be paid.

        So I’m not buying any marketing tools just now.
        I’m paying with sweat and imagination and the desire to help people :)

  • http://TimsMinions.com Andi

    Excellent read as always Pat and thank you for all of your advice and tips. It’s not often I print articles to go into my ‘reference blueprint’ folder but you do seem to have several in there and this one will join them :-)

    Cheers
    Andi

  • http://www.howyoucanmakemoneytoday.com Rory

    Well writen Pat,’
    Another great post, and this post is filled with information regarding what pat would do again. I take from this post a lot of useful information, first being, make sure you understand your Online presence and maximize the potential that you have.

  • Chris @ NPI

    Hello Pat,
    I think you should prepare an ebook about blogging or something similiar. Your posts are great and I’m sure, that your ebook will be also great. And this ebook may be more popular than your ebook about LEED exam…
    BR, Chris

  • Derrick

    So it means as long as you register a trademark for any word like ‘eating bananas’ you can sue anyone who uses ‘eating bananas’ in their domain? Just as Timeline.com is suing Facebook for using the word ‘timeline’.This is crazy.

    • http://howtosellyourmusiconline.co.uk/ Dave G

      No it’s unlikely you could do that – here’s the UK guidance on this, not sure about other countries though:

      http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/tm/t-applying/t-before/t-requirements.htm

      • http://www.nopassiveincome.com Chris @ NPI

        I suppose, that each country has their own regulations about it. In some countries it’s more “normal”. I think, that good lawyer may win “LEED case” :)

    • http://www.planetnaveen.com Naveen Kulkarni

      Intyeresting point Derrick,

      But what we need to observe is Pat was using a name which was trademarked by LEED. I think it’s abbriviation name for architectural exam (correct me Pat ). If it was LEAD, then it’s a generic name, no one can sue anyone.

      In the same way, if one uses eating bananas, he can’t be sued since it’s generic word :-)

    • http://spamspert.com Jared Kimball

      Derrick,

      The LEED exam creators probably saw his site surpassing them in the search engines, and that he was selling an eBook, and they got jealous.

      So what do they do…send a cease and desist letter.

      The timeline.com people see an opportunity, Facebook has a lot of money and since they got their hands on the domain first (which has nothing on it btw) they get “sue happy.”

      Put it simply, people are greedy.

      Pat is the exception.

      I agree it’s crazy.

  • http://lifestoogood.net Alan | Life’s Too Good

    Hi Pat,

    part of your brand is that you are just you and very natural, so there is always the possibility that if everything was slick from the start, then you may not have evolved as you have – making mistakes is not always a terrible thing,

    in any case, thanks for sharing your lessons,

    (& don’t regret anything – you’re awesome!)

    Alan

  • http://NewClientsEachMonth.com New Clients Each Month

    Another great post Pat! Looking back I think the mistakes are just another opportunity to learn. Thanks for the great story, lessons, and reminder!

    All the Best

  • http://YogaMeditationHome.com Faye Rousso

    Pat, I love to read your posts! every time I read them I learn something new. You are a great inspiration for many and I am among them!

  • http://www.tires4sale.org uncle bob

    Awesome post Pat, very inspiring, a lot of lessons to be learned, thanks

  • http://www.squidoo.com/hsb250 Brandon Hart

    This is fantastic and you’re exactly right – especially about getting an online community started right away. That’s one mistake I feel that I’m already making and it’s time for a change. I keep thinking that I don’t have the right approach for it, but I guess you have to take a leap at some point in time.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/hsb250 Dave Spencer

    I went in to business myself after seeing my job in finance go from a good solid job to drowning in deep water. Luckily I saw it and made a proactive move to an online business – about a year before I lost my job. That was the best thing that has ever happened to me as well.

  • http://thedanielrichard.com Daniel

    Hey Pat, timely post. I happen to be in a starting over phase here, and starting over can be pretty scary when one’s really starting over.

    You’ve positioned “confidence” in the first point of the post. Its by far the most important one to boot before moving on the active / practical details like pricing and actually getting things done (online, or even if the work is primarily offline / brick-mortar).

    Curious to know why you’ve written 2 posts on starting over in a space of a couple of months.

  • http://www.ivblogger.com Sheyi @ Ivblogger.com

    Confidence, that is the main key bro. Evn though i think i am not good in writing some ebook which will help a group of people, I’ve decided to hire someone to do that for me and i hope to make enough sales too.

    Sheyi

  • http://www.fabuloushairtoday.com Chelle

    Hi Pat,

    I enjoyed today’s post. So informative. Great point about having confidence in your business. I’m just starting off so this is something I want to understand right off the bat. Thank you for sharing!

  • http://www.brockstarlife.com Brock @ BrockStarLife

    You know what’s crazy? The fact that a ton of people will read this and still make the same mistakes… Don’t be one of them!

  • http://www.EntrepreneurActionSteps.com Lorraine

    You talk absolute sense and are very open and honest, thank you for sharing with us all so that we may learn from you.

  • http://www.myexercisecoach.net Melissa Rodriguez

    Thanks for the post, Pat! It seems like one thing most people stress is the importance of starting an e-mail list right from the beginning…but one thing I’m glad you pointed out is the importance of confidence.

    Believing in your business and what you have to offer is so important! I think it can be easy to see a number of blogs or online business similar to your own that it makes you question your own content or even the worthiness of selling an ebook if your blog has similar material, as you pointed out. Having confidence is a great tip to keep in mind when starting out.

  • http://www.handymarketer.com Christelle

    Nice post Pat, thanks! I love how you are always so open on your blog and share everything, it’s priceless.
    It’s interesting to see how you emphasize on self-confidence. I guess on a same note you could add that having clear goals from the beginning is also a key to success. I read your 2012 objectives and found it was amazing that you were so focused and determined. Keep it this way!
    I’ve actually started my blog two days ago, so will keep your advice in mind. I’ve already followed one of your advice and setup my newsletter subscription form, but now I just need write to write in the emails :)

  • http://www.familysponge.com Jadah Sellner

    Thanks Pat! I love that you mention “be more confident in myself.” Doubts and fears always kick in. And we just have to shake it. I can come up with a million excuses to not do something. But if I come up with one compelling reason why I should do it. That’s all I need, plus a sprinkle of confidence.

  • http://www.mange-two.blogspot.com Joseph Lewis

    Hi Pat, I have only just started reading your blog today but wow, so inspirational. I’m brand new to the blogging world and your stories and lessons-learnt will prove very valuable to me I’m sure.
    Great work.

  • http://www.searchingforhappy.com/2012/05/01/high-protein-shakes-day-2/ Alex at Searching for Happy

    Thanks for opening yourself up like this. It’s really interesting to see the analysis of a successful process, most people only try to improve on a failure.

    Improving upon a successful game is the sign of a good sports team, perhaps it’s the sign of a good entrepreneur too!

  • http://IfICouldGoBack.com Brandon

    Pat, your post is excellent! I really love reading about how people would do things differently if they could go back in time. Maybe sometime you can write a post on my IfICouldGoBack.com website! Cheers!

  • http://www.pmstudysmart.com Raj

    Thanks Pat, As usual it is another inspirational post with great information and lessons learned. I know, you might have faced lot of uncertainties (atleast initially), but by taking lot of consistent pro-active actions, you have attained to this level.

    Attaining the success in one aspect, but I believe, sharing the knowledge with others is like doing great service to the reading community. God bless…

  • http://www.wealthcoachinguk.com Kevin H. Boyd

    Yes building an email subscriber lists has been the most challenging feature to add to my blog too.

    Based on your tips Pat, I opted for Mail Chimp to record the email details and used the Optin Skin plugin to make it visible on my WordPress blog http://www.wealthcoachinguk.com

    Thanks Pat, your an inspiration :-)

  • http://www.colinklinkert.com Colin Klinkert

    Thanks Pat for yet another inspirational post. You do great things, so keep it up. Of course you (and everyone) will continue to make mistakes, we just need to learn from the fast

  • http://www.jamienorthrup.com Jamie Northrup

    This list of should’ves and could’ves for me would be so long, I went through the whole copyright domain thing too, but it was early on for a website that it was no big deal, I actually just shut the website down.

    Learning from my many many many mistakes is what got me here today so I’m happy I made them, and will continue making them and learning from them.

  • http://www.dessign.net Marios

    Hello Pat,
    “I Should Have Started My Email List Right From the Start, Big Mistake.”

    I don’t agree with this, I think you should wait before you do your email list box. When I come to a website that is new with few dozen posts and the biggest thing on that website is you trying to get my email so you can later sell me your shit, that’s a turn off..sorry

    Why don’t you do it with passion, without asking for anything in return (emails) and instead of counting everyday how many new subscribers you got, you focus on how many people you helped.

    I think you putting your email list after 1 1/2 later was a unconscious strategy thats worked out perfect, passion and love always win :)

    Marios

    • Pat

      Marlos, I’m sorry, but I could NOT disagree with you more.

      Maybe you’ve had bad experiences with websites in the past, but there’s a way to get people to subscribe to a list without being too obnoxious. If you approach it that you’re doing people a favor, as opposed to just collecting their email addresses to sell them more stuff and make more money, it’s a win-win.

      For example, those first few thousand people who purchased my eBook who I had no way of contacting, I’m sure would have loved to get notice of a discount code for a practice exam that they would have normally had to pay full price for – which most of them did.

      On my site here, I don’t sell anything off oc my email list and it’s a way to connect with people more and stand out.

      It’s all about the approach, and I guarantee that it would have been better for me to start building a list right from the start – because I would have done it with passion and love for my readers anyways.

      • http://www.dessign.net Marios

        Pat,
        I guess I was more referring to the pop-up when you come to someones website or all you see is this big box trying to collect email addresses,

        If you doing professional and not being annoying then yes, it does have value in a long run…

        Marios

        • Pat

          Well – that’s a lot different than what you originally said. And I don’t use a popup box or big boxes for this anyways so it would have been smart of me to start earlier.

  • http://www.mexipreneur.com Elizabeth

    Wow, what a great post. I think the not having confidence in ourselves is what gets a lot of entrepreneurs stuck…sometimes we think we don’t know enough, but the reality is you just have to get out there and try and fail and keep tweaking. Thanks Pat!

  • http://www.seedingprofits.com wilson

    Pat,

    I believe that every mistakes that you made had allowed you to learn from it and make it better. In fact, everyone would make mistakes and we will have to learn from it.

    However, I came to realize that those people who are aiming to go into public expertise such as doctor etc, they cannot have this kind of mindset since every mistake will cause harm to the society. That is how I feel between the difference of excelling in public and private sector in future.

    Lastly, to those who are aiming to excel in the online marketing, we should not let fear control our thoughts! Get a plan and work towards it despite how hard it is going to be!

  • http://www.startingfromzip.com Tim

    Great post Pat! I need to get proactive with my blog and work too. I feel that when I start seeing some sort of results, I will have something motivational to run on. Thanks again Pat for sharing your experience.

  • Ms. M

    Hi Pat,

    Very informative and encourage for me. Timely message.

    Thank you for being truthful.

  • http://www.dansumnerblog.com Dan Sumner

    Hey pat,

    Great followup to the last post of how you went from employed to self employed.

    It’s great that you mentioned your mistakes, but better that you have capitalized on them and used them as a tool to increase business.

    Learning by mistakes is how we grow.

    Thanks Pat.

    Dan Sumner

  • http://FrugalPatti.com Patti

    Pat,

    Thanks for another great and inspirational post. I had started some sites about 10 years before I was laid off, but didn’t work on them proactively as I should have. You have given me the kick in the pants I’ve needed to take what I’ve started and learned more serious.

    Thank You,
    Patti

  • http://www.TheInfoPreneur.TV TheInfoPreneur

    Pat,
    Perfect timing and question…you mention you use ejunkie, but you missed out on collecting subscriber emails on the sales…is there a different system you would use for your product delivery at this point, or would you just add an optin on the product delivery page? Just curious.

    Thanks,
    Brandon

  • http://www.getprophoto.com Dan Waters

    It’s nice to hear you come out and say how much hard work has gone into it. Here I am at 10 past midnight (in the UK) still working away on my photography marketing blog. I often feel substandard because it sometimes seems like super-blogs like yours just pop out of thin air. Knowing that you worked until blood dripped from your typing fingers makes me feel better about the fact I teeter on the brink of RSI every day. x

  • http://www.forgetmenutz.com Daniel Edstrom

    Hi Pat,

    Thanks for an awesome post as usual.

    Even though I try to stay away from reading to much and getting things done in my own business, posts like these remind me of how important it is to sometimes stop for a second and breath in.

    Thanks,
    Daniel

  • http://www.noelcunningham.net Noel Cunningham

    Hey Pat,

    Very nice post, I’m glad I stopped by today and got the chance to read it. I too had a similar problem to you when I launched my first ebook…

    It’s so daunting trying to figure out how much it’s worth and at what price point to set it? You did the right thing in following that advice and testing different prices until you hit your “Sweet Spot”

    Cheers for the info,
    Noel.

  • http://www.fasciagraphics.co.uk Derek Donnelly

    Some great stuff about pricing there. Very interesting to find out your experience and, maybe some food for thought for the future book I am planning.

  • Ruben

    Hey Pat

    Your my mentor in this way i hear a lot of people who talk this about how they work , but you put simple, and think i can do it too,, i love passive income, from the first way i learn how this works,, so im thinking follow your steps you inspire me my friend. sincerely.

  • http://www.affenblog.de Vladislav

    Hi Pat, thanks for telling us your big mistaktes :)

    My two biggest mistakes was…
    a) I wasn’t passionate for my first business, I only would earn a lot of money.
    b) I invest thousands of dollars and hours in a beautifull, very detailed website. After that I realize that I don’t need so many details and the changes would cost money again.

    So, what I and maybe other can learn from it?
    a) Choose a business in with you passionate about. E.g. if you are a blogger, you must passionate about the topic otherwise it would be very difficult to blog on a regular base.
    b) Make ghetto websites. Validate your website and your business idea. Build simple website and grow them “organically”.

    Greetings from Germany
    Vladislav

  • http://killercontentsystems.info Sandi

    I’m so rapt I found your site this morning, already I’ve read some really inspiring posts, especially the one about 100 words. You’ve given some great advice above too Pat. Thanks so much for your generosity. I’m feeling very inspired to take some action this afternoon on my flipping business-to-be.

  • http://nutrido.pl Simon

    Being proactive & looking for the future trends is the most important in my opinion. Sadly, I’ve realized that after I lost my site’s rankings thanks for recent Google updates. Will recover, thanks to this inspirational post :) Cheers Pat!

  • http://www.ultimategeekspot.com Michael Serom

    Hey Pat, very informative article bro as always.
    I agree that setting up an email list should be done as early as possible if you are serious =),
    Thanks Pat,
    Michael S

  • http://www.handymanstartup.com Dan

    Awesome post Pat! This is exactly what I needed to hear since I’m just getting into internet marketing and still haven’t made a dime! I like your thoughts on being proactive. I believe that setting goals and consistent action towards those goals is the best way to be proactive. Thanks again!

  • http://www.untetheredincome.com/ Allen Underwood

    Pat,
    This was a great article. The portion about being proactive was awesome as was the portion about building a list. Ironically enough, I’ve been putting off doing the email list simply because I keep coming up with other things that I “need to do”. It’s amazing how a day goes by, then a week, a month, and the next thing you know you’ve put it off for a year! You motivated me in the past to push forward on a site I had started 3 years ago with a friend and we just let die. Well, I kickstarted it again last August, and in March and April I made $80 and $110 respectively – it’s not a lot of money, but it’s a start, and I see it growing every day – the latest change to Google has really put a damper on the number of visitors to my site but I know that in time and with more content my site will jump back to where it was before. Anyways, again, I wanted to thank you for this insightful post and per your comments on the email list, I’ll promptly be setting one up. Thanks again for sharing your experiences.

  • Christie White

    Hi Pat, This is a great post! Looking back & letting go of regret is so hard but so worth it in the long run. I’d love to read more about starting a forum on a web site for beginners. Thanks!

  • AL

    Pat,

    That is some truly GREAT advice. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Best of luck in the future.
    -God Bless

  • Brendon

    Hey Pat,
    Just read your post. Good stuff to know. Thanks for sharing.
    I was recently referred to your site by a friend of mine and have been learning a lot about how things work and don’t work on-line. It is bit over whelming how many different angles you can cover on-line and which one to do first, blog, video posts, e-books. We want to incorporate all of them but it is hard to know what to tackle first.
    My wife and I just recently put our things in storage and moved to Bali for a few months to work on our blog, website, e-books, classes etc…and also to get some surfing in. We are trying to transition from our landscape design/installation business in socal into more of authority figures and educators on the subject.
    Anyways, your site keeps me motivated and informed. Thanks!

  • http://www.projectorvision.com Robb Dahlen

    Great story, Pat! Have you ever gone back to your old job and thanked them for laying you off? Haha!

  • http://www.couponcry.com kiran chikkala

    Nice article, Thank you for share this.

  • http://www.reviewken.com Kiran Chikkala

    Great post……

  • http://www.adaytrip.com Craig Lodge

    Awesome post. You really push the idea of a newsletter/email list in this and some of your other posts, and I have to admit, I’ve never really thought that anyone who was visiting my site would want to sign up. So yea, things that I’ve done wrong seem to be along the same line as you – email list AND lack of confidence. Things that will be worked on going forward ;)

  • http://aaronhoos.com Aaron Hoos

    Fantastic post, Pat! Thanks for the honesty. I share many of your “regrets” and am only now doing several of the things you’ve listed, all of which I should have done a few years ago. But as the famous proverb goes: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is right now.”

  • http://www.40daymastersystem.com Sharif Ali

    Hey Pat,
    This is a great site. I really enjoy all the info you are sharing especially your history of your 1st online business…Very Inspiring!
    “my inner world creates my outer world”, that was a great quote! I can attest to that as I am creating my reality living in Brazil with my young family (wife and children).
    I just liked your facebook page.

    Thanks again!

  • http://smilingfacestravelphotos.com Nomadic Samuel

    As someone who has been considered relatively successful as a travel blogger since I launched my site last July, I can relate with you very well on this post. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned in nearly a year of blogging and how many mistakes I’ve made along the way. I think without mistakes we don’t learn and the lessons that can be applied moving forward are extremely valuable.

  • http://www.droidedition.com/ Raj

    One has to learn from our own mistakes and I am glad that you find out which works against your idea and have changed most of them accordingly…

  • http://WWW.EXTRA-CASH-ONLINE.COM RCONNORIII

    “I Should Have Been Proactive – Not Reactive” I THINK YOU ARE 100 % RIGHT-YOU CAN MAKE YOUR OWN THINGS HAPPEN OR JUST LET THINGS HAPPEN TO YOU AND THEN RE-ACT. HAVE A GREAT DAY ON PURPOSE PAT!

  • Pat Thomas

    The same layoff scenerio happened to me– but I remembered the “Don’t look back” quote by Satchel Paige

  • http://www.novatostradingclub.com Uxío Fraga

    One question, Pat!

    How did you manage to lower your ebook price?

    I can think of telling my audience: the price goes from 19.95€ to 24.95€, but not how to tell them: It’s not being sold at all, back to 19.95€.

    Thank you!

  • Rich

    Pat,

    I stumbled upon your page today looking only for reviews on the “Insanity” home workout…in the process, I’ve spent a portion of my day reading your success stories and being inspired by what you’ve done for yourself with your online entrepreneurial endeavors. I’ve been working 2 jobs, 7 days a week for the last few months now, a recent college graduate, and i’m not satisfied by the minimal income i’m making. Thanks to you I’ve become inspired to finally take the first steps into my own entrepreneurial endeavors. I hope to read more of your posts in due time, thanks again!

  • http://www.aspire.org.ng jovie onyema

    i think the mailing thing is also an issue for me. i’ve been slacking but i’m gonna check it out.

  • Edward Smith

    Jeepers this is exciting stuff. I’m gonna start straight away!

    I’ve always thought the whole blog thing as a traffic source/self study progress monitor was a great idea. Gotta say, props for making it actually happen and sharing with others. Action is what separates the winners from the losers, even if that action is spurred by necessity.

    I like the emphasis on taking opportunities. “Opportunity is a haughty goddess who has no patience for those who are unprepared” -Richest Man in Babylon (:

  • http://thelatestarter.com eden

    Nice post Pat. Be great if one day you’d write a post in relation to topic choosing, if you don’t really know what your passion is or expertise is. THAT is a biggie for many people wanting to start out and I’m sure you’d be helping out a ton of readers. Cheers man

  • http://www.selfesteemgenerator.com John M. Goodman

    Thanks for this valuable insight Pat! Your story is such an inspiring one, and I hope “learning from your mistakes” will help me to succeed with my venture too :)

  • http://earnmoneyonlinephilippines.com malds

    Awesome post, yet again. And congrats on making it on the forbes list :).

  • http://mariansweb.com Marian

    Lot’s of good tips and inspiration! And not only this post, but your other stuff is a pleasure to read. Thanks.

  • http://www.dividenden-blog.de Jan

    Hey Pat,
    great website and great tips for beginners like me ;)

  • http://www.delinkbuilder.nl Steffen

    I have my own SEO blog in Holland adn I’m always here looking for nice tips and trics. This story inspires me also very much. Thank you.

  • http://howtocreateawebsiteonline.com Vince @ How to Create a Website Online

    I just got through reading the previous post and then this one. You can’t really look at the past because you couldn’t have gotten here without that series of events. Let’s focus on the future! You seem to be doing really well!

  • Gavin

    Excellent post Pat. I can’t believe I haven’t found your blog until now.
    In terms of pricing, I always try to have a few options (but not too many) to give the customers an option if they want the basic eBook $25, the premium $35, or the professional $45. That way more people can access my products. And for those that buy the $25 or $35 version, you can bet there is a link to upgrade to more expensive model by saying, “find theses solutions/advice useful, get the rest of the content by upgrading to the premium/pro version for only $10/$20″. It’s all about getting as many people to try your product at different price points and then up-selling to reach your magical amount (in my case $45).

  • Edward O Coambs

    John Lee Dumas is always talking about you, so I figured it was time to check you out. So far I am overwhelmed with your authenticity and transparency. You are a true role model for how people should represent themselves on the web. I look forward to some day meeting you.

  • JR John

    If there’s an SPI forum coming up anytime soon, I WANT IN! :)

  • JonThompson

    Hi Pat, thanks so much for your posts. I’m pretty new to blogging but want to build a business out of it. I’ve been struggling for a few weeks about how to pull my ideas together and get something that would be interesting for me to do and interesting for others to view. I stumbled across your website earlier today after hearing good words about you from Darren Rowse at problogger.net. I love your values and your approach. You’ve given me a real boost to my ambitions and confidence and have inspired me to really get focused on my site. Thanks. Jon

  • Zach

    love it man, so hard to find REAL people giving REAL help and advice for the sake of just simply wanting to help others. So Thanks Alot!

  • Hồng Chiến Phạm

    Great. Thanks for your share. Bless you. ^^/

  • Klaus Wilke

    Amazing Story, with an happy end…..
    YES, we should trust ourself mutch more.
    Every idea has ist own time to become succesfull. trust in it and never give up.
    Youĺl succeed at last !
    Thanks for sharing your Story with us.
    Greetings from Germany

  • Cory Bethea

    Pat that was a great write up on your short comings and what you could have done better. As a person like myself just starting to learn and build ways to make money online those tips were very helpfully to me, and I’m sure to others as well. Thanks for sharing, I will be following you to gain more incite on making an passive income online, and I will subscribe ;)

  • http://thelawyerspost.net/ Robert Divinagracia

    been listening to your podcasts this past two days.