Are You Taking Advantage of Your Unfair Advantage? (7 Examples)

AdvantageI recently started to collect voicemail messages from my audience so that I could share their questions (and my answers) right in the middle of a podcast session. The voicemail transcribed below from SPI Fan Tony P., however, is one that deserves its own blog post:

“Hey Pat, thanks in advance if you can help me out. I’m feeling pretty bummed right now. Six months ago I had a great idea for an online business and I was really amped about it. I got the “entrepreneurial bug,” as you say a lot during your show. I was so excited until I did some more research and saw that there were already 4 or 5 other businesses doing exactly what I wanted to do, so I tried to think of something else instead. I haven’t thought of anything good yet, but that’s not why I’m bummed. I’m bummed because I opened my email today and saw a Google Alert with a link to a brand new company that recently launched that is doing exactly what I wanted to do 6 months ago! They seem to already have a number of users and are positioned to do really well. 

I don’t even know why I’m calling you. I think I just needed to tell someone who could understand. I’m sorry for the rant. I just feel like if I acted 6 months ago I could have something up and running already, but then again there were already businesses in the space that I wanted to get into…but these guys did it. I’m guessing they had a lot of money to begin with, which I don’t have. How can I compete with other businesses when I’m bootstrapping from the start? Should I just find a niche or business that doesn’t have any competition instead? Thanks again for hearing me out Pat. I love the show.”

Thanks for the voicemail Tony! Now, let’s dive right in.

An Idea Stopper

I’ve spoken to a lot of people who are interested in starting an online business, and almost everyone goes through the same two-step cycle:

  1. An idea, followed by feelings of incredible excitement, hope, planning, mindmaps, wireframes and “what if this works!”; then…
  2. An external element comes into play, before the business is even started, followed by feelings of incredible doubt, apprehension, fear and “what if this doesn’t work!”

At this point, some people persevere, while others move on to something else.

That “external element,” also known as an “idea stopper” can come in many forms:

  • The realization that the project is going to take a lot more work than expected.
  • Not knowing exactly where to start.
  • Skepticism by friends and family.
  • A “change in weather.”
  • Competition.

I put “a change in weather” in there, not because the weather actually has an affect on how we follow through, but because a lot of times it just seems like people are looking for any ol’ excuse not to move forward and succeed. In Why Some Entrepreneurs Undermine Their Own Success, the writer points out that many entrepreneurs, consciously or subconsciously, feel that success will lead to loneliness or envy, or that it’ll change their lifestyle or be too expensive—or that they just straight up don’t feel like they deserve it.

Competition, on the other hand, can be seen. A quick search in Google and you’re likely to find other businesses who are already in the same space that you’d like to get into.

Competition is a good thing—you’ve heard me say this before. Coming in later in the game is an advantage because you can see what existing businesses are doing right and what they’re doing wrong. You can be a consumer before you become a company, and can better understand the experience that customers currently have, and what options are available to them in today’s market. You have the ability to come in and reshape that customer experience in whatever way you’d like.

When was born, I came into it knowing that the make money online niche was extremely competitive, and there were definitely more than 4 or 5 existing websites out there talking about a similar topic—there were thousands. Probably tens of thousands.

What helped SPI was a number of different strategies, but it really comes down to two things:

  1. Seeing what everyone else is doing and purposely doing something different. This is where generating my income reports, expanding into a Podcast, and just being completely honest and transparent comes into play, among other things like not selling directly to my email list. These were conscious decisions that I made because of what everyone else in this space was doing.
  2. Taking advantage of my unfair advantages.

Types of Unfair Advantages

I was first introduced to the term unfair advantage, in the context of online business and blogging, by Lain Ehmann who was the featured guest on SPI Podcast Session #37: How to Monetize a Hobby Niche. To date, her episode is one of the most popular success stories on the podcast because Lain shares exactly how she’s now earning 6-figures a year in the scrapbooking niche.

She described an unfair advantage as a skill or asset that you have that no one else has, or very few others might have in a specific niche. It’s your competitive edge, and whatever that edge may be, it’s your job to use it to your advantage as much as possible as you shape and create your business.

This is different from a Unique Selling Proposition, or USP.

As Corbett Barr from Think Traffic says:

I like to think of your overall USP as your reason for being. Think about it from your customer’s point of view. With tens or hundreds of potential options out there, you have to answer the question, “why should I buy from you?” Or, “why should I read your blog, when there are millions of other blogs I could be reading?”

You definitely need a USP, but a USP is not your unfair advantage. It’s how your business will stand out of the crowd, but a USP is not the skills or assets that can help you get there.

You can’t sell your skills, but you can and should absolutely use them to build and shape your business or blog.

To understand more about unfair advantages, I’ve listed 7 different types below, some of which you may already have within the market you’re in or looking to get into. If you find one or more that matches you, use it to your advantage.

Let’s start with the one Lain shared about how she got started…

1. Your Rolodex—The People You Know

You know and have access to the right people in your industry, people who others do not have access to. You’re a connector, and you can provide value to a specific audience by using the connections you’ve made over time.

Lain’s experience freelance writing for scrapbooking magazines put her in contact with some of the top people in the industry. She later started an online event called True Scrap that brings all of these people together to teach live classes, and thousands of people have attended and benefited from her ability to connect with the right people.

Who do you know that others in your industry might not?

2. Your Experience—What You’ve Been Through

Last year, I watched an episode of Shark Tank where I was introduced to Major Robert Dyer. Major Dyer was pitching a new energy drink called The Ruck Pack Energy Drink. It’s not like the world needs another energy drink, but he was able to convince both Kevin O’Leary and Robert Herjevic, two of the investors on the show, to give him $150k in exchange for 20% of the company.

Major Dyer used his experience in the Army to create an energy drink that was perfect for a combating soldier. He was actually in Afghanistan when he came up with the concoction.

His experience became his advantage because he was in extreme conditions that allowed him to create and test a drink of this kind of caliber, one that provided this kind of energy and focus that a combating soldier needed. I doubt the guys at Red Bull or Monster put themselves in the line of fire when testing the capability of their drinks.

When I started, I already had experience with a successful, automated online business at Green Exam Academy. A lot of people were providing online business advice at the time, but most were using other people’s businesses as examples, or just spoke theory with no real case studies to back it up. Here, I was able to use my own experience as evidence, and it helped me become more credible right from the start.

What experiences in your life have given you the ability to prove yourself or your business more than others?

3. Your Story—And How You Tell it

Stories are incredible marketing tools. They stick. People who listen to or read stories transport themselves into the situations that are described and the storyteller is better able to make a deeper connection with his or her audience.

We all have a story to tell. If you have a good one, tell it and use it to your advantage.

I know I have a great story. I’ve shared it here on the blog and I even went deeper into the story for my first book, Let Go.

It’s funny because when I’m interviewed for podcasts and radio shows, many times the interviewer will apologize and say, “I’m sorry…I know you’ve probably told your story hundreds of times before, but I’d like you to tell it again if you don’t mind.”

I always respond with “Of course!”

I love telling my story, not just because it reminds me of where I came from which always gives me a motivational boost, but because I know it’s a great way to connect with an audience. To have the opportunity to share it right from the start is awesome.

Of course, your stories should always be true, but if you have a good one make sure there’s a way for people to hear it.

What’s your story and how can it help your business?

4. Your Hustle—How Much You Put In and Where

Gary Vaynerchuk, author of one of my favorite books, Crush It, would probably agree with me when I say that sometimes all you need to do is hustle. I mean like, truly hustle. The all-out just insane amounts of work kind of hustle.

Not everyone has the time or ability to hustle, and of course the work that’s done has to be the right kind of work – the right kind of hustle.

John Lee Dumas, host of a ‘new’ podcast called Entrepreneur On Fire, is a perfect example of someone who is using his ability to hustle to his advantage.

John has a daily (yes, daily) podcast where he features an interview with a successful entrepreneur. He just started his show this past October, and he’s already up to episode 177. That’s nearly 3 times as many shows that I have!

Now, John enjoys over 200,000 downloads per month, he’s written a book, has products and has opened up a ton of opportunities for sponsorships and partnerships that wouldn’t have come otherwise. He’s not the first person to have a show dedicated to interviewing rock star entrepreneurs—not even close—but he’s definitely the fastest to see these kinds of results.

He’s not just working hard either, he’s working smart. Hustle doesn’t mean just pure physical and mental work, it can mean spending the time to put the right systems into place to generate more output.

What’s something successful that other businesses are doing that could use your hustle to stand out?

5. Your Personality & Your Ability to Connect to Others

Out of the 7 billion people in this world, you are uniquely you. Within specific markets and niches, you are definitely uniquely you. If you have a personality that people can easily connect with you shouldn’t be afraid to share it.

In 2009 when struggling to get traffic to this blog, I had a chat with Jeremy Frandsen from Internet Business Mastery. He told me I had a magnetic personality and I should find other ways to share it. That’s when I started my YouTube Channel, and then later, my podcast, which just passed 2,000,000 views and 3,000,000 downloads, respectively.

Similarly, in some niches, injecting any kind of personality into your business is an advantage. This is especially true when it takes more than 7 seconds to find a person’s name on your competitors’ websites.

For example, when I started to teach people how to pass the LEED Exam (a specialized exam in the architecture industry), I was the only person in the industry teaching about this exam that people could call by name. Every comment and email would start with: “Hey Pat…”

Right on the front page (even today) you can see my picture along with my name and a little description of who I am.

When the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), the organization that actually administers the LEED Exam eventually came out with their own sets of study material, I thought my business was doomed. How could I compete with the actual organization that writes the test questions and grades the exams?

Well, to my surprise, when the USGBC launched their study material, my sales went up—significantly.


Since they had a lot of overhead and several people to pay, the price of their material was pretty steep. When people wanted to see what else was available and compare prices, after searching in Google or asking around, my name always came up. In the end, people were more comfortable purchasing from me because they knew exactly who they were purchasing from, and they were happy to receive advice from Pat, a real person who took the same exam these people were studying for, as opposed to a larger, faceless and less personal organization. No offense to the USGBC, of course. They are an amazing organization, but that’s exactly what they are, an organization. Even though I had a business too, people were happy to deal with Pat.

6. Your Ability to Listen, Build, Measure and Learn

All companies build something, but not all of them measure, learn and then adapt or shift.

I’ve recently been listening to The Lean Startup by Eric Reis, which is a fantastic book about how today’s entrepreneurs and startup companies are approaching the way they create and innovate. In it, the author talks about how vital it is to use validated learning and scientific experimentation to be able to steer a company in the right direction. In other words, to use customer feedback and quantified data analysis (of real, non-vanity metrics) from a minimal viable product to make decisions and pivot a business one way or another.

If you have the ability to see what holes lie in existing markets before you enter it, the ability to listen to a target market (or become a customer yourself who is extremely conscious of the overall customer experience), and learn from the wins and failures of the companies that already exist, you will have an edge over your competition.

Like I mentioned earlier, coming in late in the game can be an advantage if you listen, learn and provide solutions for what seems to be missing. Even coming into a market with a minimal viable product, you’ll have the advantage of being able to get deep into the customer experience to shape your product or service to what it should be, again, all based on what you’re able to measure and learn.

There is a lot more to be said about lean startup methods and the build-measure-learn feedback loop. Would love to get Eric Reis on the podcast if possible. 😉

7. Your Specialization—Who You Serve and Your Ability to Do So

It’s not just the skills and experiences that you have to offer that can give you a competitive edge, it can also be that fact that you want to serve a more specialized segment of a market.

Generally, the more specialized you get, the less competition you have to deal with. In addition to that, the more specialized you get, the better you can hone in your skills for a particular group of people. Your advantage is your knowledge of and ability to serve that particular segment of the larger market.

Take for example, shoes.

Everyone (well, almost everyone) buys shoes. If you wanted to enter the shoe market, you might think your competitors are retailers like Zappos, EastBay, Sketchers and other large online retailers. Then there’s Nike, Reebok too. It’s virtually impossible to compete with them, especially when you’re bootstrapped. So what can we do?


Instead of getting into the market to sell all types of shoes, how about serving a part of the market that’s looking for a specific type of shoe: running shoes, walking shoes, children’s shoes, etc.

Even at this level of specialization, however, it’s not quite an advantage yet because companies already specialize in these types of shoes: Foot Locker, The Walking Company, and Stride Rite, respectively. Now what?

Specialize again.

Within running shoes, how about soccer cleats? Within soccer cleats, how about women’s soccer cleats?

When your target market is women who are looking for soccer cleats, it’s much easier to do market research and enter the build-measure-learn feedback loop. You have an advantage over others who are targeting a larger segment of the market.

Trunk Club, is a great example of this kind of specialization at work.

Like lots of other businesses, they sell clothes. That in itself is not very special.

But, their target market and who they serve is special, and it’s not everyone. Their target market is specifically men who want to dress well who either don’t like to go shopping, or don’t have the time to do so.

It works like this:

You speak to a personal stylist over the phone, they ask you a number of questions to get to know you a little better and figure out your style, and then they send you a Trunk with a number of pieces of clothing in it based on your conversation.

You try stuff on, keep what you like, and ship back what you don’t like in the same trunk. Shipping is already paid for.

Boom. New clothes and I didn’t even have to leave my house. No membership fees, you just get a trunk whenever you want, and they charge you for pieces that don’t return.

I’ve received two trunks so far and another is on the way. I’ve kept roughly 35-40% of what was shipped to me .

I heard about this service from a friend, and I’ve definitely passed this service onto others. Not everyone, but other men around the same age who are in situations where they might need to dress up and they might be too busy to go shopping on their own.

You see, when you specialize and can provide value to a specific segment of a market, those people within that market tend to talk to each other about you.

How can you specialize and become the topic of conversation when those people get together?

What About Content?

Remember that skills like writing, video production, speaking, creating products—stuff you create that your audience consumes directly—these can all be unfair advantages too. If you write better, create better videos or have better podcasts and products than your competitors, then of course, those are definitely skills you should be taking advantage of—but that’s almost a given.

The reason I bring this up is because when you’re first starting out, it can be deflating to write because your writing isn’t the best. It’s deflating to create videos that don’t look as good and it’s deflating to take forever to record your first podcast session or struggle with your first product. That was me. When I first started, I always felt deflating and what I was producing wasn’t where I wanted it to be. Everyone else was already a step ahead.

Over time, these skills started to improve and what was once a burden became my advantage. This is why I’m big on using multimedia in your brand and Being Everywhere, because not everyone is doing it.

So, to Tony who left that original message at the top of this post, my summarized answer to you would be this:

Just because there are competitors doesn’t mean you should try to find something else. Not yet. Even now, it’s not necessarily too late. Existing competitors tell you that there’s a market for your idea already and you can investigate to see how consumers react to what is already being offered, both positively and negatively, to shape and inspire your own approach. How can you compete? Money isn’t the answer. Although it can help, having loads of it isn’t necessary. The real answer to being able to compete is to showcase and utilize whatever you have to offer that none of the other businesses can. In other words, your unfair advantage. What is it? Figure it out, milk it, and then make something happen.

If you enjoyed this post, please help me out by sharing it using one of the share buttons adjacent to this post!

Also, before I go, if you’re going to be in the Chicago area this coming Friday and you didn’t grab one of the free tickets I was offering for the Internet Prophets LIVE! event later this week, I would still like to have lunch with you. Jason Van Orden of Internet Business Mastery and I are having a little luncheon meetup to meet anyone who is near and around the downtown Chicago area on Friday the 19th from 1:00pm–3:00pm. Here are the details in case you’re interested.

Cheers, and my prayers to everyone around the Boston area and everyone affected by the recent tragic events that happened. Be safe.

  • Magda

    Your blog is amazing inspiration for me. I found it quite some time ago and I really am gratefull for that :)) Great tips, great articles. I hope I will be able to create such a vaule one day:). Thanks very much!

    • Pat Flynn

      Thanks Magda – you can (and should) start providing value from day 1, whether to an audience of 1 million! Cheers and all the best!

  • Adam – HireMeHigherEd

    I am in a market that has one very top heavy competitor dominating the market. My strategy has been to take a small market share from that competitor by differentiating myself. In my view, I can still be very successful even with this small sample of the market. Your wisdom in these 7 steps has certainly rang true in my current entrepreneurial project.

    • Pat Flynn

      Awesome Adam, and that’s definitely the way to go. It’s difficult to find a market nowadays without that top 1 or 2 heavy competitors, but that definitely doesn’t mean to move on – it means to dig deeper. Way to go and keep up the great work!

  • Ramsay Taplin


    Great work Pat. Love these types of articles – even if I don’t really have time to completely read them.

    You forgot number 8 bro – you’re winning smile!


    • Pat Flynn

      Hah – now that my invisalign is done, maybe you’re right! 😉

      Thanks for the support Ramsay. I’m glad I can call you Ramsay and not Blog Tyrant – remember when I told you about that when we first chatted how many years ago? 😉

      • Brendan

        Your two sites are now the only two that I find of any value. Thanks so much for writing this Pat, and Ramsay for reading it and commenting!

        See you in Chicago, Pat!

  • Gugulethu

    Hey Pat, I trust you’re well. Great post, really mind opening. You just made everything easy by using the “unfair advantage” example. I also believe using a strategy, connection, your story or anything that competitors lack is the best way to go. Be as niched(if that makes any sense haha 😀 ) as possible, don’t go for general markets. Niche it down, that way it wont be hard work for you coz you are focusing on one thing.

    And another thing, if the market has competition, that simply means people are willing to spend money on it so it’s a viable business.

    Thnx Pat. Peace!!

    • Pat Flynn

      Yup yup! Thanks Gugulethu!

  • Adam

    Hey Pat,

    Would you consider someone who documents something they have never done before an “unfair advantage” opposed to someone who has been-there-done-that before?


    • Pat Flynn

      It can be an unfair advantage, but you definitely have to realize that is could easily be, and probably by default, is an unfair DISadvantage. You’ll have to highlight the strengths and benefits of your journey to your target audience, reminding them why it’s cool and different to be doing it the way that you’re doing it, and what it might mean to them.

  • Michael

    This is definitely me. since I learned how to write my full name in a plain paper, I know that this is what i want or should i said I “need”. BUT, yes with capitalization there is alywas hesitation… there is always a feeling, a bad feeling. I though with just passion i can bring a decent blog, but passion alone collapse with pressure and great minds. I wish i had a place where people stop by and wrote in a plain whiteboard of how they feel that day… Hey mr. Pat please continue your rigtenous writing.

    • Pat Flynn

      Passion can help, but it can also hinder. John from SPI Podcast session #61 talks about the hindrance that passion can cause in making wise business decisions. Good luck with your future website(s) Michael!

  • Randy Carlisle

    Pat – Thanks for taking Tony’s question and sharing your thoughts on it. Tony’s disappointing experience is definitely not uncommon. We can have really good ideas, but not realize it until we see someone else doing the same thing and succeeding.

    I think Tony should spend the next 6 months developing the site and finish learning all the other things that go into building and operating a site. At the same time, watch the competition and get more ideas from what they are doing, and implement those ideas on your site. Incorporate Pat’s detailed suggestions, and you’ll be on your way to realizing the potentials of your great idea.

    • Pat Flynn

      I agree, although I think he should ship something much sooner – a minimal viable product, as Eric Reis states in The Lean Startup – so as to get feedback and learn much faster and not waste as much time building something or including features that might not necessarily be needed, or at least up front.

      Thanks Randy I’ll make sure Tony reads the comment section here too!

  • Adam

    Great post as usual Pat. It pains me to see posts like this though… or at least the voicemail from your reader. I have no idea what kind of business he was afraid to jump into, but that paralysis costs people fortunes every day. Jump in, and if you start to sink… kick harder. At least then they made the effort. As they say… its about the journey, not the destination. But you will never reach the destination without the first step.

    • Pat Flynn

      Pains me too, because stuff like this is all too common, which is why I’m thankful Tony agreed to let me share his voicemail here. Cheers!

  • Sunil – Extra Money Blog

    good stuff Pat, totally agree.

    this reminds me of strengths finder, where it is suggested to focus on your strengths and play to them rather than spin wheels improving weaknesses marginally.

    another good point is that what seems to be “routine” can be one’s core strength, for example, video production. many non English speakers are or at least feel inherently handicapped from producing quality videos and Podcasts because of the language barrier (perceived confidence challenges).

    it does help to be gifted/talented in certain areas. the key is to identify them and then design a model/approach that maximizes its use.

    this is one of the biggest reasons why creating an authority site in one’s area of specialization or expertise pays big dividends. if you already know your topic inside out (passion for it helps tremendously as well), and there are opportunities to help others in this area, chances are you will do well.

    • Pat Flynn

      Well said Sunil, and I like the comparison to the strength finder tests. I just did one with Sally Hogshead called the Fascinate Advantage Test. The results tell you what other people find fascinating about you specifically, and those are the things you should keep doing more of in order to connect with people, not just in business, but in life, the best.

  • Jesse Barger

    Niche within a niche within a niche….Love it!!

    My business is in service, sales, and consulting of medical devices. This is a niche field in the healthcare industry. My niche within a niche is working exclusively with home based medical equipment. The 3rd level of specialization is that we concentrate on providing all services on site at people’s residences. It works very well because the major demographic I work with doesn’t always travel well, and is not used to the level of customer service and transparency that doing the work in their homes, often times in front of them provides. This, and the other points you make in the article are powerful tools that can be utilized by entrepreneurs in any industry to set themselves apart. Great stuff!

    • Pat Flynn

      Awesome Jesse, and thank you for sharing your specialization! That’s awesome!

  • Joe

    I’ve seen others mention trunk club as an example business. They are specializing yes, but are they profitable? Web van may have been an interesting concept when it first came out…

    • Pat Flynn

      Are they profitable, good question. I know I’ve contributed quite a bit of money to them, and they seem to be expanding based on what I’ve been seeing on Twitter – but of course that doesn’t necessarily mean they are profitable, but I don’t think that’s the point, as important as that is. Specialization creates the ability for companies like this to meet the needs of a specific market, and have them talking about it like we are now – that’s definitely important in profitability. Thanks for the comment Joe!

  • Adam

    Once again, great post. I don’t know how many times I have run into an Idea stopper. Like your caller, Ive stopped working on sites in the past feeling like there is too much competition.

    Having come across your site again recently, it renewed my desire to create a site, so quickly I bought a domain, installed wordpress and started writing. I knew there were already a bunch of sites in this niche but, I decided to do this to help myself and I have some ideas that will hopefully help others too.

    Sometimes thinking ahead of what I want the site to become in the future creates idea stoppers for me still. I don’t know how to do all of the things I want to, so I’ll have to employ other strategies to get there. There are some people I know who could help, but until now I haven’t asked. Like you say in so many of your podcasts, it’s time to take action and do something.

    Thanks again for sharing.

  • Alex @ DreamJobGuy

    AWESOME post my man! Great points and wonderful “takeaways” here!

    Thanks so much!

  • Joey Giangola

    Hey Pat,

    This is great advice that all of us are so easy to forget.

    I have one question…

    Is your unfair advantage static, or should it evolve with you as your business does?

    If so, what are your unfair advantages today?

  • Jason Gracia


    The amount of value you pack into your posts never ceases to amaze me. There’s really no question as to why you’ve become the success you are today–you care more, do more, deliver more than most anyone else in the space.

    “Competition is a good thing…” This fear of “someone is already doing it” comes up again and again with my readers and clients, so I could not agree more. If no one is doing it, chances are no one wants it.

    The more competitors, the more collaborators.

    Thanks for putting this together and helping to rescue countless ideas that were almost sunk by the myths that hold so many back.


  • Meron Bareket

    Hey Pat & Tony!
    Pat – I totally agree with what you say here, and I’m so happy you bring this subject into the spotlight. Competition is a GOOD sign in a market.

    Tony – When I was thinking of starting my digital iPad magazine, Inspiring Innovation, I found out that someone else already launched something similar, just 3 weeks beforehand. I won’t lie – it bummed me out!!! I was planning to have Pat on my first cover. But not only that the other publisher had a magazine like mine, he even had Pat featured there. I was angry.

    I went out and took a loooong walk. Then it hit me – the other publisher didn’t kill my opportunity – he actually opened the door for me! I realized, for instance, that if he sold the idea of a digital magazine to Pat – the efforts required to get Pat to be my cover story where just cut down by 400%! More than that – the publisher is now a close friend of mine, and we each other’s product on an ongoing basis.

    Same happened when new players came into market, and thought I was “fierce” competition (LOL) – now we are good friends and share tons of resources so everyone can grow.

    There are 7 billion people on the planet. Rest assured that ANY idea you EVER have, someone out there has THE SAME idea. It’s not about having the idea, it’s about execution. Can you execute better than other players in the market? This is where Pat’s unfair advantage comes to play. Chad Mureta made millions from taking existing ideas in existing markets, and executing them just an inch better.

    I Hope you don’t let the next idea slip away that easily, I wish you amazing succes! Contact me when you get going – maybe I can feature you on the mag :)

    Pat – thanks again for this post! Your work is changing lives. Don’t ever stop!!!

  • Joey Giangola

    Hey Pat,

    This is great advice and something we all forget to easily.

    I just have one question for you…

    Is your unfair advantage static or should it evolve as your business does?

    If so, what is your unfair advantage today?

  • Hasan

    Woow such a nice post as always. Thanks pat.

  • Alex | Perfecting Dad

    Now this is a great post! And the comments are lovely too. Meron: “Rest assured that ANY idea you EVER have, someone out there has THE SAME idea.” So true haha. I’ve been the one that has had ideas first (as far as I know) and they got impemented better and faster by others.

    Love this post in particular out of your recent ones. Thanks.

  • Brooks

    You = Inspiration.
    You’re Real.
    I’ve followed you for a few years, and it’s incredible.
    And here you are, commenting on posts, setting up lunches with folks in downtown Chicago (wish I was in the area haha), and building and growing REAL relationships.
    And it has paid off Big.
    Lessons Learned.
    Thanks Pat.

  • Matt

    Awesome post Pat!

  • Cathy Severson

    😉 I took the hook, opened the link and expected some get secret to success. But chuckled as I read the list because it the exact same thing I tell my clients as a career counselor and coach. I got suckered into wanting the special nugget. Just like Dorothy, there’s no place like home and I have all the tricks I need.

    Thanks for the advice.

    • Pat Flynn

      There are no secrets to success Cathy, it’s all out there, we just have to execute. Glad we’re on the same page!

  • Joel Lawton

    Thanks for the great blog post, Pat. I look forward to your posts and podcasts. I can’t remember the last time I listened to the radio (except to listen to Jays or Leafs games).

  • Joel Lawton

    Just thought of another comment.

    Two years ago, I made the decision to start an online training business. Although I had no experience in this area (used to be in the car business), I knew this was a great opportunity.

    There have been several bumps in the road, but the business continues to grow and is now expanding into two new provinces in Canada. Lots of financial and personal investment, but well worth it.

    Hope this helps someone out


    • Pat Flynn

      Definitely helpful Joel, thank you so much for sharing!

  • Paul Tipping

    Great information as usual Pat.
    I’m using much of what you teach to help me in my first venture, writing a Kindle book (just published… at last!) and creating a website to back this up.
    Keep up the excellent work.

  • Mary Seed

    Awesome post Pat, very inspiring. I think we’ve all been there; self doubt, almost making excuses to quit while we’re ahead and while it’s safe. I just started a business in a pretty crowded niche, lots of people doing the same thing. Every time I start doubting myself, I picture what I would say on Shark Tank (love that show!!) when they ask me what makes me stand out from the rest of the crowd. We all have something that makes us different, we just need to remind ourselves of this. Also, a great and quick read is Seth Godin’s The Dip. Most people quit when they hit that wall that we all eventually hit. If you know it’s coming, you can be prepared for it and push through!

  • Suad

    Thank you Pat. Motivating!
    Just what I needed to hear, calling for action.

  • Doron David

    Thanks Pat for sharing this info. Read only through the first few paragraphs. I believe I’m on the right path thanks to your blog. Want to start a podcast, and hope to get that on the priority list soon.
    Great content as always.
    Thanks – Doron

  • Aaron Kerr


    Thanks for sharing this story and post. I wanted to share a brief personal story which I hope is helpful to Tony P. and others of how I earned an extra $19K in the last two and a half months doing something that had “already been done.”

    I’m the father of four daughters, and a couple years ago, my wife decided to read them the books from the Anne of Green Gables series. She got the books for Kindle, some of which were free and others were around 99 cents. They loved the books, but the quality of the formatting varied a lot from book to book. Some were pretty poor.

    I had the idea around Christmas of this past year to combine ALL of the Anne of Green Gables books into a single kindle collection which I’d sell for just 99 cents. (These books are in the public domain, meaning they are no longer under copyright). However, when I checked Amazon, I found there were at least 2 examples of people who had done the same…and were selling quite well.

    I was tempted to give up. But then I decided to push ahead. I bought the existing versions and learned what I could from them. I saw what they’d done well and asked myself “how can I make this better?” I was looking for ways to make my collection more appealing. I decided to make my book’s formatting outstanding, made a great eye-catching cover, and added links in the collection where people could download the audiobooks from Librivox for free.

    I posted the collection on February 4th. In the two and a half months since, my kindle collection has sold over 55,000 copies worldwide, briefly hit the #1 overall spot on Amazon, and earned me over $19,200. I estimate that my total effort in creating this collection was about 15 hours.

    I think my success came from a lot of the things Pat mentioned here. I carefully learned the market and took time to craft an offer I believed would be a success. As I created the book description and accompanying website, I made sure to make my story part of it. And I picked an area of extra income that I knew was a good fit for me; I’m a details person who loves testing and improving. And I have a passion for publishing.

    I hope that’s an encouragement to someone here. Don’t give up if something has been done. Sometimes, if someone is already having success in an area, it just proves there is existing demand for that type of service. Fill that demand in your own special way!


    • Pat Flynn

      I LOVE this comment Aaron, thank you so much for sharing! Congratulations on the amazing work!

      • Aaron Kerr

        Thanks Pat! I’ve had other online projects which I thought would be really successful but totally fizzled. I wasn’t sure how well my Anne collection would sell, and then it totally exploded. I guess you never know unless you’re willing to try.

    • Vinod Poyilath

      Awesome story Aaron! Your story goes right along the core thought in this post.

      And congrats on your kindle success.

    • KC White

      Wow, Aaron. I had to comment on this because your story is a true inspiration.

      That, and I was a huge Ann of Green Gables fan in middle school. I remember lugging around those huge books back in the day. Lol

  • Jesus

    Awesome blog! Thanks for all the help and inspiration, but most important, making things actionable (not sure if that’s a word???).

    Keep inspiring brother!

  • John Lee Dumas


    So honored to be an example of “Hustle” on this amazing post. I also receive emails from listeners who say they have not started because they saw other people doing similar things. My advice is…”This PROVES it is a viable business model…now go do it BETTER!”

    You continue to inspire me Pat and I look forward to chatting soon!

  • Wes

    Great post. New entrepreneurs NEED to hear this. Starting out a project can be very difficult and scary and it’s important to know that even the most hardened and successful entrepreneurs start out this way.

    Tim Ferriss had a great post “Harnessing Entrepreneurial Manic-Depression” that’s similar. It talks about the ups and downs of taking a business idea to reality.

  • Lisa

    I agree with Pat.

    Never underestimate the power of #2. Your Experience – What You’ve Been Through and #6. Your Ability to Listen, Build, Measure and Learn – to set you apart from your competition.

    My partner & I created a site in a niche similar to Pat’s Green Exam Academy, but for Interior Designers studying for a professional exam.

    With an industry transition to a new computer based exam this Spring, we created an online study group and the first available practice tests for the new exam. 2 designers using WordPress were able to scoop established publishers and study material providers.

    Now we have competition, but our practice tests have been very successful, and we’ve been able to incorporate feedback from our members and test purchasers into our products immediately.

    I’m hopeful that our relationship with our customers and the feedback they provide will allow us to be one step ahead of our competition for the fall exams, also.

  • sandi

    Interesting article, I found what I looking for.

  • Jesse Westphal

    I love it! I think one of the major things I have had a problem with is producing videos, I know videos are a great traffic source but just getting in front of the camera is nerve racking (I guess we all go through it). Well… thank you for the info.

    thanks- Jesse

  • Jeff Jones

    I know one of my major stumbling blocks early on was seeing somebody out there who had a much slicker site (and obviously some money behind it) doing something I was interested in doing. I think the suggestion to use that not as a discouragement but as a learning tool to find a way to do it better is gold!

    This is my new mantra!

  • Shelley

    Wow Pat you are so good at getting people motivated, Loved reading your blog,
    I got a extra treat when reading all your comments, Aaron’s story is really amazing, Just goes to show don,t give up.
    Thanks Pat
    All the best

  • KC White

    I can totally relate to Tony. I keep working on my blog in random spurts due to the very reasons listed in this post.

    There’s this urge to dive in head-first, but then I see what the competition is doing and I get all insecure. I guess it comes with the territory for us newbies.

    It can also be deflating when you see all that someone else has accomplished and you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get even a fraction of those things done for yourself.

    Having said that, I’m trying not to be too hard on myself and recognize that starting out, I’ve gotta earn my stripes and make my own mistakes.

    At least with some healthy competition out there, I can learn from theirs, too. 😉

  • Designer Rob Russo

    I like these seven examples of my unfair advantage. One or two is nice enough, but when you add all seven up, you really do feel powerful. We are all so unique with our own stories (#3) we really do have an unfair advantage to milk.

    Thanks for sharing these great tidbits, Pat.

  • Kyle Ferguson

    Pat your blog has completely changed the way I look at the business world. It seems to always be spot on. Thanks

  • Brian Dean

    Great stuff, Pat. I like Corbett’s quote a lot because it shines light on something important: there’s already a lot of products/blogs/content/videos/podcasts out there. When you realize that it really helps you step up your game. Combine that with a strong personal brand (like you have Pat) and you’ll rock the casbah!

  • Micheal

    Love it ! Great words

  • Matthew Jeschke

    Hey Pat! It’s interesting to see you started down this path around the same time as me. I haven’t got nearly as far as you yet :) Could not agree with what you say any more. I had started following your posts a while ago and kind of dropped off but was surprised when one of my friends re-introduced me to your website. You’re really becoming quite famous! Thanks for another great post!

  • Tal Gur

    Your best post yet Pat.

    Same as you, I also enjoyed “the lean startup” – great book.

    Enjoy Chicago!

  • Maria

    Nice information… once you start reading, you cant blink until you finish it, You have been warned guys! :) I should apply this to my Web Designing field even though a lot of it in the market already, but I focus in Dubai and yes Im not a web designer but I make a website for local small and medium businesses here. I want to apply the Specialization “WordPress Website maker in Dubai”,, like this, a lot of people here don’t know about it so this is really an unfair advantage right?

  • Jason Mathes

    I’m guilty of the “idea” and lack of “hustle”. That’s all going to change very soon :) I have the opportunity to try and do this full time while my wife works. So its sink or swim time and no more treading water :) Thanks for the info – it will definitely come in handy!

  • Jan Koch

    Hi Pat,

    I think the most important points are 1 – 3 and 7. Of course the personality (5) is unique, but in my opinion the points 4,5,6 are the ones, that can be improved through continouus learning and self-improvement.
    Though I’m definitely with you in the overall statement of this post, it’s a really good one!


    P.S. Please edit this out: Do you have server problems? I’m getting some 502 (Bad Gateway) errors and the some CSS / images are not loading properly. Just wanted to mention that :-)

  • Patti Hale

    You’ve given me a new perspective about what’s right about me sticking with the very competitive market I find myself in. Starting out, I knew nothing about researching a market before plunging in, lol, or else I probably would never have picked it.

    But, you’re right, I do have the advantageous of seeing what other people have done in this market and learned where the gaps are and what I can bring to the table that they can’t (or least haven’t yet).

    Thanks for this!

  • David

    Thanks Pat. Forever the encourager! And always practical and thoughtful. Yet another great post.

  • Brian

    This was one of the best posts in a while. Truly addresses the success behind SPI and what it takes to really make it.

  • marie

    These are amazing stuff, very inspiring and motivating. I just subscribed to your blog and been reading some of your posts. Really wonderful, I am learning a lot from you. Keep inspiring us.

  • Henry

    Reading a post like this just depresses me. Idea 1. Nope, don’t have that. Idea 2. Hope. 3. 4. 5. 6. Nope. 7. Definitely nope. Crap.

    • Pat Flynn

      Henry, you might have some of these things now, but people weren’t born into their unfair advantages (at least most people). Most people learn or create them. Don’t have a good story to tell? Make one happen by doing amazing things. Don’t have a lot of people in your rolodex? Go to conventions in an area of interest and be the most friendly person there. So on and so forth – you don’t have to have them now, but you can acquire these advantages now and over time.

    • Johnny Bravo

      Henry, Pat has a good point. He didn’t know he had a great idea when he started the It just “happened” (no offense Pat).

      Don’t think that because you don’t have some world changing idea today that all is hopeless. Your life is filled with amazing moments and experiences. Think through them. Tag it in your mind when someone says “wow that sounds amazing” or “did you really do that” or “how did you do that Henry”. It’s these little events in life that create great moments. Moments and stories that people WANT to hear about.

  • Bob Kondal


    Great article on how to really push through our ‘internal barriers’ and make things happen.

    Was just about to talk myself out of my own idea as there was one competitor in the market – your post has inspired me to crush it and crush them!

    Thanks again !

  • Jeremy

    Great post Patrick! Thanks for the mention, I love being right~ Time to share…

  • DG

    there is only one supermarket in my city that accomodates late night shoppers, closing 3 hours later than all shops.Maybe l should open a competitor shop :) Great article

  • Kimberly, The Fur Mom

    I totally use what I have to get ahead in my blogging. There are millions of bloggers out there and every day I meet yet one more blogger – it’s not unique, but I am so why not throw all that I have at my blogging to get ahead.

    If it works for you and it’s not hurting others, I say GO FOR IT!

  • Kate Erickson

    Pat, thank you for this post! I caught myself nodding at my computer screen as I read about the two-step cycle – so true! And then, I caught myself nodding some more… until I had literally nodded my way through the entire post. Awesome stuff. I especially like how you’ve included specific examples with each of the seven Unfair Advantages. Talk about an unfair advantage: Your ability to share knowledge with your audience in a meaningful way.

  • Tom C

    Hey Pat, Great blog. Interesting and motivating. I spend my whole life putting together projects in Digital Media for other people but haven’t really got around to doing it for myself. It’s a lot easier to collect a salary, go home and not think about it. When you see success based on your work though you start to think why not me ?

  • Caren

    Hi Pat, just started receiving your emails, and am already a fan. Still reading through my how to e-book that you’ve sent me, thanks. It always seem to me that almost all websites/blogs talk about online sources of income and all though I’m just starting on writing an e-book my main business @ the moment is running a Cleaning Company. ( check us out if you ever have the time. My point is sales is not my strong suit, but you have got me looking at myself from a different angle, so thanks again

  • Raymond @Stingy Traveller

    Great post! If all entrepreneurs gave up because someone else has been doing it, we wouldn’t have things like Pepsi, or even Apple. It’s about setting yourself apart.

  • benboyer

    more epic $h!t from the PatFlynnonator = )

    I have no idea , to for you to please buy my spam half price just kidding

    another Awesome post Pat!

    besides giving me a couple more things to work on tonight , it also reminded of 2 other tips I recently started using that relate to this post

    1) answering questions on quora


    2) reading yelp reviews on competitors and / or similar businesses help give you insight to how your customers think

    Both of those also kinda help with the unfair advantage aspect

    Thanks Pat!

  • John

    Thanks Pat. Perhaps one of the hardest things to convince yourself is not that you have something of value for others – but will they want what you have to offer? I guess that working out how to connect with them is part of the answer. I feel like I’m standing at the foot of Mt Everest at times, thinking, I have to climb that thing??

    Thanks for another amazing post! How do you do it?

  • Chris

    Whao! it’s always amazing whenever I read you post, they’re interesting, captivating and always motivating, I’m always inspired but I still have a lot, lot and lot of works to do to get somewhere from my blogging business.
    Please can I re-post from your post, or how can I continually have a feed from your site to my blog to assist me for now as I still finds it difficult being creative while writing. Please I need your response and assistance.
    Thank you.

  • Phillip Cisneros

    Pat, this is exactly why I read your blog and listen to every freaken Podcast you put out. My brother and I paid lots of money for 1 tenth of the information that you give out for free everyday. We are doing quite well with IM and selling products on the Warrior Forum. Our efforts grow even greater with all of your helpful tips. Let me know when you are back in SD. Let’s hit up a Padre game. It will be on me. I owe you that much.

    • Pat Flynn

      Thanks Phillip, that means a lot. I appreciate it! Would love to get to a padre game sometime! We’ll figure it out! All the best!

  • Rocky

    Thanks for the motivation, Pat! Great Post. I am in the middle of growing my own business, and I can definitely relate to the discouragement. You remind us that we do have much to offer. I appreciate the nudge and the great ideas. Keep doing what you do best!

  • Greg Hickman

    Pat, great post brotha. Loved it.

    Regarding hustle as it stands to busting out tons of awesome content…do you have tips on how to plan what content is released when and how (podcast, post, video etc) ?

  • Jeff


    Amazing post! It was the exact thing I needed at this point! Talk about ‘just in time learning!!’ I think you broke it down in an easy to digest and implement manner! Thank you for all your amazing insight and your on point information!

  • Tom Reber


    Great post! What this screams to me is ‘effort.’

    It takes effort to win in business. Sometimes, it’s easy to figure out where we need to put our efforts..and, other times, it takes a great amount of effort to just find our thing..our unfair advantage. We are not taught to think this way and have many years of traditional thinking to overcome. Most people don’t put the ‘mental work’ in to building a business…thinking about things like their vision or their ‘who.’

    Either way, massive effort is required. Like so many others, I am just a year or so into my blog/business and it still requires a focused effort to keep the momentum going. My vision has evolved several times in such a short period of time as I continue to learn and grow.

    Pat-thank you for your blog and podcast…I hope to meet you in Chicago this week! Look for a black MOTOR shirt…

    NOTE to TONY P…don’t lose heart. If you have an idea, then fight for it. Make it better. Keep your eyes on the target and bring your best. There are thousands of businesses in the world that start every year that are doing what others are doing…find YOUR way and wow them! Please keep us posted!


    • Pat Flynn

      Well said Tom! Thank you for adding value to the post!

  • Emily McHugh

    Thorough and well said – here, here! Pat strikes again!

  • Ron TWG

    Thanks Pat. I did not know that you started making money online with a LEED exam website first. It makes me think of all the time and effort that you’ve put in before SPI, because exams for professionals are so complicated and there are so many facets to cover. That’s amazing.

    With that said, I’m trying to be a personable web designer in Hawaii. I feel like every web designer’s website looks and feels the same and says the same thing as the next. Their company names are always so generic too: Akamai Designs, Aloha Website Designers, etc. I intend to do more with video and blogging too to help create a loyal audience.

  • Nick Moody

    Thanks for this awesome post Pat! It’s just the kick in the butt I needed to realize that my unfair advantage is too great not to follow through with my product.

  • Abe

    Thanks Pat. I just signed up for your newsletter this week. I am at the point in the journey as Tony. Have a couple of ideas in several niches for blogs, e-books etc and I’ve been trying to decide which one to go for. Yes, the competition (great impressive ones…) can certainly be deflating. About a month ago I told myself to stop thinking and started to write that e-book just to get into the rhythm of creating content. Its 90% completed and the writing process has helped me uncover angles which I think will help me decide that niche. Reviewing my unfair advantages and USBs will definitely help. Thanks a million. Have fun in Chicago. Abe.

    • Pat Flynn

      Well done Abe! Keep up the amazing work, and wishing you all the best with your projects!

  • Kyle Zimmerman

    Thank you so much, Pat for this… You hit the nail on the head with EXACTLY what I was stewing about this morning.
    I’m doing Marie Forleo’s B-School right now and trying to hone in on my true avatar and product offerings and I keep hearing my inner meanie saying “who do you think YOU are?”
    So thank you, so much!

    • Pat Flynn

      You are you Kyle. You are you. Good luck with B-School, I’ve been hearing great things about it!

  • Muddaser

    Hi pat,
    I would like to share my thoughts on this too.
    Hey tony if you are reading this. And other general public, we normally need a true motivation to start with, when you see people earning tons of money, an excitement comes in mind to start your own business alike but thats not the true motivation its a spark, which as soon as you realize the hard work, vanishes. So first prepare yourself for the step. Ask your inside if you are ready. And then nake a plan.

    Without plan all the hard work is a wrong gym exersice, it would increase the size of biceps but in a wrong and ugly way that you would ned to rip it off but you cant, what you do is to turn back to your coach and ask for a plan. Then work on it.

    Muddaser altaf

  • Israel García

    Hi Pat.

    Your content is truly amazing, congratulations.

    I’m currently launching my first product online and that I have competition but it helps me to think where I can enter the market. And to find my true unfair advantage.

    I’ve never seen competition as a problem.

    Greetings from Spain.

    • Pat Flynn

      Nice Israel, you got this! Best of luck to you!

  • Steve Young

    Pat, I don’t know what it is about your writing but I’m completely drawn to it. I mostly skim blog posts but your stuff I read every word. Nice post!

    • Pat Flynn

      Best comment ever. Thank you so much Steve, I really appreciate that!

  • christine boyer

    Hi Pat!
    It’s my first time here.
    And my goodness, this blog is complete enough to be an ebook.

    ! christine

  • Javid Hussain

    Hello Pat, this really motivates me to start my project right away without worrying about my competition because I know I can definitely add to what is missing and do better than them.

  • Hyptia@Private investigator in Philippines

    From my opinion you should do any thing after think twice in blogging because it’s that kind of work which can give you many things but if you will do something wrong then it could be prove costly for you.

  • martin

    I would add “reverse-engineer” your idea if someone is actually doing it already. We tend to focus on one thing, one way, one solution at all times. If you take your idea and reverse it you would have something completely different. Example, most travel sites always ask where you want to go , what time, etc. What if you don’t know but you have certain budget. Most people think they want to go here or there and some don’t even know where they want to go. What if you can search site by price and the site tell you the best deals where you can go, which city and when.

  • Robert

    Good article Pat!
    I recognize a lot of the post in my own situation, started a business last August. Competition is definately a good thing, it shows there is money in your idea.


  • Kris @ Detailed Success

    I have learned to appreciate competition.

    Someone else has actually done all the hard work and proven that there is a market for it. The notion of having to find something that no one has ever though before is very wrong.

    It’s better to have a small piece of big pie than a big piece of a small (or nothing) pie.

  • Tom

    Great post Pat. I’m re-inspired again!!

  • Mark

    Your article resonates with my own situation.

    I started a courier business with zero capital by using what & who I knew in the industry – recruited owner drivers (people I knew in the industry), set up a variable cost infrastructure & only had to pay for services for work done in getting parcels successfully delivered.

    I eventually sold it 6 years later for millions but would not have been able to do it without my “unfair advantage”

  • Claire

    This was a great post for me. I have been in the internet marketing business for 3 years now and have not made a cent, although I refuse to give up.

    I have such a good online weight loss program targeted at food addicts, but I have yet to see someone actually paying for the program.

    It’s very frustrating, and I have battled to find keywords that are not being used extensively already.

    Well, I shall keep on and one day… Thanks for the encouragement.

    • Derek

      @Claire. It seems that Pat’s approach around specialisation might work for you. My perception is that there are dozens of weight loss programs out there; maybe focus in until you find more of a niche. Even one customer with a success story is a giant leap forward! Also if you find ways to add a personal touch (like Pat did) then you are not just selling general ‘self help’ but providing unique ‘Claire help’ (which is a much much valuable “product”).

    • Matt

      Derek makes some very valid points.

      Also, take a look at the way you’re displaying your content. To me it looks like a niche market affiliate site that is only looking to sell me something. Where are you in the site? Why do the posts say that they are written by “admin”.

      Things like these send people’s crap meters off the chart, especially in markets like weight loss and internet marketing.


    • Matt

      We never give up. Resolve is the mortar of our foundation. Take your key words to your Youtube videos, get top rankings in there first, then watch the Google organic follow suit….One day very soon for all of us, Claire!

      Everybody who hasn’t already, watch James Wedmore’s “how to make an unstoppable brand on Youtube” replay. Guy is a genius, I’m learning a lot…

  • Johnny Bravo

    Great post Pat as always. Knowing that one thing, no matter how insignificant you think it might be could be the one thing that makes you stand out from the crowd.

    • Michael Vera

      Johnny Bravo? A.k.a. one of my favorite cartoons ever.

  • Phil

    Hey Pat,

    Very interesting post. Great advises and tips on the terms “Unfair advantages”.
    I’ll definitely apply some in my own online business.
    Many thanks for sharing.
    All best.

  • Andy @ Palm Riviera Thirumudivakkam

    This is a great post.I think it will be very useful to us. I read it but I need some thing more to know about this.

  • Henri

    Fantastic tips and such a well-written piece. I had to comment.

    I started in 2006. I spent 2-3 years banging my head against the wall and I wasted $10,000+ in the process.

    However, today I have an online business, and I’m doing work I love. So I always get fired up when I read posts like this.

    Success to me has been about not giving up. It has been about following my heart and doing my best. And yes, expecting setbacks, challenges, and lots of inner resistance.

    It has also been about letting things take the time it takes. My unfair advantage today is being able to simplify concepts and help people take action. It’s also about being able to create high-quality content rapidly.

    This wasn’t apparent to me in the beginning. I struggled a lot, and I was confused. It was like walking in a fog, the more I moved forward, the more I could see.

    To anyone reading this, know that you can do this if you truly want to. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be worth it.

    Rock on, Jedi Pat!

  • Ancuta

    So true, Pat, so true! We are always inclined to think that everything good could happen only to others. Our self-confidence is so fragile as we are ready to give up just by seeing others succeeding. We forget that while we cannot do what everybody else is doing, others cannot do what we can do… Because each of us is unique and from this uniqueness arises our greatness. We only lack the courage to face our fears, go beyond them and meet success.

  • Ian Robinson

    Thanks for this Pat.

    I really appreciate that you brought ideas from the Lean Startup. I just read that book and I feel like it is a fundamental building block for the new fast paced, inexpensive world of entrepreneurship.

    As always, I’m deeply in debt to you for all the fantastic work you do. Thanks you sooooo much.

  • Joan

    Pat, as always, I gleaned so much from you email today. Thanks for pouring into others from your experience.
    Joan McDonagh

  • Jeremy McCommons

    Great post! You don’t always have to come up with something new in order to be a successful entrepreneur. Really, how many businesses are truly offering something unheard of? Most just offer their own unique spin on products and services that already exist! I started several businesses within the real estate industry knowing how much competition there was, but I have been successful because I have my own unique perspective and methods which distinguish my businesses within such a large industry. Entrepreneurs must have extreme focus accompanied by flexibility and a determination to make decisions that help them reach their ultimate goals!

  • Wendy

    As always, you hit the nail on the head. Clear, concise, actionable advice. Thanks, Pat!

  • Ian McConnell

    Great post Pat.

    It’s also important to keep telling your story… You might think people know your story, but they may not have heard or have forgotten parts of it.

    I often think that people don’t want to hear my whole story again, because it is a lengthy one, but I always get asked about it… which means people are interested.

    Ian McConnell
    Western Australia

  • Tyronne Ratcliff

    Great post Pat, I like how you said the “right” kind of hustle, as entrepreneurs we always have to be tracking our activity. This is one thing I’ve learned from running my own blog, like they say the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and thinking your going to get different results, ain’t gonna happen!

  • Mohamed CHAMIKH

    realy man you are my source of inspiration considering the internet business…you rock man…god bless you
    (sorry for my english because i am an arab from morocco and we don’t spok english here a lot 😉 )

  • http:/// Evelyn

    Another great post, Pat. I’ve been following you for a few years, and you’ve given so many marketing gems over that time.
    I agree with something I believe you’ve said before, that there’s a reason if nobody’s in the market you’re thinking of entering – there are no customers.

  • http:/// Jen

    Some great ideas there. I believe many find it difficult to put their face and their story out for the world to see; I’m one of those. However, I also know that it works, as those are the sites I go back to again and again, the ones that are so transparent. Hey, I love bios too.

  • Taiki

    I loved this post and I believe it is so true. The honest truth is that so many of us have the ability (unfair advantage) to do something big, we just don’t do it… Thanks for kicking our butts and helping us to realise that.

  • Rex Hillier

    Hi Pat,
    As a soon to be ‘official’ blogger, I have been positively influenced by your approach. I experience a very good energy when I read your material, a strong resonance. Among many attributes that shine through, your obvious commitment to enabling conversation with your — I am sure very large — community and your personal contact with individuals is impressive.
    I am reminded in your latest blog of particularly two of the ‘unfair advantages’ that are very pertinent for me: experience and personal story. Mine are related to a lifetime of addiction and ultimate healing. Thanks for your guidance thus far. I wish you ongoing health, happiness and success. Rex

  • Dakota

    Hey Pat,

    Inspiring as usual.

    The comments of many are inspiring also. Henri above, “I started in 2006. I spent 2-3 years banging my head against the wall and I wasted $10,000+ in the process”.

    Most of us haven’t spent that much, but in time, much more than that. Not giving up and tweaking are key elements.
    The unfair advantages are worthless if you quit. Sometimes tweaking (for instance banner color) and trying new things (guest posting) can bring results.

    Pat, the thing you display the most prominently is integrity. We love you for that!

  • marty

    As a newbie I get discouraged alot that I cannot keep up with everyone else but these advantage gave me a new perspective I never truly thought about what I did bring to the table just by being me.I should leverage that more often

  • Kelly

    Hi Pat,
    GREAT post! I started my online business not long ago an dam still in the start up phases. Honestly the doubt most arises when I start looking at others to see where I should be going. When I follow my own vision, I know no one else has it so I get all inspired again.

    I think information overload increases my doubts big time. The less I engage in my industry right now, the better I do at staying really focused and productive.

    I am going to bookmark this post so I am reminded when I feel doubts again.

  • DaleKathryn

    WOW… great post! The parts that hit home for me were “insane amounts of effort” and “improving your skill level”. I know my videos have gotten better over time however I really need to work on my writing skills. I had a friend who is a personal style blogger and I have watched her progress over the last year. I must say I am really impressed. Most people looking at her would think it comes easily but I know first hand the amount of work she does and all the time she spends strategizing and implementing her plans. I do feel I am a little behind but nothing that an insane amount of effort won’t cure! :)

  • Shawn

    Hey Pat! Thanks for all of the great tips. After floundering with a few other ideas, I finally decided to create a site about something I really know and take advantage of my insider knowledge. The main problem I have is that I have to be careful not to take “too” much advantage because I work for the government and they can be quick with the reprimand if you make it sound like you’re speaking on its behalf (apparently that is the President’s job.)

  • Cody Stevenson

    Great post again Pat! This one really hit on a lot of topics with me.

    I think making excuses or “a change in weather” are a big problem a lot of entrepreneurs face, I know I have been guilty of it. In fact, your blog is a big motivator for me!

    And I can’t stress hustle enough!! The more hustle, the better the return! I see this directly in the traffic on my blog.

    Thanks for another great post!

  • Omega Maverick

    Thank you! Awesome post. I have missed your blog posts since you have been so focused on the podcast. Do not get me wrong, love the podcast have listened to all 62 sessions.

    However, there is just something about the written word and how you weave words that really makes a difference.

    Thank you again for an insightful and great post.

  • Luke

    Great post Pat, it is definitely something that can stop many budding entrepreneurs and can still show up with seasoned entrepreneurs.

    Feel the fear and do it anyway :)

  • sergio lialin

    Really inspirational and uplifting! The way you framed everyone’s individual, unique “specialness” as an unfair advantage really resonated for me. So true. I bet this blog will inspire many who read it.

    with warm regards.

  • linda

    Great article – thanks for sharing!

    BTW, wanted to let you know that your url without the www – doesn’t go to your website. I was surprised to just see a white screen.

  • Dan Erickson

    I have a story and I know how to tell it. I’m getting better at making connections. I’m consistent. I’m patient. And money is not my final goal. To leave stories and other writing that resonates for generations to come is.

  • Jawad Khan | WritingMyDestiny

    I think one more reason why people tend to back away, when they see others doing similar businesses, is because they ignore the size of the online target market. They feel their target market already hads enough businesses offering these services, which is wrong inmost cases.

    The internet is such a huge market that there’s always room for more businesses in the same niche. Specially when you bring your unique flavor to the product/services you are offering

  • Daniel C Townsend

    I know you should always play to your strengths, but I really enjoy calling them unfair advantages. You have really given me some food for thought. Love the blog!

  • Jimmy Stuart

    “They have [insert whatever classic thing — usually money — no one actually needs to bring a good idea to life] and I don’t! There’s no way I can do this…”

    Just like we entrepreneurs tend to think everyone else has all these things we don’t, that is, everyone else has an UNFAIR ADVANTAGE, we have some of our own. Great post Pat! We all DO have our own unfair advantages, and I think Pat would agree that there is more than 7…

    I propose those of us reading and commenting each suggest another type of unfair advantage, at least one, to add to Pat’s awesome list above.

    I’ll add 3:


    I think one really needs to consider their personal style, start to recognize it, and DEFINITELY embrace it! If 100 of us were given a detailed description of a website to be built on WordPress, tasked with building it on that alone and given complete freedom in doing so, I’d wager that no two of them were remarkably alike. Style is so important, and it comes out everywhere: Your writing, your content, the themes/designs you choose, etc. In a crowded niche? Leverage your style!

    2. Your Convictions

    The principles that guide your site/product/content are going to be, to some extent, unique to you. Standing by your convictions is a strong tool in writing/content creation and is very attractive to readers (Pat does it sooo well), but will also help you stand out and give you something to offer. Your convictions are likely duplicated throughout your niche, but that’s ok. Your particular SET of convictions or beliefs is most likely as unique to you as your story or your style. (NOTE: Always try to make sure the convictions you stand so firmly by are reasonable and appropriate).

    3. Your “Taste” — the specific things you like

    I’m not very old, but one thing I have learned about life/people without doubt is that tastes vary. Many people like the same things, but always to varying degrees and for many different reasons. Why you like things, and why you like them so much, can be advantageous to you as keeping your readers/followers engaged by showing them new ways of thinking about things and, frankly, enjoying life — the ways you do.

    This is just a comment, of course, so forgive the lack of examples/research. This is also an attempt to spur some further conversation on a great thought — that it isn’t just “everyone else” that has an unfair advantage. I truly believe that this idea that WE ALL have our own “unfair advantages” is super-important for entrepreneurs, and super-correct. Seriously, this is a great way of thinking — just imagine your competitors red-faced with anger because you had an awesome story (for example) to tell and now their readers are your readers, and THAT COMPETITOR is now complaining about YOUR unfair advantage.

    And Pat, your site/podcast taught me just about everything I know, from InfoBarrel to WordPress Plugins. I listen to it as I work every night. If you ever stop SPI, I will send you a very angry letter. (Kidding, I owe you. :P)

  • Rusty Boozer

    Thanks for the article. I’ve just started blogging and I get deflated a lot. It’s great to hear that you’ve been through the same thing and pressed on.

    PS – I would also like to thank you for your positive message and genuine spirit. It comes out in your writing and your podcast and that why I subscribe. Keep up the great work and Bless you.


  • Sibo

    First of all, I have to confess that I do not usually have enough patience to complete a long blog post with more than 3500 words. This article is LONG indeed.

    However I also want to say. This is one of the most powerful articles on your blog, Pat!

    After I read everything carefully, I figured out my unfair advantages is the No.6 listed in this article, “Ability to Listen, Build, Measure and Learn”.

    I love learning. I almost learn new stuff and apply it into my life every single day. At the same time, I love sharing because I hope my learning experience can help others as well – I believe I found my edge over my competition. Thank you, Pat.

  • Jeff Goins

    Love #4!

  • Moses

    I don’t think that it’s an unfair advantage. It just needs to be understood.

  • Patrick Matherne

    Great article. I am using one of my unfair advantages, and some might even call it a negative point to my advantage. I find it is all a point of view. I was told I suffer from analysis paralysis, so I found a niche where being able to look at problems very deeply can help me
    Hoping to get big enough to be on your show one day

  • Ryan (Manifest Income)

    I first learned about the concept of an “Unfair Advantage” via the book by Robert Kiyosaki.

    It fundamentally shifted my view on life and how I wanted to define how I worked and lived.

    I think the entrepreneur bug is capable of being release in every single person on this planet…

    You are your own biggest enemy in your success. Your will power and willingness to adapt are at the core of what will make you successful in any industry.

    I couldn’t help but chuckle when I read this article. Many of the inner conflicts, I’ve face myself, or seen in our students.

    You start off with these all ideas, you’re ready to change the world, but the minute the heat kicks in, many people turn away.

    It’s never meant to be easy… but it’s always attainable.

    Building credibility comes over time… I find the best approach is to find the people that inspire you the most and reverse engineer how they got where they were.

    This is a skill that takes sometime to master, but it can start with a simple email to your idol.

    • Iain

      I agree Ryan. Knowing your unfair advantage can help you to shift your view on life.

      You can really point yourself in the right direction through utilizing your unfair advantage.

      Also, you are your biggest enemy is so true. People often put themselves down because they don’t think they are good enough, or they can do it at all.

      We have to realize that if you step it up and realize your full potential we can do whatever we put our minds to.

      We also need to realize that it is ok to talk to someone to get help or check to see if an idea is viable or not.

      For some people, the hardest part may be to find what is your unfair advantage. How does one go about finding that ?

      Great post Pat, and comment Ryan

    • Kyle

      Ryan, I love this. Well said.

      “It’s never meant to be easy…”

      As my grandfather said, if it was easy everyone would do it.

  • Ryan Latham

    Thank you for the insight. I just signed up for the free ebook. I am a new blogger who is looking to publish an ebook to help boost subscriptions. This is very timely for me. I am excited to create some passive income for me and my family.

  • Ryan (Manifest Income)

    I apologize for my horrible typos above, I can’t believe I missed so many :0, that’s the problem with being in a rush! Btw, I just wanted to mention that Pat is an excellent example of someone that responds to emails (who is considered an idol).

    I have yet to have an unanswered question go by longer than 24 hours.

    He is a true example of what a determined individual can become with good work ethic.

    So go out, get the answers to your questions, and let’s make it happen!

  • Jessica Kihara

    You make some great points. It makes a lot of sense to make the most of our advantages. The “unfair” aspect makes it a little harder to put into action for some people, I’m guessing.

  • James Zedd

    Great post Pat. I have been following your blog for a while now, and I almost feel like getting all this information without paying a membership fee is a crime. All the best.

  • Emmanuel

    I’m a little bit perplexed here. Why should anyone abandon his dreams simply because someone else is doing it? There is nothing in this world which has never being thought by someone else before.
    That’s the reality!

  • David A.

    I recently close my blog due to infringement of copyright issues and was bummed and out until your wakeup call.

    You are right. No one is stopping you except well you. The hardest part about success is momentum. Find or create a reason not to give a moment of pause.

    Just like how Andrew Warner never got a chance to slack because of his packed schedule of interviews.

    Thanks for reviving my hope.

  • UnSatisfied Reader

    Haha…as usual, a bunch of newbie/amateur “entrepreneurs” (no offense) clinging to unactionable rhetoric that really doesn’t provide any insight or clear steps on how to be successful. I used to think this site was geared towards higher level online marketers, but now I realize it is for the clueless ones. Not to mention the fact that this post is littered with links to your buddies Pat – it is more of a promotional/marketing piece than anything else.
    Interestingly enough, though, those amateur entrepreneurs are the ones contributing to more than half your monthly income by clicking on your BlueHost affiliate links. So, in the end, screw it – keep milking them!

    • Pat Flynn

      Well, you seem to be way ahead of the rest of us – so kudos to you! Not all posts I write are for the advanced people like yourself. Sometimes the lesser experienced need to hear messages like this. Before one can take action, they need to get their mindset in the right place, but you know that already. And of course this post links to my buddies – they are the ones who are using their unfair advantages in the way I’ve described above. I’m not going to link to people I’m not familiar with. Make sense? Anyway, wishing you all the best!

      • UnSatisfied Reader

        Pat, thank you for being such a great sport. You take criticism from faceless critics with humility and class, and I respect that.
        I would please ask that, once in awhile, you offer more insight into how you’ve become immensely successful.
        BEFORE you had all these relationships and a brand people know about, what did you do? How did you reach out to people? What specific guest post emails did you send? What did you think your value-add was? How did or do you approach people about linking to your site? Specifically, two-thirds of your links are site-wide links: how did you get some of these people to initially give you powerful site-wide links without doing the same back? How do you choose your content? Do you have a specific word-count you target or number of mentions? At least earlier on when you didn’t have a loyal number of direct followers and traffic, how did you address these concerns? These higher level questions and answers would be much appreciated.

        • Alain Schlesser

          Apart from the fact that posts about mindset are of fundamental importance when it comes to entrepreneurship, I’ll add that the information you want to get from Pat is highly contextual. So, the more you go into the nitty-gritty details of how Pat managed to get where he is now, the more you’ll have a blueprint of how you can do the same… IF you are Pat Flynn and start in San Diego several years ago!
          Sure, he can give a recap of what he did when and where, but this information would probably be less useful then you might think, because it won’t easily apply to your own situation.
          I personally think that Pat does a great job of switching between this “unactionable rhetoric” that tries to get your thinking going in the right direction and some really hands-on actionable posts that show you how to walk the walk.

        • Pat Flynn

          In the same way I didn’t give you the answers you were looking for, you initially didn’t give me the specific questions you were looking for me to answer. Here, however, you did, so thank you.

          I’m not sure how deep into the site you’ve gotten but there are definitely a myriad of actionable type posts, many that answer the very questions that you asked above. I understand, however, that doesn’t mean that I should leave them buried in the archives and never bring them up again. Personally, I feel that these “unactionable”, mindset type posts are needed and just as important as the actionable ones, and this being the blog that I own, I’m able to provide the content in to my wide-ranging audience in the way that I choose. Again, I appreciate the insight and honesty. You’re allowed to use your name you know. 😉

        • John

          Well, only newbies worry about nonsense like “word-count” etc. Get something up and running, if people like it you’ll know pretty soon. If you feel that you need to convince people all the time, you’re not offering exactly what they are looking for. Some of the greatest entrepreneurs never went to business school… As Richard Branson always says: “just do it”… You don’t start with building the audience, and THEN create the product… If you offer a great product/service/content etc, you dont need to beg for stuff like links.

        • Jerry Higgins

          How has Pat become so “immensely successful”? No insight from Pat is necessary to answer this question. It’s clear to me that he just works his ass off…. in a smart, not passive way.

    • Jimmy Stuart

      Firstly, Pat always references “his buddies'” blogs because that is where he learned from, aside from being excellent resources in their own rights.

      Secondly, this “unactionable rhetoric” is a great read with a healthy perspective for entrepreneurs. It is as if you imply that everything he writes HAS TO be actionable, here’s how to be successful stuff.

      Thirdly, you remind me of this guy who was losing all of his money at a blackjack table some friends and I were sitting at who walked away saying “you guys need to learn some basic strategy.” He seemed bitter.

      • UnSatisfied Reader

        Haha, Jimmy…that last part was funny. The fact is that my entire business revolves around online marketing and I make a solid 6-figure income doing it. If I was like you, a person who is likely new to this type of business, I would also think that this is the best information to be providing entrepreneurs. The fact is, most of what you read online these days, at this blog or the next, is an academic exercise of your mind at best. Go pick up the best book on “How To Run A Restaurant”, and you will still have no clue how to actually create, build, and operate a restaurant. No one gives you that kind of privileged information for free.

        The bottom line is, if you want to be a media/publishing site online where your sole goal is to attract readers, rank well in Google, and make money via advertising or affiliates, then frankly, as long as you have decent content and aren’t the biggest idiot in the world, you can get traffic. How? It doesn’t come from thinking like an entrepreneur. You just need to do certain things (2 things to be exact) and you will rank well, get traffic, and make money.

        If you are a computer programmer or into web development and you have developed an unique new software or technology, links and traffic are even easier to obtain. The bottom line is…this food for thought bullshit is for philosophers…you want to be successful, you have to DO things. Hence why, for your sake, I ask for actionable posts so YOU will know what to do.

        • Zack

          I find this post to be very actionable. Then again I am not looking to be spoon-fed the information. I am a big boy and can take this great content and formulate my actions around it.

        • Jimmy Stuart

          To be honest, I agree. But no one purports the importance of value in online business more than Pat does. You seemed to disagree with him, but what you just said is a page right out of his book.

          And anyway, if over 100 people saw enough value in this to comment on it, how can you dispute its usefulness?

  • Ann

    Thank you for your blog. I wait for next posts impatiently. I’m polish student. From your site I learn: english, marketing, blogging and so on. Everything with smile. Thanks!

  • Krishna Parmar

    I’m a small amount perplexed here. Exactly why ought to everyone abandon the aspirations for the reason that other people is progressing it? Absolutely nothing is on this planet that’s by no means staying believed by other people just before.
    That’s the truth!

  • Alexis Marlons

    This is a very good point to tackle. i think it is a matter of determination why we often fail to realize right away what comes to our mind. A little more push on ourselves would take us farther if we are determined enough.

  • Lee OB


    you meld the motivational so well with the informational. Thank you for awakening me to what I have as “unfair advantages”. The post was not necessarily chalked full of detail, but more importantly the points made will be a catalyst to discovering on my own those details. Thank you for doing that, Pat. all the best!!

  • Pandita

    Pat, once again, thank you for the great post! I am just starting out online. I am currently in the process of back-linking (all manual, very slow and tedious!) & I really needed the mindset adjustment/boost.

    Now, to dig in a figure out what advantage I have, could desperation be one?? :-)

  • prabhat

    GREAT post pat
    i am not new is blogging but i am visiting this blog for first time. and i found some useful information here. thanks for writing this post. i get almost 3000 visits per day on my blog, should i start affiliate marketing?? please reply

    • Krishna Parmar

      Yes, Prabhat your blog seems god, go with it!

  • Krishna Parmar

    According to me, yes we should seek out each and every benefit which we get from the sources, what say?

  • Igor

    Enjoyed reading the post. I think everyone can find at least one benefit to use right away, I know I do :)

  • Ken Tan

    Thanks, Pat! I really enjoy this post! …all are awesome points that you mentioned. Keeps me motivated!

  • Jason Neuman

    Some great insight Pat. I’ve been on the Net since 2006 and I finally started my personal blog a few weeks ago! Key online business aspect for me is time realization, how long will it take. Usually longer than you anticipate. As a new blogger I really appreciate all the tips on your site. Keep up the good work!

  • Ravi

    This is a wonderful article! I was stuck for years as well..Into alcohol and what not.
    There was a time when I used to be drunk at 10 sunday morning..

    Thanks to me I decided to change myself after realizing we have nothing to loose..

  • Tal Gur

    Great article Pat. The unfair advantage is also discussed in the Lean Startup book, which is highly recommended to anyone who want to build a big online business.

  • Steve Ho

    Great and very informative post you have shared with us i like this

  • Joel Suarez

    Thanks, this is a great blog, i will come back to be able to digest all this information, thanks.

  • Rich

    That lots of information to think about.
    Thanks for the preyers. We need them here in Boston.

  • Krystian

    Hey! Great points you made here, Pat. I think this post applies not only to business, but every other aspect of a one’s carrier. In order to be successful you need to know your strengths! I think that everyone has some different mix of economically valuable abilities. We just need to find them :)

  • Md Tajuddin Sadique

    This is 7 golden points that every blogger can do for run online business….thanks for share with …Sheer Pat….

  • Michal

    Wow. I’ll use a few of my self-analysis sessions to target my unfair advantage and the way to utilize it. Thanks a lot Pat.

  • Bipper Media

    great write up Pat! thanks for sharing

  • sam

    Just what I needed to read today.

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