About This Episode
This week, David McBride has a question about focus. How can he find more accountability and evaluate what to focus on in his business? I share some tips and strategies with David, we discuss ways of monetizing his work, and he outlines his action plan for the future.
What You’ll Learn: How to create accountability in your business and how to decide what to focus on when you’re just starting out.
AskPat 1007 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, what’s up everybody? Pat Flynn here. Welcome to Episode 1007 of AskPat 2.0. We have a show today that I think you’re gonna relate to, because David McBride is calling in from Northern Ireland and he’s struggling. He’s struggling a little bit with accountability and keeping on track, because like myself and like most entrepreneurs, he has what is sometimes known as Squirrel Syndrome, or Bright Light Syndrome, or . . . There’s a lot of other terms for it. It just means we get so distracted and we can’t stick with one thing. How do we focus more? That’s why David called in. He’s right in the beginning of his online business journey, so unlike some of the other calls we’ve had so far, David is just starting out. As you likely know, especially if you’ve already gone through the process of starting a business, you know that that’s a big problem; it’s something you have to get over.
We’re gonna talk with David today, but before that I do want to thank today’s sponsor, which is FreshBooks of course. I absolutely love FreshBooks, especially the new FreshBooks. It’s brand new since last year; they’ve updated it. They’ve made it so much easier for us to do the things we need to do. Especially for me, because I don’t just do coaching here on AskPat, I do coaching in many other ways and I coach some companies and I bill them. It just takes me thirty seconds using FreshBooks billing features to send a professional-looking invoice and get paid—and not only get paid, keep track of who has yet to pay me. But not only that, understand who has yet to even open those invoices that I send out. It’s very, very easy for me to follow through.
If you do any billing of any kind or if you are struggling with keeping track of your finances, especially come tax season when you’re just like, “I don’t know what’s going on in my business right now,” that’s dangerous. You want to know what’s going on in your business. You want to be able to easily print things out and track and get profit and loss statements and balance sheets and all those kinds of things, plus automatically keep track of your expenses too, because it can connect to your credit card and all that good stuff. FreshBooks is the way to go.
Check this out. For us, those of you listening to the show, you can get a thirty-day, unrestricted free trial. All you have to do is go to FreshBooks.com/askpat and just enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section. Again, just one more time, FreshBooks.com/askpat, and enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section.
Alright, now let’s get to the conversation today with David, who has this amazing accent. I think you’ll enjoy it, so here we go: David McBride from Northern Ireland.
Pat Flynn: Hey David, thank you so much for taking the time to come on AskPat today. How are you?
David McBride: Not too bad, Pat, I’m happy to be here.
Pat Flynn: I love the accent by the way. Where are you from, by the way?
David McBride: Northern Ireland. You love it; I tend to hate it.
Pat Flynn: I need to go. I do have some Irish blood in me, and it’s definitely on my bucket list to make my way up there at some point. Really quick, why don’t you quickly introduce yourself to the listeners out there and have them get to know you for just a little bit? Who is David McBride?
David McBride: Pretty much, David McBride . . . I have spent most of my life in the military. Now with life where it is, family life, I’m trying to venture into the online business so I have more time with the wife and kids. Pretty much the goal here for myself.
Pat Flynn: I love it. You’re just at the start of your journey here, is that correct?
David McBride: Yes.
Pat Flynn: Fantastic. Tell me more about your goals related to this. I know you said more time with your family, but what do you envision if everything were to work out? How would life be, what would you be doing?
David McBride: Truthfully, I can’t complain too much. My life isn’t too bad at the minute. I work part-time at the minute so I have quite a lot of time with the children. It’s more control of your time. My work, although it’s part-time, I don’t get to pick my schedule. I’m there when I have to be there, and it doesn’t always work out with normal life. You have kids yourself, you know.
Pat Flynn: Completely.
David McBride: They have their own wee schedule that you have to try and stick to. I would like to be there through pretty much all of it.
Pat Flynn: How old are the kiddos?
David McBride: Youngest—Angus—is four, and Daisy’s nine.
Pat Flynn: Four and nine, so almost the same ages as mine. My son’s eight and my daughter is five, so yeah, I’m right there with you. I totally get it. For me, when I had kids that was the most motivating thing was just wanting to be with them more. It really helped me take some action that I had never taken before. Had you ever ventured into this world of online business before, or this is kind of the first time getting into it?
David McBride: This is my first time actually trying to venture into it. I have had a couple of wee things up and running in the past, but nothing online.
Pat Flynn: Nothing online. What have you done so far to kind of kickstart your journey here?
David McBride: Listen to yourself, is pretty much the starting point.
Pat Flynn: That’s great, so we’re right at the beginning. Tell me what is on your mind: What are you kind of struggling with right now?
David McBride: The main thing I struggle with is accountability. I can’t keep myself on track. I venture off into a million different directions, mainly for other people, which kind of leaves all my stuff on the back burner.
Pat Flynn: Now, just to tell you, you are not alone in that. Even myself and most everybody who’s listening to this can definitely relate to that, where we start something and then we kind of get off track, whether it’s because we have too many ideas or we’re working for somebody else. Don’t feel like you’re alone in that, but what are some things that you’ve tried that you just haven’t followed through with?
David McBride: I had signed up to The One Thing with Geoff Woods, which I really do . . . I enjoy Geoff. His The One Thing podcast is very good and it gives you good hints and tips for that sort of thing, keeping you on track, but it’s keeping myself accountable that seems to be the thing. I’ve also tried The Miracle Morning, managed it for a good few months, but after a while you find yourself getting lazy. It’s when that kicks in, it’s . . . I don’t have anybody in the online world or anybody in the actual business world to actually steer me in the right direction. Most of my friends, contacts, are either family or else military. There’s nobody that I really have in that direction.
Pat Flynn: That makes sense . . . No, keep going, I’m sorry.
David McBride: No, no, it’s okay. You carry on.
Pat Flynn: Well, what I want to know is, what keeps you motivated? From your history, what are some things that you have accomplished and followed through on?
David McBride: Well that’s it, the military was very easy to keep motivated. If you mess up or you don’t do anything right, they’re quick to tell you and not always the nicest about it. There’s no chance of missing something because you felt lazy. It’s getting done one way or the other, whether you like it or not. When I’m on my own time, I find myself quite happy for maybe a week, where I’ll put a bit of work in. Then things just . . . It could be something really, really simple. Kids have a birthday party and I had something planned that day, so that there takes me a day behind. But instead of catching up the next day, that there ends being a week later before you actually get back on track to go on.
Pat Flynn: I think the big thing here is that you need some sort of motivation to get you to where you need to go. I think in the military, like you said, it’s really easy because you have other people who are gonna make sure that you don’t fall behind. There’s that pressure of making sure to do our part, or else we’re gonna get yelled at or perhaps even be penalized in some way for that. This is very common in online business. There’s always a, “Well, I could do this tomorrow.” Then, “if I do it tomorrow, well, maybe I can start next week. It’s okay, I can go on the week after that.” I think at first we need to really focus on the “Why” and what your goals are, because that’s gonna help us through that motivation.
Beyond that, I think there are some strategies we can put into place to help you stay accountable. I don’t know if you’ve connected to any communities in the online space. I have a community on Facebook and there’s a number of people online in different forums and Facebook related to perhaps different niches that you’re getting into, where you can connect with others and create accountability partners. That is something that really helps me. As you likely know, I’m in a number of different mastermind groups that . . . I have people who are on my tail if I don’t do what I say I’m gonna do. That is something that is very similar to what you were talking about in the military. I feel like I’d be either A) letting those people down or B) they’d be yelling at me if I didn’t actually do what I needed to do.
Those are a couple things that are very motivating to me. Also, I think a lot of what’s gonna help you is just getting started with something and putting something up and just seeing what happens. I think as you begin to do that . . . Because I’m very familiar with Geoff’s stuff for sure, and Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod . . . I mean, that’s more practice and mindset type stuff, but truly once you start to see even just a few things pop up that you’ve actually created, that becomes motivating as well. Those are the small wins that you have moving forward.
Actually, let’s start there. What, if any, are some small wins that you’ve had as you’ve begun to get started? With the time that you did put into place, what are some things that actually did come out of that work that you put in?
David McBride: Well, the sort of things that have come out of it . . . I’ve done a couple of wee courses. I signed up to the Lynda.com, went through a few of their courses to try and get myself into the online world. Computers tend not to be where I spend a lot of my life in the past, or where I haven’t spent a lot of my life and now trying to get into it. That was a big thing. I ended up using that for work. I now run a couple of Facebook pages for friends and a couple of wee local businesses. I have built a couple of websites now. They are not great, but still, I have built a couple of ones for other people.
My own one that I’m hoping to get started, which . . . I’ve just complete your Build Your Own Brand wee online course. I really enjoyed it. That’s probably the furthest I’ve got with anything at the minute. It’s my third construction of the same site. I have deleted it and built it and deleted it and built it over the last year really, when I do find time. That’s the first time I’ve actually published so that it is on the web. It’s not complete by any stretch, but it’s there so that I can continue on with it. The build that’s there at the minute is the one that I’m sticking with, and I’m just gonna keep going with that.
Pat Flynn: I love that. It seems like you’re committing to that approach, which is great. Tell me more about this website. What is it about and who is your target audience?
David McBride: Well, it’s nice and simple. First of all, I went through your book, Will It Fly?, and as you say, “the riches are in the niches,” so did start off with a basic “apply to everybody that’s joining the army” mentality, which for the UK, you’re talking tens of thousands each year. For the last eight years I’ve spent in the Army Reserves, which is our version of the part-time, it’s not committed to full-time . . . I have narrowed it down to just those that are joining the Army Reserves. The process is a simple process, but the time is very limited for the people that are going through the training, because it is on a part-time basis. If you have no military experience, going from zero to completing a course, there’s a lot to take in there in very few hours.
The idea of the website is pretty much to give them all the basic knowledge, so they go in there . . . Although they’re going through the course, and they will be taught a lot of stuff time and time again, they’re not hitting it at a million miles and hour where they have to learn everything in five minutes. They’ve got time they can spend on their own, build up their own knowledge, and also a few hints and tips that really do help them through that.
I’ve spent the last four years with the Army Reserves recruiting and training people for going through basic training. As you’d say, “What’s your superpower?” Well, that’s what I’ve done for the last four years, so I know the process inside and out, and I get to see where people go wrong when they’re coming in for their interviews. Just a lack of preparation is the main thing there. It’s all the wee things that you may not think are important that help you across the path. That’s what the site’s there for. It’s just really an online resource for anybody that’s looking to join the Reserves, to make things easier and sort of take away a bit of the nerves, because it can be nerve-wracking for people that are just joining.
Pat Flynn: Well David, that sounds like an amazing solution to a problem that definitely exists and something that you have a lot of experience with, for sure. I feel like if people were to know about this resource it could definitely be a hit, because I know that with career-based things . . . I mean, if you know my story, my first website was helping people pass an exam in the architecture field here in the U.S. People want to know how to do something or get career advancement. They often will pay for those resources, knowing that it’s gonna help them save a lot of time and help them get to that goal much quicker. I love that as your focus, and the fact that you are there with all that experience as sort of their coach along the way is great. For now, I’d love to know what kind of content lives on the site, and what are you planning to do with it?
David McBride: What lives on the site? Next to nothing.
Pat Flynn: Well, I’m giving you validation that this is a great direction. With you being pulled in every which way, I would encourage you to stick with this one, at least for a while, and really build it out and turn it into that ideal resource that you would love to share with a new recruit or potential recruit. This is something that can truly be a significant resource for a person in their life journey really, because it’s helping with their career, helping them support their family and such. I just wanted to validate that for you. I think this is a great idea, for sure.
Obviously there needs to be some content on there, so when people find this … It’s kind of a two-edged thing. In order for people to know it exists, people need to find it, and in order for people to find it, sometimes you have to have content on there already that Google can find and that you can share with other people, that they can share with other people. I’d love to know if you have a content plan moving forward, or even just understanding what your next steps are?
David McBride: Well, I do . . . As we’re speaking, I have a layout of what is going on the site. I printed it out last night in preparation for this. It’s sitting in front of me here. Basically, you’ve got your people that are just getting started. I’m sorry, I have stole some of your catchphrases, like the “Getting Started,” the home button for getting started.
Pat Flynn: Do it: That’s why it’s there.
David McBride: That pretty much is the application process. Our whole process is online—talking through that. Interview prep, the type of things that you need, how to dress, timings, the type of questions . . . I have written out a magnet-type thing for all the questions you will be asked during your interview, so that you can have preparation for them. That there is one wee section.
Military knowledge would be another section. I have a lesson section, which breaks down into military knowledge, health and fitness, map-reading, kit and equipment, field craft, and skill at arms. Each of them then sub breakdowns into the links of . . . The military knowledge is everything from your history, the corps and units, the rank system, basic foot drill, training locations. Moving on to the links of health and fitness, pretty much there’s three separate fitness programs. One, a very basic one for those that are just starting, one for those that are already reasonably fit and wish to move on, and then those that are super fit, which is above my level. I’ve had help with a few PTIs and they’ve helped me set out a few programs. Plus also how to prevent injuries, the type of kit you’ll need, good shoes for running, things like that there. Moving on: map reading. Map reading in the Army. I instruct with map reading, and it is one of the weak points with quite a few people. It’s probably the reason that I put it in there. It’s probably not necessary for that, but I think everybody should have a decent level of map reading. As they understand the basics, everything else is very easy. Kit and equipment . . .
Pat Flynn: There’s just so much stuff here: This is great.
David McBride: Yeah, as I’m going through . . . I realize I’m probably rambling on here a wee bit. The big thing is, I don’t see a lot of profit in it at the start. There’s no money in it to begin with and I understand that and I’m happy enough with that. My plan for that is down the line . . . When people get onto your system, if they use me before they start, in two years time when they’re going for their first promotions and they’re going to go through their courses, there’s more kit equipment and courses that you can do and put on for them. Sorry, I’m just going to silence my notifications. Apologies.
Pat Flynn: No, you’re good.
David McBride: There’s things down the line, but that’s sort of a two year program. Keeping in your email list so down the line, when they’re ready to go for their next promotional courses, those sort of things that you need and require . . . And also a couple of wee courses that you can put online that you can sell on to. Early on, the only place I can see to make money is pretty much the kit and equipment, a bit like your own Resource page. Things that make life easy.
Pat Flynn: Right. I mean, that’s definitely a possibility, for sure. Although first of all, you just have to . . . I think you know this already. You just have to be honest with yourself knowing that you’re not going to make money within the first week or even month or a few months after the website goes up. That’s not to say you have to wait, to that point where two years down the road they’re going to begin to start to transact with you in some way. As you begin to build this audience, as you begin to create content, you’re gonna find that there’s gonna be questions that come in more than others. There’s gonna be people who will want your time. That’s likely where the money will initially come from, is a little bit of . . . I don’t know if it’s coaching, but it kinda is . . . Where people who have questions, they just want to directly have access to you. You can charge per hour for those conversations to really set them up for success. That’s not passive, obviously, but it’s a start of you building some sort of monetary elements into this brand.
What happens with coaching a lot of times is people will do that one to one, or one to many. You can charge, for example, fifty bucks for a two hour, full-on boot camp training session online, with all the information a person wants to know. Even though it’s likely the same information that’s already on your website, people will want that information in a condensed manner. You can sell, for example, into a webinar where you might have twenty people on, or fifty people on at once, because it’s this event that you have built buzz for over time. You can have twenty people paying fifty dollars. There you go. That’s $1,000 for just a couple hours of work, after putting together a webinar.
That’s something that you can have be something that you do all the time, and the content doesn’t need to change. It’s just you’re getting new people to cycle through that. That can happen much sooner than later, with the information that’s there even for the beginner who is not even close to being promoted to that next level yet, but they’re just getting started right at the beginning. People, with career stuff, they want that information and they want it in a convenient manner and they want it quickly.
I know that in the spaces that I’m in that relate to education, there’s often workshops that charge thousands of dollars to get access to. Perhaps there’s something that you could do in person: You rent a space out and you get people who want to meet in person and do a workshop in that way.
There’s a lot of monetary opportunities there. I think what needs to happen first is building out the content on the site, just to kind of start to get into the motions of that, get a feel for what’s that like. What needs to happen is there needs to be some sort of consistent plan with that, whether it’s one post every two weeks if that’s all you have time for, or once a week, or even once a month where you create a bigger, more beastly kind of resource that goes up. That just becomes something, because this website is, I feel, with the content and topic, it’s set up for success. It just needs to get cranking, and there needs to be some meat in it. I would just recommend going through your entire list of things that you just mentioned to me, picking your top five that are the most necessary things that people need to know, and just start writing those out. Try to spend a month writing those things, then you can have those available and then move on to the next ones and actually start with the marketing and outreach.
I’m trying to be encouraging with you, to show you that there are monetary options that are going to be available to you once you get even just a little bit traffic and you start to build your list. I’m very, very happy to see that you’ve already thought about a lead magnet, David. You’re setting yourself up for success. I feel like that you’re actually ahead of where a lot of people are who I speak to who are just starting out. Hopefully that provides a little bit of encouragement to you.
David McBride: Thank you for that, there. The monetary thing is sort of a side note at the minute. This is more a proof of concept that I can actually do something, have something successful online. The actual content . . . Choosing five, six articles would be good enough for a starting process. I’ve been trying to get pretty much the whole thing, all the lessons done out.
Pat Flynn: Oh, yeah. I mean honestly, when I started my blog it was just one post, and it was public and I started to talk about. Then the next week I had a second post. Week after week I started adding more. Typically, what I recommend to people now is to have at least three before you start any sort of reach out, but that’s all you need, because most people aren’t gonna go through more than two or three per site visit. But, if they know that there’s more content coming and they really liked and enjoyed what they read, they’re gonna come back. They’re gonna share it. That’s definitely enough.
I wouldn’t wait ’til you have the whole thing done. I would just create it as you are—I would just publish as you were creating it, honestly, because that gives Google the opportunity to find it and to show relevance to certain topics that people are looking up. People are probably searching for this information, and there’s probably not that good information out there, especially coming from somebody with a lot of experience.
I would just, as you’re creating it and as it finishes, even if it’s not perfect, just publish it and move on to the next one. Start to build up that library. That’s how you’re gonna get found and how you’ll begin to build a resource. Honestly, for you specifically David, I think those small wins, like hitting publish on an article, or seeing your first traffic come in, or seeing your first email subscribers come in, I think that’s gonna do big for you in terms of encouraging you to continue moving forward. You’re gonna see that there’s actually other people out there who might need this stuff.
David McBride: Yeah, thank you for the encouragement. I’m glad you think it is a valid site. I think everybody has that feeling that “really, is this something that people want?” For myself, I had quite a good insight because I actually interviewed and processed the people that are joining through. I have maybe asked a few extra questions that pointed me in the right direction of what sort of information they needed and where they were struggling to find the information.
A lot of this information is available—the MOD, our Ministry of Defense, they have a website and it has everything on it. Truthfully, it genuinely does have everything on it, but the point with that is the same as you said with your Green Exam Academy. The big business, they just do it their own way. I know they brought out their own exam the same time you had yours.
Although the MOD have their site—and they do have quite a lot, there is a lot of information there, I’m not gonna lie. They have loads of information there, but it is buried, and it’s buried three, four layers down. Unless you’re determined to find it, you’ll not find it. When you’re new to something and you try and dig and find it, you don’t know what to type in the search bar to find it. Then that becomes a bit of an issue. Although they have all the information, very few people actually read it and see it. I’m hoping they take that side of it, make it easier, break it down into more simplified speak. I think everybody in the army uses a thesaurus for everything. They try to make it sound smarter than it actually is, instead of just using nice, simple words.
Pat Flynn: Well, you’ve basically told me exactly why this needs to be created. Like with my own experience with getting into a space where there was . . . All the information was there already and it was coming from a bigger organization. The fact that it’s coming from you . . . And I would encourage you to talk about your experience and share your name, if you’re okay with that, because people are gonna connect with you. They come for the content, but they stay for you. Putting more of yourself into that . . . You are more relatable. You are somebody who is right there. You’re not this organization with all these other things to focus on. This is your role here, and you’re helping them to do that, to get that information and get it in a timely manner, and just only the things they need. I mean, that’s huge. When you hear me talk about serving others, that’s definitely, I feel . . . Serving others is what you’re doing here.
To finish up, David, tell me what kind of realizations you’ve had from this call?
David McBride: I feel fairly upbeat about the actual whole content. From what you’ve said a few minutes ago about just starting out with five, six articles, I feel more confident that it’ll be up by the end of the year, at least within the first couple of weeks of January, and then just build on from there. I do need to keep myself more accountable, which is again an issue. Sorry, I know you want to finish up here—
Pat Flynn: That’s okay.
David McBride: You had mentioned the mastermind classes and that? I have—
Pat Flynn: Yeah, I was just seeing if there’s any other people that you’ve met or can connect with online in some of these communities. Even asking, “Hey, you want to hold each other accountable? Maybe we can send emails once a week, just to kind of share our progress with each other.” That way, you know that you have to tell this other person at the end of the week what you’ve done. For me, that’s very motivating, because I don’t want to tell them I didn’t do anything, because I don’t want to do that. That could be an option.
Another thing that I think you could do . . . Now that you know, “Okay, we’re gonna with start with this content.” You’ve built up the skeleton of the brand already, which is great. Now it’s about content. Let’s put in our schedule to . . . I know the military’s also very based on schedule, so perhaps you schedule, whether it’s every day or every other day or certain days of the week, “This is the time I’m going to write, no matter what. I need to honor that time. It’s gonna happen.” And try to fit that in as best as possible.
David McBride: Yes. That is always good in principle, but quite hard in practice with kids. I’m sure you know.
Pat Flynn: Oh, I know. I know, but sometimes you’ve got to make those sacrifices to . . . Not sacrificing time with the kids, but I mean perhaps there are other things that you could see where you might be able to get some time back. Even a little bit goes a long way with this kind of stuff, because it’s not . . . It doesn’t have to perfect, is the other part of it.
David McBride: I think that’s something we all panic about. Everybody tries to be perfect, try to live up to other people.
Pat Flynn: Cool, David. Well, thank you so much for taking the time. I hope this was helpful and encouraging. I just encourage you to remember this conversation when you get to those moments where you’re like, “I don’t feel like doing it,” or “I just don’t have the time.” See if you can find that time and keep pushing forward, because I guarantee when you put some effort into this, there will definitely be people on the other end who are gonna find it and enjoy it.
David McBride: Thank you very much for your time. I was really happy to hear from you when you got back . . . It was quite a quick response. Jessica is your assistant?
Pat Flynn: Yeah.
David McBride: She’s very quick to respond. It’s always nice when you get that sort of instant feedback when you’re emailing to try to set things out. Please pass on my thanks to Jessica as well.
Pat Flynn: Absolutely, I will do that. Thank you David. Take care and have a great day, alright?
David McBride: Thank you very much.
Pat Flynn: Alright, bye.
Alright, I hope you enjoyed that episode of AskPat 2.0. David, thank you so much for your time. I’m looking forward to following up with you to see how this breakthrough effects what you do. I’m hoping that you can stay on track. I’m hoping that you can stay focused. Hopefully everybody listening . . . You can start to narrow down and pick a lane, because it’s like driving on the freeway. If you keep switching lanes, it’s just dangerous. Pick a lane, stick with it. That’s the best way to get to your destination, to save the most gas, to not worry about traffic on either side of you. Just go forward and conquer.
David, best of luck to you, and to everybody listening, thank you so much. I appreciate you and all the time that you’re spending here on AskPat 2.0. Hey, and if you like the show, I’d appreciate it so much if you just took a minute to go to iTunes, look up AskPat 2.0, or me, and find AskPat, and then leave a review for the show. I’d be so thankful for that, because I’m putting a lot of hard work into this new format of AskPat since the first thousand episodes.
I gotta say, I’m having so much fun with it, but it’s definitely taking a lot more brain power, because I have to have these conversations. I love having these conversations, but it’s definitely a different beast. Before, I could plan my answers, and . . . You know what? I am loving this and I need some encouragement, so if you want to hook me up with some of that, hook me up with a review. It won’t take very long to do that.
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