AskPat 964 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, what’s up everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 964 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I’m here to help you by answering your online business questions five days a week.
We have a great question coming in today from Steve, but before we get to that I do want to thank today’s sponsor, FreshBooks, one of my favorite companies because they serve me and millions of other small businesses, by helping us manage our business finances, from keeping track of expenses, to income, to all the statements that you might need, P&L statements, balance sheets, all those kinds of things. But of course also invoicing, that’s something I’ve been working with, with FreshBooks for the last year or so now that I’m doing some more coaching. It’s great. In under thirty seconds, I can create a professional-looking invoice that can keep track of who owes me. I can also keep track of who has even yet to open those invoices, which is the handiest thing, and I can follow up properly. If you want to check out FreshBooks for free for thirty days, just go to FreshBooks.com/askpat, and make sure you enter, “Ask Pat,” in the, “How did you hear about us?” section. Awesome. Thanks again, and here’s today’s question from Steve.
Steve: Hi Pat, my name is Steve and I run a basketball website, TeachHoops.com, for coaches who want to get better. By the name itself, you can probably tell it’s a site for basketball coaches who want to learn the game of basketball. Again, I’ll throw out there that I will help you learn how to dunk and shoot a really good jump shot. The question I have is, I’m looking to grow my business a little bit faster. Even though I’m a basketball coach, I would love my business to look like a hockey stick; right now it looks like steps, meaning, I kind of grow for a while, and then I level off. Then I grow for a little while, then I level off. I’m wondering if you have any advice to make my basketball website look a little bit more like a hockey stick. Thanks for all you do and I’m very jealous—because I’m in Wisconsin—of the great weather you have out there in California. Thanks again.
Pat Flynn: Hey Steve, thank you so much for the question. I appreciate it. There’s a number of different things you can do to get that hockey stick sort of curve, or growth that we all look for. One of the biggest things to know is that you cannot continue doing the same things you’re doing now in order to do that. It’s not just going to magically happen. Now, that’s not to say it can never happen by just continuing on the path that you’re on. I would say that in most cases those spikes, and those hockey stick curves, happen as a result of some big bold action or big event that happens, that really puts you on the map, or that really starts to get people talking about what it is that you have to offer, and that’s kind of what you’re looking for.
What I would do is look at all the current things that are working for you right now, and select those things that are working the best for you, and just keep in mind what those are, and work more on those first. Often times in our business there’s this sort of 80/20 thing, right, where 20 percent of the results are coming from 80 percent of the work, and 80 percent of your results are coming from the 20 percent of the work that you do: What is the 20 percent that you do that is actually making the most movements? Can you optimize, can you expand on that? I don’t know any examples off the top of my head right now but maybe, for example, it’s Facebook ads. Well, then don’t worry about Twitter and Instagram. Don’t worry about guest posting. Don’t worry about all those things right now. Facebook ads would be the place to put most of your time and resources into now, and get it to that 90 to 95 percent level of what it is that you’re doing to get to that growth, to get you that exposure.
Now, the reason I don’t say 100 percent is because, like Gary V. talks about, it’s important to try new things and experiment, and have other irons in the fires out there because you might not know—one of those things could take off and become the next thing that then becomes the 95 percent of what you’re working on. Just looking internally first Steve, to see okay, what is it you’re doing now that’s working? Do more of that first. This is always best, and it’s hard because a lot of us look for that secret sauce, or that special strategy from the outside, where sometimes the best thing to do is to grow that thing that’s working for you now.
Now, there are some other things you can do. Taking big, bold actions if for whatever reason just, things stay steady and you know that just you need a big change. I would approach it like, “Okay, I need to do something bold, I need to do something different,” if for whatever reason you cannot optimize what it is that’s working for you now, or just doesn’t seem to be pulling in as much as you want. Well what big bold thing can you do? Often times that’s the thing that happens right before that hockey stick curve. It could potentially be one of those new strategies, it could be something like getting featured on another person’s show, or a mention from somebody. It could be expanding onto different platforms too. That’s one thing that helped me. When I started my blog in 2008, I started to get a year later into this mode where I felt like I was just plateauing, where I was sharing the same information to the same people. The same people were commenting on the blogs that I was posting. What I did was I expanded onto a different platform, and I decided that I was going to go full force with that for a while, and that was YouTube in 2009. I started to publish a lot of tutorials, a lot of videos to help people through some of the things I was talking about on the blog. A lot of them kind of connected to each other too, which was nice. I started to see a nice little—more like a hockey stick curve at that point. Then that started to plateau, and that’s often what’s going to happen. You’re going to start to see a lot of growth, then plateau; a lot of growth, then plateau. Now, that’s much better than just the sort of slow and steady thing. You’re going to have to have those spikes in order to have higher plateaus, and that’s typically the rhythm that I recommend people shoot for. It’s not just steady growth, but spikes, and then that plateau that happens at a higher level than that plateau has before, then another spike, which then leads to another higher plateau. That’s what I would recommend.
Podcasting could be the way to go, or maybe it’s video. It could be another social media platform that you get on, then you just go full force with that one. Again, you’re going to have to kind of explore a little bit what your options are. You say you want to steadily grow your business. I don’t think it’s about steadily growing: I think it’s about taking these big hits to get these big spikes, and then having your next plateau sort of drop much higher than the plateau before it.
That’s what I would recommend, Steve. Hopefully that gives you some inspiration and some thoughts. I’d love to sort of see what else you have going on and learn more about your business, I’m just very curious. I also play basketball myself; be kind of cool to learn more about what you’re doing, and if you wanted to get on a call with me at some point, let me know. We can work something out and see if there’s anything specific I can give you. It’s hard when I’m not talking directly to you, because I’d love to ask you more questions.
Yeah, Steve, let me know what you think. Thanks so much. Thanks everybody else for listening too. Steve, I want to send you an AskPat teeshirt for having your question featured here on the show. For those of you listening, if you have a question that you’d like potentially featured here on the show as well, just head on over to AskPat.com and you can ask right there on that page.
Thanks so much, I appreciate you. Happy September, that was a great month of AskPat. Look out for October, and then the month after that, Episode 1000 coming. Hopefully you’ve been hearing some of the clues in the most recent episodes, starting with Episode 900, that will lead to a contest that’s going to happen right before Episode 1000 comes out. More on that later. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go back and listen to Episode 900. It will be a lot of fun.
Thanks guys, I appreciate you. Here’s a quote to finish off the day, by Gertrude Stein. That is, “A very important thing is not to make up your mind that you are any one thing.” All right guys, thanks so much. I’ll see you in the next episode. Bye.
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