AskPat 500 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up, everybody? Welcome to Episode 500. Here we go. Dancing it out. Guys, I just want to thank you so much for coming today. We have huge parade here San Diego, California celebrating the 500th episode of AskPat.
Not really, though. There's no parade, there's not anybody here, actually. I'm by myself in my office like I always am when I record AskPat. But even though I'm by myself, here in my office, I know that you're out there listening. And over five million people have actually listened to AskPat since I started it. And so to everybody out here who has listened, especially to everybody who is listening to this episode right now, thank you from the bottom of my heart and for all of your questions. I mean, this show wouldn't exist without your questions. It would just—it wouldn't be AskPat it would just be Pat and it would be like my other show.
Thank you so much and I hope that throughout these past 500 episodes or 499 episodes, I've been able to answer one of your questions that you've had, whether you asked that question yourself and you got featured on the show and I hope you enjoy your t-shirt if you did, or somebody else asked a question that you had in your mind. I hope I've been able to answer that and at least provide you with some inspiration as you move forward with your online business and making changes in your life too.
Again, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart and today we have a great question from Loris. Without farther ado, let's listen in on Loris' question.
Loris: Hello, Pat. My name is Loris. Thank you so much, by the way, for posting all this information online. I've been following you for quite some time. My quick question is: How long have you been doing this and how rough was your first year or first six months when you first started off? Thank you so much. Bye bye.
Pat Flynn: Hey, what's up Loris? Thank you so much for the question today and congratulations on being featured in the 500th episode of AskPat and I look forward to sending you the 500th AskPat t-shirt as a result.
Now, to answer your question: How long have I been doing this? Well, I've been blogging since 2007. That was on a blog that was meant to actually just keep track of my notes for an architecture exam that I took, which later became my online business and started this whole crazy journey. That was in 2007 and it's almost 2016 now, so eight or nine years at this point. It's pretty insane when I think about how long I've been doing this. When I first started out, even when I was making great money in the first year after I started monetizing and I'll tell you why I mention that monetizing part, because it did take longer than a year to actually see results after I started, but I'll get to that in a second.
Even after I started making money, I always wondered if maybe I was just lucky, maybe it was just a flash in the pan, maybe that original business that I had, which was doing well, maybe it was going to fail, and at some point I'd have to go back and get a regular job and back into the corporate world. That never happened and I'm very thankful for that. Of course, all this online business stuff has allowed me to do in my life and to help me reach my goals. That includes goals with my family being able to stay home with them and actually help bring my son to school and pick him up every day, and it's going to be the same thing with my daughter and just being present with them. It has helped me in terms of creating something that I can be proud of, and something that I can call my own and have major control over in terms of where I want to go and what I want to do with it.
It's also given me the ability to be philanthropic a lot sooner in my life than I had originally thought I was going to do. I've always wanted to do things for other people and give back in some way, shape or form, whether through money or time or service and now that I'm—I mean, I'm only 32 at the time I record this. I'm gonna be 33 by the time this episode comes out. But I've been able to do things like visit Africa and build a couple schools there and I went to a homeless shelter in LA, on Skid Row, which is one of the most populated homeless places in the world and teach entrepreneurship to kids who don't have a home there and inspire them. To be able to do things like that and to be able to be asked to do things like that, or have the ability to bring a community together to build a couple of schools and other places around the world and serve people beyond just my immediate connections is just, it's incredible.
I am so thankful for everything that has happened, like I said earlier.
Also, I want to let everybody know, and this is why I do what I do, that this stuff is possible. I didn't go to business school, I'm not a genius or anything like that. I struggle through a lot of the things that I do. I know that it's just the fact that I'm doing it that's helping me move forward and get to that next goal. I'm here not only to inspire but also give you the tips and the advice and step by step approach that you need to take to build something that, like I said, you could be proud of.
Now, when I first started out, the first year I didn't make any money. Even when I started Smart Passive Income directly coming from Smart Passive Income, I didn't make any money. I was just sharing information of that other business and how that was doing and things I wished I had done differently, things that were working, experiments that I was doing, case studies related to that and all those sorts of things. With Smart Passive Income, even in the first 12 months, even in the first year and a half, I didn't make a single dime from it because that wasn't the purpose. The purpose was to just share and as a result of doing that I've been put in this spot as a leader in this space, which is really awesome, and as a byproduct it's serving others. I've been able to generate a significant income, a lot more in this way because this is where I'm spending most of my time now. All those other businesses are, for the most part, passive in a way where I'm just letting them work for me, instead of me working on them because I did all that work up front. That's why I always say work hard now so you can reap the benefits later.
This stuff is not easy and I think the first six to 12 months, that's kind of when honeymoon period ends. When you start a business, even though you're not making money at first because it's going take time to get to that point, it's exciting. It's new, it's a brand new experience and you're working on something, but then come the six month period, you start to wonder where that income is going to come from. You start to see that your results aren't what you had originally wanted them to be. That's pretty much always going to happen. I know we hear other people's success stories and we see how they've been able to build “overnight successes” and the thing is, those happen, but they're very rare. It doesn't seem like that because that's all we hear about. That's what people love to share, that's what happens to some people who make it known that is what has happened, but we don't hear about the tens of thousands of stories and stuff of people who have tried things and have failed, and especially in that first 12 months.
I believe the first 12 months to be a sort of test where you're not going to make money, and again, it happens in some ways to speed that process up and I talk about that in my upcoming book Will It Fly?, but you've got to understand that this is a work in progress. It's going to take a lot of time and those first 12 months are sort of like a test to see if that's actually something that you want to do. You have to be able to go through those periods of when you are just grinding through without getting anything back in return, knowing that you're going to get something back in return later. Even if you fail, even if you make mistakes, knowing that those mistakes, those failures, are learning experiences that every misstep along the way is a step. Which is a good idea, but then you can come back to that step you were on and move forward into the direction you know is going to work based off of that experience.
Again, I think it's really important to understand that the first six to 12 months is a learning experience. It's all about feeling out that market that you're getting into, it's all about experimentation, it's all about making those mistakes so you know what to do better and what direction to take the next time you go around. It's rough, it's absolutely rough. With Smart Passive Income, I have wanted to give up in those first 12 months, at least six or seven times. I've talked about this on my show before and it was for a number of reasons. One, because I just didn't see any growth in the beginning. Two, because I wasn't seeing any income and I was spending a lot of time writing and all of my income was coming from those other businesses, that other business that I had already established in the architecture space. To see not as much traffic and no income coming in compared to a site that had a lot more traffic and a lot more money coming in, it was just like, “Well, why am I doing this?”
There are a few things that kept me moving forward. One, I felt like I just had to give back and continue to do it because I knew there were some people out there reading what I was writing. For them I wanted to make sure that even if I had helped one person make a change in their life, to be able to get a side income to be able to go on that family vacation, to be able to spend a little bit more time with their kids, to at least have some entrepreneurial knowledge to be able to think of the world in a different way that could help themselves and help others too. That kept me moving forward.
What also kept me moving forward were the small little thank you's that I was getting. I was getting emails and messages on social media of people who just have enjoyed the content that I was reading and that was a good way to validate that what I was actually doing was actually helping people, or actually useful to people.
Beyond that, there were a lot of people in the same space I was in that were just—it was kind of making me sick in terms of how they were teaching other people the same kind of thing that I was teaching. I felt like I needed to step up as a leader in the space. When I did that, and I owned that, and I wanted to bring transparency and honesty and authenticity into the space things started to happen. I did start to see a lot more traffic coming in, a lot more people started to share what I was talking about. It was when I had that position in the space and decided that, you know what? I was gonna go full force with this, that things started to happen. That's when SPI really started to blow up and I started the podcast at that time in 2010 and things just took off from there.
Again, it wasn't an easy start. It's never an easy start but just keep going and keep trying to figure things out and I want to recommend a book and this was a book that I had just written myself and it's called Will It Fly?. I am very, very excited to share it with you in the next month and a half or so. It's going to come out in February of 2016. I've put over a year of effort into this and a lot of revisions and a lot of testing and that sort of thing to help you understand how you can test your next business idea, so you don't waste your time and money. How do you understand whether or not that idea you have for your business, whether you are just starting from scratch or you have a business already, but you're adding something new to that business, how do you know if that's going work or not? This book goes through a lot of that. It's not only just a product to market fit valuation kind of book. It's a how does this idea, this business that you have in your brain, how does this match up to your goals and your lifestyle and what you want and what your strengths are?
I'm very proud of this book. I believe it's some of my best writing that I've ever done and I'm very proud of the team that has helped me to put this together. I've written every single word myself. I know a lot of people don't do that but I felt at least for this first book that it was vital for me to speak and be myself in this book and actually share what I know to help you in your business and in your future. I would love for you to check it out. It's not available yet at the time that this recording goes out, but you might be able to get the pre-order or at least sign up for the email list to get first notice of when it comes out. Go ahead and go to willitflybook.com, and you can check out what it's about and sign up there. Again, willitflybook.com.
Thank you so much for your question, Loris. We're gonna send you an AskPat t-shirt like I said earlier. For everybody else out there who has a question, send it on over AskPat.com. You can ask right there on that page. Your mic doesn't need to be great, I just need to hear you. It's my job to sound good on my microphone. Your job is to just ask great questions, which you guys have been doing. Again, AskPat.com is where you go.
Thank you so much for listening in. This is episode 500 of AskPat, and please head on over to willitflybook.com and sign up to get notice of or see where my next book is at, because that is something that I believe is going to help a ton of people and I put my heart and soul in it. Check it out, willitflybook.com.
Cheers and here's to the next 500 episodes thanks to you and your questions, submit at AskPat.com.
Cheers, take care, love you all. Bye.