AskPat 501 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up everybody! Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 501 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. And we have a great question today from Kelly.
But before we get to that, I do want to thank today's sponsor which is FreshBooks.com, making it incredibly easy for all of us to manage our business finances from the income coming in, the expenses going out and even invoicing, too. They also have an award-winning mobile app and all together they're serving more than three million small businesses including my own and they can help you, too. If you want to check out FreshBooks for free for thirty days, go ahead and go to GetFreshBooks.com and enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section. Again, that's GetFreshBooks.com, enter, “Ask Pat.”
All right, here's today's question from Kelly.
Kelly: Hi, my name is Kelly Kroy and I have a blog and podcast at WiredEducator.com. My question is for Pat, regarding his annual report. I really enjoy looking over Pat's annual report and I realize it must take a great amount of time and care to keep track of those numbers and write that report. It's very helpful for me as a family man and entrepreneur to see Pat's goals, both financial and personal and family and to track sales. I would like to do something very similar to that. I'm wondering how Pat keeps track of those numbers. It seems like it would require a lot of work and time. Does he do it daily, does he do it monthly, does he hire somebody to do it? And if he does, I'm also wondering what did Pat do to keep track of this before he hired someone as an assistant to keep track of that? So thanks again, and Pat, I hope you did really well on your triathlon.
Pat Flynn: Hey what's up Kelly! Thank you so much for the question today. You know I actually keep track of my income monthly through these monthly income reports that anybody can see on the blog, actually. That helps me create the yearly, annual report. But in terms of how to keep track of those numbers in general, in terms of the expenses, it's very easy because I just look at my bookkeeping account and software and again, I mentioned FreshBooks earlier so you can check that out. And that helps me understand what I'm spending money on, which is great because throughout the year I go in and say okay, well I can make adjustments and do all those sorts of things.
Now in terms of the income coming in, you know, I get the total income and the affiliate checks come in and the affiliate commissions come in and payments from advertisers and all those sorts of things come in. But in terms of categorizing them by actual product, I have to do that manually every single month because I go into the different accounts that I am involved with with these different companies, for example, that I'm an affiliate for or the companies that I help promote as sponsor on the show or products that I sell. I go into each of those different places; they each have a different way of keeping track of their sales. Unfortunately, there's no great solution that has been able to kind of combine all those things into one place.
There's been a few attempts at some websites, some apps that I've tried to consolidate through API's and things like that, that have tried to consolidate all that information into one spot. It's been okay at working but it's not able to get all the different kinds of shopping carts and products and things like that. So I just found it easier to just go in manually into each of those different products and actually get the reports from them because then I can see the real numbers and actually see what the trends are. Now that also gives me a lot more information, too, beyond just getting the number itself. So I go in myself, and I could hire somebody to do that for me but that's something I feel is important for me to do, not just because I don't want people to see, you know, inside those accounts which I honestly, it doesn't matter because I share those numbers anyway. But it helps me understand what's going on in my businesses a little bit better. It helps me get more deep into what's happening so I can then make decisions based off of that.
You know, the way I make that a little bit easier for myself, however, is that I have a couple of things working in my favor. One, is in order to get access to all those different reports from all those different companies, where I can then see the monthly numbers and the annual numbers and all that sort of stuff and the trends and what not, I have a way to organize what those websites are where I can just quickly log into each of them.
So I have a thing on my Chrome Browser Extension called Speed Dial 2. In Speed Dial 2, you can create these sort of folders of different book marks and all those sorts of things. So when it's time for me to go and find these reports, I just go into that specific tab for affiliate partners and for products that I sell and all those sorts of things and I have them already set up so that when I open those they go to the direct place where I just need to log in to get access to those things.
Now I can open up all of them at the same time which helps, and then I have a tool called 1Password. There's also another one called LastPass but this 1Password tool or LastPass allows you to quickly and easily log in without actually having to remember each of those different passwords for each of those different places. Sometimes the user name is the email address, sometimes it's one that you create on your own, sometimes the passwords are different because they have different rules, a certain amount of characters that you have to have and that sort of thing.
So again, a combination of Speed Dial 2, which allows me to open up all those websites that I'm affiliated with all at once and also using 1Password to go in and log into each of those really quick. It just makes it really easy. It actually doesn't take very long. I would say about an hour every month to go into those reports and find those incomes and everything that's going on with each of those website.
I also have the specific folder for income notices in my in box and any time I get a payout or something like that, I can go into that specific folder in my Gmail business account and see, you know, a whole list of all of them and get information from there, too. So that's pretty much how I keep track of it.
I'm very thankful, Kelly, that you said you like these reports because I enjoy writing them. They're very informative but I also know that they inspire a lot of people, too. They also show throughout the course of the year, because I do these very month, but the yearly ones are interesting because you can see what is happening throughout the middle of the year and I also do talk about my goals and stuff too. You're going to see some posts on the website and potentially a podcast episode that's going to be talking about what's coming up in 2016 and what my goals are and talking about what all that means. This is, of course, related to my upcoming book and a lot of the focus that I have been working on over the past year, it's going to come to fruition in 2016, so I'm stoked about that and I'm stoked that you all are excited about it. I appreciate your support for that, too.
So, again, in keeping track of my numbers, just try to make the process as easy as possible by taking out a lot of the busy work and just using tools and ways to automate that process as much as possible. That's just something I do with everything in terms of keeping check my numbers and being able to report back to you on everything, that's how I do it. So, you know, I might get to a point where I hire somebody to do that myself, somebody who just keeps track of just the finances only and that sort of thing.
You know, I have a CPA, I have a bookkeeper, but somebody to really go in and just pay attention to all that stuff and help me with my reports, too. I think that is not something I'm against but, like I said, I enjoy going in there myself and actually getting into the numbers and looking at the trends and stuff. But if there's somebody out there that could help me I might think about doing that in the future.
But anyway, Kelly, thank you so much for your question. I'm going to send you an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show and I want to wish you all the best of luck. Thank you to everybody else out there who has asked a question. Just head on over to AskPat.com. You can ask your next question right there and you might get featured on the show and get an AskPat t-shirt, too.
I also want to thank today's sponsor, very relevant to today's episode which is FreshBooks.com. You can get a thirty day, free trial by going to GetFreshBooks.com and by entering “AskPat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section. Again, that's GetFreshBooks.com, enter “AskPat.” If you need any help with managing your finances and just keeping track of everything, that's definitely a tool that's going to help you, for sure. So check that out.
Thank you so much, and as always I love to end with a quote and today's quote is from somebody who is unknown but I love this quote and that is: “For maximum attention, nothing beats a good mistake.” So hopefully you're making healthy mistakes in your business, too. Putting attention into that and moving forward in your business. Thank you so much. I appreciate you and take care. Bye.
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