Today we're speaking with Tim Phillips from Sober and Happy. He's getting started on his journey with a business that helps people get sober and build the life they want.
Tim has his foot in many different places, as far as content creation, social media, and building community. In this episode, we're going to narrow things down and figure out where Tim should—and shouldn't—be focusing his energy. He's drawn to blogging and podcasting. Should he focus on just these channels?
I know a lot of you listening might be in the same boat, whether you already have a business or not. You might be drawn to trying many different things and places and strategies. There are people out there who need you. But if you spread yourself too thin, you hurt your chances of serving them and succeeding at what you're doing.
AP 1225: How Do I Best Package and Share My Knowledge When There are Too Many Options?
Pat Flynn: What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to episode 1,225 of AskPat 2.0. You're about to listen to a coaching call between myself and an entrepreneur just like you. And today we're speaking with Tim Phillips from Sober And Happy. He is somebody who is getting started on his journey, and he's got his foot in many different places, as far as content creation and building communities and whatnot. And in this episode, we're going to narrow things down and talk about exactly why this is important and make some decisions. And we're going to talk about exactly why those decisions work and what would happen if we didn't do this.
Pat Flynn: I know a lot of you listening might be in the same boat, whether you already have a business or not, you're getting started, or you've started already. You might be drawn between many different things and places and strategies and all this kind of stuff. You shouldn't do that. And so we're going to talk about that with Tim today, and we get a understanding of the why behind why he's doing this. And it's very, very important. So here he is, Tim Phillips. Let's do this. Tim, welcome to AskPat, thanks for spending some time with me today.
Tim Phillips: Yeah. Thank you for having me on. I'm absolutely pumped to meet with you and get your advice. I've been listening to a lot of your content probably about the last month I've been doing nothing but consuming your content. So talking to you one-on-one, I'm grateful for that. Thank you.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. It's going to be fun. And here we go. We're going to go into some personal advice, as opposed to just listening to all the other episodes about other people's stuff. This is going to be about you. So why don't we start about you, tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
Tim Phillips: Yeah. So what I'm really focused on is I've been in recovery, I've been sober for almost 11 years now.
Pat Flynn: Congrats.
Tim Phillips: Thank you. And I went through the traditional recovery route that's really set up. So I went to rehab, after rehab joined a 12 step program, completely immersed myself in that people actually used to call me AA Tim, it's how much I did in that. And what I found through that is the 12 step program and the powerlessness, and so much of recovery is really focused on just stopping using and avoidance, avoiding all the dangers and stuff. And the longer I was in that program, the more my anxiety grew around drinking and everything. And honestly, I just kept getting sicker. I didn't drink, successful at that, but I started getting sicker. My anxiety started going through the roof. The whole world seemed dangerous. I was actually diagnosed with borderline agoraphobia.
Pat Flynn: Wow.
Tim Phillips: And I didn't see a way out, because the real message is that if you leave, you're going to drink. And so I didn't see a way out. That was the only solution I knew, and I knew it just wasn't working for me. So after about five years in there, I finally had a great support group, got a lot of therapy, and with help with the therapist and all that, I decided to venture out on my own and really just see what life was like without the 12 step program. I started really working on improving my life, really focusing on the reasons why I got into addiction. Most people don't just drink one day and they're an alcoholic the next day. There's usually a lot of underlying issues with it. And really approaching that and then approaching really what I wanted in life. I treated life like my own personal mastermind.
Tim Phillips: I really identified where I wanted to be, identified the obstacles in it, I didn't focus on the things that aren't fair in life and really at what I can do and what I could attack. And through that, my life's completely changed in the last five years. There's a lot of people that are struggling with just the traditional passive recovery. You could go into any Facebook group and people are asking, did anyone get sober not using 12 step programs? I went to meetings, it's not working for me. I need some help. And I know a way to do it, I've helped a lot of people individually. And I really just want to get this message out to the world. I know there's a lot of people that need it and I just, that's what I want to do.
Pat Flynn: That's so great. So first of all, congratulations. And what inspired you to treat your life like a mastermind and figure it out once you got out of the 12 step program and knew that you weren't going to be ready by day one, but how did you get through that? What gave you the courage to keep going?
Tim Phillips: So a lot of it, one of my biggest issues is a lot of meetings you go to, and not all of them are this, and I know the 12 step works for a lot of people, so I'm not saying it doesn't, it just wasn't for me. A lot of it was really focused on the problems and what's not fair, especially people who may have legal issues, you could complain about the fact that it's hard to get a job when you got a felony on your record, but that's not going to fix it. I realized that I was really caught in the, what's not fair, I can't do this, I can't do this, I can't do that. And I really wanted to focus on what I wanted to do. And so at that point, what really inspired me is I knew that I couldn't continue the path that I was on. I knew my life was becoming completely unlivable the way it was.
Tim Phillips: And so I realized that to do that, I really needed to face the big things, and I needed to tackle the big obstacles. And you can't do that without a plan. You can't do that without a roadmap. And so that's what really inspired me is I knew I was meant for more. And so that's what really inspired me. And I just started tackling it. And then what continued to inspire me is building on those little successes, all those little wins and just building on one win after the other, after the other. And just when you start seeing the results, the motivation comes.
Pat Flynn: What a major life lesson for everybody listening, not just about recovery, but about anything really that's challenging, tackling those big things, not trying to avoid them and really coming up with a plan, enjoying the small wins as you grow and get out of that. And wow, look what it's turned into. And I assume that now, if you want to tell me about your business and stuff, I'm assuming that you are taking these life experiences and trying to serve others through that.
Tim Phillips: Yeah, absolutely. So right now, and one of the reasons I wanted to get on this show was there really isn't a business yet. And that's what I want to do, is how do I grow a business? And there's not a better time in the world, I think, that we've ever had for getting your message out and sharing it with it. But I think it's a double edged sword and that what I'm facing is there's so many options. What do I choose? How do I grow that? I started growing a Facebook group, and then there's a lot of regulations around targeting people with mental health, and that includes also addiction when it comes to social media. So the quickest way to get people on Facebook, you could boost posts. And I was able to do that and target some people, but about a month ago, Facebook shut all of that down.
Tim Phillips: So I'm still growing slowly, organically. And so where I'm at now is, okay, what path do I take next? Do I start a podcast? Do I start a YouTube channel? Do I continue working on organic growth on Facebook? I created a blog. The good news is I love to write, I probably have 10 notebooks full of stuff to write. I know I could probably put together a book with all that stuff. So it's kind of, what direction do I go now? I have no problem investing time and money into learning the things I need to learn, but I've been going in circles. And just like I was talking about, in recovery, needing a clear path and really executing towards that, that's what I'm looking for here, is a clear path. And I'll put in the work, I'll put in the time, I'll invest the money I need to, but I just really am... I want to stop going in circles.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. You tell me, what happens if you were to do all the options at the same time?
Tim Phillips: I don't think I would make the progress that I can if I focused on a few. And that's what I've been doing. And so I think that I wouldn't get the growth that I need if I focused on one or two, but I don't know what's the best path to choose when it comes to growing an audience, especially with some of the obstacles I have.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. Okay. Great. Great. And I don't have to talk much about the purpose here and the why, I think that based on where you came from is inherent. I think that's going to come through, typically that's where we start when we talk about these things, well, who are you doing this for? And really, what are they trying to get out of this? I don't even think we have to have that discussion because it's so clear. And the beauty of this and the only worry potentially is, well, how can I compete with a 12 step program, or some of these other, there's many other people who have different kinds of recovery programs. And I love the way that you have a very specific approach to it based on your own life. And it's almost like a diet plan, where there's a million different diet plans and what might be right for one person might not be right for another.
Pat Flynn: So here you are, based on your experience, creating your own version that you feel is best for people like you. And maybe it is those who drop out of the 12 step, or just aren't enjoying that, or whatever. There are people who need you. And the truth is if you put all of your energy across 10 different things, not any one of them is going to have a chance to succeed because you're spreading yourself too thin. You might show up a little bit here on TikTok. You might show up a little bit on Facebook. You might show up a little bit in a blog and maybe a podcast and all these different places, but the truth is most people don't consume content in all of those different places. So they're getting a fraction of a percentage of what you have to offer, because they're only living on typically that one platform, maybe another.
Pat Flynn: That's not to say people don't consume you in all those places after they get to know you, but as far as getting people to find you for the first time, if they're not getting a full sense that you're here on this particular platform and dedicated to helping a person like them, then they're going to move on to somebody else who is spending more time there. So from top down, bird's eye perspective, the best idea, or the best situation would be to pick one or two mechanisms to build an audience. It might be a podcast, it might be the blog. It might be one or two of these things, but all the rest need to get out of your brain. Even though they are opportunities, and this was hard because it's like, well, if I'm not on this platform, then those people can't find me. Again, the truth is if you're in all the platforms and there's only a small percentage of you, they're not finding the full you anyway.
Pat Flynn: So we need to focus on one or two, and that might be writing, being one of those mechanisms, and mastering that, and just learning all about that. If it is a blog, then, okay, well, how am I going to get better search engine rankings? Who is writing really well right now? And what could I do to get inspired by them? How do I collaborate with other writers so that they start sharing my stuff with their audience? And how do I then connect with other forms of writers, magazine editors and whatnot, to get the word out there even more. And you just focus on that one particular method, you learn all the things you need to know about it so that you can master it, automate it even to a point where you get some time back and then can put that time and energy into something else whilst this first thing that you created is doing its job.
Pat Flynn: And I'm going to stop talking there. I want hear what you think about the one or two platform approach, nothing else matters so that you can fully show up on those things versus the 10% in 10 different places. How are you responding to that?
Tim Phillips: So if I had to pick one or two, I would think blog and podcast. I love to write and I love to talk. And Facebook has been good for reaching out to some people, but it's really the type of stuff you put out on Facebook's really surface level, putting a quote, putting that, and that's just really... And even when I write longer, Facebook doesn't seem to like that. So to get recovery, you need to really dig deeper. And so I think those two formats would really allow me to do that. And those are two things I enjoy doing. I enjoy talking about recovering. I enjoy writing.
Pat Flynn: That works out then. And I do agree with you on Facebook, plus you are now on Facebook creating content and it's in another person's sandbox, it's in Facebook's sandbox. And at any moment in time, like you said, they could change something, and that's not fair. And if you're trying to build a relationship with your audience, having some other entity out there be able to change that in any moment is scary. I think building a community is important and that could happen on Facebook groups, or a circle community, or there's all these other community platforms that exist, but that's not going to be the content play. That's where your community can connect with each other and maybe there's interactions, sure. But I love that you picked out blog and podcast, because those two things work really, really well together.
Pat Flynn: People can listen to your podcast and find you via that way. You can be a guest on other podcasts and you can collaborate with other podcasters. You can bring some of the people in your life that you know on to talk about their story. You can tell your story, et cetera. And like you said, you can get really deep in there. People are likely to listen longer than they are to watch a video and read. And so that's a great platform for you, I would imagine. And I do know some people who are also podcasters in the recovery space. And so it'd be very easy to connect with them because you're all in this for the same reason, you've all had shared experiences and really powerful mastermind groups, I imagine, could be formed with some of those other podcasters too.
Pat Flynn: And then on the blog, that's where you can get into different specifics that maybe aren't as well suited for audio, where you can write and get very detailed. Maybe there's some sciencey specific things that you want to discover or talk about. Well, then that can go on the blog. And that's where you can build your email list and start to have one-on-one connections with your audience. But I think the idea of building an audience first, getting out there, putting your voice out there and building your voice, you're going to be able to attract the right kind of people who like you for the way that you do you. There might be some people who are in recovery who enjoy the 12 step, which is okay, and that's fine. That's not your audience. Your audience are for those who are on the other side of things. And as I often say, your vibe will attract your tribe.
Pat Flynn: So you put yourself out there and your podcast is a great way to not just put your content out there, but your voice, your emotion, your message, your style, et cetera. And you're going to attract those right people. And the same thing can happen with the writing as well. And then from there, obviously those are platforms to build an audience. Those aren't necessarily businesses or money generation tools. Although, of course, you can have ads and sponsors and things like that on those platforms. However, it's the relationship that you build with those listeners, with those readers, who now join you on your email list, who you can have conversations with. What would be the most helpful thing for you? What's the biggest challenge for you right now? There might be a program that you could create. It's not the 12 step, it's the three step program, and it's different because it's yours and you get to develop it.
Pat Flynn: And I think over time, you can begin to use that audience as a testing ground for a structured framework that you can build that is going to become your own, that has its own name, that people can start sharing with other people, inviting other people to. And that could be very powerful. And I think that there's a lot of opportunities that can come with that. I do envision a book in the future as well to, again, be another branch to bring more people into your system, into your framework, et cetera. But I don't even think you necessarily need to worry about, well, what's going to make me money right now, because when you build that audience, that audience will tell you what they need and then you can build it for them specifically.
Tim Phillips: Yeah. And that's where I'm at right now. I'm blessed with a great full-time job. So there isn't the immediate need to generate revenue from this. I did envision courses down the road, or something like that, or writing a book. So I see down the road potential ways to turn, ideally I'd love to be able to do this full time one day, and really just dedicate my life to this. I do feel like it is my calling, but there isn't an immediate need to, I don't need to pay the bills next month doing this.
Pat Flynn: And that's a huge luxury. Not many people are that lucky who are trying to start a business. So the fact of the matter is you can then focus even more on the craft of podcasting and the craft of writing. And with regards to that, how do we get more people to find us and building relationships with other podcasters and writers and doing collaborations. That should be the only focus right now. Nothing else matters, except those things. And thus, you'll be able to put more energy into those things and not get squirrel syndrome, which we all get when there's a, should you be doing TikTok? Should you be doing Instagram and Facebook and all, blah, blah, blah, there's a million things, but what if you would just like master those two and that's where you lived and your audience lived, and that's where they can come to find you, they could rely on you there. And then you build those relationships, you have those conversations.
Pat Flynn: You're going to create something very powerful and something life changing. And you're going to start to see, and this would be the first goal after creating those things. And we can narrow it down even further. You could start with one of those two things even to begin with, although it sounds like you could potentially do both. Getting the individuals to have conversations with you. You might find that you could mentor one person. You have this email list that you build. You have an audience that listens to your podcast and reads your blog, but then you decide that, you know what? You're going to mentor one person just to see what that's like to get your feet wet in there, to understand what a person on the other end might need as far as a framework, to be able to understand what questions they're asking, or what specific challenges they have.
Pat Flynn: And that first person, a few things happen that will guide you as far as, do you like the more interactive mentorship, or would you prefer to potentially have it more in a course structure? Do you even like doing it that way? Do you maybe have another different way that you could try? But the biggest thing that happens is when you get that person a result. For example, let's just imagine that a guy named John was listening to your podcast, subscribed to your list. You had a conversation with him and he was just having tons of problems. Nothing was working for him. And after working with him for six months, you find that he's been sober for literally six months straight since talking to you. How would that make you feel?
Tim Phillips: Oh, that's the dream. That's what I enjoy, and I've worked with a lot of people informally over many years, obviously when I was in the 12 step program, I sponsored a lot of guys and just helping people really. And it's not even just about staying sober. One of the guys that I worked with early, I met him at a, I was volunteering at a rehab and he was paroled straight out of prison. They parole a lot of people there. He was a two striker, one more strike he goes in for life. And we just, we worked on just really building his life. And I was really designing this program and my technique then, but not really knowing it. We were really looking at his obstacles, and one of them was that he wasn't able to see his son. And I said, okay, what do we got to do to get that? What do we got to do to get you that goal? That was what he really wanted.
Tim Phillips: And he was really stuck on the, what's not fair. The system, to go through the courts and all that. He's like, it's not fair I have to do this. It's not fair I have to do this. And I'm like, that's not helping. That is the path for you to see your son, and you just got to do it. And really help him working through that and focus in on the end goal versus the obstacles in the way. And today, he'll send me pictures of him on vacation with his son. And those things are amazing. And I moved down here to Arizona and he was still up in Sacramento where I lived. I went up to Sacramento and sat with him at his court date. And just being there and supporting him. And now seeing pictures of him with his son and the life that he's built, he's built an amazing life. And he had all the excuses just to keep doing what he was doing and end up being a lifer in prison.
Tim Phillips: And just seeing that, and seeing the transformation and just the idea of being able to do that on a larger scale just, it makes me want to cry.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. It will make you cry when you help more people for sure. This is a life changing thing. And I love the story and I think stories like that need to be told, and you might bring these stories in during the hardest times, and be able to coach people through and have people listen in as it's happening, similar to how people are listening in on us chat right now. But again, just narrowing it down to, okay, even before the courses, even before the larger programs, let's just help a couple individuals because that's going to be game changing for your mental and your confidence. And it sounds like you've already unlocked a lot of that, and now we're just trying to scale it up, which is just so exciting.
Pat Flynn: So I imagine big things, and I know that this can happen, but the narrowing down of the, what to do has to happen up front. And I think that's the biggest maybe takeaway today. And be okay with the fact that you won't be on these other platforms. I think that's the big mental shift that many of us creators have to have is, for example, for me, I'm not on LinkedIn. There's a ton of LinkedIn business deals that are happening all the time. And yes, I would be perfect for it, they say, but if I put time in there, then my other things wouldn't have time and it just wouldn't work. So I have to be okay.
Pat Flynn: And I approach it as I'm making the choice not to go there. I am opting out of that so that I can opt into this, or reapply the yes that I once said to this. So that'll probably the biggest challenge moving forward, because it does feel like you're leaving a lot behind, but remember you're putting more time and effort into those smaller things, those fewer things that's going to be able to blossom into something much bigger.
Tim Phillips: Yeah, that sounds good. And like I said, I get a lot of the FOMO, and you mentioned the squirrel syndrome earlier and it's, that's, I'll get focused and then distracted on something else. And I'm like, oh, should I be doing this instead? Am I missing out? And even as we talk about focusing less on Facebook, my brain's already going well, what if I just pre-schedule a hundred posts and schedule one a day, and then the people who are still liking the posts there, they could still see them and I'm not abandoning them. And so my mind's already, I get it and I understand this is what I need to do, but my brain's still trying to bring me back to, and that's what it is, I feel like I'm leaving people behind. I got 500 people, and which isn't a huge audience, but I got 500 people and a lot of them like and comment on my posts and-.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, those are real human beings that-.
Tim Phillips: Yes.
Pat Flynn: ... have gotten some value from you, but you're not leaving them behind, I would say, I would say you are leaning into something better that can help them even more.
Tim Phillips: Yeah.
Pat Flynn: And so when your podcast comes out, when your articles come out, sure, you can use that Facebook group to let them know that those things exist, but your time has to be put into the craft of podcasting and the craft of your writing, because that is where that mastery comes. And when that mastery comes, that's when the biggest impact can come as well. And that's what this is about. So I think that aligning your mission with your what, and considering, or even asking yourself, if you find yourself perhaps not moving as forward as you wanted to, as fast enough as you wanted to, just checking in with yourself, because sometimes we get into automated mode where we're just doing, because that's what we feel like we have to do. But if you can zoom out every once in a while and go, all right, Tim, am I doing the things that are moving me toward my mission best right now? If not, let's change course. If yes, cool, let's keep going.
Pat Flynn: And those are going to be the biggest things. And that honestly is the number one reason why most people fail is because they are not checking in with themselves and understanding that their time here is actually not helping get there. So we need to connect those two things together. And it sounds like if you have gone through what you've gone through, you can do this easy. This will be no problem for you.
Tim Phillips: Yeah. And it really doesn't feel, there's the chore portion to it, but it doesn't feel like a chore overall. I understand there's a lot of parts where it's, all right, I got to sit down and watch this course and learn a little more about this, or I need to study that, but the end goal's there. And I think that with either of those platforms, writing's therapeutic to me, talking about this is therapeutic to me. So being able to still do that while I'm learning too, I think is what's going to keep it going and keep me going strong on this.
Pat Flynn: And then always considering, okay, when I'm focused on writing, what are the best practices to write online? How do I write titles that get clicked on? And learning all about that. And narrowing your learning is also going to save you a lot of time. The fact that you don't have to be on TikTok or Instagram, or Facebook anymore and focus on that means all your learning can be focused on these couple things, which will then be able to exponentially grow them much faster and for you to get better at them much quicker. So, I'm excited, I'm all eyes and ears. And I want to see what you come up with, Tim. Do you have a place for people listening to follow your journey? Are you active on any platforms that people can potentially just follow up with you on?
Tim Phillips: So I do have my Facebook page, it's Sober And Happy. And then my website soberandhappy.com is where I have the blog. And so that's, I'm going to keep writing on that. One question on that. So I know podcasting, a hundred percent, if I'm alert about podcasting, I'm buying your course and I love your content, I love your teaching style.
Pat Flynn: Thank you, Tim. Appreciate that.
Tim Phillips: Now, as far as you're talking about writing styles for blogs and stuff, that's the other problem. If I could do how to blog, I'm going to get 10,000 plus different courses I could buy on blogging and the best thing. Do you have an area that you would suggest a direction to go so that I could focus on the best learning and not so much of the noise?
Pat Flynn: Yeah. My suggestion would be to dissect other successful bloggers, not necessarily go to this person to learn the course. I would follow, for example, James Clear, who wrote Atomic Habits. He has a blog at jamesclear.com, and you can just get a firsthand understanding of how is his blog so successful. And you're going to be able to consciously go, okay, what hooked me into this blog post? What was great about that title? And then find other blogs that perhaps you read or enjoy, and try to dissect, what about those were really great? Because again, that will help you pull in your own style. What I worry about with things like courses and whatnot, and I say this as a course creator, is you follow everything to a tee and you don't put your own stuff into it as well, in which case you're just like everybody else. And you have a very unique approach.
Pat Flynn: So I think that a little bit of research and reconnaissance on who are the good bloggers out there, and what makes them good? Could be a really interesting self-awareness experiment for you to at least start. And then you might go, wow, okay. They all have really good titles. I'm not great at writing titles. And then you find somebody who teaches that. And many of that stuff you could find on YouTube even for free, just to get your feet wet in terms of those things. I wouldn't worry about search engine optimization too hard. And I would just worry about writing the best stuff. And from there, let Google do the work for you to find the right people. Hopefully that makes it a lot easier, because that's really what Google's aim is, is to show the best content for the right people, and their algorithms are so sophisticated now that they can share your article to the right person.
Pat Flynn: We don't need to worry about keyword-heavy things and just write for people. And you know those people, you were one of them. And I think that, that's going to guide you.
Tim Phillips: Yeah, absolutely.
Pat Flynn: Cool. Well Tim, thank you so much. Sober And Happy, what a great brand name. And I know that you're going to make a lot of people happy and I look forward to following up with you. Maybe we can do a follow-up episode at some point and catch up and see how things go.
Tim Phillips: Okay. That's the goal.
Pat Flynn: All right. Well thank you, Tim. I appreciate you.
Tim Phillips: Thank you. I appreciate you too.
Pat Flynn: All right. I hope you enjoy that conversation, again, the brand, which will soon become perhaps a very well known blog or a podcast, I would imagine, because as you can tell, Tim is in this for the right reasons. He lived through this himself and he found a better way out and is wanting to help others too, and has already done so, and is now going to do this to more people in a much deeper fashion with his blog and/or podcast. And again, you can check him out at Sober And Happy, more than just about recovery, but it's about finding a purpose in life and becoming happy. I absolutely love that and the story he told about somebody he knew way back when, and just imagine all the people whose lives he can affect now. Tim, thank you so much for what you're doing, for coming on and for being vulnerable here and having me help you out. So I appreciate that. And that's what I do here.
Pat Flynn: And by the way, if you would like some help potentially from me one day, head on over to askpat.com. You can fill out an application there, and might be able to help you out just like I did Tim today. And we can go through your challenges and struggles as we grow as entrepreneurs together. So thank you again for listening all the way through. I appreciate you, and be sure to hit up SPIpro.com if you want to see if it's the right fit for you. You can join other entrepreneurs, a community, a safe place to come and grow as an entrepreneur. Highly recommend you check it out. Again, that's SPIpro.com. Thank you so much. I appreciate you. And I look forward to serving you the next episode. Until then, peace out, take care and as always, team Flynn for the win. Cheers.
Pat Flynn: Thanks for listening to AskPat at askpat.com. I'm your host Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is Sarah Jane Hess. Our series producer is David Grabowski. And our executive producer is Matt Garland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. AskPat is a production of SPI media. We'll catch you in the next session.