Tim Ferriss once asked me an incredibly valuable question—what would this look like if it were easy?
When we feel overwhelmed, it's often because we make our work more complex than it needs to be. Most of the time, however, the simple path can deliver the same or better results with less effort. So why do we overcomplicate things?
This is what we zero in on in this coaching session with my guest, Chris Greer. He is a religious leader and author who wants to run retreats for people in need of a break from the craziness of day-to-day life. But, with all the possibilities that exist, where should he start?
Today, I help Chris identify and focus on the essential elements that can help him shave years off of his launch dates. We talk about beta releases, in-person events, the best social network to use, building an email list, and much more.
Chris and I cover a lot of ground, and we land on some great actionable tips that are applicable to any business. Join us for this insightful chat to find out more!
Subscribe to my weekly newsletter, Unstuck, to get tips, tools, and my best advice for creating a thriving online business.
AP 1250: How Do I Go from Idea to Product Fast?
Pat Flynn: What's up everybody? Pat Flynn here and welcome to episode 1250 of AskPat 2.0. That's a really nice round number, a quarter of the way, well after a thousand a quarter of the way to the next thousand or 2000. Anyway, my head just goes there really quick, but right now you're about to listen to a coaching call between myself and an entrepreneur just like you.
And today we're speaking with Chris Greer from Chris-Greer.com. He is a spiritual leader. He's a full-time author, he's written a lot of books and he's looking to launch something new. And you'll hear right at the beginning of this episode when I ask, how long do you think this is gonna take?
We shorten that by a lot. So a lot of you who are listening might think that the thing that you know you're gonna do is gonna take a very long time, and you're gonna learn through the process of listening to this episode on how I coach Chris on how we can shorten that time period, learn a lot more, and get results much faster.
So I'm leaving this a little bit vague so that you can listen in and an idea as the sort of discovery unfolds here in this episode. But I hope this is a good one for you, and I'm excited to see what you launch now faster as a result of the next, I don't know, 20 minutes here together with you. So thank you again for your time and attention today.
Hit that subscribe and if you haven't already, and here he is, Chris.
Chris, welcome to AskPat. I'm excited to help you out. Welcome to show.
Chris Greer: Thanks, pat. It's good. Be on. Thanks for having me, man.
Pat Flynn: I'm excited to chat with you. Why don't you tell us a little bit, Chris, what you do and kind of maybe a little origin story if you want.
Chris Greer: Yeah, sure. So my name is Chris Greer and I'm an author, a spiritual retreat leader, and been a pastor for about 15 years. And you know, honestly, after writing my latest book, I decided to switch gears from pastoring in the local church to writing books full-time. And then hopefully in the next two or three years to developing what is basically in hopes of being a non-profit centered on helping people experience God through a variety of spiritual retreat experiences.
It's kinda what we're calling 'em, which is just an opportunity place for people to get together and. Learn about faith and, you know, learn more about life and, and to kind of escape some, and not escape, but so much as retreat from the craziness of life. So just been led in that direction and, and have just now taken the jump to writing full time and pursuing that full time.
Pat Flynn: Nice. That's cool. When you say these retreats, like, tell me about that a little bit. Is that an in-person thing? How long are they, like, what's your vision for that?
Chris Greer: Yeah, so the goal would be in person and right now the bottle would hopefully look like starting basically weekend retreats, kind of a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, kind of a retreat.
Also hoping to have sort of one day opportunities for people who can't get away that long Sure. But are like, look, I need a break. I need to breathe deeply. I need to reconnect with God and some other other people, and to give them experience to do that one day or kind of over a weekend. And ultimately we'd develop that into be kind of a journey where there might be multiple retreats that one kind of cohort of people come on for, you know, over the course of a year or maybe two years. So that's kinda what we're looking at.
Pat Flynn: That's cool. I like that. And as far as your writing, first of all, congrats on making that shift and going full time with that.
What kind of books are you writing? Where could we see them check 'em out, and how often are you kind of publish?
Chris Greer: First of all, my website is Chris-Greer.com, and so you can find the stuff I've written there. And of course on Amazon, if you look up my name. And it's mostly for people who are either wanting to explore the Christian faith or who are already people who would call themselves Christians or Jesus followers, and, and it's not exclusive to just them, but it's really kind of, that's the vein that I write in, is just helping people develop kind of a deeper relationship with God. So, yeah, so it's the stuff that I write and part of this jump into full time is the last book I wrote, really proud of it and I think it's really valuable for people, but took me three and a half years to write it, and so the hope now is to publish once a year moving forward.
Pat Flynn: That's cool. I'm glad the books are related to the retreat. That's, that's a good thing. I'm curious though, Could you do the retreats sooner?
How come you said, I, I'm, I just caught the fact that you said, you know, two or three years from now, if that's the ultimate goal. Like why two or three years do you think?
Chris Greer: Yeah, I think. Because one of the goals and one of the things I, you know, really want to continue to learn from you is, is growing that audience that I have.
So there are people who are reading the books, buying the books. There are people that I'm connected with through my, the local congregation that I was leading most recently and even in the past. So there are people that I can invite on it, but when I think about sort of a fully formed. Kind of mature experience, if you will, meaning mature meaning like we had it fully planned out.
We've curated it in a way that people are gonna have a really meaningful experience. To be honest with you, Pat, I, I just feel like I need a bit more time to create a, the content we're gonna be kind of leading people through the experiences we're gonna, we're gonna have. But I have toy with the idea of experimenting with, you know, taking four or five even of just my friends and saying, Hey, I'm gonna guess come and lead this thing.
Would you like to and experimenting with something a little earlier. But when I think of it being kind of fully formed, I think it's gonna take a, a couple years of some trial and error, some content creation, and also getting some people to help me because I feel really confident in the creative content side of things, but in administratively, to pull something like that off, I need to find kind of the right people to partner with.
Pat Flynn: Sure. I love the idea of inviting some of your friends and people from your church to kind of just experience this with you as a first go. That is very common in the online business space. Experimenting, micro testing and to do that in person with people you already know would make it a lot more comfortable and give you a little bit of leeway to not have to make it perfect. Right? And you can actually utilize those groups to help turn this into what it eventually will become, like you said, mature a couple times. Now a thing can only become more mature after it's out there in the world, right? A person is not mature until they go out and experience the world and realize what you know life is actually like.
So I would definitely advise to try to have a run at this. Knowing that it's not gonna be perfect, knowing that it's still in the process of being built so that when you do this and go live and public with it much further down the road, it is something that's gone through the ringer already. It's is something that is mature at that point.
How soon, like, I, I just wanna push you on this like, cuz what would it take to create something, a retreat for five people, for example, within the next two months? Would that even be feasible at all?
Chris Greer: Yeah, that's a great question. I mean, short answer is yes. Short answer, it's, it's doable. You know, my, my own you know, I don't know if I'm, this is me being chicken or me saying this is my comfort zone. It's saying, oh man, I think a challenge would be for the spring, but, but yeah. I mean, we could pull it off by the end of the year. We could do something small for a handful of people. I think that could be done before the, before the end of the year.
Pat Flynn: How would you feel if, if that went down and it was educational both for you and and those attendees? How, how would you feel?
Chris Greer: Yeah, I mean, I, I mean, Shoot. Yeah. If we did it in two months, I'd feel, I mean, feel great about it. I feel like it would be, you know, it's funny because being a writer, you have your kind of beta readers, you know, and they're, you talk about that maturity thing.
I haven't really thought about using that same principle for this. I kind of want it to be fully formed when we, when it first pulls outta the station, if you will, to use that analogy, but Right. To have, to be able to get real time feedback from folks who are like, yeah, that was, this part of it was really meaningful, or that part was really meaningful.
Would be a huge help before, particularly before inviting strangers into it to invite my friends who can gimme some honest feedback.
Pat Flynn: And you probably have a good time too, I mean, honestly. Here's a question that Tim Ferris asked me once that really helped me understand when trying something new, like how to put it together and, and I'm gonna ask you the same question.
That question is, if this were easy, this two month from now thing, if it were easy to create, what would it look like? What would you do? Like where would it be hosted, do you imagine? And let's just start like imagining what it might actually be like to put together. And make it easy.
Chris Greer: Yeah. That's fun. Okay, let's do it.
Yeah. For it to be fun and easy, I think a couple things come to mind immediately. One is where it would be we actually have developed friendships with people in our, our church who have like a house near the lake, which would be great for five or six, seven people to spend some, you know, amazing. Talk about a quiet place to retreat.
Yeah. So like, and I think that they would be up for at least entertaining the, the question of, you know, can we cohost something like this together, you know, at your property? And so a, I think that could be done fairly easily, which that's a big hump. Yeah. The other thing is, you know, I've, I've written books before, so as far as creating content, if I feel pushed for time creatively, there's content I can lean on.
There's stuff that I believe in and I've written before that I can obviously easily pull from that. There's a certain synergy to that. Some of the people that I would invite, have already read my books would be adding an experience to that to help what they've read go deeper. So I think that's not a huge hurdle.
Yeah, I mean, honestly Pat, I think probably the biggest hurdle in that is just my own confidence and feeling ready and kinda like having a baby or getting married or do it, or writing a book. Writing a book in the first place. Like when are you ever gonna feel that confident?
Pat Flynn: Exactly. But here's what happens, like when you're having a baby, right?
Like you can't delay the baby coming out, it's, it's here, she's gonna come. Right? And it's like when they come, then you become a parent and you're just kind of learning as you go and you're like, oh, I'm not gonna hold them that way ever again. Because you know, you, you just figure it out, right? And putting a date on this would be an amazing exercise for you to that's when the baby's coming. Right? And I think it would get your mindset in the place of, you know, I don't have time to freak out about this. I don't have time to, to get in my own way. I, I need to put this together and, and make it simple. And you've already convinced me that there actually isn't much to be done to make this happen, right?
So we just took something that was gonna take three years from now to happen sooner. And here's the beauty of this. What happens when do this once, maybe you do it a couple times with smaller groups just to kind of get it going, and then you go bigger with it. Now you have testimonials, people who can vouch for this thing so that if I am a stranger, a stranger's thinking, well, is this gonna work?
Or like, what do I have to expect? And, and have other people gone through this, you can just be like, yeah, here's Jenny and, and John who went through this, and look at the transformation they have or what, look at the feedback that they've offered. You might find through this process, and this is another reason why to do it sooner, is you might find that this is not a model you like, right?
It might be way too stressful for you or just not in your, your wheelhouse or, or you just aren't vibing with it, and what an amazing opportunity. Figure that out now with friends who are likely friends who are not going to, you know, be disgruntled about that if it doesn't go well. Worst case scenario.
And then you can move on and it's outta your brain and you can, you can put something else in its place that might be even better. What often happens, because I feel the excitement that you have for this is, is you run this once and you're like, ah, I don't know what I was waiting for. I should have done this sooner.
How are you feeling about this discussion and, and where it's headed? I don't, I know you didn't even ask questions. I just kind of dug right in, but I hope that's okay.
Chris Greer: Yeah, no, that's great. Yeah, I mean, it sound a little cheesy, but inspired is a good word. I think. Yeah. Cause you're right, like pulling the trigger on something sooner and, and getting a date and saying, all right, look, baby's coming, so buy the crib.
You know, paint the room. Whatever you gotta do. Exactly. Make that thing happen. So, so, yeah. No, I think that's, that's, that's a, I think that's a helpful challenge is to get off this call and say, okay, look at a calendar. Pick a date, be a little brave in that and, and see what happens. You know, if it's epic failure and I'm at the lake by myself, then great.
I have a great weekend at the lake by myself.
Pat Flynn: So there you go. You go fishing or enjoy a barbecue or something like that. Yeah, exactly. Awesome. So what else is going on that I can maybe poke around in?
Chris Greer: Yeah, so one of the other things I've been curious about as, as kind of begun to consume some of the SPI content and, and look at the courses and podcasts and those kind of things.
You know, I, I have a feeling there are other folks out there like me who have discovered your voice and your skills and your tools and the things that you and SPI offer that are super valuable. But when I think about jumping into this kind of entrepreneurial kind of thing that I'm doing now, A, with the book writing and then B with the retreat stuff, sometimes I get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of possible steps to take for, let's say, developing an audience or, and, and sometimes I don't know quite where to start with like, gosh, what would be the right course?
Pat Flynn: Like is it YouTube? Is it a podcast? Should I dive into social media? Like which way do I go? The truth is, if you were to, first of all, if you dive into all of them at the same time, you're gonna go nowhere. Right? Hopefully. Maybe you already understand that, which is why you're maybe having trouble selecting because you don't wanna do them all.
This is a very, it was very common back in, you know, 2010-2012, when, you know, discussion about mental health wasn't as prevalent for people to just go all in with everything. This is like prime hustle culture moment in society and then everybody's burnt out now, right? So I hope you don't want to do all of them.
You wanna pick the right one. The truth, any of them will work. If you go into a podcast, you go along with that, it'll work. If you go into YouTube and you go along with that, it will work. They all have the opportunity to do what you wanna do. All these audience building tactics work. Again, not if you do them all at the same time, because then you're not dedicating any time and effort into, you know, going deeper and understanding each of these platforms.
So then that begs the question, okay, well which one in particular should you start out with as far as if, again, the goals, audience building and building a relationship with that audience and getting them to trust your word. And then also, dive into your books and eventually come to your retreats. It's sort of a mixture of, well, where might your audience be?
Or are there audiences out there already that exist who watch similar kinds of content or listen to similar kinds of content? And in your case, I know the answer is yes on all of them, right? So then it's, well, which one would you be most excited to get up and create content for? Which, I mean, you're writing a book, which is great but some sort of content to call home for your free content, for people to discover you. Which one do you think you'd be most interested in? Like, I know there's some people, for example, who wouldn't dare get in front of a camera and although they could eventually and also can learn their way into it, they'd much rather go into deep conversations, in which case a podcast would, would make sense.
Maybe they are only a writer and they don't want to put their voice out there. They don't wanna be on camera. So, okay, let's go in on a blog. And then have the written content and, and articles written as guest content on other magazines or other places where that audience is exists. I'm sure in the, in the religious world, there are different publications that you can get in front of and write for that could bring a lot more awareness to, to your end, for example.
Or you like to get on video and you like to have that creative element of, of telling a story with vision and visuals behind it. Well, then YouTube could be the place. I'm curious like, and, and I don't know you very well yet, Chris, but you could tell us a little bit about yourself and as far as where do you get excited to create or where might you get excited to create content do you think?
Chris Greer: Yeah, that's a good question and I think, you know, if your guts are reliable, as soon as you said that usually are, yeah. Yeah. The first thought that came to mind was actually YouTube, and that's the preacher in me, right? The person who leads people and experiences and has led congregations through a study and, and through and engaging an audience in that way.
YouTube is the thing I sort of lean towards a little bit, cause I'm not camera shy necessarily. Yeah. So when you first say that, that's the first thing I think of. And then I have this, I have this thing in the back of my head that's like, yeah, but really the email list is the first thing. And I feel a responsibility to the email list cuz it seems like it's the most valuable way to have people I'm directly connected to.
But I, I'm the most hesitant about how to do that. Two parts of that. One is to answer your question, I think YouTube is the first thing that kind of fires me up. But I also wonder how do you get fired up about do creating email content in a way that would make me want to come and, and send out emails that are valuable and that serve people, you know, as you've talked about.
So that's kind of, and answered your question and a question on top of that.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. Yep. That's great. First of all, I think YouTube would be amazing. We just came out with a YouTube course and yes, we have multiple courses, but like if you were like, okay, I'm gonna, I'm gonna give YouTube a shot, two things have to happen.
You need to commit to that thing, for a certain period of time, and you also need to like let go of everything else. Podcasting, yes, it could be there, fine, but I'm gonna let it go blogging. Sure, I could have a blog as well, but you know what? I'm opting into YouTube, therefore I have to opt out of these other options for audience building specifically.
Now, YouTube is more of a far and wide reaching audience building tool. Email is a tool to serve those who are interested in what you have to say. And so email is sort of the one thing that lays on top of any one of these platforms. You choose a an audience growth platform and then eventually you get to a point where you also now have an email list to directly communicate with those people and for them to communicate back with you.
But email is, is not just a, a broadcast system. I like to use it also as a broad ask system to be able to understand what your struggles are right now, what are your challenges, and that becomes content for your YouTube channel. And, you know, insight into what could be at a retreat or how people would feel about this, or maybe you discover that people just can't afford the retreat, they wanna do things at their own pace, and you discover through conversations and email with your warm audience that an online course would make sense. I mean, who knows?
The step by step process would be, you know, start a YouTube channel in this case to begin to build awareness, to hone in on those skills and to discover like your position or your, you know, plot of land in the world of YouTube, for example. And then anybody who's like, wow, I really love what Chris has to say, and I wanna learn more from him and I wanna have direct access to him in a controlled manner from your end. Cuz the only way to get direct access to you would be at these retreats would be join the email list and maybe there is some sort of free gift that comes along with that. You join the email list, you get this thing or what have you.
But we just launched a email newsletter called Unstuck and this is a way to like the, my Thought with this new newsletter for, for SPI, you know, most of our emails that have been sent out recently have been mostly like sales pitches and stuff, but what if I were able to create a newsletter people were looking forward to opening up every week that when they read that email, they were like, oh my gosh, that helps so much.
So that's, that's kind of how we're trying to provide value in a three to five minute read. That's the other thing about email people, you usually get scared when they open an email and it's like, you know, an essay versus Hey, here's what you need or here's something that can help you. So anyway, I'm just kind of blabbering on, but I hope that helps, like define where email might live on top of, of another platform that you might be working on.
Chris Greer: Yeah, it does a lot just to think of it. It's kind of layered over . As the thing exactly. You know, it kind of goes over all of them, you know. A lot of sense to me. Cool. One more specific question if we, if we still have time for it?
Oh yeah. I'm curious, and you may have already mentioned some of this, so there may be places in the podcast that you for sure talk to people that do the same thing. But I was curious if there was like one piece of advice for someone whose product A, I have the books, which are physical product, but B, the retreat experience is sort of experienced base as opposed to a physical product based thing.
Is there any advice you have or any tip you have that's specific to kind of experience based products or business, if you will.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, I mean, I've run experience based products before. I had an event that happened in 2019 in San Diego, a much larger, more conference like event with 500 people. But I've also had these more intimate situations.
For example, I had an SPI Accelerator program where certain business owners, more, the higher level ones were paying to get access to not just me and my coaching, but also each other in person retreats with maybe of 15 people, and the way that those were shared was mostly about the transformation, right?
Like it's one thing to say you're gonna go to this beautiful lake house and you're gonna have access to this kind of learning material. But when you talk about well, what happens after all that? What? What am I gonna unlock? What is the difference between me now versus me after? When you hone in on that, that's similar to like, you know, all those fitness programs that are like, here's the before picture and here's the after picture.
Right? I want that after picture. Paint that picture for that person based on that experience. What's gonna happen now and beyond as a result of this small little moment in time that we're gonna do together. The other thing is, when you are talking about these retreats and experiences, it is important to what to expect and what's going to happen. Like a plan a little bit so that some brainstorming will need to be done up front, but you don't need to reveal like everything that's gonna go on. You don't need to have a title for the talk that you're gonna do at noon on, on Tuesday. But people do want to know like, okay, here's the agenda and kind of here, here's what's gonna happen.
But the biggest thing, and this is another reason to call back to, to why doing this with your friends is is gonna be really key first is because then you can capture those moments. I would some cameras up while you're speaking with the crowd sort of, you know, with back to camera, I would have some video of people talking about the experience and what they enjoyed about it, because the truth is you can talk about the experience as much as you want.
The people who have already gone through that experience are gonna be the better marketers for you. I mean, they're gonna sell it for you on your behalf. So those are just some higher level tips to to help you out. And then as far as like announcing this, this is where the email list comes into play, right?
Because those are people who are already warm, they're gonna be likely to be interested in something. And then providing some, again, detail as far as date when this is gonna happen, and then having some sort of reason to make a decision now. This is the other thing. There might be only a limited number of spots available.
There might be, you know, a deadline of sorts to sign up by. Part of our jobs, and this is something that took me years to understand and that, that I'm happy to pass forward to now, Chris, is, is when it comes to marketing, our job is to help people get to a decision. Whether that decision is, yes, I want to go, or no, I don't want to go.
The whole goal is to help them understand enough to make a decision because if we aren't that clear, there's not gonna be any action taken at all. I'll do it later. I'll, I'll figure it out later kind of thing. So this is why deadlines and things that go away after a certain time and certain numbers of spots available are, are really key.
So honing in on that, while you're talking about this, we only have three spots available. Seven people already signed up. It's, you know, Jillian and Jackie and Matt and so many other people that you'll be able to meet and, and connect with as we teach you these things about God, how to come out of this with a happier perspective on life.
Get in now while you can. Right? So you do have to, I mean, that's not aggressive, but it it, for a first time marketer, it can sometimes feel slimy to use some of those tactics. But if you change your mindset to, well, I'm not trying to trick anybody, number one, I'm just helping them make a decision because I know that if they make this decision that I can serve them.
So it's my responsibility to do these things so that I can help them understand that this is the right time or not the right time.
Chris Greer: Yeah. And at the end of the day, you're offering something you believe is valuable or not.
Pat Flynn: That's foundational. That, I mean, if you, if you don't believe that, then it's gonna, it is gonna feel slimy, right?
Chris Greer: Yeah. So to help them make a decision, I mean, I know the things I've signed up for things that are valuable because it was like even just discounted in price for the next week, and I'm like, oh shoot. I'm gonna make a decision this week. Exactly. Cause this really valuable and it's gonna go up by 50 bucks next week.
You know? So there's simple things like that that I've been on the receiving end, so I know how that works as a consumer. So yeah, that's a great idea.
Pat Flynn: Awesome, Chris. Well, this has been an incredible half hour. I'm so excited for your transformation. I hope we can chat again and maybe bring you on and you could tell us about that first experience and, and what has happened since.
And for anybody who wants to check out your books, can you remind people one more time?
Chris Greer: Sure, yeah. It's Chris-Greer.com and the books are there. They'll link to Amazon. You can pick 'em up there, you can send a message through the, through the website if you wanna say hi or learn some more. But yeah, Pat, appreciate your time, man.
I really appreciate your advice and all that SPI offers us that are just trying to do this thing and help people out.
Pat Flynn: So, hey, I appreciate you, my friend. Thank you so much, Chris.
Chris Greer: Cool. Thanks Pat.
Pat Flynn: All right. I hope you enjoyed that episode with Chris Greer. And to be able to take those experiences, the things that he teaches in these books and great experiences.
I mean, that could be done this weekend, right? We often just, again, make things so much more complicated than they have to be, and to quote Tim Ferris, who asked me this question, if this were easy, what would it look like? Take that forward with you and I promise your life it's gonna be much better. All right, Chris-Greer.com.
Thank you again for coming on. I appreciate you and I appreciate you, the listener, for listening all the way through. Make sure you hit that subscribe button so you don't miss out on the next and upcoming episodes here. And we are almost at the end of the year and we got a nice full lineup for you next year as well.
So I'm looking forward to keeping the train going and there's always room for you in here. So take a seat, hit that subscribe button, and we'll see you in the next episode. Cheers, take care. And as always, Team Flynn for the win. Peace.
Thanks for listening to AskPat at AskPat.com. I'm your host, Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is David Grabowski. Our series producer is Paul Grigoras, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. AskPat is a production of SPI Media. We'll catch you in the next session.