You might be looking around at the people in your space and thinking, “wow, that's a lot of competition.” But sometimes that competitive edge can prevent us from finding a critical link with someone who, on paper, might look like a competitor. You see this all the time in business, in the YouTube space — all over, really. Well, I'm here today to encourage you to find a buddy, someone you can build up and who can encourage you as you progress, even if (again, on paper) you might look like competitors.
If you tuned into session 485 earlier this week, you heard me chatting with Chris Ducker, my best friend and someone who had to make some serious decisions in light of the pandemic. My relationship with Chris has been invaluable, and I wish the same kind of relationship for anyone listening.
Press play for a bit of encouragement from me and an important call to action!
- Something critical that I picked up on as a personal finance blog nerd back in 2008
- What I learned about competition from a book my kids read in kindergarten
- Why you should have a buddy in your online business pursuits, and how to go about finding one
- Why I always say “the fortune is in the follow-up”
SPI 486: One of the Most Important Things You Can Do for Entrepreneurial (and Life) Success
Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it's all about working hard now so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host - he's got 1,426 business ideas, but fights every day not to work on them all - Pat Flynn!
Hey, welcome to another follow-up Friday here on the show and we are doing a follow-up Friday to episode 485, which just published, with my best friend, Chris Ducker. And Chris was talking about a lot of the really heavy decisions that he's had to make, things that he's had to either shut down, put on pause, or transform as a result of the pandemic and business during the pandemic has been tough on many of us for sure, and Chris has handled a lot of the changes that he's had to make, and a lot of those heavy decisions, very, very gracefully. We talk a lot about that in that episode, but I wanted to talk to you today, not about heavy decisions, but specifically about the relationship that Chris and I have together, because it's actually been extremely, extremely important in success journey that I've had.
I'm not saying we should all be friends with Chris, although I think we should, because Chris is a great human being. He's got a great family. He's just very kindhearted and I love his ethics, but moreso, I want you to find your own version of a Chris. Meaning, a partner, a friend, a buddy, that you can grow your business together with. They themselves might be growing a business and you growing a business, you can do this together, and I've seen it time and time again, this is what I wanted to talk about.
When I first started blogging, this was back in 2008, I was very much a personal finance blogger nerd. I followed a lot of these guys from JD Roth at Get Rich Slowly to just, PT Money and several other personal finance blogs. There were so many of them, MyMoneyblog.com.
What I started to notice were that, there were these little, I don't want to say cliques, but just groups of people. Cliquey - we think of cliques in high school fashion, where it's like the popular crowd and they're always together and they're putting others down. That's not what it's like, but it definitely on the outside felt that way, until I started paying really close attention to what was happening. And I started noticing that, for example, JD Roth over at GetRichSlowly.org and Trent Dizman from Simple Dollar, they always just seem to mention each other and link to each other. It was always almost like they had planned it, even though I didn't know what was going on. I was just a casual blog reader of those two blogs and several others.
And then eventually I got to FinCon, a financial blogger conference in 2011 in Schaumburg, Illinois, and I met JD Roth and I watched him talk about the relationship he had with Trent. Now, Trent, wasn't able to make it that year. In fact, he was supposed to do the closing keynote and he didn't show up. As a result of that, I had to do the closing keynote, which was very nerve-wracking and a different story in and of itself, but it was interesting hearing JD talk about the importance of he and his relationship with Simple Dollar or Trent. He was telling the story about how they both started out around the same time, and then they both found each other. They started just becoming friends and started having actual usual conversations, more formal conversations, getting together quite regularly to discuss what was working on each other's sites, to share with each other what was coming out so they could link to each other's stuff when it made sense.
On the surface, they're actually competitors. They're both fighting for attention in the personal finance space, or they were at the time. I know JD is not writing on his blog anymore, but they were utilizing the power of connection to better serve the greater audience and both benefit as a result. They both grew faster as a result of helping each other. They didn't take away from each other. It's almost like, there was this story that I remember my kids reading back in, I think it was preschool or kindergarten. I think it was called, How to Fill Your Bucket or Fill Your Bucket, or something like that. It was this story about how we all have a bucket, and you can either take from another person's bucket or give or put into another's bucket, something positive.
If we live in this world where we keep taking from each other, eventually, everybody's just going to be upset and there's not going to be anything left. But the cool thing is, as you are giving and putting into other people's buckets, there's almost a limitless amount of new things that you can include because you find new things to help and offer to others, and they're going to find things to help and offer for you.
When I started digging deeper into the world of blogging and eventually podcasting and YouTube-ing, you start to uncover that there are these kinds of relationships that exist everywhere. In the YouTube space, you see people like Peter McKinnon connecting with Maddy, his buddy, and they both have their own YouTube channels, and they both grew kind of together. Chris Ramsey is another person, a magician, who in fact has a great relationship with Peter and they help each other out. They feature each other's stuff and I've seen them together in person, and just how much those relationships have both helped each other, and both better serve the audience as a result, too.
It was Glen Alsop and I in the very early days of blogging before I started getting into the podcasting and YouTube space that he and I had a relationship as we were building our businesses together. He was over at ViperChill.com, and then going back and circling around to Chris, Chris and I have become the sort of duo or buddy, if you will. That again, it's not like we're better than anybody else, but it's the fact that we're here to help each other to both better serve our audiences. This is similar to a mastermind group. We've heard of mastermind groups before and the ability for four to 10 people to come around and have a hot seat once a call, for one person to be in the hot seat, and everybody else sort of focused and being brutally honest and upfront and helpful to that person.
This is kind of like that, except it's just with one other person and somebody who I can count on, somebody who I know will be brutally honest with me in a similar way to a mastermind group, but also is just, I almost feel like Chris's business is my own, and I want him to succeed because the better and happier and the more successful he becomes, the more, better, and happier and successful I become as a result of this connection that we have. It's just, again, the ability for all of us to add positive connections, to better serve our audience and both benefit as a result. As I always say, your earnings are a byproduct of how well you serve your audience. So, having a buddy out there - and the more that I did research on this, the more that I discovered that these kinds of things exist everywhere, like I said.
If you don't have a blogging buddy or a podcasting buddy, or an online business buddy, somebody who you can lean on, somebody who you can regularly chat with, who you could literally just text and be like, "Yo, I'm having some issues right now. Can we get on a call?" And it's again, you're both helping and serving each other. That's my call to action for you. If you don't already have a buddy, go out and find one.
Now, you can't just be like, "I choose you and you're going to be my buddy." It takes some time. How might you develop these relationships?
Well, let's go back to how Chris and I started working together. I actually hired his company, Virtual Staff Finder, to find myself a general VA back in the day, and that was very successful. Chris and I met up at a conference. He was eating lunch. I walked in and he was eating adobo. I just remember this vividly, and we chatted about business and then ended up talking about our personal lives a little bit. Found out that he had a Filipino wife, like I do. He had a young boy like I did, and we just hit it off from there. Now, I didn't know he was going to become my best friend at that time, but I knew I was going to follow up with him, and that's really what it's about. The fortune is in the followup, as I always say, and if you want to build a relationship, truly the fortune is in the follow-up.
And then over time, I started noticing that Chris continued to reach out to me to see how I was doing, to see how the VA was working out, to see how things were going and what he could do to help, and I returned the favor. I ended up reaching back out to him again for no other reason than to just make sure he was doing good and to thank him and just to see what he had going on. We started doing that more regularly. That turned into more formal conversations of literally once a week getting on a call. And no, it hasn't been every single week for the last 10 or so years, but it's been pretty close. Lately, as a result of just us both getting so busy it's been far less, but we still connect with each other and it's great, it's been so helpful. It's got to a point where I'm now the godfather of his daughter. I trust him with my kids and my family. If something were to happen to me, I would trust him to help take care of the family, and I know it's vice versa.
Now, those kinds of people, you have to really hang on to them once you find them. And there might be people in your life who you haven't reached out to in a very long time who could become that person. You don't have to find anybody new, it could be somebody who already exists in your life. But as we've once spoken about on the podcast here before, we have to continue to follow up with these connections or else they're just going to dissipate, and it's those connections that you continually keep moving forward, that you just check in with every once in a while for no other purpose than to just keep that fire going, to keep that connection going.
There may come a time in the future where you might need some help, where it's just going to be so much easier for a person to help you, should you need it, if you ask it, and it might even get to a point where with like Chris and I, and like these other duos and partnerships and connections that are made in all different kinds of niches and worlds in the online space and offline, where you might not even ask for help, and it's already being offered because this person who knows you so well knows something is a little off.
So this is just a PSA, public service announcement, or an encouragement to you to go out there and not just build relationships with your audience, and not just find people to partner with in a mastermind group or in your business, but a true buddy and a friend, someone that you can lean on, who you know you're going to be there for them as much as they're going to be there for you.
So, I encourage you to find your own version of a Chris Ducker, and I hope you enjoyed this episode, this follow-up Friday, and perhaps this means you might take a moment to text that person who you know could become that person and reach out to them and be like, "Hey, how's it going? Maybe we could chat a little bit more often," and then you can take it from there. Don't be weird about it.
All right. Take care, everybody. Thanks so much for following the podcast, checking out the follow-up Friday episodes, and I look forward to serving you next week.
Cheers, thanks so much, and as always, peace out and Team Flynn for the win.
Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast at SmartPassiveIncome.com. I'm your host, Pat Flynn. Sound design and editing by Paul Grigoras. Our senior producer is Sara Jane Hess, our series producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media. We'll catch you in the next session.