AskPat Episode 135 Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, what's up everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 135 of AskPat. I want to give a shout out to Katie Davis, who I just had coffee with yesterday. She's an author, a children's author, she hooked my kids up with some great books of hers.
Again, Katie Davis is her name. And it was interesting . . . She told me that she listens to the show often by hearing the question and sort of pausing and sort of guessing what my answer will be. So if you listen to this show often, that's a great way to approach it. I think that's really smart, so Katie, thank you again for the book. You're awesome. Best of luck to you in all your stuff. I know you're listening to this.
Now let's get to today's sponsor, which is FreshBooks. FreshBooks, for those of you who don't know, is an easy cloud accounting solution that's actually helping millions of small business owners, just like me and you save time with invoicing and get paid faster so you can try FreshBooks right now for free. So if you go to GetFreshBooks.com and enter “AskPat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section, you get a free trial. I only wish I started using it sooner. It has made my life so much easier. Again, you can get it for free at GetFreshBooks.com, and enter “AskPat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section. Now, let's get to today's question from Stephen.
Stephen: Hi, Pat. Stephen Orr here from the UK. Out of frustration, I am building a blog to give people a 90-day plan to follow to allow them to become free from their job and lead a fulfilled and rich life. The URL is FreeandRichin90Days.com. And my question for you, Pat, is if you had to start again, with no money and no contacts, what would you do first? And how would you plan your first 90 days? Thanks Pat.
Pat Flynn: Stephen, thank you so much for your question today, and before I answer your question and sort of go over the sequence of events within those first 90 days, starting from scratch and what exactly that would look like, I just want to say that if you expect to get rich within 90 days . . . this if for anybody listening out there, not just you Stephen, but for anybody . . . If you go into building a business, expecting to be rich within 90 days, more than likely you're going to feel like a failure. Because, that's just typically . . . It doesn't happen that fast. There's no such thing as the overnight success, and we do hear people becoming successful in a fairly quickly amount of time, but that's a very very small percentage of people who start online businesses. In my own experience, my most successful businesses, the one that have been around for a while, the ones that keep paying me back in return now, I was working on them for over a year, a year to a year and a half before I saw any significant returns.
And so going into a “trying to get rich within 90 days,” I think that's a great approach, trying to do things you know that will get you results quickly. I think that's important, but I don't think going into it expecting to be rich or, you know, by the end of 90 days, is the healthy thing to do. I think the first 90 days is crucial, and I'm going to go over sort of exactly my plan, however again, if you're not successful after 90 days, guess what? You're like most people who are starting online businesses, and that's okay. The real business owners, the real entrepreneurs, will get to that 90 day point, that point where they feel like nothing's happening, there's no results, things are tough, they're spending money, they're spending time writing content or producing or whatever, and they're not seeing results. The real successful business owners at that point will keep going and understand that it might take a little bit more time.
So I will say, I like this question because it forces me to think about the top things I should do within those first three months. Not that they're going to make me money during those first three months, but these are the things I would do to set myself up to make the most money down the road, and you know you could use those first 90 days very wisely, or you could completely waste your time during those first 90 days. So here's what I would do. The first thing I would do, again starting from scratch, starting from no contacts, is find a problem that I'm going to solve. Determine what that problem is, and that requires research. That requires research, and so how many days would I spend researching? A lot, because there's a quote by Abraham Lincoln that I love, which sort of goes over this philosophy which is, “Give me 6 hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first 4 sharpening the axe.” So in relation to what we're talking about here, the research that you do upfront is going to help you save tons of time and a lot of stress down the road because the last thing you want to do is go with that first inkling that you have without doing research, and putting a lot of time and money into it, only to look back a year later and say, “Wow, I wish I did something else.” Or, “I wish I put more research into it.” So research upfront is huge.
So what does that research mean? What does that mean exactly? Well, you know, on the online space, there's a lot of people who do keyword research, and I think that's important. I think keyword research is extremely important, and there are tools like the Google Keyword Planner tool, you know you can get that at Google AdWords for free, but you know there are other tools out there like Long Tail Pro, AskPat.com/longtailpro, or Market Samurai is another good one which help you find those gold nugget keywords, those keywords which are highly searched for, which potentially don't have a lot of competition. Which means the first 10 spaces in Google, which is where most of the traffic is, you know, on that first results page for those keywords, there are websites there that you feel like you could provide better content for. So, I think that is one crucial part of it, but it's not all of it.
I feel like keyword research is just one peg in that wheel, you know so you want to make sure a lot of other things are involved, and you could start with keyword research, or if you've listened to Episode 46 of the Smart Passive Income podcast . . . That was the first one I had with Dane Maxwell, you can find that at smartpassiveincome.com/session 46. That episode was about doing something similar. Finding a business opportunity, not through keyword research however, but by calling, cold calling, or doing research through email, and trying to understand through small businesses what things that they're doing that you could provide a solution for. So, what potential pieces of software or what tools can they use to make their life easier? And I think that's a smart approach because small businesses, and even big businesses, you know, they are spending money to make their life easier to do things, and a lot of times they're doing things over and over and over again, and I know that there's a lot of industries out there that there's a lot of opportunities to create things that will help them do their work better.
One example that he uses in that podcast, Dane, he talks about a building inspector. So he actually did some research, calling building inspectors, getting them on the phone, literally telling him, “Hey, I'm somebody who is trying to help you, and I'm going to build a piece of software. What is it that you do everyday? How can I help you?” And one of the things he found out was that these building inspectors, they were using pen and paper to go into buildings and, you know, mark down different rooms and things and take pictures. And it was just very old-school how they were doing it, so he . . . or I think actually, it was one of his students, built an iPad application that did all that for them and then, you know, they go into a room and they just punch it on the iPad and take pictures using the iPad and then press a button. And then a report spits out and, you know, this guy is having these building inspectors pay X number of dollars month.
And the cool thing about that . . . The reason why I mention this approach is because he and most of the students in The Foundation and a lot of people who take this sort of software as a solution approach, they're able sometimes to get their potential customers to pay for the development of that particular piece of software. ‘Cause if you're building something for somebody, and they see the potential solution that you're creating, they might be willing to help you with the development cost because they're sort of working with you to build that perfect solution for that problem that they have. So making calls, get behind the phone. I don't think we do that enough anymore. Those are the types of things you should do, to understand exactly what the pains, problems, and issues are. And like Dane says in that episode, and like Jay Abraham says in his famous quote, which is, “If you can define the problem better than your target customer, your customer will automatically assume that you have the solution.”
So the more you get to know about your audience, the better chance you have of serving them, and that's what online business is all about. Trying to serve your audience in the best way possible. So why would you do that by just creating a solution that you aren't sure is what your audience needs? Why not start with the research? And that's why, you know I mentioned that quote . . . that's why I would spend 30 days to even 60 days doing the research, most of my time doing that research, potentially working with a particular person or a bunch of people within that research group to create one product. One software. Or one, perhaps, epic guide or one beastly resource. One MVP, the minimum viable product, just one.
Just focus on one because if you spread yourself too thin, then you're going to get nothing done. If you put your attention to multiple things, those things that you're putting your attention into will never get done so just focus on that one solution based on that problem that you've researched and, you know just work with them to create it. Work with them to create it, and then eventually you can let the world know. And you can give it to them for free, perhaps a part of it for free. I love the epic guide or beastly resource, and what that is, it's just, you know, whatever their problems are creating a guide or an information product to help them through those problems. And what you can do is you can give away a part of it for free. You can give it for free to the people you've been working with, you could give it to influencers and start to build those relationships with people who have that same target audience which I think is a very smart approach, and that is what my first 90 days would look like.
So just to recap, the first 60 days, I would spend researching. Talking to people, getting out of my comfort zone, searching, doing keyword research perhaps on top of that but just finding out as much information I can about one particular niche market. Understanding their biggest problem, and then start to create one solution for them. And then I would let the world know about it, and during the last part of those days, those 90 days, I would build relationships and give away those things or, you know have people become affiliates for whatever that product is. That's the gist of it. Can I get rich in 90 days after that? No. Can I potentially make money after that point? Absolutely. Absolutely. And that's the quickest approach, and that's the approach I would take.
Now, if you asked me to do this, you know, when I first started, I would say no because I was too scared. You know, I was very lucky in that the approach I took was almost, you know . . . I almost accidentally got into online business because I was creating something for myself, as an architect trying to pass this exam. And I did pass that exam, and then all of a sudden people started coming to that website that I created to help me pass the exam, to help them pass the exam. And so I created a study guide and had a lot of great help along the way, but if you asked me to do what I just mentioned in these first 90 days, the research, talk to people on the phone, understand what their problems are and try to build a solution for it, I would be scared to death. But how bad do you want this?
And then once you start to do this research, I feel like if you really get to know these people, you would understand what their problems are and you'd sort of feel a connection to them so much that you would sort of be able to get out of your comfort zone and know that you're not in this for yourself. You're in this to help and serve others, and honestly the byproduct of serving others is rewards, money, fame, whatever the case may be from what you do, but the byproduct of serving is those rewards that come back your way. So, again, research, research, research. Talk, discover, understand. And then create. And then share. That's it.
So Steven, I hope that answers your question. I hope that everybody out there sort of gets the gist of what I'm trying to talk about. Trying to create an exact plan is going to be hard because a lot of it is going to be based off of that research, and what those potential ideas might be. If I had some money to spend, I would spend it on developing that particular product that I find out, after I do that research. But the research is really really important, and if you're in an existing niche, you know you're past the . . . You know you've already created stuff, you have a site or a blog perhaps, then use people in your target audience to discover what their biggest pains and problems are. If I had all of you listening to this in a room, and I said, “Hey, how many of you have ever gotten on a phone call with somebody in your target audience?” I would say 10% of the room would raise their hand. And that's sad.
Have you ever gotten on the phone or on Skype with somebody in your target audience to discover exactly what their pains and problems and issues are? If you haven't, then maybe you're not serving your audience in the best way possible. Are you just sort of guessing what their problems are? Because, what people say online if they were to . . . Even in an email. If you asked your audience, “What are you struggling with?” You know, the emails are great. The emails that come from asking that question is fantastic. “What are you struggling with?” You can get some great answers, but to get the deep down, sort of why people want the solutions that you're going to build, or the why things are bothering them or what things would actually help, you need to get on a phone call. Can you do that? That's my challenge to you. So, if I were to give you one particular piece of action, call somebody or contact, maybe, some people who you know are super fans or who seem to be more active on your blog or on your Facebook page or Twitter, and just say, “Hey, could I get in on a phone call? I want to see what I could do to help you out more.” The information that could come from that, even a 10 minute conversation, could potentially change your life. So, we're kind of beyond 90 days here, but I feel like there's a lot more deeper stuff that we could be talking about and that's how I would approach it.
So thank you so much for listening, Steven. Thank you so much for your question, and an AskPat t-shirt is headed over the pond your way in the UK. Thank you so much for your question again. If any of you have a question that you'd like potentially featured here on the show, just head on over to AskPat.com.
And as always I want to thank today's sponsor which is FreshBooks. FreshBooks is amazing. It's a piece of software that's going to help you with your invoicing, with you know all the income and expenses that you have. That's just going to organize your financial accounts so that you can focus more on what you need to be focusing on, and then especially come tax season, it's just going to be a few clicks for you to get all the paperwork you need to give your CPA, or just to do your taxes yourself, seriously. So, you can do all that for free and give it a free trial if you go to GetFreshBooks.com and enter “AskPat” in the “How did you hear about us?” Section. One more time, that's GetFreshBooks.com, and enter “AskPat.”
Thank you so much, and as always, I'm going to end with a quote, and today's quote comes from Scott Cook. And he says, “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is. It is what the consumers tell each other it is.”
Cheers, thanks so much, and I'll see you next episode of AskPat.
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