By the time you hear this episode, FlynnCon1 will be solidly in the rearview. It was an amazing weekend of meeting folks, sharing knowledge, and coming together as the wonderful community that is Team Flynn. Not to mention there were all sorts of cool things happening, from a real vintage arcade to the SmartBar, where sponsors could actually serve the community and answer questions instead of delivering a sales pitch.
Since FlynnCon1 was the first time I put together an event of my own, I thought it might be fun to change things up and interview . . . well, me. Actually, it was my friend Michael O’Neal’s idea. He’s the host of the Solopreneur Hour Podcast, and a great interviewer. When we sat down to record this episode, it was two-and-a-half days after the event so there was a lot going through my head about how it went, what we could do better, and how we’re going to improve for FlynnCon2.
We talk through my experience organizing everything. From thinking through food at the venue to creating a spot where introverts can recharge, there’s a lot of thinking that goes into putting on a live event that might not be obvious at first blush. One of the biggest things for me was striking that balance of being available for my community who showed up for me, while also realizing that I’m the main event, and I needed to pace myself to make sure I could deliver over the entire weekend.
There’s a lot here for anyone who does public speaking or is thinking of getting into that sometime in the future. I’m so grateful to my team for coming together and putting on such an amazing event. FlynnCon2 is going to be even better, so make sure to pick up your tickets now at flynncon2.com.
Pat Flynn: This is a really special episode of the Smart Passive Income Podcast. Exactly one week ago, there were 400 entrepreneurs in town, here in San Diego, California to join me at a live event that me and my team put on, called FlynnCon. It was a two and a half day event here in San Diego, and I finally recovered enough to talk about it. And what you're about to hear is an interview with me. Actually a great idea that a good friend of mine, Michael O'Neal, who is the host of The Solopreneur Hour Podcast, a great interviewer, and one of my favorites. He said, “Hey, Pat, how would you like to have me come on your show and I'll interview you about FlynnCon because I think your audience would be really interested to know what it was like to put on this event. Some of the things you did, some of the unexpected moments, the things that didn't go right to just share how things went.” And thought that was a great idea.
Pat Flynn: So what you're about to listen to is Michael O'Neal come on to our show here and to interview me. He'll also be simultaneous, I'm not exactly sure when he's going to do it, but he may be posting this on his particular podcast as well. But if you're listening to this, and it is October of 2019, that means that you're getting to listen to this when most people do. Some of you, however, may be listening to this way ahead of time. I'm going to be giving this episode to the attendees to FlynnCon and a few certain communities that I own early so that they'll get some insight on what FlynnCon was like, fresh off of FlynnCon and not having to wait a couple months.
Pat Flynn: But if you're listening in October all good by now I will have announced FlynnCon2. And there will be tickets available at flynncon2.com. You can go there and check out the theme for 2020 as well as some of the programming and we'll talk about some of the big mistakes that I made during FlynnCon1, what it was like to bring sponsors on and the different areas of the conference and some of the things that were unexpected. Things that I didn't plan until in the moment that worked out at the event too. So sit back relax. Let's play the intro and on the other side of it, we'll just going to dive right in. To Michael O'Neal and Pat Flynn in the studios, in the WeWork in San Diego, California talking all about FlynnCon1.
Automated: 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 secretly wishes he could do woodworking all day, Pat Flynn.
Michael O'Neal: Welcome to the Smart Passive Income studios, ladies and gentlemen.
Pat Flynn: We're using a brand new piece of tech right now called the RØDECaster Pro. I'm turning it down so we can have a little bit of ducking, but-
Michael O'Neal: Oh, Look at you.
Pat Flynn: ... This is the default song that comes on it and it kind of pumped us up a little bit.
Michael O'Neal: It does. This is a great piece of kit that I've never really played with. So this is really cool.
Pat Flynn: Yeah.
Michael O'Neal: And I've been nerding out, you know me I nerd out about all this.
Pat Flynn: Absolutely. So that's really cool, but I'm really stoked to have you in my studio at the WeWork in San Diego, California to interview me. We're kind of doing a fun little thing. I'm going to be on Mike's show. This interview is going to be on my show as well because something really crazy just happened last weekend. I ran my first event and Mike came up to me and had this really amazing idea to interview me for the podcasts and just ask me all the things that were going in my head since I'm fresh off this event right now. Great idea and thank you.
Michael O'Neal: Thank you. And before we get started, and in the interest of gear, I wanted to give you a little thank you present. For just being awesome-
Pat Flynn: Thank you.
Michael O'Neal: ... For many years.
Pat Flynn: You didn't have to do that.
Michael O'Neal: I know. But I did.
Pat Flynn: You're like I'm here, you're welcome.
Michael O'Neal: Yeah. But you have kiddos and sometimes you want to work and you want to focus and you're not here at your lovely WeWork, so these will come in handy-
Pat Flynn: Oh dude, what are these?
Michael O'Neal: ... For such things.
Pat Flynn: So I was just handed this leather or pleather looking container that has a zipper. I'm opening up the zipper right now. Can you hear that?
Michael O'Neal: Yep, that's-
Pat Flynn: It's a very long zipper.
Michael O'Neal: ... Okay, we'll leave all that alone.
Pat Flynn: And I'm opening it up. Whoa, some really nice looking headphones. That-
Michael O'Neal: Yeah.
Pat Flynn: ... Whoa, okay. From, I'm reading it on the back, it says NightOwl. And I think the company name is AudioQuest. Tell me about these. Thank you by the way.
Michael O'Neal: As you know, one of my other shows is all about hi-end audio. And it's one of my passions, so I get to review some really great gear.
Pat Flynn: Nice.
Michael O'Neal: So when we get that stuff in, there's only so much I can put on my head. This company, as I've gone through the ranks of hi-end audio, if you've never heard of it, it's probably some hi-end audio company. It's usually a guy's name or something like that. AudioQuest makes phenomenal gear. And these are one of their best sets of headphones.
Pat Flynn: Thanks man.
Michael O'Neal: You plug them in and you're in this different... They really are different. You will notice a difference especially if you run something like Tidal, which is a higher resolution version of something you get on Spotify or Pandora. And all of a sudden, you can literally sense where the band was. You go, oh, the bass player's right there, the singer's right there, the drummer's over there on the left, and you can hear it in the music where with Pandora and Spotify, it sort of mushes into one kind of mushy pile.
Pat Flynn: That's awesome man, thank you. And I know you're an audio file, you are a proficient drummer. I've seen you drum. It's amazing.
Michael O'Neal: Thank you.
Pat Flynn: And this is really cool. Thank you, man. I wasn't expecting that. And so this episode, I don't know on your end, but on my end at least it's not sponsored by this company.
Michael O'Neal: No.
Pat Flynn: And just to get that out of the way, but I appreciate that man.
Michael O'Neal: This is a real actual, just a gift that I thought you'd like.
Pat Flynn: No, I appreciate that.
Michael O'Neal: These kids, they got to sleep and you want to listen to your Tchaikovsky or whatever.
Pat Flynn: Thank you, man. Yeah, I had it on mute.
Michael O'Neal: That was-
Pat Flynn: I'm playing with the soundboard on this RØDE.
Michael O'Neal: ... Yeah, it was a little bit of a...
Pat Flynn: Nice, nice. Okay, that's enough of that. Thank you, man. I appreciate that.
Michael O'Neal: So walking in the door today of WeWork, and we work in La Jolla, there's a big placard sticker on the door that says LEED Platinum. And I'm wondering if you have noticed that as you've walked in and made the connection between where you started and where you are?
Pat Flynn: Yeah, definitely. I haven't really sat down to really let that sink in. But every time I walk in this building, it says LEED Platinum, meaning it is one that qualifies for certain certification within the green building, sustainable environmental design sort of space. And that's where I got my start as many of you listening to this might know. I graduated with an architecture degree and after getting laid off, it was the LEED exam that I created a website for to help people pass that really changed my life and help me become an entrepreneur. And here we are now and I'm now working out of this building that is LEED Platinum certified which is the highest level of certification in the LEED industry.
Pat Flynn: So yeah, every time I come in, it's kind of a little tiny reminder of like, hey, you used to do that. And you've kind of graduated beyond that now.
Michael O'Neal: How often or are you capable of reflection on this last, it's been about nine, ten years I imagine, right? How often do you pause and go, whoa?
Pat Flynn: It happens once a week because I do a lot of podcast interviews, right? And a lot of people will ask me about my story and I don't mind and I love telling that story because it reminds me every single week and I think that helps me because it keeps me grounded, Jenny from the Block situation. And I think a lot of it also comes up in conversations at home with the kids and my wife, April. We often just sit and after the kids are down we go, how did we get here? Then we talk about it. Remember when I got laid off and I was supposed to be an architect, imagine what life would be like if I was working nine to seven every single day. We wouldn't have the kids be the way they are today. And of course, it just makes me reflect on, wow, I'm so glad I got let go back in 2008.
Michael O'Neal: And your kids polite and delightful and fun and your son was on stage-
Pat Flynn: He was.
Michael O'Neal: ... At the first annual FlynnCon, which had to be a huge thrill for you?
Pat Flynn: It was really cool and a lot of people go, wow, he's a natural up there but just like their politeness, just like how kind and caring they are to other people, just like how they are very social, our kids, they don't mind speaking to adults, they're comfortable doing that. Obviously, we control that to make sure they're safe while doing so. But it was a lot of hard work. Much like anybody who seems like a natural it's usually not that. April especially has worked so hard to give Keoni confidence and to work through his a lot of mental blocks that a lot of us experience as well. Not good enough or I'm so scared, what are people going to think about me? And it's a daily thing for us.
Pat Flynn: I mean, April and I work so hard to ingrain in our children that you have to share your ideas because there are people out there who can benefit from them. And there are going to be people out there who are going to judge you but there are people who need you and that's who you need to focus on. And that's often what helps the kids get over sort of any fears. Kai dancing in front of the audience at FlynnCon at the pool party afterwards and having the confidence to go up there. It reminds me of her first time on stage. And it was this big luau sort of situation. And she just cried the entire 10 minutes at her performance. She stood there cried, and I felt for April, I felt for her. Then the next time she only cried half the time. The next time-
Michael O'Neal: Wow.
Pat Flynn: ... It was a quarter of the time and then now she just has confidence to, with just two other girls go out there and make it happen and deliver a good show. It's a lot of work.
Michael O'Neal: The confidence piece is really interesting, especially coming from you. The way we're sitting recording this episode is reminiscent of now what would be seven years ago in New York City at NMX where you were speaking and we had a quick... We went to a smoothie bar because you were in smoothies at the time. And-
Pat Flynn: It was a juice I think.
Michael O'Neal: ... Yeah. And it was the first time we'd met, and we talked on email a bunch, and this was hours before you're about to present. You were going back to your room. You were going to put on what you're going to wear on stage and then rehearse your speech another five times.
Pat Flynn: Yeah.
Michael O'Neal: Really, it's been cool for me to watch this. I came from a showbiz family and I was a professional drummer for a zillion years. So-
Pat Flynn: So you're used to it.
Michael O'Neal: ... Used to being on stage. Somebody and there's also something about riffing on something you know versus something you don't. And it's like, oh, if you give me a subject and give me a microphone, I'll go talk about it. I have no problem with that.
Pat Flynn: Sure.
Michael O'Neal: So I remember watching you then and then a few years later at something, whatever it was, I've seen you many, many times. And then this was really fascinating. You were on stage, you were interviewing that great dude that had the Forrest Gump photography career. That he just kept stepping into a new amazing thing. All of a sudden he's Usher's, Usher?
Pat Flynn: Yeah.
Michael O'Neal: Usher's photographer.
Pat Flynn: Usher's photographer, Walid Azami who is our most popular guest on AskPat.
Michael O'Neal: Oh yeah. And so, I remember I was sitting there watching him, but I was watching you. And you were so comfortable. You were just chilling on stage. You had a real utter confidence about you. And I remember thinking that human didn't exist seven years ago. The one that didn't know exactly what was going to happen, and would have been okay with it and I love that evolution. The evolution of Pat in the last seven years, especially as it pertains to confidence in something you didn't really know that well. Give me a little bit of the evolution from your perspective?
Pat Flynn: Yeah, from my perspective it was an evolution of trusting myself more than anything. Realizing that no matter what happens that I'm able to get through it. I mean, there were times where I prepared so much for a talk and yet still things went wrong. And I realized that it wasn't necessarily the preparation that made me feel better. It was just knowing that no matter what happened, I'd be able to figure it out. And this is why I feel I'm a better interviewer now. I don't prepare my questions ahead of time like I used to. I trust myself to cover the content in a way that will be helpful for people on stage specifically. I know where I'm going, but I don't know exactly how I'm going to get there. And oftentimes, it's those moments that happen unexpectedly following that gut instinct, like Walid was talking about at FlynnCon that really make moments special.
Pat Flynn: There was a moment where I spoke on stage about the ladders I've been on. Which I really love that analogy of, in college I was on the educational ladder, and then a literal ladder as a student director of a marching band. It was really cool. I did this little experiment, where I had the audience sort of sing a note. And then I had the middle group of the audience sing the third and then the other side sing a fifth and I had them all kind of in chorus.
Michael O'Neal: Da da da.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, and the whole audience together and kind of raised my hands up to make him go louder and put it down to making those softer. Just like I was in band again, and I was on the top of the ladder-
Michael O'Neal: It's like that Bugs Bunny thing, woowowowow.
Pat Flynn: ... Yeah, it was exactly like that. And it was really cool moment. And that was sort of done on the fly. But even those ladders themselves, I don't know if you were there, because I know you-
Michael O'Neal: I missed that one.
Pat Flynn: ... You were at two events this weekend. And I appreciate you for making time for mine, in addition to this other one that you were a part of as well. But what ended up happening was I wanted to talk about the ladder I was on in college and then how I moved over to the ladder of the corporate ladder, right? Just how we always hear climbing the corporate ladder and how I was doing that. And then after almost getting kicked off that ladder, seeing this new ladder, this new entrepreneurial ladder and wanting to go there but I couldn't climb that ladder because I still had a foot on the other ladder. right?
Michael O'Neal: Right.
Pat Flynn: And so-
Michael O'Neal: You weren't fully committed to it, yeah.
Pat Flynn: ... Wasn't fully committed. And so many things happened only after I fully committed in my head that I was meant for this new ladder, because I went to five years of school for architecture. My parents paid their way through for me, I was like, this would be letting them down if I didn't do what they had set me out to do, right? So the day before the event, I go to Jess, who's my amazing executive assistant, and I go, “Hey, Jess, I need three eight foot ladders.” And she goes, “Okay.” Like she always does, and she gets it for me. And then I tell the AV crew beforehand, I'm like, “Okay, guys, this is what's going to happen. I increase the transition between these two slides from two seconds to 45 seconds. So it's going to be really slow transition.” And the transition was showing the slide that had the tops of ladders, and then it would go down to the bottom of the ladders really easily. But just visually on slides, that's how I was going to do it. But now I wanted physical ladders on there.
Pat Flynn: So then what ended up happening was in that 45 seconds, they played some background music and I just went off stage, I brought a ladder on, went off stage brought a second ladder on, went off stage brought the third ladder on and then there's three ladders right there on stage, and I'm climbing them and I'm conducting the audience and then I climbed a second one for my career and then I straddle the second and third one. So I'm like right in between. And then there's this very sort of impactful moment where I talk about the moment I finally made the leap. And in that moment, I stepped from fully the second ladder all the way to the third. But then the ladder started moving back and forth. The middle one, which was unexpected. It almost kind of fell. And then I got on the third ladder, and I was just like, “See, sometimes it's not always going to be an easy transition.” And that stuff just, it was unplanned-
Michael O'Neal: Perfect.
Pat Flynn: ... I'd never rehearsed it. And it was perfect.
Michael O'Neal: You couldn't have rehearsed that better.
Pat Flynn: No. And things like that I trust myself to figure out as I go now, which would have never happened back then. I was so... I remember the first time I spoke on stage in 2011. I wrote every single word I was going to say because I didn't trust myself.
Michael O'Neal: Right. And then that evolved into this think on the fly.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. I feel like FlynnCon and what I do on stage is a performance. It's not speaking, it's not public speaking, it's performing, it's entertainment-
Michael O'Neal: Sure. That's what I think about podcasts.
Pat Flynn: ... Storytelling. Yeah. Oh, absolutely.
Michael O'Neal: Podcasts are to me, they have to be entertainment first. This is one of the big differentiating factors I think between at least the concept of my show and others, which is a lot of people are like, I'm going to lead with value. And I go, all right, I'm going to lead with entertainment. Because if someone is engaged and entertained, they'll learn way more than if it's just like, I'm going to give you 10 tips for how to blog better.
Pat Flynn: For sure.
Michael O'Neal: That's the teacher you remember, the one that told stories and the one that was really engaged and people were entertained by. You weren't falling asleep in their class.
Pat Flynn: Right. They made you laugh. They made you cry. They made you smile. And that's what I tried to do on stage. And it was really cool, because FlynnCon was really a combination of the hundreds of events that I've ever spoken at. I want to slow down my speaking elsewhere and just-
Michael O'Neal: Have you spoken to hundreds of events now?
Pat Flynn: ... Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Michael O'Neal: Wow.
Pat Flynn: Probably over 100, not more than 200 but it's a lot.
Michael O'Neal: Yeah, it's a lot.
Pat Flynn: Especially with a family and the kids are growing up and I'm starting to see... Stu McLaren said this, I think it was Stu. He said, “You know what? Your time with your kids it's like 18 summers and that's it.” And that made all... I heard the audience kind of go, whoa. And so for me with half that amount with my son, now that he's nine, it's like I want to spend more time with them. And so I found that I'm at this point now where I have a confidence to put on my own event, a team, an amazing team and volunteers as well, big shout out to them for helping put this together.
Pat Flynn: Why not just do what I love to do, which is speak onstage but bring everybody to me and bring everybody to San Diego and treat them to nice weather, treat them to a nice location. And what I also loved about FlynnCon was that I got a lot of comments because there were teachers there and they're like, “I never get to go to conferences because conferences are in September when schools already in session or in March and April when schools ending. Never in the summer.” and people brought their kids there. You were there, you saw a bunch of kids and they were playing the Mario Kart tournament. We had the Mario Kart tournament finish-
Michael O'Neal: But live. It was like watching eSports.
Pat Flynn: ... Yeah, it was so cool. Giant screens in the final four going in. It was two kids versus two adults and the adult took home the grand prize which was kind of funny. But you're never too old to be a kid. There were so many fun things and having it be family oriented and family not centric, but just family friendly. I mean, we're creating something really cool here and we've already sold 20% of the tickets and we haven't even announced FlynnCon2 tickets publicly yet.
Michael O'Neal: So take me back to what were you doing? How long were you percolating on doing a live event for yourself? I imagine it was probably quite some time.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, years. But never had I gone, oh, we could actually do this. It was always, oh, one day, oh, one day would be cool in the future.
Michael O'Neal: What do you have to do when you decide all right, let's do this. You talk April you say we're going to do a live event?
Pat Flynn: Well, I had talked to April about everything. Because if I put on a live event, and I don't tell her and then she goes...
Michael O'Neal: No, no, but I mean, is the decision made with April first, or is it maybe Ducker first, you know what I mean?
Pat Flynn: Yeah, it was-
Michael O'Neal: Is it a business decision? Or I mean, everything's a family decision.
Pat Flynn: ... Everything's a family decision. But you're right. There are moments when I'm with other people who are business owners who give me ideas, and I go, wow, this is super smart. At this particular case with FlynnCon, it was 2017 and I was in Colorado Springs for an event run by a guy named Pete Vargas.
Michael O'Neal: Vargas, yeah.
Pat Flynn: And Pete Vargas helps people with their stage presence, with just everything stage related. That's him. And I saw the impact that that event made on all the people there. And he was also talking about creating your own stages. And that just gave me the idea. And then he and I went up to the little mastermind retreat afterwards, and we had a great conversation. And he was like, “Pat, why don't you think about putting on your own event one day?” And I'm like, “Yeah, I do these little workshops. Like podcasting workshops and online course workshops and things like that. But a big event, I don't know. It seems like it'd be a lot to take on.” He's like, “It is but you saw the impact that we made here at this event, and that's going to last forever for some of these people. They're going to be lifelong fans as a result of that.”
Pat Flynn: And I was right in the middle of thinking about my new book, Superfans, at the time too, where in my book, Superfans there's a chapter about bringing your community together and facilitating those kinds of interactions between your people and just what that does for your brand and how you can create lifelong customer super fans as a result. And I had started thinking about-
Michael O'Neal: Can I pause for one second?
Pat Flynn: ... Yeah.
Michael O'Neal: I want to touch on something really quick before you go to the next part, which is, this was all happening in 2017. I want people to realize this is two years later. The event happened and the book is coming out.
Pat Flynn: Correct.
Michael O'Neal: Just for people that are impatient about how quickly something should happen. This is two years for a guy that had it pretty dialed. You've had the whole online business, and you had a team and you had momentum around the business that still took two years to go from that conversation to the opening lights of FlynnCon, FYI.
Pat Flynn: It did. And a big thank you for that. However, in the beginning there was a lot of resistance, which is why... I mean it could have happened in 2018 but there were also a lot of other things going on too but there was a lot of, no I don't know. Even with the Superfans book, it's like I don't know if I could do this again because Will It Fly was just a drag to write. I'm so glad I did it obviously but it was a-
Michael O'Neal: Grind.
Pat Flynn: ... Struggle for sure. And this event, I mean, I know it also it's not going to be just a struggle for me, but everybody else involved in the team. So it was just a big commitment. But finally we were like let's do this. It fits in with our plan. It's about time. And it also was announced kind of after the 10 year mark of my business, and I figured you know what? It's been 10 years and I haven't yet brought the community together. Let's make it happen now. And that's when we committed as a team to go, hey, we're going to put on an event in 2019. Let's figure it out. And then we started to go, how can we make this better? How can we make this a safe space for people? How can... Because I knew that not a majority, but a lot of people coming to FlynnCon we're going to be people who had never gone to conferences before.
Michael O'Neal: Right. Well take me through that though. So you have a team, do you sit and have a live meeting with everybody at the table and go let's talk about our dream conference. How does that work?
Pat Flynn: Yeah, I mean, we meet every other week to discuss what we know we already are working on, right?
Michael O'Neal: Who's on the team?
Pat Flynn: So we have eight people right now, Matt Gartland is my COO, and then Janna is our chief, essentially Content Manager. And we have Mindy, who's our Solutions expert, and Non who's our customer service person, Jess is my executive assistant, Karen who helps run marketing. And then Caleb is here as well for videography, and those kinds of things as well, and very much part of the team too. So we often get together to talk about the small things that we're working on that we've already started planning.
Pat Flynn: So once a quarter, Matt and some of the other leadership team will get together and go, okay, what do we want to plan for the next couple quarters? Because we then work backwards from there to understand, okay well, let's do these things within this two week period of us, let's do these things, and then it adds up, and then eventually we'll get to the end. So we always work backwards from where we want to be, but with FlynnCon which is a much bigger thing. I mean, we had a discussion specifically about the event and then we had literally a kickoff meeting and we added an additional meeting into our weekly sort of go around to just discuss FlynnCon.
Michael O'Neal: Just FlynnCon.
Pat Flynn: Just for FlynnCon, yeah.
Michael O'Neal: Yeah.
Pat Flynn: There's a lot of work. And we had to hire an event manager as well to help with because we've never done this before.
Michael O'Neal: Right, to be a liaison with the hotel or whatever.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, all that stuff. And-
Michael O'Neal: Did you pick that first? Do you have to pick a hotel first, then work backwards?
Pat Flynn: ... Kind of. I mean-
Michael O'Neal: Or did you have to figure out how many people are going to come first and then find a venue for it?
Pat Flynn: ... You have to know what you want. So how many people are going to come? And then you pick a date, if that's your constraint. Like what dates do you want? Or you can go the other way, you pick the number of people. The number of people is the most important thing because then that determines, well, what venues could you get? And then in those venues that you like that fit that capacity, are those dates available?
Michael O'Neal: Did you have like 500 in mind?
Pat Flynn: 500 was the max. 350 was sort of the goal.
Michael O'Neal: Okay.
Pat Flynn: But I wanted more than 350 and we ended up with just a little over 400 and-
Michael O'Neal: Felt like a good sized event to me.
Pat Flynn: ... It was perfect size. I mean, I think if there were 100 more people there, especially on the first year, it might have been a little bit too much for the space that we were in. I think it was a great intimate size group and in a nice space that wasn't too big, too expansive. That was the other nice thing about this particular event venue, which was the Hyatt Regency here in La Jolla. Pretty close to where we are right now actually recording this it's like a stone throw. And what was nice is the SmartBar, which was another new idea that we had, that we implemented that was a major success, which is where the sponsors were to serve the audience.
Pat Flynn: These sponsors came knowing that they were going to be there essentially be like an Apple Genius Bar with their realms. So ConvertKit for email, Teachable for online courses, and people loved having direct access to them knowing that they could ask questions and not going, oh, okay, I have to spin this wheel and I might win a pen and then I'm going to get pitched to, right?
Michael O'Neal: Right.
Pat Flynn: Which is we see it a lot of times, right?
Michael O'Neal: Which is what it is, yeah.
Pat Flynn: But that was right outside the ballroom. You had to go through the SmartBar, right?
Michael O'Neal: Right.
Pat Flynn: And so the sponsors came back afterwards and were like we've never had this much foot traffic before. We love this idea. And we love helping because a lot of these companies like email marketing for example with ConvertKit. A customer that comes back the next month is just as good as a customer who is brand new, right?
Michael O'Neal: Yeah, exactly.
Pat Flynn: Because it's recurring income. So it's really smart for them and I'm glad it worked out and then we had an arcade. We added a lot of... There was a video game theme, right? Press Start was the theme of the year. What are you going to start? How are you going to get started? How are you going to follow through was kind of the themes of the event? And we had an arcade and the idea for the arcade came because number one I just wanted an arcade there for me, even though I didn't even get play.
Michael O'Neal: It was awesome, yeah.
Pat Flynn: But number two, these were like the old school standup cabinets like Donkey Kong and-
Michael O'Neal: Galaga.
Pat Flynn: ... Galaga. So it's kind of cool for the kids because they want to play games then here they are getting introduced to old school games. But in my head I envisioned groups of people hovering around the arcade cabinet, getting to know each other, socializing, cheering each other on. Oh, I got next and they put the quarter on there. Afterwards we're like, oh, we should have printed like a FlynnCon quarter. So that they could put it on the cabinet, right?
Michael O'Neal: Right.
Pat Flynn: So that's what I envisioned. And it happened, which was really cool too, that people got to know each other there in the arcade, which is also where the coffee was.
Michael O'Neal: I like they had an introvert bar too or introvert area for people that... Because I know you, like one of our similarities is like, at some point when you're on from 8AM on the elevator until sometimes at some conferences it's 2AM and you're going back. I mean, you're on all day. And it's a constant barrage of questions. And it's flattering, but it's a lot and your head is just... You're like, I don't want to talk to another human for five days after this.
Pat Flynn: This is the introvert way, right?
Michael O'Neal: Yeah.
Pat Flynn: And you recharge by getting away. But we had a space and this was very much credit to Michael Stelzner and the crew over at Social Media Marketing World. They have an introvert spot. Just full of bean bags.
Michael O'Neal: Oh I didn't know that, yeah.
Pat Flynn: It's kind of a way we didn't really have a place to put it away from everything, but it was connected but still separate. And we just had some tables and chairs in there and people used it. I mean, we could have made it better. We probably could have had more space for people to just relax and more bean bags and say-
Michael O'Neal: Essential oils.
Pat Flynn: ... Some essential oils, you know?
Michael O'Neal: Those are the ones to do.
Pat Flynn: Right. I'm looking at the sound pad. I'm like, I want to keep playing with it.
Michael O'Neal: Well, I was just about to say, so take me back. Now I want you to take me to the part because we chatted for... You were very kind and said, I'm really glad you're here. And I thought why, but you were really nervous about this for quite some time. You had some real-
Pat Flynn: Of this event?
Michael O'Neal: ... About this event. So take me back if you would.
Pat Flynn: Okay. I will. So we're a week before the event. And that was a really good transition by the way. We're a week before the event, and my mind just starts racing, right? Because not all my slides are done. I didn't even... My presentations were done. But if you're running an event. It's not just the presentations, there's the slides for the sponsors. There's the slides for announcements of the break and all these other fun things you might be doing. We gave away Superfans, the book and a bunch of other surprises, right?
Pat Flynn: So my mind is just I'm freaking out. I don't think I'm going to be able to get done in time. I didn't have all my slides for all three days done by the time the event started. Some-
Michael O'Neal: Nobody ever does by the way, FYI. For everyone you see on stage, they worked on that either at midnight, on the plane or in their room right before they went on stage.
Pat Flynn: ... Well, I know that from my personal experience being at other conferences, I'm continually tweaking and our special guests who are seasoned expert speakers also didn't turn in their slides until last minute either.
Michael O'Neal: Nobody does.
Pat Flynn: So I didn't require that and that's okay. Because I don't like when I'm required to do that early because I'm always making tweaks anyway. Anyway, let's go to Thursday, the day before the event. I'm working on my slides still, and I'm freaking out and April's starting to get a little stressed because she has a lot of responsibility. The conference too, she's going up to speak. She's never done that before. Completely outside her comfort zone. So proud of her for doing that. But she also has to get the kids ready to speak the next day.
Michael O'Neal: So you're a little coach, dad, husband while you're also setting all this up.
Pat Flynn: Right.
Michael O'Neal: Right.
Pat Flynn: Right. So it's a lot and I remember it was past midnight. So it was Friday morning, day of the event. Registration's in the afternoon so I do have time to sleep. But I remember filling up my hydro flask with a bunch of water because I got a lot of advice. I drink a lot of water this whole weekend if you want to save your voice and I was drinking a lot of water. So I fill up my hydro flask, it's a 40 ounce hydro flask. I fill it up at the refrigerator and I screw on the cap and I'm walking to bed like really tired. And then all of a sudden this the cap comes off and the water spills everywhere. There's like a puddle. There's like a lake in our living room and it's halfway on the carpet, halfway on the hardwood floor and I'm just like, I get on my knees in the puddle. And I just cry.
Michael O'Neal: This is Shawshank Redemption. You just came out at Shawshank Redemption. That's what it was.
Pat Flynn: I am on my knees crying. And April heard the hydro flask because it's metal bounce on the hardwood floor and I start crying and she runs down like, "What happened? Are you okay?" And she just sees me in this puddle crying. And I'm like, I don't even say anything. And she just comes over and brings me a towel and she's like, "Get up."
Michael O'Neal: That's just the kind of support you're looking for.
Pat Flynn: And she's like, "Come here." And she gave me a hug. And she's like, you got this man. You got this. Don't worry about me. Don't worry about the kids. That's my job. You focus on you. And that was huge, right?
Michael O'Neal: Yeah. That's why you marry them. That's why you married that one.
Pat Flynn: Exactly. And so I was very thankful for that. But again, I was still very nervous. And then honestly, when I got to the hotel the next morning and I saw the team and I saw the banners set up, and I saw everything working and just the stage and people were like, yeah, everything's going well so far. I was like, all right. The team has it, the team has it. Let me focus on delivering tonight. And then I meet up with Chris Ducker. And he's like, "All right man, this is your show."
Pat Flynn: Chris was the emcee for the event. And he was great. And I was like, "I got some time, I want to go down and say hi to everybody at registration, and thank them for coming here." And he's like, "No, you need to stay here." And I'm like, "I'm not going to speak loudly. I'm going to save my voice. Don't worry." He's like, "No, it's not about that." He's like, "You need to wait till it's your turn to come on. Let them talk to each other. Let your team handle it. Let them find the SmartBar." And then I talked to April, and I ask her the same thing. I was like, "I really want to go down and meet everybody and say hi, and thank you like, that's what I want. Because they made the trip. Some people coming from all the way the other side of the world." And then April she's so great.
Pat Flynn: She was like, "Do you ever see the bride at a wedding before the reception go inside the cocktail hour and just thank everybody and like, hey, thanks for being here. No, the bride is announced at this time and everybody makes a big deal because that's what they're there waiting for them." And she's like, "You're the bride." I was like, "All right. I'm going to get my dress on now."
Michael O'Neal: I wish I had a sound effect of the bride.
Pat Flynn: Just pick a random one.
Michael O'Neal: I want the laugh one. Is there a laugh one?
Pat Flynn: There you go.
Michael O'Neal: This one?
Pat Flynn: The orange one.
Michael O'Neal: I was going to do that when you were like and then I cried. I was going to do the laugh one. Just because I'm mean.
Pat Flynn: Yeah.
Michael O'Neal: All right.
Pat Flynn: Anyway, I mean so there were a lot of-
Michael O'Neal: I fully expect you to do that by the way. I was looking around going. I'm sure he's here talking to everybody right before the start.
Pat Flynn: ... I wanted to. I really wanted to.
Michael O'Neal: I think you should reconsider that for next year. I think you-
Pat Flynn: It was so great for me not to do that.
Michael O'Neal: ... Okay.
Pat Flynn: Because then number one I was in line for three and a half hours signing books for everybody. And that's what I would have done in the beginning. If I'd done that in the beginning it wouldn't have worked out, so.
Michael O'Neal: Like I said was very Tom Bilyeu of you to just stay there and remember he did that after...
Pat Flynn: I don't know who that is. That's the cricket.
Michael O'Neal: You don't know Tom Bilyeu. Yeah you do.
Pat Flynn: Remind me.
Michael O'Neal: Tom Bilyeu. That's all I know. That's him.
Pat Flynn: Okay.
Michael O'Neal: That's him. I forget his brand. He was the Impact Theory.
Pat Flynn: Oh, Impact Theory, oh, yeah. Okay.
Michael O'Neal: Yeah. But he did a thing where he's like, I'll be outside the room answering questions for as long as anybody has questions, and he was there true story from 3PM until something like 1AM. He just stood at a round table and just answered everybody's questions. And he's apparently legendary for doing that. He just does that. It's insane.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, I would love to do the same thing too. I would love to do that too. But it was great. My energy conservation throughout the event was great. Actually got some sleep on Friday night and Saturday night. Not so much. Actually, not Saturday night, Thursday night and Friday night. Saturday night, I was up till 2AM tweaking slides. And then I had to wake up for an 8:15 VIP with my team for the VIP people who are in the audience. Shout out to the VIPs. Thank you for getting the VIP tickets.
Michael O'Neal: Yeah. I mean-
Pat Flynn: So it's still like so many things happened. All great. Thankfully. Surprisingly, actually.
Michael O'Neal: ... Did you take years ago when I was working, we know David Wood. David Wood was originally from The Kickass Life, which is where I got my start podcasting. I would see him speak in front of 10,000 people at this event and we'd be having dinner later or whatever. He would just be making conversation and be like, yeah, we came back. I had 20 minutes, so I come back to the room, and I take all my clothes off, and I lie on the bed. And I always thought that was so strange until I started speaking and especially emceeing when you're running an event. And I it was nothing I could do that would make me happier than having a little half hour and running up to the room and taking my clothes off and lying on the back and just like-
Pat Flynn: Just me time.
Michael O'Neal: ... Just it was really interesting. So those little respites from having to sort of be plugged in, but it's not quite time for you to go out and socialize with everybody but you have like a little 40 minute window, did you go and escape and just kind of chill or were you kind of on the whole time?
Pat Flynn: Well, number one, I found that every half hour, I had to go to the bathroom because I was drinking so much bottled water-
Michael O'Neal: Crushing that heat, yeah.
Pat Flynn: ... And again, that was so important because my voice was perfect the entire weekend. I was so worried because I've seen people who have put on events who by day two their voice is gone, right?
Michael O'Neal: Right.
Pat Flynn: And that was important to me. But in those moments and we had longer breaks too. That was another thing that we added into the programming was 45 minute breaks, right?
Michael O'Neal: Yeah.
Pat Flynn: Which was nice to give people time to think about what we just talked about on stage or to meet people or to go to the SmartBar. It wasn't one of those conferences where you just get drilled with content for eight hours straight.
Michael O'Neal: Yeah, it wasn't super dense. Which I liked.
Pat Flynn: Thank you. And kudos to the team and I for helping make it that way. It was on purpose.
Michael O'Neal: Kudos to you. You're like yeah-
Pat Flynn: I deserve some too.
Michael O'Neal: ... I agree with myself.
Pat Flynn: But-
Michael O'Neal: Thank me.
Pat Flynn: ... In those moments during breaks, I was backstage mostly. I didn't want to go up to the room. I didn't want to go to green room. I didn't want to talk to anybody. I just wanted to sit and what was kind of cool is I had this security guard. Did you see that?
Michael O'Neal: Dude, I totally did. I was like who's the heavy walking around with Pat over there.
Pat Flynn: We hired apparently a security guard to watch me and my family, to make sure just watch over our shoulder. To be there if somebody were to kind of want to get too close to me and would just watch over me and stuff, which I don't know if it's necessary or not but-
Michael O'Neal: It's like the most family event I've ever seen. And got this guy who just looks like he can tackle a football team.
Pat Flynn: ... But he would be the only one who'd be there just watching me sit and drink water and I was watching YouTube on the phone, just escaping, right?
Michael O'Neal: Yeah, what are you watching on YouTube these days?
Pat Flynn: MKBHD, for sure. He's a tech YouTuber. Huge, 9 million subscribers just about Peter McKinnon, a lot of video game history channels. I just learned about Super Mario Brothers 2. And how that came to be the other day. All that kind of stuff, I'm just fascinated by It makes me happy.
Michael O'Neal: Yeah, FlynnCon was a very video game, very ready player one just start kind of theme which was very cool. And there's a lot of... I took a bunch of pictures on the columns you had all these great quotes from famous people, some entrepreneurs, some Dolly Parton-
Pat Flynn: Mark Twain.
Michael O'Neal: ... Mark Twain and really thematically was just about, just start, just get going on something and you can fix it as you go. But you got to just begin. That's really what the theme was.
Pat Flynn: It absolutely was. And all of our guest speakers and all of our community features. Our community features were guest speakers but they were members of our community. Like Shane and Jocelyn Sams from episode 122. They came on as guest speakers and they were funny and amazing and they had a great just get started story and then Walid who you mentioned earlier who he was our most popular AskPat episode. He was in episode 1022 and he'd told us AskPat is a coaching call with me. And he was just like, I want to start this thing, but I'm not good enough. How do I do it? Just I'm not qualified. Please help me Pat. And then 22 episodes later, 1044 he came on which was six months later. It was like talking to a different person. He had taken action and he had sold his course. And he started making thousands of dollars because he is qualified to do it. And it was just a really great story.
Pat Flynn: So I brought him on because I wanted to talk about the sort of getting started story after wanting to create something but not feeling qualified, which is a common sort of theme of people who get their own way. And then I don't know how it happened, but he ended up telling this crazy story about how he became a photographer from dumpster diving and having nothing to then becoming Usher's follow me everywhere around the world photographer. And it was just... I didn't even know he had that story.
Michael O'Neal: It was awesome. Spontaneous.
Pat Flynn: It was a spontaneous story. I'd never heard of it before and I just let him go and by far in the Facebook community for FlynnCon that was one of the top moments for people which is really cool.
Michael O'Neal: What would you have changed about FlynnCon1?
Pat Flynn: I would have changed the way I talked about it leading up to it. I really wanted to make it almost a full on surprise for everybody who was there.
Michael O'Neal: You did a lot of surprises.
Pat Flynn: It was a lot of surprises and not just surprises like here's our surprise guests. I didn't have headliners, or I didn't use people's names to sell tickets. It was just come be a part of the community. I have special guests, you won't know who they are until right before. I also gave away Superfans. We had a little fun to AskPat Live and we gave away t-shirts and all these were fun surprises, which will likely remain those kinds of things. But surprises as in, people were coming up to registration. I heard this later. And they were going I don't even know what we're going to talk about. I don't even know what the contents about. I'm just here because I trust Pat. And I trust you guys. And we'll see how it goes. There was a lot of trust happening between the audience members and that was because there was literally no descriptions of what was going on.
Pat Flynn: It was like, here's the theme, Press Start. And we're going to help you as you start something new. That was it. And a lot of people didn't come because they weren't sure exactly what it was about. So already when the team debriefed a couple days ago, we talked about what's the theme for next year, so I'm not going to share yet. That's a surprise.
Michael O'Neal: Oh, damn. I was waiting for that exclusive.
Pat Flynn: And then we've already been more defined and what that means and what the content would look like. And it's going to be a lot more helpful for people I think too. People liked the surprises, but they didn't like not knowing what they were getting into. It's also going to help that we're going to have testimonials. We have a ton of testimonials and video footage and pictures of what it would look like and that it's really about the community. But still, people want to know a little bit more than what we didn't give them.
Michael O'Neal: What did you have to cut because of time or space?
Pat Flynn: Or money.
Michael O'Neal: Or money?
Pat Flynn: Yeah, I mean, when we were coming up with ideas it was this is very usual in my team and how we work. It's okay, Pat, you tell us everything that you could ever hope this could be. And then we'll tell you what we can't do. Because Matt calls me the rainmaker. I make it rain and they go, okay, let's take this part of the rain and then we'll use that. And so what was happening I was for example, with the AV. The AV was great, big shout out to Carson and PPS.
Michael O'Neal: Yeah, really good.
Pat Flynn: It was awesome.
Michael O'Neal: And they nailed it.
Pat Flynn: What I initially wanted was the entire back wall to be in a complete LED screen, left to right, wall the wall. Like a 80 foot LED screen.
Michael O'Neal: Yeah. Right, Like your U2.
Pat Flynn: Right, exactly, because then you can do some really cool things on the computer to digitalize it and to interact with it. You can even... Carson was telling me that you could do that. And they did this before, wall the wall. And then the way you enter the stage, is there's a little door shaped hole where the stage is in the LED screen. But then backstage, there's another LED screen that fills in the hole behind it. So when you're looking from the audience, it just looks like one giant wall and you can actually look like you're coming out of the wall.
Pat Flynn: So I wanted like a Mario pipe situation with a game within like the guests and myself would come out of the wall where the pipe was, and you could do some fun things and even have the audience interact with the LED screen during the show and that would have cost $175,000 alone. And so we're like okay, we'll probably-
Michael O'Neal: Psh, next year.
Pat Flynn: ... Maybe we'll wait till next year for that.
Michael O'Neal: Yeah, 175 new VIP tickets available everybody.
Pat Flynn: And then when we revealed Superfans, I wanted a box, a real box with the books inside. But it was a mystery box. It was that Mario mystery box that I used in the slides, but a physical one where I could push a button or pull a latch or pull a rope or something, and then it would just kind of collapse open with all the books inside and they would shine a light in there. But that would have-
Michael O'Neal: That was a whole thing.
Pat Flynn: ... Cost $3,000 and it probably wasn't necessary. So that's another thing. All these little wish things you eventually and this is very common in architecture too. You go to the client and you go, okay, what do you want? And then we go as architects and engineers and go, okay, well here's what you can have at this price. You know what I mean?
Michael O'Neal: Yeah, right.
Pat Flynn: It was a back and forth, pass back, pass forward kind of situation the entire time.
Michael O'Neal: That would be interesting for next year to connect with somebody who has experienced doing Vegas stage shows. Like Cirque du Soleil or something like that. Because they probably know capability more than the rest of us. They go yeah, we used to do blank and then you can just integrate it with the LED screen and do this. And It looks like this is happening. You're like, whoa, I totally need that. And then kind of-
Pat Flynn: That's a great idea.
Michael O'Neal: ... write around that, you know?
Pat Flynn: I mean, at least for inspiration for, oh, I could do that and I could take that and use it in the business world or at FlynnCon in this way.
Michael O'Neal: Yeah, you could legit just the next time you're in Vegas, go catch a few shows and just go. Oh, yeah, that's interesting. We could totally do-
Pat Flynn: That's true.
Michael O'Neal: ... Something like that. I love to watch it. What reminded me of that is there's a few stand ups that do an interactive thing with the screen behind them, where they'll be like, yeah, and then they'll walk off stage around the screen, and then they show up on the screen. And they're doing a bunch of crazy stuff on the screen, and then they walk back off the screen again.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, that's cool.
Michael O'Neal: And it's just this cool orchestrated kind of deal.
Pat Flynn: That is cool. I also wanted the name tags. I mean, the name tags were a disappointment. And these are little nitpicky things, they could have been better. But initially, when we were doing the whole rainstorm, I wanted the name tags to be electronic there in the shape of a Game Boy and they were of the shape of a Game Boy but they were just plastic. But I wanted them to actually work to have people click A or B to vote for something that could be right on the spot shown in terms of stats on a screen. So like, hey guys, which cover of Superfans do you like better?
Michael O'Neal: Oh, that's cool, like from the audience to that screens.
Pat Flynn: Right, like polling.
Michael O'Neal: Right.
Pat Flynn: But with their name tag and-
Michael O'Neal: That's interesting.
Pat Flynn: ... Buttons because I was like, that's interactive. Games are interactive, let's interact during the show together like that. It'll keep people engaged, it'll keep people wondering, it'll keep people excited. And it was again, one of those things. I even found somebody who is a big maker on YouTube, he makes things, Bob from I Like To Make Stuff.
Michael O'Neal: I like Bob.
Pat Flynn: He just makes random things. And I was like, dude, there's all these old Nintendo 64 controllers and old Nintendo controllers that are broken, nobody uses them. Let's recycle them, and use them for the voting poll purposes. And he was like, okay, we could do that but then you would need 40 miles of cord, and all this other stuff to go along with it. And I was like, okay, maybe next year.
Michael O'Neal: I wonder if there's some kind of cool little remote that just had two buttons on it. That could be just a yes or no, that everybody could just get. Something you could just hand out and they could be just like a... But it would work.
Pat Flynn: That would be cool. I want that in my mine.
Michael O'Neal: There won't be a unique identifier. I bet you there's something like that.
Pat Flynn: I think we have time to plan for something like that next year. Maybe it's not on your name tag. Maybe it's just-
Michael O'Neal: A separate thing.
Pat Flynn: ... A separate thing on the chair in front of you.
Michael O'Neal: Yeah, you just give it to him. And then it's a deal.
Pat Flynn: Yeah.
Michael O'Neal: It'd be kind of fun.
Pat Flynn: That would be fun.
Michael O'Neal: So in terms of roadblocks, were there anything between the time you said I'm going to do this and then literally walking on stage the other day that you said, wow, this could kill this. This could be a real issue?
Pat Flynn: I mean, there's always those things that pop into my mind, yeah, crickets. So no, everything was planned perfectly.
Michael O'Neal: Everything's perfect.
Pat Flynn: No, my talks were really big deal to me. I knew that the glue that kind of made the whole weekend come together was the talks, and I had never done any of these talks before. That was the crazy thing.
Michael O'Neal: Right. These weren't keynotes you've done a million times.
Pat Flynn: No, no. And I heard a number of people ask like, “Hey, are you just taking the best keynotes you did while you were out traveling the world and bringing them to us here?” And I'm like, “No, this is all original content.” There's stories that I've told before, but nothing like what I've done here. All brand new slides, all brand new presentations. And I plan to do the same thing for next year as well. But I felt a ton of pressure as a result of that. And because it's a very Pat on stage centric event. I mean, I did have guest speakers, community features, but it wasn't like a conference with multiple tracks where one of those talks was bad or didn't fit. Well, the rest of the conference was great.
Pat Flynn: I really felt like everyone had to make sense because the entire agenda and the programming was kind of A to Z, start to finish. One built on the next which built on the next versus just, oh, here's a podcasting presentation. And then next room, there's like, oh, here's a YouTube presentation. So they all kind of fit together and I was like, I hope this makes sense to people because a lot of things make sense in my head but not always for everybody else. April will vouch for that for sure.
Michael O'Neal: Vouch for that, right.
Pat Flynn: So yeah, I mean that was a big worry for me. The SmartBar was a complete out of-
Michael O'Neal: It was a gamble.
Pat Flynn: ... Was a gamble and it actually worked out really well. I was very thankful we had this kind of high counter tables versus lower tables, which was really a cool walk up to the bar and get help kind of situation, which worked out.
Michael O'Neal: Weirdly, I'm more productive working at a table like that. I don't know why that is.
Pat Flynn: But I like brain.
Michael O'Neal: But I like the higher. I don't know what it is.
Pat Flynn: I don't know either. And then the other thing that I was worried about was food. Because-
Michael O'Neal: Oh, yeah you paid a lot of attention to that.
Pat Flynn: ... At this event, the event space. I mean, there was hotel food, right? And you can only get so used to it before it starts to become boring. But there were restaurants across the way but every one of those restaurants I don't know if you saw him, but there was The Melting Pot, Truluck's and this, I can't remember, Donovan's which are like super high end state places.
Michael O'Neal: They were fancy. Yeah.
Pat Flynn: And I was like-
Michael O'Neal: I did go to Melting Pot once, it was great.
Pat Flynn: ... Oh, cool. But the Nearest sort of like strip mall area with normal price food was a Uber drive away. And apparently the Uber drivers because of the location of a hotel kind of took 10 to 15 minutes versus if it were downtown, it would just be a minute and then you're where you need to be. So that was something I was worried about. And then at the end, I was like, did anybody have any trouble getting food? No, everybody got fed. They said that they had a lot of hotel food. And I was like, okay, well, that's at least they ate. I made the mistake couple months before the event of watching the Fyre Festival documentaries. And I was like, oh my gosh.
Michael O'Neal: That had to introduce a little angst.
Pat Flynn: A little bit. It was probably a mistake. Although I knew that I was doing this for the right reasons, number one. Number two, we weren't all traveling to a remote island and potentially be away from electricity and water and food. So I knew we were going to take care of people better than that. But still, I mean, you get in your own way. You see these things and you're like what if this becomes an absolute train wreck.
Michael O'Neal: Like a spectacular fail. Have you had one of those? Have you ever had a spectacular fail?
Pat Flynn: I've had spectacular fails in terms of little projects here and there, but I've never-
Michael O'Neal: Little projects.
Pat Flynn: ... Obviously I've never done something yet to knock on wood that has completely 180'd my career.
Michael O'Neal: I don't think that would happen. You got enough insulation against that, but screw the pooch sometimes with something and go man, that did not go off the way I thought it was going to go at all.
Pat Flynn: Which is why we have checks and balances on our team with projects and scope and energy levels to make sure things don't get to that point.
Michael O'Neal: You've done something which I think is unique in this entrepreneurial space, which is you sort of sit back for a while and then you launch something and it's so well thought out by the time people even hear about it, the wheels are already in motion. It's like this is happening on this date. You can tell there's so much planning behind it, which is the opposite of what I do. But you're very quiet about, you don't... Like hey, this thing's coming up, blah, blah, blah. You just kind of do it and it's typically like a real jump, I think for a lot of the industry, I feel like you take these inspirations from all kinds of different sources, whether it's Hollywood or video gaming or whatever. And all of a sudden, you're like, yeah, I'm going to go into this space now or like what are you talking about, you know?
Pat Flynn: Yeah, some people thought I was crazy.
Michael O'Neal: Mr. SwitchPod.
Pat Flynn: SwitchPod too.
Michael O'Neal: It's like all of a sudden, you want to do a thing where you're like, wait he's making a tripod, what are you talking about. But then it was, one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns ever, and it's going to be great. And we talked a bit about the process, but you really do innovate in this space. And I think these last few years to me for you have been you have a real confidence about the areas that you're going in.
Pat Flynn: I think it's I have the confidence to take that risk. I don't have the confidence that it's always going to work out. I didn't know the SwitchPod was going to work out the way it did. Although me and Caleb, who is sitting here in this office with us, making sure everything's looking, sounding great. Thanks Caleb. He and I put a lot of work into the SwitchPod. I mean, this physical product, this thing that we're creating, I mean Caleb's going to China very soon to make sure that coming off the line well. We're about to ship them to the backers, which is really exciting, so.
Michael O'Neal: So cool.
Pat Flynn: And who knows where it will go.
Michael O'Neal: You're working with the Prouduct team on that?
Pat Flynn: Yeah, Richie and Jase and Thiefaine and all those amazing people their at prouduct.com. Big shout out to those guys.
Michael O'Neal: Yeah, they kill it.
Pat Flynn: This was a fun side experiment. And this FlynnCon thing was a fun side thing to see what would happen if I did this. And everything that I do, I want to do it well. And we go to people who've done it before, so that we can kind of fast forward through all the mess, right? And so with this event, for example, I went to so many people who have put on events to ask them questions and interview them and these things aren't published and they're not even recorded, but it's just for me to know so that I can make sure I can take that step in the right direction when I go do that thing.
Pat Flynn: With the physical products obviously with Prouduct and talking to Tom and Dan from Studio Neat and many other people who have created physical products. It helps us fast forward through that, which is really cool. I talked about this on stage at FlynnCon, I've sort of created this thing called the 20% itch rule, which means as much as I try to only allow myself to do what I'm supposed to be doing, to only allow myself to learn about the things I know I'm supposed to be learning just in time learning, which I've talked about in the show before, I still have that itch to do and try new things.
Pat Flynn: That's the nature of an entrepreneur usually, especially a visionary type. And so I give myself that freedom. I allow myself to have 20% of time to just mess around. Kind of purposefully, but I messed around. I take risks, right? Gary Vee does the same thing when it comes to social media. He knows the main platforms he needs to be on, but he's also experimenting with a little bit of his time on those other ones. Many times those things fail, but it just takes that one or two to really be, okay now I'm one of the first on this platform, right? And Google is known to apparently do this. Where they let their employees have 20% of time to just work on random projects within Google so that they can innovate and have freedom, and I've allowed that for myself.
Pat Flynn: So if you want to consider 20%, if you think of a five day week, every Friday, that's your day to try something new, to experiment. Knowing that it could completely fail and being okay with that, because it just could take one or two hits to really make it worth that time. And also is allowing me to scratch that itch like I said.
Michael O'Neal: Well, when you're working with people that are new to this game, and I think that was the majority of what a lot of people at FlynnCon were on the earlier side of entrepreneurship or online business or things like that. And I also deal with a lot of those people. You get that question that's like, what if it doesn't work? Or what if it fails? And I'm like, no, no, it's mostly not going to work. It is a huge majority not going to work. This podcast you launched or the YouTube channel or the thing, but then it will. Like it eventually does. But you've got to get almost steeled against, you can't let a little derailment or a little rejection derail the dream.
Pat Flynn: Right. I mean, it's the difference between I hope this works, meaning you put in time and then you kind of let it go and see what happens versus I know I'm going to make it work, right?
Michael O'Neal: Right.
Pat Flynn: There's a big difference there. The difference is and this is something I've only learned after doing this for a long time now is you can make anything work. You just have to keep making it work. It's not a one and done and then see if it works or not. And then it's over. It's a process. You learn from these failures. Failures-
Michael O'Neal: Which is what angle are you taking to it? That's really what changes.
Pat Flynn: .... Exactly. It's how much you are willing to learn about those failures, and how much you're willing to do research to avoid those failures or to talk to people or to get coaching or mentorship to work your way around those potential failures, or to learn from those failures as they happen. So for those of you who are just starting out, I mean, we all have just started out, right? It's the one-
Michael O'Neal: We keep just starting out.
Pat Flynn: ... Yeah.
Michael O'Neal: That's the whole thing. We keep finding a new space to start out again. Your most recent of that prior to the live event was YouTube. You didn't have a YouTube channel.
Pat Flynn: Technically I had a YouTube channel but-
Michael O'Neal: But you weren't using it?
Pat Flynn: ... No, no.
Michael O'Neal: Neither was I. I'm like meh.
Pat Flynn: And now we're, I'm looking at the counter 193,000 subs in.
Michael O'Neal: It's crazy.
Pat Flynn: Because connected with the right people in that space to learn how to do it. I went to events to learn how to do it. VidSummit which is by the way where SwitchPod was born.
Michael O'Neal: Yeah. I love that event. I'm going to go there this year.
Pat Flynn: Oh, awesome.
Michael O'Neal: Yeah.
Pat Flynn: Excited to see you there and everybody else who's listening to this who wants to go to that great industry event for YouTube and video. VidCon, have you ever been to VidCon?
Michael O'Neal: No, I heard that's a little more like with the rock stars.
Pat Flynn: Oh my gosh, I got so overwhelmed. It's 25,000 people and 90% of them are teenagers there to see their favorite YouTubers, you know?
Michael O'Neal: Right. Jase said that they couldn't walk through the building there yet.
Pat Flynn: Jase is huge to that demographic. Anyway, I look forward to VidSummit and I just continue to want to learn and I figured with the short time that we have on this planet, why not fast forward our way when we tried to learn something new.
Michael O'Neal: Well, you talked about it earlier with your speaking, which is ultimately, if you're at the base of a mountain and you're about to take a hike and you're looking at whatever the peak is, whatever version of the peak is, the first iteration of you would have made sure he had an exact map to that peak. And maybe wouldn't have even started without the map. So most of the energy would have been spent on the map, which is like, I'm going to plan and plan and plan and plan.
Pat Flynn: Right. That's the kind of person I am. Some people go up that mountain without any help knowing-
Michael O'Neal: That's me.
Pat Flynn: ... That's you. Okay.
Michael O'Neal: And then I'll... But the hybrid of that is, all right, a lot of people told me which way to go on this. So I'm going to start in that direction, or maybe even smarter. There's a local guide that will show me how to get up there and I'll pay a few bucks and they'll show me but the point is, there may be many trails that end in dead ends, but as long as you keep going, I'm getting to that peak right there and then you just keep taking different trails.
Pat Flynn: Right. And it's not even just about getting to the peak, the peak is the end. It is checkpoint one, base camp one, right?
Michael O'Neal: Right.
Pat Flynn: Where you can get that yak butter that's going to get you that energy to keep going and then base camp checkpoint two and then maybe you get off course, but hey, you got a compass you can get back on the right direction because you know where that is. You know where checkpoint two is and that's the key. Always taking these iterative approaches. I mean that's what Will It Fly is about. Taking these big goals like starting a business and then going okay, where's checkpoint one? Let's assess, do we want to keep going? Or should we go back down and start on a new mountain? And that's you get to checkpoint two and green light, green light, green light, keep going, keep going, keep going. And then you're at the peak. But then it's funny because you realize when you're up there at that peak, there's a bigger mountain to climb and there's another series of the same kind of choices you have to make.
Michael O'Neal: And you could run up the mountain the next time you do it. You would know exactly how to do it and you have the resources to get right up directly. So it's really-
Pat Flynn: The second podcast was so much easier than the first. The second online course was so much easier than the first.
Michael O'Neal: ... Right. Yeah, it's really interesting too, because it really parallels that. And I think if you've never hiked before, it's so intimidating because you don't know what clothes to wear. And you don't know how you're going to do it. And blah, blah, blah, so it's a whole thing, dude.
Pat Flynn: Dude, we just hit one hour and one minute and 11 seconds.
Michael O'Neal: It is as if I've done this before.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, you've recorded many hour long podcasts-
Michael O'Neal: I have.
Pat Flynn: ... On your show. And I'm so thankful that you took the time to come on to my show today. And also simultaneously bring me on your show. And I think this is a great behind the scenes for FlynnCon and a little bit inside my brain and I appreciate you for digging in for me.
Michael O'Neal: Have you been interviewed on your show before?
Pat Flynn: I don't think so. This is the first time I've had a guest interviewer on SPI.
Michael O'Neal: Yeah. Well, thank you for this. It's an honor to be here. The last time I did this, I don't know what episode it was but it was one something, 163 or something like that. Anyway, it was so fun and then I had all these people that wrote to me from your awesome audience, so.
Pat Flynn: Cool. Well, they love great guests like yourself. If people want to listen to your show or get access to you, where can they go?
Michael O'Neal: @solohour. S-O-L-O-H-O-U-R on the Instas, on the podcast is the Soloprenuer Hour. I do these great deep dive kind of like this, deep dive shows where I don't always promise the 10 methods for blogging better, but all of that stuff I Trojan horse on you. And the hope is by the end of the show you go, man I learned a ton about that. And I didn't even realize I was learning it. So that's the idea.
Pat Flynn: Solo Hour, go get it. Mike, thanks so much for coming in the studio today. Let's end with our little default song here. Yeah, there we go.
Michael O'Neal: Thanks buddy.
Pat Flynn: Applause, applause, applause. Yay!
Michael O'Neal: It's been a little slice to heaven.
Pat Flynn: Shout out to RØDE for the RØDECaster Pro, because this thing's awesome.
Michael O'Neal: And Heil for great microphones.
Pat Flynn: All right, I hope you enjoyed that episode. Thank you again Michael O'Neal from the Solopreneur Hour for coming on and being a guest host and guest interviewing me about this. I think this was really fun to talk about and sort of decompress after the craziness that was FlynnCon1. But first of all, big thank you to everybody who came out and trusted me and my team to take care of you. I hope you all enjoyed it. And if you're looking forward to FlynnCon2 and you haven't gotten your tickets yet, get them before they're out because they're going to go fast, flynncon2.com.
Pat Flynn: You can go and get your tickets before the price goes up next month. And then finally, all the show notes and everything that was mentioned here in the show. You could find at smartpassiveincome.com/session391. One more time smartpassiveincome.com/session391. Team Flynn you're amazing, thank you so much. I hope to see you in San Diego next year. It's the July 24 25, 26 or July 23, 24, 25. Let me confirm that. Just so you get the dates here. So I'm doing this on the fly. So in July of 2020, it'll be Friday the 24th, Saturday the 25th and then Sunday the 26th. Join me and 500 other entrepreneurs or 499 other entrepreneurs, and it's a family friendly event. Would love to welcome you and your family. There'll be some fun things to do for everybody and mostly just a safe environment to be a weird entrepreneur and come together and help each other out too. So cheers. Thanks so much flynncon2.com, and I'll see a little bit later. Team Flynn for the win. Peace.
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Michael O'Neal, host of the Solopreneur Hour Podcast, turns the tables and interviews me about FlynnCon1 and what's on deck for FlynnCon2.
- How Mike came up with the idea to interview me.
- Why I reflect on my background every day I show up for work.
- How I’ve learned to trust myself on stage.
- The highlights of a whirlwind weekend at FlynnCon1.
- Why Mike decided to use entertainment to deliver value.
- How I made FlynnCon1 family-oriented in a unique way.
- How Pete Vargas inspired me to throw FlynnCon1 in the first place.
- How my team helps me make my ideas a reality.
- The unique way sponsors were able to serve the community at the SmartBar.
- Why I didn’t ask for slides in advance.
- What’s on deck for FlynnCon2.
Note: Some of the resources below may be affiliate links, meaning I receive a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.
- The Solopreneur Hour Podcast
- FlynnCon2 Tickets
- Superfans by Pat Flynn
- Will It Fly? by Pat Flynn
- The Smart Passive Income Podcast Episode 122: From Teachers to Totally Rocking It Online—Shane and Jocelyn Sams Share Their Success Story
- AskPat 2.0 Episode 1022: How Do I Sell but Still Help People for Free?
- AskPat 2.0 Episode 1044: Where Are They Now? Walid Azami (From AP 1022)
- I Like To Make Stuff
- Studio Neat
- The Smart Passive Income Podcast Episode 164: Michael O’Neal from Solopreneur Hour Talk Shop—His Success Journey and Actionable Tips for Interviews