AskPat 74 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn, and welcome to Episode 74 of AskPat. This is where I help you by answering your online business questions five days a week. Thank you so much for joining me today.
Now, today's sponsor is PersonalCapital.com. Personal Capital is a site that is completely free and secure that allows you to connect all your bank accounts, retirement accounts, all that good stuff, so you can see and get a snapshot of everything that's going on as far as your net worth is concerned. This is the one that I use to organize all that stuff, and what I love about—well, there's a lot of things I love about it, but I love the interface. There's a lot of other similar solutions out there, but I love the interface of Personal Capital, and then I also love the way it notifies me when my attention is needed, from when I have bills to when my net worth goes down for whatever reason. I can go and check on those things. So, if you go to PersonalCapital.com/askpat, you'll get, well, that's my referral, which helps let them know that you came from here, and again, it's completely free. So, check it out.
Now, today's questions comes from Andrew. So, let's hear from Andrew right now.
Andrew: What's up, Pat? This is Andrew from Orange County, California, and I blog at NoviceNiche.com. Over the past year or so, I've discovered just how much I love blogging and online business. I've created a few sites of my own and I've had a great time doing it, but my interest in most of the topics comes and goes, and not always motivated to create more content. I've had to ask myself what I'm really passionate about, and I think I found the answer. I'm passionate about blogging and online business. I read, listen, and follow anything I can on the topic, and I love sharing that information with anyone that will listen. My question is this: I know that the topic of online business is a crowded space, saturated with people trying to do what you do. Is there any hope of reaching an audience when you're up against powerhouses like Problogger, Copyblogger, or, of course, you? Love the podcast and everything you do. Keep up the good work.
Pat Flynn: Andrew, thank you so much for your question. We're actually really close together, 'cause I'm in San Diego, you're in Orange County. Maybe we can hook up and have a coffee sometime. That'd be awesome. Now to address your question. I'm going to address it in terms of just getting into any crowded space, and then I'm going to go into the space of all my business and entrepreneurship and blogging in general, which is where I'm in. So, in terms of getting into an already crowded niche. I think you actually have an advantage, and this is for anybody out there, including you, Andrew, who is thinking about creating a business or starting a blog or providing some solution in a space that already has those types of solutions. And the reason why I say it's okay to do this, and why you have an advantage, is because those solutions might not be the right solutions right now, and a lot of people who are doing what they're doing right now are so in tuned with it that they're not seeing what it's like from a consumer point of view. So, as somebody coming in “late” to the game, I feel that you have an advantage, because you can see what it's like from the outside. You can see what solutions are being provided for that target audience, and also if that target audience is yourself, that's even more helpful and you can see what holes might be missing where you could provide something different to the table. And that's how you're able to understand what the exact needs are of a particular target market and then provide those solutions for them.
Now, there are a lot of different examples and ways of going back doing that. I think that, first and foremost, you always have to bring something new to the table, and no matter what niche you're getting into, you should always be bringing something new. This is, for example, and this does go with your question, Andrew, going in to the big-business blogging space. A great example of this is Derek Halpern from SocialTriggers.com, and even my site as well, SmartPassiveIncome.com. The reason I mention Derek is because he, even later than me, he got into the space of online marketing, but he put his own spin into it. Not just himself and his crazy New York type of attitude, but it was the position that he put in the market as far as his site. So, his site was providing marketing advice, but in a way that was unique, that hasn't been done there yet. So, he was taking the approach of the person who was taking the psychology angle, right? And he says, and you can read this on his “About” page, he talks about how he will read these really dense studies that comes from universities, and you know, stuff that not a regular person who is in the space is going to read, and he's going to connect the human brain and psychology to online business and marketing. That was his position, and that's how SocialTriggers.com, you know, among some other marketing tactics that he used, grew so big, so fast.
Now, in my case, you know, SmartPassiveIncome.com talks about blogging and entrepreneurship and online business as well. It definitely was not the first one to do that too, but I put my own spin in onto it, which was much different than what was out there back in 2008. I went the approach of just being the completely honest, authentic guy, which was who I was. I wasn't ever wanting to do the other thing, which everybody else was doing, which was just talking the talk and not really walking the walk. Not sharing, not only the wins but the failures but, you know, nobody was doing the income reports and things like that. So, I wanted to bring that to the table, and that really helped me in terms of getting really, really popular relatively fast.
Now, you should also niche down. I think it's a good thing to do in any space, is to niche down. So, if you're going to enter a crowded niche, you can niche down. You're more likely to become an authority for that specific group of people in sort of a more general niche. So, for example, Mary Beth. Mary Beth Storjohann from episode 105 of the Smart Passive Income Podcast, which you can find at SmartPassiveIncome.com/session105. She's in the very competitive space of personal finance. There's a ton of people offering personal finance services and, you know, blogging about personal finance. Actually, the personal finance blogger arena was the first one I got very familiar with, because those were the first blogs I've ever read, and there are really, really old, very wise blogs like GetRichSlowly.org and Simple Dollar and sites like that, which have been around forever, but here comes Mary Beth coming into the space. Well, she decided to target Gen Y. You know, the people that are around my age, the 30 and a little above who are getting married now, and she talks about those specific things. So, she has packages and advice available for people who are going through what people my age are doing. So, she has, for example, advice for couples getting married or for couples having kids. I mean, it's perfect. So, if you're going and looking for that type of information, I would much rather get it from somebody like Mary Beth, as opposed to just somebody who's in general talking about personal finance. So, even though the overall scope of the size of the audience is much smaller when you niche down, the likelihood that you're going to become an expert for those specific types of people within that general niche is much, much higher, and also, you're able to, you know, be a leader in the space and also connect with people more just as a result of having, you know of serving that particular kind of person.
You also want to make sure that you make as many connections as you can and you try to get as personal as you can. That's something that I really recommend doing. Whatever space you're getting into, I mean, the best advantage you have is sharing bits and pieces of yourself, because nobody's like you, and I think it's really interesting that people don't understand is that, that's the advantage you have over everybody else is nobody's like you. Nobody has those experiences. Nobody has what you're thinking or what you can provide, specifically the way that you can provide it. A good example of this actually comes from an episode of the Smart Passive Income Podcast, which is number 35. This is with the guys from TheMinimalists.com. They got into the minimalist, sort of, personal development space, which can arguably be bigger than the online entrepreneurship online business space, 'cause there's a lot of bloggers out there talking about minimalism and personal development, things like that. You know, there are big sites out there, like ZenHabits.net, from Leo Babauta. Well, they came into the space and within a year, they were making six figures, publishing books, because their content was just so good and so personal and it made incredible connections with their audience and because when people read their stuff and it was so good, they just shared it like mad. And that's how they got to grow so big and make that much money within a relatively short period of time, again, in a space that was very, very saturated.
Now, in terms of blogging about blogging, Andrew, and for anybody else out there who's thinking about doing that. I mean, it's, I feel like the most popular thing to do is, once you start blogging about something else—and you know, I can't hate on people for doing that, because I did the same thing. I found success on GreenExamAcademy.com, building a six-figure business, and I wanted to talk about it and I felt I had things in my own experience that I could share that nobody else was sharing. And like I said earlier, I would be able to do it or I wanted to do it in a way that was different than what was out there. I found the holes in the market, or what I felt was needed, and I brought that myself. So, Andrew, if you're going to do this, which I don't mind if you do this. I'm not going to say don't do it. It's not like I'm saying, “I don't want you to be a competitor,” no. I think the more great content that's out there for all of us, the better.
However, it has to be great, and I feel like in order for you to qualify yourself, not just for me but for your future audience, you have to have some successes under your belt. I think that's where most people fall behind. They enjoy the blogging tips from other blogs, and they have experiences blogging. They do some things that work here and there, but they don't have a core blog to really use as a case study or an example to show and teach other people. They're just simply teaching what they've learned from other people, but they're not actually using their own real examples from other blogs that they have owned and they have worked on. I think that's the biggest thing that people who want to get into the online business or blogging space miss out on. You know, think about it from an audience's perspective. Why would I listen to somebody who's trying to teach me about online business, where I have to potentially spend money. Why would I listen to somebody who hasn't yet created a successful online business or a successful blog? You know, you think about Darren Rowse from Problogger.net, which you mentioned, Andrew. He has Digital-Photography-School.com/, which is doing really well. It's actually doing way better than Problogger.net. Yaro Starak, another one of my sort of unofficial mentors when I was first starting, they had, or he had, a site that dealt with Magic the Gathering cards that did really well, and a forum that did really well. I remember talking, or actually hearing about that in an interview, and most of the success stories I hear out there and people in the space that I'm in and the space that you want to get into have that example. So, I would make sure you have that, and milk that as much as you can. That should be your primary way of standing out. Again, that's your, what makes you … you, and if you don't have what makes you you, in that space, then it's not going to really stand out as much as you should. And you'll find that, yes, you might get a few people following you here and there because they like, which is great, but it's going to be really difficult, because, yes, the space is saturated.
But that's not to say it's not impossible. It's definitely not impossible, and there are new blogs coming into the space every day. Many of them die out, but a lot of them come to the top because they bring something new and they have their own experiences to share as well.
So, Andrew, that's my answer for you, and I hope to see you in the space, and I hope to see something new that I haven't seen before, and you know, pulling from your own experiences and your blogger business, Andrew. So, I'm really looking forward to that. Thank you so much for the question. An AskPat t-shirt is definitely going to be headed your way; you'll get an email from me soon. For those of you listening, if you have a question you'd like answered here on AskPat, simply head on over to AskPat.com and you can ask right there on that page.
Now, I want to thank again, today's sponsor, which is Personal Capital. Now that the show's over, don't forget to sign up for your free account with Personal Capital. If you go PersonalCapital.com/askpat, you'll be able to connect all your accounts very securely and in an amazing-looking dashboard. See how all your finances are working for you or working against you, actually, and actually offer advice and help and even advisors to help you, completely free, which is amazing. So again, PersonalCapital.com/askpat. That's what I use to keep track of my finances.
And as always, I'm going to end with a quote here. That quote comes from Dr. Henry Link, and he says, “We generate fears while we sit. We overcome them by action. Fear is nature's way of warning us to get busy.” So, if you fear something, then maybe that means that it's time to get busy. Thank you so much, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat. Peace.
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