AskPat 338 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 338 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. Before we get to today's question from Laura, I do want to thank today's sponsor, which is FreshBooks.com, a super easy to use Cloud accounting solution to help you with all the organization of your finances with your business, from everything coming in to everything going out, hopefully more coming in than going out, and also with your invoicing.
There are over 3 million small businesses using FreshBooks and you can use it as well. To go to GetFreshBooks.com, you can get a 30 day free trial. Don't make the mistake that I did when I first started and use Excel or some weird software to help manage your finances. Use the best one. Go to GetFreshBooks.com and enter “Ask Pat” to get your 30-day free trial.
Alright, now let's get to today's question from Laura. Quick thing to mention before the question starts, you're going to have to chime in on this one as well on Twitter, #AskPat338. You'll see what I mean in a sec.
Laura: Hi Pat, my name's Laura Miller. I'm an entrepreneur in Australia. I've been working on developing a business that helps people to save money more easily, which I was going to launch later this year in Australia, and I've really just discovered that another company over in America, which is backed by Google Ventures, called Digit.co, they've just launched and are pretty much offering the exact same service as my own idea. Should I still go ahead with my business idea? That's my question. I'd really love an answer to that because I have absolutely no idea where I'm going from here on out. Thanks, Pat.
Pat Flynn: Alright, Laura, thank you so much for the question. I checked out the company that you mentioned, Digit.co, and it's a really great idea. I think it's smart because of obvious reasons, but just because somebody else did it, I'm just going to say it straight up front, and the reason I mention that hashtag in the beginning is because I want everybody else out there to be honest and share your thoughts on this as well using the #AskPat338. If you were Laura, would you keep going with this idea if somebody else had done it already before you that was already Google Ventured back, or would you move on to something else? It'll be interesting to hear from everybody out there, but I think you know where I'm going with this, Laura.
Let's think. Uber is a company that you've probably heard of before. Lyft is another company, L-Y-F-T, that is just like Uber. It works the exact same way, and a lot of people actually like Lyft a lot better because it differentiates itself from the other company that's out there. Just because another company is out there and started before you doesn't mean that you can't do it yourself, and it definitely doesn't mean that you can't do it even better. That's actually your advantage of doing it afterwards. Now yes, of course, there's first to market benefits, but there's also second to market benefits as well. This is a big fear that a lot of people go through.
I know it's even more difficult now because this is Google backed. Cool, it's validated your idea. Great, now go and make it even better. Put your own Laura Miller twist on it and make it insanely better. There's a number of different ways you might be able to do that. A lot of people put more of their own personality into their business ideas to help them stand out because everybody knows nobody is like you. Some people make things more personalized and white gloved. Some businesses, like Lyft, make things a little bit more fun and different with their little pink mustache that they put at the front of every car, which is interesting. I remember just a couple months ago that, what was it, Meerkat came out, M-E-E-R-K-A-T, which is a live streaming service that runs through your iPhone or Android I believe as well, which then was followed up by Periscope, which came out from Twitter which does essentially the same thing. They're different and there are users for each. I remember when Vine came out and they did the short videos, and then Instagram came out and everybody thought Vine was going to be done because Instagram had video too, but no, Vine is still thriving because there's a certain kind of audience that likes Vine over Instagram. You'll be surprised.
Maybe one thing you could do is thinking about how you would position yourself, not against Digit, but differently from Digit. You might also think about maybe niching down. Maybe it's automated savings for “blank.” Maybe it's a particular industry to start out with, or maybe it's for entrepreneurs, or maybe it's for people between a certain income level or ages or for people who are still in college or whatever. That's something you have to think about as well. Also, how you go about monetizing and where fees might come in. That's how a lot of companies differentiate. Wow, I can't even say it, “differentiate” themselves from others as well. Again, the differentiation thing is going to be important, obviously. If you were to do the exact same thing as them, then you would not ever be any better because you would always be second best because they came out first, but if you are the first to do something, you just happen to also do this thing that this other company also does, but you do it in this way which the other one does not, that can definitely help you stand out.
I wouldn't let the fact that this other company is out there stop you. I would use that as more motivation and a way for you to discover what else can be done better. Actually, this might be one of those blessings in disguise, Laura. I know you're probably confused and probably almost sick to your stomach. Maybe you were working on this for quite a while and then all of a sudden you see this come out and you're like no, but you should be like yes, Google likes this idea enough that they backed a company in America. How could I make my idea even better so in case I were to get it backed, maybe it would be backed for even more?
Laura, that's my short, quick answer for you. I would love to listen and hear what everybody else thought. Go ahead and add your feedback as well. Use the #AskPat338. Laura, you can follow that hashtag, again, #AskPat338. I'd love to know what you all think. Should you use this as motivation and fuel for the fire or should you kind of walk away because somebody else that has been backed by a big company has already done it before you? Let's see what you think.
Laura, thank you so much for your question. Best of luck to you. Because your question was featured here on the show, we're going to fly over an AskPat t-shirt and hand it to you in a . . . I don't know how long it takes to get there since you're all the way in Australia, but my assistant will contact you in a couple weeks to collect your information and we'll send that over to you. Thank you again so much. For those of you listening, if you have a question you'd like potentially featured here on the show, all you have to do is head on over to AskPat.com. You can ask right there on that page.
I also want to thank today's sponsor and amazing company, FreshBooks.com, a company that I've used to help me manage my finances as well. They also have an award winning mobile app so you can check your finances on the go, your balance sheets and all those important things to help you understand how your business is doing and what you can do even better. Plus, speaking of better, they do invoicing better than anybody else. If you have clients or students or you're doing any consultation work, they will make invoicing incredibly easy and professional so you can get paid sooner and do more of what you need to do to make even more money in your business. Join 3 million other small business owners and join FreshBooks. Go to GetFreshBooks.com and enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section.
Sweet. Thank you again. Best of luck to everybody out there. This is a quote to finish off the day from Biz Stone, a co-founder of Twitter. He says, “Timing, perseverance, and 10 years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.”
Cheers, take care, and I look forward to serving you in the next episode of AskPat. Thanks.
AskPat listeners get a 30-day free trial to their software when you enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section.