AskPat 176 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, hey. What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 176 of AskPat. So happy you're here. Thank you for joining me.
Before we get to today's question from Austin, I want think today's sponsor, ZipRecruiter.com. If you're looking to hire anybody for your own business, maybe you're expanding or building a team, it can be difficult, because there's so many job boards out there and you need to post your job on all the top job sites to find the best candidates. Well, with with ZipRecruiter.com, you can post to 50-plus job sites with a single click, and it will find the best candidates from all those job sites for you. You can try ZipRecruiter for free right now by going to ZipRecruiter.com/pat.
All right. Now, let's get to today's question from Austin.
Austin: Hey Pat, Austin here from Orange County. I actually grew up in Poway my whole life. I know you sponsor a product at the beginning of every one of your shows, but obviously paying for 10, 20, 30 subscriptions a month is out of the question for most people. I was wondering which ones do you think are the absolute most pertinent for running a niche-type website? Maybe like a top 10 or something. That'd be great if you could give us some insight. Love your show.
Pat Flynn: Hey, hey, Austin. Thank you so much for the question, and I really appreciate you listening to the show. That's awesome. In terms of the sponsors for AskPat and some of my other podcasts, not all of the sponsors that are mentioned and companies that are recommended require a monthly subscription. Some of them are just a one-time fee, like 99 Designs, or some of them are completely free, like ZipRecruiter.com. Others require a free trial, and then they require that subscription payment. If you're just starting out, and if you're building a niche site, and if you are just simply wanting to produce content and build an audience, there's a lot of those things that you don't need right now. Yes, they're all handy—I wouldn't have them on the show as a sponsor if they weren't—but you don't need them all up front.
When you're just starting out, I wouldn't even say that there's a top 10; there's just a, what do you need to get started and deliver value to your audience? There's a few things you might need to start out with; this is great if you're just starting out. You want to obviously have a domain and hosting company. I recommend Bluehost if you're just out. It's the one I used to start all my websites. Currently, Smart Passive Income is not on Bluehost, because it sort of outgrew it in terms of traffic and bandwidth, although they do have dedicated servers with them now. But if you're just starting out, for just $3.95 a month, if you go through this particular link, which is AskPat.com/bluehost, you can get set up for just $3.95 per month to get a website up there. A self-hosted website, which is important, because yes, there are free sites out there that you can put a website on, but you lost a little bit of control in terms of the plugins you can use, if you're using WordPress, like at WordPress.com, you want to use something like Bluehost. Again, AskPat.com/bluehost. One-click WordPress blog install, and you can use that to serve your blog content. You can put YouTube videos up there, and you can even serve your podcast and get your RSS feed for your podcast from there as well. It's only $3.95 a month. You will have to pay per year; it's not recurring monthly, but it's recurring annually. So, that is a recurring subscription, and it's a very little price to pay for what it could potentially give for you.
Now, I will say that once you get to a point where you're starting to build an audience, or even right at the beginning if you have the ability to do so, I would definitely get hooked up with an email service provider, an ESP, email service provider. That's important, because one of the biggest mistakes I made when I started my online business was I didn't collect email addresses up front. It's important to collect those emails and to use these types of services to bundle them together, so you can mass-message them without … so you don't need Excel or putting in a hundred different addresses into a field in your email. You shouldn't be doing that, and that could be considered spam, but you can use an ESP, an email service provider to do and handle all this for you and make it easy for you to send broadcasts to everybody who is subscribed who has given you permission for you to contact them via email. You can also make use of their autoresponder, which allows you to keep in constant contact with them and have them go through some sort of funnel or promotional cycle, or continue to deliver value to them over time, so that when you do have an important email coming out they are more likely to open it.
Like I said, it took me a long time to understand the importance of having an email list. More than anything it's important to have it because you total control over it. What if your blog were to go away? Maybe it's hacked or something, or you set up a platform on YouTube, and then YouTube decides to close your account, or you set up a podcast, and your podcast feed breaks. If you have the email addresses of those people who are … they understand the type of content you can provide to them, you could take that email list anywhere with you. You can start up a new site tomorrow, and you'd be okay. This happened back in March of 2013, I lost my sites due to a hacking situation for over a week. It took over a week to get 'em back. I lost tens of thousands of dollars … not tens of thousands, but at about $12,000 to $15,000 as a result of that downtime … that's estimates. I was still able to keep in contact and tell my audience what's up or what was up or what was going on, and the latest on the progression of getting my site back up through email. So, having your email list is very important. What's cool about that is you pay a monthly subscription fee, or a monthly fee to have that, but it's largely based on the number of people on your email list. So, if you're just starting out you won't have to pay much. As you continue to grow, you'll have to continue to pay more, but hopefully you're getting paid more as well in return.
Number three: Dropbox. Dropbox is a great service to use, and it's free for a large number of storage room, so you won't even need to pay right up front, but Dropbox is a great way for you to upload large files and store them for backup purposes, but also to send large files from one person to another. Especially if you're starting to work with a VA, or you have other team members that are helping you. You could put those large files onto Dropbox and they can download them from those directories, so that's a good one. Using a site like, also, Dollar Photo Club is a great one I just discovered recently in terms of stock photos. Stock photos can be great to enhance the quality in the visual aspect of your blog posts, and also your social media posts. Well with DollarPhotoClub.com, every stock image is $1. I know there's other ones out there like iStockPhoto.com, and I use also DepositPhotos.com. The prices range on those, and they can be quite expensive, but with DollarPhotoClub.com, it's only $1, and there's hundreds of thousands of photos you can choose from for your blog posts. And they're all royalty free, which is good, too.
Then, finally the last one I'm going to recommend, 'cause like I said, you don't need 10, and I'm not going to try and find 10 that you should have, because you should only have what you need to get started. Then, as you continue to grow, and as you continue to provide services to your audience or content in different ways, then you can start adding on things. Like, if you're going to start a podcast, you definitely want to get set up with something like SoundCloud or Libsyn, which might require a monthly fee to have storage room on those sites for your podcast. If you're going to be servicing more videos and, say, for example, a membership-type setting, you want to not use YouTube anymore, but use something like Wistia or Vimeo. I actually prefer Wistia, W-I-S-T-I-A.com, which would require a monthly fee depending on how many videos you upload and how many times people view them, but it's definitely the best option there for delivering high-value content in terms of video. That's, again, beyond the YouTube which is a little bit tacky if you're having people pay for membership but then they see YouTube videos in there. You don't really want that to happen.
The last thing I will mention, and in all honesty, I'm an advisor for this company, this is Leadpages. Leadpages.net. If you go to AskPat.com/leadpages, that's my affiliate link; I do get paid if you go through that link. But, if you are beginning to collect email addresses, and you're serious about that, you can create landing pages on our site really easily with Leadpages. You can also use their Leadboxes feature, which I use at the bottom of every post on SmartPassiveIncome.com, which allows you to do a two-step opt-in process, which means people don't see an email field or a name field right away, but they click a button. For example, you could say, “Hey, I'm going to give you this free book if your subscribe to my email list.” And so, they click that button, and then a pop-up comes up. It's sort of a controlled pop-up, not one that pops up after a certain amount of time, but they click to get that giveaway that you're giving them, that lead magnet, then they fill in their name and email. That has increased my opt-in rate by over 25 percent because of that two step opt-in process. Your page becomes then a giving page at first when people land on it, instead of a taking page. There's a lot more information about that in Episode 78 of the Smart Passive Income podcast; you can check that out at SmartPassiveIncome.com/session78.
Again, just to go down that list one more time for you, Austin, just for starting out: There's a lot of other things you can add on as your business starts to grow. For example, you could get services from FreshBooks to keep track of your income and do invoicing and stuff like that, but just to start out, Bluehost for your hosting and domain, your first hosting and domain. Then something like AWeber or MailChimp; I prefer AWeber. I use AWeber. If you go to AskPat.com/aweber, that'll hook you up with an email service provider. Then there's also Dropbox, Dollar Photo Club, and then Leadpages if you're at that point where you're collecting leads for your business. Now, there's a lot of other things out there that you can get, but I think, again, like I said, it depends on what your business is and who you're serving. It's going to take you a little bit of time to figure out what those things are. Ask around, go on other sites and see what other people are using, which may fit into you and your brand. Ask your audience too what they need because they're going to give you the best answers and then you'll be able to provide those things for them.
Awesome. Thanks so much, Austin. I appreciate you asking the question here for AskPat, and an AskPat t-shirt is definitely headed your way as a result. For those of you listening, if you have a question you'd like potentially featured here on the show, just head on over to AskPat.com, and you could ask right there on that page.
I also want to thank today's sponsor, again, which is ZipRecruiter.com, so if you're recruiting anybody for your business, whether you are going to be a two-person team now, or a 10-person team or beyond, use ZipRecruiter.com. It's just so easy. Instead of posting on all different job sites yourself, it'll do it for you. Then they also screen and you can hire the best candidate right from there. It makes it super easy. Again, if you want to try it for free go to ZipRecruiter.com/pat.
And, as always, I'm going to end with a quote. Today's quote is from Richard Branson. He says, “My biggest motivation? Just to keep challenging myself. I see life almost like one long university education that I never had. Every day I'm learning something new.” Cheers, take care, and I'll see you the next episode of AskPat.
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