AskPat 371 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, what's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 371 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today.
All right, now here's today's question from Maelisa.
Maelisa: Hi Pat. My name is Maelisa Hall, and I have an online business at qaprep.com, where I teach other therapists to I'm a psychologist, how to create awesome documentations they can save time. Now my question for you is, how do you deal with people who email you and ask you questions, and want a lot of your content for free? So I don't mind getting direct questions from people, and answering emails, but a lot of times I'll get requests from people, and they want things like templates that I actually charge for. So how do you deal with that in a nice way, where you can continue building relationships with those people, but let them know that you're not gonna give them content that you've charged other people for? Thanks a lot. Bye.
Pat Flynn: Hey, hey, hey. What's up, Maelisa? Thank you so much for this question, and this is something that I always have to deal with. As a lot of you know, I give away a lot of free content on my website, and I'm very approachable. I often tell people to email me, and I'll do my best to help out when I can. And in the beginning it was very easy for me to do that. I would often answer every single email, every single tweet, every single comment. And at this point in this stage in my business and my life, it's just very difficult for me to do that. And I'm, again, very honest with people and up front with the fact that I'm unable to do that anymore, and there's part of the reason why I hired Jessica to help me with answering emails, and helping serve people when I can't do it myself because of time constraints.
I also know that my time is valuable, and the work that you do Maelisa, the things that you've created that people are asking for for free, that aren't free, that's stuff that you know can provide value, and you deserve to get paid for it. And so, when people start to ask for things from us for free, it becomes a difficult dance. Because, you don't want to be mean. You don't want to be rude. You don't want to sound like somebody who's saying, “No, you've gotta pay for this.” That's kind of rude when you come across that way, but that's partly the truth, because they do have to pay for it. Why would they want to get things for free? Now, there are some cases I will say, where there are certain people based on their circumstances that I will give them a free version of whatever.
I mean, for example, a lot of people who emailed me when I had just started greenexamacademy.com, and created study guides and ebooks, helping people pass the LEED exam, there were a number of people who were interns, there were people who were still in college who just were struggling and didn't have any extra cash. For those people, I didn't want to say no, and I wanted to give them a deal, knowing that they were gonna be very supportive of the brand if I helped them out. So, oftentimes, I would just comp them an ebook, or a practice exam, or things like that. And a lot of times, those people became my biggest supporters, and no, they weren't telling people that, “Oh, you should go to Pat and tell him that you're this poor college student, because then he'll give it to you for free.” But he was saying, “Pat helped me out when I needed it, and if you need help with your LEED studying, you should go to his website. He's awesome, and I highly recommend you purchase his stuff.” And that's what happened. That's how my brand spread pretty wide.
A lot of it was because … I mean, there were a lot of reasons why, but part of it was because I was being generous. And, being generous is fine, and it's okay to do that every once in a while. But, you don't want to do that all the time. And there are people out there who are obviously just trying to be freeloaders, and that's… Freeloader is a negative term, and that's not to say people who are asking things for free are bad. I mean, it's always good to ask if you're on that side of things. You know you don't get, if you don't ask. However, there is an approach that goes with that, that can be either respectful or disrespectful. Or sort of undermining the hard work that you do, and you don't want it to be that case.
So, here's what I would do, Maelisa, and I would love everybody to chime in on this as well. If you want to use the hashtag, #AskPat317. There's obviously a lot of different ways you could go about this, and a lot of it depends on your personality. And a lot of you know me. I'm very honest and transparent, and I try to get on everybody's good side. Although, I am very honest with things as well. So here's the approach that I would take. So if, for example, I got an email that said, “Pat, dude, I love your stuff. I've been following you for years. Saw you came out with a smart podcast player at smartpodcastplayer.com. A brand new podcaster coming out with a podcast in a couple weeks. I would love to get my hands on a Smart Podcast Player. Is there any way that you could hook a brother up? Charles.” I don't know why I picked the name Charles, but that would be an example email. And here's what my response would be. It would always be, kill 'em with kindness. That's my motto. When it comes to anything, kill 'em with kindness. Not literally kill them, but just shower them with as much kindness as you can.
So, initially, I would say, “Charles, thank you so much for the kind words about the Smart Podcast Player. I've been working really hard on it. Again, that's in there just to show that I'm actually putting a lot of effort into it. Also would share things like, “My team and my customer service is working around the clock, helping to serve people who are making purchases of this product, and we're so happy that you're excited about potentially using the player as well. Unfortunately, I can't just give this player away. There's a lot of things that go into it in terms of helping keep the business going, and part of that is actually charging for this very highly valuable thing that we're offering here. And I hope you can understand where I'm coming from. I just cannot give it away for free at this point and time, but, here's a few things you can do. One, we have a free version of the software. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles that you might want, but it can still provide that experience for your listeners. It's much better than the existing players that you might have on your website already. Here's a link for that. Number two, here's an article that I wrote a couple weeks ago in a podcast episode that goes into the top five tips that you can use to help increase the downloads of your podcast. So when you start your podcast, Charles, check out these things. These are gonna help you launch with a bang. And number three, here's a link to my community where you can share that you are starting a podcast as well. You might be able to get some great advice, talk to some other people in the SPI community. That's at Facebook, or excuse me, smartpassiveincome.com/community. Again, thank you so much for the email. I am so sorry that I can't hook you up right now, but hopefully these other resources will help you as you move forward. If you do change your mind, and you feel like you're at a point where you can invest in a smart podcast player, please let me know. I will personally make it happen for you really fast when the time is right. Cheers. Thanks so much. Bye.” That's pretty good, I think.
So, a few key points there. One, I established the fact that it was something that I worked really hard on, and something that deserved to get paid for. That's number one. Number two, I also gave away a ton of value. So, I didn't just say, “No! What, are you crazy, Charles? No. You're out of your mind.” No, I didn't say that. Obviously I said, unfortunately we can't do that right now, but here's some things that can help you in the meantime. And then finally, I gave the sort of white glove concierge service approach at the end, which was, “Hey, dude, if you are ready for this, whenever that may be, there's no rush. It'll be here for you, and send me an email. I'll make sure it gets done for you rather quickly. And those kinds of responses continue to foster that relationship, while being kind with that rejection, or that denial. And that's how I would approach it.
So, Maelisa, you're gonna craft your responses in different ways, of course. But, hopefully that gives you a framework and a nice structure, or at least some ideas and direction in terms of how you can lightly deny somebody who's asking for something for free. It's totally okay to do that. It is your product. You deserve to get paid for it. You have permission to say no. You have permission to say no. And hopefully that gives you some help in terms of how you can say no in a nice way.
So, Maelisa, thank you so much. Everybody else out there listening, hashtag #AskPat371 if you have any more advice for Maelisa, or if you want to make any comments on my response. Thank you so much, Maelisa. I appreciate it. We're gonna send an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show. 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. You can ask right there on that page.
I also want to thank Charles for being the made up person in this example. If your name is Charles out there, I apologize if that startled you. I know that happened to me sometimes when I've listened to other podcasts, and I hear my name out of the corner of my earbud.
And finally, to finish off today, I want to end it with a quote from Margaret Wheatley. She said, “The things we fear the most in organizations: fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances, are the primary sources of creativity.” Cheers. Take care, and I'll see you in tomorrow's episode of AskPat. Thanks, guys. Bye.