AskPat 718 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, what's up everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 718 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I'm here to help you by answering your online business questions, five days a week.
Here's today's question from Aaron. Here we go.
Erin: Hey, Pat, my name is Aaron and I absolutely consider myself one of your smart passive income students. I'm pretty active in the amateur radio niche and after some research I ended up making a social networking membership site for ham radio. It's called HamConnect.com. We've already grown to about 700 members in two months or so and I expect and am planning for a lot more growth.
Here's my question. There's another website out there that's doing something similar to HamConnect, but I'm definitely not compelled by their site structure, aesthetics, vision, and I really do believe that HamConnect has the edge on everything else. The creator of this competitor messaged me recently after becoming a member of my site and he's curious about how we might join forces or what have you.
I presently can't see any way in which our sites could work together and ultimately I really do believe HamConnect is going to have the corner on this part of the market, so how do you communicate with your direct competition when the time comes without burning bridges? I know he's put a lot of time into his project and I don't want to degrade it or put it down or anything, but I really do believe that my site is better.
Is there a way to be sincerely helpful to one another without creating conflict? The amateur radio community, it's relatively tight-knit and I really don't want to create bad blood or create a bad atmosphere, so what are your thoughts on this type of situation? Thanks Pat.
Pat Flynn: Hey, Aaron, thank you so much for the question. I appreciate this. I think it's such a cool niche that you're in. I don't know anything about ham radios, but now I know if I want to learn more I'm going to go to your site, which is cool.
Here's the thing about competition. I feel like you are completely in the right of saying, “Hey, you know what? I don't want to work with this person.” That's your call and that's totally cool and I completely respect that, but I also understand your concern about not wanting to burn bridges or wanting to let people start anything that could potentially hurt you. In most cases nothing will hurt you.
You always keep in mind that you want to make sure that these relationships are kind of important too. I don't think you should ever just completely ignore another person who's in the same space as you. I think it's important that you guys know that you're both working together to both serve the same audience.
It's really important that you keep these relationships open, but it also means that you don't have to partner with these people. You don't have to sign any contracts to share income with this other person. You definitely don't have to do that. That is completely your right. You've worked a lot and very hard on your website.
There is, however, a lot of great things that you can do with these people who are your “competitors” or other people in your space that aren't going to really let them get what maybe they want to get access to, but it still allows you to help them, but also help them help you.
You could, for example, if you have a blog or a podcast of sorts, you can invite this person on as a guest and just talk shop. Again, you can just mention the website. Again, because you're the one featuring them, you are the expert, right? You can include an answer from them in the roundup post. You can just mention them every once in a while if you wanted to.
I think the cream always rises to the top, right, so even though you're sharing traffic with this person, they're going to always come back to you. Having them be a part of your community is well, you have to be a little bit careful. I know some people in the past who've had competitors come into their own communities and then they start to promote their own stuff.
If you see any of that, then that's at the point at which you want to say, “Hey, you know what? This is my community. I totally respect you. I understand that you know a lot of this information too, but I don't really want you to come here and promote your website as much as you are, and if you can't respect that then unfortunately I have to make sure that you're not a part of this community, because this is my home.” I mean it is. It's your website. It's your home. You could do whatever you want with it, and that person is just simply trying to take advantage of the fact that you've been able to do all this hard work and create this community and they're there.
Now if they're there offering value and they're not being incredibly promotional and they're just there as a community member, that's fantastic. Some people may just naturally be more attracted to that person because of who they are. I mean your vibe attracts your tribe, right? But if you know that your website is superior, that you're delivering the best information, you won't have to worry about those people never coming back. They're going to come at you and they're going to want to support you because you are the place where people are talking. You're the hub of the community.
You don't have to share insider information with this person. You don't have to join and become a part of a mastermind group with them. That's . . . None of that is required. Now it could be a cool option . . . I know I did an episode of the SPI podcast where people who could be considered competitors got together and then actually were able to grow together much faster than they could grow individually, which is an interesting thought. but if you truly feel like this person really doesn't have what it takes, then you don't necessarily have to work with them in that way.
Just use common sense I think is an important tip here too. You don't want to burn bridges, like you said, and create anything that could potentially hurt you, and I don't think that you would do that, but just being conscious to the fact that this person may have something actually valuable to offer, but the fact that it may be posted on your website or you may feature this person as guest in some way, shape or form . . . Again, he's your guest on your website, and you could do whatever you want and you are able to still control the crowd, if you will, in that way.
I wouldn't worry too much. I think if this person begins to start begging or begins to start kind of getting a little but too aggressive with how they're trying to get a partnership with you in some way, shape or form, you could just be honest with them and say . . . Really, that's always the best policy. Honesty is the best policy.
Just say, “You know, I appreciate the offer. I love that we're in this sort of community together, but right now I'm just focusing on my own stuff and I don't really have the capacity to be working with a partner in this way at this current time, so I appreciate the offer, but thank you, but no thanks.” That's how I would go about it.
Aaron, I kind of randomly talked about a bunch of stuff in and around that topic, but hopefully this has been helpful to you and I wish you all the best of luck. Can't wait to hear more about you and the work that you're doing. Thanks, and we're going to send you an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show.
For those of you listening, if you have a question that you'd like potentially featured here on the show too, just head on over to AskPat.com and you can ask right there on that page. Also, if you guys have any comments about this, I think that this is one that we could also reach out to the community for for some of their own opinions to about this. Just use the hashtag on Twitter #AskPat718 for Episode 718. That way, Aaron, you can see if there's any other conversation on Twitter about this in the future.
All right, thank you and here's a quote to finish off the day by Harvey Fierstein. He says, “Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life. Define yourself.”
That's a big one. Cheers. Take care, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat. Bye.