AskPat 378 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up, everybody. Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 378 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today.
All right here's today's question from Jason.
Jason: Hey, Pat, this is Jason from DebtDeparture.com. I've been binge-listening to the show for several days and I came across an episode where you mentioned using the pen name, Pete. How important is it to protect your real identity online? Thanks, Pat. If that's even your real name.
Pat Flynn: It is my real name. Although a lot of people in college called me “Flat Pin.” That was my nickname for a while, Flat Pin, instead of Pat Flynn. You can call me either one. But that is my real name and I do use that on SmartPassiveIncome.com. You can also see it on GreenExamAcacademy.com and also on FoodTruckr.com. I did not use, and this kind of goes along with yesterday's question, if you heard it, where I talked about Security Guard Training HQ. On SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com which was a niche site that I built in 2010 that's been up and running ever since, and doing well, you can check more information about that at NicheSiteDual.com, but when I chose to create that site also chose to create a pen name. A guy named Pete Chamberlain. That's what I used for the e-mail addresses and that was the personality of the person on the website.
I felt like … I don't even know where I got that name, it just sounded like a security guard's name for some reason. Officer Chamberlain, I don't know. But I ended up deciding to use a pen name on that website for a couple of reasons. And the main reason was because I knew a lot of people were following along with my experiment. My experiment here on this brand new website that I was creating, again this is back in 2010. And I didn't want people who found the website, who were security guards looking to get information on how to become a security guard to look up Pat Flynn, and then find that I built this site as an experiment to see how much money I could make, and how much traffic I could get. I felt like that would detract from the authenticity … That sounds funny that I'm not even using my real name, but I feel like people … If they were to discover that they would see “Oh well, this guy's built this site cause he's just trying to make money. He's not actually trying to help”, when in reality I actually built the website to help people, in order to make money. You have to help people in order to make money, so that's the funny thing about it.
But again it wasn't a hardcore decision it was just … I just decided to use somebody else's name, or a made-up name, excuse me, on that website, so that there wasn't a connection for people who were just looking for security guard training information. I felt it was important however to have a name on the website, because I knew from experience, especially with all the Pat Flynn stuff on GreenExamAcademy.com, which is a website I built to help people pass an exam in the architecture industry, so in a way, it's similarly related. I knew how much having Pat Flynn as a name there on GreenExamAcademy.com helped.
It helped in terms of helping people build a real relationship with an actual person, and even though Pete Chamberlain was a made-up, fictitious person, it really did give a little bit of personality to the website in terms of, this isn't just some corporate website that's here to help you and it's just here to make money, but it's a guy who's behind this, which was true, it just wasn't my name, and there is a person who is here who is actually trying to help, which is again true, but it wasn't my name.
When you're talking about pen name versus real name the idea really is … It doesn't really matter. I think if you are trying to be as authentic as possible and you are happy for all reasons to connect your real name to your business, then absolutely use your real name, you want people to know who you are and really what you're all about. However, I will say there are a number of very successful websites that are out there who have used pen names, who are still using pen names, who have reached out to me in private to tell me that that's actually a pen name and that's a false name, but they're incredibly successful because the name is just the name but they are still delivering high value, people are still making a real connection to them, they're being authentic online in every other way. It's not about the name, it's about who that person is, who that personality is and it's not like you're trying to be somebody fake, it's like you're just hiding your real name to protect your identity, and that's what I was doing on SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com.
And if you feel like you have to protect your identity, then, by all means, I'm totally for using a pen name. There's the idea of using a name like Pete Chamberlain versus using another kind of pen name which isn't a pen name at all but more of a personality. Like “The Blog Tyrant” or “The Digital Diva” or … There's all kinds of names out there that aren't names but they're personalities. They are titles for that particular person, and those work very well too. But again, I was always a little bit iffy of people who've used those, who aren't willing to show their name unless they give a particular reason for doing that, and a lot of times those people did on their about page, they would say “I am this. The reason why I don't reveal my real name is because such and such.” Some people don't want to reveal their real name because they don't want it to come back to them in terms of … They don't want their bosses to find out about them talking about stuff related to that work, or just they don't want to have their boss or anybody in their workplace understand that they are actually doing something on the side that could take time and attention away from the nine-to-five. That type of thing. Or for protection of the family.
Those are all very very good reasons to have a pen name or one of those personality names. But again, whatever feels good to you, that's what I would do, as long as you're doing it for the right reasons. I wouldn't use a pen name to falsify or to pretend to be somebody else. Pete Chamberlain doesn't say he's a security guard. Pete Chamberlain doesn't say he has all these credentials, Pete Chamberlain is just the guy who writes the website on SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com. And that's it.
Yeah, that's that. I'm curious to know what anyone else thinks or if you guys use a pen name, I would love for you to share information about this. Use the hashtag #AskPat378 again hashtag #AskPat378. We can talk more about this but again those are my feeling on it. I'd love to hear yours. Go to Twitter use the hashtag #AskPat378 for your thoughts on using a pen name. Have you used one, do you use one? Maybe your Twitter handle is your pen name and you can help out and see how that's been going. But I don't think there's anything wrong with it and again as long as your doing it for the right reasons.
So yeah, Jason thank you so much for the question, I really appreciate it. We're going to send you an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show. I also want to thank everybody else out there who has asked questions, you could potentially get featured here on the show as well by going to askpat.com and asking a question right there on that page. Thank you so much.
Cheers, thanks so much, I really appreciate it, and here's a quote to finish off today from Warren Buffett. He says “In the business world the rear view mirror is always clearer than the windshield.” Cheers. Take care and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat. Thanks, guys.