It's a term that has become part of our vocabulary here at Team SPI, and it's why we put on the Audience Driven Summit earlier this month. An audience-driven approach is the way we've always believed a business should be built, and it's the stance we're doubling down on today. It's how we believe all businesses should be created.
And if you joined us in this Wednesday's episode, you heard how Arvid Kahl built his own business in the exact same way: you spend some time building an audience first and then you understand, well, what does that audience need help with? What are the biggest struggles that they might be having? And then you figure out, well, how can I get a few of these people some results? What works best for them?
When you take this approach, you're not going to know all the answers. But you'll find them out as you go along. It takes out the guesswork because your path toward a sustainable business is driven by your audience.
Now, this is very much an opposite approach to how many people think about creating a business. But it's how we need to be thinking about building businesses today.
SPI 518: Let's Be Audience Driven
Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it's all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, he danced in front of the Liberty Bell with his kid and was featured in the news: Pat Flynn.
“Audience driven.” This is a term that has become a part of our vocabulary here at Team SPI within the last about six months. And it's largely due to not just because we put on an event called Audience Driven. And big thank you to you, if you attended that and you watched that. If you were a partner or a speaker specifically on that, just thank you so, so much. That just happened last week at the time of this recording coming out. Thank you.
But “audience driven” has entered our vocabulary, and perhaps this is the reason why we named our event the Audience Driven Summit. Because, this is the approach that, in fact, we've always taken with business and it's the stance we're taking with how we believe all businesses should be created. And I know that this is a big thing, because our last guest who came out on Wednesday, Arvid Kahl, in episode 517, he built his business in the exact same way, where you spent some time to build an audience first, and then you understand, well, what does that audience really need help with?
What are the biggest struggles that they might be having? And then you figure out, okay, well, how can I get a few of these people some results? What works best for them? No, you're not going to know all the answers. But you find out all the answers as you go along. The pathway is in fact driven by the audience. And this is a very opposite approach to how many people think businesses happen. You come up with an idea, you put it out there, and then you let people know about it. And there are ways that that can work. And that has worked for many people, but it's a big risk. It's a big risk because how do you know that that's what actually a person might need. And even if you had built it, knowing what a person might need, how do you know that that's actually, what should have been built in the first place?
Have you had these conversations with people? And audience-driven solves all the problems. It removes so much risk. I'm not going to say there's no risk. There's always a risk, but of course, with no risk, there's no reward. There's always a risk, but we can reduce the chances of something being a complete failure... Or no, I don't want to say failure because, failure is good. Right? Fail means “first attempt in learning,” F-A-I-L. But what I mean is it reduces the chances that will continue to struggle with, well, what do we do next? And it increases the chances of removing the guesswork. Because when you remove the guesswork, everything becomes so much easier. So it makes complete sense to go to who, for advice? To go to your own audience for advice. To have them drive what happens next. And this can happen with relation to your products that you create, or even down to the micro content that you create.
This can come down to what guests should be on the show. Everything can come from your audience. And when it does, it has an amazing byproduct to it. It also helps you create community, because when people see that you're asking others for what they might need help with or what they're struggling with, you're going to find that a lot of these people congregate together. They hang around each other. They know others who are like them or who are sharing the same struggles and challenges to them. It's the reason why when you go a place and you find somebody who has played the same sport as you, you already have something to connect with. It's the same reason why when you somewhere and find somebody has gone to the same college or high school as you, you already talk and like you've been best friends. And when you initiate with little connections like that, thus then comes a community.
You probably know this because we also have done a lot of things around community. Over the past year and a half, we created our premium community, SPI Pro. We have run events to teach people how to build communities. We have partnered with Circle. Circle.so, where we host our SPI Pro membership. And they've done a lot to increase the exposure to what I believe is the future of business, which is community. All successful businesses in the future will have a community behind it. Because yes, reach online is getting harder, in my opinion. It's getting harder and harder to write a blog post and get found in Google for it. Not impossible, definitely not impossible, but it's getting harder and harder, especially as more and more people are entering the space. And we've just gone through a huge wave of growth in the creator economy.
That wasn't even a thing. That wasn't even a part of our vocabulary earlier, the creator economy. And now we're in it. And as a result, we're seeing so many people leaving the workforce or creating something on the side to now add more noise, hopefully good noise. And the truth is it is noise to people who it doesn't matter to. And that's why when you are creating noise, we really need to understand our positioning. We really need to understand the words that we're saying and where we're reaching out to people too. And through those conversations, you gain more, more experience, more understanding of the language that people can respond to. And then you start to attract the right people. The right people that you can then use to drive decision making, audience driven.
Again, this is interesting. Back in the day when I started Smart Passive Income it was all about passive income. That was the hook, right? And you know, I'm not going to say, “I wish it was different.” But it was perfect for back then because that's what people wanted. I was writing about things like ehow.com and how you could write articles on eHow and get paid a certain percentage of the ad revenue that eHow was getting. eHow doesn't even really exist anymore. But that was a thing. I was talking about different platforms where you could put things and automatically generate an income. And that was largely a part of the conversation, was passive income. And although that's still attractive, people don't even use that word anymore. People now want to create a business that they love. Something that they enjoy. And so a lot of... And, I don't know if this means in the future, we might change SPI or Smart Passive Income. I mean, the truth is, this brand has been around for a very long time, and in and of itself has created its own meaning.
It's not even about Smart Passive Income anymore. And we lean into that. We leaned into that when we changed the website a couple years ago, and we removed the words, Smart Passive Income from the website. At least on the front-facing part of it. And it's just become SPI. Like Kentucky Fried Chicken, becoming KFC, if you will. But we're leaning to that even more and we're not making it about, "Hey, you can generate all this passive income." That's still possible when well, truthfully there is no thing as real true walk-away, forever passive income, unless you're... Who is it? Bobby Bonilla, I think from the Mets. That's who it is, right? Bobby Bonilla. Yeah, he's got something in his contract that...
So it says, "When Bonilla signed his five-year, $29 million contract with the Mets in 1991, he became the highest-paid National League player at the time. His contract calls him to receive $1,193,240.2 each year until 2035, when he'll be 75 years old." I mean, that's passive income right there. That's real passive income. Good job, Bobby Bonilla. But as far as online businesses, it's not even about that anymore. I found in conversations. People want to do something that's meaningful to them. Something that actually has substance. Back in the day, a lot of those passive income strategies were strategies where you didn't even need to show up anywhere. You didn't even need to converse with people. It was just arbitrage, and buying ads and stuff. And that's not a... I mean, I'm not clowning anybody who does that. But a lot of the audience here who's listening, they want to create meaning, they want purpose, they want recognition. Just a little bit of insight into what's going on in my head related to, well where is the audience pushing us today?
And a large part of that as well is with relation to, well, how do I build my own community? How do I build this membership? How do I bring people together who follow the same path or who have the same values or who speak the same language, who share the same culture? How do we bring them together? And that's why it's just really exciting, because you're going to find that as the year goes by and as SPI continues to mature, if it is still continued to be called SPI in the future, I'm not exactly sure. It's going to be continually adapting to the needs of you. And that's why it's really important that you get involved with the community and that you speak up. And that's something that's key because without that, there is nothing to drive to. It's just let me shout from the top of this mountain, and y'all hopefully will listen.
It's not like that anymore. Let's do this together. Let's join forces. I think that's what's really cool about this. So anyway, just some brainstorming and some random thoughts as Arvid Kahl, our guest from Wednesday, which I highly recommend you listen to, one of the nicest guys I've met online in a while, and he's really using Twitter in a really amazing way, just being authentic. And he uses audience-driven strategies to grow his business, because it removes the guesswork and it just makes things so much easier. And I appreciate him for that.
And I appreciate you for allowing me to spend some time with you here and just to kind of decompress, to add further thought to the conversations we have on our Wednesday episodes. And I'm looking forward to next Wednesday's episode, because we always have some amazing guests here. And I love the fact that I can still have a chance to just share, right?
It's just like you and I are sitting in a room together and we're just hanging out. And I can't wait till the community continues to grow, till you become involved in it in a way where we could have conversations together. And maybe one day that'll be in person again. At the time that we are recording this, things are still kind of weird in the world. And these in-person events that I have always wanted to do in FlynnCon. Of course, I had talked about that in a previous Friday episode of that being essentially canceled for right now. I still want to meet people. I still want to talk and converse and bring this community even go closer together. I think it's needed, and I think your community will need it too.
So anyway, thank you so much for listening in today. I appreciate you, and I look forward to serving you in next week's episodes. Until then hit that subscribe button if you haven't already. Thank you. Take care. And as always, Team Flynn for the win. Peace.
Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income podcast at SmartPassiveIncome.com. I'm your host, Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is Sara Jane Hess. Our series producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media. We'll catch you in the next session.