If you listened to this Wednesday's episode, 525, we spoke with Derrick Reimer from SavvyCal, which is a tool that competes with Calendly, a very popular calendar/scheduler. In that episode, Derrick and I talked about competition. We talked about standing out. We talked about how to get started and grow your business in a crowded space.
Now, Derrick's in the software business. But there are strategies and principles to help you stand out that apply no matter what type of business you're in. Whether you're an app developer, or a content creator, or serving an audience in some other way, you need to find ways to set yourself apart from everyone else out there.
That's why today I want to give you four ideas to help you frame how you can stand out from the competition. These are things I've definitely talked about before, but they're worth mentioning again. Even if you're in a small niche where there's not a lot of competition, I think it's important to still do these things. Because there's always a chance someone else could come along and try to do things a little better.
So today I want to share four important strategies to help you stand out in your niche. Those four things actually have an acronym: P-A-S-T. Why P-A-S-T? Well, that's what you'll find out when you listen in to this Follow-Up Friday episode. Let's do this!
SPI 526: 4 Easy Ways to Stand Out
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 thought an NFT stood for a "neat fun thing": Pat Flynn.
Five hundred and twenty-six episodes later, here we are. It's kinda crazy to see that number, you know, oftentimes because I treat my business kind of like a machine, especially the podcasts where it's just kind of running, right?
It's not completely autopilot because this is not an AI voice. This is actually me. It could potentially come later with tools like descript, which I've talked about on YouTube, which is really scary and interesting and exciting at the same time. But no, I promise this is me. This is Pat Flynn here. And if you listened to the episode on Wednesday, this previous Wednesday, episode 525, we spoke with Derrick Reimer from SavvyCal. And SavvyCal is sort of a tool that competes with Calendly, a very popular tool. And we talked about competition. We talked about standing out. We talked about how to get into a crowded space. And of course, Derrick's software is a software it's, it's savvy Cal, but standing out of the crowd, just in general, it's something that I've spoken on before, but I wanted to give you four things today, four things in this episode to help you consider how you might be able to stand out from the competition, right?
Even if you're in a small niche, I think it's important to still do these things. Even though there might be less competition because there's always people who could come up and try to create something a little bit better, try to create a deeper connection with your audience, and these four things that I'm gonna talk about today, which actually have an acronym.
The acronym is past P-A-S-T. So PAST. Why PAST? Well, that's just what the letters ended up at. I don't think there's any significance, unless you want to think going past your competition or learning from your past. Let's start.
Number one brings the personality into what it is you're doing. No matter what kind of brand it is. Even if it's a software, you can bring personality to the space. I'm thinking of a tool called Wistia. It's a video hosting platform, very popular. Teachable integrates with it. And we use it to serve some of our videos that are outside of YouTube, for things like sales pages and whatnot. And Wistia I've come to love as a company because I've gotten to know their company.
I've gotten to know their dog. I've gotten to know other things with relation to the culture that they share online and who they are as people. We see the same thing with ConvertKit, really, truly everybody on that team caring about the success of the creators. And yes, it's just an email service provider, yet in the language that they use and the stories that they tell in the blog posts and newsletters that they write for people, even in the way that they address the changes that they are making and the updates that they're including as they improve their product over time, you can tell that they're doing it with some personality.
They truly demonstrate that they care about the user on the other end. And they do that again through the storytelling and language that they use. I think that's really, really smart. And a lot of you who have listened to me for a very long time, know that I bring my personality to the podcast and to the videos.
It's something that even if you see me across different niches, for example, many people who watch me over at deep pocket monster, which is my Pokémon hobby channel, you could see my personality come out there too. And it's, I'm very much the same person; I am me. And I think this is really important because you are you. There's nobody else in this world like you, so therefore you should use that to your advantage because that's, absolutely makes you unique. We've heard of creating a unique selling proposition, but you also have the unique personality or UP: UP. I'm not going to try and make up some crazy story about that acronym. It just came to mind, but you have a unique personality, and that personality is what people can connect with.
As Chris Ducker, good friend of the show here, one of my best friends often says, it's not the B2B, or it's not the B2C or business to business, business to customer. It's the P2P relationship. People want to do business with other people. And if, even if you're a company, even if your username on Twitter is the name of your company, you can still have personality in your brand.
Those are the little things that people connect with. When you go to a conference and you meet people, you don't often talk directly about. Just the content that you create, but you talk about how it makes you feel and the things around that content that allow you to connect with that person. This is why people connect with me who were in marching band, because a lot of people know that I was a super band nerd in high school and middle school and elementary school.
And even in college and in drum corps. Anyway, I did a lot of band stuff. I have like a whole group of people who are band nerds to who that's the first thing they say when they see me at a conference. So like, "Hey, I played the trumpet too." Or, "Hey, I was in band. I played clarinet. We should like do music together."
And it's such a cool way to start a conversation because we already have something to connect on that is outside of the general niche that we are discussing, which is really cool. That reminds me of the fact that Noah Kagan always talks about tacos. Right? And that's just a part of his personality.
Tacos everything. Jeremy Shoemaker, who is a blogger that I followed way back in the day, one of the first affiliate marketing blogs that I followed. I mean, honestly, I followed him because at the time I was into UFC, ultimate fighting championship, and he was discussing a lot about that in and around his content.
And he would often use some of the fighters as examples in his marketing and in his, in his content. And that really, I was like, okay, cool. We can connect on that. Any sort of bit about you that you believe makes you, you, I think should be out there right now. This doesn't mean that you need to display what you have for breakfast every morning.
It doesn't mean that you have to talk about the fact that, oh, yesterday you had a hangnail and that kind of hurt. That's weird. And you don't need to share that unless you are a nail salon kind of person and that's your niche. But what I'm trying to say is what's your version of Back to the Future? Back to the Future for me.
What is that for you? If you don't know what that means, if you haven't followed my journey for a while, well, then you probably haven't had the opportunity to hear me talk about Back to the Future, which I often do all the time. And it's something that I use an example. I've used it on presentations. I even went on stage in Las Vegas in 2015 in a DeLorean.
I rented one, you can rent one at RentaDelorean.com. It's an actual thing. And I rented it and I used it as a part of my presentation in 2015, which was the 30 year anniversary of Back to the Future in the year that Marty McFly travels into the future in back to the future too, which is kind of sad because I actually just got back from universal studios with my family.
And I found out that, well, really the reason why the Back to the Future ride doesn't exist anymore. It got replaced by the Simpsons ride. It was this really cool ride where you sit in a DeLorean and there's a big, giant screen and it's sort of immersive. And it was really fun. I wrote it once and I'm so glad I did, but I was sad that they had taken away, but they took it away because 2015, which was the future before is now the past. And so it was kind of out of date and the Simpsons being the longest running cartoon slash series ever, definitely just had more reason to take over. So anyway, a little bit off tangent there, but as you can see, when I get into Back to the Future stuff, I talk about it.
That's a part of who I am, and I'm not ashamed of it. And you need to embrace that. You need to embrace who you are and share it. Even if you are a company, what makes you and your culture. Share that because people connect with that and that's how you can stand out from other people who are literally teaching or talking about or creating the same thing.
Some people will want to connect with you and your personality versus others, even if you're talking about the same kind of things. Okay. So that's number one, personality, bring it number two. Attention, offer attention. That's all people want online these days. They want to know that somebody is paying attention to them.
Right? I think this is obvious when you think about how loud a lot of people are. Right? We use Facebook to often shout and proclaim certain things because we want that attention and we love that attention. We love when we get likes. We love when we get hearts, we love when we get cheers and all those kinds of things, right?
It's kind of sad how those metrics now almost define who we've become or how successful something is. "Oh no, our post only got 13 likes and we usually get a hundred and this must be bad. I'm going to delete it." Don't delete it. It's just... anyway, proof for just the fact that we want attention. Right? But guess what? Your audience and your customers, your members, your students want attention too. And it's something that doesn't cost money to offer. It just requires a little bit of forward-thinking and time. And I think that when you can offer these little moments of attention, whether they are, you know, in a group- like fashion to a certain set of people who share similar challenges and struggles that way, everybody there feels like you were speaking to them, or it is on a one-on-one basis and you're sending direct messages on social media to somebody. No, it's not scalable. But it's absolutely gold when you consider just the reaction that people often have when they see that somebody out there who understands, what they're going through is also they're listening to, and that attention goes a very, very long way.
A little bit of attention equals a lot more loyalty. A little bit of a tension brings a lot more loyalty. And when you can have people feel like they're involved, right? When people feel like they're involved, they're invested. You can be. And I've told this story before I told this in my Superfans talk, if you've ever heard about it. But the fact that when I was a kid, you know, I had a lot of tall friends and unfortunately a lot of my tall friends like to play basketball and because they were friends, they invited me to the court. But because I was short, very short, I never got picked first. As always typically picked last. And even though I was on the court on a team, I never got passed the ball and never got a chance to shoot.
So I was on the court, quote, unquote, playing basketball, but I really wasn't. I really wasn't there. As a result of that, I just didn't really like playing basketball. And as a result, when I was invited to go to a tournament with the guys and they were, you know, I wasn't going to play, I was just going to be cheering them on in the audience.
I didn't want to, because I didn't really even feel like a part of the team. So how often are we in that analogy? Inviting people to our court, i.e., our email list, our blog, listening to our podcast, coming into our communities. They're not playing the game or they're not getting passed the ball or having a chance to say anything or just having a little bit of attention going their way.
That's all we want. That's all people want. So how might you offer a little bit more attention to some of the people who are already paying a little bit of attention to you?
Okay. Number three, story. I cannot stress this enough. If I could spend more time learning how to tell better stories, I would. Thankfully, just getting behind the microphone, I learn as I go. And I listen to the stories that I tell, and I often try to nitpick at the things that I could do better and pacing and just getting better at not including filler words and all these kinds of strategies. Right? Go along with telling story. But I think what's most important about story is the transformation that you tell and who it is you're speaking about and how you paint a picture of that person, whether it's yourself or somebody else.
And how you inspire or educate or inform or entertain somebody on the other end, who is listening to that story? If I could just master storytelling, everything in the business would get better. My emails would be much better. My podcasts would be much better, my videos and my time on stage. And I think I do a pretty good job of telling story.
And part of that is because I try and I do try to learn, and I have learned, and I've taken workshops, but if there was a way for me, for all my students, if I could just snap my fingers and they would all tell better stories, everybody's business would do better. Legit. So if there's one takeaway from this particular podcast episode, it is, see how you might be able to maybe in the new year, maybe that's when you choose to do this, maybe in the new year you go, "you know what? Next year I want to become a better storyteller," because people can relate to stories better than just facts and information. They're more relatable. They are easier to read. And they're easier to share because they're just more interesting.
I remember when I had started podcasting and I went to a conference, it was back then called Blog World Expo. It was my first conference. And I met a lot of people who had listened to the show and had been following my blog. Every single person who I spoke to beyond the couple of marching band nerds and a few others who connected because of those fun little facts about myself that everybody heard of my show, people remembered the stories that I, I mean, I had just published a podcast episode about my wife and I not having insurance. When our son was born, we were about to get insurance come January 1st. And my son's due date was just a week after new year. And it was at that time at new year's that we were actually going to have insurance to pay for everything.
And then my wife's water broke early before the new year. So I was trying to balance this idea of the joy of having my firstborn child and the experience of all that with the fear of having to pay for it and potentially even going bankrupt, especially because early baby has a, like a more likely chance of going to the NICU, natal intensive care unit, NICU. Prenatal. Yeah. Okay. I almost said naval, but that story hit a lot of people really hard because a lot of people around this time, 2010 were also just coming off of a really rough time from the previous two years. Remember the great recession in '08 and were starting their own ventures. And we're worried about that too.
And I think it really resonated with people. And this is why people brought that up at that time. All this is to say, tell more stories, tell better stories, learn how to tell stories. Listen to yourself tell stories, even though it might be cringe-worthy every single time. If you try to even pick one thing to do better, better, the next time you tell that story, I promise you the results will speak for themselves.
And number four, again, we're talking about how to stand out here. It is trial and error. Don't be afraid to try some things that are maybe different than what everybody else is doing. Yes. Sometimes that can be uncomfortable, but as you all know, growth happens outside of your comfort zone. And it's interesting because the businesses that I coach and recommend to do some maybe not so comfortable things, right? Things outside of their comfort zone, the more pushback I get.
It's interesting. You would think it would be the opposite, right? Where somebody who's just starting out, but after conversations, it's interesting because what happens is people who are just starting out realize, and maybe that's you, maybe this will resonate with you. People who are just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey, realize that they have less risk.
They have far less to lose versus for example, a company like even mine, per se, SPI Media. We've got over 10 employees full time with healthcare and benefits. It's definitely something different than what I thought, but I'm so grateful for the team, but at the same time, am I able to take as big a risk? If I was just by myself, or versus as if I was just by myself, because now it's not just a decision that affects me in this business. It affects the lives of over 10 other people. And so I do feel like sometimes we don't make decisions as a result of just the worry about what might happen there. That's kind of the struggle and the truth about sometimes what goes through my head. And I'm grateful that I have a co-CEO, Matt, to bounce a lot of these ideas off of, and a leadership team, director of community, Jay, and a few others who are able to also offer their own leadership perspective on things. So we can make the right decisions moving forward and, and take some risks.
And sometimes those decisions are the right decisions and sometimes they're not, but this is just the reality of it. The truth is if we just stayed stagnant, if we just kept doing what we were doing, it wouldn't work anymore. And that's the great sort of catch 22. What got us here, won't get us there. And we have so many more people that we know we want to serve.
We have the utmost confidence that we have the ability to best serve people who are on their entrepreneurial journey, who want to grow their audiences, who want to monetize and create their own thing in an authentic manner. We know that, and we're still trying to figure out how to best do that. And I'm so grateful that you're here and that you've discovered this podcast, that you've discovered smart, passive income, and hopefully in any way, shape or form, you might find something on the website or in a course or in a workshop that can help you even further.
'Cause that's why. So anyway, personality, attention, story, and trial and error. And now, if I look at this, it's actually five words, personality, attention, story, trial and error, even though trial and error were together that actually doesn't spell past. It spells paste. So hopefully you can copy and paste this and remember this episode from time to tell him so that you can actually apply some of these things because the application is really important.
You're going to hear me talk a lot more about that because I think a lot of us suffer from what I like to call content bloat. And hopefully you are not just absorbing this, but you are putting it to good use as well. So I want to thank you today for listening in on our follow-up Friday episode, episode 526.
It's a lot of episodes, and I'm looking forward to the next one. So make sure you hit subscribe if you haven't already, because we have another great guest coming your way. Somebody who's actually been on the show before who wrote a life-changing book for me and is back with something brand new. And I couldn't be more excited.
I hope you're excited too. So hit that subscribe button. Thank you so much, and wishing you all the best. Cheers, peace out, and as always, team Flynn for the win.
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.