I want to talk about one of the best things—maybe the best thing—you can do if you want to build a business. Having conversations. Everybody talks about creating a minimum viable product, an MVP, but often they forget about the “viable” part. If you want to know if your idea is viable, you need to ask people. You need to have conversations with your target audience.
And if you've already started your business and you're not having conversations, why not? They'll help you understand what's working so you don't have to waste your time on stuff that isn't. They'll help you see what else you can do to serve your audience, where to put your time and effort.
So, I challenge you right now: How soon can you have a conversation with somebody in your audience? Listen to this episode, then go find someone you can have a conversation with. And once you've done that and you understand more about what they're going through and what they're struggling with, I want you to tag me on Instagram or Twitter @PatFlynn, and let me know you did it. You can do it. I know you can.
SPI 558: The Only Thing You Need to Do
Speaker 1: 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 loves to write emails because that's how he gets better at writing emails, Pat Flynn.
Pat Flynn: I want to tell you a secret in this podcast episode, inspired by our recent guest, Hiten Shah, who had told us a lot of his own secrets in ways that he builds his business and ways that he generates passive income. Highly recommend you listen to it. It was actually a very fantastic episode with a very, very smart person who's actually created products that I've actually bought before, like Crazy Egg, which is a tool that you can use if you have a website. And he and his partner, Neil Patel, on a number of things, they're always on fire with what they do. So, I was very thankful for Neil because he introduced me to Hiten, and then we had this conversation, and it was captured in episode 557. So again, I highly recommend you listen to it.
Pat Flynn: And inspired because he shared a number of secrets, and a large part of that conversation was about the idea of product-to-market fit, and the idea of validating your product and removing the guesswork, right? The idea that you don't necessarily move forward with something until you are almost sure that this is the thing that people want, and it would be blasphemy to do anything else. It would just be ridiculous, like, why wouldn't you do that? And I agree with that.
Pat Flynn: But I think oftentimes when it comes to removing the guesswork, we almost feel like, well, we won't really, really know until we launch our thing. We won't really, really know until we hit publish how it'll perform. We won't really, really know how the business is going to do until we put ourselves out there in the world and launch this thing. And that, in many cases, is true. You don't know for sure. There's often a lot of variables. But the number one reason why businesses do not continue, the number one reason why businesses fail, is because they guessed, and they guessed wrong. And if you can remove that guesswork, if you can remove the assumptions and just know that you are building something that people want, well, great.
Pat Flynn: Now, we've heard terms like MVP before. I think the first time I heard about that was from Tim Ferriss from way back when. MVP, the minimum viable product, and I think a lot of us kind of overlook that term and forget about really what that means, right? We often think of the most watered-down version of something just so we can get it out there. And that's part of the reason why we want to create an MVP is because we don't want to build the entire thing. We want to build what we know is good enough so that people will give us some feedback and we can get it out there, and we can test and validate. And that is true.
Pat Flynn: But the V part of that phrase, the MVP, the minimum viable product, the viable part, that's the thing that most people don't necessarily work on. We create the product, the P part. We try to do the minimum amount of work to get to the point where we can validate this. Sure. That's the M. But the V, being the validation or the viability of something, is of utmost importance. So, how do you give yourself the best chance? How do you remove the guesswork as much as possible? How do you remove all assumptions? You talk to people.
Pat Flynn: Maybe you've heard me talk about this before. I've written about it. I have an entire book where most of the chapters in the middle, after you get fired up about an idea, are to go out there and validate it through conversation. Yet, a lot of us, because we're online, we want to hide and we want to be behind the keyboard, and we want to find conversations that are already happening versus bringing them up. And it might happen because you fear pushback of your idea, or you might have, and usually will have, assumptions about something, but you need to test those assumptions, and not test by launching products to validate, but test by having conversations to validate those assumptions. And when you understand those things, you'll already have a much larger percentage.
Pat Flynn: If you want to just talk about this from a numbers game, when you can figure out from your target customer what it is they actually want, and how they talk about those things, you are more likely to succeed. There's just no way around it. Why aren't you talking to more people? If you are just starting out in your business and you have yet to have an actual conversation with somebody who is in your target audience that you who have in mind, and even if it's not necessarily the one that you know that you're going to go down, as far as a path or a niche, you still need to have conversations. Why? Because that's how you'll find out if that's the niche that you really want to go into.
Pat Flynn: You'll validate not only if that's a niche that has problems and pains that you think they have. Again, do not assume, no, but you're also going to validate whether or not you actually want to continue to be a part of that particular niche, and that you enjoy that, and that you resonate with them and that you have energy and a light lit under you to go and help those people in some way. You're going to validate that really quickly, because I promise you, yes, it's going to be nerve-racking. It's going to be something that, if you're an introvert like me, you're not necessarily going to look forward to. You're not looking forward to the conversation, but you should look forward to the results of that conversation. You should look forward to the learnings that will happen when you ask questions and you get direct feedback.
Pat Flynn: If you really wanted to do this, you would know how to get in contact with those people. "Oh, I don't know where they are. It's going to be hard to find them." No, you are just making an excuse. You can find anybody who has any particular interest online, if you really wanted to, and you can ask around. So, that's step one. After you pick a niche in a market, go out and find them and then reach out to them.
Pat Flynn: And don't reach out to them in a way that's, "Hi, my name is Pat. I'm doing research because I want to sell you stuff down the road." No, it's, "Hey, I hear you're having problems with your adoption. This is something that I'm really interested in and learning about, because I want to help others. What exactly are you having trouble with? Where are you feeling the most pain? What has worked? What has not worked? If somebody were to come in and help you in some way, what would be the most helpful thing they could do for you right now? What is something that you were looking forward to once all of this is over?"
Pat Flynn: Do you see what I mean? Even just, hopefully, in hearing those types of questions, you're able to contemplate what answers can come from that and how useful those answers would be, right? Yet, "Oh, I don't know. I don't know where they are. I don't know." Like, "Oh, why would they talk to me?" Because you're actually somebody stepping up who actually wants to help, right? I mean, that's really the underlying basis of all this. That's the foundation.
Pat Flynn: If you don't care about helping people, then none of this will work, no matter how many conversations you have. And sure, you might hit the mark on a product or a launch or something, or you might get lucky. But if you don't have that underlying true service-oriented approach, that's going to be really hard. It's going to be ... I'm not going to say it's impossible, but it would be really, really hard, because there's going to be moments where you're going to wonder why you're doing all this. And if you forget about the fact that we're doing this for others, not for ourselves, but our earnings are a byproduct of how well we serve others. But if you forget that, it's going to be tough. It's going to be tough.
Pat Flynn: So, conversations. That is the secret. Go have conversations. It literally is the best thing that you can do with your business. And if you've already started your business and you're not having conversations, why not? Why not? Because you can understand what's working so you can not waste your time on stuff that isn't. You can understand what else you can do to serve your audience. You can understand where to put your time and effort, and you can understand, again, in these conversations, the why behind it all.
Pat Flynn: It is such an amazing opportunity, after you start serving people, to hear how you serve them. So that not only can you understand how to potentially serve others, especially when you start understanding what their challenges were, what their struggles were, but hearing how they got through those struggles and how you've helped them with that and what their lives are like now? You're going to want to lean into this even more. "Oh, but I mean, I don't want to bother them, and you know, it's kind of scary and I don't really know how to reach out to them." Come on. If you really wanted to, you'd be able to do it. You'd be able to figure that out. It needs to be a priority.
Pat Flynn: You might remember from a long, long, long, long, long, long, long time ago. I had mentioned this on stage for the first time, and then I had so many people come up to me afterwards that I just started sharing it over and over again. And I still do it, but I do it in a sort of different way. I use social media now instead of Skype. But for years, every single month, I would have at least 10 conversations with people on my email list, real-life conversations on Skype. Not even text, but actual either audio-to-audio or face-to-face conversations with people who were brand-new subscribers so I can ask them questions like, "Well, how did you find me?" Which is always interesting to know. But more so, "What are your biggest challenges right now? What are your biggest struggles?" And to hear that and to hear the patterns, every month seeing a few people say the same exact things.
Pat Flynn: Well, guess what? Ding, ding, ding. I know exactly what to create a podcast episode about. Ding, ding, ding. I know exactly what my next course might be about. Ding, ding, ding. I know what I might be able to create a lead magnet for. Those are some of the most golden conversations I've ever had in my business. They are worth more than any sort of honest-to-God mastermind group I've ever been in. Even though those are so precious to me, the conversations with the audience, and building it into my schedule monthly. Now it's Instagram, typically Instagram stories, and what's nice about that is we can trade voicemails back and forth and such, because the platform allows for that. And I find that I get a higher response rate that way versus with email. Oftentimes people with email were very reluctant to get on a call with me. On Instagram, they're a lot easier to open up, right?
Pat Flynn: So, I challenge you right now. How soon can you have a conversation with somebody in your audience? And when you have that conversation and you understand more about what they're going through and what their struggle's with, and use the same questions that I posed earlier, I want you to tag me on Instagram or on Twitter, @PatFlynn, and just let me know you did it. Right? I'm just going to hold you accountable to that. I better get some responses or else I'm going to be very disappointed. Honestly. It's literally the shortcut, have conversations. You can do it. I know you can.
Pat Flynn: You're probably feeling a little nervous about it. That's good. That means it's the right thing to do. That means that there's something important on the other end of these things. You've got it. All right.
Pat Flynn: My name's Pat Flynn. Thanks for listening in. Hiten Shah from episode 557, thanks for the inspiration today. And I hope you have a wonderful day. I look forward to seeing notice of your conversations and what you learned from them, @PatFlynn on Instagram and Twitter. Thank you so much. I appreciate you, and have an amazing day. Peace out.
Pat Flynn: 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.