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SPI 680: The Dish Rag

With AI leveling the playing field, just having the information people are looking for won’t help you build a brand. For the modern entrepreneur, standing out is all about bringing people together and creating a sense of belonging.

I use this exact approach to grow Deep Pocket Monster, my Pokémon YouTube channel. In fact, there’s a particular tool that’s proven to be especially good at helping me foster a sense of community. It’s been a game-changer!

I won’t keep you guessing. The tool I’m referring to is a dish rag. That’s right — just a plain, old dish rag.

Listen in on this session to hear how a random moment from one of my videos has become a powerful inside joke for Deep Pocket Monster subscribers. It is now not only helping me connect with my audience but also opening up incredible merchandising opportunities!

This episode highlights a vital lesson for entrepreneurs about effective content creation and audience engagement. Tune in to hear all about finding your “dish rag!” And join us at to start building your community today!

SPI 680: The Dish Rag

Announcer: You’re listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network, a show that’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, he wrote the book on community and not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: I wanna tell you a funny story, and this has to do with my Pokemon YouTube channel, although what I’m about to share with you has nothing to do with Pokemon, but everything to do with building a community, creating a sense of belonging, this idea of a culture inside of the brand that you’re creating, right?

And this is really important now, today more than ever, because as we all know, and I’ve talked about this a bunch, AI is leveling the playing field, right, ChatGPT, and even Google before ChatGPT. It’s like we all have access to the same information now, so just having the information that people are looking for is not gonna help you build a brand.

It might help you get traffic for people who come get the information in, then leave. But in the future, you need to build a community in order to succeed. So here’s the quick story. On my Pokemon channel, there was a series of videos I did where I purchased mystery boxes from eBay. They ranged between $300 and even a thousand dollars where I would purchase this box, and inside would be a mystery of Pokemon items.

And it could be good, it could be bad, but either way, it always made for great content because. I would take the hit if it was a loss, of course, and it was always just a curiosity what’s inside and you know, is Pat gonna get his money back? Is this gonna be a, a disaster? Those were some of our early on, more successful videos.

We’ve since moved on from the mystery boxes and I’ve purchased more people’s childhoods collections, which has been super fun. And those items are always much nicer, but still the same principles apply. What did we get and, and was it worth it? But anyway, in one of the mystery boxes that I opened, there was inside, I mean, the first thing I opened it and again, this was all captured on camera and put into a video, was a dish rag, a seventies style plaid, yellow mustard, like mustard yellow, lime green and white patterned dish rag. I have no idea why the dish rag was in there. It may have been put in there to protect some of the cards, but you know, usually you put in bubble wrap in paper, not a dish rag or a dish towel. Maybe it was in there because this person knew I was gonna film it and just wanted to troll me a little bit. Either way it was just super weird and odd. And during the filming of that video, I made a, a big deal about the dish rag.

It popped up in that video a couple times. It became sort of a joke in the, in the video and like I wiped at the table with it later to clean it off after I opened up some other items from the box. And it’s, it was just something that I made fun of in the video. So that’s like level one, right? It’s like I, I made fun of something that happened that was just kind of an interesting instance and it, and it became a little comedic.

But after the video, I, I already knew what was gonna happen. This dish rag, because it was just so weird, was gonna make its way into future videos. Like, I, I would not throw it away. I would, I would keep it. In fact, in one of the later videos that we published, one or two videos after that, the dish rag came back.

But again, I didn’t make a big deal out of it. I didn’t even mention it. It was just used in a little moment to wipe down the table once again and, what happened next was what I thought would happen, which was the comments section. Many people in the comments section commented about the dish rag that showed up just for a couple seconds.

Hey, is that the dish rag that was in the previous video? Hey, wasn’t that the dish rag from the mystery box? Why did you keep that thing? I can’t believe you still have that, right. In a couple videos after that the dish rag came back and I started the video with the dish rag around my neck, just kind of like a, like a gym towel.

And I didn’t say anything about it. And again, same comments happened. Dish rag, what? What is that? I can’t believe you still have that thing. That thing must be so dirty by now. Why are you wearing it around your neck? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Right? And it got to a point where this dish rag became sort of an inside joke, an Easter egg, if you will, inside of my videos.

I mean, he would show up in the corner of a video and people would point it out. And, you know, all along the way I’m doing my Pokemon videos. I’m, I’m teaching, I’m entertaining in, in certain ways. But this dish rag kept just showing up, and it became one of those things that when people saw it, people had, you know, that Leonardo DiCaprio beam where he’s sitting on a chair like a loveseat, he’s holding a drink in one hand with a cigar and he’s pointing to something on the TV or something that he notices.

Like that’s how people reacted when they saw this dish rag. And it became like people started following up and replying to those commenters saying, What’s the big deal about the dish rag? Like, ha has he shown this before? What’s going on? So this thing, this dish rag, which was a nothing, a random instance, became a well if you know, you know. Very similar to if you ever come to California and you ever find a fan of In-N-Out Burger and they take you to In-N-Out, the one thing they’re gonna tell you to make sure you know before you order if you’re not from around here, is the secret menu. And on the secret menu, there are animal style fries that you can order and an animal style burger. And I’m not gonna go over what that means exactly, but if you are from California, you know what that is. If you go to In-N-Out, and if you host a friend who’s not from California, you’re gonna tell them about the animal style thing, right?

It’s like this, Ooh. If you’re in the circle, you know, and if, if, like, if you know these things, you wanna share it. It, it also sort of positions you as somebody who’s on the inside, right? And it sort of empowers you in a way, and that’s what this dish rag continued to do inside of the community. So what did we do?

We didn’t just do that, we, we, we leaned into it. We created emojis for the members that are literal cartoon versions of a dish rag with eyes on it. In our discord, we had these things created, and then when we unlocked new emojis from our live streams and the members that we’ve collected on the channel, we’ve inserted them into the YouTube channel.

People when they see the, when they see the dish rag being used during a live stream, you see the sea of dish rag emojis. It sounds ridiculous. But it is exactly what community is about. No, not dish rags, but things that a community can understand that people on the outside don’t. And it’s funny because this dish rag is at a point now where we’ve literally gotten people to ask unprompted, When are you selling the dish rag merch?

Yes. There is now a possibility and I’ve already started exploring these options. It sounds crazy, but this is just how much people wanna feel like they belong to something like they know something that others don’t, like they are a part of a club, right? When you’re in the club, you know the rules, you know the words.

You know the first rule of Fight Club is, don’t talk about Fight Club. All the kinds of things, right? And if you’re on the outside, you either think that’s super weird, or you might start to go, wait, wait, how do I become a part of this thing? Right? I wanna know about the dish rag. What does the dish rag mean?

Tell me what is the animal style fry? You’re probably wondering now, and you’re gonna have to look that up. No, I’m not gonna give it to you because I want to show you exactly how much a person on the outside might yearn to understand what the people on the inside are doing. Right? So, merch maybe. I dunno.

We’re figuring it out. I cannot find the same pattern, but I still have this dish rag. And I did get somebody to send me a dish rag that had a first edition stamp on it, which is a popular thing in the world of Pokemon to have a car that says first edition on it. So somebody gave me a first edition dish rag, it was a blue one.

And then when I went to Hawaii, To go be a Pokemon influencer at a, at an event. I was invited to to it. Somebody had gifted me an Alola Dish rag, and Alola is, is a location in the world of Pokemon. And so because we were in Hawaii, Alola is like the sort of Hawaii islandy equivalent in the story or in that universe.

And so this, this woman Gwen, she gifted me a, a dish towel that was wrapped or like a, it was sealed and then it had eyes on it. And it said Alola dish towel. It was just so cool. So again, the big lesson here is find the dish rag, right? And I mean that kind of literally, like not the actual dish rag, but something that is the equivalent of something that makes you different, makes you unique, and makes the people on the inside feel like they belong to something, and something that’s just ridiculously very, very much on the inside.

And if you know, you know, right? I mean, I do similar things on SPI, many of you know, that I am a big fan of Back To the Future. It’s inserted itself into the content in many different ways. It’s just a part of who I am. It’s actually a part of my origin, story of business. If you’ve heard that story, you know about it.

But many of you know that I’ve also brought a DeLorean with me on stage in 2015 in Vegas, I brought a DeLorean out. That’s how I entered the stage when speaking in Vegas at this, at this one event. And no, it has nothing to do with business, but it has everything to do with making a real connection with people.

Having people feel like they’re on the inside, and again, having people feel like they belong, which is the secret to building an amazing community. So hopefully this helps you and, and perhaps inspires you and makes you maybe even roll your eyes a little bit like a dish rag. Really, pat? Yeah. Merch. We could sell dish rags now and we’d make money off of it.

They’d be all over it. It’s crazy. And it’s awesome at the same time. So anyway, find your dish rag. And hey, community is something we talk about all the time here on SPI. You know this now community is our product with our All Access Pass and we’re doing something special right now. If you go to, you’ll see some of the things that are happening this month.

Like don’t wait on this. There’s a challenge that’s happening. There’s the ability for you to start building your community too, and we’re gonna be running our accelerator very soon for building communities, which means that you’ll be able to come into all Access Pass. If you’re in All Access Pass already, then you’ll have seen this already coming.

You can RSVP to it and join the community or join the accelerator, which is when you get to go through a course that we have alongside other people with guidance from my team, and the lessons are delivered to you, sort of dripped out and, and you take them and there’s office hours all around that particular topic. Community, it’s what’s happening right now. So all you have to do is go to Again, And even in future, that link will redirect to wherever you need to go right now to best get help so that you can build your community and make it happen.

Bring people together, which ultimately just supports your brand. And brings life to it and, and, and is the support system to it, right? It’s like with our communities now, no matter what happens with technology or social media, that community’s gonna be there and sticking together and, and it’s, it’s amazing cuz people are creating lifelong friends in there as well.

So to get the help you need right now to build your community. We’ll see you there.

Thank you so much for listening to the Smart Passive Income podcast at I’m your host, Pat Flynn. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. Our senior producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media, and a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network. Catch you next week!

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