As I turn forty-one and with the new year approaching, I want to look back at 2023 and share the strategies that have had the biggest impact on my businesses. We got a lot of things right these past twelve months, so tune in to learn more!
The energy at SPI is unparalleled right now because of the positive feedback we’ve been getting. The All-Access Pass, our community-powered educational experience, is a massive hit with our audience. Subscribers are raving about my Unstuck newsletter, and our marketing efforts have also hit the mark like never before. Listen in on this session to learn how we pulled it all off!
This was an incredible year for Deep Pocket Monster as well, and I took my foray into the Pokémon space to the next level with Card Party, a three-day live event unlike anything else in the niche. (The lessons learned from that experience are covered in episode 698!)
SPI 740: Forty-One
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 adopted a real life cow and named it Bill Jack. Pat Flynn.
Pat Flynn: We are approaching the end of 2023, which is wild. It was wild how quickly this year went by and I want to take this episode to share various parts of my businesses and my life with you and just kind of recap how each of them went this year. Some of them went crazy and buck wild. Other ones have been more stagnant and i’m just going to share some thoughts in real time with you here.
And this is always a great time of the year to think about how the year has gone, you know, there’s still a few weeks left inside of December and it offers ourselves time to reflect and also adjust. You know, and you don’t have to necessarily wait till New Year’s Day to start your journey into 2024, right. That could start now and I think this is going to be a fun exercise for myself and also I know a lot of you enjoy listening in a in a very Income report ish kind of way, the updates that have been happening and I haven’t been doing them as much.
I mean, the income reports, we eventually stopped doing those after nine years on SPI, sort of in 2017 or 20, no, when did we stop that? 2018, I think. And it was because they were just getting a little too ridiculous. They were getting a little too far removed from the audience and what was achievable, right?
Like, in the beginning was more thousands and then ten thousands of dollars, and it really inspired a lot of people, but over time it started to get into the six figure range. And as we’ve really built out the company to be more than just me, right? It’s sort of taken a different life and it’s, it’s not even just like, Oh, with respect to my other team members and Matt, the CEO and all those kinds of things.
I mean, it’s respect to you as well. This is comparing our business to yours is, is not how it works anymore because we’re building an empire here to help and serve entrepreneurs versus the solopreneur Pat Flynn before who is scrappily trying this niche website and building this app company and creating these things.
That being said, there are different case studies that have come about that are more relatable and have increased inspiration for a lot of you out there. And I’m going to be sharing some of those things with you today. So anyway, long little sidebar there with relation to the income reports. But first let’s talk about SPI.
We are a couple months out of or from when my team and I met in New Orleans. And this was our big team retreat. And I got to tell you, and I’ve already shared this here on the podcast before. Our energy coming out of New Orleans was absolutely the best energy we’ve had here at SPI as a team, all 11 of us in a room and then going back home and being so fired up about helping you. Because of the new EIR program, because of how well the accelerators are performing and how well our students have been doing the feedback that we are getting. It is unmatched compared to any other time in SPI’s history. And we’ve been around for 15 years now. Like I said in the beginning, it was just me, but over the past five years, I’ve brought on more team members.
Matt’s come on as CEO. We’ve built out an incredible team of directors who lead. Our people on the team to do what they do and do it best, which is to focus on their department to serve you, whether it’s the community experience team to the content team to just customer service in general, we are here for you and our energy coming out of that event was was absolutely fantastic.
This year we had a lot of wins. And it really started with understanding what worked. You know, we tried so many things in 2022, some of which did work and some of which didn’t work as far as how are we going to release our All Access Pass? How are we going to treat our courses and how are we going to promote them?
How are we going to use our list? Right? I’ll talk about the Unstuck newsletter in just a second, but combining our courses, putting them into our All Access Pass and then knowing how to promote them. We started off 2023, we launched one of our accelerators. I can’t even remember which one. It might have been Heroic Online Courses, or maybe our podcasting one, or it might have been our YouTube one.
I don’t know. We’ve had so many great successes as far as the content inside of our All Access Pass, and very successful students going through those accelerators. The marketing of those is what was the issue before. And now we have it nailed down. We pick one topic that we’re going to be creating an accelerator for.
For instance, recently we just did a accelerator for the affiliate marketing course. So I hold a webinar. It’s a free webinar. It’s a free training, very fine tuned, and it’s something that encourages people to learn about affiliate marketing. However, if they want to go deeper and if they want to get access to other people and an instructor to walk them through an X week program, the affiliate marketing one was a four week program.
You can go through the course together with other students and the scarcity or the urgency that’s injected into these marketing campaigns are no longer, hey, get it while it’s discounted before the discount goes away, right? That’s what we were doing before. We would sell our courses for 599, but then for a week, they would be 499.
And I’m so grateful that we’re removed from that discounting sequence now because it really just devalued the course. It said, you know what? Our course is not actually worth 599. It’s actually worth 499. We know it’s even worth more than that, but the perception to the audience is, Oh, well, I’m just going to wait till the discounts.
Right now, the urgency is, well, get in now because our accelerator for this course, so that you can go through it with an instructor and get help and go through it in real time with others. I mean, that starts next week. So get in now or else you won’t be able to go through it with other people. And that has been working really, really well.
In fact, so well that we’ve never had this kind of MRR or monthly recurring revenue from our growing members inside of our communities and having recurring revenue in your business is I mean, this is what you want a predictable amount of income coming in based on the number of clients or number of students or number of customers coming in who repeatedly continue to pay you over time.
And this is something that is a sign of health in the business. Of course, it is something that is also a sign that people are still enjoying and want to stick around. And our churn rates are extremely low. So this is something I’m super proud of the team for because I got to give credit to where credit is due.
The community part of SPI was all done and all executed by the team. I mean, I cannot thank them enough for creating a better environment for all of you to learn in SPI Pro’s been amazing. The All Access Pass has been amazing and I continue to get messages literally every day from our students thanking us for it.
So I’m just, I’m just really grateful for where that’s gone. The Unstuck newsletter hit its one year anniversary. This is a weak knee. I do have weak knees now. I’m getting older, but weekly newsletter that I publish called Unstuck. You can get it at or get unstuck, which is what I want you to do. Get unstuck at smartpassiveincome.com/unstuck. If you aren’t within that portion of our brand already, it’s a free newsletter, five minute read. It’s a story that I share and it’s allowed me to get my writing back in motion. You know, I’ve been a little bit, you know, they, my, I needed to warm up a little bit. Right? And it was perfect time because I also, last year, started writing a new book.
And the book is something that I’ll talk about a little bit later here in this recap. But the writing of the newsletter has allowed me to just play in the world of text again. I mean, I’m very, very prominent on a microphone, obviously, and on video, it’s been a while since I’ve been regular with my writing ever since Superfans in 2019 was published.
So it’s been great to get back into that and to have it continue to go past a year and to know that I’m going to keep going with it. It just feels amazing because when you create value like that for a period of time, no matter what style or modal it takes, it can do nothing but help you and your brand, especially when you know that you’re doing something awesome and you’re getting the.
Feedback from it. So thank you for those of you who have offered replies to the unstuck newsletter There’s been a few standout newsletters that that have been published over time and i’m just really grateful to have that direct access to your inbox in a way where I can just show up and provide you value, you know, which is which is really awesome.
So that’s been wonderful. The Swich Pod If you don’t know what the SwitchPod is I don’t blame you because it’s been a while since i’ve talked about it. The SwitchPodod is an invention that my videographer Caleb Wojcik who is my partner as well on the YouTube From Scratch course on the Yellow Access Pass.
And a dear friend of mine, he and I invented a product. We came up with the idea in 2017, 2018. We worked on several different prototypes and then launched it in February of 2019 on Kickstarter. And we had made about a half million dollars in 60 days. And that campaign taught us a lot about Kickstarter, about influencer marketing.
About physical products, about patents, about how slow it is to, you know, make changes in the world of physical products. We’ve created, since the SwitchPod, some accessories. A ball head to go on top of it, as well as a cell phone or mobile phone adapter to go with it as well. We also have a few other things, like an ArcaSwiss adapter, which, if you don’t know what that means, then it’s probably not relevant to you anyway.
It’s a way to quickly move from one tripod to another and, and those kinds of things. So anyway, the business has been steady. We’ve been generating sales on Amazon mostly, but also on our website at switchpod.co. And Caleb and I, I believe we talked about this on an episode a couple hundred episodes ago, but we had talked about the idea of potentially growing it, you know, putting more time and effort into it, putting more dollars into it, expanding the product line. But you know, Caleb had twins and I had a lot of other focuses going on in my life and we just decided, you know what? We’re just going to let this coast. We’ll work on it.
Caleb’s doing a lot of the, it’s not even day to day at this point. It’s like week to week or even month to month work. I mean, it is relatively passive for a physical product. There are some decisions that need to be made. There are some business deals that are done. There are different companies that bulk purchase them so that they sell them on their website or their marketplaces, which is really cool.
But generally speaking, we sell on Amazon and it’s been pretty steady. We are making money from it and it’s not taking a ton of time. So I’m really happy with where it is. It’s it’s not, I’m not disappointed at all. Could we grow it? Could we create an empire out of it? We could. But we don’t want to, and that’s okay.
And I think this business here is a great lesson for try something, see how it goes and, you know, automate it as much as possible. And it has been, so, you know, we’ll see what happens in the future, especially as Caleb’s kids get older, as my kids are getting way, way older. My son is now about to turn 14, and next year he goes to high school.
That is wild. That is wild. My daughter’s 11. Incredible. So yes, I will have more time as well. Although I will be spending as much time with them as possible, as long as they still want to. And I’ve been very lucky that they still do. So that’s the SwitchPod.
Deep Pocket Monster. This thing has been on a tear, since early 2021 and it continues to be an incredible highlight in my life and in my week where I can outside of SPI focus on something new that I’m growing that’s pretty lean and is very, very successful. We are approaching 800, 000 subscribers, which is crazy. We’re very close to a million, which is, I mean, my other channel, the Pat Flynn channel is not even at a half million yet at the time of this recording, and we’re approaching a million subscribers.
I mean, we’re still a couple hundred thousand away, but the growth rate, we’re going to hit it next year in 2024, which is incredible. That’ll unlock my first ever gold play button from YouTube. But most of all, I’ve been really enjoying the challenge of continuing to grow this. Especially as the Pokemon market is a little bit less crazy this year.
Card Party. Yes. I talk about community all the time and it’s not just talking to talk. I walk the walk. We created a community event called card party that launched the first year in June, 2023. In Anaheim, California, we had 2, 500 tickets sold. We had sponsors like eBay and UltraPro there. We had all the big YouTubers in the Pokemon space there.
We’ve had incredible success stories coming out of that. And guess what? We’re doing it again next year in Orlando. And we’re shooting for 5,000 people. Sponsors are already on board. Creators are already on board. We hope to break even. I’m gonna be honest with you. We lost money on the first year, but that is generally expected for an event like this.
It’s gonna take us two or three more times to get to profitable. I just hope we can break even. Although there is a possibility, depending on sponsors that come in, of yes, actually generating a profit from that. And all of that’s just gonna go back into the event and into the community anyway. It has become a labor of love to try to puzzle piece together this event for this community, and also the videos.
The videos have been, you know, we’ve continued to expand our repertoire, if you will, our knowledge of YouTube, our depth of YouTube, and the quality of video. And there’s one video in particular that I want to point to, if you haven’t seen it already. It was one where I went to Japan and I filmed in Japan and the story that was created out of, out of that has been incredible.
There was actually a physical product that was sold at the end of that video in partnership with another binder company, and that’s been very successful. I’m just like reflecting back on the incredible year that DPM has had. I’ve definitely up leveled from just creator in the space to actually contributor, if you will, literally stepping up into the space to create things for this community, both the audience and the other creators that were never done before.
And what’s really amazing is we’re seeing a lot of the other creators in the space get inspired by the work that I do. Many of them reaching out to me to get help, not just for YouTube, but. for their business. How do I generate revenue through affiliate marketing? And I teach them and this is, this is really amazing.
So I’m just quite proud that I was able to start something and continue it for, you know, a second, third year now in 2023 for longevity and just for proof that, you know, the things I teach and the things I talk about, they still work today. And it’s been an incredible case study. In fact, the success with deep pocket monster has definitely contributed to the success of the, especially the YouTube from scratch course and the accelerator within it in our All Access Pass. People see that, wow, Pat, you’re, you’re doing it and you started fresh. A lot of people think I moved a whole bunch of SPI YouTube audience members to that channel. No, I actually, that would be detrimental to the channel because it would not be the right audience.
I literally started from scratch. And I’ve been able to build a business that’s been generating five figures a month for over two years now, it’s been amazing. And in 2024, there’s going to be some bigger things, bigger, bolder investments made into that channel, stuff that hopefully is going to continue to create a moat around what we do and what others do, not in a way where I don’t think there should be competition, but more so carving out the positioning that I have and my team has in that space.
And the team, when I say that, it’s just a couple other people. That’s it. Shout out to Dan Patrick Norton, my producer, and all that he and his team do. Zach, Jay, they’re, they’re amazing. Now earlier I mentioned a book. And yes, I am writing a book. And I have been writing this book. This book is my very first traditionally published book.
It’s gonna be called Lean Learning. And it is about the idea of… How to know what to focus on and how to choose to spend your time and effort to learn something new. How to filter all the information that’s out there and find the right information for you to help you reach that level of success faster and allow yourself to scratch that itch of trying new things, but giving yourself the best chance to succeed with those new things, right?
And so this book has been an incredibly The word is not frustrating. It hasn’t been quote unquote frustrating. It’s just taking a long time. And it should take a long time. It is a traditionally published book, so there’s a lot more players involved. It is something that is going to be my first foray into… Sort of one circle outside of entrepreneurship in the world of publishing. It’s going to be self help and productivity. And that’s a new space for me to sort of claim something in and provide value to, you know, I have talked about productivity. Obviously I have talked about self help and in certain ways, but mostly with relation to entrepreneurship.
And although this book is going to be very helpful for those of you who are entrepreneurs. I imagine it being very helpful for students, for people who want to change their careers, for educators of all kinds. And the challenge with this is, it’s not just me writing it, self published, where I can be as creative as I want with it, there’s other players involved, and there’s key decision makers involved and I have to give up a little bit of creativity.
I have to write what they believe is the right way to write this book and there’s negotiations. It’s not like they’re just commanding me all the time, but I love my publisher Atria and I’m excited to work with them and I’m really, I’m really pleased with the process so far. It’s just taking a long time.
I’m so used to cranking out a book and publishing it and then having just full ownership on how it’s done and all that kind of stuff. That being said, yeah. The writing process is, is where I’m at now, and you know, we’ve gone through a first draft already, we’re editing the second draft at the time that we’re talking about this, and as far as release date, that is not going to be anything that I’m going to be able to share right now because there’s a lot of factors involved, I want to give it the best shot to do really well, and so thinking about the season that I publish it and all that stuff, it’s not going to be just me, it’s going to be the publisher and their data and their teams that know a lot of the answers on when to do that and how, anyway, it’s coming, but it has been so much fun to get back into writing again.
Like I said, not just with the newsletter, but with a book and I have had to go through a little bit of imposter syndrome. You know, I’m, I’m through that now, but just like when I wrote, will it fly? It was, who am I to write this book? Am I expert enough? And are people going to listen to me? So for those of you starting new things that imposter syndrome continues to happen even, even after you’ve found some success, and I do appreciate that. I think it’s a sign that, yes, I care about this, yes, I want it to do well, and it allows me to make sure of that. That being said, you can let it control you, and then you don’t publish anything because you’re too afraid, and I’m grateful that I have.
People in my mastermind groups, my friends, my colleagues, to, to push me forward despite those feelings. And to remind me that it just means I’m really excited about this and I want it to do well.
So outside of business, I’ll talk about a few things, a couple that I’m very excited about talking about.
Fishing was an amazing year this year. My buddy Rick Mulready and I went fishing several times together and have had just very, very big memories created with certain catches and just scenery. I mean, it’s one of those things that I have to fight myself with and not turn into a YouTube channel and remind myself that this is for me.
This is for an escape. This is to be in nature a little bit more. All the fish are catch and release. It’s just large mouth bass. And I’m just so grateful for the opportunity to get outside and be with a friend and talk Life with somebody in a deep manner. So Rick, if you’re listening to this, I appreciate you.
My friend, those conversations are so important to me and I’m just so grateful for you. I wish for all of you, you have a hobby, something outside of business, something outside of the day to day that you can escape to every once in a while for the sake of just self enjoyment. It’s important to be in a space where you can just be happy and not worry about things.
Sometimes my only qualm with fishing is that because it is such a focused activity, the time goes by so fast. I mean, I am in full focus. I’m in a flow state and a 12 hour day goes by in what feels like just an hour. It’s, it’s actually really sad, but I enjoy every single minute that I can, for sure. The other hobby I picked up this year actually kind of relates to the Pokemon thing, but it is a different card game.
It’s a card game that just came out this year. It’s called Disney Lorcana. And for those of you who might know magic, the gathering, it’s very similar to magic, but it’s Disney IP. I mean, the mechanics are a little bit different, but it’s similar how you play a table talking. I mean, Pokemon is a tabletop game in a very similar way as well a trading card game, but this one is Amazing because it uses disney ip They’re very clever with how the characters and their abilities sort of relate to each other based on the storyline of the movies they came from I mean everything from 101 dalmatians to the great mouse detective to Tinkerbell’s in there.
I mean just It is so fun. I’m having such a great time learning a new game, and I get to play it with my son. My son and I competed in a couple tournaments this past year. We both placed pretty well, in fact, especially both being new to the game and the sort of tournament scene. It’s been so long since I’ve done an actual TCG tournament, trading card game tournament, and it was fun to be in that environment.
But I think the most fun thing was watching my son, watching Keone, be in those spaces with me. facing an opponent, a stranger, and practicing being a gentleman, practicing good etiquette, losing with grace. I’m just so proud of him. And then, of course, winning, and then we talk about it, and then we could talk about it on the way home together from these tournaments.
It’s been so fun. And it’s been also interesting now starting a new game after having been a collector now for three years on the Pokemon side of things. To now, like, try to not create a Lorcana channel again. I just have to fight myself all the time with, I just, I, I, part of my language, part of the way I talk is through content creation.
So when I learn these things about Lorcana or fishing, like. I want to talk about them, and so I want to do it in the way that I know best. I like to edit videos. I like to do podcast episodes and share these things. So, again, I want it to be something that I can enjoy where I don’t have to worry about turning on the camera.
I have Pokemon and SPI for that. Relationship wise, I talked about my kids. The relationship with the kids has been tremendous. I mean, I gotta hand it to April. The sacrifice that she’s made to be a stay at home mom and to, you know, there’s a lot of things that people say about stay at home moms. And despite all of that, she’s been super, super amazing at making sure the kids get the most of her time in my time as well and it’s paying off I mean, they are just so loving and caring and I mean my son at 14. He’s still Making sure to give us a kiss goodbye on the way to school not embarrassed at all. He’s playing the trumpet now He is in like a section leader in the band. He’s gonna be doing marching band next year.
He’s already listening to The University of California at Berkeley’s Fight Song on his Spotify playlist. Like, that’s the school I went to, and I introduced him to some of those songs, and now he knows the words to Fight for California, or Sons of California, or Big C. It’s just like, blows my mind. And I’m gonna be with him for… four more years until he’s at the age where he might go to Cal or some other college. And even if he goes to USC, even if he goes to UCLA, and I say that because those are the rival schools and Stanford, obviously for Cal still support him, obviously, but it’s just, he’s getting close to when he’s going to be making that decision.
And should he choose to go to college where we tell him he doesn’t have to go to college, but if it fits and helps with his life goals, then we absolutely would recommend it and support him with that. Wherever he goes, he’s going to be well equipped. And, and I think that the example that April said especially has been, as a mom, as somebody who’s sacrificed to stay home with them and do something hard that doesn’t get recognized very often, that doesn’t come with accolades, it doesn’t even get paid.
She doesn’t get paid for that. I think she’s been setting an incredible example on a good human being can be like for our kids, and I’m just so grateful for that. And you know, they’re already doing their own laundry. They’re cleaning their rooms. They are taking care of their stuff. It’s been hard. It’s been a hard road.
And I’ve seen it and I’ve done my best to support April on my end with that. Speaking of April, we’re great. I’m just so we’re in a really good spot. You know, over the years, we’ve been okay, always and very loving with each other and very supportive of each other. But I gotta say when I was traveling and building the business up front I mean I did put a lot on her, you know, I’d go and travel once twice a month for business and she’d just be stuck at home with the kids, you know And then I’d come home and talk about all the fun things that happened and she’d be like, yeah and you know your son threw up on me five times.
This is when they were babies, right? No, but We’re going on vacations together. We’re planning for the future together. We’re talking about life after the kids might be out and where we might want to go or what our life goals are in the next phase of life. It’s just like having those constant conversations about where we want to go with each other has been so valuable and I don’t know about you, but when the relationship at home with my wife is great, I have just so much more energy for work, so much more energy for the kids.
And so I’m going to continue to work even harder in 2024 to continue that and to continue to do things, hopefully without her even asking. You know, I used to have to wait till she asked me to do something to do stuff, but I’m going to be doing that more just because that’s what I, I think that my role is, and she does, she’s done so much and still continues to do so much.
I don’t talk about April very often, and it might be interesting in 2024 to bring her on the show. What do you think? And then finally, let’s talk about my health. You know, this year was a pretty eye opening year. I talked about this in a Friday episode where I went to get a DEXA scan, which is where you sit on this kind of pod and then you get scanned for your body fat.
And I was getting in the range of dangerous. Yes. Even though I felt fine and I figured, you know, yeah, I could lose a few pounds here or there. It was actually worse than I thought. And I’m grateful for that. And I have to thank my coach, James Schramko for the nudge to do that because it really got. me going.
I’m very much motivated by numbers. I’m very much motivated by progress and transformation and to have those numbers and see literally the charts and the colors next to my body that were sort of excess. I’ve already made in the last 12 weeks so much progress. I’ve lost nine pounds. That’s nine less pounds that I have to just walk around with every day.
That is insane when I think about it that way. And I feel so much more energized. I’ve been tracking my eating with my fitness pal and I’ve been getting. My calorie intake and my protein goals every single day. I feel amazing. And even though I’ve gotten sick a couple times once school started this year because that’s what kids do, they bring home sicknesses.
Outside of those small sick moments, I’ve been just so energetic. And even though I’m 41, right, by the time you listen to this, I will now be 41 years old. I feel like I’m 28 or 30. And I want to continue that sort of delta between my age and how I feel. So just a little end of year encouragement for you, a little bit of a recap on some of the things going on in my life.
I am just so grateful for you. And whether you are in our membership or not, as an All Access Pass member or an SPI Pro member, and remember, if you’re a Pro member, you also get access to the All Access Pass, just built in. Just thank you for an amazing year, especially to those students who are listening who’ve taken action.
Thank you. You know who you are. You’ve sent me messages of thanks. Well done. You deserve it. And 2024 is just around the corner. So make sure you subscribe. The next few weeks, we got some experts coming in to teach you some stuff that can set you up for success in the next year. We’re going to be sharing the microphone with some of our own community members, and I’m looking forward to having you hear what they have to say.
But of course, next Wednesday, we have another interview. And so don’t miss out on that. And if this is your first time listening to the SPI podcast, thank you. If you’re back again, thank you. And for everybody, happy new year. Appreciate you. And let’s keep the party going. 2024 is just around the corner.
Let’s get started now on our goals. All right. And remember to check out the all access pass because yes, our prices are going up next year and this is a great time to get in, especially so you can have access to all the things that you might need to succeed next year with everything from email marketing to even selecting your business to webinars, affiliate marketing, podcasting, YouTube, creating online courses, everything’s in there. So go ahead and check that out, smartpassiveincome.com/allaccess and prices going up the start of the new year. So get in now while you can. Thank you, everybody.
Thank you so much for listening to the Smart Passive Income podcast at SmartPassiveIncome.com. 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!