What we’re fighting for nowadays as creators isn’t attention, it’s trust!
It takes a long time to build your reputation online and just moments to destroy it. Still, this is the key to earning your superfans. This is also the number one thing I’ve focused on to grow Deep Pocket Monster — my Pokémon card-collecting YouTube channel — to 750K subscribers!
We’re celebrating this massive milestone today. Honestly, it blows my mind that an old guy collecting cardboard with cartoons on it is on track for one million subscribers. That’s bananas!
So, how do you build and engage an audience of this size?
In this episode, I look back at the vital concepts I’ve used to guide my growth. Join me for a chat about the value of sharing with openness and integrity, bringing your followers behind the scenes, and having people hold you accountable when you become successful.
I’ll also share some YouTube-specific hacks I’ve leveraged to understand how the algorithm works in my niche, why I’m doubling down on live streams, and how I’m drawing inspiration from other creators.
Listen in and enjoy!
SPI 758: 750,000 Subscribers! (How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going)
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, the treetopper on his Christmas tree at home is a Mickey wizard hat. Pat Flynn.
Pat Flynn: 750,000 subscribers. Wow. I’m still in disbelief. 750,000 subscribers. People. Human beings who have subscribed to the Deep Pocket Monster YouTube channel. That is a Pokemon YouTube channel started in 2021 by yours truly. An old guy playing with cardboard with cartoons on them. And we’re approaching a million subscribers. We are officially on the road to one million at this point.
And we should hit it. Or at least get very close. And I wanted to share how I’m feeling related to this milestone. Because it’s definitely a milestone that I’ve been looking forward to. It’s a number that the audience has been rooting for and shooting for together. And that word there is really why it’s happened, because together, not just like, okay, together we’re collectively this group of subscribers and collectively together we’re in this community, but together I’ve brought the audience along for the ride.
And when I think about a lot of the most successful things that I’ve done and have been a part of in the past, entrepreneurially or within business, it’s always done the same thing. I’ve always brought people along for the ride, because I think that allows for relationships. It allows for relatability and it allows for rooting.
It allows for fandom, you become a fan of something that you want to succeed and the only way to gather fans to get fans is to earn them, not by sharing all the best things that are happening, but by just sharing the journey, the ups and the downs. You’ve heard me share this idea of the behind the scenes. And when I think a little bit more about that term, I mean, it’s a very important term, it’s something that we should all look to see how we might be able to portray to our audience and it’s full reality.
The good, the bad, the things that are working really well, the things that we tried that aren’t working all of this, even if we’re trying to build a trustworthy brand, guess what, it makes us more trustworthy. And in this day, we need to really, really understand that it’s not just attention that we’re fighting for anymore.
It is trust, it is reputation, and you need to protect that. The trust that you earn with your audience, whether it’s one person or a hundred thousand people or a million people is the most important thing in this creator economy. It takes time to earn that trust and it takes just a moment to lose it.
And this is why one thing that has been very, very important for the Deep Pocket Monster brand as well as Smart Passive Income, as well as SwitchPod and all the other things I’ve been involved with is this word, integrity. Having integrity with why you choose to do what you’re doing. It doesn’t mean that you’re always going to be perfect.
In fact, I’ve made several mistakes in the past. I’ve said yes to brand deals that I shouldn’t have. I have sold something that I shouldn’t have. But I’ve never tried to defend those mistakes. I’ve owned up to them, I’ve learned from them, and I’ve moved forward. And I share that with you because I don’t want you to be afraid of making mistakes, but I always want you to come from a place of service. For who? For your audience. And if it doesn’t feel right, if what you’re doing feels a little off, We need to investigate that. Now, if you are selling a product or creating a program or building a community or creating content on any platform, and it doesn’t feel quite right, a lot of that could be because you’re just starting out, you haven’t validated that what it is that you’re sharing or putting out there into the world is of service or helpful to people.
So the first thing you need to do is put yourself out there and experiment and see what it is that you can offer. And it’s going to take some time to find out what that is. It’s going to take some time to find your voice. It’s going to take some time for an audience to discover what it is about you that’s different and special.
The unique selling proposition, unique trust proposition, if you will. But once you start to build a reputation, once you start to have a following and build that audience, there’s a different kind of challenge that happens that relates to that reputation. And that is the continuation of that trust.
Oftentimes we see creators who, once they start to get attention or once they start to get money or once they start to do deals or once they start to see some sales coming in, they start to change the why behind what it is they’re doing. It becomes about the numbers or the subscribers or the sales. Or the customer, rather than the human, the person, the stories, the transformation, the student.
And it’s really important that as you grow and enter those next phases, the next level, you know, with new levels comes new devils. And that’s a big one. When you reach that next stage, a little bit of success. can definitely change your why. And I don’t want you to change your why ultimately, which is who it is that you’re serving.
There are different ways that you can serve them. There are better and more upgraded ways that you could serve your audience. And that’s great. And through that requires more experimentation to discover what works and what doesn’t. Or perhaps you could take the approach of staying in the creator middle class.
And that’s okay too. The creator middle class is something that we’ve talked about on the show before. Matt and the EIRs, Terry and Jason, the experts in residence inside of SPI Pro, Jason and Terry have come on the show. And we had a big discussion about this idea of the creator middle class, which On one hand sounds like, Oh, well, it just sounds like settling.
It just sounds like, Okay, well, I don’t want to grow maybe because I don’t want to take those chances or that risk, or perhaps I don’t know how, but I think if you determine the middle class is potentially settling, but rather being happy with just being there and having enough. And that word enough is really key because I think a lot of us don’t know and cannot define what enough means to us and therefore push ourselves beyond our limits or beyond our mental capacity or our energy levels.
And so perhaps you might be completely happy with just a few clients and a smaller audience, but a loyal one, one that trusts you. And therefore you stick with them and you listen to them and you make sure that you stay in alignment with their goals and the transformations that they want. And even though new opportunities will arise, even though people will reach out to you and want more, even though companies will reach out to you and want to throw money at you to get in front of your audience.
That integrity is going to be key as you move forward and grow. And that’s something that I’m very grateful to have other people help me with. Because sometimes I fall into that trap of thinking that I know what the right move is, and having that sounding board, having the other people in my mastermind group, and even on my teams, this is both for SPI, Matt and I talk a lot about these different kinds of things, and Dan, Dan Norton, who’s the producer on Deep Pocket Monster, he and I have deep conversations a lot about What might be the right companies to work with and why and why even though we might be getting a five figure brand deal in this case, we shouldn’t go down that route and it’s important to have discussion about that because then we can lay all the options on the table and determine what would happen before they do happen.
And that could be a good thing. It could be an eye opening thing. But either way, that discussion before decision is really key. One more time. That discussion before decision is key. And to have somebody like that, perhaps it is somebody on your team. If you are working with a COO in your business or perhaps an operator of some kind, an integrator, and you are more of the visionary that that’s vital to have that.
And this is spoken about in the book Rocket Fuel, this dichotomy between the creator and the entrepreneur, the visionary, and then the integrator, the one who almost brings them back down to earth to bring that vision back down to earth with what is possible. And that’s really important. Integrity cannot be done on your own.
You need those other people in your life, those mastermind groups, the spouse that you have, the business partner that you have, the buddy that you have online, who you connect with once a week or once a month, to just lay that out for you. Hopefully in exchange for you laying it out for them as well. But the other side of this, that I have to thank, is the audience.
Remember that word I said earlier, together? A part of this growth for DeepPocketMonster is because the audience has been very honest with me. When they have seen me, perhaps, go down a road that I shouldn’t, they tell me right away. And who better to listen to than those who are in my audience? The flip side is true, too.
When they tell me they love something, they definitely tell me and want to make sure that and I of course open up avenues to receive. The joy that they experience watching these videos so that I can do more of that, more of what is working, less of what isn’t. And if it weren’t for the audience and that communication, I definitely would not even be close to 750, 000 subscribers or a million subscribers.
And so I just want to encourage you as you grow your business, no matter where you’re at, even if you’re just getting started, especially if you are just getting started to continue to have those lines of communication open with those who are in your audience. Even if it’s just an audience. Of one. It is vital.
It is necessary. I’ve spoken about this since 2015 when I’ve written my book, Will It Fly? the first step in the process, speak to people, talk to them, have conversations, discover, and as you grow your business, as you get more opportunities, as you perhaps get tempted by these opportunities. Not all opportunities are bad, by the way.
Having other people and knowing who it is that you’re doing this for will always keep you in alignment. And I want nothing but you to grow your business to where you want it to grow. Whether that’s just a few clients, a few students, a small but loyal following, or a ginormous one. Whatever it is.
Remember the trust that you’ve earned, you must keep. And I’m grateful that you’re here and that you trust me here at SPI. And for those of you who have trusted us even further to dive into some of our communities like SPI Pro or our All Access Pass, thank you. And if you haven’t yet dove in into those particular components of the SPI brand that we have to offer you, that’s okay too.
You’re here and you’ve listened to this entire podcast. You still continue to listen to the podcast and I appreciate you for that as well. And for you, that might be more than enough to have what you need, the inspiration and perhaps some strategy as well, and some golden nuggets or knowledge bombs that come with some of the guests that we have on the show.
But if you know that you need some accountability, that you need some connection, that you want the right programs for the right time in your journey. Well, we got that for you, of course, head on over to smartpassiveincome.comz. You can check out the communities that we have to offer there, and I appreciate you.
Here’s to integrity, here’s to trust, and here’s to learning as we make mistakes together. 750k wild. A part of the plan for the future is to, of course, continue to provide entertaining content to this audience in the form of storytelling, in the form of challenges, and we’re always learning. We’re looking at the data quite heavily.
In terms of what kinds of videos we need to continue to produce and what may need to change or shift. Another thing that we always look to do, in fact we swayed away from this for a while, but we want to go back to it, which is getting inspired by other channels in completely different niches for different formats of video.
Not to copy them, but rather get inspired by them. For example, Dude Perfect was an inspiration for a particular bucket of videos that we have on the Deep Pocket Monster channel that perform very well. Mr. Beast was one, as well as Ryan Trahan. So, as we dive into different kinds of content, we always look to see who has done this before and who’s done it really well.
And that exercise has been really, really great. One thing that I learned from Derral Eves, who is the author of YouTube Secrets, is to create a new YouTube account from scratch and start watching videos in the niche that you’re in and just Pay attention to the recommendations that YouTube offers you related to the videos that you initially watched.
You start to uncover the map and the connections between videos and perhaps begin to discover why YouTube is recommending you these, as well as how you can come in and provide something of more value, or more entertaining, or more informational, or more inspirational. It’s been a great exercise to do that.
And to do that, we’ve done that a few times to discover more about the niche that we’re in and kind of trends and what’s, what’s happening and where YouTube is pointing people. And it’s been very informational for sure. The other thing that we’re going to be focusing on this year. is trying to level up our live stream.
So I stream live pretty much every Monday on Deep Pocket Monster. So if you want to see the kinds of things I do there in real time, you could go ahead and subscribe to Deep Pocket Monster if you’d like and check it out. It’s pretty fun and you get to see me be a kid again and what it’s like to entertain two to three thousand people simultaneously on a Pokemon YouTube channel.
I would love for that number 2,000 to 3,000 to grow to 5,000 to 6,000, or even beyond. And we have some ideas on how we might be able to do this. It’s going to involve a little bit of investing a lot of the money that came in from the channel back into the channel and into some technologies that are now currently available to us that weren’t before.
And again, I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I want to take those 10 X risks to get the 10 X results because we definitely believe that there is a much larger audience that would benefit from this type of content. And the cool thing is to finish this off is through this journey, getting to 750,000 subs, I’ve been reminded of how important it is for just people to connect with other people and the opportunity for you and me and everybody to be the person who enables that connection in the audience or in the community. I held an event in 2023 for 2500 people. In person in Anaheim, and it was a massive success.
People still continue to talk about it. And as we ramp into the June, 2024 edition, gen two of Card Party, which is going to happen in Orlando, by the way, Card.party is the website. If you want to check it out, we are hoping to have 5, 000 people there. And we’re already at this point in time, four times the amount of tickets sold at this point.
In terms of time before the event compared to last year. So we’re doing really well. And it just, again, speaks to this idea of community and becoming the person who brings that community together. Cause when you do that, it’s a win for everybody and especially you. And there’s a lot of great opportunities for partnerships with sponsors, as well as doing a service to not just the audience and the community of consumers.
In that space, but also the community of creators in that space. I’ve become incredibly close. I’ve gotten incredibly close to a lot of the creators who I was able to first meet by inviting them to the conference or to the party, if you will, it’s not a conference, the party, that’s a little bit different, but anyway, I just want to encourage you to, if it is something that you’re thinking of doing, growing your community, think about how you might be able to bring that community together in person. It’s been a wonderful thing. It’s been so fulfilling and we’re going to continue to keep doing it. So Card.party for that if you want to check that out.
And here’s to hopefully by the end of this year, 1 million subscribers on Deep Pocket Monster, but for right now, I’m just very grateful. And I’m happy that I had the opportunity to record this as we just crossed the mark and all of this is top of mind for me and hope it’s inspirational to you. You know, I didn’t know anything about Pokemon before 2021 and it wasn’t until I discovered how I could take the things that I learned elsewhere from SPI and my other businesses, even SwitchPod.
I’ve now since created physical products in the Pokemon space as well. Yes, all of that continues to stack and be sort of like stepping stones to the next thing. And who knows what step Pokemon is leading to, but we shall see. Thank you so much. I appreciate you. And I look forward to serving you the next episode.
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!