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SPI 772: My Next Software Build Starts Here (Follow Along)

Regular listeners know I love bringing you along for the journey as I start new projects. I’ve always advised you to do the same because this is a valuable chance for you and your audience to learn together!

Today I have massive news to share! Listen in to get a first glimpse at the software venture I hope will provide a game-changing solution for a problem no one is tackling. I desperately need this tool in my workflow, and know a lot of other creators will benefit from it as well.

What exactly am I talking about? I won’t share all the details in this episode, but you’ll get a clear look at what I’m building. This is a fascinating process because, like many of you, I don’t know how to write code. That said, this is not my first time dabbling in software. I’m taking everything I’ve learned creating, sharing it with you, and applying it to this project.

I’m also building this to sell, so I get into the economics behind this venture today too. Tune in for a behind-the-scenes look, and enjoy!

SPI 772: My Next Software Build Starts Here (Follow Along)

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 can’t sing a Cal fight song without shedding a tear, Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: Session 772, I hope you’re doing well today.

I wanted to talk about a brand new experiment that I’m gonna be running, and it’s one where I’m going to work kind of semi in public. And what I mean by that is as the work progresses, I will be sort of delaying the process that I’m sharing and the results because I don’t want people who are watching me build this thing in real time to hijack it or steal it or ruin the progress in some sort of way.

It’s very similar to what I talk about in the world of social media. If you are a personal brand, especially don’t share exactly where you’re going to be at a specific time, unless it’s perhaps like an event or something. But if you’re with your family or anything like that, it’s always best to share, if you are going to share things after the fact, after you’ve left the restaurant, after you’ve left the location, whatever it might be, and just a little safety precaution. If you start to gain a little bit of following just to be safe. But anyway, I’m getting on a little bit of a tangent here.

I love working in public. I love the idea of sharing what is happening while it’s happening. However, like I said, this will be a little bit delayed and I’m already a month into this process at this point. However, this is the first time you are likely hearing about it. And what I’m building is a new piece of software.

That’s right. Software. I’ve built software a couple times before. One time, the first time was very unsuccessful. The second time, quite successful. Third time, hopefully more successful. And we will see hopefully it’s more successful because obviously the more you do something, the more reps you get, the more you understand what to look out for. The more you can avoid the mistakes, the more you can latch onto the things that are working because it happened before. So, let’s pray that this goes well.

But over time here, similar to what I did with the SwitchPod with Caleb, who, by the way, was a guest on the podcast this past week. If you haven’t heard a great news, Caleb Wojcik is now an Expert in Residence inside of SPI Pro, which is incredible.

So he’s now in there as a resource to help you, especially with your video production needs, and he’s going to be going in there and offering advice and being accessible inside of SPI Pro. So, if you’d like to check that out. This software. Is one that I’m really excited about. And it like the previous successful one scratches an itch that I have that I have not been able to find a backscratcher for those are always the kind of best things to build are those things where you desperately need them.

And I desperately need this. So I’m going to go over the scope and what I’m hoping to build and some of the bigger plans I have for it in just a moment. But I do want to start from the beginning. And talk about the software opportunity that I attempted back in 2011, 2012, that was an utter failure, a complete failure.

Now this software was a result of a couple of friends of mine who were building WordPress plugins. These two friends did not know each other. A lot of the entrepreneurial circles, you know, shared things with each other. And I just happened to hear from this various group that I was in that two of my friends were launching WordPress plugins.

Which was amazing. And they were completely different WordPress plugins. Now WordPress plugins can be free. Most of them are. However, a lot of creators and software developers developed premium plugins, plugins that you have to pay to get access to. And both of my friends in the span of about a week after launching, they launched within a week from each other.

Again, they didn’t know, and they’re not competitors. They just happened to do this at the same time. So I was reading the signals. I was seeing the signs. Both of them launched to over 100, 000 in earnings in a week. And in terms of profit, I mean, they were making about a 70 or 80 percent profit margin, which was incredible.

And my eyes lit up. I had dollar signs coming out of my eyeballs. And so I immediately found a developer and I was like, do you know how to develop WordPress plugins? And they’re like, yes. And so I was like, okay, they’re like, what do you want to build? And I’m like, let me figure that out. So I came up with a couple ideas and I sent them over and we chose one and they started to develop it.

In fact, there was a proposal. It was going to take six weeks of development time and about $6,000. Okay. I can do that six weeks, $6,000. Then I launched this thing, maybe eight, nine weeks later with a lot of hype behind it and boom in the money, cha ching plus my audience was bigger than my friends. So I was like, maybe I’ll make a quarter million dollars.

This is exactly why the project failed. You have not heard me talk about what problem I was solving yet or who I was solving this problem for. All I’ve been talking about was how much money this was going to make me and how much time it was going to take until that happened. And as a result of that being the MO for me, it failed completely.

In fact, what was supposed to take six weeks, took 16 weeks, like six months, which is more than 16 weeks, but a long time. And not only that. It took like $15,000 because there was so much back and forth and back and forth with the developer. Why? Because I was not clear with exactly what I wanted. And a lot of times when you are working with a developer, especially when overseas, If you don’t give them all the things that they need to create the thing, they’re going to fill in the gaps just so that the thing works, but it might not be to your specifications or to your liking.

And that happened a lot. So I learned a lot of lessons. This was a $15,000 lesson and it was very expensive. The saddest part about it was not just that I lost that amount of money. And I try to not think of it as a loss. It was an expense. It was like a semester at university, at least in terms of cost, and also in terms of lesson learned.

But the saddest part about the whole process was when I shared the plugin, like the plugin was actually created. And it was a specialized sort of contact form. It did a few other things. And of course, there were other contact forms in the market. So a couple reactions I got from people, in my audience and friends when I shared it with them for the first time.

I kept it a secret though. I kept it a secret and I was like, you know that picture of the dude behind the tree with the yellow suit and he’s like licking his lips like, yeah, this is going to be mine. That’s what I was doing, except there was no suit, but there was also no money. The saddest part was when I shared it with my friends and colleagues, they were like, meh, this is, I mean, I guess so, but this other tool does this also, and it does it better.

And I was like, okay, but what about this? And they started sharing, like, oh, what if it did this instead? Oh, here’s a need that I have. What if it did this? What if it did that? What if it did this, Pat? And I said, I don’t have any more money to spend on this thing. If only I had talked to these people first, not been so secretive with my idea behind the tree, licking my lips, and asked, like, what do you need help with?

If only I had validated the idea first, so I didn’t waste my time and money. A few years later, I wrote a book called Will It Fly? the tagline, how to make sure you don’t waste your time and money. Or how to validate your next business idea so you don’t waste your time and money. Hmm, I wonder what inspired that book.

Largely, that exact moment. Software number two, the successful one. This was actually a tool that I had built, our team, SPI, had built in 2014 for ourselves to solve a problem that we had. We had the SPI podcast, and we still do, obviously. Approaching episode 800. In 2014, I wanted to launch a second podcast called Ask Pat and I wanted it to be a show that came out every day, Monday to Friday, we got the hosting.

We created the artwork, it’s called Ask Pat, and it was going to be where people would submit questions via voicemail and I would answer them on the call or on the podcast and you’d actually hear the voice of the audience and it was a great show. It was validated and tested, in fact, on the SPI podcast in some earlier episodes.

And I said, I love this segment. Let’s just pull it out and make it its own show. The problem was there were so many episodes coming out in that podcast. It was hard to manage and it was hard to display all of them. We wanted a, an easy way for people to see the library that we were creating. And several episodes in, we were like, we need to build a tool that can help a person who’s on the website, find their way through this.

And when we get to several dozen, we’re like, okay, If not, maybe hundreds of AskPat episodes, we’re going to need a way for people to search through these. We need to create tags for these episodes and have a player that can manage that process, the findability of these episodes. So we created the AskPat player and it was amazing.

It was, in fact, on the website and so many people said, can I, where did you get that player? I want the AskPat player. The AskPat player is amazing. Like, can I get access to that code? So, of course. People saw it being used on our side and how well it was designed and how much it organized people’s podcasts.

And this is when podcasting was on the rise. So we said, Hey, let’s turn this into a WordPress plugin. I’ve done that before, but I didn’t go through this validation process like I did this time. So I think this is a much better chance. And we created what was then called the Smart Podcast Player, changed the name because it wasn’t just for ask Pat anymore.

It was the Smart Podcast Player with two components, a visual catalog plugin that you could use to almost create like a Spotify like opportunity on your website to discover and find new podcasts and play the latest episodes and such. Plus a single track player. That lives on every individual blog post for your podcast episode that had the most modern ways of building an email list, incorporated sharing and subscribing and all those kinds of things, all built into the player itself.

It was gorgeous. Shout out to Dusty on our team for designing that thing. Well, then we turned it into a SAS, so it then didn’t become a WordPress plugin anymore, and it was available for anybody on any platform using any host. And it was great as long as you have an RSS feed, we changed the branding to had then created a plugin to put a transcript on your website and easily allow people to download that without you doing any work. And then we built a hosting platform on Fusebox for podcasts. One of the lowest costing ones that you can get if you’re starting a podcast. And that company, I still own and it’s great.

Now, the third project. What is it? Well, I’ll give you a high level because I’m currently in the middle of the development process. Do I know how to code? No. Each of these times that I’ve done software, I’ve worked with another team. And every time the teams that I surround myself with just seem to get better and better.

And this third time around, I’m working with a couple people. Let me see. They’re going to be on the show at some point. Have they been on the show yet? No. They’re going to be on the show in episode 777. 777. Lucky Jackpot 777. So this is 772. So five episodes from now. Lucky 777. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss this.

Because I’m interviewing a couple people who are working at this development company to help me create this software. And we’re going to talk about the process. We’re going to talk about the stages that this will be rolled out. We’re going to talk about what they as a development team would need or did need for me in order to take that and turn it into something at this moment in time, I haven’t seen anything yet.

We literally just started the project where I’m recording this at the end of February right now. So this is a fun little case study that’s happening in real time. Again, delayed a little bit because the development process has already started. So what is this thing? I’m not going to give away the name of it quite yet, but I do have the domain name and all this stuff, but let me tell you about the process that I do manually.

And hopefully you should start to get a feel for what this software might be able to do. Over time, I’m going to start sharing more about the business behind it and the economics, how much money I will have spent on it, because I know that sometimes, or at least in the last two softwares, what I was proposed was not actually what we ended up spending.

So hopefully we’re a little bit more spot on this team’s a little bit more experienced, so that could actually be the case, but I’ll save those numbers for later. But let’s just talk about the problem and the solution that I want to build. We’ll go from there. So here’s the problem, on my Pokemon YouTube channel, I go live every single Monday and sometimes more. And on my live streams, I love to do giveaways. People will randomly enter their name in this giveaway, and I will live put their name on a wheel that randomly selects from all the names that have been entered. And I offer different Pokemon cards, different packs, different prizes.

And I later follow up with those people and send it to them. It’s a great thing to do for the community. It helps of course, with the subscribership, but it also is just so much fun to do. Here’s what I am required to do in order to make this happen. Current stage, before the software, I have to set up a Google form.

A brand new one for every single giveaway that I do in each live stream. I typically do two simultaneous giveaways, one for the public and one for the members of the YouTube channel. These are paying members of the YouTube channel or people who have been gifted into membership. They get access to a different google form that is for a bigger prize because the members get access to a bigger price. Anyway, so there’s two giveaways. I have to set up an individual Google form for each of them to collect their YouTube username and their email so I could follow up with the winners later. I then have to create a spreadsheet.

Thankfully, it’s very easy. Just a click of a button that dynamically adds all the new entries. When a person fills in the form, and I have, of course, two of those Google Sheets, one for each of those forms, each of those forms. I get a unique link for those links. I then need to share in order for people to submit their name into the giveaway.

I then during the live stream, we’ll copy and paste all the names, sometimes up to 4,000 names, copy and paste them into WheelOfNames.Com. This is the most dynamic way to randomly select a winner out of a group of names. And it creates a wheel of fortune looking wheel. And because there’s 4,000 names on this wheel, you cannot read them.

But if there’s less than 100, you can actually see the individual names in the wheel of fortune sort of slot. So I’ll put those names in. I’ll often give away 10 to 12 different prizes. And between each spin, I spin maybe one every five minutes, but there’s new people watching the stream all the time. I have to then copy and paste the new names before the next spin.

And then the new names before the next spin. And then I go over to the member wheel and then I have to copy from the member spreadsheet and put them onto that wheel. And it’s a completely different wheel. And sometimes it breaks cause it’s a free software and there’s ads all over it. It’s just annoying.

I do this every single Monday. Now I don’t have to think about doing it anymore, but it does take a lot of time and there’s a lot of breaking points after this, the live stream. I have to go back and go, okay, who won? Thankfully, Wheel of Names tracks that. I then have to search that username in my database of 4,000 plus entries to match to an email address to then send to that winner and say, Hey, you won!

And I thankfully have a template. An email that I’ve just copied and pasted from my previous one, which I’ve copied and pasted from my previous one, et cetera, to then replace the name and replace the link and just say, hit reply, physical address so I can send this to you if you’re international. I need your phone number as well.

I have to do that manually. After a three hour live stream on Mondays, I do that. And I’m already beat because the live streams take a lot out of me. This process takes forever. Every new giveaway, a person then has to go through the same process, and I have to go through the same process. I’ve given away over probably $100,000 worth of prizes now, since 2021.

And so I’m going to take some of the earnings from the channel and put it into the software. And we’re talking five figure range. Again, I’ll tell you exactly how much I spend when I figure out exactly how much I’m going to spend. It is in the five figure range, low five figure, but it’s still five figure.

That’s not a cheap amount. But again, I’m going to be sharing this process because I need to solve this problem for myself. But what’s interesting is there’s a ton of other live streamers on YouTube, Twitch, Kik, as well as people on stage who do the exact same process that I just shared with you, who could benefit from a tool like this.

That’s what I’m building. That’s what I’m excited to share the journey about with you. So make sure you hit subscribe. This thing’s going to cost some money, but here’s the big play. And I’m going to send you off with this. I’m going to coin this and call it my sideways software strategy. My sideways software strategy.

What do I mean by that? Well, this tool collects emails. There’s a lot of laws around that. However, imagine integrating into an email service provider. Something that provides clear ROI, something that is a clear goal of people, this tool can help enhance that. What is the goal of a lot of email service providers right now?

Growing people’s email lists. Do any of them have any giveaway mechanisms to go along with it? They do not. So, the big grand scheme here is to create a tool that incorporates an incredibly valuable opportunity for users, bringing a lot of users in, and perhaps sell this thing. I am building this to sell.

Subscribe, so you don’t miss out. Because we’re I might not be able to, but Hey, this could be a huge win. Either way, it’ll be fun. So hit subscribe. I’ll see you in the next episode.

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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Smart Passive Income Podcast

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