Top iTunes Business Podcast

47+ Million Downloads

SPI 774: If I Had $1000 and Started Over…

I get asked this all the time — if I were starting over with $1000 to invest in an online business, what would I do?

And here’s my answer: I would go offline.

This always surprises people, but the approach I cover today is the most powerful way to begin your entrepreneurial journey! However, if you really want to set yourself up for success, the most important part of this process should happen before you spend any money at all.

In this episode, I want to help you find the right niche for your skillset and identify the key elements that will give you a leg up. This won’t cost you anything but will ensure you’re spending your money wisely later.

So where would my $1000 go?

This is the part that surprises people the most because my budget would all go toward building relationships in the space I’ve chosen. This is the number one thing you can do to supercharge your growth!

So, listen in to learn how I would leverage the easiest way to meet people in any industry — attending live, in-person events. Enjoy!

SPI 774: If I had $1000 and started over…

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 first album he ever bought was an Ace of Base cassette tape. Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: I get this question a lot, it gets asked during podcast interviews that I’m on, and especially when I’m just in person.

It’s some question that sounds something like this. If you were starting over, and you had $1000 to invest in in your business, what would you do? Where would you spend that money? I’m going to answer that question today, and I’m going to answer it in the same way that I’ve answered it on pretty much every other podcast.

And I think the answer is always surprising to people. It’s surprising because it’s not investing in a type of software. It’s not investing that money in building a thing or a product that could potentially pay me back. Because in the beginning, if you’re just starting out, you don’t really know what product to create.

The most important problem you need to solve when you’re just starting out. is figuring out who you want to serve. And once you do that, you find the people there and determine what their problems are. This is straight out of my book, Will It Fly. And this is what I would do with $1000. I would first take that $1000 and set it aside.

I’ll get back to it, I promise. I’m not trying to trick you here or anything. The second thing I would do would be to, like I said, determine who it is that my target audience is. Now, who should that even be? It could be something related to an interest that you have or something that you’ve been once educated on.

For me, if I was starting over today and I didn’t have the contacts that I have and I didn’t have the relationships, and I was kind of just figuring it out, I would do an audit. I would make a list of all the things that I have an interest in that I’m curious about that I would put energy into potentially things that people come to me for.

So today it might be something like YouTube would be number one or podcasting, but let’s say I didn’t do those because those are business related things that I’ve discovered as I’ve already began. But let’s say it’s fishing or perhaps parenting, maybe education, which is important to me. Maybe it’s graphic design or time management, Pokemon, or some other collectible.

So I’m going to make a list of all those things and start looking at any of them, sort of the sea of post it notes and determine, okay, well, which one do I want to hypothetically choose? Right, not choose permanently, but I need to choose something to explore and do a little bit more research with. And this is where the market map exercise comes into play.

I’ve spoken about the market map exercise before, I’ve written an email about it. These are the three P’s about that particular space, right? So I chose a space in general, and I’m going to run this market map exercise. And I’m going to determine the three P’s. P number one, Where do those people who are in that industry hang out?

So in the world of Pokemon, it would be, for example, Okay, they’re on YouTube. There’s some websites like PokeBeach, I would add that to the list as well. I would also list the conventions, Collect a Con being one of them. Worlds, so the World Pokemon Championships, that’s a place where those people hang out.

There’s a lot of local game stores that people enjoy. There’s also resources and websites. is one of them, right? Just list them all. You don’t have to determine which one should and shouldn’t live on there yet. You just put them all. So you make an Excel file. That’s where that exists.

The second P, or the second column, is going to be the people. People who are in that space, who have some sort of authority or influence in that space already. They’ve already earned the trust from some audience for some reason. And I’d write those names. And their location. So we’re not like their home address, but you know, what website are they on or where are they most active?

It might be on Instagram. It might be Poke Rev on YouTube. It might be certain influencers who are moving products. It might be, for example, Smpratte, who is known for his knowledge of trophy cards in the Pokemon space. And just like, that’s a person who’s over time. earned influence has a little bit of a following and I’m going to make this list and spend a half hour on this column.

And then on the final column, the third P that’s going to be the products. What products are people buying in a space? So in the Pokemon space, they’re buying what binders are actually obviously buying the cards, card protectors. They’re even buying into authentication to make sure these things are real.

And then to get a grade put on them. There’s even companies that create protectors for the graded cards. There’s deals, websites that are happening where people get deals and different retailers, online, offline, Target Walmart,, all the different places and all the different kinds of products, right?

So this gives me a map of the space that I’m looking at. And some things can happen from here. Number one, I might look at this space and go, I don’t really see myself contributing here, not because I can, but because I just, I, even if I could, I wouldn’t be fulfilled, right? You do the DeLorean strategy, you climb into your DeLorean time machine.

You go one year into the future, you consider, okay, I’m in this space now and things are working out really well. Am I happy here? Am I fulfilled? Am I enjoying my day to day? Am I enjoying who I’m surrounding myself with? If the answer in that hypothetical DeLorean time machine exercise is no, well then why would you even attempt to move forward with it in real life?

Right? You come back to reality today and you’re like, Nope, that’s not a feature I want. Even if things worked well, that’s not where I want to be. I think there’s something better. Great! Scrap it! Remove that post it note off of your desk. Wonderful. Then you do the same thing with the next one and the next one.

Ultimately, what’s going to happen is you’re going to find one that stands out amongst the rest. The one that you get the most energy for the one that gives you butterflies. When you start thinking about the possibilities of what might happen in that space, even though you are a quote unquote, nobody right now in that space, you can see yourself contributing and building a little bit of a name for yourself and finding a little bit of a wedge in the space, a position, a little plot of land, if you will, in this map that you’ve created that you can call your own, you can build something on.

Now that’s going to be a really important exercise, but I still haven’t spent any money yet. Mind you, and here is literally the next step I would do once I hone in on a particular industry or market that I’m interested in, I would take that thousand dollars and spend it on a ticket to go to an event bonus if it’s local and nearby because you can drive and save some more money, but might have to spend some money on a flight to go to an industry event to put myself in the same room as where these people exist.

Where some of those names are actually going to show up. Where some of those locations have booths at. Where some of those products are actually being sold. To invest that time into not just getting a feel for the space, but literally to meet people. Build relationships. That is where I would spend my money.

Build relationships. relationships by putting myself in the same room as those people and having conversations and using the playbook from Will It Fly to ask questions to find out what is working here and what is not to find other people who are just getting started in the space just like me to find people who have just gotten started in the space who might offer some tips, who I can build a relationship with, who I can create a mastermind group with, who can point me to the right direction, who can make introductions to me, to the other person that I need to know, who’s going to help me get my foot in the door. This is kind of what happened with the Deep Pocket Monster channel in 2020, in 2021, when I started that channel, that is now approaching 1 million subscribers.

And. No, I wasn’t able to go to an actual event because nobody was allowed to go anywhere. It was during the pandemic. But I put myself in live streams. I became a part of communities on Discord. I volunteered to become a moderator for certain channels. And I just got to know the industry. And I got to know the people.

And I would have spent $10,000 to put myself in a position to have that kind of access. And it was that kind of access that helped me understand what this space really needed. It was that kind of access that helped me understand exactly who needed help and how I could help them. One person who was a big creator, I had purchased cards from and I sent a message back saying, Hey, I got your package.

It was great, but you know what was missing? Some stickers. In fact, I’ve created a few stickers for you. Here they are so you can see what they look like. And if you need a referral to a sticker company who can make these, I have one. If not, no worries. I just wanted to look out for you and your brand.

Guess what? Me and this person have done collaborations together since. This person has come to my events. This person has promoted my work. Relationships. So that money is spent to build relationships. Now there’s many different ways to do this. Right, you could pay for somebody’s time, you could rent a person if you will.

Hey, I’ll pay you $1000 just to kind of, you know, speak to you for an hour. That is something people do and people have offered that to me and I’ve usually turned those things down. Although I do have some students who I coach on a more ongoing basis to get me in a zoom room so we can chat on a more consistent basis.

But that’s a little bit different. That’s coaching and coaching and mentorship is something that money could go toward to help a person determine where to go next. And I am in support of that, but putting yourself in an industry event to see the action happening live, to just be in that environment, to get the energy of all the things that are there to meet people at the booth who guess what they’re looking to build relationships as well.

Even if you don’t make quote unquote a name for yourself then, which isn’t the goal, just meet people. Guess what? You come back the next year after you’ve built a website. You’ve served the industry a little bit. You’ve created something unique and different. People start talking. You come back to the same event the next year.

Oh, hey! You’re back! And, dude, you’ve created some amazing things. We should talk. I remember you from last year. As I once heard, one of the best ways to grow your online business just to get offline. And I don’t just say that. I practice it. When the SwitchPod launched in 2019, what was I doing between 2017 and 2019 before it launched with my partner Caleb?

We were going to events like VidSummit and VidCon and talking to YouTubers, showing them our prototypes, saying, this is what we’re working on. What do you think? What would you do if you could change this to make it exactly how you want it to be? That’s how we got in the same room with Casey Neistat, who looked at our SwitchPod.

Incredible! That’s how, eventually, we got to meet Peter McKinnon at VidSummit. And he got to see one of our prototypes. And he became a huge supporter of the SwitchPod. And a big reason why it was successful when it came out of the gate. I mean, we were already gonna reach our goal on day one. But he helped us get way over the top.

Which was incredible. Relationships. So, my call to action item to you would be and this is for you, even if you’ve already started your business and you’re not starting over, but you want a new beginning, find out what events are happening and get into those rooms. If you can try to speak at those events, those events become incredible relationship builders because as a speaker, especially you get put in the green room, you get to potentially go to a speaker dinner, you get to go to the speaker party, you get to literally be in the same room, not just with the attendees.

But the other creators and the other influencers who are in that space, who you can partner with, build relationships with, get them on your podcast, go on their podcast. So do that. Do that. Now find out what events are happening. Still got a lot of year left and the upcoming years, obviously, to get yourself in the right room.

That’s what I would do with my $1K. Now, here’s one thing you can do for free. You could subscribe to the channel, could subscribe to this podcast and get more information coming your way. So I hope this was helpful for you and inspiring. Yeah, that’s how confident I am that if things were to get burnt to the ground, that I’d know exactly what to do to build back up.

Because it’s people now more than ever, especially now more than ever. Speaking of people, thank you for being an awesome group of people. You the listener, I appreciate you hit that subscribe button and I’ll see you next week. Cheers.

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!

Share this post

Smart Passive Income Podcast

with Pat Flynn

Weekly interviews, strategy, and advice for building your online business the smart way.

Get Unstuck in just 5 minutes, for free

Our weekly Unstuck newsletter helps online entrepreneurs break through mental blocks, blind spots, and skill gaps. It’s the best 5-minute read you’ll find in your inbox.

Free newsletter. Unsubscribe anytime.

Join 135k+