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SPI 788: Top Tips from 30 Years of Business with Pamela Slim—SPI Pro Expert in Residence

There’s nothing wrong with building an empire around your brand — online, we’re bombarded with examples of people doing just that. But why aren’t more entrepreneurs with complementary skills teaming up to create ecosystems? Is this a better way to serve our audiences?

Let’s explore that thought with our newest SPI Pro Expert in Residence, Pamela Slim. Like all of our EIRs, Pam plays in the big leagues of online business and is here to serve our community members with next-level knowledge and support. She has a serious track record, having spent three decades helping entrepreneurs scale their businesses and IP!

Today’s fascinating chat covers everything from creating a certification program around your workflow to advice for young people considering college. Join us to tap into Pam’s expertise in networking, marketing, leveraging social platforms, navigating the Age of AI, and more!

You’ll also learn about which top skills to build up and focus on in the coming years. (If you’re a parent, these golden nuggets will also help your kids achieve their dreams.)

Tune in and enjoy!

Today’s Guest

Pamela Slim

Pamela Slim is an award-winning author, speaker, and agency owner who has spent three decades helping business owners scale their businesses and IP. Pam’s agency specializes in the design and development of certification and licensing programs. Pam is the author of Escape from Cubicle Nation (Penguin Portfolio, 2009), Body of Work (Penguin Portfolio, 2014), and The Widest Net (McGraw Hill, November 2021, winner of Best Sales and Marketing Book of 2021 from Porchlight Books). Pam and her husband Darryl co-founded the K’é Community Lab in Mesa, Arizona, where they host scores of BIPOC entrepreneurs and contribute to the local social, health, and economic development of their community.

You’ll Learn


SPI 788: Top Tips from 30 Years of Business with Pamela Slim—SPI Pro Expert in Residence

Pamela Slim:A lot of us have used this empire model, which is really centering ourselves as the entrepreneur at the top of the pyramid, putting our own clients and customers as a bit of second class beyond our own financial well-being. And I’ve just found in an ecosystem based model, we center our ideal clients in the center of an ecosystem, and then look to ecosystem partners that have highly complementary but non-competitive services. So we’re united in identifying the very best players who can show up and help our clients to totally solve their problem, challenge, or aspiration.

Pat Flynn: I could not be more excited because last week, last Friday, we had a special episode where we introduced Amy Nelson to the SPI audience and especially the SPI Pro community. If you might remember the EIRs, the Experts in Residence are people who we are partnering with to come into the community, to share their expertise and become a leader in our space, people who have been in business for a while, who have unique experiences and unique talents to share with everybody.

And I feel super blessed to be able to welcome Pamela Slim into the mix as well, our brand new EIR. Yes, two weeks in a row. And Pamela, or Pam as you might know her, has been in the community, in the online business space for such a long time. For over a couple decades. In fact, her newsletter, is 20 years old.

And she and I have spoken at the, at the same events. We’ve crossed paths several times. And it’s amazing that after this many years, we are connecting at this node at SPI to tap into Pam’s expertise. And she’s got so much to offer stuff that we haven’t ever really even talked about here on the podcast before. And not only do we dive into those things, but we get to know Pam a little bit more as well as a mom, as a wife, as a business owner.

And seriously, if you’ve been stuck in your business and you need a way to get off of the plateau that you’ve been on, Pam could be your answer. And here she is, Pamela Slim from PamelaSlim.Com.

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, many of his light bulb moments in life have come right before a flush! Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: Pam, welcome to SPI. Thank you so much for being here.

Pamela Slim: I’m so happy to be here.

Pat Flynn: I’m thrilled that you’re here and a lot of us on team SPI are thrilled that you’re here because we’re going to be working together pretty closely here as an EIR very soon.

So first of all, I want to say thank you so much because I know you have so much to offer. So I just appreciate that so much.

Pamela Slim: Well, likewise, we were just saying before we started recording, I know we have passed like ships in the night for probably decades now. So I feel very lucky and excited to dive in deep and to get to know your work and your community better.

Pat Flynn: We have both been in this space for quite a long time. I’d love to hear about your origin story and when you got started, because I think it was similar to me in terms of timing and when the blogosphere was big and all that kind of stuff. Tell me a little bit about your start.

Pamela Slim: For sure. So I’ve been in business 28 years.

I started in 1996. My leap was from director of training and development at Barclays Global Investors in San Francisco. And so I spent my first 10 years as a consultant to large companies doing a lot of building training programs for big companies like Charles Schwab and HP and so forth. Anybody who’s old enough to remember that time, it was actually a really great heady time, tons of development.

Silicon Valley was booming. So it was a perfect time for me as a new consultant to cut my teeth. And as I got later into the end of the decade, I was finding all these people who didn’t want to work there. Some of whom had hired me to help retain their employees and would pull me aside and say, how did you do it?

How did you work for yourself? So 2005 is when I started my blog, Escape from Cubicle Nation. That turned into my first book. And I did about 10 years of really early stage startup consulting. I work with hundreds, if not thousands of people through things like courses to help people specifically in that context of what it means to leave a corporate job and start a business.

And as the years have gone by now, I don’t know, 18 or so years, you know, into doing that, I’ve, I’ve just started to creep more toward mid stage of business. I’ve done a lot of work with thought leaders that have really significant body of work. People like Susan Cain, who wrote the great book Quiet. And as I started to build IP based businesses and what I mean by that is people who have really strong models and methods who had the resource and the audience to be building larger companies.

I begin to bring back some of those skills that I had of building training programs or change management more organizational initiatives. And so it kind of catches me up to today where I have a certification agency where we build certification programs for thought leaders and agencies around their IP.

So that’s kind of the world that I live in is just thinking strategically about my second book was Body of Work all about what you build. My last book, the widest net is about how you build an ecosystem approach to building a business. So it feels like I’m right now at that intersection of really all of the things that I’ve been doing over the last 30 years.

And I don’t know about you, but I’m Probably more excited today doing my work than I was when I first started. I have great joy in what I do and who I get to work with.

Pat Flynn: Oh, it’s so important to, uh, have that joy in what it is that you do. And that kind of transcends into your clients and their success as well.

I know you have a lot of successful clients who work with you. This, this idea of a, of an ecosystem that you’re creating, this is. You know, something that’s been around but not really been popularized. Tell me a little bit more about what that means exactly. What does it mean when you’re creating an ecosystem with the work that you’re doing online?

Pamela Slim: So the core premise is that I have seen a lot in the entrepreneur space that we actually talk about and promote empire based businesses. So we can literally use that term of like, let me help you build your empire. If you’ve ever said it, I don’t mean to insult you, but a lot of us in our enthusiasm, I think of helping entrepreneurs get excited about having a really big impact have used this empire model, which is really centering ourselves as the entrepreneur at the top of the pyramid, having fans, followers, people who really are looking to us for wisdom. For my own analysis, it’s also putting our own clients and customers as a bit of second class beyond our own financial well being. Everything about the metrics we talk about is dominating markets, crushing competitors. And I’ve just found from a values perspective and from actually very pragmatic, business advisor for a couple decades, that actually in an ecosystem based model, we center our ideal clients in the center of an ecosystem, and then look to ecosystem partners that have highly complementary but non competitive services.

We’re united, for DC fans, it’s Justice League, for Marvel fans, it’s the Avengers. So we’re united in identifying the very best players who have unique skill sets, we are amongst them. who can show up and help our clients to totally solve their problem, challenge or aspiration. You and I are in my example, perfect peanut butter and jelly partners.

One of the ways as we’re starting this journey together is because you have built a rich and deep community. I know when I was talking with your team about the model is really putting so much thought and energy into how you’re designing this container for learning that will be a very rich, easy to follow, resource rich environment.

For me, when I can drop in and share experience and work with people, it’s so complimentary because I don’t have to go and build that entire community myself. Where we’re united is where we’re looking at the overall success of entrepreneurs, helping them to build a super profitable business, but also to live a happy, successful life, an ethical life, one that gives them great joy in whatever they want to design.

So in that ecosystem model, That by the way, SAS companies have been using more for years. One of the case studies I used in the book is cross beam, which is a software company that actually works with tech partners of SAS companies where they have software that we could bring like my audience and your audience into a secure area and automatically see where the co marketing possibilities because SAS companies by definition, no, you know, Intuit knows they’re not going to solve every single problem of a small business owner. Entrepreneurs use different software, so that model is one that I’ve seen for a long time coming in tech, and then I’ve lived in creating a community lab here in Mesa, Arizona that I also run with, you know, with my husband, and then it’s also been the best way to be identifying referral partners, key people to be driving leads to the business.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, and I love how you just immediately started with it’s centered around who it is that we’re serving. And the fact that we can do this together, it’s, it’s coming from a place of abundance and companionship versus scarcity and competitiveness. And I love that because we each, all of us leaders in whatever space we’re in, we have so much to offer, but we can’t offer at all.

And you have to partner with other people in order to best serve them. And it’s interesting, this word empire, I think. You’re right. It’s, it’s, it has become a little bit of the, the sort of bro culture, common language to use the empire crushing. And I understand that platform and that sort of approach to it, but I’ve never used that for what we do.

I’ve never thought of it that way. Although I know other people have seen it that way. Like Pat, you’re building an empire. You have all these, you know, multiple levels and layers of things going on. But truthfully, it’s all centered. Around the audience and serving them first. So in that way, it is truly an ecosystem.

I want to dive into your certification stuff, because this is something that I think I know just like one or two other people who have created certifications for their own brand, and I think a lot of us feel that it has, like, can we do that? Are we allowed to do that? That sounds so official. Do like, do we need to go to some board in order to make this happen and have that ability?

Tell us what this opens up for us and who is it for?

Pamela Slim: Yeah. So to me, it’s a continuum of the second stage of maturity. When we look at just startup life of, you know, do you have product market fit? Can you have paying clients? All of us have been through that folks in the community have, where you’re basically just trying to get a good flourishing business where basically you show up and magic happens, but you physically have to be there.

You’re teaching, you’re coaching, you’re coding, whatever it is. When you begin to get into that second stage of maturity, there is a focus in, in clarifying. We have four C model, the way we look at it in the agency. So like in the first stage and clarify, you do really want to begin to zero in. If you say, I know some of this magic I have could be helpful to other people in other environments, or very often where you’re your customers are asking for it.

To me, that’s the best thing. You know, they might just say like, if they’re an independent, it’s more a B2C market. They might say, you know, I don’t want to create my whole set of tools. What you have done seems to really work well. Let me get certified in that. And many of us have probably experienced it, right?

Everything from Being certified in a specific tool or assessment like sparkotypes from my buddy Jonathan Fields, you know, to actual methods, you know, built to sell or, you know, things like that from John Warlow. So value builder, I think is the tool that he uses.

Pat Flynn: StoryBrand has their own certification.

Pamela Slim: Yeah, so there needs to be a specific, you know, demand. But before you do that, you have to codify, you really need to get clear about what actually is the method apart from the individual who created it. So you’re like codifying that magic so that other people can use it. When you do that, that can be a significant, really helpful step for a service business that just makes it easier to do business because it’s a lot of energy when you have to like hold everything right in your own head.

And where you do codify it, other people can do it. The third phase is connect, which is really the widest net system. Whenever you’re going to be going towards certification, the prerequisites are having a pretty engaged, big audience and strong marketing and sales capability. So I tend to work more in the B2B world.

My clients are selling to large companies. They, you know, they’re authors, they’re thought leaders, training companies that sell to large companies. So a common occurrence is where the company would say, you know, Pat, I love your workshop. It’s been great. You delivering it to the accounting team. We want to bring it to the entire company.

Do you have like a train the trainer or a licensing model? And that’s where you would build a program B to B where you train internal people into that company and then you give them a license to utilize those materials for X number of end users. That that’s the part we say are big checks. Those when you have that opportunity, A lot of our clients are working with companies and that’s exactly how it happens.

They see where that magic can actually be fit into the way they do business. On the B2C side, it’s where you have the market, you have the capability and you’re at a stage of business. What you don’t want to do, let’s say you’re a marketing consultant and you have a really effective way that you work with people and you and your family depend on you doing that work at probably a premium in order to, uh, you know, take care of yourselves.

If you begin sharing your method with a whole bunch of other independent folks, you can end up actually diluting your own market. It’s like John Warlow. I use as an example, a lot who’s written great books built to sell The Art of Selling your business value builder is now a software. That’s the way that he’s codified ways that, in the past, he would, as a consultant, analyze a business to see if it was saleable. So now he’s codified that method where people can use the software. And then I think he’s trained like over a thousand people in order to do that work. So you, you need scale, which is why it’s a mature business. You know how sometimes we’re fans in the entrepreneur world of just like, what’s the next greatest thing that will create magical recurring revenue?

So people just might say, Oh, I heard Pat’s doing a certification. Let me do that. What I hope to educate people is, you don’t need anybody’s permission to do it, but you do have to do the work of building the market or building the case of a really strong relationship and a bigger sale if you’re working in the B2B area.

Pat Flynn: That makes a lot of sense. You know, I’ve had a few companies ask me a very similar question about my book, Superfans. Hey, can you, can you inject Superfans into our business for us? Do you have some program to do that? And I didn’t, I wrote that book just sort of as a supplement to what we do here. But hypothetically, I could potentially codify that Superfans method, turn it into a framework that then you or somebody else could kind of get trained on and then go out there in the world and teach this.

I don’t know, the superfan system, if you want to call it that. And what are we talking about in terms of if a company, obviously it depends on the size of the company, but you say big checks. What do you mean by that in terms of taking these frameworks, these codified structures of what it is that we teach and turning them into something like this?

What could this look like for a person in terms of a check? And like, how life changing can that be?

Pamela Slim: So for some folks where they have a large audience, the variables depend on like what it is that you’re charging, right? Per certification. How deep is it? Is it something small like spark a type, that example from Jonathan Fields or is it an overall, let’s say a, you know, business coaching program.

We have a client we did work with that immediately turned around, had over a hundred people that were participating. And so they immediately had a multiple seven figure return because they have huge capability and they have huge connection with their audience. In a history of successfully selling into that audience other times for the larger companies for our clients who are the thought leaders who are selling that train the trainer into a large company, it’s usually no less than, you know, mid six figures, 500 K, something up to sometimes seven figures where they have a large company play.

And so again, these are professionals whose market has been large companies. One of the things that is great about large companies is they can write bigger checks. One of the bad things is there’s a much longer sales cycle. You know, you need to have very specific experience and working with them and it’s dialing in, like any of those deals, you know, B to C, it’s fun because we can, you know, have product funnels and all these things going to just quickly get people automatically to buy. B to B it tends to be this whole combination of factors of your reputation, the right market fit, but where it works and where people have been building up to that by delivering excellent quality workshops, that, that’s where you begin to see these bigger deals and often it’s multiple year deals.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, that’s incredible. I’m reminded of a story from a student of ours, somebody in Pro, she helps train students and of course the buyers, the parents of the students to get into college, right? Pass their MCATs or pass college exams or all these kinds of things.

And she’s just has been, has been struggling with the fact that, okay, B to C, it’s a little bit of a struggle for her because am I talking to the student, but then the parents making the buying decision, or do I talk to the parent because they’re buying, but then how are we going to get the student to get on board versus like an idea that we had, but we just weren’t sure.

And I’m curious, your take on it was, can you go to, a B to B play is there a maybe the principal of a school or some training organization where that material can be injected into and then it just starts to like explode our minds because we’re not in that world and this is why I’m so excited because you are in this kind of this kind of experience that you’re bringing to the pros and in our audience is amazing.

How would you advise that person to think about the B to B with their information product that they are often selling to parents and students instead.

Pamela Slim: Yeah, I mean, I think the first thing is getting a visualization about different parts. I call it in the ecosystem wheel in the widest net context, which, of course, I’ll share with everybody.

I have a whole workbook that everybody can use, but it’s a model that looks at 10 different areas of the market overall in which we can do business. So it’s everything from associations looking at, you know, fellow service providers, academia, government. There’s a lot of different areas, you know, big business, large brands, small companies where there are areas in which we can begin to do our work.

And so at first you want to visualize where the opportunities where this could work. I actually have a client Suzanne from Meridian Educational Consulting that does a very similar thing. I love being a parent of a kid in college and went on the way. It’s such a valuable service. And I would agree that many educators aren’t necessarily up to speed on the way in which things get done.

So if, for example, you, you know, were to look at a couple of the areas of the ecosystem where that could be applied. And interesting in education, there could be decisions about, is it public education? Is it private? Where are the dollars? And then where do you have relationships? That’s where a whole strategic way that you look at building relationships, I call it tiny marketing actions can happen where at first you begin to get more familiar with the way that things are sold.

And then you could begin to build relationships and really like, look for the bigger, deals in the ways that those things are done. I have good friends of mine that I work with on the Susan Cain project. We built the Quiet Leadership Institute. So Mike Irvin, who was a founder of Team Red, White, and Blue.

He’s a former army guy taught at West Point. And then Jeff Bryan was his colleague also in the army. They created a nonprofit for returning veterans of all bands of the military to do kind of local support. After we did work together in the Quiet Leadership Institute, they started what’s called the Positivity Project.

Um, Mike is very passionate and, and Jeff about positive psychology. And so they created a model where now I think they have, I just talked to Jeff recently, I think they have 300 plus schools across the nation where they bring this program out into school. So it’s teaching a specific method where kids can become familiar with positive psychology.

They, you know, focus on different attributes in the way in which they do do that. And so this is an example of something that’s designed to be working within the school system. I’m not exactly remembering the match. It could be a combination of grant funding, plus something kicked in from the schools.

But, I can’t wait to like dig into those things. Like those are fun equations to solve. You know, it’s like you, you see the wide slice of the market, then you can get in more specifically. You need to have usually one use case where you could do it at a school that works successfully to demonstrate it.

But then if you’re designing for scale is where you can start to see about taking that out. And just the other quick idea is I could see also a government play. In the learning lab here, I’m deeply embedded in my local community here in Mesa. Yeah. And it is surprising to people how many funds often are available for collaborations there.

Mesa has a huge investment in education. There’s a lot of focus in like community colleges. And so there’s a lot of opportunities to be looking at specific grants sometimes to do collaborations. Yeah. The possibilities are endless.

Pat Flynn: That’s the thing. There’s so many opportunities that we don’t know about, which is why I love our EIR program, bringing different minds and different experiences in so that we can all see all the options and then go to the person who might have that expertise.

That made me think about for a person who might be in education, you know, I know there’s a big movement in the homeschooling space right now and those. people meet at conventions for homeschoolers, then oftentimes you’ll find that there’s just like one or two programs that somebody who has some influence in that space says everybody should get and then boom, it’s just like a home run from there.

And you had said the big word relationships. I think it always comes down to that, whether it’s B2B or B2C.

You had mentioned, and I want to get to know you a little bit more as well, you had mentioned you had a kid in college and one on the way. College and education is a lot different than when you and I were growing up in terms of, you know, just, you just go to go because that’s what you’re supposed to do.

How are you thinking about as a parent now and with a kid in college and one coming, like, how does a young person, young adult navigate their career at this stage? How would you recommend somebody approach the twenties in this day and age, because I have a kid who’s 14. He’s going into high school and my daughter’s 11.

So I’m starting to think about these things a lot more now because we’re gonna have to make some decisions pretty soon. So I’m just curious your take on the world and the way it is, because there’s so much debt to be had. Potentially, there’s a lot of opportunities, but also just, I don’t know, there’s a lot happening and people are confused.

What’s your take on where things are at right now?

Pamela Slim: So I think the first lens in having been in the career space for so many years, and I’ve had so many thousands of conversations with people is check yourself before you wreck yourself and that it is not our journey as parents to be figuring out the path for our children.

It is deeply listening and understanding and getting to know our kids. How are they wired? What are their interests? And there is a cultural and kind of intersectional lens to this. I say this speaking as a white woman. My husband is Navajo and has a whole different cultural context. Many of my friends and clients and colleagues can be first generation immigrants from India or from China, Philippines.

And so there’s a layer and there’s context around different practices and beliefs and orientations that parents have toward their kids. So I know that, you know, I would probably create jaws dropping. We were just having a conversation. I had friends in town that were visiting that their parents are originally from China.

And so my husband was talking to them about, you know, how you just lean in and you listen to your kids and you don’t give any advice, you know, and they were just sitting back and they were like, do you realize that this is going against every single way that I have been oriented? So I want to be really clear that you want to think about your own context.

And that’s the advice that I’m giving from. But from that perspective, as someone who has helped unwind people in so much pain because they’ve made school and career decisions based on what they think they should do, is, I really look at our role as a parent as deeply understanding and noticing our kids.

The other thing when they’re young is just exposing them to many different types of experiences. So one of the reasons we created the lab here is because we’re is so our kids would constantly be running into people from all different backgrounds and have an experience of seeing people in a lot of different careers so that they could see themselves doing a lot of different things.

With that, I’m really thankful in Arizona Public Schools, schools in the junior year as part of the English classes, they have a specific assignment of like assessments and college prep and all that, which has actually been super helpful for our kids. So they have a way that kids are exploring different careers.

And so then I took with Josh, my son is at university of California, Denver. He’s a freshman and he’s studying public health. He wants to do a five year bachelor and master’s program. And so he. began to, you know, explore careers in college. He learned about the field of public health. He learned about Denver partly because he was excited about the program and partly because he also loves jujitsu and there’s a really great jujitsu studio that’s there.

And that was like as big a reason for him as school, which to me and my perspective was great. I’m like, he has a draw there. So my daughter, Is wired totally differently. She loves to travel. She and I have done, you know, a number of different trips to Europe together recently. We went to Paris a couple of times.

And so as we explored her areas of interest, she loves travel, she loves luxury, jazz, art. We came upon the American business school in Paris, which it looks like is the place where she’s headed to that they have a program in luxury brand marketing and merchandising. That by the way, it’s only 10,000 a year.

So I’m like, it beats so much. We think of like, it would be so much more expensive in Europe. It’s not. And. For her, where Josh is very much an academic and he loves studying, he’s got a 4.0, like he’s just in it. She is much more experiential. So there’ll be core courses and then they have internships every single semester for the first two and a half years.

It’s a three year bachelor’s program. The last half is an internship. That’s cool. My point being, I didn’t lead conversations with them saying, you know, either you must go to an Arizona school because they are indigenous, they actually have free tuition. If they decided to go to ASU, NAU, or U of A, they would have had free tuition, which would have been nice.

But I know that neither of them had any interest in doing so. So leaning in, observing, your kids as they go through time, exposing them to different things. And then I think listening and partnering to find a path. The last thing I’ll say is, and again, it’s sort of an intersectional piece, but when a lot of my like white brethren will be like, college is so passe and you know, you don’t need it at all.

You actually do like, If you’re indigenous, if you’re black, you know, there’s still conditions here. Sometimes everybody can make their own decision. But the lived experience I hear about from a lot of folks is it will make a difference sometimes about you getting hired. So it’s not just looking from a blanket advice of, you know, college is bad.

It’s looking at it in the context of someone’s life and what they want and what it means to have letters behind their name to open up opportunity.

Pat Flynn: Right. The idea of a, of a blanket answer for anything is always a bad idea.

Pamela Slim: Right.

Pat Flynn: You know, I think going to the individual is really important, which is where I think the internet has been steering away from in terms of the ability to scale.

The ability to, you know, yes, cast a wider net to reach more people, but then drilling in the fact that everybody needs this one thing, everybody’s different. Just like a diet every, not every diet works with every person and, and this is why I think community, at least we at SPI are leaning into community, which is all about people and conversations and unknown happenings and cross pollinations that you wouldn’t even be able to design.

You just have to let happen in a space, which is why we’re just so grateful to be where we’re at. And yes, we took a big risk shifting our business model to this, but even through the conversations with you and the other EIRs and the community, it’s just it’s just so magical what can happen when you start listening.

And we act as a guide. You had said that you are guiding your kids. You’re there as a resource. And I think that’s what it is. I think that’s beautiful, Pam. I want to shift the conversation to you. Another thing that’s on a lot of people’s minds these days and often comes up in these podcasts, it’s, it’s this world of AI that’s coming and, and, and it’s this idea of it’s coming for us, or it’s here and it’s taking our jobs and whatnot.

And I want to focus on the skills that we should be focusing on as business owners. What should we be leaning into not even necessarily to combat AI, but just what is going to become more and more important as the world changes and the direction that it’s going right now.

Pamela Slim: It’s so funny. I just last week I spoke at the Association of Learning Providers, big training companies that are selling into B2B, and there’s probably eight different sessions all around AI.

And then actually one of the other speakers, I don’t know if you know, Lucas Petty from AI Daddy. I don’t. But he’s, amazing. He actually is here locally in Arizona, but he did a whole workshop that was really helpful for me to frame it. And my newsletter yesterday was on this exact topic. So I am like fresh with AI because part of what it is that I got from his frame and the way that I’m thinking in my team of using it is that on one hand, at first you do want to be looking at, In the way in which you might be utilizing the technology for the actual work that you do.

So for us, you know, working with thought leaders, building training certification programs, there’s the practice of how it is that as we look at what we do and all the steps involved in what we do, where the places that would be helpful. That would give us more consistent performance that might save time that might allow us to be better and richer where we’re using it in that craft.

And then the other things can be in like the actual operations of our business of ways in which we can just look critically at the systems we have, you know, Lucas was saying, and many AI experts, it’s software like it’s been around actually for a really long time. I think the way there’s definitely use cases and things happening of a leap of advancement.

Where we do know that, like, it does replace people. It will be, you know, in many cases, if you have a service business, when people get more sophisticated with the use of tools, there are some services that you may be delivering that people just learn they can quickly do themselves given AI. So to think about it in the context first of how does it impact the world, you know, in which you live, what is your particular point of view?

I had somebody who I totally understand after I sent my newsletter, who responded back and just said, you know, I’m not going to use it at all. I hate the foundation of values. I feel like it steals IP. And I couldn’t really argue with that. Like it’s kind of scary of looking at how much that can be part of it.

The other piece though, that I look at is it is so much a part of our reality that we really want to be ahead of the curve. So a couple of concrete things that we’re doing, I had my team in town from Atlanta. When Lucas came, I, we invited him to tacos and we talked to AI. And one of the things that we’re doing concretely first is I didn’t realize there’s a team’s AI.

I was always really nervous about sharing any of, you know, concrete IP into it. Just thinking it would be fed into the master machine, but you can create the team version where it’s actually a private container so that as you use your own IP, I, I don’t know about you. I have an Mount Everest of IP. I’ve created courses I didn’t even remember that I created. And I can pull all of that into my own team environment. And in many ways I can start to dialogue and pull from that data to just be more efficient, to create, maybe refresh many courses. It’s, it’s astounding and exciting for that use. But the other thing is true, looking at the privacy.

For your clients, you want to be really careful about the security and ethics around you not just going to general ChatGPT and uploading, you know, everybody’s stuff or for you to be using other people’s IP and passing it off as your own, right? The same discernment if we didn’t have the quick tools of ChatGPT would be the same.

Like, could I just grab all of your programs, not mention you whatsoever, and just put my IP out? In fact, people do it every day, don’t they? It has happened without the use of IP, and now it’s just really being accelerated. So think about it in terms of the craft, think about it in terms of security, privacy, and, operating from an ethical perspective and point of view, the last piece that we’re excited about is just looking at ways to have the operations more efficient and almost like the, you know, zapping things like between applications, it can actually end up really speeding things up so that we can focus more on building relationships, sharing interesting ideas and less on more of the tedious parts, which I think end up translating into a better, more cohesive customer experience.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, I agree with that. I mean, I love that you mentioned AI is a use for how to become more consistent, how to save time, obviously, and then deal with operations and systems. That makes complete sense. Machines aren’t going to be much better at that in the end than, than humans will be.

Pamela Slim: Yeah.

Pat Flynn: And I love how you finished with, uh, So that it’ll allow us to focus more on deeper relationships and those connections.

Cause those are the human things that will never be replaced by AI is the human to human relationship. And for us as well. And for me specifically as a content creator, it’s storytelling on top of that as well. Even though yes, you can have these tools create stories. There’s something that comes with the personal experience that you have and feelings and the emotions and the empathy that you have for your audience all combined into some story frame that then helps the person feel something that is something that I think is going to be a very long time until I gets if at all so that that’s same answer for me. It’s it’s using it as a tool to get more time back so that I can do these other things that are more human and leaning into those things that will differentiate us.

And these soft skills are going to be really important. Actually, that’s something that I’m teaching my kids and my wife and I are very big on. It’s like, you know, hey, If you don’t get an A because you didn’t know that information, that’s okay. We want you to learn how to learn. We want you to learn from your mistakes, but if you don’t know the information, that’s okay because the information is freely available everywhere.

How are you learning about your mistakes? How are you teaching others? How are you presenting these things that you’re learning? How are you communicating with your group? How are you being a leader in the, in the classroom? These are the kinds of soft skills that I think are going to be really important moving forward for, for anybody.

And anyway, we could probably talk for another five hours about, I wanted to finish off here, Pam. And again, this has been so amazing. You had mentioned your newsletter first, where can people go to grab that?

Pamela Slim: And I’ve been a bit of a cobbler’s children. And we’re just updating something. It should be like smack dab in the upper third of the website, but of course it’s not, it’s like in the lower right hand corner.

So I just advise people on what to do, right? Why would I ever do it? But I’ve been writing it actually since 2004. So before I started my blog, I have some people who have been on the list since that time, 20 years now. It’s one of my greatest joys. I love writing my newsletter, but one of the fun challenges that I have with myself this year is to just be more effective, focus more on it.

And I actually started a LinkedIn newsletter, a Smart IP. With a specific focus on I avoided LinkedIn for the longest time in the last few years. I’ve really leaned in and I actually totally enjoy it for my own market. It’s a good place to be. So that’s where I just provide very specific information and resources about this model.

I’m talking about really like taking the path of scaling your business through IP. And it’s really fun. I do it weekly, which I’m kind of surprised that it’s so easy to get it done.

Pat Flynn: What do you love about LinkedIn?

Pamela Slim: I love that. It’s a direct path to when I’m speaking, for example, I just, you know, spoke to the association of learning providers last week, immediately as I jump on, then have a call to action where people are reaching out and connecting with me.

It’s the direct path for my ideal clients of where they are talking about business stuff. I’ve been on Facebook forever. I have tons of friends there. I’m really engaged and I share about everything, work, dogs, kids, you know what I mean? Life in general. But it’s not always such a direct path. Whereas to me, LinkedIn is an unabashed place.

People are there to learn about ideas, get jobs. Of course, there’s the shadow side, like you always have, of people pitching you three seconds after you connect with them. But I’m totally willing to ignore that. And using it as a research tool with a lot of my clients when we’re doing ecosystem research, it’s super efficient and effective.

You know, you might say I just had a friend here who is in town looking for work and like, okay, let’s start to look at who are all the major employers that are here in the Phoenix metro area. Let’s just do a quick search looking for functional job titles. And then where you have a discerned and intelligent way that you’re reaching out to people in a thoughtful way, it is a very quick path to getting research about making connections.

And to me, that’s like this combination where we’re efficient and looking at operations, but then we’re highly relational in the way that we might reach out to people. And I’ve had tons of relationships develop over time coming from in the hallway to speaking engagement to engaging with each other content to then it makes it much easier for them to hire me to coach or build a program.

Pat Flynn: That makes sense. Is it too late to get on LinkedIn? If a person hasn’t been on yet?

Pamela Slim: Oh, no.

Pat Flynn: How are you best? Is it in the DMs following up with people and kind of introducing yourself, building relationships that way? Or are you actually seeing organic growth through the posts and stuff?

Pamela Slim: Oh, yeah. It’s so interesting because I will post something usually I’ll cross post, you know, if it’s a, a core thought or idea or blog post or something like that piece of content, I get tons of engagement on Facebook because I’ve just been there forever and have lots of like friends, friends, close clients.

I get so much engagement on LinkedIn from people who I don’t even know yet. And then now for the Like classes, I teach cohort based classes on Maven in product ties, your service business, and tiny marketing actions. I found in recent cohorts, the last few cohorts, almost everybody has been coming from the LinkedIn environment and connecting there.

So I look at it as any kind of a social platform where it is a place to be helpful, to be sharing thought leadership. I have a combination like I’ve always done of resources, to support. questions of engagement. And then I don’t have, for example, like I won’t automatically when I connect with somebody, you know, immediately jump in with the same question to just get them communicating because that’s actually not what I would normally do.

I’ll connect with them where like the event that I just did. I’d connect with them. Maybe they would post something on a post that I wrote about speaking at the event. And then, you know, I might just send a quick message saying, you know, Hey, thanks so much for mentioning me. You know, how’s it going? How are your kids?

Whatever we had talked about at the event. So it doesn’t displace the normal way that we would be connecting with people. I think it’s where we try to have a blanket approach that it doesn’t make sense, but it, you know, it’s so weird is it reminds me of like the old blogging days. Like, I don’t know, Blogging used to be a thing, as you know.

I mean, I would write a blog and everybody would know about it. Now I just do it for SEO. But it feels like that in many ways on LinkedIn. I’ll start threads, people will jump on, they’ll start to have conversations. That’s what I remember about the good old days of blogging. So that’s, that’s the way that I use it.

Pat Flynn: Those were the days. But. Perhaps on LinkedIn for people. So definitely check that out. If people wanted to find you on LinkedIn, they can just look up your name or is there any, any, and again,

Pamela Slim: I’m, I’m B2B. So, you know, for people that don’t have that market, they may hate it. So that’s where it like know thy platform.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, for sure.

Pamela Slim: Maybe it’s Instagram, maybe it’s TikTok or whatever.

Pat Flynn: I love how you kind of speak of LinkedIn as if it’s an extension of just the events that you’re already attending in the hallway conversations that are happening, I think that’s a beautiful way to approach it. And this has been a beautiful conversation, Pam.

It’s been great to get to know you a little bit more here. I’m sure everybody, including myself, is going to get to know you inside of SPI Pro very soon here, if not already. And thank you so much again for offering your wisdom here. You’re offering an amazing new slice of the business pie to us that we haven’t had access to before.

Right. And I think that’s a really amazing opportunity. So thank you again, Pam and And you can also check out her books there as well. So thank you, Pam. Appreciate you.

All right. I hope you enjoyed that introduction and interview and conversation with the Pam slim, Thank you so much, Pamela.

I’m looking forward to working with you more closely in the EIR program inside of SPI Pro. If you want to check out SPI pro and hear from Pam and get access to her as well as the other EIRs, Amy, Caleb, Jason Pfeiffer, myself, Matt, you’re going to want to make sure you come in Terry rice as well. Come in to SPI Pro.

And check it out because we got a lot to offer you. And again, it’s about community. It’s about connection and it’s about finding the right people to help you on your way. And we’re here for you. We’re the Avengers, if you will. If you like DC, we’re all those things too. Anyway, I appreciate you so much.

Again, check out Pamela over at Sign up to her newsletter. She’s amazing. And if you’re in Pro look out because you’re going to hear from her a lot more very soon. Cheers. Take care. And I look forward to serving you in the next episode. Peace.

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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