AskPat 639 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey what's up everybody? Pat Flynn here. Welcome to Episode 639 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I'm here to help you by answering your online business questions five days a week. We have a great question today from somebody who wishes to remain anonymous, and you'll hear why in his question.
Caller: Hi Pat, I'm just starting out and I'd like to know how I can keep my identity anonymous, just because I've got a prominent position now, and I don't want my employers or my colleagues to know what I'm doing yet as a side, or as a start-up business. Can you just fill me in. Is an alias okay or what kind to steps do you recommend on being anonymous but still starting an internet business, an online business? Thanks.
Pat Flynn: Thank you so much for the question. I really appreciate it and I will respect anonymity, however you say it. This is . . . I don't even have your name or email address anyway, so if you want to at some point get your t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show, just shoot me an email or send it through the contact page and let me know that this was your question and we could verify it one way or another. But anyway, if not, that's totally cool.
This is actually a very common question. A lot of people who are in your position have the same thoughts and the same worries. Their employer, they don't want them to know about what they're doing. They might even be creating some sort of competition or competitive service to go along with it. Others, they just don't want their co-workers to know. Many other people, they are just worried about what would happen if they put themselves out there because, when you put yourself out there, you become vulnerable to other people that could potentially not like what you're doing. I have my own set of haters and people haven't really always been 100 percent happy with what I've done for whatever reason. That's their choice. As my buddy Chris Ducker says, your vibe attracts your tribe, so I just put myself out there, and those who like what I do, those who follow what I do, that's who I'm here for. So anyway, I just wanted to get that out of the way.
Now, to answer your question, can you keep your anonymity? Well, yeah, absolutely. I know a lot of people who have actually done this and done it very well and have continued to do it. There were people who I followed and felt like I could really trust even though they weren't even sharing their name. A few of those people had made up names, which is totally okay, pen names. I actually have made up a pen name of my own for a website, SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com, which is one of my niche sites. The reason I did that is because I had made the creation of that website and business so public that I didn't want people who really wanted to become a security guard to know that there was this sort of experiment behind it, even though that it wouldn't have affected the content. The content was still great, and I did all the research required to help these people. I just didn't want to have people to have to wonder. That's why I did that, and I created this pen name called Pete Chamberlain which, I don't know, sounded like a good name to me. I don't even remember how I came up with that name. I haven't really heard anything negative, and it still, for the last five years, has been helping people become security guards. Actually, the job board portion of it is actually getting a lot more pull. You'll notice that, if you actually go into my archives for my income reports, that the job board specifically is generating more and more money every month which means more and more people are finding security jobs through that website. So, I'm still able to help people even though I'm Pat Flynn, but I'm Pete Chamberlain on that website.
You can still definitely help people. I think no matter what it is that you do, as long as the content is great and you actually care about your audience and you're helping them, it doesn't really matter what your name is, even if you use a name at all. I think there's a lot of people out there who use, I guess you could say, nicknames or other things. I mean, there's people out there who don't share their real name who are very popular. I mean, my son is into Minecraft right now, and there's this guy named Stampylongnose who has YouTube channel with millions of subscribers. He puts out a video and people love him because his personality still comes through. I think that's the most important part. He's still himself. He's just not using his real name, since he's created Stampylongnose. On his channel he just plays Minecraft and records it and shares some tips and actually makes these cool stories and is connecting with other people.
There's another guy named Ballistic Squid, again these aren't their real names, but this is just what people know them as, and because they're themselves and they're putting themselves out there, people actually care and actually really enjoy them. Now, since Stampylongnose has become really popular, he's actually written books and has come out and has shared himself and actually put his face in the world. He's actually gotten awards for some of his work with Minecraft because he shares not only how to play Minecraft, but the way that he teaches is actually very admirable, and he's helping kids understand how to solve problems and teamwork and all these other things.
Anyway, the point is, you don't have to put your name out there, and you don't even have to make up a name. You can create sort of a character, if you will. When I was starting to follow blogs back in 2007, there were a few blogs where I didn't know who the person on the other end was, but I really loved what they were doing because of the content. One of them was a person, a woman, actually, who didn't have her name out there, but she was known as the Silicon Valley Girl. She was somebody who lived in Silicon Valley who was teaching and talking about personal finance, and she was just known as SVG, Silicon Valley Girl. That's who I knew her as, and she had a little animated cartoonish character as her avatar. I still felt like she was a real person because she was talking about things that were really interesting to me at the time, things that I was really looking for solutions for, and she had those answers. I loved what she was doing, and I felt really connected with her, and supported what she was doing.
This reminds me, there was a nother guy in the blogging space. His name is Ramsey, but I didn't know his name was Ramsey until four years or three years after he created his website and became well-known in the blogosphere. He was known as The Blog Tyrant. That was his name, The Blog Tyrant. Everybody got to know him. He had amazing content, and I got to become friends with him. I didn't even know his real name, until one day, he finally just decided that he was going to…I don't know what it was exactly, but he came out, if you will, and became known as Ramsey. We're friends and he's just become this well-known person now, but I still call him and I still reference him as The Blog Tyrant because that's what everybody got to know him as. Again, it's because he put himself out there. He was still a human being on the other end. He just wasn't using his real name.
So, to sum it all up, yes, totally okay to do that. You can use a fake name or pen name, if you will, just temporarily or permanently. Some people have done that. There are even rappers who most people know them as their rapper name and not their real name. So that's totally okay. You can use a character name, like The Blog Tyrant, or Stampylongnose, or Ballistic Squid, or any of those things, again, just making sure it fits in with your industry that you are getting into. I don't know exactly what that is, Mr. Anonymous. I wouldn't necessarily make a fun, interesting kind of cartoony type name if you're trying to get into, I don't know, the insurance space or something. Again, make sure it just makes sense for your audience. Think about them and their position and what they would say and think if they had heard of this name. So just keep those things in mind.
Mr. Anonymous, thank you so much for the question, and again, if you want that t-shirt, shoot me an email through my contact page on smartpassiveincome.com and we'll get that over to you. And if not, totally cool. Just let me know, even if you'd like to have me gift the t-shirt that you've earned to somebody else. Anyway, up to you. Thank you so much for your question, again, and thanks to everybody else out there who's asking questions. I appreciate you. My name is Pat Flynn, and that is my real name, and I'm here to help you. As always, thank you for your questions and please keep sending them because you are what make this show possible.
As always, I love to end with a quote. Today's quote comes from Jonathan Lister and his quote is, “Speak to your audience in their language about what's in their heart.”
Cheers, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat.