AskPat 159 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, what's up everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 159 of AskPat. I hope you're doing well. I'm feeling really good today; I'm in a great mood. I hope you are too.
Before we get to today's question from Ryan, I do want to thank today's awesome sponsor which is Lynda.com. If you don't know what it is, you're seriously missing out, because you know what, you're listening to AskPat because you want to learn stuff and educate yourself about online business and things like that, but Lynda.com takes online education to a whole new, ridiculous level. One of the most amazing, easy-to-use, and affordable educational websites from all types of topics. Like right now, I'm taking a course on photography, how to use my DSLR camera (which I always use it on the automatic setting), how to use it manually, and I'm getting such great information, and there is everything from business stuff like business skills, communication, leadership, management, productivity, online-marketing courses, to how to use Excel and all of the stuff that's going to help you in your business. I highly recommend you check it out. Head on over to Lynda.com/askpat to try it out for free for seven days. This is a deal you can only get here on AskPat. Lynda.com/askpat. It's awesome. Now let's get to today's question from Ryan.
Ryan: Hey Pat. My name is Ryan. I'm a huge fan of the show. Thanks for all the information you share. I had a question about starting an online business blog to teach people how to get their business online. Not so much a get-rich-quick-type site, just a basic site about showing them the framework, what's needed technically, how to write blog posts, reviews about different plugins, stuff like that. Now my experience is I started many online businesses. Most of them have not been a very large success at all due to my own self-doubt and not surrounding myself with like-minded people. So I do have experience; it's just I haven't been successful. My question is, a person like me, is it okay to start a website to show people how to start an online business? Thanks Pat. I appreciate your response.
Pat Flynn: Hey Ryan, thank you so much for the question. I really appreciate it, and my answer isn't an outright no, but it's also not yes either. Depends on a lot of things, and I will say in my own experience, I've seen a lot of people create websites on how to teach people how to build online businesses, how to start a business, how to blog and things like that, and 99 percent of them fail. Now obviously, it would be very hypocritical of me just to say, “No, don't do it.” It's not because I don't want any competition; I want that competition. You know why? Because it would only be competitive if somebody came into this space and took a completely brand new angle, who just completely blew people away, who had a position that was unlike everybody else in this space. It's a very, very competitive niche. There's a lot of people doing it. There's a lot of people doing it, Ryan, so if you were to go into it, you have to have a specific angle that people are going to be attracted to, something that's different, something that's unlike anything else that's out there.
Great example of somebody who's done this really well is Derek Halpern from SocialTriggers.com. He came in fairly late in 2010 or 2011 even. I think it's 2010 actually. Definitely not the first person to start talking about online business, but he took a position that utilized and took advantage of what he was good at, which was determining the research and finding the numbers and analytics and doing the research, reading all these amazing studies and books that other people were not going to read and applying those to online business. Now he already had some success in online business as well, in the sort of gossip/celebrity space, so that helped as well, but what helped him the most was his angle and his position in the space. That's sort of like me when I came in. I wasn't the first person to talk about online business, but I was, I think, the first person to really go big with just being fully and completely transparent in terms of how much money I was making, but also my failures, my wins, and really not preaching the get-rich stuff, get-rich-quick stuff. I'm glad that you already mentioned that you aren't going to do that, because it's definitely not the case, so A) awesome because you're going to be honest no matter what you do, and fully transparent and not just doing it based on hype but doing it based on reality. But the thing is, when I look back at everybody who is successful in this space, I can't think of a person who didn't have something else in their portfolio outside of that website. For instance, myself, I had Green Exam Academy. I started that before I started SmartPassiveIncome.com, and it was doing very well. It was actually a majority of my income until 2010, two and a half, or actually, one and a half years after Smart Passive Income started, so it actually took one and a half years after starting my Smart Passive Income site talking about online business to actually generate some sort of significant income. That's a long time, and I wanted to give up like five, six dozen times actually. Not five or six dozen, but up to a dozen times, like I can't count how many times I've wanted to just give it up, and that was in the first year, and I'm so glad I didn't.
All this to say I had my business that I talked about all the time. I referenced Green Exam Academy all the time. I hardly referenced to other people. I mean, I did—I talked about their strategies and what worked, and I did the reviews and things like that which other people were doing too, and I'm lucky that people connected with my style and my message, but I had my experience beforehand. Yaro Starak from Entrepreneurs-Journey.com, he had his successful websites in the Magic: The Gathering industry and forums. If you go back to his origin story, it didn't start with Entrepreneurs-Journey. If you start with Glen Allsopp from ViperChill, it didn't start with ViperChill, it started with some of his other sites, Blog Tyrant. Everybody out there who's succeeding in this online business space, we all have examples of successful online businesses.
Now that's not to say you can't succeed without it, but it's very difficult to do so, because you think about it from your audience's perspective. If somebody comes to your site, no matter how great that content is, and first of all, you just have to have amazingly great content, because there's a lot of people pumping out amazing content too, that's why that angle and position is really important, but if somebody were to put . . . Seriously, take a look at somebody selling something about how to create an online business, and they yet to have an online business, it's going to be very difficult. You'd have to do massive amounts of research and prove yourself in that way, which is going to be very difficult. I'm lucky in the FoodTruckr niche. I don't have a food truck, but I've been able to make a name, somewhat of a name in this industry by doing the proper research, talking to as many people as I can, and also that niche isn't as competitive as the online-business space either, so there was room for somebody to go do that, and that's where I came in.
I can't give you an answer specifically Ryan, because there's obviously a lot of things going on there, but this is for everybody out there who's considering starting a website on how to start an online business. You might think it's the easy thing to do because everybody's doing it, right? But you have to consider that there are so many other websites out there outside of the space that are crushing it, that are killing it. There are so many underserved spaces that need somebody to come in and serve. We just don't hear about them all the time. We don't hear about the people succeeding in these other spaces because they have no reason to talk about it. We hear about the how to start an online-business space all the time because people who are talking about starting an online business are the ones talking about online business, if you know what I mean, so that's why I love to interview people outside of the online-business space, to show that you don't have to get into the online-business space.
Ryan, if you do get into it, definitely talk about your previous examples and failures. I think that would be really helpful for people. It'd show that you're in this sort of . . . It'd sort of be a journey blog. We've seen these before, and those are becoming more and more popular. “Hey, follow me as I learn how to do blank. At first, it was in personal finance, follow me as I learn how to get out of debt,” and a lot of people have become authorities in that space, but then, now it's completely saturated, and it's hard to do that now because there's a lot of big names that are talking about it and coming up with the best information. I feel that that's the case in online business too, but if you were going down this route, Ryan, because I'm not saying no, but just make sure that you at some point would be able to back up what you say and have proof for those products that you're going to promote, and everything else that you're doing.
Also beyond that, I think what has helped a lot of people succeed is getting connected with the right people in the same space as well, so that is going to help people link to you, and if your content is great, obviously it's . . . If your content's helpful, it's helpful, whether you have experience or not, but if you do have success outside of the space, you can't argue against that, and you have your own numbers and own examples to share: Proof. So if I was in your shoes Ryan, if you were forcing me to make a decision right now, I would start an online business outside of the online-business space with a specific angle, with a specific way of doing it that nobody else has done it before and test it and see how it works. If it does, then that gives you a right to talk about it, because there's a lot of people out there who could really benefit from that information and know that somebody had done it before, and there's all the information.
That's it Ryan. I hope that answers your question or at least gives you some things to think about. And everybody else out there who's thinking about starting a blog in this space, it's very competitive. There's a lot of people who are amazing in this space. I've made a lot of friends in this space; there's a lot of people who I don't want to associate with in this space too. It's just one of those niches, and even though I'm in the space, and I feel like I'm different than a lot of people, especially when I got into it, I'm authentic, and I'm transparent, and I'm trying to be as nice as possible and show that it's not an overnight success and things like that, I'm still put into this group of online marketers and people who don't yet know me because of that association. They immediately have a negative view of who I am, and luckily, when they come to the site, and they read the content, they eventually learn about who I am and why I do what I do. Just know that if you do get into this space, you will be categorized into that sort of negative little aura that's in that space still, but I'm doing what I can to make changes for that space and make a good name for it, and I hope you will too if you do get into it.
Awesome. Thanks so much Ryan. An AskPat teeshirt is headed your way for having your question featured here on the show. For those of you out there, if you have a question you'd like potentially featured here on the show, just head on over to AskPat.com. You can ask right there on that page, and I appreciate it. I appreciate it so much, and I also appreciate everybody over at Lynda.com who has created an amazing website to help us all learn about all these amazing things that are out there. The coolest part about it, not only the selection of courses but just the way the courses are done, they're very professional, they fly people into the studio to record these courses. They're not just YouTube video-type things. These are like, professionally-done things that you can watch to learn about stuff, and there's searchable transcripts, there's playlists, there's mobile apps to go with it, certificates of completion. You can do gift certificates for people as well. Just already with the stuff I'm watching with photography, it's just mind blowing, so I recommend you get on it too, Lynda.com/askpat. That's Lynda.com/askpat, and you'll get that special deal I worked out with them, seven days all-access, all courses for free for seven days.
Cheers. Thanks so much, and as always, I'm going to end with a quote, and today's quote is from Peter Drucker, and he says, “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” Enough said. Cheers. Take care, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat.
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