AskPat 268 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 268 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me. If you are new to Ask Pat, I love you. You are awesome. Welcome to the show. Here, I answer a question from people like you five days a week to help you with your online business.
Today we have a great question from Ali, but before we get to that, I want to thank today's sponsor, which is FreshBooks.com, a super-awesome, super-easy-to-use piece of software that's going to make your life a billion times easier. Don't quote me on that, because that's not actually the real calculation, but it is going to make your life a lot easier, because it's going to help you organize your finances for your small business. You can join 5 million other people who are using FreshBooks to help them manage their finances too. So, if you'd like to get a 30-day free trial and check out just how awesome it is, go to GetFreshBooks.com and enter “AskPat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section. Again, that's GetFreshBooks.com, and enter “AskPat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section.
Sweet. Now, let's get to today's question from Ali.
Ali: Hi, Pat. My name is Ali, and I'm just now getting started in the online business world. I'm only 19, and I'm really excited about the things that I'm learning from you and your site and your podcasts. My question for you is, I started my own blog, or website, and I already put some content on it, started writing my articles and posts and getting it going, and then suddenly I realized that there was another niche that I really wanted to pursue. Now, I'm still very motivated for the other one, but I'm also really inspired by this new one, and I just wanted to know what your thoughts were on maybe whether I should continue on with both, or I should continue with just the first one, or maybe I should just drop the first one entirely and just move forward with the second? Thank you so much.
Pat Flynn: Hey, Ali. What's up? Thank you so much for the question, and I'm very encouraged to hear it, because you're 19 years old and you are already blogging and thinking like an entrepreneur. I mean, you had just mentioned in your question that you started a project, and then now you're inspired to do another one. I mean, if that's not entrepreneur right there—I mean, we can all relate to that, Ali, so you are not alone in that.
It's interesting, because I usually end these episodes of AskPat with a quote, but I actually want to start one for you today. This is by J.R.R. Tolkien, who is an English writer best known for Lord of the Rings and Hobbit. He said, and this is his quote, “Not all those who wander are lost.” Not all those who wander are lost. So, Ali, even though you might be wandering, I don't think you're lost. I feel like, first of all, you did the right thing by asking a question. This is something that, when I was 19, if I was doing what you're doing, I would have just done it myself. I wouldn't have asked for help, because I'm a guy, and guys don't really ask for directions very often. But, because I didn't know better … But here you are, asking questions. You are not lost; you are just looking for directions. I think that, based off my initial reaction here, it obviously depends on what you're doing. But it is not bad that you have these two things there you're interested in. Some people go through their whole lives not being interested in anything. So, I'm very encouraged here, like I said.
Now, let me get to the part where I'm going to give you some actual advice. And this is the biggest thing, and the fact that you're so young, and again, if I had learned this when I was younger, I would be so much further ahead. And that is, you want to do some research and make sure you're picking the right thing to do. You want to spend some time to validate these ideas, do some market research. And I'll tell you a little bit on how to do some basic stuff to help you, but you also have to listen to your gut too, because passion plays a big role. It's not the only thing that matters, there's a lot of variables, but how good you feel about something is really, really important.
There's a couple of tests that you can do on your own; for example, thinking about, let's just call these Idea A, which is your first one that you started already, and then Idea B. With each of those, Idea A and Idea B, can you imagine yourself one year from now doing either Idea A or Idea B? Like one year from now, when you're 20. How about when you're 25? Can you still imagine, if you had … Whoa. Just knocked over my mic. If you had done Idea A only, would you be happy in five years if you continued to do that and that's what you would do? Or does B excite you more after five years? How about 10 years? Imagine each of those in separate scenarios, and something that you get featured on the news for, or a video goes viral talking about you and your role in Idea A and then another scenario, you and your role in Idea B. Just thinking about those things will help you determine, okay. Because a lot of people, they get these ideas, and I get a billion of them, trust me. A billion—a common theme in this episode, apparently. But, we get these ideas and we think about how they make us feel now, but we don't think about how they might make us feel a year from now, five years from now. But obviously, whatever it is that you want to do, you want to do it for a long time, unless you have an exit plan, in which case you'd take a totally different approach here. Thinking a little bit ahead in the future, doing that one-year test, that five–year test, that 10-year test, that helps you make these decisions now, so you don't go five years down the road and then all of a sudden be like, “You know what? This is not for me.” So, that's the first thing I would do.
But another cool thing that you can do, another key part of all this, is you want to do the research, like I said, but you also want to do one at a time. I know it might sound interesting coming from someone like me, who has 10 things going on at the same time, but I will also say I have a team behind me that's allowing me to do these 10 different things at the same time. There's probably more than 10, but each person, including myself, is primarily focused on one thing at a time. There's a really good book I would recommend, Ali, called The One Thing by Gary Keller, K-E-L-L-E-R, and Jay Papasan. Just a life-changing book. You're an entrepreneur, as I can tell already. Entrepreneurs get distracted very easily, and when you focus your energy and divide it between two things, each of those two things doesn't get the energy they require in order to succeed and become the best that they can be.
As I always say, a project that is not complete, even a project that's 90% complete, 95% complete, 99% complete, is still 0% complete to whoever it's built for or whatever you're creating that blog for. Yes, you could potentially do both at the same time, and you could do that in the beginning, but you have to make a decision at some point, and I would give yourself a deadline to maybe explore and test writing and getting to know your target audience in both of these sites, but then on a specific target date, say, “By this date, I'm going to choose one or the other.” I think that will help, because that will give you some incentive to really put in that research and talk to people in that target audience to see what excites you most, and what seems to resonate with you and what you're doing and how your audience in each of those things respond to what you do.
In terms of market research, there's a lot of things you can do. There's the scientific approach, doing keyword research and stuff, and I wouldn't even start with keyword research, because that's more based on what people are typing into Google. You want to just go into the different markets, into these different niches, and see what's already out there. I think this is a good place to start. See who else is out there already blogging about this, what other products are already being offered, what websites about this niche are already in existence? That will give you an opportunity to see where you might be able to fit yourself into those spaces.
Now, don't be scared if you go into those spaces and you see that there's a lot of competition. Just because there's more competition in one idea versus the other doesn't mean that you should go to one over the other. If there's a lot of competition, that actually is a good sign there's a market. It's also good because you can see, kind of from a bird's-eye perspective, what's missing. If there's a lot of competition, it might be easy. You might have a good eye and be able to bring a new position to a particular space. I was not the first person to start talking about and blogging about entrepreneurship and online business. This was back in 2008. There were several people. But there was nobody doing it in the way that I'm doing it now, where somebody was just being completely honest and upfront, revealed all of their income and talked about things step-by-step for free, where most people were asking for a payment for a lot of the high-quality articles that I was writing, and talking about my failures. That's what helped me stand out, and that was my position in the space. Derek Halpern is always another good example I use for somebody who came in near and around the time that I came into the same space, the online business, online marketing space, and his angle was, I'm going to be the psychology guy. So he uses, to his advantage, his habit for reading all these studies and papers. I think he has a psych background or went to school for that, and he's using that to his advantage, because he knows that not everyone is going to read those really lengthy studies and be able to decipher what the heck's going on there. So he takes those and relates them to online business and marketing, and his stuff is just stellar. And it stands out because nobody else is doing that, because they can't do that.
So, whatever niche you decide, Ali, to finish up here, you want to make sure that you bring what's unique to you to those spaces or to that space that you end up deciding on. That's so important, and part of that is just being you and yourself on those sites too. It took me a long time to realize that I had an advantage by being Pat Flynn on SmartPassiveIncome.com and now on AskPat, and it wasn't until one of my unofficial mentors told me that I have an advantage of just being able to somehow, over the airwaves and on a blog post, be able to make a true connection with people, and that people like hearing about Pat Flynn and what he does, even though it's not related to business al the time. That's when I put a lot more of my personality onto my brand, and that helped me stand out even more, Ali. Because nobody's like you. Nobody's like me. Nobody's like everybody else out there listening, so you have to use you to your advantage. That's going to be one of the hopefully few or several of the differentiating factors that's going to help you stand out in the niche that you choose.
So, if you'd like to help Ali out, again, young entrepreneur, a lot of you have a lot of experience with this and have likely gone through the same decisions, so use the hashtag #AskPat268, and let's continue this conversation on Twitter. Again, hashtag #AskPat268. I've been loving the conversations happening on Twitter though these hashtags. I think it's really cool, and thank you to those of you that have participated. Ali, I hope this answers your question, or at least gives you something to think about.
So again, thank you for the question. An AskPat T-shirt will be headed your way for having your question featured here on the show. For those of you listening, if you have a question you'd like potentially featured on the show, just ahead and ask me by going to AskPat.com. You can press that record button on that page thanks to SpeakPipe.com.
I also want to thank today's sponsor, which is FreshBooks.com. Not only do they have a really cool interface in terms of helping you understand and give you a snapshot of what's happening in your business in terms of expenses, income; they can help you with creating your invoices as well, and they also have an award-winning mobile app so on the go you can check to see how everything's going in your business as well. It's almost February now, which means we're just a couple of months away from tax season. Get smart, which means get FreshBooks. Go to GetFreshBooks.com and enter “AskPat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section for a 30-day free trial. Go ahead and check that out.
Finally, I'm going to end with a quote that I already mentioned, but this is a great one from Tolkien. He says, “Not all those who wander are lost.” Cheers, take care, and I'll see you in the nest episode of AskPat.
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