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SPI 351: The Ten Hardest-Hitting SPI Episodes of 2018

SPI 351: The Ten Hardest-Hitting SPI Episodes of 2018

By Pat Flynn on

I can’t believe it, we’re at the end of 2018! To celebrate, I’m sharing ten highlights from ten high-impact SPI episodes from this year. 2019 is just around the corner, and these clips are here to lift you up, get your gears turning, and start your engines for 2019.

If you don’t listen to any other episodes from 2018, I definitely suggest you choose from these! They cover everything from physical products, to mindset, to developing powerful habits that set you up for success. I have a lot of big goals in the works for 2019, and if you’re listening to this podcast I know you do too, so hit play, put that phone in your pocket, and let’s get ready to crush it next year!

Below are descriptions and links for each episode—you can find them in the Resources section on the sidebar as well. Enjoy!

The first clip I’m featuring is from Session 300. I celebrated my 300th episode by featuring members of my mastermind group, The Green Room. We’ve been friends for years, helping each other through brutal honesty and support. The clip is from my conversation with Leslie Samuel—I ask him what two things I could do, if I was just starting out blogging, to make sure I have an audience and traffic for that blog.

Next is Session 303, where I interview Mark Wills and Roman Rosario, two guys who turned loan signing into a $30,000 a month business by using strategies like the idea validation techniques I describe in Will It Fly? Their early traction snowballed, and in this clip Mark describes what the experience of their first successful webinar was like.

I got pretty serious with YouTube this year, and in Session 308 I got to interview one of the most helpful guests we’ve ever had from the YouTube world: Sunny Lenarduzzi. In this session she talks about some awesome tips for getting started with YouTube—strategies for optimizing videos for maximum traffic.

Whitney Johnson came on the show in Session 315, an author and leading thinker on corporate innovation. She’s an expert on personal disruption, and she came on the show to talk about how to do it right. In the clip I’ll share, we talk about the pattern that a lot of entrepreneurs go through—how we look for new ventures before really even giving the current one a fair shot.

My 2017 book of the year was The Coaching Habit (Amazon link) by Michael Bungay Stanier, and guess what? I got to interview him in Session 325! There is so much actionable and valuable content in this episode—it’s awesome—but I’ll play a clip about how to coach regarding an area you’re an expert in, without just bluntly saying, “here’s what you should do.”

Every time you push yourself you come across new challenges, and I had Dr. Shannon Irvine—an Accelerator Program student of mine who’s just crushing it out there—on the show in Session 331 to talk about the power of mindset. In a clip from this session, I challenge Shannon with a thought experiment—a common scenario that could pose a threat to a strong entrepreneurial mindset—and she walks me through how she’d handle it.

Dr. Irvine has a great phrase she uses to describe entrepreneurial growth—”different levels, different devils.” She’s got another one that I love; it actually helped me through an experience I had on YouTube with an internet troll. It’s “hurt people hurt people.” So powerful. Here’s a video from my channel where I talk about that experience:

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Session 337 was the most popular solo episode I did this year: The Riches Are in the Niches—The Advantage of SMALL. This was one of the most responded to episodes of 2018, and the clip I’ll share describes Advantage #2 from that episode.

I’ve been working for years to coordinate the right time for an interview with James Clear, and I finally did in Session 340! James is the New York Times bestselling author of Atomic Habits (Amazon link): In this clip James talks about how to get back on track if you get derailed from your habits.

You might know that Caleb Wojcik—my videographer—and I have been working on a physical product together (more on that to come). Well, to help wrap my head around things a little more I invited Tom Gerhardt and Dan Provost from Studio Neat onto Session 344. We talk about the future of physical products and why they’ve kept their business so purposefully small. In this clip they explain how they’re able to grow revenue-wise while still keeping operations small and niched.

Jordan Harbinger was on the show back in the day when he was still the host of The Art of Charm podcast. If you don’t know the story, listen to the episode, but basically Jordan was booted out of his own business since then. This clip, from Session 346, is all about how he handled the process, and actually turned the situation in his favor to come out on top.

See you in 2019, Team Flynn!

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Pat Flynn: What’s up, Team Flynn? This is the final episode of 2018 for The Smart Passive Income Podcast, which is really exciting. We’ve had an amazing year and I’m going to do some highlights from different podcasts. You’re actually going to hear clips from some of my favorite episodes and some of the most useful episodes of this year. A great reminder for those of you who have listened to them and perhaps a teaser for those of you who want to go back and listen to the full length of these episodes that we’re about to talk about. This is also a really exciting time because this means well, 2019 is just around the corner. Many of you know I have a lot of large, ambitious, big hairy audacious goals for next year including FlynnCON, a new course that’s coming out, a book that’s coming out, some travel that I’m really excited about, and we’ll get to those a little bit later. For right now, let’s cue the music.

Announcer: Welcome to The Smart Passive Income Podcast where it’s all about working hard now so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host—he usually plays the ukulele instead of the guitar because . . . it’s more his size—Pat Flynn!

Pat Flynn: This is Session 351 of the SPI Podcast. Thank you so much for joining me today. My name is Pat Flynn, here to help you make more money, save more time, and help more people too. Like I said, today we’re going to be doing a recap and you’re actually going to hear clips from some of my favorite episodes of the year. I want to start right at the beginning in Episode 300, which was the second episode of the year. We reached a milestone, a mark in the podcast, Episode 300. To do something special, I brought on members of my mastermind group, which is called The Green Room Mastermind Group. The green room in theater, in television, is the room where you sit in before you go on camera, before you go live or on stage. We decided to call our mastermind group the green room because this is where we come together to prepare before we go out in the world and serve others. We have some amazing members in this group. We have Leslie Samuel, Ray Edwards, Mark Mason, Michael Stelzner, and Cliff Ravenscraft. All great friends of mine. We’ve been friends for years and we hold each other accountable, we share goals and we lean on each other, and we are brutally honest with each other as well.

Here’s a clip from Leslie Samuel. We started talking about blogging and if blogging was dead and with video and podcasting being or seemingly a lot more popular now, should we continue working on our websites and blogs? His answer was yes, absolutely. So I said, okay, well let’s say I start a blog today. What are two things that I can do to make sure that I have people coming to this blog, that I have traffic? Here’s that part of the conversation:

All right. I’m convinced now. I’m going to start a blog because Leslie told me that I need to have my own home base. I’m going to put it up and nobody’s going to see it except for my mom? How do I get other people to find it? Your top two tips if you have any.

Leslie Samuel: Top two tips. Well, the pre-tip to the two tips would be to get really clear on who you’re trying to target because if you’re not clear about who that person is, you’re not going to be in the right places to find them. That’s number one. That’s like the foundation. If you know who they are, what are they struggling with? What are they searching for? So that you can create the kind of content that they’re looking for, you’re going to be setting yourself up for success. That’s number one or, that’s number zero.

Number one would be to find places where they are gathering whether it’s on Facebook or whether it’s on Twitter or whatever social network, YouTube or whatever the case might be, choose one main platform, learn as much as you can about how to get exposure on that platform and then just go all in. I think a lot of people try to do everything and there’s so much that we can be doing in 2018 now that I think we really need to think about, hey, where can I focus so that I can have the biggest bang for the time that I’m actually investing?

You understand who you’re trying to reach, you choose your main platform that you want to focus on and then, I’m going to give a tip that I don’t typically do because I think it’s something that so many of us bloggers neglect, I want you to come from behind the blog and actually go out there and connect with people in person. We do this a lot by going to conferences and events and those kinds of things and I think that’s so valuable because you’re about to connect with other people in your space and the relationships that come from that can result in so many magical opportunities.

Those are going to be two quick tips. I can give like 50 if you want but I’m going to keep it simple for right now.

Pat Flynn: For everybody who wants more tips however, where can they go?

Leslie Samuel: Oh, they can go to That’s where I share all things blogging.

Pat Flynn: All right, so again I highly recommend you listen to Episode 300 because there’s some amazing knowledge from amazing people who I’m just very thankful that I have a chance to chat with every single week. Now, next up we have Session 303 where I invited Mark and Roman—Mark was a loan signing agent who was just getting started in the online space. Roman was, without even Mark’s knowledge, following my validation process. He had read my book and he had gone through all the steps.

It was a funny story in there about how Mark and I actually met, because I actually brought Mark into my office to sign papers for a house that we purchased, my wife and I, as an investment property. Mark saw some thank you notes on my wall and was like, “What do you do?” I started telling the story. He’s like, “Oh my gosh, my partner Roman follows your stuff,” and then we sat down for coffee. I learned about their story, I needed to invite them on the show because Mark took his knowledge about becoming a loan signing agent and he now teaches other people how to do that.

In this clip that you’re about to hear, you’re going to hear Mark describe what it was like to host his first webinar. Roman set that up. Mark came on to teach and he was talking about how surprised he was to get just a little bit of registration and some dollars coming from a small webinar which then blew up, and now they have just an incredible business. At the time of this recording, when it came out in Episode 303, which was in January, they were making over $30,000 a month.

This really brings into perspective what those first steps are like and you’ll see that. Well, the dollar amount was very small, but it always starts with just that first success which can then blow up too much bigger success later. Here’s Mark talking about his first webinar:

You see these sales come in, tell me what’s going through your head.

Mark Wills: Everything Roman told you about the validating, would’ve had no idea what was going on. Going further back he says, we have a hundred-something registrants, you’re going to do, just do what you did with me.” When he talked about that point I was just kind of lost. That’s when I was telling you, when we met for coffee, I had no idea Roman was following everything you did step by step, which is just so funny about how small this world is. Yeah, I was blown away that we had 15 people show up, and then I was blown away, we had four purchases. At that moment I said, “Roman, we are onto something.” We did $600 in about three hours, that was how long the webinar was when we first started. Literally I said, “When’s the next webinar?” That was literally my next question, “When’s the next webinar?”

Pat Flynn: Nice. That’s great.

Mark Wills: Then I believe we fired up another Facebook ad, and then now at this point, once I realized that there was a business, I then went all-in onto the online world, and I’m maybe a year deep into this amazing new world that you’re a very big part of. I now understand what Roman’s saying about validating. Right when we had that, then we started getting into, we started A-B testing Facebook slides, ads, and kind of the rest is history.

Pat Flynn: Man, I just love the energy that Mark always brings to the table and you know, I’ve been able to see him more often now. We live in San Diego together, but he’s also been attending the monthly San Diego entrepreneurs group meetup that a few entrepreneurs and I kind of set up here in San Diego. It happens on the first Wednesday of every month, unless there’s like a holiday or something. That’s at the WeWork in Downtown and so it’s open to everybody. Mark comes in, he always has some amazing things to say. I haven’t seen Roman in a while. I know he’s doing well too, and obviously their business is crushing it right now. Well done guys. If you want to continue listening to that episode, that’s Episode 303.

Now next up, I want to talk about Episode 308. This was published in March right after I started getting really serious with YouTube. This guest who was in this particular episode was by far one of the most helpful guests that we’ve had in the area of YouTube. We’ve had many guests and they’re all fantastic but Sunny Lenarduzzi, who has an amazing channel and who has been just so gracious to me in helping push my podcasting stuff out to her audience, I want to make sure that you check out her YouTube channel. In the clip that you’re about to hear in Episode 308, she talks about some tips for those of you who are getting into YouTube. This was definitely an episode that I was using to help myself, but also to help everybody listening too. She talks about some specific strategies that you can use to make sure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck, because producing videos does take a lot of time. We want to make sure that we maximize our efforts there, and optimize the strategies so that more people find our video. Here she is:

Sunny Lenarduzzi: “. . . like I said no one cares about you on YouTube until you give them a reason to care, you want to get into your content as quickly as possible. A huge mistake that a lot of new YouTubers make or entrepreneurs make on YouTube is they give the why of why people need to be paying attention to the content, but if people are searching for an answer or a solution, they already know the why generally.

They know why they need it. They just want to know how to do it and what they need to do. Kind of skipping over the why of it and getting right into the steps and having a very short intro, getting to the steps and then having calls to action at the end. That’s what I call my like HOT script formula and it stands for hook, outcome, testimonial.

At the very beginning saying, “Today I’m going to teach you how to get more views on YouTube. You’re going to learn exactly step by step the seven steps that you need to rank your videos number one in YouTube. I’ve taught this to thousands of entrepreneurs like,” and I can give a customer testimonial to prove my credibility, and then get right into the steps.

Pat Flynn: I love it. It makes it simple. I think the hook is super important. That’s the one thing I’ve learned about this YouTube space that I’m trying to carry over into podcasting too and that’s how can we get people to continue or to just know in the beginning that they’re going to stick around the whole time. In podcasting it’s not as important, although obviously it’s important everywhere, but in podcasting you have a little bit more time to convince a person that yes, I’m going to put this device in my pocket and continue listening.

On YouTube, I mean I can see literally in a lot of my older videos, just after 12-15 seconds, it’s like . . . Like they just drop off because I haven’t gained their interest yet.

Sunny Lenarduzzi: Totally.

Pat Flynn: I’ve been trying to work on that too, and this thing of let’s keep people on here and more engagement, which means you need stuff that’s happening visually versus just like the talking head the whole time. This stuff is all new to me and it’s a fun challenge, but it’s not super easy to figure out.

Sunny Lenarduzzi: No. I mean there’s so many elements to it. I continue to learn on a daily basis about it. It’s such a fascinating platform to me and there’s so many elements to keeping people engaged. I think what you mentioned is so important on YouTube and people need to understand it’s one of the most important metrics to actually seeing success on the platform is that retention factor. People need to watch your entire video in order for that video to actually get ranked because YouTube and Google see it as obviously a quality piece of content and people are watching the entire thing.

Then watch time on your channel as well is massive. It’s a huge analytic that Google and YouTube pay attention to, which means you want people binge watching your content. You kind of want all of your content to link back to each other. I call it the spiderweb strategy of like linking each video to another video and having them be related to each other so that people stay on your content and your channel for a long time.

Pat Flynn: Now I know Sunny listens to the show. Sunny, you’re amazing. Thank you so much. I highly recommend you check out her channel on YouTube. We’ll have obviously all the links and resources mentioned in this particular episode, which there’s going to be a bunch because we’re going to link to all the previous episodes that we’ve recorded that we’re talking about and highlighting. Also, all the links that we mentioned and the people that we are featuring here.

Speaking of amazing people, I want to talk about Whitney Johnson. She was somebody who I just met through a connection with Richie Norton, who’s a good friend of mine. Whitney is amazing.She’s an author and she’s a leading thinker on corporate innovation. She talks about this thing called personal disruption, and she came to the show to talk about how to disrupt yourself, essentially. In this particular segment that you’re about to hear, we talk about the pattern that we often go through that I had gone through myself that maybe you’ve gone through, which is when you start something new, you get really excited about it, but then all of a sudden you just start to lose energy for it. Whether it be because you find something new that’s more exciting or you just get bored of it, or perhaps you tackle a thing that’s hard in that process and you just want to give up. We look for something new before we even give that thing a chance to succeed, to get a chance to a point where—to give it a chance to actually grow.

This is a very common thing in why a lot of entrepreneurs or would be entrepreneurs fail. Let’s listen to this clip with Whitney Johnson in Episode 315:

You know, I have a lot of people in the audience who, they get so fired up about starting something new, right? So, they decide to make a change, they’re taking action, and before they get to that exponential growth in that S curve that you’re talking about, I think they start to already experience boredom before the success, and I’d love for you to speak on just this repetitive cycle that a lot of us go through which is just we’re always in building mode, and then as soon as something is perhaps ready to get mass market, or big, or start to make sales for us, we kinda go back to starting something new before even giving that thing a change to succeed.

Where is that coming from? And can you address that and perhaps unpack that for us?

Whitney Johnson: Yeah. That’s a great question. So, I think if you think again about the psychology around this, right? Of you’re discouraged, then you’re confident, and then you’re bored, I do think there is some element of this is just a natural cycle of life and the natural cycle of learning. And so, once you approach that mastery stage, knowing that you’re going to get bored, I think what you’re asking is this idea of sometimes we don’t persist when we need to persist. That sometimes we can disrupt too much.

And so, there is an element of being able to learn when it’s time to disrupt yourself, and when it’s time to get to the top of the learning curve and to survey all that you’ve accomplished, and to appreciate it, and to prepare for the future, and also to make it possible that whatever you’ve built can continue to grow and persist beyond your having been there.

So, I think it’s natural that you’re gonna get bored, but I also think, and your point is something important, sometimes we just need to persist, and sometimes we just need to slog a little bit. And sometimes there’s a slog at the low end, and sometimes there’s a slog at the high end, and that’s just part of our being able to become successful, is the willingness to slog.

I remember, I was just reading this morning a quote from Steve Jobs, he said that he’s convinced, and I’m paraphrasing, convinced that most of what separates a successful entrepreneur from an unsuccessful entrepreneur is perseverance. And so, I would say to all of us if we’re feeling a little bit bored, persevere just a little bit longer, and then you can jump to a new curve.

Pat Flynn: Do you have any suggestions on if a person is at that point, how to persevere? Is it tapping into the why behind what you’re doing? Is it some other strategies that you might have?

Whitney Johnson: I would say two. One is I think tapping into the why, you’ve just hit a really important thing of okay, I’m doing this because this isn’t just about me. I’ve just actually started doing the Headspace meditation, which is fantastic.

Pat Flynn: I love Headspace.

Whitney Johnson: Oh, it is so great. I know I’m totally digressing, but it’s really making a difference. It’s making a huge difference for me. I gave this huge speech yesterday and I meditated before, and I felt like I was so much more into, focused on what I was saying and not having it be about me, but focused on the words and the people I was talking to.

Anyway, the point being, is that every time you do Headspace, not every time, but most of the time, is like why are you doing this? Who are you doing this for? And I think when you, as you said, if you can connect this back to the why, I’m doing this, like I said earlier, I’m doing this to help people feel, make it safe for people to change. When I can connect back to that then it’s easier for me to persist. I think the other thing that is really powerful, is that I think we sometimes think a lot about endurance in terms of our physical, you know . . .

People run marathons, people climb mountains, and we think of endurance in that respect, and I think that there is an element of us are learning how to build out our endurance when it comes to persisting with an endeavor. Whether it’s writing a book, or building a business, not just when it comes to physical feats.

Pat Flynn: I would agree with you 100 percent, and I know through just the decade of doing this on my own, I mean, I’ve gotten a little bit better at persisting, and at first I just, I don’t know if it’s because I was young and I just, we’re in a age now where we want instant results, I was just not . . . I couldn’t imagine keeping going sometimes.

All right, Whitney Johnson, everybody. If you want to listen to that full episode, again, that was Episode 315. One of my favorite things to do is get connected with new entrepreneurs and that’s something that’s going to happen a lot in 2019. I’ve a little bit been intimidated by many other entrepreneurs who I would love to have on the show, but I just, you know—I know it may sound weird because I have this successful podcast and a business that’s known for being innovative and growing and getting bigger and bigger every single year, but I still get nervous. I still get scared and sometimes I still feel like, “Oh well, who am I to ask this person?” Just to fill you in. For instance, the other day I finally had the guts to ask a YouTuber personality who I really admire to see if he would love to come on the show. He said yes.

Those things are going to happen more often because I just need to, again, step out of my comfort zone a little bit more. I know a lot of you need to do the same thing. I just want to lead by example and let you know that hey, I’m struggling through the same things, but I’m also getting through it as well. Hey, we’re on the same team. That’s why this is Team Flynn. That’s why this is Team Flynn.

Hey Team Flynn, if I could play this next episode for you in full here in this particular podcast episode, I would because the whole thing is that valuable. This goes back to my 2017 choice for book of the year, and that book was The Coaching Habit (Amazon link) by Michael Bungay Stanier. I was so thankful that I had the opportunity to interview him on the show in Episode 325. Literally, it’s probably one of the most useful episodes you will ever listen to, because it’s just so actionable and so valuable. We always are coaching people. Our friends, our children, our parents sometimes, our colleagues. If you’re a manager, obviously you do that. If you’re the CEO or an entrepreneur, your team, you’re coaching them too.

This episode is called How to Be an Amazing coach and it really, really, really is one that I highly recommend you listen to. Again, that’s Episode 325. Now this clip I want to share with you goes into, well the setup is I was asking Michael like, okay, like you have these certain questions that you ask instead of just like spilling advice. You’re always asking the same question, but what if you actually do know how to solve something, and do you just go right into that? How do you position yourself when you’re coaching somebody to still be useful but just not be in that rescuer mindset? Here’s a very valuable clip from this episode, Episode 325 with the author of The Coaching Habit:

Michael Bungay Stanier: Look, here’s a classic case. Somebody comes up to you and goes, “Hey, Pat, how do I?” You’re in a position where you’ve built a brand and authority around your ability to help people and you have answers, so you’re going to get this all the time, “Hey, Pat, how do I?” That triggers every part of your body, your advice monster, if you like, to come out and go, “Let me tell you what I think you should do,” but here’s the habit that I’ve developed that might be useful for you or people listening in, and it gives both of you what you want.

When somebody comes up to me and goes, “Hey, Michael. How do I?” I go, “Look, Pat, that’s a great question, and I’ve got some ideas on how to tackle this, and I’ll share them with you, but before I give you my idea, what’s your first idea on how to tackle this?” They’ll give me an answer, and I’m like, “Fantastic, I love that.” Then, of course, I use the best coaching question in the world, “And what else? Okay. What else could you do, and what else could you do? Great, and is there anything else you could do?” Then, if it’s appropriate, I’ll then go, “So, I love all of these ideas. Here’s what they make me think of,” and I’m might add one or two ideas of my own.

What I’m doing here is a number of things. I’m making sure they know that I’ve got their back, and I’m not going to let them leave without helping them answer the question. Secondly, I’m giving them first go so that I’m not just offering up advice that they already know. I’m like, “Tell me what you already know. Tell me what you’ve already thought of.” Then, thirdly, I get to just offer the more exquisite advice because it’s more precise, it’s not redundant, and, if you want to play a game with this so it’s . . . I’m reminding them that actually, I’m still the smartest person in this conversation because I had all those other ideas that you had, plus I’ve got a couple more that can be helpful there as well.

Pat Flynn: A fun fact about this particular episode is that it encouraged me to literally write down every single question in The Coaching Habit and have them on a note card. Right here—I don’t know if you can hear that paper, but that is the list of questions that I use when I’m coaching my Accelerator students, when I’m on a phone call with somebody and I want to learn more and see what I can do to help.

It’s even something that I referenced in many mastermind calls, are these questions from again, the 2017 business book of the year in my choice, and that is The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier. He and I have developed the relationship now, and we are chatting on Twitter every once in a while. Just super cool and super helpful. I love the guy. Just again, check out the book, check out the episode, Episode 325.

Now, in addition to that coaching, a lot of times coaching is a mindset-related thing. I wanted to highlight Dr. Shannon Irvine, who was featured in Episode 331. She was a student of mine and she’s crushing it, but more than that she’s helping so many entrepreneurs break through into those next levels because, as she says, “next level, next devil.” Every time you try to push yourself, you’re always going to come across these new challenges in your mind, the little devil on your shoulder telling you that you can’t do this or that you’re not good enough. The clip that I want to play for you is near the end of the episode where I literally go, “Hey Shannon, I want to do a thought experiment with you, a little challenge for you.” I make up this scenario about something that would affect my mind and I have her respond to that as if it were really happening. This is Episode 331: The Story You Tell Yourself, and here is the setup for that mind/thought experiment:

I’d love to do a little role playing game with you, if that’s okay.

Dr. Shannon Irvine: Love it, love it, yeah, absolutely.

Pat Flynn: This will be a scenario, and I’d love to know how you, as the coach essentially, in this situation, would help me out.

I tell myself these affirmations every single day. I practice and I behave like an entrepreneur who is successful, and I am seeing success, and then I plan a launch and it’s based on what my audience says they want. And they are ready for this launch, and I launch this thing, and it falls flat. It just bombs. And now I’m in my own head. I am in this whirlpool going down and circling down into a deep dark hole of “I’m not worth it, I am not good enough. It is all ending. Everything I put my work into is crumbling. I should go out and get a job, a stable job. Who am I to even think I could go down this route, Shannon?” How do I . . . I had done all the things, but then, now I’m derailed. How do I get back on?

Dr. Shannon Irvine: Oh, my gosh. I love this so much. Welcome to the world of being an entrepreneur, what he just described, because as we love to say, “next level, next devil.” It doesn’t go away. You just get much, much, much, much better at identifying it and doing the work.

Before this launch, of course we would have talked about what the launch means. What does it mean about you? Because the reality is, if you’re thinking like a seven figure entrepreneur, you absolutely know you’re going to fail. You’re going to fail and learn, and fail and learn, and fail and learn, and that’s the fabric of almost every successful on and offline business owner that I know. They took risks and they failed.

So we would have done that work ahead of time, but we’re here and you’re spiraling, so I, Pat, would want to know from you, what does this failure mean about you?

Pat Flynn: My reply would be, I built the wrong audience. I built the wrong product. I wasted a bunch of money and now I don’t have any clients at all. Money is not coming in like I thought it was going to, and our projections. I feel like a failure.

Dr. Shannon Irvine: And so, does this product not help people then?

Pat Flynn: It helps people. They said it was something they needed, but for whatever reason, it just wasn’t connecting with them, and so I don’t know what to do next. If I relaunch, should I lower the price to try and get people in it? Maybe it was the price that was the issue. I think it’s going to be helpful for them, and I even had a couple of my friends go through the course and they said it was helpful, but I wasn’t making sales. I don’t know if people believe me.

Dr. Shannon Irvine: Hmm. Okay, do you believe that if it sold, what kind of impact would it make on people and on their lives? Say we’re sitting here. The launch didn’t fail. It was at the right price or the right marketing message and all that, and we’re sitting her and you’ve got ten people in. What are they getting from your course? Because I know you launched this because you had a drive and a belief and you wanted to help people. What is it helping them with?

Pat Flynn: It would help them double their revenue, because it includes some really unique marketing tactics that I implement myself and I’ve shared this on a surface level on my blog and on my podcast, and it’s for people who want to execute on that, which is not easy. And so I would have these ten students going through and daily getting small wins that lead up to the big win in the end, where they launch something new, and then they double their revenue. They see something they haven’t seen before. And I know it can help them do that. That’s the big frustration here, Shannon, is that I don’t have the people in there.

Dr. Shannon Irvine: Yeah. Can you identify that your worth is connected right now to this being a success, because you’re feeling like you want to give up, that maybe it wasn’t worth it? You spent all this money, you spent all this time. Do you see that there’s a story there, that this had to be successful to validate your worth in this?

Pat Flynn: Yeah, yes, this failed; therefore, I am a failure.

Dr. Shannon Irvine: Okay, let’s talk about that story, because you just told me something that contradicted that which was, “oh my gosh, I’ve done this in my own business. It’s life-changing, and I’ve had a couple people do it and they said it was amazing.”

Pat Flynn: Dr. Shannon Irvine, or as she forces me to call her . . . just Shannon. I love her and we get coffee together and we chat every other week on our Accelerator mastermind call. Shannon, you’re amazing. Keep up the great work. Another thing I learned from Shannon this year, that phrase I shared earlier, “different levels, different devils.” She also shared another thing that I mentioned in a later YouTube video related to haters, because a lot of times haters can get into our minds. We start telling ourselves stories based on what other people say of us. She told me—and this was at our Accelerator retreat in San Diego and she was telling this to the rest of the group too, it was so powerful—she said, “hurt people, hurt people.” If you’ve got somebody hurting you like a troll or a hater, they’re probably doing that because they are hurt themselves. Hurt people, hurt people.

If you have haters in your life, first of all, we’ll link to and perhaps embed the video that I published about a troll that almost ended me, and was having me tell stories about myself that I almost believed and almost quit because. We’ll link to that and embed it in the show notes for this episode. Again, this is Episode 351. One of the most popular videos that I’ve come out with recently. Anyway, hurt people, hurt people. Thank you for that Shannon, and everything else that you do.

All right, next up we’re going to talk about Episode 337. This was the most popular solo episode that I did during the year. This was one titled The Riches Are in the Niches. I’m sorry for those of you who are living across the pond who pronounce it “niches,” but that doesn’t rhyme as well. The riches are in the niches. The Riches Are in the Niches—The Advantage of Small. Not only was this the most downloaded solo episode of the year, but this was one that had the most response. I actually asked many of you at the end of the show to hit me up on Twitter or Instagram to let me know if it was helpful and if you were empowered by it.

Many of you, I still get messages about that. Again, this is Episode 337. I wanted to play a clip, which was the second advantage that I share that you have if you are just starting out, if you are small in your space, because we have a ton of advantages being small. We’re quick, we’re nimble. Here’s strategy number two, or advantage number two from that episode:

All right, number two. The second advantage you have by being small. And this is a big one. You can better connect with the audience that you have. Because there aren’t many people there yet, you have the ability to connect with a higher percentage of them. By connect I mean literally have conversations with them. Reply to their emails, reply to every single comment, reply to ever single tweet or Instagram message and even send your own direct messages to them to thank them, to ask them questions, to survey them and what have you. You can do that. I cannot do that at this point. I get 500 emails a day and it’s overwhelming. I get that many social media tags every day as well. I couldn’t possibly do this. This is your advantage against the big players. Especially bigger—big brand names where you become known as the person and people would much rather gravitate toward you because they know you and you’ve interacted with them versus a faceless brand.

A good example of this is when I started helping people in the architecture industry, which was my start in online business and entrepreneurship in general with my site Everything was going really well for awhile. I was selling my ebook in a study guide which then later turned into an audio guide as well. I was making a low five-figure amount every single month and then a giant ball just landed on me and crushed me. This was the United States Green Building Council, which is the organization that actually wrote the exam that I was creating the study guide for—they came out with their own study guides. I thought I was crushed. I mean, why would people buy a study guide from me? I didn’t even get a perfect score on the exam, I’m just . . . You know, back then I was just a 24, 25 year old guy who was just trying to make things work and was just studying for the exam and sharing my notes. Why would people buy an exam guide and some practice exam questions from me, versus the actual organization that creates the exams and the questions itself? I thought I was done for.

That month that they came out with that guide was my record month. I had sold more guides than ever, and I actually reached out to my audience and I had to survey them afterwards ’cause I just wanted to understand more about why they bought from me and not them. The reasons were because they got to know me because I did interact with them, because I’d answer their questions in forums. Because they saw my picture on my website, they much rather would buy from me and they trusted me as somebody who was just like them in their shoes. And likely the target audience that you have is just a couple steps behind where you are in this journey that you’re helping them through. They’re going to better relate to you and so you have that advantage over the big brands that are out there for sure.

Going back to what I said earlier about forums and DMs, direct messages: You can leverage those so well when you’re just starting out. I would challenge you, if you’re just starting out you should try to get to know the names of at least twenty-five people. Get to know them, have a . . . Understand who they are and what their problems are, what their day’s like. You should try to get know twenty-five people in your audience, at least at the start, and just kind of learn about them and get to know them and understand their psyche. This will give you so much good intel for how you can give back to them and obviously sell later on if you aren’t already. Use that small size of yours to your advantage. You have yet to get bombarded with 500 emails a day, so use your time wisely now.

All right, and again that was Episode 337, if you want to listen to the rest of that. Again, the most popular solo episode of the year, which was published in September. Just a half hour show, but very powerful. Again, Episode 337.

All right, next up. I often invite a lot of authors on; you’ve already heard Michael Bungay Stanier. A lot of times I love to feature friends who have books coming out, not just because I’m going to do them a favor, but also because they have amazing knowledge to share.

I want to help them out and get that knowledge in front of more people. The specific episode I’m talking about is Episode 340, which featured a good friend of mine, James Clear, who interestingly enough, we’ve been working for years to try and find and coordinate the right time and right topic. It just so happen to work out that his book was coming out in October of this year and his book is called Atomic Habits (Amazon link). I wanted to help him out and support him. First of all, congratulations James on having that book becoming a New York Times bestseller. I’m super proud of you and I’m thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to share this book with many others. It’s actually an episode that I’ve had a ton of people reply to and say thank you for having James on the show, because now people are building their own habits to support their lifestyle, to support their goals, which is very, very important. The clip that you’re about to hear is really interesting. This is near the end of the episode. This is Episode 340 with James Clear.

This is the part where we talk about, well, oftentimes when we form these habits, we get so derailed once we lose a day or once we miss a day on something. Whether it’s fitness related or we’re trying to write every day, we miss one day and all of a sudden things just spiral out of control and that’s when we lose things. How do we, in our mind, bounce back from that? James is here to talk about that, because nobody’s perfect. When you’re trying to build habits, we are trying to be perfect and build a routine, right? Nobody’s perfect. How do we make sure we stay on track when we get off track? Here he is:

James Clear: . . . the little mantra I like to keep in mind is never miss twice. So I can’t predict how well I’m going to do every single time. And I know that sometimes life is going to get in the way and emergencies are going to pop up. And maybe I’m trying to stick to a diet but then my friends want to go out to happy hour and I find that I binge ate with them or had a pizza or something.

That’s fine. I don’t need to get wrapped up in the mistake that just happened or in the fact that I had just done something that wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do to follow this program. Let me just pour all my energy into making sure that the next meal is the healthy one. Or, for the first three years that I wrote at, I wrote a new article every Monday and Thursday. And if I miss on a Thursday, well then all of my energy should be poured into getting back on track on Monday. It’s less about worrying about the fact that you just lost a streak or broke a streak and more about trying to build the next one as soon as possible.

It’s pretty much never the first mistake that ruins you. It’s almost always the spiral of repeated mistakes that follows. And if you can avoid that spiral and get back on track quickly, then you find that over the long run as you stretch the timescale out, it ends up looking really good. I have weeks when I have to go speak or work with a company or go on vacation or whatever and it’s hard to get my training, my workouts in those weeks. But I’m more focused on, “Can I get 40 or 42 weeks of workouts over the course of the year?” And all of that comes back to getting back on track as quickly as possible and never missing twice once I get back home.

Pat Flynn: All right, once again, I recommend you check out the book Atomic Habits by James Clear, New York Times bestselling author. Super proud of you, James. Again, that’s Episode 340, links in the show notes.

Next we have Episode 344. A lot of you know that my videographer, Caleb and I have been working on a physical product, and to help us with the development and the process and just getting our heads wrapped around this entire thing, we invited Tom and Dan from Studio Neat on the podcast, Episode 344.

In this clip, it’s about the future of physical products and how they’ve kept their business pretty small and why and the scalability of that. We’re going to hear the clip from Tom and Dan right now. Here we go, Episode 344:

Tom Gerhardt: Yeah. I mean, just behind the curtain, I’m sitting in my home office, so is Dan. We both made choices to not have a space. We wanted to work from home to be close to our kids, and not have the overhead and all that stuff, but also that doesn’t mean that we don’t want to grow revenue-wise. The really amazing thing about the way we set up our company is we could sell ten times as much product next year and literally nothing would change, because all of our warehousing, fulfillment, manufacturing, everything is outsourced. So, when an order comes into our website it goes straight to one of our warehouses. We have one in L.A., one in the U.K.. And then it gets shipped out to the customer the next day. And so, that could happen at a way faster rate and it doesn’t really change us at all.

And so, we are really optimizing to outsource stuff and keep it really simple, and keep it focused on what we’re on, and I think we’re actually in a really good position for the future, because I think the future for physical products is all about niche. It’s gonna be . . . Like you said, you can be a small team and reach so many people. You can build this really niche product, like for vloggers. You could reach all the vloggers in the world pretty easily, and that’s a huge, big market. And you don’t need . . . You could be one person and reach all of the people. So, for us, it feels like we’re set up for the future, because all the things that are hard right now are gonna get easier. So, manufacturing is gonna get easier, logistics are gonna get easier, outreach, advertising, it’s all gonna get easier, and if we keep on our toes and keep leveraging technology to extend ourselves, I feel like we can grow. From a revenue point of view, there’s no limit really.

So, it feels good. It feels like we’re in the right spot, and I would encourage anyone who’s interested in that . . . I mean, just keep it slow and don’t . . . There’s another way to do it, and if you haven’t read Rework (Amazon link) by 37signals, Jason Fried, check out that book. That’s been really helpful to us. And just knowing that the stories you hear about how businesses are run is not the only way. You know? You can do it your own way.

Pat Flynn: Again, I hope you enjoyed that quote from the guys over at Studio Neat. I highly recommend, if you were thinking about creating a small physical product, you can do really well in a very niche space. They are the right guys to follow the example from, Studio Neat. Again, they invented the Glif, which was the first product I ever bought on Kickstarter, I think. It was their product. This is a super neat story and again, Studio Neat, Episode 344.

All right, next up and finally, I want to highlight Episode 346, which featured Jordan Harbinger, a good friend of mine who was previously in the show a number of years back when he was the host of The Art of Charm, which if you don’t know the story, you’re going to have to listen to this episode. I’ll give you the gist.

His company essentially booted him out of his own business, and they took over and they kind of kicked him out. He was kind of left not really knowing what to do, and they still continue to use the name Art of Charm, and it was just a disgusting situation that you’ve never want to catch yourself in. Jordan got the short end of the stick there.

This clip I want to share with you is how he reacted to that and the things that he did, how he thought about the process so that he could actually come out better and on top, which he has. I’m very thankful that he had a lot of persistence through this, because it was a time where I imagine that a lot of people would have given up or felt like, “Well, I guess this just means I’m not cut out for this.” Especially when your own people kick you out, it’s bad, but also a big benefit of him having The Art of Charm initially, and being the host of that show, was that people followed the show for him, who are now following him at The Jordan Harbinger Show, which I recommend you subscribe to. I definitely recommend you listen to this episode.

It was a very open and honest and authentic and very scary episode, to know that he had gone through this process. Here’s Jordan from Episode 346, just a little snippet teaser for you. Here we go:

I know these situations personally too, because I’ve had things happen in my past. Many people know my story, getting laid off. It just seems like, “Wow, the plan I had is not going well. What am I going to do?” You were able to make something happen out of it, so those times become blessings in disguise, but you don’t really see it often when you’re in the situation.

So, how did you know where to go or what the plan was, or did you just kind of go, “You know what? I’m just gonna see what happens?” Then, how are you able to steer the ship now into an even better direction?

Jordan Harbinger: The first thing was to realize that I had a lot of people on my side. What I did really was I absolutely made a bunch of phone calls. Like you know, you were part of that. I made a bunch of those calls, and got a bunch of advice, and let everybody know what was going on. I asked for a lot of help, and that help was highly valuable, because I’d been sort of banking social capital in referral currency or reputation currency, whatever you want to call it, for a while. What that really meant for me was I spent eleven, twelve years meeting people, helping people out with things, not asking for anything in return.

There’s a book from Harvey Mackay called Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty (Amazon link). That’s exactly what I was doing, was trying to figure out who I could introduce to someone else or figure out how I could have people that I know help each other. That was novel at the time that I was doing it. One of the reasons I did it was because I was teaching a lot of networking skills and talking about it, things like that, here and there to students and things like that at my old law school. I thought it was good to practice what you preach, but nobody who’s digging the well . . . One of the reasons that entrepreneurs put this off is they think, “Oh. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Dig the well before you’re thirsty. I’ve heard that,” but nobody really thinks, “I’m gonna be thirsty in ten years when this horrible thing happens that you can’t plan for,” right?

That was actually in many ways lucky that I ended up practicing what I had been preaching. That, over time, built up so many people that were like, “Oh, yeah. You helped me launch my book. Oh, yeah. You gave me advice early on,” or, “Oh, yeah. You introduced me to this person, who I ended up hiring that ended up working out.” There’s all kinds of relationships like that that I had helped create just by giving value first; ABG instead of ABC. Instead of Always Be Closing, ABC, it’s ABG, Always Be Giving, or Always Be Generous, and helping other people without the attachment of anything in return.

Pat Flynn: All right, one more time, that was Jordan from Episode 346, which just came out a couple of weeks ago. Man, what an amazing lineup we’ve had all year. I wish I could play clips from every episode because you know, all fifty-one episodes were fantastic.

I want to thank you all for the support this year, and I cannot wait because I am getting really excited right now. It’s just the beginning of December while I record this. I had to delay the recording of this a little bit because I was sick. Those of you who are following me on social media know that, and I thank you so much for all the kind words and the well wishes. I’m back and back to normal, which is why I’m recording this episode now, but I’m also getting really jazzed about what’s coming next year. I’ve invited some amazing players on board to come on the podcast and share a lot of various insights and stories and tips for you so that you can build a successful business of your own as well.

Big, big ups to everybody who has left a review on the show this year, and everybody who’s listening as well to AskPat. I want to thank you so much for all the support with that. Literally, I’m so thankful for 2018 and I know that 2019 is going to be even more of a hit. Thanks to the encouragement and the inspiration from many of you.

I want to encourage you to keep going and move into 2019 with full force, with full commitment to succeed and to level-up and to do all the amazing things in. For those of you who are going to be coming to San Diego in July— July 26 to 28—I am looking forward to seeing you there. If you haven’t gotten your ticket yet, now would be the time. I don’t even know if it’s perhaps already sold out by the time you listen to this, but hey, is exactly where you want to go:

One more time, just thank you so much for all the support. Love you and we’ll see you in 2019. Cheers.

Announcer: Thanks for listening to The Smart Passive Income Podcast, at!

If you haven’t checked out my live event for next year in San Diego— I can’t even explain to you how excited I am for this. Hope to see you there!

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