AskPat 437 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, what's up everybody? Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 437 of AskPat. As always, I'm here to help you by answering your online business-related questions five days a week. We have a great question today from Tony, but before we get to Tony's question I do want to thank today's sponsor, which is FreshBooks.com, which is a tool that makes it so easy for all of us to manage our business finances.
They serve over 3,000,000 small businesses including my own, and they can help serve you too, just making it really easy to organize everything, from your income to expenses and even invoicing as well. So if you'd like to check it out for 30 days for free and see if it works for you, which it will, check it out at GetFreshBooks.com and make sure you enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section. Again, that's GetFreshBooks.com, enter “Ask Pat.”
Alright, here is today's question from Tony.
Tony: Hey Pat, this is Tony from DesignerHacks.com. I recently contacted you for an interview, and you basically told me you have a busy schedule and I completely understand that, but I figured maybe AskPat is a good forum if I have one question to ask, maybe you would answer it. So, basically, I was thinking . . . My audience is designers, and I listened to SPI 90, which is six things architecture taught you about starting an online business. And I'm really curious of the flip side of that. If owning your own online business, what that has taught you about design and how you look at design differently, now that you own your own online business? I'd love to hear it answered, and I'd love to share it with my own audience. Thanks again so much for everything that you do and keep going, keep it on.
Pat Flynn: Hey Tony, what's up? Thank you so much for this question. I really appreciate it, and I love questions like this. So, how does owning my own online business, how is becoming my own boss, how is doing work in the online space, what has that taught me about design? It shows me that, really, design is really, really important.
And you know, it's this debate between whether content is king or design is king. And there was a post that Derek Halpern posted on SocialTriggers.com, which started this huge, massive, viral debate about whether content is most important or design is most important. And really what it comes down to is they're both equally important because, you know, unless your design is okay, the content . . . The design is the first thing people see when they land on your site. And so that's obviously very important because it could be an immediate turnoff before people even get into your content. But at the same time, the design can be the best thing in the world, but if your content is lacking, then that doesn't matter either.
So, there is a definite conversation that happens between the online business and things like conversions and sales numbers and email subscribers and time on site and those kinds of metrics and design, because I've seen it. I've done design changes over time and seen how it affects the ROI and all those sorts of things. Now, the most important thing that I've learned is that, when you design for the user experience, that always helps business. When I've designed for what I feel looks best, that doesn't necessarily correlate at all. What I feel is good design doesn't actually matter.
And so, that's why I feel like people like Dustin, who's on my team . . . He is a UI or user interface, user experience designer, and his expertise is understanding how people use design. So, knowing that, when somebody comes on you website or lands on your landing page or goes and visits your sales page, or sees your icon on iTunes for your podcast or sees your avatar on social media and your branding on your cover art and all those sorts of things, I mean, that has an immediate impression on what people feel about who you are and what you have to provide. But, as people go through your content, as they navigate through those things, that is all design, and when somebody understands how a person thinks when looking at something it can be a huge advantage.
I think that's another important lesson. It's that, let's say, for example, you're going through a design iteration, and your designer comes up with this really amazing looking design on a Photoshop file and you show it to your audience and they say, “That looks amazing!” But what does, “That looks amazing!” actually do for you? In an ideal world, you would want those people to say, “Yes, I can see myself going through this site in a very easy manner,” as opposed to, “This just looks great,” or, “This looks fantastic,” or “This is something like I've never seen before.” That's not helpful feedback.
So I guess the big lesson here for everybody who's listening, if you are going through a design iteration, which is actually something I'm doing right now, make sure you keep in mind how people are using it, what they feel about navigation, and what they feel about the actual core of what it is that you do and not just the ornaments around it.
So hopefully that helps give you . . . I mean, again, I love questions like this, cause this is just . . . I'm just speaking my mind, stream of consciousness. I didn't even outline this because I just wanted to talk as if I'm having a conversation with somebody at the coffee shop. So you and I, Tony, you asked me this question, and that's what I thought, and I'm curious to hear what actually everybody else thinks. So, for those of you who have an online business, I know some of you have yet to start your own online business and hopefully this is helpful for that, but if you have an online business use the hashtag #AskPat437, again #AskPat437 on Twitter, and we can continue this conversation on that platform, just to kinda . . . you know, I love discussions like this. I would love to just sit in a room with people and just talk about things like this because this stuff interests me quite a bit.
So anyway, what are your feelings? How has your online business changed your thoughts about design? Cause when we go into an online business, you might think that you need the best design in the world or something that's completely fancy or something that looks like somebody else, but that actually isn't always the answer and usually is not the answer. You want something that just works and highlights and is able to spotlight your content and whatever it is that you're trying to do for your audience in a better way. Again, the UI, the user interface, user experience is, what I feel, the most important thing out of everything in terms of design and how people use your site.
So, Tony thank you so much for the question, I really appreciate it, and I'm gonna send you an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show and for those of you who have a question you'd like potentially featured here on the show, just head over to AskPat.com. You can ask right there on that page. I have mentioned a design iteration or a new design for SPI that's coming up. We've been working really hard on that and I look forward to sharing that with you in the next many months it takes to get that all implemented. It's still . . . We're still going through the design process, and we're doing some custom pages for a lot of the different parts of my website. We're trying to make a cohesive brand through Smart Passive Income and the AskPat podcast and SPI TV. Right now, each of those entities could be pretty separate. They each have their own logo, and they can be about themselves, but I wanna create a cohesive language across all different platforms, and that's something we're working on right now. But anyway, just wanted to share that with you guys, again, thank you so much for your support.
I also want to thank FreshBooks for their support as well. They've sponsored this episode and make it really easy for all of us to just keep track of our finances and when it comes time to do our taxes or just . . . we want to get a glimpse of how our business is doing financially . . . just makes it really easy to do that. Plus, if you do any invoicing, if you are, for an example, a freelancer, and you need to bill a client or you are a consultant or a coach and you need to bill your students or you know, whatever. They make invoicing incredibly easy, so you can get paid. It looks incredibly professional, and it helps you with your business and you gotta check it out. Just head over to GetFreshBooks.com and enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section, and that'll get you 30 days free to try it out and see if you like it. Again, it's GetFreshBooks.com, enter “Ask Pat.”
And today's quote to finish off this episode is from Bob Dylan, and he said, “What's money? Man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in-between does what he wants to do.”
Cheers, take care, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat. Bye now.
AskPat listeners get a 30-day free trial to their software when you enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section.