Podcast 1 - Interview with Pat Flynn of Smartpassiveincome.com 063012
<Warren> Today I’m interviewing Pat Flynn, a remarkable blogger that I met a couple of years ago in internet business mastery platinum mastermind group, where he presented a lot of great information in our chat sessions and now he runs this great website, smart passive income, where I’ve learned a lot about internet business and he’s also into many passive income niches that he works on, besides his smart passive income. He’s the one who got me interested in the internet business by presenting a great video when he was working with the internet business mastery academy, which started in _ when he talked about how he started his online business with the green exam academy or, at that time it was the inlead.com. I want to welcome Pat to our audience and I’m going to ask him a few questions today and let him help us learn about what it takes to get started in business and earn some income online part time with your own internet business. Pat, could you please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started in internet business?
<Pat>Yeah, absolutely. First all of, Warren, I want to thank you for having me on the show and everyone out there. It’s great to meet you. Warren and I met up at Blog World, it was last year, I think.
<Pat> We had a really great time and it seems like time just flies by really fast. I’m happy to finally be on the show with you today. So, I guess I’ll just start with kind of how I got started because it’s really reflects on how I run my business today and it kind of started like an accident. Let me explain. I went to college for architecture, graduated, landed a great job in the architecture field and it what I was going to do for the rest of my life. That was the plan, at least. I really loved my job. I wasn't ever trying to get away from it but in 2008, the economy in the US, as most of us know, had a tank and I tanked along with it. So, I got laid off. That was a really tough time for me. Luckily, I had this blog set up and I set this up while I was still working. The purpose behind the blog was to help me keep track of notes I was taking for an exam in the architecture industry. The reason I created a blog to do that was because I could easily access my notes while I traveling. I did a lot of traveling with my architecture job. I could share my notes with my coworkers. I never had any intention of sharing them with anybody else but I shared it with my coworkers to help them pass the exam and also because I knew about blogging and actually the structure of it. It was easy for me to organize the materials into different categories and link things to each other and there were a lot of things that I needed to learn from other sites that I could link to. So, it was just all my notes in one spot online. It just made sense for me to study that way. I passed the exam; let the site sit there because I didn't have any more use for it. Eventually, maybe 6 or 8 months later after that, I got laid off. So, I got really depressed for a little bit but then I got really inspired at the same time by other people who were doing really well with businesses that they started for themselves online. Internet business mastery __ and __ they were an interval part in inspiring me to pursue an online business too. What happened was I started to learn as much as I could, read as much as I could. I joined the internet business mastery academy, learned as much as I could from there. one of the first things I learned was if you have a website that has traffic, you potentially monetize it and make money from it because it’s the visitors that come to your sight that can either buy things from you or click on ads to make money through advertising and things like that. I knew that I needed to get traffic. I started to explore, how am I going to get traffic to my site? I have this blog already. I shared it with a couple of coworkers and they liked and they passed the exam, so maybe I have something here. now, this is the crazy part, one of the first things I did I put an analytical tool on the site to see how much traffic I was going to get in the future but, literally, the next day when that tool started collecting data, I saw that thousands of people around the world were already visiting my site. I had no idea that was happening. I was just mind boggling. I had no idea how they found me and I was actually kind of freaked out at the beginning because I didn’t know if my material was good enough or what if they didn’t like it. It kind of freaked me out at first but then learning everything I did, learning about online business at the time, I knew I had a great opportunity on my hands. So, long story short, I turned that blog that I had just set up just for myself with no idea. I spent about a year and a half writing content on it just for myself, no intention of ever sharing it with anyone but my coworkers. I turned that into a business. What I did was I eventually started running advertisements on it and I did fairly well but not enough to make a living off of and I was about to get laid off. So what I did was I really took my blog and my site to the next level where I could actually call it business, I wrote an eBook. This was actually a suggestion by sterling from internet business mastery who lived in San Diego with me at the time and we met up at the mastermind group and I told him my story and he said, Pat you have a great site, you have all this traffic, write an eBook, trust me. At first, I didn’t want to. I didn’t even know what an eBook was and how to go about starting to write one but I learned as much as I could. I asked around for help and a month and a half later I wrote this eBook and I published it on the site and I launched it. A month later I had grossed $7906.55 and it was just a life changing amazing experience. I never knew anything like this was possible to make that kind of income, more income that I ever made while I was at my architecture job, doing stuff online, helping people achieve something while also helping myself. That was the most incredible part of it. People were happy to pay me because they really wanted this information to help them pass this exam. So, it was about $8000 the first month and then it grew to 9000, 10000, 14000. I also introduced an audio guide and a few more products down the line and it started to make incredibly large amounts of money every month, up to $30000 a month. It all started as almost, like I said in the beginning, almost like an accident. I was really glad that things happened the way they did and I always tell people that my layoff was probably the best thing that has ever happened to me. now, where most people know me from now is not from green exam academy, at least from the online business face, but it’s from a blog I set up to share all the success I had on green exam academy and that smart passive income dot com. not only do I share success from my wins and failures from that site, as well. I always include my failures as well because I’m trying to be real and honest and up front with people who are interested in online business so they can see the real deal and the true happenings of someone who is doing well online. Not only do I share stuff about green exam academy, but I’ve also created new passive income businesses on the side as well. For example, I have an iPhone application company. It has about 27 apps live on iTunes right now, that’s generating a passive income. I have a number of different niche sites, including a, one of my top ones is a security guard training niche, which is making about $1500 to $3000 a month. I just revealed exactly how I created that on smartpassiveincome.com. The last thing I want to talk about, I know I’m rambling here, Warren, but the last thing I want to talk about is the whole passive income idea of it. These are businesses but they are also automated. I have that in air quotes. they are kind of semi-automated businesses, meaning, for example, green exam academy, someone can to my site, whether through Google or through someone else’s link or whatever, and they can purchase an eBook or they purchase a practice exam and immediately get that delivered to them via email. While at the same time, once they enter that billing information, that money comes into my PayPal account. I don’t even have to be there at all in order for a transaction to happy. That’s the passive part of it. It’s not passive in a sense where you set it up one time and then you can walk away from it, it’s not like that. I can walk away from it for very long periods of time and have a very flexible schedule and I literally make money while I am sleeping. I can check my email while I am doing this interview with you and I could possibly see more sales and income come in my inbox, which is the most amazing part of it. This whole idea of passive income just allows you to free up your time and have the freedom to do whatever it is you want to do, once you get to that point. But I do want to stress that it doesn't happen overnight. It’s not easy. It’s going to take a lot of work and dedication. The most important part is you have to be able to, not only build a business that's automated but build a business that actually helps people achieve something and provides value to people. That’s really the most important part. That’s where I’m going to end now until I hear your next question, Warren.
<Warren> That’s great. That’s an amazing story. So, basically, what event in your life allowed you to believe that you were going to make a living online with the internet business? What was the event that you could remember that turned on the light for you and said now I know how to do my online business?
<Pat> There were a few different milestones, I guess you could say that I’ve crossed along the way. The first one I remember was the first sort of any income I made online at all. What I did when I first started learning about _, the first thing I did was not write an eBook. That took me a while to actually have the courage and have the time to do. The first I did was I added accents code on my site, or Google accents ads, which automatically generate advertisements that if people click on, I get or you get a certain commission, a few cents here and there. I remember the first time I added accents on the site, and again remember I had traffic coming to the site already. I remember going into my accents account and seeing three clicks for, I think it was a dollar and eight cents. You can find that in between your cushions on your couch but to know that I have made that income online was just the turning point for me. I was like I could really do this. This is actually real stuff. Yeah, it’s only a dollar but you have you start somewhere and that’s really what encouraged to keep going and keep researching other ways to monetize. What was really cool was, I’ll talk about two more milestones. One of them was when I launched that eBook that first day. So, I launched it on October 1st and for a while I didn’t see any sales at all. I was up all night an di launched it early in the morning and number of hours went by and I just got really down because I had done all that work. I put a month and a half to two months into this eBook and I put it up there and I expected to see sales right away. In this day and age, we expect to see results right away but I learned that doesn’t happen. but what was cool I saw sales start gradually to come in during the day as people started to wake up because people weren’t going to buy stuff at four in the morning. I made that first sale and I got an email from PayPal that said you have just received a payment for 14.99, that’s what the price of the eBook was at the time. I couldn’t believe it. Someone actually bought my book and that was really cool. I actually went outside to take a walk and just reflect that. during that time I was really reflecting on how incredible the feeling was and how I wasn’t even there in order for that transaction to happen and what that meant to me and how different that was than working the whole nine to five thing and instead of getting a consistent check every two weeks that I knew what that income would be, I was getting emails here and emails there. After I had that first sale I was like this is amazing. I didn’t even expect to sell one. I got back to my computer and I saw that I had another sale. So, I made another sale while I was out walking reflecting on my first sale. I was like this is it. This is what I’m going to do and I don’t think I would ever go back to working nine to five again. the final milestone I want to talk about and the really ironic awesome cool part about it was, this was a few months in, maybe 6 or 7 months later when I was generating from green exam academy about 20 or $30000 a month, I had got a call from my old boss who started his own firm, he left the firm that we were at, and he called me asking me to come back and work for him. It was awesome to say no, I’m doing totally fine on my own, I don’t need you anymore. I didn’t say those words exactly but I was like no, thank you so much but I think I’m okay and I’m surviving here and I appreciate you calling me. That’s what I said but I was really thinking I don’t need you. That was a really cool win. That was kind of the nail in coffin or the cherry on top. That was awesome.
<Warren> That’s great. My next question is what types of internet business would you recommend to a person just getting started with limited time and knowledge of the internet but that has a lot of life experience? Somebody, probably, older than me and not grown up in the internet age but they have had a lot of life experience that they could turn into an internet business to provide their experience to other people.
<Pat> Yeah, that’s the advantage that the older people have. They have that experience and knowledge and life behind them that they can instill that wisdom onto other people. I think the very first thing to do, because the technology part of it is a very scary thing, setting up a blog and setting up a website and keyword research and all that stuff, it’s very scary. What I usually do is I recommend people start small and just start with writing. The question is where do you write? Now, there are a number of sites out there where you can create an account and you can sign up and you basically just write articles for the sites and you can actually make money from those sites too. There’s one in particular that I recommend called infobarrel.com. What you can do is you can sign up there and you get an account. You will also have to sign up for Google accents and what you do is you put your accents code into your info barrel account. So, any articles that you write on info barrel get published onto the info barrel platform, which has a lot of traffic already. It has a number of people who view the articles and it has a good potential for those articles to be found in Google as well. Those ads that show up alongside your article, if people click on those ads, you get a share of that and you kind of split that share a little bit with info barrel as well but that’s just a payment for making it so simple for you to write about whatever you want and potentially get paid for it. I recommend doing that because it’s a great place to start. It’s easy. You can start today and you start to eventually learn how things start to work on line as far as content and how it should be written and how money flows online. What’s really important is that in a relatively short amount of time, it depends on how many articles you write, but in a relatively short period of time you can actually see results. You can actually see a few dollars here and there after you start to write a few articles and they start to get picked up and views and people start to click on those ads. That’s really, like I said, when I made $1.08 that first time. It just changed everything for me. I think that’s a great place to start with knowing that you probably won’t be doing that forever. if you start to really enjoy doing it, once you get to that point where you are like hey this is awesome I’m starting to make a little bit of money, I think I can build my own business and my own brand about these particular topics that have some sort of connection that I can find an audience for and give my wisdom to. I think that’s the next step after starting with a sight like info barrel. And there was another one that used to be around called ehow.com, which was even better but they closed their writer’s compensation program. I think info barrel is a great place to start.
<Warren> That sounds like some great information. So, Pat, what are the five most important things people just starting an internet business need to learn to start making money online?
<Pat> Five most important things. Number one, it’s not going to happen overnight and I said that already. That’s just a mindset thing. The mindset thing is a very important thing. Warren, you going through internet mastery as well as me, we know how important the mindset with starting an online business before anything else, before you put up website or even write a single word. It’s important to understand what you’re getting into. The first most important thing is understanding that you’re not going to see results overnight. I think that’s important because when you start to see that you’re going to put a little bit of work into it and you’re not seeing results right away, it’s not going to stop you from keep going. It’s not going to get you down. I think it’s really important to know that as much as people like to claim that there’s push button, make money online systems, and get rich quick things, those things don’t exist. Those are just people who are trying to take your money. It takes work. It takes time. It takes dedication. So, that’s the first thing. That’s the mindset thing. The second thing is also a mindset thing and I’ll get to some. Most of them will be mindset. The second thing is knowing what your goals are. A lot of people get into business, whether it’s online or offline, and they just do. They just go in with their business. The classic example is someone who hates their nine to five jobs. they quit and they start their own business and they are working nine to nine and they have an even worse lifestyle than they had working nine to five because they are trying to crush it with their own business but it’s not working out in the way they want to, even if they are making a million dollars a day at nine to nine, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.. It’s just not the lifestyle that they want. It’s just really easy for us to keep working and not knowing what we are working for. I think it’s important to understand what your goals are. Try to envision your purpose and what ideal lifestyle would. for me, for example, I don’t need any fancy cars or rich or mansions or I don’t need to live on an island or anything and my goals are going to be, my path to get there is going to be different than the path of someone who wants to live on a yacht. That’s okay. If you want to live on a yacht, that’s awesome. That’s just not me but if that’s you, you’re going to have to develop a business to help you get there because that’s what makes you happy. If that’s what makes you happy, I’m not criticizing you for that. Different things make different people happy. Understanding what your goals are, what your ideal lifestyle will be and making sure that any type of businesses that you create are revolving around that. I would absolutely print it out, write it down, print it out, post it up so you’re always being reminded of what you’re working towards and that’s what’s going to help you get through those tough times and help you keep moving along when it feels like you aren’t getting anywhere. So, that’s number two. Number three, I would say would be to make sure that your providing value to people. Whatever business it is, online or offline, real products or info products, anything, absolutely make sure that the number one priority is helping to improve people’s lives. If that’s the mindset that you have going into your business, you are way ahead of everybody else because a lot of people think here’s a widget, I’m going to sell it for this, this is what the bottom line is going to look like, let’s do it, let’s fine the people to buy it. No, find the people that need or have a problem or they have an issue or a need or a want or desire and try to get your help to them. Give your wisdom to them so they can take it and improve their lives. And if you can improve somebody life, they are going to thank you. Especially if you build a proverbial brand where it’s actually you, not necessarily a product that’s improving people’s lives. I can’t stress enough the idea about it. It’s always about your audience. It’s always about your people, in anything, in how you build your blog and what topic you create and how you create products for your particular site. It’s really important. Number four, I think I’m on number four right? Number four would be stand out in the crowd, because it’s really easy to follow some one else’s system. It’s really easy to do what everybody else is doing that people claim it works and it obviously would work because you’re seeing it work in front of your eyes. That’s great. It’s cool to use that as inspiration but you should always somehow put your own style and twist and uniqueness into your business because if you don’t do that, you’re not going to be found and you’re just going to get lost in the crowd. You have to think, why should people come to you? Some people call it the unique selling proposition, USP. What’s your USP? You have to have in order to succeed. In any successful business you will find a unique selling proposition. For those that don’t have one, they are just going to blend in with everybody else. So, my advice would be to not blend in with the crowd but do something interesting creative and innovative to lead the crowd instead. Lastly, at number five, and I could probably come up with forty different things, but number five I would say is just have no fear. It’s okay to be scared about things. That’s a good sign that whatever you’re pursuing is actually going to do something good for you if you actually go through with it. Have no fear. Have confidence and know that you’re going to mistakes. That’s just part of being an entrepreneur. You’re going to make mistakes. The idea of an entrepreneur is you try new things and see if they work and if they don’t, you learn from your mistakes and keep going and try something new. A lot people will try something that they think is going to work and it doesn’t and then they stop and they stop believing in themselves. They failed to realize that failure is part of the process. As long as you can fall forward and get back up and keep falling forward, you’re eventually going to get to the finish line. So, just keep falling forward. That would be my fifth and final piece of advice.
<Warren> Wow, that’s some great advice. Pat, how much time and effort should people expect to put in to get their new internet business going before they see any type of return?
<Pat> You know, that’s a very loaded question because it’s hard to tell. It depends on what you do during that time. It depends on what it is you’re doing in the first place, as far as what business you have. It’s hard because sometimes you might land on a niche that is in high demand and the timing is perfect and you might see results right away. other times, especially in more crowded niches, it’s going to take more time for the marketplace to see who you are, to notice you, to see that you have a unique selling proposition and it to notice that maybe I should pay attention to this guy instead of the guy who I have always been paying attention to because he has more information and its better and I can connect with them more. That’s going to take a little bit more time. In my experience for fairly competitive niches, and this is just a general statement and it’s hard for me to put an exact number on it, but, for example, smartpassiveincome.com, definitely not the first site online to talk about making money online. It took a good year and a half before it actually started to pick up steam and that was by sticking true to my idea of a unique selling proposition, which is being totally unique and honest upfront. Also having unique parts of my blog that no one else has, such as my monthly income reports, which are the most popular, most read articles on my site. Also being very involved in the community, which actually does take a lot of work. Some businesses won’t require so much work, as far as being a part. It took a very long time. Don’t expect things to happen right away. Just keep going forward. What I would say is figure out what your goal is with your site and break that goal down into a lot of mini goals. for example, if your goal is to get 10000 or 12000 subscribers, then you know to get to that point you need one thousand subscribers per month and if you can get to that point, you know you’re going to be on track and you can tell every month if you’re on track or not. If not, you can actually act accordingly to make sure you get back on track. But if you do see that you’re getting about a thousand a month, you should reward yourself for staying on track. Maybe even beyond a thousand per month. If every 15 days you have 500 new subscribers or every 10 days you have, even less than that, I’m not going to do the math in my head. I hope you see what I’m talking about. It’s breaking those big goals into small goals. I’m not even just talking about numbers but where your business I. what I would actually do is see where you want your business to be in five years or maybe two years, if you can’t think that far ahead. Then breaking that down into steps or mini goals on how to get there. Then take each one of those steps and break that into a timeline or even a secondary level of mini goals. You should absolutely reward yourself when you hit those mini goals because psychologically it feels good to see yourself progressing. If my goal was 12000 subscribers in a month and I wasn’t keeping track one thousand per month and I was just at maybe five thousand, I would think I was still way behind. It’s just not good psychologically for someone when they are trying to work towards a goal. That would be a big strategy I would use.
<Warren> Okay, so whenever you’re talking about that year and a half that’s when you were already working full time towards the end of you goal?
<Pat> Yeah, that’s just for a couple of my sites. I have another site securitytraininghq.com, which literally took 73 days to get to the top of Google and start to see an upwards of $1000 per month. That took 73 days, one hour per day. That’s an example but that’s a totally different niche. It’s a totally different approach. That was more of scientific research approach toward building a site based on keywords and search competitions and stuff like that, which is another way to go about it. Again, the bottom line is that site also provides a lot of value to people and such has gained rankings in Google and has generated a lot of links from other sites. So, again, it all just comes down to how well your site and your business can help other people achieve something.
<Warren> Great. the internet is constantly changing and with new ways of making money coming out every day, what is your insight that you can share with the people about the future of internet business and how you can keep up with all these changes or what you should be doing to deal with the changes?
<Pat> That’s an interesting question. You’re absolutely right. The internet is changing every day at a crazy rate but the bottom line is, and this is theme throughout this interview I can tell, it doesn’t matter how you do it. Across the spectrum, it doesn’t matter how you do anything. all that matters is how much are you affecting peoples live, and the more people you can affect the better. Now, those systems of affecting lives are going to change, that’s what’s changing. Search engine optimization, that’s changing every day it seems, coming out with new algorithms. the question how are you going to continue to get in front of people’s eyes and, you know, right now is through podcasting, through YouTube videos, and through a lot of links on other blogs that people link to a lot of content on my site. So, writing great epic content on my site is a strategy that I’ve been using as well to generate traffic. So, in that case, it doesn’t matter what Google does, I’m still going to get people to come to my site. Now, podcasting may go away. I don’t believe it will anytime soon but maybe. Maybe videos will go away too. I don’t know. Maybe it will turn into 3d hologram things, I don’t know. The idea is whether it’s a YouTube video or a 3d hologram thing or some futuristic thing that I can’t even think of, it’s all about the end user. So, just keep that in mind and also don’t be so blinded by all the bright lights out there. There are a lot of things that are being introduced to the marketplace every day that are said to help people do more things and reach more people. Stick to what’s working with you because you know it works. Give these new things a time, a little bit of time to play out a little bit. Google wave was supposed to be the next big thing. It was supposed to replace email and then it died away. Pintrest is huge now but it’s starting to die off a little bit. people who have invested all their time into Pintrest are starting to see that it may be not worth the amount of effort that they were putting into it and they should have stuck to what’s been working before and kind of a long term success. But it’s always good to diversify as well. Do want you know is working for you in your business now but also just at least be aware of what’s going on so that you can make changes accordingly, again, with the idea of making sure you’re doing your best to get in front of people’s eyes and also affect them somehow.
<Warren> Wow, that’s more great advice. So, where can people get more information about you and your internet business?
<Pat> Absolutely the first place would be smartpassiveincome.com, a ton of information there of course and if you actually want to come and say hi to me, the best place would be on my Facebook page, a very active Facebook community and I use Facebook a lot for talking to my community, surveying them, and also just keeping them in touch with me and my daily life, which is pretty cool. There are about 21000 people strong there now. So, I would love to have 21001 for those of you listening out there. So, that’s facebook.com/smartpassiveincome or you can actually go to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will take you there too.
<Warren> Great. This is an amazing interview Pat and I appreciate your time and your effort of bringing us all this information that hopefully will get people interested in starting their own internet business and they will come and learn more from you, from your website and other resources, as I have. Thanks for all the great information today.
<Pat> No problem. and you know, I know it was a lot of mindset stuff we have talked about today but, like we talked about in one of your last questions, the mechanics and the structures and the platforms that we use are always going to be changing but it’s the mindset that has to stay the same from now until whenever, through all those changes in order for you to succeed. Again, thank you everybody out there for your time and for listening to me and I would love to see you on the Facebook page and Warren we can connect again in the future.
<Warren> Sounds great. Take care.