Here we go…
Getting Started Online with Pat Flynn
Mark: It’s unbelievable, it’s the 50th episode of the Late Night Internet Marketing Podcast. And as a matter of fact, 50 episodes ago it wasn’t even called the Late Night Internet Marketing Podcast, but I have something really special for you today. I have located in a bunker in an undisclosed location with Dick Chaney, the greatness of Pat Flynn who is recovering from a nuclear attack on his website. Pat Flynn, how are you?
Pat: I am doing excellent, Mark. I’m really happy to be here. Congratulations on episode 50. That’s just incredible.
Mark: I can’t thank you enough. I can’t believe it’s the 50th episode of the Late Night Internet Marketing Podcast. It’s been a long road for me, as you know, because I’ve stopped and started this podcast a couple times. But I think I finally have it figured out.
Pat: I know. I’ve been noticing your rhythm lately and it’s been inspiring to me, actually. What you’re doing now with the podcast helped convince me to start going weekly as well. Although, like you said, my site was attacked last week and I had to put the podcast on hold. I was in such a good rhythm until that happened, but stuff like that happens and you just have to get right back on the horse. I’m going back to normal starting next week.
Mark: I’m really glad everything is cool and you’re back up and running. It was rumored that actual physical terrorists with black helicopters attacked your web server. Is that really true?
Pat: It was actually the Libyans from Back to the Future in a blue van with rocket launchers.
Mark: Awesome. I’m really sorry that happened to you, but I do think that which does not kill us makes us stronger. I bet your new configuration will be considerably more robust to future problems. (Knock on wood.) Isn’t that true?
Pat: Totally. We live to learn from our mistakes. I probably could have been more secure, I could have been on a server that’s a little bit more reliable. And now I am, so we’ll see what happens from this point forward. Really this experience has just given me a lot of inspiration as far as really taking my business to the next level and I’m getting really serious about what I’m doing. Not that I wasn’t serious before. But now I’m going to get really serious.
Mark: I’m curious about this. Before we get on to my whole 50th episode anniversary love fest that I want to have with you here in a minute. How many people and what variety of people reached out and wanted to help you when you were having trouble? I know I was one of them. Did you just have all these people asking you how they could help, what was going on, and offering advice? What was that like?
Pat: The response was amazing. From people who didn’t know how to help but just prayed for me or just said “good luck,” that means a lot to me. I had a lot of people who actually offered their services, they were web experts or server experts, or people like yourself who are versed in technical stuff.
Mark, thank you so much, thank you everybody out there who offered their help. There was a wide range of people, from people who gave me pages of “this is what you should do, this is what happened,” and all that stuff, and other people who were like, “I think you should just refresh your browser.” I thought, “I tried that, thank you, I think the problem is a little bit deeper than that.” I appreciated every single email.
I did get a few people who said, “Pat, you make all this money, you’re the expert, you’re setting a bad example here.” Seriously? Come on. We’re all human, we all make mistakes, we’re all going to learn from this experience. I’m going to write a massive post about what happened and how we can prevent this. If you don’t want to follow me because my site has been down for a week, then don’t follow me anymore.
Mark: These things happen. These things even happen to very large companies, so I think you’re off the hook as far as being omniscient enough to protect your site against these kind of attacks. I’m glad you’re up and running again.
Pat: Thank you. If it was a real physical attack I would have fought back with fists or something.
Mark: And I would have flown out to San Diego to help you. I’m from Texas, we have guns here, I can help with a physical attack.
Pat: I want to go in The Octagon with somebody. Actually, no I don’t.
Mark: So here’s the thing. I told you this, but I’ll repeat it here. I’m driving down the road and I’m thinking, “It’s the 50th episode of the Late Night Internet Marketing Podcast. What am I going to do with this?” It kind of snuck up on me a little bit. I was writing up the show notes and I wrote the number 50 and thought, “Wow, I need to do something, this is the 50th episode. In some cultures 50 is an important number. My 50th wedding anniversary will certainly be important.”
So I’m thinking, “What can I do? Having Pat on the show is what I could do.” Thank you very much for coming. I was thinking about just all the stuff since I met you in 2007 and all the discussions that we had. I remember when you sold your first ebook, that’s how far back we’ve known each other.
Pat: We go way back.
Mark: It’s crazy, right? I was thinking about all the stuff that has happened and all the water under the bridge. I thought it would be fun to have you, but the thing that I thought would be really interesting was just to spend a little time and just integrating up all that combined experience.
The one question that I still get all the time, and I know you get this too, is people who come to me and say, “I really want to get started online. Where do I start?” I was wondering, what do you say? I know what I say, I’m curious what you say. Maybe we can break it down into a couple kinds of people, because sometimes people come to me and the people that are saying this are trying to make their house payment next month. That one gets me.
Pat: Oh, yes. Gosh.
Mark: And sometimes people are just trying to get out of their day job, sometimes they’re laid off like you were. What are telling these people that come to you and say, “I want to make a go of it online. Where’s the right place to get started?”
Pat: To be honest, the answer is going to be different for everybody based on their situation. Like you said, we could probably break this down into different kinds of people. And I’m really glad we’re talking about this because this isn’t really talked about very much. I think a lot of people try to avoid talking about this stuff. Unfortunately, most of the emails that I get are like this. At least the ones that I remember or that sort of touch me in some way.
The first thing I would say to anybody out there is really just you are not alone. I think that’s really important to understand first. I know when I was laid off I felt alone because I had my own situation to deal with and I was getting married and I didn’t have any income coming in. I learned I was going to get laid off three months from that point in time and I just didn’t know what to do.
But there were a lot of other people going through the same situation. I know that when people get together who are in similar situations and can help each other out in whatever way possible, even if it’s just encouragement, and even just to know that there are other people out there helps a little bit. It really does. Even if you’re not reaching out to them or hanging out with them, it’s just good to know that you’re not alone. Before even getting into the strategies, I think that’s really important. What do you think about that?
Mark: I often recommend to people, for various reasons, that it’s important to surround yourself with like-minded people that are going in the same direction that you’re going in or trying to, or who have the same kind of values. The fundamental thing that you mentioned that I think is really critical, that I overlook sometimes, is the first step to that is you have to recognize that those people exist.
One of the things that I love about the internet, and quite frankly it’s one of the things that makes niche marketing possible, is the internet has this way of integrating up all of these people that have like-interests and selecting them out and grouping them together. That’s true for marketing, but it’s also true for this kind of thing that you’re talking about.
There are other people exactly like you and they’re sitting behind computer screens exactly like yours and they’re trying to figure this stuff out exactly like you. They have the same hopes and dreams that you have. So I love that. You’re absolutely right and it’s an encouraging idea.
Pat: Beyond that, beyond knowing that there are people just like you, also know that there are people who were just like you who are now better off, who have gone through what you’ve gone through before. Those are also people that you want to connect with.
That’s what inspired me when I first got started was seeing people who not necessarily got laid off, but who were in a position where they needed to do some sort of thing online, or who went through the process of starting from scratch, which we all do.
It’s aligning yourself with those people as well, not just the people who are in the same position as you but the people who were in the same position as you who are where you want to be eventually. That’s important as well. Those are the people that are really important, because even if you don’t actually connect with them – although you should try your best to do that – they can be a really big source of inspiration, of guidance and direction.
Mark: Yes. The thing about it is for every guy like Pat Flynn who is everywhere, there are 100 guys that you’ve never heard of that are absolutely killing it online, but they’re off in their niche doing their thing, they don’t have an internet radio show about internet marketing, they’re not easy to find. There are all of these successful people, like this guy that you and I ran across, Paul Soares Jr, the Minecraft guy.
Pat: Best story ever.
Mark: That guy is off the hook. Introduced to me by my six year old, this guy is just crushing it with internet marketing. These people are everywhere. So there are people that have done the journey and that can be a great source of power and encouragement for people. You’re right, you should seek those people out and connect with them. Not just to get something, but just to build those connections and just have those people around as inspiration, if nothing else.
Pat: Absolutely. We could probably break down the different types of people who are starting from scratch and the strategies that go along with that or where the next steps might be.
I think for the first one we might go with the sort of mainstream one where it’s people who have a job already and maybe they want something else on the side, or maybe they’re not happy with their jobs, but they have a job. I think there’s a different set of pressures that go along there as opposed to someone who is in dire need of income now.
I think that strategy that we normally hear is, “What are you passionate about?” and that sort of strategy. That’s almost cliché now and we all know that. The whole, “What do people come to you for advice on? That’s something that you could possibly create a website about or offer advice for and do consulting for.” Things like that.
I think that’s absolutely the place to start. Obviously the place to start is with what you know. For me, the example with my LEED Exam site, that’s what I knew and I created a website. Mind you that I didn’t know that I was building an audience while I was creating that website, I still had my job. It was when I was laid off that I discovered that all those people were coming to the site. (Thank God)
That just shows you that if you have information that is useful that can provide value to people, if you post that online in one way or another, or maybe use multiple platforms to do so, which a lot of people are doing now and not just writing about it but they’re recording audio about it like we are right now, or they’re shooting video for it, or all or a mixture of the above. If you can get in front of an audience and establish yourself as an expert or someone that is worth paying attention to, you can build an audience, “your tribe” as Seth Godin says, that you can lead that will follow you and appreciate your advice.
If you give enough value they’re going to look for ways to pay you back, whether that’s through products you find or that you create, that you recommend as an affiliate, or maybe it’s just through advertising, depending on what your niche is, because you have a ton of people coming to your site and advertising is the best model. Of course, we could spend hours about where to go from here as far as building a site from scratch and optimizing that.
I think passions, what you’re good at. Glen Olsop from Viper Chill even offers going into what problems that you have and what fears you have and then documenting your experience overcoming those, because a lot of people out there can relate to that and can find you and be inspired by you if you post about that.
Mark: I’m thinking about starting a website for very shy people, because as you know I’m very shy.
Pat: Are you?
Mark: No, not really. It’s episode 50, I get to say whatever I want.
The one thing that I think is never mentioned about passion, that I think is one of the key things and is really underrated is that if you really care about what it is that you’re working on you can crush it. Everybody gets that. I think the thing that is missed oftentimes is internet business can be really hard.
I don’t know how you were feeling four days ago, but I think you were feeling like internet business was really hard, right?
Pat: Yes. It’s hard to do an internet business when your site is down.
Mark: Exactly. I think passion is a loaded word, it brings to mind all these kinds of mythical ginormous kinds of ideas about your calling in life and all that. The bottom line is that if you’re working on something that you care about, that helps you get through the times when you’re not sure what to do next, the times when you have a setback, the times when things aren’t going exactly your way. I really think that’s one of the key reasons why that’s such a great idea, because it’s that extra push that you’ll have that the guy who is not passionate about whatever he’s doing won’t have.
Pat: Absolutely. And when you’re trying to make connections with other people, not just people who you want to get in your audience to become readers, subscribers, watchers or listeners, but other people in the niche who are already talking about that stuff who could potentially talk about you or link to you and things like that, they’re going to have their radar on and connect with people who are obviously passionate and know some good information about that particular topic as well.
If you’re just doing it because it could potentially make you money, people can read into that. More important now than ever is connections with other people; you can’t do this alone. Going back to what we said at the beginning, you are not alone and you should connect with those people who are just like you and who are where you want to be at.
Now, the thing I want to make sure anyone understands, no matter who is starting where or whatever, is that it just takes a long time. I really want to make sure that people understand that. That’s what makes it hard when people say, “I need money now.” We’ll get into that in a second. This doesn’t happen overnight. Every success story that you hear that may seem like it happened overnight, it probably took a really long time to get started.
Any sort of example; Tim Ferriss and the 4 Hour Workweek was rejected 27 times before it finally got picked up by a publisher, Rovio and Angry Birds was their 60th game that they came out with and they finally broke through. For me, I spent two years writing on the LEED website before I even tried to monetize it.
This stuff takes awhile and building relationships takes awhile. However, there are things that you can do, which I’m sure Mark has talked about on the blog, and that I’ve talked about, and that other people have talked about, to sort of make that happen a little bit faster and boost your presence in that space and just how people view you as an expert and you can potentially make money a little bit faster. But again, this doesn’t happen overnight. That’s hard when people are saying, “I need to make money.”
Mark: Yes. And it bugs me because people know, people like you and me and other internet marketers, we know how much work it is, we know how long it takes, we know how many BTUs you have to put into the system to get something out, and a lot of people want to shortcut that. The thing that really burns me up is when I see sales letter that are specifically targeting people, literally preying on people, that need to shortcut the system and become successful in six weeks.
That just really frustrates me. While it certainly does happen, it’s a matter of statistics. Those people that are successful very quickly, it certainly happens, they’re in the tail and they’re not in the normal distribution of things. The normal part of the distribution is that it takes some time to build a business.
Pat: That stuff disgusts me as well. That’s why I don’t like being associated with internet marketers, because that is what people think of internet marketers now; the Boiler Room and sales calls that just prey on every single ounce of hope that people have. That’s just disgusting.
There are legit ways to earn an income online where you can sell something or recommend a product, or make money through advertising, what have you, and be thanked for it and offer value and actually improve people’s lives without having to get all hypey or exaggerating or being aggressive car salesman-like.
Mark: That’s something that has always frustrated me. I’m with you, I’m striving to be the counter-example there. I think you’re really good at that. Part of success in this kind of business, I think, is to get people to know, like, and trust you. That trust piece is sort of what you’re talking about there. I think you do a really good job at that.
Pat: Thank you.
Mark: I think having the right core values here is a real key part of success in this business, and in any business really. You have to create value and it has to be real. The guys that are not doing that drive me a little bit crazy.
Let me get back to a counter-example or a potential counter-example. Do something that you care about, follow your passion, but one example maybe we ought to clear up a little bit is the Security Guard website.
Pat: I’m so glad you brought this up, thank you.
Mark: I think I know the answer here. This is a pretty good example. Most people would be thrilled to have a $3,000 per month web property. You may have some secret security guard passions, some of those we may not want to reveal on the show – it is a family show. Kind of walk me through that. I know there’s this connection with your mom and so forth, but can you tell me how that fits into this whole follow your passion or do something that you care about sort of model?
Pat: Sure. A lot of people ask me this exact question and I’m very happy to answer this. There are different kinds of passions that you can use to become successful online. It can be on the front end as far as passion about the exact topic that you’re writing about, or in this case of the Security Guard Training example that I have I am not passionate about security guard training. I’m just not.
Yes, my mom is a security guard and that’s sort of how I eventually ended up putting that seed keyword into a keyword research tool. However, my mom has never given me any content for the site. She’s just doing her thing at the local mall and getting kids off of skateboards. She’s really good at it, actually. She ran down a guy who stole something once, it was awesome. She can break bricks with her head, I’m not even kidding, and she’s 55.
Mark: Is she some kind of Taekwondo guru or something?
Pat: She’s a 2nd Dan in Taekwondo. We’re getting off on a tangent here.
Mark: I love this tangent though, go with it.
Pat: She competed in brick breaking competitions, maybe 10 years back, and there was no female division for that. She would always place in the top three for brick breaking. I’m so proud of her for that.
Mark: That’s pretty awesome. And I’m steering clear of her.
Pat: Yes. Talk to my dad about that.
So we were getting off course there. I’m not passionate about security guard training, but I am passionate about providing solutions for different groups of people. In this particular case it was the solution and the convenience of helping people learn how to become a security guard that drove me. That’s where the passion was in this case.
I feel that in any sort of business that you have there has to be some passion somewhere, you have to enjoy and really care about what you’re doing somehow.
I think it was Session 46 of the Smart Passive Income Podcast with Dane Maxwell, he even talks about he created a six figure business in real estate and he’s not passionate about real estate at all. He did have some connections with his uncle as far as getting started with that site and understanding what to build, but he was passionate about building a software solution for people in the real estate agency. He’s killing it and he’s been doing that same model elsewhere.
Going back to my point; I’m not passionate about security guard training, but I am passionate about helping people and using what I know about WordPress and SEO and things like that to get these people who are looking to start their careers as a security guard and just giving them the information that they need.
Yes, the site makes about $3,500 dollars a month, which is fantastic. But what I love the most is that I make about $40 a month from the job board on the site. I get about $0.25 to $0.50 cents every time someone contacts a potential employer on that job board, which is actually connected through Indeed.com. There’s millions of job listings and you can pull out a specific segment and post that on your site for people to find jobs if that works for your particular niche. I love the fact that 100 to 200 people every month are finding or potentially finding jobs on that site.
When I think about niche sites that other people have created and how useful they are, maybe they couldn’t have a job board on their site because the niche wouldn’t call for that, but I’m talking about usefulness. This is proof that this particular site is actually helping people get jobs and that’s what I love the most about this. I always check my job board income first because that’s what is most exciting to me. I feel like if I can get that job board earning $200 a month that would mean that everything else that happens on the site as far as monetization would be that much higher.
Mark: Absolutely. It has intrinsic value. I have a phrase for this, I’ve come to the same conclusion and I knew this was going to be the answer that you gave.
Pat: We didn’t talk about this beforehand.
Mark: We didn’t, but I knew you well enough to know. I refer to these as meta-passions. They’re these overriding philosophical passions that you have that enable or that are enabled through this other work that you do.
I haven’t talked about this too much on the show, but for me after four or five years of carefully studying internet marketing, although I’m very interested in the technical details of internet marketing, I’ve forgotten more internet marketing than a lot of people will ever know. At some point my business stopped being about internet marketing so much. I still think it’s very interesting, but my passion became more about helping people do whatever it is that they want to do in their life.
For me it was this meta-passion that internet marketing enabled me to help people. At first I was really just interested in how money moved around the internet. But now I’m really more interested in turning people’s light bulbs on.
Pat: That’s perfect for late night, when you need a light bulb.
Mark: We need to light bulb late at night. It’s creeping up on tomorrow here in Texas.
I think that’s exactly what you’re talking about and I feel that same thing. I always encourage people to get connected with something that is going to hold their interest to keep them motivated, to give them edge against the other guy that doesn’t quite have that passion thing.
So you still think that the big thing is for people to go figure that out. You wouldn’t necessarily recommend that people just go start putting up websites about male enhancement products.
Pat: No. Unless you could really feel that you were the expert and you had something interesting and you had a different angle – I hate using that choice of words – for male enhancement. I said that really loud and I wonder if my wife heard me.
Whatever you are thinking of getting into; Can you become the ultimate resource, the place that everyone in a specific market?
And it doesn’t even have to be that huge, it could be a little exam in the architecture industry that has to do with green buildings and sustainable design, it can be that niched down and you can make a great living and make good money off of being the ultimate resource for that particular group of people who when they talk about whatever it is with their friends, with their family, with other people online, on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, wherever, your name is going to pop up or your website and your resource is going to be the one that everybody points to.
That’s the mindset that I feel that everyone should have as far as building a business, whether it’s from your passions or from your passion of helping people in something.
Mark: So we know what to do when we’ve got the time to do it, and we know that it is unlikely that if you need money tomorrow that you’re going to be able to do that successfully by getting a $4.00 account at Bluehost and cranking a WordPress installation.
What do we tell people who really do need a solution now?
I know what I tell them, I’m curious when you get those emails that say, “Pat, you have to help me. I need to make $2,000 next month.” What do you tell those people?
Pat: I tell them that later down the road using whatever skills that you may have or whatever skills you learn from now until then, you can start your own business, like myself and other people other there. However, since you need money fast, that route is not going to be possible.
It could be, you hear about these success stories that happened overnight. Like you were saying, Mark, sometimes those really do happen. But more often than not they don’t.
What I recommend doing is using the skills that you have now – and you do have skills, anyone who says they don’t I have a long sit down conversation with them and eventually we find something – is to work for somebody else as a freelancer, or you find somebody who is in tune with something that you’re interested in, something that maybe you’re passionate about, and offer yourself for them to help them out in any way possible.
I really feel like freelancing is a great way to go. It’s sort of like the apprenticeship. Way back in the 1400s or Crusader days, if you wanted to become a blacksmith you would go to a blacksmith and learn how to do it from them. You can get paid for that now, people are willing to pay for help when it comes to different things.
Maybe it’s signing up on Elance or Odesk, not to find a job but actually provide work for people. Maybe it’s going to your contacts on Twitter or Facebook or asking around to offer your services as a writer. Maybe you’re really good at shooting videos and you’re also interested in Invisalign invisible braces. I actually just got mine off today, I’m very happy about that.
Pat: Thank you. My teeth are awesome now.
Mark: Be everywhere and have great teeth.
Pat: Maybe you went to film school or maybe you know how to shoot really good web video, maybe you’re also interested in teeth or something. So you go and offer your services to dentists around the area and say, “I can shoot some really good video of your office to put on your website or on YouTube and that can get you traffic.”
At the same time what you’re doing is you’re building these connections with people who are in this industry that you’re also interested in. They are going to be thankful for you and the services that you’re offering them, and then also you’re going to be able to tap into their Rolodex in the future.
If you’ve done so much for them, maybe just for a couple of months and helped them out and really proved yourself to them, you can potentially either use that experience to find a hole that may need filling that you can do while you’re still freelancing and then eventually go off on your own, or maybe you might get an incredible opportunity that comes as a result of a connection that you made with somebody like that.
I think this is a great way to learn skills, to provide skills, and also to build relationships with other people at the same time. That’s honestly what has provided me with the most opportunities. It’s not getting up there online, really it’s building relationships and meeting people.
I think it was David Hooper on one of my recent podcasts, I think number 57, and he was talking about ways that musicians get started, because he comes from the music industry and he works in Nashville. He was talking about how one of the best ways to make it online is to get offline and meet people, go to places where people can potentially hook you up with opportunities and you can just befriend people.
I’m rambling, but I think you understand what I’m trying to say. It’s putting yourself out there and offering what you have now for people, whether as a writer, a videographer, any sort of skill people are looking for help with and you can provide that. That’s how you get paid now.
Mark: I absolutely agree. Usually what I advise people is to do that and to reserve ahead of time a small fraction of that time to build the business that’s going to get you out of that.
So one thing is tactical, you go and you trade the skills that you have for money, and a lot of times you’re trading time for money in that case when you first start out. Then you reserve some time to work on a strategic part of your future business, so you’re mostly working in your business to begin with but you take a little bit of time every day or every week to work on your business to grow yourself out of that.
I think that’s right strategy for people who need to be successful and make money right now.
Pat: Absolutely. That’s really the only way to do it that I can see being a legit strategy. There are obviously other ways to go about it. This is how you build your business and sort of get paid quicker than you would if you were just to start something from scratch on your own.
Mark: This has been awesome. We’re coming to the end of our allotted time, because you have a ton of stuff to do.
Pat: Holy-moley, it’s already been 45 minutes.
trong>Mark: I know. I’m going to extract a commitment from you at this time.
Mark: I want to secure your spot for the Late Night Internet Marketing Episode #100. What do you say about that?
Pat: I’m there.
Mark: You’re there; episode 100. We can talk about that.
Mark: You’re 100% there for episode 100?
Mark: We can project that out into the future.
Pat: When are we doing this, when does it happen?
Mark: What I originally said at the beginning of the year was that I kind of wanted to run at a slightly higher than one episode per week clip so that I could celebrate episode 100 at the beginning of 2014. This is proving to be difficult, but it’s still my goal. I’ll give you plenty of notice, I promise.
Pat: All right, I’m there.
Mark: It’s going to be first quarter of 2014, let’s nail it down that way. How about that?
Pat: Okay, I’ll hold you to it.
Mark: 2014 is a long time separated from 2007.
Pat: It is.
Mark: Isn’t that when you started, around 2007 or 2008?
Pat: Early 2007 is when I started the site, the end of 2008 is when I started monetizing.
Mark: It’s been a hell of a ride. I am personally privileged to be able to call you a friend. My life is better because you are in it. Thank you for being here.
Pat: Thank you, Mark. I can say the exact same thing about you.
Mark: Awesome. You rock. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye.
Wrapping Things Up
How great was that spontaneous phone call with Pat? I just called Pat, I had this idea for episode 50, it’s my episode 50 and I wanted to do whatever I wanted to do – and I wanted to talk to Pat. I hope you guys enjoyed that as much as I did.
Pat just dropped everything and popped me into his schedule – very cool. Every time I talk to this guy I am just ready to take over the entire world, he’s so inspiring. I know that’s why people listen to his podcast. It has been such a great friend to me over the last seven years and I know we have lots of good friend years in front of us. What a super guy. I hope you enjoyed that.
I’ll be on the show again next week at my regularly scheduled time. We’re going to have Matt Richardson from GoToGeo, he was planned for this week but I slid him to next week. You’re going to love Matt, he has some interesting things to tell you about with regards to affiliate marketing and IP addresses, where offers come from and go to, and all this kind of stuff. It’s going to be great.
Until next time. Thank you so much, Pat, I really appreciate you being here. Talk to you all soon.
Thank you for listening to the Late Night Internet Marketing Podcast…