Pat Flynn, the founder of Smart Passive Income (SPI), is a pioneering figure in the world of online business and digital marketing. His success story has inspired countless entrepreneurs to create their own passive income streams, and his educational resources have empowered individuals to achieve financial freedom. In this article, we will explore Pat Flynn’s journey, his strategies for success, and the impact of Smart Passive Income on the digital landscape.
Pat Flynn’s story began in 2008 when he was laid off from his architecture job during the global financial crisis. Facing an uncertain future, Flynn decided to take matters into his own hands and started exploring ways to generate income online. He initially found success by creating a website called Green Exam Academy, which provided study materials for the LEED exam, an architecture industry certification. The site quickly gained traction, and Flynn realized the potential of passive income as he continued to earn money from the sales of his study materials even while he slept.
In 2009, Flynn founded Smart Passive Income to share his experiences and teach others how to create their own online businesses. Through his blog, podcast, and various online courses, Flynn quickly became a trusted authority on digital entrepreneurship and passive income generation.
Strategies for Success
Pat Flynn’s success is rooted in several key strategies that he’s consistently employed throughout his career. Some of these principles include:
- Transparency: Flynn has always been open about his successes and failures, sharing detailed income reports and case studies with his audience. This level of transparency has helped him build trust and credibility with his followers.
- Diversification: Flynn emphasizes the importance of diversifying income streams to protect against economic downturns or changes in consumer preferences. His own businesses reflect this, with income sources ranging from affiliate marketing and digital products to online courses and speaking engagements.
- Providing Value: Flynn is a firm believer in the idea that providing value to your audience is the key to long-term success. Through high-quality content and a genuine desire to help others, Flynn has cultivated a loyal following that continues to support his ventures.
- Continuous Learning: Flynn attributes much of his success to his commitment to learning and adapting to the ever-changing digital landscape. He regularly invests in his own education and encourages others to do the same.
Over the years, Smart Passive Income has become a go-to resource for aspiring digital entrepreneurs. Pat Flynn’s relatable story and clear, actionable advice have helped thousands of individuals create their own passive income streams and achieve financial independence. Flynn’s influence extends beyond his website and podcast, as he has also authored books, spoken at conferences, and collaborated with other industry experts.
In addition to inspiring others, Flynn’s work has helped shape the digital marketing industry as a whole. His commitment to transparency and ethical marketing practices has set a standard for others to follow, fostering a more honest and authentic online business environment.
Enjoy our conversation with Pat Flynn.
Alex Ferrari 1:52
Enjoy today's episode with guest host, Jason buff.
Jason Buff 1:57
I can't tell you how excited I am to have today's guest on Pat Flynn, his website Smart Passive income.com is an amazing resource for anybody who wants to learn about online marketing or how to create products that generate passive income. And so what I want to do is I want to focus on films as a form of passive income, which means that you put a lot of work into something, you create a product. And then after you launch it, you're able to enjoy the fruits of that work for many, many years to come. And what Smart Passive Income kind of teaches is all the different ways that you can not only create products like that, but ways that you can connect with the people who are going to want those products and ways to put the message out there and to grow an audience and build mailing lists and things like that. It's there's a whole lot more to it. But that's kind of the general idea. All right, here's my interview with Pat Flynn. Now the thing is, because you know, what you do, and what I do are kind of in different worlds, but they're also kind of in the same world. And that is the concept of creating something, whether it be a movie or a product or whatever, that people are going to, you know, spend a lot of time on, put a lot of work in, and then after they kind of like set it off into the world, it's going to have its own life, you know, right. So the idea was really to discuss filmmaking in terms of how to approach it like filmmakers, films as the product and filmmakers themselves kind of as the brand and the ways that they can use some of the techniques that you talk about in order to connect with an audience and to kind of build a career as a filmmaker. Love it. Let's do it. Does that make sense? Yeah, sounds great. Okay, because that was one of the things that happened with me was, you know, I tried to make a film about two years ago, and ran into a bunch of problems. It never even occurred to me to think about connecting with an audience and social media and all these other things as a part of being a filmmaker, you know, and it's absolutely key now, especially now that things are changing, and everything's going to virtual platforms, Netflix, and everything, that filmmakers kind of become their own entrepreneurs. Yes. You know what I mean? So what I was thinking we could talk about first, just because I think if you could talk a little bit about your story and kind of how you got into passive passive income as the thing that kind of became your topic of choice.
Pat Flynn 4:17
Yeah, sure. I mean, I could, I could definitely go over my origin story. I love telling it. You know, and I say that because, you know, from a filmmakers point of view, the origin story is really important. You know, the storytelling aspect. And just understanding really, where the main character comes from, is really what helps you connect with your audience. And so, you know, I'm gonna hopefully do the same thing with those of you who are listening. So for me, I actually went to school and wanted to, for the rest of my life, be an architect. I had graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in architecture in 2005. And everything was going great in 2008. I had just gotten promoted to Job Captain youngest person in the firm to get promoted, it was making great money for my age at the time, and I was looking forward to spending the next 40 years of my life in this industry trying to make a name for myself until it was done. June 17 2008, actually, to be exact that my boss calls me to his office. And he says that, you know, although I've been contributing a lot, and I'm just want a rockstar that I was going to be let go. And it just didn't make sense for me that they were going to lay me off, although, you know, looking back was obvious because because of the recession and whatnot, and they couldn't have me any more. But it was a big blow for me, because I didn't have a plan B, I had dedicated my whole just time and effort to the world of architecture, and I moved back in with my parents actually, it was also bad timing, because I just proposed to my, my girlfriend now wife, so yes, she did stay with me. And we're still together, we have two beautiful kids. And did you have like, awkward dates where you were at your, your parents? You know, yes. And then luckily, we're all we all get along. And I get along with her parents, she moved back in with her parents to actually because we both needed to save money. So it was tough times. And you know, it felt felt like I was kind of moving backwards, even though I had been moving forward the rest of the time beforehand. And, you know, I actually discovered podcasts at that time, because I had a lot of extra time. And it was one podcast called Internet Business mastery with that I really connected with with the hosts who are actually bringing a lot of guests on who talked about their origin story and how they got started with online business. And I heard one story in particular, was about about a guy named Cornelius Fichtner, who was teaching people how to pass the project management exam, he was making six figures a year doing so. And I thought that was really interesting. And that was my sort of lightbulb aha moment. You know, if I'm Spider Man, that's the moment I got bitten by a radioactive spider. That's when all these things are turned turning on. Or if you want to go darker, you know, that's, if I'm Batman, that's when my parents got murdered, but I'm not gonna go there. That's when I was like, Whoa, I have some knowledge about specific exams that I took when I was an architect, maybe I can package that information and turn it into something that other people can use. And I don't know, crazy idea, maybe people would pay me for it. And make a long story short, a number of months later, I had this website up called Green exam academy.com. Back then it was actually called in the lead.com. Lead was the name of the exam, l e. D, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, which is like a boring topic for most of you. But for me, I became this rock star in that industry, because I was the only one really talking about it, helping people out online, just being very honest about what that exam was like, because I had passed it. And I was seen as an expert, even though I wasn't really, I didn't feel like I was an expert. They saw me as an expert, because I was somebody who was just had that experience taking that exam already. And in October of 2008, I released an ebook, to help people pass that exam, it was $19.95. And I sold over 200 copies in that month, and made eight, so almost $8,000 in earnings from an ebook. And it was just it just kind of blew me away that this was even possible. And you know, you hear people talking about these things. But when you're actually doing it, it just was mind blowing. It didn't even seem real. I thought it was doing like legal things. And the cops were gonna knock on my door like I had, you know, and then I started, you know, I remember even that first sale I had with that ebook, it just it I was excited, obviously. But then I thought about it. I was like, Well, what if this person asked for a refund? What if I get in trouble for this? What like, I don't deserve this, you know, and I had to go through a lot of these mental things that I had to learn just going down this route of being my own sort of indie entrepreneur, I guess you could say. And so, you know, I've learned a lot of things over time and helped 1000s of people start their own businesses of creating more businesses over time. And you know, a lot of people wanted to know how he started that business. Well, that's where Smart Passive income.com came from. That's, that's what most people know me from now, I have a podcast, over 23 million downloads, and a number of other things that I do on the side. And you know, I'm just here to help. So that's kind of my origin story and how I got started and it's it's pretty crazy to know that I've been doing this eight years now. And you know, I've made a lot of mistakes along the way I continue to make mistakes, but you know, every time I make a mistake, I learn from it and I continue moving forward and I report back so that everybody else can can learn from my journey.
Jason Buff 8:51
Now one thing I think you're missing from that story is the key role that Back to the Future played in your really difficult years there is that if you're if your speech has anything you know, if that's what actually happened was sitting around watching back to the future a lot
Pat Flynn 9:10
You know, I did back to teachers, my all time favorite. And most people who know even a little bit about me know that and I often include back to the teacher in my presentations, because it's just very, it's just very me but I remember when I got laid off, you know, that day I went back to my apartment and then my girlfriend was there and our fiancee at the time and she was just, you know, really making me feel better about what happened always just you don't we got this. It's okay. It's gonna be okay. And what really made me feel better was watching Back to the Future because that was like my comfort blanket. You know, my my pacifier, I guess you could say, and, you know, I always dreamt that I had access, I would get access to a DeLorean because then I could just go back in time and try something different, you know, not do architecture anymore. Try something maybe work a little bit harder in my job or do something to not get let go. And I finally realized like, you know, I I realized that I don't have access to a door. And but I also realized through watching that movie, that what you do now affects your future, you know, you could change your story. And I started to take action. And that's when I really got into, okay, this business thing that, that it's out there, why can't I do it? So let's see what I could do to make it happen. And I started to research it, I started to connect with people get really out of my comfort zone to try new things. Which, which is really interesting now that I think about I'm like, what if I didn't get let go? What would I be doing what I'm doing today? And I can absolutely say no, I would not because it was getting let go. And not really having a plan B that forced me to do these. Take these bold actions that were required to make the success happen. Right.
Alex Ferrari 10:46
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Jason Buff 10:56
Yeah, it's, it's always in the form of some terrible thing, you know, your old life dies, and then your new life begins where you kind of like, emerge as maybe what you're supposed to be, you know, right, right, the uncomfortable moments. So talk a little about a little bit about the idea of how you built an audience, how you have connected with people and how you've grown smart, passive income, and kind of, one of the things that really impressed me about everything that you do is how much authenticity there is. And there's a lot of negative, you know, when you talk, especially to filmmakers, and artistic people, they look at marketing, a lot of times like, oh, well, this is kind of like the used car salesman, kind of like thing, you know, and they don't really, you know, and I became kind of a devotee to to the idea of marketing and looking at, I mean, even if you want to look at Back to the Future, and Steven Spielberg, and all these other people, who are tremendous artists, but they also I mean, especially Spielberg really understand branding and marketing and how to connect with an audience. And, you know, even when Spielberg has a bad movie, it's like, the brand is still there. And filmmakers have such a hard time thinking of themselves like that. They're like, I'm not Coke, I'm not, you know, and they don't really understand that. So can you talk for just a little bit about the concept of marketing and building a brand?
Pat Flynn 12:15
Yeah, it's funny, there's a quote by Seth Godin, who's famous marketer, that a lot of us in this space now, he's a, he's a quote says, marketers ruin everything. Because that's what a lot of people think of, of marketers, and marketers often do ruin everything. But you know, when it comes to building a brand, and marketing, I feel that that is my definition of that is what people say about you when you're not there. And to really focus on that part of it, like how are you leaving an impression on somebody? What is that? What is what is it that you are providing value? Like, what does that value have to offer? And how are they able to take that in? How are they able to experience that? How are they able to share that with others. And really, branding is what people say about you when you're not there. And I love that sort of mindset. Now in terms of, well, you're not Koch, you're not Steven Spielberg, you know, really scatter or whoever, maybe not, not yet, at least, but to a small pocket of the world you can be. And that's where really, I found success with even initially green exam Academy. I mean, nobody knows is hardly anybody knows what the LEED exam is. But for architects and people in the design world who really wanted to pass the exam, I was Steven Spielberg to them, you know, because I was the one putting it out there. And I was doing things like actually caring about what they needed help with, and focusing on that relationship building. And you know, a lot of times when you're doing something creative, you're kind of in your studio, or, you know, behind the computer and you kind of just doing your thing, and then you put your product out there into the world and then kind of just sit back and wait for people to react. Whereas, you know, a lot of people who are doing it, right, they get people involved early in the process, they start building those relationships, and they start to foster those one on one in one to many interactions that are now more possible than ever with things like social media and stuff to really make a connection. And there's a great article, I would I would kindly ask everybody out there who's listening to this to read, it's by a man named Kevin Kelly, who was the senior editor at Wired Magazine, and just a brilliant man. There's an article called 1000 true fans. And this This changed my thought process with how to approach marketing and branding and business and it can change yours too. And this was really written for you guys. It was written for creatives for artists for musicians. And the idea and the gist of this article is that, you know, if you're doing something and you build an audience of only 1000 True raving fans, by true raving fans, these are people who, who just love absolutely love what you do because you've you've made an impression on them, that you are a part of who they are. And, you know, they'll just love you no matter what you do, because you've you've just made that impression on them. So raving fans are people who will drive 100 miles to go see your movie because it's just that's the closest theater that it's available in. These are people who will get on a web like like Live streaming with you so that they can potentially interact with you, even though they're on the other side of the world. And it's 5am there, they wake up early for you, those are those are the true raving fans, if you get only 1000 of those people to follow you, under you, that's that of this world of what 7 billion people to get only 1000 to pay you for what you do $100 A year, in some way shape, or form it whether it's that product itself or access to you or something, you know, related to that $100 a year, right? That's, that's not much at all. I mean, I in many people pay $100 a month for stuff we hardly even use, like cable television or whatever. So $100 to support something you truly believe in something you're completely in love with is not outlandish at all. And if you have 1000 just 1000 people doing that you have your six figure a year business, that's $100,000 right there. And so it really hones in the importance of those true fans. And a lot of what I love to teach is, you know, a lot of people in the internet marketing space and build online business space. A lot of people focus on building what's called traffic or getting visitors to your website, everything that you read about is traffic, traffic traffic, but I try to approach it a different way. I say, Okay, well, what good is traffic? If when they come on your site, they don't have a good experience, for example, or I want the focus to be on okay, even if there's 10 people coming to your site? How can you make those 10 people feel special? How, like, what are their names? Can you get to know them. And the cool thing about 1000, it's not much it's, it's one person that day, for less than three years, if you can build one raving fan each day, which is now it's a little bit more possible, right. And building raving fan isn't very hard, it's a little bit of a connection, a touch. And as a creative, somebody who's building and making movies like, this is stuff that your audience craves, they want to know who's behind it, they want to get to know you and your personality, if you are there reaching out to them, and giving them permission to ask questions or speaking to you. And you're giving them a little bit of access to your thought process or, you know, even giving them some thoughts to where you're going next. I mean, oh my gosh, they're going to be with you forever. And it doesn't take very many to really provide an amazing living for yourself in terms of the monetization and expenses. But more than that, it's just, you know, I know as creators, we all love when we feel appreciated for the work that we do, because we put so much work and time and sweat and effort into it. And again, it doesn't it that read that article is essentially what I want people to do, it really goes into the long tail effect in really building these long term relationships that can then over time exponentially have just a massive effect on you. But not only that, just the amount of people your message, your feeling your book, your product is reaching,
Jason Buff 17:43
Right. Yeah, it's interesting how much you know, if you look at guys like Robert Rodriguez and Kevin Smith, and the guys who kind of have a name, you know, there's a lot of great movies out there, but you don't necessarily know who the director is or who the person is behind it. You know. And when you think about somebody like Robert Rodriguez, it's like, you know, that story. And then Kevin Smith, you know, that story, you know, he made clerks, and then he went off and you know, sold it for a bunch and then kind of came out of nowhere. So, you know, I think what you're saying goes along with that kind of thing, which is that the people that follow those guys connect to that story, and they kind of like internalize it to, you know,
Pat Flynn 18:21
Yeah, I mean, your brand or your marketing, it's not just the movie in the film that you put out. It's all the stuff that happens in between. And I think that's, that's really important to know. And it's not hard. It's just, it just takes some human to human interaction. I think that's another part that we're everybody in any space that's creating something that we really need to understand that it's not about b2b business to business or b2c business to consumer anymore. It's about p2p is my buddy Chris Ducker says it's the person to person relationships, and you know, you follow anybody in the space who has a huge following, they're doing that they're making those interactions. I mean, if you follow anybody, like Gary Vaynerchuk, for example, who is huge, he still makes even just a few seconds of time to individually, respond to people and he's using platforms to help them do that, like Snapchat. Snapchat is an interesting thing that I've just gotten recently into, that has been able, and has enabled me to have these really quick but very personal interactions with some of my fans. And you know, when you do that these people will start to spread and evangelize what you do.
Jason Buff 19:20
But yeah, it's amazing. Like, I was talking to Darius Britt, the other day, who's a guy who's kind of a YouTube sensation for filmmaking. And, you know, it really was kind of a breakthrough that he was talking about, you know, I might make a good film or a bad film or whatever, but people are gonna follow me, you know, they, they like me, they like what I do. So, you know, I might have good times and bad times, but you know, it's not about putting everything into the product that I'm making. It's about you know, saying that I am the author of that and that people follow me for that, you know,
Pat Flynn 19:50
Yeah, I mean, I and I'm not super familiar with in the filmmaking world, and, but you know, I can compare it very much to people who are self publishing books now.
Alex Ferrari 20:00
All right. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Pat Flynn 20:10
Right. And there's just so I've gotten to know I've, you know, I just published my own book, and I've had decent success with it. And I've gotten to know a lot of other authors who have had success with their self published books, too. Because I'm very into this world, I'm very much into well, how, how can we go around traditional publishing and all the barriers and the red tape that that involves, and actually make an impact and help people but also make a good living at the same time. And I know a lot of people who are very, very much the Steven Spielberg, for example, in their own particular niche, and maybe I shouldn't say Steven Spielberg, because that's, that's, that would be the equivalent, like a self published person. But like, the Rodriguez, like you said, the guy who just everybody knows and he's doing it in his own way. I mean, I've gotten to know a lot of authors who are killing it in the horror space, or in the mystery sci fi space in future settings, like it's very niche down, but in these specific niches, they are the person who everybody reads, who everybody shares, who cannot wait till the next one comes out, who are just, like, building relationships with the characters that this these people are writing about. It's so interesting. And it really makes me want to do something. Fiction one day, I mean, that that's on my bucket list to write a fiction book or do some sort of film, and really affect people in the future
Jason Buff 21:24
Pat Flynn 21:24
Yeah, although I don't think I would ever touch back to the future because that shouldn't be touched anymore. So yeah, as long as the Mac is is still alive, I don't think we'll ever see any other film, and I'm hoping he stays live forever, because that means really, but anyway, it's awesome.
Jason Buff 21:24
Yeah. Okay, so when you're talking about I think this is actually a good topic, because ebooks, I think are very similar to the way that indie films have gone. You know, and it used to be that indie filmmakers, even like smaller ones had to go by studios, they had to raise an enormous amount of capital to make films and nowadays with the technology changing, and with video on demand, and all these other things, you know, filmmaking has become somebody something that everybody is kind of, you know, it's accessible to everybody. So the people who are having success with like, say, for example, in ebook and horror, how do you see them? And it doesn't necessarily have to be in that. But I mean, what kind of specifics do they do in order to reach out I mean, even like social media, websites, mailing lists, all the all the kind of staples of building that following.
Pat Flynn 22:32
So here's one specific thing that a lot of authors have done that I did with my recent launch that has worked really well. And that can really be transferred to any other launch of anything, but especially for indie filmmakers. And this is creating what's called a launch group or street team, related to your next upcoming film, for example. And so what I did for my my book that came out, it's called, will it fly. And it's a book about validating your next business idea before you actually spend all that time and money and effort on it to make sure it's something that that will work out. In the end, I actually recruited a group of people who were fans of things that I do, and only about three or 400 of them. And but it doesn't even need to be that much. You can have a street team of 20 people, for example, who you do a few things for you, for example, you give them early access, or to your film and allow them to provide feedback where you give them you know, still shots, for example of some of the scenes that are coming up that you aren't sharing with anybody else, you make them feel really special. And you also just keep them up to date, more than anybody with where you are at in the process. And in exchange for a lot of that, what they're going to give you is reviews on Amazon for that product, the day it comes out, they're going to be the ones who are going to share it. And a lot of times, even though they get early access to that book, or that product, for example, they end up loving the process so much and getting to know you and feeling your energy behind it that they're gonna go and buy it anyway. And they might buy multiple copies. I've had a number of people in my launch group for my book, buy 10 copies of my book, and then share it with their friends, because they were just like, I know, this book is great. I was there when it was being built. And I actually helped influence a little bit of what this was about. You can also have them choose between you know, if you're looking if you have like a poster that you're making for you can have them to choose their, you know, well, what elements do you think should be honest? Or which one of these two do you like better? I mean, you when you engage your audience in that way and give them opportunities to speak up or actually give them early access to things I mean, this small street team can have a huge effect. And it's it happens all the time. There's a guy named Mark Dawson, who I've gotten to know in the in the author space, who's writing these books, and he has this massive following. He does this with every single book, and people are just chomping at the bit to be a part of this sort of limited group for each of these book launches because they know they're gonna get early access, but also they all want to share it and provide help for Mark who they have gotten to know through the work over time that he's done.
Jason Buff 24:58
So now what if you like starting from scratch, though, I mean, these people, this guy's obviously been around and grown this group. But let's say like starting tomorrow somebody is, you know, trying to promote a film or we'll say ebook or whatever. What are the way what what would be some of the first kind of basics that they would need to start putting in place to start kind of building their massive empire,
Pat Flynn 25:22
I mean, I would have some sort of platform, a hub, where you could communicate one to many, in some way, shape or form, whether it be a podcast, a blog, I would definitely recommend a blog, even if you have a podcast to actually facilitate all that information and to collect email addresses, emails, man, if you are a filmmaker, and you have 1000 emails, can you imagine the impact that alone would have to have direct instant communication with your audience and your in your fans and to tell them and give them up to date things on what's going on, I mean, from scratch, you want to build a platform, and I would recommend a blog. If you are, you could even have a YouTube channel if you want for sure. But you know, somewhere where you can then collect email addresses, and just begin to talk about what you're doing. And share bits and pieces of it. You don't have to share the whole thing, of course, and you know, it reminds me of, of Gosh, Andy Weir, who wrote the book, The Martian, when he wrote that book, it was actually I don't know if you know this, but it was actually just initially a series of blog posts. And just this crazy idea he had for a story. And then what happened was, he started to gain a following online from people who were really enjoying these small blog posts. And, of course, he started from zero to but people started to spread his good message and his interesting story around, and then he started to get people who were knowledgeable about Mars and space to actually contribute. That's how he was able to understand all the, I don't know if you've seen the Martian, but, or read it. But that's how he was able to figure out all the information, he got to connect with people who knew what they were talking about, and actually sort of crowd created this book, if you if you will, with his audience. And so that's why it was just smashing success when it came out. And then of course, the movie came out. Also with Matt Damon, but, you know, in a similar fashion, we could all do the same thing, you just start sharing bits and pieces of what you're doing and talking about your story, and you're gonna get, you know, it's gonna be slow start. But if you connect, like with this, like what I said earlier with those people, five people, for example, might not seem very much to come follow you on your Twitter handle or your, your blog. But imagine being in a room with those five people and imagine what you could do with those relationships and how they can help you and you can have convert them into raving fans. Like, I always imagine the people on my email list as people in a room and my email list, for example, now is 160,000 people. So I imagine a stadium or two stadiums full of people who are there, sitting in those seats, and I'm at the center field or whatever, and whatever happened to share, I'm on that microphone. I'm like, Hey, guys, this is what's coming up. Here's where you can go get it. And, you know, a room of 10 people, I mean, it's it's still it, when you understand that those are actual people on the other end, it's it really changes the whole approach and and, again, emphasizes the importance of this relationships that you build, even when you're small.
Jason Buff 28:13
Well, yeah, I get nervous, you know, I've got like a 5000 person email list, and I get nervous that the second I email that I'm like, wait a second, I gotta read that. Sure. Okay, so let me let me talk about another aspect of this. Now. Another concept that you guys talk a lot about is mastermind groups. And this is a totally foreign concept, I think, to a lot of filmmakers and creative people. Can you talk about what the mastermind concept is?
Pat Flynn 28:45
Sure. So a mastermind concept. I mean, this was a term coined by Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich, but a lot of people have been doing it for even before then, and what what it is, it's a group of people, often very limited in size, that are consistently coming together, to help each other out, to hold each other accountable to set goals and stick to them. And back back in the day, for example, Andrew Carnegie had a group of people, I mean, he revolutionized the steel industry. But He credits the people he connected with on a consistent basis, who actually do more than he did about the steel industry, to have him become the richest person in the world at the time. You think of like, for example, back in the, you know, Knights of the Round Table days, I mean, it's essentially that it's, it's a table that's round, because there's no one person at the head, it's everybody they're contributing to help each other out for a bigger better cause. And so and so what was something I think a lot of indie filmmakers should be doing, or anybody who's creating is is be in a part of a mastermind group and it's it could be what with one other person or maybe four or five other people where you're meeting for example, every week or maybe once a month, and you get together on a call, and it doesn't even have to be in person I'm in to master among groups, I love them so much, I'm actually in two. And we meet virtually One of them's on free conference call.com that meets every Wednesday at 9am. And then the other one is that one meets on Mondays at 10am. And then the Wednesday at 8:30am. One meets on GoTo Meeting, you could also do it on Google's Google Hangouts, or even a Skype call conference call, for example, we'll just, it doesn't matter where you are, but connecting. And then it's it's a very formal structured situation to and I think that's important, because I've been a part and have been invited into mastermind groups where it's kind of like, you get all these people together who are building online businesses, for example. But then there's no structure and you kind of just talk about life, and you don't really get anything done. Right, in a mastermind format, here's how you can best use it. So what I would do is I would connect with one or two other people just to start out with.
Alex Ferrari 30:50
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Pat Flynn 31:00
Try to get on a consistent schedule actually put in your calendar make it a top priority, because more than anything, the mastermind groups and the people I've connected with, have held me accountable, who have really dug me out of deep holes and who have given me often brutally honest advice that I needed to hear. I mean, I wouldn't be where I'm at if it wasn't for them. So connect with a couple other people get on a consistent basis, get on a call together. And here's how it works, you get on the call. And the first part of it is you each share, you go round robin really quick, about a minute or two each talking about something awesome. That happened over the past week, since you last got together something that relates to whatever it is that your goals are. And so, you know, one thing that comes to mind when it comes to filmmaking is if you get together, you could say, well, I finished the screenplay for my next film, or you know what, whatever awesome thing happened, it's just a way to start off on a positive note, and actually start getting into the content of the actual meeting, which is, the highlight is what's called the hot seat. So one person every week is featured in what's called the hot seat. And that person presents what they're doing or what they have a problem with, or what they need help with what they need an opinion on, it could be anything. But then the rest of the group members, they're tasked with just being there to give advice to help to be a sounding board to give often brutally honest advice, like I said, and, you know, because you could talk about these projects that you're working on with your roommate, or your friends, or your mom, and you know that they're going to tell you stuff often that you that you want to hear, because they're good, they're gonna want to support you. But you really need to get with people who understand why you're doing what you're doing, where you want to go and give you the advice you need to get there. And so that hot seat can last, you know, 30 minutes to 45 minutes. And it does go by really fast. But it's a very, very open, transparent place. And people you know, you don't just want to hook up with other people also just who are random you want to get get together with people who you know, that you can trust. And it's going to take some time, you might want to meet with people in person to have a drink with them, or coffee with them or lunch with them first. So you know that there's a good vibe there. And then the end of the call is everybody round robin going around and talking about, okay, what's the thing that they want to accomplish by the next time they meet, and then the next person is in the hot seat the next time around? We we all the mastermind groups, I have have some sort of online community like as Facebook, Facebook group, or a secret Facebook group, or some sort of place where we can all message each other in between meetings if something comes up, but man, I tell you, it's it's one of the most powerful things in the world, to get together with other people who are more, not necessarily more experienced, because we all have different experiences. I think that's what it is, we all come from different angles. And you know, we even though a lot of us share the same audiences, we never consider ourselves competitors. Because we're all growing in this together. I mean, we're coming at it from a place of abundance. And when we can do that, and help others, we you know, what you put out to help others you always get back. And so it's just been great.
Jason Buff 33:45
But yeah, that's one of the biggest concepts that I think I've gotten from you and Gary Vander Chuck and some of these other guys is the idea of, you know, giving much more, you know, not come out and be like, you know, like me do this, do this for me, you know, offering a lot of value and offering so much that when you finally have something that you are interested in offering people that they're there for you, you know that you've built an audience, but through giving them an overwhelming amount of value
Pat Flynn 34:12
Yet, especially with social media, like the analogy I like to use a social media is like a big giant party, right? Like it's like a big giant room. And there's a party going on, everybody's having different conversations and different corners of the room and different areas. And they're all talking about different topics. Of course, you want to go find your people who are talking about the stuff that you'd like to talk about who you could, you know, join the conversation with, but you wouldn't go find those people and you find them in the corner, and they're talking about stuff that you like, and that might relate to what you're doing. You don't go there and you say, Hey, my name is Pat. Do you want to buy my Tupperware? Like you don't do that, but you always see that right? Like, how many times do we see tweets and facebook messages where it's like, Who are you and why are you selling me this thing? You know, you go there you join the conversation. You provide value, like you said, you just be a part of the group and then oftentimes when you befriend these people and they get to know you, they're going to be curious about what you have to offer, and want to know it in front, and from a genuine point of view and actually be more interested in and actually follow up with, or follow you through that process. No,
Jason Buff 35:10
I mean, that's probably the most I've got a Facebook group and I have to delete about half of the people that post in there, because it's all just about like this, you know, join my this joined by that, unlike first, you know, Developer Relations, I mean, that's, that's a little part of what indie film Academy was, it's like, I want to, you know, create something that's going to genuinely help people and I don't have anything that anybody really needs to support right now. But maybe when I do in the future, you know, or you know, and I also tell people who are doing things like horror movies or whatever, whatever genre you're working in, become a person in that world, you know, something that even if you just do blog posts that are curation, you know, like the top 10 of this, or whatever, you know, to get in front of that audience and give them things they're interested in just so they know who you are.
Pat Flynn 35:56
But you know, I love that you mentioned that it's sort of triggered something that I thought about that that could be really helpful. And that's understanding what you're sort of unfair advantages are and also your unique selling proposition. These are business terms that a lot of people use, but something is very relevant to anybody who's creating stuff in a competitive world where everybody's fighting for each other's attention or whatnot. So what I mean is like, say you do horror films. I mean, there's a lot of people who do horror films. But if I were to ask you, why should I go and watch yours? If you don't tell? If you don't know what that answer is? Then there's a problem. You know, why? Why yours, not the other person's? What's what's going to? What's different? What's your position? Why, what makes you unique, and it's very important to know what that is. And a lot of times you will won't know the answer. And a lot of you who are listening to this might not know the answer. And you might be cringing a little bit when I when I tell you that you have to, but a lot of times it comes from others to know what that is. And so I would encourage you to ask, you know, if you have any sort of falling already who watch your horror films, for example, it'd be pretty cool to hear why people watch yours. And you're probably going to be pretty surprised from the answers. But the answers will tell you what makes you unique. So you can make sure to incorporate that or just do more of that in the work that you do.
Jason Buff 37:14
Yeah, I had forgotten about that. A unique, unique selling proposition. Yeah, so let me talk about I want to talk about the negative for just a second, do you happen to remember any of the advice that you got in a mastermind group that kind of blew you away that you can share with us?
Pat Flynn 37:32
Yeah, I mean, I remember, gosh, there's so many times where the things for me, I mean, it everything from the name of my book and the structure of it to it, there was one time where I was really struggling with my podcast, for example, like, I felt like I was just not getting anywhere, I was kind of doing the motions and just in this cycle, and I wasn't really feeling it anymore. And there was one person in a group in particular, who had called me out on it. And he basically not in a rude way, but in a very respectful way, but also critical way, told me that I was being very selfish and thinking that way. And that I was putting the hard work that it took to put a podcast together. I was I was prioritizing that over what the podcast was actually for and what it was doing. So I actually got some good advice from the rest of the group, including this person, during that same call on how to make sure that I always through all the hard work and the grind, understand why I'm doing what I'm doing. And so I implemented some specific strategies. For example, I now have a specific folder in my inbox. That is simply for gratitude. People who have shared gratitude and thanked us for what I've done, I now have a board in my office that's pinned of thank you notes, a handwritten thank you notes that people have sent me for the work that I've done to help them and every time I get in that mood, where I'm like, Man, I don't want to do this anymore. Why? Why do I keep doing this? I look back right? Looking at that folder. I'm like, Man, I gotta keep doing it. And it reminds me of that conversation I had in that mastermind group. So so that that was a big one, too. There were also moments this was back in 2010. Actually, because I've been in groups in these groups for several years now. I was in a group, where I was considering creating this online course, about creating these what's called niche sites, which, which are sites that are built in a way where it's very much based off of keyword research and a lot of data numbers, and you just kind of build these sites, because there's no competition. And it's a lot of search, and there's tools to help you find out which sites to create things about. And, you know, I got ripped apart one time for kind of getting into some gray hat. sequences in terms of helping to put those together Gray Hat meaning, you know, there's white hat, which is like, you know, you're doing it the right way. It's good, it's all legit and legal or whatever. And then his Blackhat which is like, totally, like, not illegal, I guess you could say was just a bad way to do this. Is this and then I was getting into sort of the gray areas. And I was and I was ripped apart by one of the mastermind group members I had is like, Pat, this is not you, this is not your brand. If you go down this route, I'm gonna have less respect for you, because this is not who you are, and you are chasing the money, stop doing it. And it really just opened my eyes. And I didn't even realize I was going down that route. And it took somebody else on the outside just who had a different perspective, to tell me what was going on. And so I actually never ended up creating that course in the way that I initially had thought I was going to, and it was it was a saving grace.
Alex Ferrari 40:35
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Jason Buff 40:45
So what in general do you feel? What do you feel are the key things that kind of keep people from having the success that they have the potential to have online,
Pat Flynn 40:56
Ourselves, you know, we are our own worst enemy. And to go even further with that, it's a lot of it has to do with fear, the fear of failure, the fear of making mistakes, or fear of looking bad in front of other people. I mean, I can't tell you, I mean, I can, because I have data on at least for my audience, that the number one fears that people have are the whole list of fears that people have when it comes to starting a business. But I can assume that it's pretty similar to when creating your own stuff in terms of filmmaking and whatnot. And a lot of times we just are afraid of disappointment we are afraid of or disappointing others, we're afraid of looking bad to her colleagues, and also just putting in all that time and effort in something that that won't kind of turn out to be a success at the end. And you know, those self doubts and that resistance, it really is something that I've learned over time to become actually a sign that before you do these things, and if you feel that fear, if you feel that resistance, if you're afraid, that's good, because that's a sign that you actually care that you give a crap about what you're doing. And it's a sign that there's something awesome on the other end. And when you think about your life experiences, and a lot of the most amazing things that have happened in your life, a lot of times it's precursor by something that you are completely fearful of. And, and that pattern just continues to hold through with with the creative mode that you have down the road. And so I've done things now purposefully because I've had fear for those things. For example, I'm not talking things like bungee jumping, or, you know, crawling into a box of spiders. But, you know, in terms of creating, I now I'm a public speaker, and I was completely deathly afraid of public speaking. But that's how I knew that that that's, that's something that was actually something I should do, because I knew it would help my brand. And I started just to do it. And the more I've done it, the more comfortable I've gotten, I still get nervous, I still like kind of dry heat backstage because I'm just but when I'm on stage, because I prepared enough. I mean, it's I go into automation mode, and I do it. And it's just done wonders for myself, my brand I actually have, I'm doing a keynote next month at a food blogging conference. And I'm I have a five figure fee, they're paying me five figures to speak for 45 minutes. It's like, it's crazy. Like, if you asked me, you know, you go into the door, you you talk to me eight years ago, I would have never done it for any amount of money because I just was so scared of it. But now I see the self doubt and resistance as a sign that you know, there's always something awesome on the other end.
Jason Buff 43:25
Do you have to play any mental tricks on yourself? Or do you have what what do you do to mentally prepare yourself for? Say the the speech that you gave at NAB or something like that? What are you doing like right before you get on stage?
Pat Flynn 43:38
All right, before I get on stage, I am doing breathing exercises. It's something that I've learned to do. You know, I take what I do very seriously, you know, and I know that although I'm I have this personality, and I am fun and just kind of just weird and whatever. I also do what I can to stack things in my favor. So one of the things I do for public speaking specifically, is I've hired coaches to help me everything I do, I try to hire a coach right now I'm actually working with in terms of physical fitness and my personal goals, to dunk a basketball, I'm five foot eight. And you know, which isn't that should never happen, but I'm going to do it. And I know it's going to be long and hard or hard, treacherous climb. But I've hired people to help me because that's just a random goal that I've wanted to do for the longest time. And I don't I don't think just because I'm sure it should stop me. And we talked about a 10 foot goal. 10 foot 10 foot 10 foot rim. Yeah. And I'm, I've increased my vertical 11 inches since I've started training and I'm only an inch away from touching the rim. I'm going to need a few more to get actually above it. Maybe grow some finger length because my hands are small to actually palm the ball. But you know, one step at a time. I just liked the enthusiasm. But I also know that as a byproduct of jump training, I'm going to be more physically fit all around. You know, and I that's what I do when I approach the schools. I don't just try to I try to make it fun and try to kind of have it be a process and gamify the whole thing. That's one of the things It has helped me the most as gamification of just life. And so I always am very interested in the numbers and the progress and keeping track of things and just understanding where I was versus where I'm at now and what I could do to better, be efficient and more productive, and so on and so forth. But other things that, you know, that kind of getting off tangent here. Another thing that I do beyond hiring coaches for public speaking, is I hired a singing coach. So a singing voice coach, actually, voice training essentially, is what I'm talking about. That's where I learned the breathing exercises to help increase my endurance, increase my fullness when I'm on stage. So I have a more commanding voice, and, and all those sorts of things. So, you know, just and also just practice rehearsing. And the more I rehearse, the more comfortable I get. And the last thing, the last trick I play on myself is just, you know, what I'm going to, as long as I know, I've put in the effort to rehearse, and I'm just gonna go out there and do my best and, and just just go for it, just just start, you know, that's one of the things I learned is to just start, you know, just ship as Seth Godin says, and there's a book out there called the Game by Neil Strauss, which is a book it's interesting book about the underground sort of pickup artists world. But I read it because there's just so many good reviews on it. But the tip the probably the best tip I learned from their from this world of, you know, picking up chicks, I guess you could say, and I have a wife, I love her. I don't use these tactics, or anything. But one of the things I learned what
Jason Buff 46:22
She knows, you could do it if you weren't, I don't know, deep down. She's like, Honey, I read the game, I'm sure.
Pat Flynn 46:28
Right. So yeah, I guess I have a plan B, just in case. But no, one of the things I learned was a thing called the three second rule, which was, you know, a lot of times when guys want to pick up girls, they psych themselves out, because they think about it too much. So don't give yourself more than three seconds, just to go up to a girl and talk to her. Right. And then it's just that initial start, that's the hardest part. And so just for me, whenever I'm doing something, and I'm nervous, I just I just go, you know, I prep a little bit, but then I go, I don't give myself more than three seconds to psych myself out, because I will say,
Jason Buff 47:02
No, but that's perfect. Because, you know, when I first started this podcast, and I definitely used a lot of your advice when I was getting started. And one of the key things for me, because I am not a public speaker, and I'm not like very comfortable, you know, talking to people on on this medium or whatever. But it was just to get started and just to start doing interviews, you know, out of the blue, just call people get, you know, try to get things going. And it was like after I started, then I started getting more comfortable. And then started, things started happening, you know, and I put together a website pretty fast that wasn't, wasn't quite that well developed, it didn't really have the key concepts. And it's like, slowly, over time, it's all kind of falling into place. And I've figured out exactly. You know, when people have you know, when you first start out, you're kind of speaking into a vacuum. You know, nobody you don't really have any concept of is anybody reading this as anybody you know, I'm doing interviews, they're going out, you can see the downloads and everything. But yeah, you don't you have that feeling like, Okay, this is just me in a room talking to myself, basically, you know, and then but like, if you just start and you just keep, start generating content and start, you know, doing things that you genuinely feel like going to help people, it just people start finding you, you know, and they're like, Oh, I didn't know who this guy was. And you know, then you start building the building and following that way. But if I sat there and tried to make everything perfect. And I actually remember, I don't remember where it was, but you had done some some speech talking about the first interviews you did and how bad they were. And I was like, Oh, terrible.
Yeah, I mean, I, and I'm sure you hear that all the time, people saying, Oh, well, you helped me out, you know, helped me do this and help me do that. And that's kind of reinvigorate you to be like, Okay, I'm gonna wake up tomorrow.
Pat Flynn 48:44
And oh, yeah, absolutely. No, absolutely. You know, you we all have something special that we can offer others. And we have to remember that sometimes. And, you know, in terms of when I first started out, yeah, it was terrible. But you got to get through those bad, bad takes, I guess you could say, You got to go through your first few terrible films, you know, to get to get to the good ones, for sure. You know, as long as you keep learning along the way, even as you make mistakes, you're always, as long as you're falling forward, you're still making progress. You know, it's when you give up, it's when you psych yourself out, it's when you turn back the other way that you're you're, you're really failing. And so you just keep going is really all when I could say,
Jason Buff 49:21
And it's that constant, like you need to start appreciating failure, you know, like, there's going to be a lot of failure along the way, especially in any sort of film, and filmmaking creative world where it's like, just get to get accustomed to failure. You know, it's the person that goes out and fails that first time and gives up it's like, okay, that's not gonna go anywhere. But the people you know, I think Steven Spielberg got rejected from USC, like 20 times or something like that. I mean, there's just all these great stories or even your example of Back to the Future. Was like rejected, I think my, like 20 studios or something like that?
Pat Flynn 49:55
Yeah. 2027 Studios back to these years. rejected a Harry Potter was rejected Tim Ferriss book, The Four Hour Workweek, which you mentioned earlier was rejected by 21 Different publish up different publishers. I mean,
Alex Ferrari 50:11
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Pat Flynn 50:21
Angry Angry Birds a lot of people don't know that, but that was Rovio, the company's 52nd game. Nobody knew any of the other games, but they keep they kept going. And man, they smashed it. I think the Angry Birds movie I saw a preview for it on television. I don't I don't know if I'll be taking the kids that one. But
Jason Buff 50:40
My son was like, Oh my God. I'm like, no, no, no. You don't like it. Do not like it. My son hates Star Wars, which is killing me. Oh, no, He's eight years old. And I'm like the biggest Star Wars freak in the world. And I took him to go see them. I can't get them to watch the originals. And I took him to watch the new one. And he's like, that's your thing. It's you know, we see it in the store and everything. He's like, Oh, look at Star Wars. You like that? And I'm like, when does it ever kind of connect? It will it will like my whole life. I was like waiting to have a son so that you know that he would look at me and be like, Dad, let's have a you know, lightsaber battle in the backyard. It's like no. Angry Birds loves Angry Birds loves zombies.
Pat Flynn 51:18
Versus there is an Angry Birds Star Wars edition. Maybe that'll be the transition.
Jason Buff 51:21
Yeah, I was we got that I was trying to. I was hoping I could trick him into liking it. Right. So one, one final kind of topic I wanted to go through. If that's okay, is your book will it fly. And something that I find absolutely fascinating is the concept of validating an idea. And being it you know, a lot of people and we kind of do this backwards in the filmmaking world, is people will write a screenplay, they'll spend 1000s, sometimes hundreds of 1000s, sometimes even millions on independent films, and they'll put it out there and nobody really is interested. And I think it's really interesting to see a lot the industry is kind of changed now to where all you're seeing is, you know, things that are already successful, that are already validated that people already have, you know, that are already kind of have an audience for them or whatever. Yeah, so I was wondering if and it's a little bit of a stretch, but I think it is related the idea of validating a business before you, you know, launch it and trying to get an idea of if you're going to have success, if you're the right person for that business, you know, and the things that you cover in your book, the
Pat Flynn 52:33
Book obviously is centered toward during business ideas and actually getting to a point where you're, you're getting paying customers, even before that business idea is actually created. And you know, because that's really the only way to truly know whether or not something is actually going to work out is that as can you get early adopters to pay for this idea first, and actually fork over money. And before you actually build it. And that's how, you know, there's actually a good example. In the end, maybe there's a takeaway for this, that is a parallel to indie filmmakers. But there, there's a guy named Jay Abraham, who was an author and just an old school marketers, brilliant guy, influenced a lot of people who I feel are my mentors. So you know, old school marketer before the internet days, you know, he's writing a lot of books. Before the internet was around, he wanted to know what books he should be writing about. And he wanted wanted to validate those ideas. And so what he did was he actually purchased classified ads in the newspaper for those different book titles that he had talking a little bit about what those books were about, and actually collecting payments for those books. In the classified ads, you didn't he didn't even have those books written yet. They were just all ideas. And he knew that the one that got the most orders was the one that he was going to write next. And so the others, he would just refund those payments. And this one, he would work with those people who would place his orders to actually write the books and make them exactly how they should be based on who he was work, who he was writing for. And that's a cool kind of a cool concept. And I think that can be done in the indie filmmaking world in different ways, shapes and forms. Maybe not necessarily getting people to pay for the entire movie or ticket for it before him but maybe to validate the the idea through maybe just getting people to get access to, you know, chapter one of the screenplay, for example, and getting their feelings on that. And if you can't even get people to get access and want those than want Chapter One of the screenplay, then maybe the rest of the chapters aren't ready to be written yet, for example, if that makes sense. And so again, just kind of breaking down the entire process from start to finish into little chunks and then along the way, kind of making it a litmus test to see if it's actually working out or not. And if it's not, then something has to be changed or be done differently. And if it's good, then that's the greenlight to keep going and moving on to the next step. It's almost like Kickstarter, you know, you're Yeah, that's what I was thinking. Yeah, you're using Kickstarter or Indiegogo or something which lot of filmmakers have used to validate their their ideas, you know, you create a little trailer, just to tease that idea. And if you can't get backers and people to pledge then then maybe it's not something that people are interested in. But the other the other part about validation. And the thing that's important that I tell people to talk about or to do in the book is that it will, if it doesn't validate, at least, you could continue to ask those people who you were trying to validate with why it didn't work out. And so with business ideas, for example, if you try to get people to pay for something, they're interested in that potential solution, but when it comes down to it, they don't pay you then you can ask them why. And they'll tell you what's wrong. Oh, I didn't. I didn't feel like it was worth that much, or I didn't feel the messaging was right, or you didn't, it didn't really seem like it was a huge, it didn't seem like it would solve my problem, or whatever it is, then, you know, and it takes the guessing out of it. I think that's that's one of the things that people who start anything or struggle with is just they're trying to guess and, and relying on hope and prayer more than actual data and what their target audience is saying,
Jason Buff 56:01
Well, cool, man. I really appreciate your time and for coming on. You want to tell people how they can get in touch with you and how they can connect.
Pat Flynn 56:07
Sure. Thank you again for having me. My website [email protected]. You can connect with me on most social media platforms, like Twitter Instagram at Pat Flynn.
Alex Ferrari 56:20
I want to thank Jason so much for doing such an amazing job with this episode. If you want to get links to anything we spoke about in this episode, head over to the show notes at Indiefilmhustle.com/672. Thank you for listening guys. As always, keep that also going keep that dream alive. Stay safe out there, and I'll talk to you soon.
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