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E344 - The entrepreneurial journey of innovative digital marketing, creating a business that serves people | with Pat Flynn
Episode 34413th June 2023 • The One Big Tip Podcast with Jeff Mendelson • Everyone has that One Big Tip!
00:00:00 00:21:41


Pat is a multi-faceted individual who wears many hats with equal finesse. As a proud father and husband, he is also a successful entrepreneur who owns multiple lucrative online businesses. Pat's expertise in digital marketing is well-known, and he is a sought-after professional blogger, keynote speaker, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Additionally, he hosts two highly-rated podcasts, the Smart and the Ask Pat podcast, which boast a staggering combined download count of over 80 million, several awards, and recognition in prestigious publications like The New York Times and Forbes.

Apart from his entrepreneurial pursuits, Pat also advises ConvertKit Circle and other digital marketing companies. His philosophy revolves around creating a business that serves people, with offerings that cater to their needs. He frequently shares his expertise and experience in building lucrative businesses, using his own ventures at SPI as an example.

Pat is a creator at heart, constantly seeking out new ways to build and innovate. His journey began in 2008 when he was laid off from his job in architecture and turned to the online space for a new venture. He found success in helping architects pass exams and later started Smart Passive Income, where he openly shared his strategies and experiences. Over time, Pat's definition of a creator evolved. He became known for his willingness to experiment and try new things, whether it was building an iPhone app company that made over a million dollars or launching a physical product called the Switch Pod on Kickstarter that raised half a million dollars in just 60 days.

Pat's latest experiment is on YouTube, where he has built a prosperous channel around one of his hobbies, Pokemon. With almost 600,000 subscribers and 130 million views, Pat continues to push the boundaries of what it means to be a creator and entrepreneur. Despite the many successes and occasional failures along the way, Pat approaches each new venture as a learning opportunity. Being a creator means constantly evolving and staying true to his passion for building and innovating.

In 2009, Pat started his first YouTube channel, which was initially just a place to store videos about topics he discussed elsewhere. However, he didn't take it seriously and wasn't consistent. It wasn't until 2016 when Pat attended the Summit event that he realized the true potential of YouTube. He discovered that it wasn't just about getting more views and subscribers, but about capturing people's attention and serving them in a meaningful way. Pat was motivated to improve the way online business was taught on the platform. He wanted to use YouTube to teach online business the right way and contribute value to viewers instead of just trying to sell something. He aimed to reach those who were doing it wrong and educate them on the right approach. His efforts paid off as his channel grew from 50,000 to 200,000 subscribers in just one year once he focused on his audience and how he could serve them best.

Pat used to struggle with saying yes to every opportunity that came his way, which divided his energy and made it difficult to focus on one or two things. However, after reading The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, he realized the power of working on one or two things at a time. Now, he focuses 80% of his time on the things he's already committed to and uses the remaining 20% for experimenting with new ideas. While he acknowledges the potential of other channels like Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok, he prefers to stay focused on his current projects.

He emphasizes the importance of creating meaningful experiences for customers in his book, Super Fans. By providing special moments and a sense of belonging, businesses can stand out from others in the same field. He also stresses the advantages of human connection, which can be achieved regardless of technological evolution. To stand out in a crowded niche, businesses must focus on creating these human connections and providing value to their customers. Pat advises entrepreneurs to start small by choosing one niche market and community and finding one person they can help get one result. This exercise enables businesses to understand their customers' needs and develop valuable ideas. By helping one person achieve their goal, businesses can gain inspiration and build a loyal customer base.

Selling and serving can go hand in hand, but it's important to reverse engineer the process and focus on building a relationship with the customer first. The offer should be the end result of the conversation, and there's a lot of groundwork that needs to be done before getting to that point. Pat has helped many people through this strategy, and they've accomplished serving their audience and making offers. As he points out, if you have the ability to help people, it's your responsibility to do so, even if it means taking some risks along the way.

Understanding one's definition of success before embarking on scaling a business is crucially important. Many people set a goal of making a million dollars without thinking about what success really means to them. By delving deeper into their goals, they often realize that success is achievable with a much smaller income. He explains that the riches are in the niches and that it's essential to understand one's target audience's specific problems, goals, wishes, and fears. He also highlights the importance of being relatable to the audience, and it's often advantageous to be a couple of steps ahead of them in the journey.

In this episode:

[3:00] Pat considers himself a Jack of all trades and a master of fun.

  • He started his first YouTube channel in 2009 but didn't take it seriously until a couple of years ago.
  • He enjoys trying new things and sharing the results, always seeing it as a lesson.

[6:00] Developing the 20% itch rule, dedicating 80% of the time to commitments and 20% to 

new experiments, helping to set boundaries around curiosity.

  • Focusing on one or two things at a time after dividing energy between various platforms and activities.
  • No matter what happens with technology, the human experience will always be valuable.

[9:00] Offers and creating opportunities are the foundation of the speaker's overall impact.

  • The strategy is to find one niche or market.
  • Guessing is not the way to go, it's essential to do enough research and not skip steps.

[12:00] Selling and serving can go hand-in-hand, but needs to come from a place of service and 

focus on providing value to the customer.

  • Find one niche or market that you have an interest in, expertise in, or where people are asking a lot of questions.
  • Reverse engineer the process and create an offer that serves the needs of that specific niche or market.

[15:00] Defining what success means to you is more important than learning growth strategies.

  • Understanding the reasons behind scaling is crucial for success.
  • Many people overestimate the amount of money they need to achieve success, and focusing on a more achievable goal can lead to easier scaling.

[18:00] Any social media platform can be used to showcase expertise and amplify a message.

  • Being relatable and a few steps ahead of your audience is an advantage in teaching.
  • The definition of an expert is simply someone who knows 1% more than everyone else in the room.