Today we talk with Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income. Pat has an amazing life journey. He was fired from a job he loved and now has a very popular website and podcast that teaches people like you and me how to make money online.
He has inspired me to take action and start my own podcast. He is an inspiration to me. I ask him all about m
indset and how he lives his life. One thing that separates Pat from other online teachers of making money on the web is that he is transparent. I asked him how he became so transparent. He said, “That is just the way I am.” Every single month this guy puts how much money he makes online. Crazy, right? Well not to Pat. He does not want to be a sneaky kind of guy. The more open he is, the better he feels he can help people like me and you.
I am honored to have him on the podcast. I hope you enjoy.
Get out of your comfort zone
Have support from family and friends
Get into a mastermind group
Make your first blog or website
How we can relate to elephants
Consider all options that come into your life
How to put your foot in the pool and keep your job
Freelance your skills—it teaches you how to start a business
Use skills you have already
Avoid problems by being open
Build trust in your audience and friends
Find help that you need
Who are you reaching your dreams for?
How to break up goals
Look at people who are above you
Have a work space so you can just work
How to be AWESOME!
[spoiler]You’re listening to Operation Self Reset with Jake Nawrocki.
What is going on, resetters? Welcome back to Operation Self Reset, the one and only place to change the person that you are right now to that person you strive to be. Maybe you want to be that guy that shows up on time. Maybe you want to be that guy that can talk to anybody in line. Whatever it is, we are going to try to transform your life in that direction. So today is a great podcast. We have Pat Flynn. He is from SmartPassiveIncome.com. I highly, highly suggest you guys go check him out. If you guys are interested in making money online—it’s funny because this is all about life transformation and I just talked about how you guys should be more confident talking to people in line and then I change right into Pat making money online. So totally two different streams, but I want to let you know that his name is Pat Flynn. He has a website about making money on the internet. That doesn’t mean that this is all about making money on the internet today. We’re still going to be talking about tips, strategies and tools that we can use to improve our own lives. It’s just funny to me. If you’re not laughing, then I’m sorry. So it’s just awkward for me then I guess because I’m laughing in a room by myself. But anyway, it’s not about me. It’s about changing your life. So here we go.
I want to say first off thanks again for you guys sending me all the emails. You guys love the tips. The one recurring email I get time and time again and I’m loving it—it’s hilarious—is you guys having issues of not hitting the snooze button. Oh, my gosh, people have been cursing me out saying, “Why did you challenge me on this? This is horrible. It’s my first day not hitting the snooze button. I just had a glass full of coffee and slammed it. I don’t have the energy.” It’s hilarious. You guys are making me laugh. I do appreciate the great emails and to kind of recap the tips that we talked about in podcast number 14, we’re gonna go through them real quickly for the people that wished they would’ve heard it. “Oh, I wish I would’ve heard those five tips. What are they, Jake? Tell me so I can improve my life right now.” Okay, hold onto your seat because it’s gonna get crazy here.
The five tips are number one: wake up refreshed. Go to bed and sleep however long it takes you. Number two: break the wrist and walk away. Get away from distraction. Achieve your dreams. Dedicate time to yourself. Number three: set goals. Set them daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. I tell you how to do that. That’s what I personally do. I think it works quite well. Number four is finish projects. Don’t be jumping around from one project to the next. Complete that project, then move on. Do not jump into different projects before finishing the one that you’re currently on. And number five: organize your life. An organized space is an organized mind. Clean up your space. It will clean up your mind. I’m telling you, it feels great. It’s very rewarding. If you want all these tips and details, I highly suggest you guys go and listen to podcast number 14. It’s called Five Tips. I highly suggest it. Let me know what you think, and if you guys have any other tips, suggestions, questions about transforming your life and you want to know what they are feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. So feel free to do that. I reply to everybody. It doesn’t matter what it is. I am here for you guys. If you have a question about changing your life, if you have a question about direction, if you have a question about, “Man, I love my job, but I know I’m meant for something better,” let me know. I’ll give you the tools and resources and we’ll chat. So there’s nothing better than hanging out with Jake Nawrocki on the internet via email. So there you go.
So let’s dive into today’s content. His name is Pat Flynn. He is personally a great inspiration to myself. I highly suggest all of you guys should probably have one or two people that you look up to that you strive to be. Pat Flynn is one of them for me. He has a great website, podcast, and video blogs on YouTube that help people like myself or you listening to start a—not so much a company, but maybe an idea, maybe a project, something online. If you want to get into the online space, I highly, highly suggest you check out Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income. He gives tips on how to not only make money online the right way; it’s non-scammy. He’s not saying put up a website and just have people click on it for advertising rights. No. He’s giving true, honest, just great information for you guys to utilize and implement into your life. If you have a day job, maybe start a little side project. I don’t know. I’m just giving you guys the tools and the resources.
So today, we’re going to be talking with him, and he actually has an amazing story. He was let go or fired from his job that he loved so much—it was architecture. And a lot of you guys can relate because there’s a lot of you out there that email me and say, “I was let go from my job. I was fired from my job. What do I do next? I’m positive. I have the right mindset but what do I do?” So Pat Flynn has a really great, interesting story that I know you guys will really enjoy and like. Again, we do talk about making money online. We talk about him being very transparent. He’s a person that I strive to be because I want to be truly honest with you guys. If I sit here and tell you the facts and, “You need to be like me because I’m the ultimate man,” you guys would be like, “Dude, this guy’s a joke.” The one thing I really want to do is connect with you guys. You guys really are the reason why I’m doing this because I want to help you. I was personally in a bad space a couple of years ago and I didn’t know what to do. I was truly lost, but I knew that there was something better within me and I just had to figure it out. And so that’s why I started this podcast. It’s always something I wanted to do, and Pat gave me the tools and the resources to get it going via internet and the tools for setting up a podcast and stuff like that. But I truly just want to speak from the heart to you guys because I feel that’s the best way to connect with you guys listening. Without you guys, there would be no me, so I appreciate you guys so much and I strive for that because Pat Flynn, as you will hear, is literally clear as water. And were not talking about gunky water; we’re talking crystal-clear Evian water. The $4.99 water. Not the general, generic brand water, not the $.99 stuff. We’re talking like the $5 water, the clear from the Swiss Alps somewhere out there.
So here we go. It’s a great interview. Take it for what it’s worth. There’re a lot of good tools and tips integrated in here and a lot of great ways to kind of live your life. So I hope you guys enjoy. Thank you so much. We’ll check you on the back side of the interview.
His name is Pat Flynn. He is from Smart Passive Income. He also created a book called Let Go. A couple of years ago he was let go from his job that he loved so much, and he went in a direction that he was not expecting: internet business. And he has knocked it out of the park. He teaches people online to start podcasts, blogs, gives a value in information on how to succeed in making money online the right way. And I can personally say, Pat, from the bottom of my heart, honestly, without you I would not be having my own podcast, blog, video series right now. So, seriously, you are awesome. You inspired me to take action. For that, I’m totally 100% grateful to you. So thank you so much.
Well, thank you for that. That’s so awesome to hear you say that, and I’m just so happy to be here and to know that I was sort of like a kindle for that.
Oh, yeah, no, you’re great man. So we’ll dive more into that in a little bit, but I want to talk about and start with your book Let Go. This podcast, Operation Self Reset, is all about transforming yourself, changing yourself, and figuring out your true passion in life. You were let go from your job. You worked hard in college. You got a great career path. Things didn’t work out and a lot of the people that listen are kind of going down that road too. The economy is not doing too well. So do you mind just shining some light on that process and how everything unfolded from there?
Sure, I didn’t know where I was going and I will tell you that. I didn’t know where I was supposed to go, and that is a path that I was sort of kicked off on. Like you said, I was getting good grades in college. I did all the extra-curriculars that I was supposed to do in high school to impress admissions, and then even when I got a job coming out of school I did everything I could do there to climb the ranks and climb higher in the corporate ladder. And everything was going perfect until—t was summer of 2008, I discovered that I was going to get let go in three months’ time. It was just very sad because I had done everything right. And they even told me right before I was gonna get laid off, “Pat, you’re one of the best, brightest, youngest guys we’ve had, we have to let you go.” Like that just didn’t make any sense to me at all. Those two things shouldn’t be put in the same sentence without like a not in the middle and
I’m very lucky to have the support that I had from my fiancé at the time and also my family. Without that, I definitely wouldn’t have gotten the confidence to do what I was going to do which was I turned a blog I had that I had set up just for myself to help me pass an exam while I had in architecture. Again, I always went above and beyond. I didn’t just study for the test but I documented all my notes so that I could better study but also share my notes with my coworkers and to my bosses be like, “Look at this thing that I created for everybody in the office. You have to promote me.” That was why I created it. I didn’t mean to ever create a business out of it, but when I got let go and then I was listening to podcasts trying to get inspiration for what else to do I actually tried to get back into architecture to do what I was supposed to do I thought, or what I was comfortable to doing, and there was no way I was going to get another job in that industry. And even now, that industry, the architecture industry, is just very difficult right now.
But I’m quite fortunate that it happened because it forced me to look elsewhere and to expand outside of my normal comfort zone and do a lot of things when turning this site into a business that I wouldn’t normally do. I was never comfortable with making phone calls. I was never comfortable with putting myself out there or working on a product and selling it. Like that stuff, I would’ve never dreamed of doing that stuff, but I had to. I had no other choice. So it wasn’t without a lot of support from my family and friends but also the support of people who were doing this already. So I actually was proactive and reached out to people who were doing this already and I joined a Mastermind group and had people who were successful online already. They became a resource for me, and without them I definitely wouldn’t be where I’m at. And so what happened was I ended up turning this sort of study guide blog that I had and I opened up the comments. What happened is actually I had the site maybe for a year putting content into it, just writing notes and studying from it, and then I passed the exam in March of 2008. And then I just let it sit there. I didn’t have any more need for it, but when I got let go and then I discovered this thing called internet business and then I put an analytical tool on the site, I saw that thousands people a day were already visiting the site. And that just blew me away because I really had no idea why that was happening. It actually scared me at first, “Like, why are all these people looking at my notes?” I was so naïve about how the internet worked. I didn’t know how it worked, but I had written so much stuff and it was apparently very good that Google put it really high in the search engines and then people found it and then they shared it. I found a link to my site and I saw traffic coming to my site from all these different places, from blogs and other forums to actual United States Green Building Council chapter websites. So they were actually linking to me as a resource.
So it just took off from there and actually in October of 2008 I published an e-book for my audience there. And I was very, very scared. I had no idea what I was doing. Again, luckily I had the guidance of other people, but it was a very, very scary thing for me to do. But I did it and I remember getting my first sale at 8:40 a.m. on that day October 2, 2008. And I was just jumping off the walls. I had to walk outside after I made my first sale. And the interesting thing is when I got back into the office—I was still working at the time. I was on my last week of work actually, so the time was actually very perfect. But I went on the site cause I was just like, “Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe this happened. It worked.” I couldn’t believe it. I’m so happy like I’ve totally succeeded and I went back to my desk and I checked my email again and there’s a second PayPal notification. I had made a sale while I was outside celebrating, and that just was like, “Wow, this is incredible. I can’t believe this is happening.” And it just opened my eyes to all the possibilities and opportunities that were out there and that’s when I started the Smart Passive Income blog which is where most people know me from now.
Right. For sure. That’s an amazing process you went through there. A couple of questions. First off, when you started that blog, you said you weren’t really into the internet business and all that stuff at the time or even creating anything like that—how did you start that first blog? It’s not the easiest thing. It’s kind of overwhelming at times, but did you just get guidance from Internet Business Mastery. You got a couple of tips. How did you create that first website?
Actually when I created it I didn’t even know about Internet Business Mastery. I was just getting started with it actually, but I did know about blogs because I had a blog in college on the Xanga platform where I was just blogging every day about what I ate for dinner or who’s party I went to. Stuff for people, my friends could go and just check up on me. So I knew how a blog worked, and that’s sort of where I got the idea of, “Wow, I can actually use this as a resource that I can go to,” because I knew I could categorize things and I could tag different things so I can come back to them later. That’s where it came, and then I discovered WordPress. I heard somewhere that WordPress was the way to go because Xanga was very limited as far as the capabilities, and I just looked up “how to start a blog.” And then I found WordPress and that’s when I.
And it snowballed from there.
Yeah, and it was very easy to sort of set up because I got on a hosting plan. It was just like one click. I just wanted it to be as easy as possible and I saw one click install for a blog. I was like, “Sweet.” And then I installed a free theme that was just like a standard default theme pretty much at first. And so it didn’t really take that much work. I just wanted something where I could start typing content out and categorizing and tagging things and linking to external resources to help me study for this exam and that’s how it all started.
Nice. Now one thing you talked about was support from your fiancée, now wife. And you also talked about your father. He actually suggested that you go back to college. How was that relationship between your fiancée is really supportive of you going down this new direction and your dad’s telling you to go back to school—where were you at? Were you trying to please maybe your dad but you knew that that wasn’t the course of action that you needed to take?
Yeah, the interesting thing about my dad is he’s always right. He’s always been right. He’s always helped me make the right decisions in life, and when he told me I should go back to grad school, I had a big debate in my head because, again, he was always right and he was right. I could’ve gone back to school. I could’ve gotten a graduate degree, a master’s, and come out of it with a better position in the architecture world and potentially a higher paying job as a result, and that’s absolutely true. I totally could’ve done that, but then I remembered I had done everything right before and I was still kicked out. What’s to say I wouldn’t get kicked out again or I would just be disappointed again from going down this path? I had to take control. I had to give myself as much control as possible. I wanted my failures or things bad to happen in my life to be a result of my own wrongdoing as opposed to something that I couldn’t control like all this other stuff that was happening. And then of course I had the amazing support from my wife which that was the most important thing. Because honestly if she was on my dad’s side, I totally would’ve been like, “Okay, these are two people I trust and love. I have to do what they say cause that just makes sense.” And if it wasn’t for my wife saying, “No matter what you do, it’s gonna work out. I believe in you.” That was so important. Without that I definitely wouldn’t have tried it.
What do you say to somebody that kind of went through the same situation that they’re getting pulled in a different direction that they know is right? Do you suggest going with their gut or should they really do some research and figure out the best plan of action for that individual?
I think there’s something to say about following your instincts and your gut. You wouldn’t think of that unless it was something worth thinking about. And I definitely think it’s smart to do some research and make sure you’re doing the right thing and going the right direction, but there’s a difference between making sure you’re gonna do it perfectly versus just doing it and shipping it. A lot of people get stuck on trying to make things perfect or trying to see if the path they’re gonna go down is the right path. And it’s hard to know sometimes unless you do it. And on the other side of the coin, you have to think about what’s gonna happen if you don’t do it? What’s worse? And I would much rather live with the, “Oh, wells” than the “What-ifs”. The what-ifs will just eat you up.
Forever. Forever. So you created then a book, a kindle book and also it’s on Snippet app. It’s called Let Go, and it’s basically the story you just told us about. You have some great articles in there. You have video and pictures. You have a picture of Panera where you were told you were let go, correct?
Panera was where I had my first Mastermind meeting actually.
Oh, sorry. I messed that up.
No worries. I was told I was let go in the office in Irvine, and that’s when I talked about moving back with my parents and that whole thing. But yeah, the book is called Let Go. It’s called Let Go obviously cause I got let go from architecture, but also more importantly I had to let go of what I was conditioned to learn in order to find success and let go of the fears that I had in order to really push forward and find these opportunities and take advantage of them. And I’m just really, really happy that I’ve been able to document the story in a way that I feel is very personal and emotional but also gets people to take action. I’ve gotten countless number of emails and actually some handwritten notes from people saying that this book, as short as it is—it’s a very short read, but it does include a lot of videos and stuff. Interviews with my dad actually about what we just talked about. Interviews with my wife too which is really interesting—but emails and notes from people saying this was a game changer for them and it’s getting them to keep their eyes open and also take action when they necessarily weren’t going to do that.
And on the cover you have an elephant and can you explain why you put an elephant on the front cover?
Yeah, on the cover there’s an elephant sort of with chains on one of its legs and sort of breaking free from its chains. Besides that, the obvious motif of just breaking free, the elephant in particular is there because the way they train elephants is very interesting. What happens is when they’re born, if you want to train an elephant you tie it to a chain and put a stake on the ground and put the other end of the chain on there. When they’re small, they’re not gonna be able to break free and they’re gonna try and they’re gonna try and eventually what happens is they stop trying because it’s painful for them or they understand that they’re just not gonna break free. And so what happens is when they’re big—these elephants grow to become huge, powerful animals—they’re going to be absolutely trained and conditioned to know that trying to get away is painful. So they’re just going to be absolutely obedient in that way. What happens is they’re not even gonna try to break free from that same exact, small, tiny chain that they could easily break free from, but they won’t because again it’s that thing that they were conditioned to learn. There’s other sort of similar motifs, like I think it was Zig Ziglar that talked about the fleas.
Cap the fleas.
Cap how high a flea can jump and then you take the cap off every once in a while and then all of a sudden that’s as high as it’s ever going to jump. Same thing with a barracuda. If you have an aquarium and on one side you put a barracuda and on another side you put a sardine, obviously the barracuda would want to eat the sardine. But if you put a glass thing in the middle, the barracuda’s gonna try a few times to get to it and then eventually it’s gonna stop and then you remove that glass and the sardine’s gonna be safe and the barracuda won’t even venture to that side.
Yeah, that’s crazy. And one last thing before we move on here. Say for example, your best friend just got let go from their job. They got fired, things didn’t work out. What should be their first action step? Maybe they didn’t create a blog that they dabbled with and they thought, “Maybe I’ll check this out and see where this goes.” What would be the number one action step that you would tell somebody that just got in a position where they were let go from their job? What would you say to them?
Yeah, that’s a fantastic question cause I get a lot of people asking me that actually and they’re like, “Oh, what blog should I start?” Or, “What internet business should I start right now?” And my answer is don’t start an internet business right now because that stuff takes time. I was lucky that I had a year sort of of time in between when I started it and then when I got let go where it gave itself time to build an audience and all these other important things that are required in order to build a successful online business. There are businesses that start fairly quickly, but it doesn’t happen overnight. And so my recommendation would be to consider doing that and that should be your end goal I think if you don’t want to go back to what you were doing or you want to begin working for yourself. But in order to do that, you want to put your foot in the pool a little bit, and what that means is I would recommend taking the skills that you have, maybe even the exact same skills that you were doing when you were let go and seeing if you can provide those skills to other people, not maybe necessarily get a job but freelance.
Freelancing is probably one of the best ways to get your foot in the door when it comes to building a business, and you could potentially get paid for it too at the same time. And you make these great connections with people and you never know what those connections will do for you. I know a lot of people, I just did an interview with a guy actually in episode 75 of the podcast, Nathan Berry. He got his start freelancing and building apps for other people. He was a programmer/designer and he started building apps for other people that he was freelancing. And then he started to design his own and then it took off from there and now he’s making six figures talking about designing apps and also some apps of his own too. So I think freelancing, putting yourself out there, and being able to serve others first before you serve yourself. So many great things are gonna happen once you make those connections and what happens is when you’re freelancing and you’re working with people one-on-one, you’re doing things like that, you’re better able to improve your skills which will help you even further down the road. So I would look for other people who would benefit from the skills that you have right now.
Well, and it’s also on-the-job training and that applies to [that goes with 24:23] online, you’re a documenter or you’re a mechanic or whatever, that can apply to anything, just putting yourself out there and doing it for yourself and you learn the business as you go and stuff like that. So that’s a huge tip right there.
Let’s go into Smart Passive Income. That’s where your blog is housed. You also have a podcast that goes off of that. One thing that I really wanted to ask you when I knew that you were going to be coming on this podcast, you are super open about everything. You talk about how much money you make. You talk about where it’s coming from. You’re just so clear and open about everything. There’s no smoke and mirrors; there’s nothing hidden. You are 100% open. You are as truthful as anybody can be online, and where did that come from? Is that who you are or did you grow into that? Is that something you just wanted to be like, “Internet is kind of scary to a lot of people. I should just be 100% open.” How did you get that and how can we apply that in our own lives?
That’s a great question. I think there’s a lot of reasons for it. One is it’s just sort of who I am in nature. I avoid problems and issues by just putting everything out there so that there’s no questions, there’s no falsity. It’s just like, “Hey, this is what’s out there. This is what it is. We don’t have to guess any more. This is what it is.” That’s just the kind of person I am. I’m not aggressive and tell people things that are nasty. I don’t do any of that stuff, but I’m very honest and transparent. I always keep my audience at the top of my priority list, and when I think about my audience that’s another reason why I’m very honest and transparent. Because actually when I started doing internet business in doing all the research for it when I first started I was just sort of disgusted about what was out there. It was very scummy and scammy and car-salesmany and people playing off of hype and things like that. I would sign up to these email lists and I would just get bombarded with sales and I didn’t like that. These people weren’t even trying to build a relationship with me before selling me something which was not making me feel very good.
So when I got into my own business, I was just like, “Hey, I’m gonna approach it in the way that I would want to be approached. I just want to know everything about you if you’re teaching me how to do this, and I want to know how you’re doing, who you are, and I just want to learn from a friend, somebody that you can be a friend with.” And then, friends are always honest with other friends I would think and so that’s why I sort of do what I do. Now when it comes down to the money, it was very funny because I did my first income report that first month in October of 2008 when I first launched my e-book, and I shared how much money I made from my e-book and that really got people going. I saw how much people appreciated that and people were like, “Wow, nobody talks about this. You just shared it straight up.” And it wasn’t a big deal to me, but seeing how much of a big deal it was to other people, I was like, “Wow, I’ve got to keep doing this.” I wasn’t actually planning to do a monthly income report. I was just gonna do it that one time and say, “Hey, I did this. This is how much I made and that’s it.” But it became a monthly thing and now it’s sort of the most popular posts on my site that people always reference, and I’m just very fortunate to have an amazing audience who can see that it’s not just about the numbers. It’s about the lessons and everything that went along with or how to get those numbers or what made those numbers happen.
And sometimes those numbers go down sometimes. Specific business that I’ve created have failed, and I think that’s an important part too, because I think everybody knows that this isn’t easy. This isn’t easy. It doesn’t happen overnight, and you’re never gonna get it right the first time. Especially in my space if you’re just saying this works every time or push-button easy or overnight success, it’s obvious that you’re just making stuff up. So why not just be completely honest and say, “Hey, this stuff doesn’t always work. This stuff is not an overnight success and you won’t get rich right away unless you keep trying and pushing forward and pushing through those failures.” It’s so interesting because that’s just the way I would want to be approached, but when I started doing this everyone was like, “Wow, this is so different. This is incredible.” And it sort of freaks me out a little bit how being honest and authentic is being different. I wish it wasn’t that way. Yes, it’s doing me a favor that everyone else is not like this, but I would much rather have this be the way everybody does business. I’m actually put in a cool position now where I’m sort of a thought leader now and people look up to me and I really take that to heart and I don’t want to take advantage of that, but I also know that I do have an advantage where I can show people how and that it is also possible to do business in a legit way.
Right. And that pertains to daily life too, just being an honest, nice, genuine person, and not trying to scam people, and this world can be a little better place. And I will say, you are a trendsetter because I am in a Mastermind group and we always keep saying that to each other: “Just be open. Don’t hide anything. Don’t be scammy. Don’t try to trick them into doing something that they don’t want to do.” You really are making that curve in a good direction and thank you for doing that because I strive to do that on this podcast and when I provide content to people. Even the email list, I never want to be pushy. I never want to swamp them with so much stuff and they go, “Oh, forget this.” I really want to provide value like you always say, and I think everybody can learn that not only from internet business but just in their daily lives [so much 30:06] to go from there. But the question I have, were there repercussions from being so open? Were the other people online being like, “Pat, what are you doing? Why are you showing your income? This is ridiculous. You’re being too honest. You need to hide those numbers.” Did anybody come down on you like that?
No, nobody said you should ever hide your numbers. I’ve had some people say I’m crazy or that I shouldn’t be doing this and there are obvious reasons why and this can be scary but no negative things have ever happened. The only sort of negative thing that’s happened is where people don’t believe the numbers, and they are sort of getting kind of incredible right now. One, I’m not allowed to make them up just from FTC regulations, but two, I just wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I did that. And three, the most important thing to me is the trust that I have with my audience, so I can’t lie for that reason most importantly. Some people have called me out, and to be honest you could look at those numbers and say, “Wow, this is all crap.” And it could be, right? They’re not, but they absolutely could be. But I think what’s more important is not the numbers but the lessons that go along with them. That is the proof and there’s actually things you could look up to see if things are working the way I’m talking about or not.
I actually had a guy last month totally call me out on it saying, “This is totally fake. This is unreal. You’re just trying to gain our trust using these fake numbers.” I said, “Dude, get on a Skype call with me. I will show you my accounts and everything.” And I got on a Skype call with him and he came back a day later and left a comment saying he was wrong. I’m just all about being honest. I obviously didn’t show him like my bank account. I showed him my affiliate reports coming from these sites and I showed him logging me in. he was like, “Okay, let me make sure the URLs right. Okay, let me make sure you’re logging in. Making sure I wasn’t using Photoshop.” I was like, “Dang.” But there’s people out there like that and that told me, well, maybe I’m not doing a great job of showing people that this is for real or maybe I need to do a better job of showing people that this can actually happen. So those are some things to think about, and there are certain things I’m probably gonna do differently maybe to see if I can—again, I’m not trying to prove myself or defend myself. I want people to understand that this is for real and that they can do it too.
Right. And what you said right there was taking the time and talking to somebody that didn’t believe you, that just shows the person you are through-and-through. If anybody else would’ve gotten that comment from somebody, they would’ve either written them back a mean comment or just said forget it. But you took the time to say, “Here. I’ll show you.” You’re a very busy person and you held their hand and you showed them everything as clear as day and that just shows who you are. You’re doing a great job. You’re just so open and honest. It’s so rewarding to hear somebody like yourself.
We always talk about in this podcast, in my podcast, resetting, getting over your fears of meeting people, getting out there and stuff like that. Putting yourself online and being so open about everything—we already talked about your income report—but was there a big fear that you had to overcome personally when you started this project?
There are a lot of them. I want to be a good example for people, and I want to succeed so I can show others how to succeed. And I put a lot of pressure on myself to do things the right way and also crush it too because I want to inspire people. And I still get scared of going down the wrong path. I think that’s what it is that I’m scared about most now because I’m at a point now where I’m making good money and I’ve seen a lot of people, a lot of friends that I actually knew who got to this point in their career and they became a totally different person and that’s what I don’t want to happen. So I actually call on my audience in my email list and on the blog, “If you see me going down the wrong path, please set me straight. Call me out on it because I don’t want to go down that path.” I am not the type of person to get a ton of fancy cars or live in a huge mansion or anything like that. I am perfectly happy living the lifestyle that I live now and I want to keep it that way, but I want to continue to provide inspiration and results for people too.
At first when I first started—this is a good story—in March of 2009, I had just earned $30,000 a month from my e-book at GreenExamAcademy.com. That was the best month I had. The next month I got a nice little letter from the United States Green Building Council who is the company that actually puts on this exam saying, “You’ve got to stop what you’re doing.” And they gave me a cease and desist letter, and I didn’t read the whole thing at first. I just saw, “Cease and desist. We’ll take action, blah, blah, blah,” and I just freaked out. I was crying. I didn’t know if I was cut out to do business because I didn’t know what I did wrong. I was like, “Am I just way in over my head here? Am I trying something I shouldn’t be doing? Is this a sign that I should go back to architecture?” And then I hired a lawyer to help me figure this out, and what happened was I was just using a trademark in my domain name. They weren’t coming to me for my business because of what I was doing as far as my business was concerned. They were just concerned about the domain in the URL. And the funny part was it wasn’t specifically because of me. It was specifically because there were other sites popping up that were giving LEED a bad name as a result of having LEED in the domain name and other stuff they were saying. So they wanted to get rid of those sites, but in order to do that they had to get rid of all of them which included mine.
So the struggle there was just me trying to figure out was I even cut out for business? The interesting thing is when you start a business it’s a business. And there are other things you have to do that are beyond just the normal skill stuff that you do at your 9 to 5. You’ve got to put on the CPA hat. You’ve got to put on the law hat. You’ve got to put on the accounting and bookkeeping hat and all this other stuff. So that really taught me to reach out to other people who might be better in those fields, so I have a CPA now. I have an attorney now to help me out with those types of things. At first, always just wondering, “Is this ever going to die out? Is this just a flash in the pan? Is this going to be short lived?” Nothing besides that moment sort of made it feel that way.
Everything’s been going great for you. You’ve been really knocking it out of the park. How do you personally keep yourself motivated? It’s easy for people to get excited about something and continue and obviously after something like that that scared you half to death and then you got back on your feet and kept on trucking forward. There obviously were times that you hit highs and lows. How do you keep yourself constantly motivated throughout the podcast, the blog, the videos, everything that’s going on around you?
Well, there are a number of different things I do. Number one, I try to remember who I’m doing this for. And there are two specific groups of people that I do this for: my family. That always keeps me motivated. I’ve got to keep doing it for them. But also, my audience. I know that if I don’t keep moving forward there’s a specific group of people out there who are not going to benefit from the content that I have to provide. And that’s not to say, “Oh, I can provide the best content in the world,” but I know I can bring stuff that actually gets people to take action and help people and help guide them. And if I don’t do what I’m doing, that’s not going to be out there for people to benefit from. So you have to think about that side of it too: your audience.
There’s another thing that I do as far as you want to talk about strategy. I take any sort of big goal or big project I have, and what keeps me moving forward within that project is chunking it up into little, tiny goals. So really chopping it down and really, really mentally paying attention to each little milestone and having that milestone be a win in my eyes. Really rewarding myself when I get to those little wins, just small rewards like going out for a walk perhaps or going to get ice cream or whatever, so that it motivates me to keep moving forward and keep going to that next milestone. And I know that with every little chunk that I finish, that’s a chunk closer toward that end goal and so that’s what always keeps me moving forward there.
And another thing I always do, I mean there’re two other things I want to mention. Number one, I always look at people who are above where I’m at. I know I’m at a pretty high level right now, but there’s a lot of people who are way above me, and I look to them for inspiration all of the time. Like Richard Branson, Seth Godin, those types of people. It depends what I’m doing. I do a lot of things very project based. Like when I was writing books, I was looking at Tim Ferriss, he’s an overall. Gary Vaynerchuk. Chip and Danny Heath and those people. Those guys are all super big and very inspirational to me. And Gary is where I got a lot of the inspiration to be so transparent and honest and reach out to people who are negative. When he wrote the book Crush It. I watched him respond to his one and two-star reviews on Amazon and actually say, “Hey, if you guys want to get on the phone call with me, I want to discuss this with you.” Or, “Here’s my Skype ID so we can chat about this.” And just the response that other people were giving him after that was amazing, so that’s exactly why I do that as far as when I respond to people. And then the last thing I do is I’m a part of Mastermind groups. I’m actually in three different Mastermind groups and each of them are so important to me I would not trade them for anything or any amount of money in the world because they are each with groups of people who are amazing and who are very important to me in my life who know what I’m doing in my business and also know when I’m down to motivate me or they’ll be honest and upfront with me with my business and where I’m going, and that’s so important to me. Like in the book Let Go, I talked about how it helped me get started. Well, Mastermind groups are also what help me keep going.
Do you seek the help of anybody else besides your Mastermind groups? Do you have a life coach? Do you do meditation? Do you reach outside besides having your core group of people to keep you accountable, keep you on track, put the pressure on you? Are there any other resources that you use to keep yourself sharp and mentally tough?
Well, I don’t meditate. I’ve tried that because I’ve heard so many good things about it, and I just cannot turn it off. If anyone out there knows how to do it, I need some help because I want to get to that state of mind because I do need. . .
I second that. We might have to take that together because I can’t do it to save my life either. I keep saying that like I want to, I should, but it just never works out. It never works out.
I’ve tried doing it in the shower, sitting down on the tub with the water sprinkling on my back, just trying to get away for a little bit. And then I do it for a second, and then I’m like, “I think I’m doing it right now.” And then I’m like, “Dang it!” I absolutely envy anyone who can do that. But I don’t have a life coach or anything. I rely a lot on the Mastermind groups that I have. But there are other people out there who are not in the Mastermind groups that I have who I consider best friends. People like Chris Tucker, from ChrisTucker.com. He and I have a really good relationship and it started as a business relationship, but now I would let him baby-sit my kids. That type of thing. And we always call each other out when we see each other doing something that we shouldn’t be doing. We always give each other words of encouragement, and we are always there talking on Skype like just randomly about life, things beyond what we talk about in the Mastermind group which is really important. And also I can say my wife too. I’ll talk to her about stuff, and what’s nice about her is she doesn’t know much about how the business world works and blogging and entrepreneurship, which is nice because I can get a very outside perspective view on things. She’s very honest with me, and she’ll tell me straight up without using business terms what exactly is happening or what’s going. Yeah, and she motivates me like crazy too in that same way.
That’s awesome. Let’s kind of change gears to you now. When it came time to look into yourself, are you a big self-help guy? I know you named Richard Branson, Tim Ferriss, and Gary Vaynerchuk. Those guys can motivate you to no extent and give you some great information. Are there any other tools that you use to look into yourself, to figure out who you are personally in that demographic with self-help or not really?
Well, I read all those resources, read all the self-help books. I think that’s really important. But I also do a lot of self evaluation. I’ll listen to my own podcasts three or four times over and try to think of what I could’ve done better. I read my blog posts and all the comments to see what the people’s reactions are. I test a lot of things. I watch me on videos which I hate doing it, but I know I have to do it to improve.
And I just watch a lot of other videos like TED talks and stuff. I’ve been doing a lot of public speaking lately, so I’ve been watching a lot of TED talks and public speaking things on YouTube to improve.
You just keep yourself in check I guess, right?
Awesome. One thing too we talk about time management is huge. I know you’ve got two kids. You’ve got this going on. You’re doing interviews and speaking and traveling and all that crazy stuff. How do you manage time? Now, I’m not looking for how you lay out your day, but when it’s time to focus on work and try to maybe generalize it for anybody in any specific demographic with online business, offline business, what have you. How do you really focus in on your time? Do you have a little to-do list? How do you set that up so you utilize every single moment?
Right, well, from what I know when I’m working on what I need to get done. The thing is if you don’t know where you’re going how do you know what to do? If you don’t know where you’re going how do you know where to go? So I always try to understand what my goals are and what specific project I’m working on. Yes, I have many things going on sort of overlapping each other, but when I’m in work mode and focusing I turn off all the lights and just have that one spotlight on that one thing that I should be focusing on and that’s where all those milestones and mini goals come into play. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is I have a schedule. I know we always say break away from the 9 to 5 or get rid of your 9 to 5 job, whatever. But you still need some sort of schedule in order to stay sane, especially with a family and other people around you who need to know when you’re in work mode and when you’re not in work mode. And mine’s not 9 to 5. I have like 1 to 3 in the afternoon and then 9 to 2 a.m. which is just the way I’m working now. It’s gonna change as the kids grow up, but right now that’s how I’m scheduling stuff around them because they’re what’s most important to me right now. But having a schedule helps me understand when I should be focusing and then also—at all times I’m focusing. It helps me understand when to focus on work and then when to focus on my family. It’s really important to have 100% focus wherever you’re at and those lines blur a lot of times, and they still do but the schedule will help. There were times in the past when I’d be playing with my kids or talking to my wife and in the back of my head I’d be thinking about my business. And that’s really crappy of me to be like that. I think that’s how most entrepreneurs are sometimes because we’re just so involved in our businesses. There’s no stopping point when you’re an entrepreneur, but there has to be some sort of stopping point in order for you to focus on things that are important to you other than your business.
Other than that, the third thing, would be—I think it’s number three—an actual physical space to do work. An office—I have an office at my house—I shut the door when I’m not in it and I shut the door when I’m in it. So when I’m in it, I’m focused on work. When I’m out of it, it’s just like a sign for me to turn it off. Turn that part of my brain off. It took a while to train myself to do that. It will take some practice and some discipline but it’s so necessary, and so that’s how I’m able to live a happy life with my kids at home and also to get work done in my business when work needs to get done.
When you have that busy mind do you type it in your phone really quick if an idea pops in your mind, are you like, “Oh, I’ve got to interview that guy”? Do you write down stuff real quick or do you just totally shut that off and you think, “If it comes to me again, it does. If not, no big deal”? How do you control that because I have the same busy mind like yourself?
No, it’s true. Yes, there are times obviously when you’re gonna be in family time or personal time or even on vacation and things will pop into your head, and you don’t want to ignore those things cause sometimes the best things happen or the best ideas come at that time. I try not to check email. That’s one thing because email you can get down that wormhole. If you’re not even in a place to answer an email, then what’s the point of reading it? So that’s one sort of productivity tip. But anyway, yeah, if I’m with my family or if I’m not doing work and that sort of idea comes into my head I use Evernote. I just pop it in there really quick or do a quick little voice recording and then I’m back into it. And that’s the sort of lifestyle we choose as an entrepreneur, but that’s the way to minimize it from getting crazy and having it sort of engulf the rest of your life.
For sure. Now one thing that I heard you speak of, you want to produce a physical book, correct?
And a big goal of yours is to be a New York Times bestseller or be on the list. Can you tell us a process of how you focus on your goals? We talk about goal-setting and setting yourself up for success, but how does Pat Flynn personally really dial-in and laser focus on that idea? Obviously, you still have to write the book and all that stuff, but setting out that goal plan—do you mind sharing a brief summary of how you do that?
Well, I figure out what I want to do first, and then like I said I sort of break it down into those mini milestones. And if I don’t know exactly what that’s gonna be I go to other people to see what their path was. I look for resources, blog posts, podcasts, other things that’s all involved in that one particular project. Like for instance, with the book writing, Tim Ferriss had a guest on his site who wrote a book and got a seven-figure deal, so I have that in my resource for this one particular project. And then even when I’m not working on this project, when I come across a resource that might help for another one I drop it in that Evernote folder. So Evernote’s really important for organizing these things and putting these random things that happen in our lives into specific folders, so when I am focused on that project, I have everything right there. And then depending on work schedule or what’s my top priority, I’m either working on that and really focused in on that next little milestone or it’s kind of on reserve until I have time.
Sure. Now you’re still training for your marathon, correct? That’s coming up, right? August here?
Yeah, it’s 20 days away.
And what’s ridiculous is last month I got injured and sick at the same time, so actually yesterday was the first time running again in a month. It wasn’t too bad actually. I talked to my coach, because I have a coach, again, anything I’m doing I want to focus 100% on and get the most help for. So I have a running coach, and he was like, “We’ve got 20 days. It’s okay. We’re gonna do it. We’ll spend one week getting your legs back into it and then we’re gonna go full speed and then give you maybe a few days before the race just to recover and be totally ready for the race.” So he’s confident I can do it. My goal is to get it done—this is the half marathon—my goal is to get it done under two hours. And unfortunately I picked probably the hardest half marathon in San Diego, which is America’s Finest City Marathon, which the last 2.5 miles is a hill. So I’m definitely in for it, but yeah, the sickness and injury just didn’t help. But I’m getting back into it, and then I’m gonna do what I can to sort of give myself the best chance to really succeed. So I’m really focused on leg strength as well as the endurance, so I’m going to be doing a lot of leg exercises just to build that up. I’m also going to be eating as well as I can: no junk food whatsoever, no gluten, just everything I can to give myself the best chance because this goal is one of those that it’s on a specific date and I can’t change it. It’s just gonna happen, and another thing is just knowing that I’m going to be very disappointed in myself if I didn’t do it.
You’ll do it man. You’ll do great. Also, too, like you just said, if it’s a specific date you can’t change that date, so you’ve got to prepare yourself 100%. Good luck to you man.
Thank you. And there’s something to be said for that, to have that specific date. And I don’t have a specific date for the book yet cause that’s—the traditional book—that’s sort of a lower priority item. But there are things in the near future that have specific dates. Any goal, anything that you’re working toward should have that specific date because that’s just going to motivate you like crazy and I know a lot of other people use negative rewards as motivation, meaning if you don’t complete whatever it is you need to complete by that certain time something bad will happen. Meaning, you might lose money to a friend. I think Derek Halpern from Social Triggers, he talked about procrastination. In his video he talked about this website out there where you can pledge a certain amount of money, and if you don’t finish what you do that money’s gonna go to a charity that you hate.
Yes, I remember hearing about that.
So I don’t know what that site’s called, but obviously it’s the negative reward. And that’s a real strategy for getting things done. If you don’t do this, this is gonna happen so you better do it.
For sure. So we’re gonna end this with a hit it and quit it couple of questions here. If you were to mention three books to somebody that is kind of in the entrepreneur field or wanting to get into business either online or offline, what are three books that you would say that they have to read or start with?
Sure. The 4-Hour Workweek is one.
Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath.
And Tribes. I could list like 20 of them now. It’s hard to pick.
Keep going for a couple more.
Okay, so what’d I say? 4-Hour Workweek, Made to Stick, Tribes. The Tipping Point and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Think and Grow Rich. Stand and Deliver which is a great one for people who are doing public speaking but also just presenting stuff online in any sort of format. Platform by Michael Hyatt. Rework by the 37signals guys. They’re also coming out with a new one called Remote which I can’t wait for. It’s coming out soon. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s available for pre-order.
Awesome. That’s good, man. That’s too much. That’s too many books right there.
Sorry. See, I over-deliver all the time.
Exactly. And then you forgot the last one, Let Go. So there you go.
And then if you had to choose one thing, would you go cave diving or sky diving?
Cave diving for sure.
Okay. Alright. The sky, jumping out of an airplane not your thing?
Going splat doesn’t appeal to me.
There you go. Fair enough. And last thing, we’re gonna end it on this. You end almost all of your podcasts or you always sneak it in there somehow. You say that we are awesome listening to you. What does awesome mean for you?
Awesome just means something that somebody looks at and is just like, “Wow.” It’s the “wow” factor. That’s really what it’s about. This doesn’t normally happen and this is actually happening right now. And when I say my audience is awesome I mean I’m just so blessed that everybody who is listening is a part of my life and that’s wow to me.
And can you end the podcast here with one of your favorite quotes?
Sure, my absolute, all-time favorite quote by Henry Ford is, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.”
Awesome. You are awesome. Thank you so much. You inspired me. You inspired countless others and keep on doing what you’re doing best, and I’ll be looking forward to all the new content you have coming up here. Thank you so much, Pat. Really do appreciate it and will keep in touch.
Thanks, Jake. Thanks everybody. I appreciate you.
Pat Flynn from SmartPassiveIncome.com. Go check him out. He also has a podcast: Smart Passive Income podcast. I highly suggest it. If you’re interested in online business, go check him out. Great guy. Honest. Truthful. Transparent. He will walk you through the steps. Just awesome. I hope you guys felt his personality through that interview. And just to let you guys know, Pat did complete that marathon in 2 hours and 11 minutes and he finished it on his own. So congrats to Pat. Just very honored to have him on here. He was an inspiration to me and maybe he can be an inspiration for you guys out there. One thing he talks about a lot is taking action, getting over your personal fears especially when it comes to online business, kind of like what I’m doing but more in the personal realm. So just a great guy in general. So there you guys go. We’re coming up on an hour here. I don’t want to keep you on here because I know you guys have lives to life. So keep on trucking day in and day out. Keep on doing what you’re doing, and in the words of Pat Flynn, you guys are awesome. I appreciate everything you guys do. If you have friends or anybody that you feel this podcast would be a great fit for them, make sure they subscribe. You subscribe. We all subscribe to Operation Self Reset and also, too, got a new little, quick website name: OSReset.com for all you people that are tired of typing Operation Self Reset. So there you go, the new website: OSReset.com. All of the show notes, all of the books referenced, all of the links to Pat’s website, to Pat’s podcast, to everything is on there. Go to episode number 015. You’ll find everything.
One last thing. If you’re looking for a place to start, if you love this podcast but you feel like you need more practical tips to get you going in the right direction, to transform your life, to change the person you are to- the person that you strive to be, I highly suggest you go to the homepage: OSReset.com. On the front page there is a sign-up box. There you can receive 7 Proven Tips to get you started in the right direction to transforming your life. Go there: OSReset.com. Front page, right hand side. Fill in your email. I will send you 7 Proven Tips to get you going in the right direction.
Thanks again to everyone for making this possible. I strive to keep doing this week after week, giving you information, giving you value, and giving you interviews that you guys can learn from. Maybe change your aspect on a couple of items and keep on trucking day in and day out. Life is tough. You are tougher. And just like Pat Flynn said, in the words of Henry Ford, “If you think you can or you think you can’t, either way you are right.” So true. Don’t get down on yourself. Believe in yourself. Tell yourself, “I can achieve this. I can reach my goals. I can become a better person. I can reset my life.” And your body will follow. If you believe it, you can achieve it. Guys, thank again so much. Leave a review on iTunes if you have a chance and we’ll see you next week. Take care. Good luck. Have a good one.
If you have a question you’d potentially like answered no matter if its constructive criticism, praise, or just feedback in general, feel free to visit my voice mail page to quickly and easily leave me a message. You can also always send me an email at email@example.com; I will get back to you as soon as possible.
If you haven’t already I would appreciate it if you took a second to leave a quick rating and review of the podcast on iTunes. All you have to do is click on the link below! It would be extremely helpful for the show and greatly appreciated!
Thank you for your support!