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…Someone that has actually helped me get to where I am today and well I’m just going to throw it out there Mr. Pat Flynn is going to be on the show today and I’m really excited.
I actually met Pat in person at Rick Mulready’s event that I attended. Him and I had a really long in-depth conversation about 35, 40 minutes privately and we also sat around a table for about an hour and a half in a group and we masterminded a little bit. Just a great guy, someone that I really do believe for me has been that virtual mentor from afar, someone I just looked at as someone that I would like to be able to help people and also give the way that he does but then also have people really get the message.
I do owe a lot of my success as far as within the podcast and within this community of TAS to him and I just want to say that you just never know where your life is going to lead. And like I said two and a half years ago I never would have known that I would have a podcast. I never would have known that I’d be interviewing Pat Flynn today so it’s really awesome. But today we’re going to talk about how to validate your business and product ideas before spending a dime and the reason why we’re doing that is because he recently wrote a book on this called “Will It Fly?”
I have the book. I have the audio book and I have the physical copy of the book and it is really, really spot on. And what I mean by that is it goes through the entire process for you to just kind of get into the minds of your market with an idea that you may have so you can validate this thing before you even think about launching it. It’s really, really powerful stuff and I think you’re going to enjoy this.
[00:01:58] Scott: We also have some conversations, a little about fitness and we also have some conversations just about life in general and also like how to get stuff done in time and all that stuff that goes into being an entrepreneur. So lots and lots of things that we discuss that really speak to the entrepreneur which is probably you. Now, I would encourage you to go over and download the transcripts, the show notes. We are going to talk about some actionable stuff here. That’s how Pat rolls, that’s how I roll. We want you to walk away with some action steps. We actually go through a little bit of an example that I kind of threw at him without even letting him know that was the road we were going to go down as far as a market and products to that market and it was kind of cool.
We kind of riffed on this idea and it was cool so definitely go check out the show notes, theamazingseller.com/314. All the links will be there that I talked about, links to Pat and his book and all the resources that we talk about will be there as well. All right guys, I’m going to stop talking now so you guys can sit back and relax and enjoy this amazing conversation that I had with my good friend Mr. Pat Flynn. Enjoy the show.
[00:03:06] Scott: Hey Mr. Flynn, welcome to the podcast man, how are you doing?
[00:03:10] Pat: Good, good, thanks for having me Scott, thanks everybody out there for listening in. I appreciate you.
[00:03:15] Scott: Oh man, this is cool man because I’ve been listening to you now since you started your podcast. I remember your first episode saying how nervous you were and all that stuff. I’ve kind of grown along with you and I’ve had my own ups and downs and I’ve seen your ups and downs and it’s kind of cool now to be able to actually have a podcast and then be able to have you on it. I really do have to just give you a big thank you because of you I really started the podcast and it’s been just about two years now and we’ve got a thriving community and I really do owe a lot of that to you because you’ve inspired me through this journey and I’ve kind of modelled your whole just give it away and help people and then the money will follow and I know it’s hard to do sometimes. Again I just want to say thank you so much for doing what you do.
[00:04:04] Pat: Absolutely, I’m super proud of you and everybody else in my audience who has taken action and really I’m just the guide. I’m somebody who sort of leading by example but really it’s all you man and all the action you’ve been taking and obviously your amazing tribe who’s been really resonating with what you’ve been saying. I’m sure you’ve been providing amazing information that’s really helpful for them too and when you do that it makes the internet a better place. That’s why I feel like you and I resonate very well. We’re in this for the right reasons. We have had conversations about this in the past and I know your head’s on the right way and I’m just here to support you and your audience.
[00:04:40] Scott: I’m really excited to have you on and I want to dig in to this whole how to validate your business and product idea before spending a dime as your book “Will it Fly” helps people do. But before we do that I got a real personal question to ask you and this is about like fitness. You mind if I ask you a quick little question?
[00:054:58] Pat: No, not at all.
[00:04:59] Scott: Okay, Insanity, you did Insanity?
[00:05:00] Pat: I did Insanity. Actually I started with P90X and this was 2010 after my son was born and I realized that with this 6 pound baby on my arms that I was tired when I was going up the stairs. I was just not eating very well, not sleeping very well and it just is all catching up to me. I really started to focus on my fitness because I was envisioning the future and imagining my son at 6 or 8 years old and me just huffing and puffing behind him. I wanted to be able to keep up. That was my motivation for trying out P90X.
I did that a couple of times and then I got bored of Tony Horton, all of his ridiculous jokes then I went to Sean T over in Insanity which was amazing. I love it. It was a lot quicker in terms of the total time. And then I got bored of that in the same way. I’m just someday who, and you can probably tell this if you follow my brand, that I’m always looking for fun, new challenging things and I don’t like doing the same thing over and over and over again. I love to challenge myself and see what’s possible.
[00:06:00] Scott: Yeah, it’s funny. Obviously I’ve followed you so I knew you did that but have you thought of trying the new T25, just wondering, you know, with Sean T?
[00:06:10] Pat: I’ve tried it. Actually my wife does that one every once in a while and she’s similar but she has to mix it up. So we have T25, we have Asylum which is a crazy, crazy one. We have…
[00:06:26] Scott: Shayleen probably, right?
[00:06:30] Pat: Shayleen yeah, Plyo and then she even has Sean T’s first one which is hip-hop abs.
[00:06:34] Scott: Yes, yes, I remember that one.
[00:06:35] Pat: Which is a completely different Sean T but it’s so funny to watch. I haven’t done that with her though.
[00:06:40] Scott: Yeah, that’s funny. I actually just started T25. I did Insanity too. I did it for the full 60 and I dropped like 22 pounds. I never was a huge, heavy guy but yeah I stuck to it, I made that commitment. I’ll tell you I had to watch 3 infomercials before I actually hit the buy button on the TV but I finally did it and I was a big believer, did P90X after that but I started getting out of shape again and I go, “I got to get back into it. How do I get back into it? I got to go back to Sean T.” So I picked up T25, I got an on demand now on TV that they have it that way, it’s awesome so I have been doing that.
[00:07:14] Pat: How has the fitness contributed to your success as a business owner? Sorry, I’m flipping the switch here.
[00:07:20] Scott: No, that’s fine, totally. And the reason why I wanted to get back into I started because I got so into the business again of what I need to do and what I want to do and what I want to create that I didn’t want to spend that time on myself. And then I just said the only way I’m going to be able to continually keep up at this pace is I got to feel better about myself and I got to feel good. I just got to mentally feel good and I always knew after I did it I felt so accomplished, I felt so good about myself. Heck, I’m 44 now, I was 42 when I did Insanity the last time and I was… I mean my son who is 18 now is like, “Dad man, you’re ripped.”
And just the other day he said to me, “Dad you got to go back and do Insanity man.” I’m like, “All right. I got to do…” He kind of inspired me to go back and do some. I’m going to doo 25 minutes a day. That’s T25. Anyway, this isn’t a pitch fest for them anyway. I don’t get any commission or anything but totally I believe in those guys, they’re doing amazing things over there. But anyway, let’s get back on track here.
All right, so what I really do want to talk about though is I’ve got a lot of people in my audience that are either newbies or people that have gotten started and they want to have that thing, fear right? That big thing that we have kind of reduced or a way for them to know that, “Is this thing going to pan out, should I go down this road?” There’s always these questions. I mean I still have these questions, I’m sure you still have these questions and I really just want to dig into those things and try to help people through that.
Maybe we can do live brainstorming here and kind of riff on this thing that I was talking to you before we got on, about how to uncover a market and then maybe how to validate it and we can go through that whole process. But you know I didn’t even give you a formal intro. I did but why don’t you tell people in 60 seconds who is Pat Flynn anyway. Who is this guy that I’m talking to if you don’t know Pat Flynn by now?
[00:09:20] Pat: All right, 60 seconds, here we go. So I am a father of two beautiful children here in San Diego and a husband to an amazing wife and I have an amazing job and vacation that allows me to spend most of my time with them when I want to because I have a business in the online world that started actually in 2008 when I got laid off in the architecture industry. To make a long story short, I built a business helping people pass an exam in the architecture industry and that was my first online business after getting laid off. It generated over $200,000 after a year and then people started asking me how I did that and that business is still alive today at greenexamacademy.com
However, smartpassiveincome.com is a site I started to help people understand how I was able to do that. I’ve since then built new websites, new businesses from apps to niche sites to other things. I’m currently working on my own physical product right now in the same way which is showing people the entire process straight up with everything that went right, everything that went wrong, all the things I’m learning so that people can follow my lead and learn from my mistakes. I’m just so blessed, I feel so thankful for my audience and everybody out there who’s allowed me to live this kind of lifestyle because now not only am I able to be here with my family, I’m also to serve and help a ton of people around the world through all these different means for example blog, podcast, which we just passed 33 million downloads the other day which is super cool.
[00:10:41] Scott: Wow, that is awesome.
[00:10:42] Pat: A YouTube video or YouTube channels and then as well as public speaking and then even publishing books. I published a book which we’re going to be talking about called Will it Fly in 2016 in February. It went off to become a Wall Street Journal best seller as a self-published book and currently I’m working on the next book. So I’m just super excited about every day when I wake up. I get to do what I love and help people and be with my family, it’s awesome.
[00:11:08] Scott: Again like I said you’re an inspiration because I’ve seen you where you started and then now where you’ve kind of gone. Again that’s inspired me to want to do the same and really getting into this space it can be, how to make money space, it can be tough out there because you start to be one of those guys or those girls and I never want to be thought of like that and it’s hurtful. You and I have had some private conversations about the haters, how do you deal with the negativity that comes along with also the people now you feel responsible for. A lot of stuff that we have in common but again I really, really do appreciate it again like I said, you’re doing some awesome things.
That was awesome, that’s exactly who you are. There’s also more but that’s a good nutshell. Before we do jump into the other stuff though, real quick, I want you to talk about this because you have been through a lot of different changes as far as Google updates, right, you’ve had some Panda updates and all that stuff. And I know personally I’ve had issues with eBay when I was selling when they went from you could have digital products to you couldn’t have digital products and now Amazon. I mean I’m on there so I’m seeing all of those changes. I just want you to speak to the changes of the landscape throughout the years or throughout the months and just maybe let people know that is it normal or is it not normal.
[00:12:34] Pat: The changes will happen and you’ll have to learn to expect them. When you do that and you prepare yourself a little bit ahead of time then you’re going to be able to receive that “blow a little bit easier” because sometimes if you build a business based on somebody else’s business which a lot of people are doing whether you rely on Amazon or on Google specifically or for me a lot of it is affiliate marketing so I’m earning commissions from other people’s products or other people’s companies, when you build a business just for that you put yourself at risk obviously because at any moment in time something could happen.
An algorithm change, that company gets bought out or maybe they die, which is something that’s happened to me in the past as well. Not like people dying but the company dying and it makes a massive change. So diversification is really important not just in your product line but also in your offerings and potentially other horizontal businesses that you can create off of where you start.
Now, that being said, I don’t want people to think that you should have 10 different businesses and 10 different lines and each of them all from the start, no. You have to start in a very specific space and become that resource or become that product that everybody talks about for a very specific niche and then you can branch out from there because as they say, the riches are in the niches and so you want to start small, start very specific not just based on the product that you want to create but on the problem that you are solving and how that product that you are creating solves that problem.
[00:13:51] Pat: That’s really where it all starts but in terms of changes, I’ve seen massive changes through the years. Back when I started blogging, all you had to do was put a keyword in your metadata for your website and you would rank for that keyword. Even if it’s not related to your website. There were examples of people, for example in the physical product space selling food who were ranking for not so nice terms because they knew there was a lot of traffic there.
So Google figured out,”Well, that’s not how we want to serve people who are searching for things so let’s make it a little bit better.” And then people started gaming the system by ranking, it’s still like this, ranking is based off of a number of things but one of those things is backlinks or “votes” from other sites pointing back to your site and a lot of people were buying sites and creating their own sites and pointing those back to their own main site to increase their rankings in Google and then Google caught on that.
A couple of things. One, changes are always going to happen but two, we got to stop trying to game the system. I feel because they’re always going to, and by they it’s all those big companies that control our results there, they’re always going to try and make things better and more reliable and the more you try to game it the less reliable the outcome is going to be in the future. So my proposition is, “Hey, just focus on creating amazing stuff and building relationships.” Those are the two things that are going to help you move forward no matter what happens.
[00:15:17] Scott: Yeah, I agree. Number one if you can uncover a problem and then solve that problem, whether it’s a physical product, digital product, it’s going to be something that’s in demand and then the other thing is if you are playing by the rules, at least that you know of then there’s nothing that can hurt you. I know a lot of people that were gaming the system using private blog networks and all that stuff, they were getting ranked and they were winning but all of a sudden overnight they were gone and then all of a sudden the people that weren’t they kind of rose to the top. I just say again it’s the old slow and steady and if you’re going to put some work into something put it in there work that can last versus just something that overnight success type stuff that everyone is kind of dreaming about. The one big thing… Go ahead.
[00:16:06] Pat: I was just going to say there’s no such thing as an overnight success but I also would say relating to slow and steady, that doesn’t mean you have to be lazy, that doesn’t mean you should wait. You got to hustle, you gotta put yourself out there. You got to try things, you got to fail faster, that’s really the secret fail faster. So Slow and steady wins the race in terms of the results but in terms of what you do, fail fast.
[00:16:28] Scott: Yes. Just keep at it, keep at it. A lot of people what happens is, you said it perfectly, is they’ll think they’re putting in the work, “I’m just going to go slow and steady. That means I’m just going to do one blog post and see what happens in a month and then do another one.” We don’t mean that. We mean do more things, try different channels maybe but then see what sticks then start really honing in on that. But the one thing I do also notice and this is in this space or in blogging space, it doesn’t really matter what space it’s in business in general or life in general but people getting stuck.
I just want your opinion on this again. Why do you think people get so hung up? I mean I have my own thoughts on it but I want to hear yours like why do people get stuck on, “Well, if this doesn’t work out or I want to try this but if it doesn’t work then this…” All these different things are going on in your head, I think we’ve all had them but what’s your thoughts on that?
[00:17:26] Pat: Yeah, I mean we all get stuck in various parts of our business, in our life and that’s for a number of different reasons. One, we might not know the next steps and because of that we always kind of gravitate toward what we do know how to do or what makes us feel like we’re staying busy. Unfortunately a lot of times when we do those things that makes us feel like we’re busy we’re not actually doing the things that make us progress and make us move forward which often times take more bolder actions and really things that happen that are awesome in your business and in your life they happen outside of those comfort zones. You have to pay attention to that and the work you do and make sure that everything that you do is actually related to that next thing you’re working on not just something that you’re doing to stay busy in it and in actuality trying to just avoid which I found to be something that I did a lot especially when I was writing my book because it was a huge challenge.
I would always catch myself for example on Facebook or on YouTube after an hour or two, I don’t know. We always want our security blanket to make us feel better. A lot of people gravitate towards social media because you get immediate results. You feel great when people respond or like your thing but you got to go and tore that thing that’s difficult in order to make progress. A lot of times people get stuck because they fear failure and I completely understand that obviously. Who likes to fail? Although you might think that I do because I said fail fast and actually I do.
I love failing now because every time you fail you learn from your mistakes and this is actually something that I’m trying to really ingrain into my son right now who is 6 years old. For a while he would do things like try to build a Lego set. There’s going through the steps and then he messed up something and he would put the whole thing down or as I mentioned in the beginning of the book, he used to try and build paper airplanes then would just struggle and stop and give up forever and I’m like, “No, no, you’ve never done this before so let’s work it out, let’s try it out. Let’s do it again and then it will be better the next time.” Then of course after a few iterations it’s exactly what he wants it to be and then he’s doing it right and he’s excited about it.
[00:19:25] Pat: All of us approach business the same way. We see somebody else do something because it was my son that saw me build the paper airplane so he wanted to do the same thing but of course he rushed into it and it didn’t actually work out the way he wanted it to so he gave up, that’s how a lot of people build their business too. You see somebody else do something, you try it out, it doesn’t work out, you feel like a failure, you feel like you’re out of place, you feel like, “I’m way in over my head, what am I doing?” It’s natural to feel like that because you do not know what you’re doing.
However, you pick up the pieces, you move forward, you get help, whether that means you ask questions or you get inspiration and check out Scott’s information or anybody else’s information out there who’s put all this stuff out there for us to learn from or you get or you get involved in a course or something that’s going to help you walk through the process even better because there’s no way to know how to do it until you find yourself somebody who has maybe led the way for you and then you learn from their examples.
Getting stuck is also a form of procrastination I feel and that’s again just kind of a hint at perfectionism and I feel like perfectionism is another thing that stops people from moving, “Oh, it has to be perfect.” When you’re validating a product idea perfection is going to be your kryptonite. That’s what’s going to stop you for sure because in the validation process which we’ll discuss is all about iteration. It’s all about putting just a quick early version of something to see what their reaction is like, to actually gain intellectual conversation from people about this item that you are potentially going to either move forward with or scrap for something else before you actually spend all this time and money and effort on actually producing something.
[00:21:02] Pat: Traditionally the way people do it is you spend a lot of money time and effort on something and then you kind of go to the rooftops and you shout, “Buy my thing! Buy my thing.” Then nobody buys it and you’re left wondering why. Is it because of the product or is it because of the way you shouted or is it because of the particular roof that you’re on or is it because of that particular day?
You have no idea but through the validation process you take it step by step, iteration by iteration and if by the first iteration you found out that this isn’t an idea you like anymore or just didn’t work out the way you thought or you’re getting something completely different than what you had initially thought the feedback was going to be, well then you can reassess where you’re at and guess what, you’re saved all the steps after that and you can kind of keep going until you’ve past step one and then you move forward to the next one.
It’s sort of like doing little litmus tests on your business idea beforehand and what I found is that when you start to get small results, small wins, feedback and begin to start to talk about your ideas with other people and actually start to get feedback from people about your ideas that you haven’t even actually created yet. Those small little things will keep you going incrementally and keep pushing you forward. And you find that you actually start to gain momentum because the further down the process you go, the more validation there is for your product, the more motivation you’re going to have, the more confidence you’re going to have and so you’re going to be able to push through that quicksand and get out of there, be able to move forward.
[00:22:26] Scott: 100%, there’s a lot of times that people they don’t want to get started because they don’t want that feeling of failure. Again, I don’t want to use that word failure but it really is to me you just learn something and you’re going to be like, “You know what, I’m not going to do that again.” or “That didn’t work.” It’s just like a kid. If you go over and you touch something that’s hot, you’re not going to go over and touch that again because it didn’t feel too good or you learned from that. I totally, totally agree with that and I think people listening probably know that too but I think sometimes you just have to hear it or maybe hear it a little bit differently or maybe just have a refresher because it’s normal.
I think you just said you just finished up your book not that long ago and you literally would try to almost like get yourself away at times because you didn’t want to have to get back into the groove because you needed a break but then you just felt like, “I can go over here and wander for a little bit and then I can come back.” But it’s that kind of thing to just put it off until you think you can come back and maybe give it another go.
[00:23:29] Pat: Yeah, “I leave it out to future Pat to figure that out, I’ll go play Xbox right now.” It was like that and then for a while I literally took two months off of writing because I just couldn’t handle it anymore and I felt I was wasting so much time. Another thing that was happening during that book writing process is I chunk out a block of time because I was told you’re supposed to do that which is something you’re supposed to do. You block that time out to write and I would write. For two hours I’d be there in front of my keyboard and I’d literally have 2 sentences to show for it afterwards and it just made me feel terrible.
And the reason that was the case was because I felt every word had to be perfect like I mentioned earlier. I was like, “I could write a blog post really easily but this book I don’t know.” I just put it on this pedestal; made it this big, grand thing. It was only when I chunked it down into bite size pieces, treating every chapter as if it was it’s own blog post that things finally started to move and I only figured that out after I literally hired a coach to help me through the process of finishing my book. It was something that I knew I had to finish. There were people on the other end of it waiting for me to finish and I felt like I was going to let them down if I didn’t figure out a way. When I knew I couldn’t do it on my own I went and got help.
[00:24:38] Scott: That’s great, that’s great. Here again, people would say, “Pat Flynn, he doesn’t need any help.” And here you are saying you do. I love that. I’ve had people email me they’ll be like, “Okay Scott, what do you struggle with because it seems like everything…?” And it’s like, “You don’t have any idea.” Everyday there’s challenges like mental challenges, not even just the day to day tasks but there’s just stuff in our lives that we have to get through. Just like I said I came back to doing Insanity then coming back to T25. I’m doing that because I got off track. I got to get back on track. How do you get back on track? I kind of hired a coach I guess, Sean T. He’s kind of my coach.
All right, let’s dig in now to this like how do we validate a concept or in this case maybe a product or a market and how can we reduce that risk? That’s really what I want to talk about here. Maybe you can give me a little bit of a framework and then from there we can dig into a live example that I’m going to share with everyone that came upon me last night. I had a conversation with my wife and I’ll talk to you about it. We’ll kind of work through that and maybe see how we could maybe pull out a business idea and then product ideas, kind of go with that. How would someone to kind of reduce that fear because that’s what it is, how do we think a little bit better through the process so we can say, “I feel a little bit better because we validated it before we went in and decided to go 100%.”
[00:26:04] Pat: Sure, part one of my book goes through a validation process but even before validating your product idea, it really validates in the market, it really validates the idea to you and your goals and what it is that you want to do and who you are, what your superpowers are, your strengths are and how are you able to incorporate those strengths into this product or this business that you’re creating. So I’m actually going to skip over that part right now because I really want to get into market research but I would encourage everybody whether you end up picking my book or not, to really think about the long term gain here and what is it that you want and are you actually aligning this thing that you’re doing with where you want to go.
Because I know a lot of entrepreneurs who are very successful on paper, a ton of money, number of employees, been doing it for years, very secure but when I talk to them and when we get real with each other, I often find that some of these entrepreneurs are not super fulfilled because they ended up just getting into a business that was at the time low hanging fruit for them to get into because they were chasing the money or just was the first opportunity that came by. I want to encourage everybody to make sure that what it is that they’re doing aligns with where they want to go in some way, shape or form. Even if it’s sort of an interim thing that you know, a step in between that thing you really want to do that’s okay but just making sure you know where you want to go is really important in order to be fulfilled and live a happy life so I just wanted to get that out of the way.
[00:27:26] Scott: Sure, sure that’s important.
[00:27:29] Pat: Secondly, let’s start talking about these ideas you might have, product ideas or things that are just coming across your mind or problems you might be noticing out in the world. That is the one thing you want to make sure you’re always keeping eye and open ears out in the world even related to the things that you’re doing every day. Thinking to yourself “How can I improve this? How can I make this better, how can this be potentially more convenient to people?” Those are questions you can ask yourself as you’re living your normal day to see whether or not some of those seed ideas that you have can turn into something.
But once you start to nail down the niche that you are going into and the market that you want to discover and extract these potential products from, the first thing you want to do is create what I like to call your market map. So this is discovering your three P’s of your audience. Picking the target market or a niche and then discovering these three Ps so literally creating a spreadsheet, three columns. First one is going to be finding out the places where all these people hang out, literally all the blogs, all the podcasts, all the web properties, online, offline. Where does this group go, forums, all those kinds of things? You write all these things down.
Then the second P are going to be the people, the influencers who have already earned the trust of that particular audience. So these are going to be the podcast hosts, the authors of those blogs, other personalities, top social media accounts, people who own the top Instagram accounts and Facebook pages related to those things. Those are really important things to keep in mind, just to give you a sort of snapshot of what’s happening in that market right now. And then finally the last P you want to list all different products that you can find, maybe list as many as maybe 50 if you wanted to but you only need about 20 or so to see and get a feel of what this target audience is really interested in, what they’re paying for, what the price points are like and what it is that’s being offered and served to them already.
[00:29:18] Pat: And what comes out of this this market map exercise if the fourth and final P which is potentially your position. Your position is going to be really important. So where within this space are you able to come in and provide even more value, to get something in there that can be better than what’s already being offered? And this is a hard thing. They always say stand out of the crowd but how do you know how to stand out of the crowd if you don’t know what’s in the crowd or who’s in that crowd? That’s what’s this exercise is all about and once you do that, that exercise alone which doesn’t need to take more than 30 minutes to accomplish can give you an amazing idea where there might be holes in that market, where there could be great opportunities for different kinds of products or how to potentially combine products together to create something even more worthwhile getting.
Then the other cool thing about this is if you do move forward with this idea you have this amazing resource for yourself. If you want to ever connect with influencers who might benefit from a product review, there you go, you have your list of all those top accounts who can potentially become your JV partner or somebody who can write a review post for you. If you want to discover where you can advertise on well there you go. You have the lists of all those websites that you made earlier and then finally if you want to maybe partner with another product or become an affiliate for them instead, you don’t even have to create your own product. You just get it in front of the audience, provide value and then share the products that already exists, well then you have your list of products there already or you can use those as a way or a resource to gauge what your price point might be, so on and so forth.
[00:30:42] Pat: The market map is a great sort of initial top down bird’s eye perspective on what’s going on in the market. if you still want to continue moving forward from there, if you find a position in a particular niche and it just sounds interesting to you and you want to keep going well then you dive into not what’s going on in the market but what’s going in a particular customer’s head and that’s really important because this is where you discover your plan, your P-L-A-N. You can tell I love acronyms. P-L-A-N.
The P, which is what you want to discover is through this target market, through the research that you do, you find the problems. What are the problems? Every successful business solves a problem so that’s what you’re trying to do. And so through a number of different ways online, you can find out what the big topics are about. You can go to forums and discover what questions people are asking. What are the big pain points, what are the most popular threads? Those are going to give you some ideas on what some problems might be.
You can also, and this is the number one tip I have for you in terms of discovering what these problems are, you have real conversations with people. Literally try to get into a conversation with them on social media but even better in person so you can dig deeper to discover what their pains are. Ask them questions like, “What’s something that you do every day that you just hate doing? If you had a magic wand and you could make your life easier in some way, how would you do that?” That way they’re going to actually tell you what their problems are or what those potential solutions can be and that’s going to give you some ideas for the solution that you can build.
Now, beyond the problems that you discover you need to also listen to and list the language that they use. What words are they using? How are they describing it because you could potentially come up with the perfect solution but if you cannot describe in a way that resonates with them, you might as well not have that product in the first place? As J. J. Abrams says, “If you can describe the problem that they are having better than your target customer, they are going to automatically assume you have the solution.” So for all of you who already have products I hope on your Amazon page you have done a lot of research in terms of what language your target buyer is using and making sure that those things are apparent in there and resonate with them on your page so the language is so important.
[00:32:49] Scott: Yeah and there’s a big thing here to add. A lot of people and I’ve said this numerous times but if you do have your product already or if you have competitors’ products, you can be going through their reviews and you’re pick up the language right there. It’s right there. If you have reviews of 150 or 200 or if you have reviews of other people that are talking about the product, what they like, what they don’t like, right there you have a great advantage as well. I just wanted to throw that in there because it’s so important and people ask me all the time, “How do I improve my listing?
How do I improve my website?” You need to understand the market. You need to understand the language but you also need to understand what their pain points are, what their passions are, all of those things and once you become more familiar with those markets, you’re going to be able to serve better products and communicate with them better which is going to make them, again like you said, feel as though you’re the right solution because you know that business in that market.
Now, what if someone doesn’t want to be a face to the business? They just want to sell their product and they just want to have a great product but they just don’t want to be the face. They don’t want to be a Pat Flynn. They just want to be…?
[00:33:56] Pat: You don’t have to be a Pat Flynn. You absolutely do not need to be a Pat Flynn and in many cases it’s better to not be somebody who is the face of the brand. You just focus on the products and the products only and that way your business is potentially more sellable to other people or you can sell it off if you want. I know a number of people who specifically on Amazon have done that and have done it for very profitable sum of money.
You can’t do that if it’s your own face because it’s your own face. That’s one thing to keep in mind. When it comes to developing the product idea and validating it, you still need to go out there and talk to people. Sure, you don’t need to be the face of the brand. You don’t have to have a self-branded website or have your face logo on the product itself, no, but you still need to go out there and talk to people.
Honestly that’s the number one thing you can do and it’s great training too because if you want to build a successful business you cannot do it in the shell of the internet. You have to go out there and talk to people and so I just want to make sure that that’s clear. And I loved what you said earlier about the reviews. That is a gold one of information for you to discover potentially what this holes are in the market, what the problems are, like you said, the pros and cons of things. I would encourage you all to look at the three star reviews for your competitors products. One stars are typically people have a terrible experience or sometimes it’s an outlier thing, same thing with number five. Sometimes it’s family and friends so you can’t really trust them.
[00:35:22] Pat: Number three is where you get the most honest reviews because you literally get people listing, “Here’s what I liked about it and then here’s what I didn’t like about it. I wish it had this instead.” And that’s where you come in and sooth in and save the day. Those are some things you can do. What do we have, Problem’s for P, Language for L, A is Anecdotes which means stories, so again going back to conversation. If you want to really build something that’s going to be helpful for your audience which is of course the best way to succeed, you build something that people actually want, you need to empathize with them.
Instead of creating a what is typically the exercise in the online space which is creating your customer avatar, like some made-up person who is your ideal target market audience person, which is a great exercise but I feel you want to take it one step further and find an actual person who will potentially benefit from this product that you’re thinking of creating and actually talk to them, have a real conversation, understand what their name is? What is it that they’re really struggling with and that way when you put thought into this product idea and the features of it and all those sorts of things, you can literally feel what this person is feeling. It’s not just a made up person because there’s so many times I’ve done that with customer avatar exercise and I’m like, “Man, I wish I could ask Johnny this question but he’s not real so I have nobody to ask.”
[00:36:35] Scott: No, that’s huge.
[00:36:36] Pat: Yeah, it’s absolutely huge and if you already have customers, you’re a step ahead obviously but reach out to them and talk to them. I do this, I don’t know if you know this Scott but every month, I reach out to 10 people on my email list randomly and I ask them to call. I try to get them on a Skype call and I have a conversation with them. It’s only 10 people out of the 180,000 people on my email list but those conversations are so valuable because I get to really be in tune with what my audiences’ experiencing, not just their problems but their story and that helps me remember who I’m speaking to, who I’m providing value to and what I’m creating products for…
[00:37:14] Scott: Generally, how long are those conversations?
[00:37:16] Pat: They vary; sometimes people are so freaked out that I actually wanted to get a hold of them. They get really nervous, it’s kind of funny and cute but 5 to 10 minutes I would say is on the low end but honestly some of them have gone over an hour and I don’t want to put the phone down sometimes. It’s such amazing information. On average I would say about 20 to 30 minutes though.
[00:37:37] Scott: Okay, cool, cool, that’s huge and something that I’ve thought of myself doing here soon. I do talk to a lot of my students or just people that are in our market and stuff and I do that just because I’m talking to them on a regular basis but not necessarily just randomly, you know what I mean? I would love to have that random thing. You don’t know if they’re a newbie or an intermediate or a pro. You just don’t know because there’s a mix that’s on your email list or that’s in your community so that’s, really cool.
I think anyone listening definitely needs to do that and that could be just going down to your local shop somewhere. Maybe if you’re into maybe hairstyling, you go to the nearest Paul Mitchell and you go in there and you talk to someone that’s been there for a few years and you start learning more about that market. I mean there’s so many ways that you could do that for sure. All right, we’re going to run out of time, I want to get into this. I want you to kind of go through this with me. We can kind of do this in real time. Let’s do a little brainstorm here. Last night my… I’ve got three kids. My youngest is nine years old and she just started volleyball this past year. My older daughter who’s 21, she played volleyball too. She started in about 6th or 7th grade.
We said we’re going to see if she wants to play here, my youngest Kayla. She went, their first eight weeks which was like three months ago and she said she wanted to go back and we said cool, let’s go. So now we signed her up for basically, it’s three days a week which is kind of crazy at 3rd grade. It’s just kind of insane but I’m like we know it’s Monday, Wednesday, I think Saturday they play kind of like a game. So we go there and this place is packed and I knew from soccer days and stuff that it’s just crazy out there.
Now it’s the lacross. So I get there and I start saying to my wife, “Man, this is crazy. There’s a lot of people in here and these people all paid a lot of money to attend this thing and they had this thing running like a well-oiled machine but there’s a huge business opportunity here,” whether you want to have a building like that and facilitate this whole thing or if you want to just cater to the travel, volley ball girls and this is just in girls, this isn’t even guys.
[00:39:46] Scott: I started thinking to myself like you could build a business around this is some way, in some level. And I said, “You know what, I’m going to be with Pat tomorrow, I’m not going to go into this market but if I was these are the things that I’d be thinking. I’d be like okay, you got people that are doing private lesson.” We’ve done private lessons with my son for baseball and they’re not cheap. Funny story though, anytime I talk to them they’re always kind of like, “So, what do you do?” And then I start talking to them and I’m like, “You know you really could be leveraging your time over here.” As soon as I say that their eyeballs get so big and they get glazed over and then all of a sudden I start talking about like selling on Amazon or selling your own products and then all of a sudden I lost them. Sometimes I wish I didn’t do that because then I start ask them, “Can you do it for me?”
I’m sure you’ve run into that yourself but it’s interesting. A lot of these people have no idea that you can even do what you can do and they have so much talent with just being an instructor because they’ve been doing it for 20 years or whatever. But anyway, you have private lessons, you have group lessons, you got leagues going on, you’ve got travel leagues, you got equipment that could be needed, you got league play stuff, you got training stuff. I went on Amazon before we hopped on here and I did a quick search and for just girl volleyball crew socks, they’re selling about 3,000 pairs a month at $14.95.
[00:41:06] Scott: There’s this thing called the volleyball pal, which you strap it to your waist and it’s kind of like a rope and then you tie it on your hand and this way here when you hit it… I’m sorry, around the ball, that way the ball comes back to you so you have to keep chasing it. That’s selling at 600 a month at $19.95. Those are just two quick things I did in like 10 minutes, I did these searches. With all of that being said, now my wife was a volleyball coach in college actually. She was a college volleyball coach so she has some skills and stuff, not that I wanted to be a trainer but she has a passion for this. I have a passion for sports and she does so if we weren’t who we are right now and doing what we’re doing and we were thinking about this, where would you start with this? With all of this going on in our heads with what we know. Maybe we’ve been listening to you, maybe we’ve been listening to me, where would you start in that journey?
[00:41:56] Pat: I would just put myself in that environment and then just start to pay attention and the people around me and start talking to them, asking them questions about how long they’ve been doing this, what they enjoy about it, maybe what’s as a brand new person to the sport, what’s something I should look out for, what’s something they wish they might have instead or something that’s kind of an inconvenience for them. Start to build relationships with these people even before pitching any ideas which you don’t want to do on that first day. You’re just discovering more about this industry until something clicks with you.
You’ll be able to start to find some of these problems. Whatever the ball retriever thing that you talked about, that solves a very specific problem. “I can’t practice on my own because every time I spike the ball it goes away so how can somebody do that in a way where it will come back automatically?” Well, there’s your solution. The socks, another thing probably is a specialized kind of sock that is meant to do certain things in volleyball, I wouldn’t know that but I’m sure there’s 100,000 other problems or things or pains or inconveniences that people in this niche might have.
One thing that comes to mind because I’m training for this myself is vertical training or jumping higher. I don’t know that’s something that’s specifically offered for volleyball but if that’s something that I have a little bit of interest in and I just want to see, I would start talking to parents and be like, “Hey, is your daughter doing anything for jump training? Is she learning to jump a little bit higher?” I would just assume that that something would be something really important in volleyball and maybe it depends on the position, I don’t know but then I would say, “I have done jump training for basketball, is that something that you might be interested in for volleyball?”
And we kind of skipped a little bit of the process, eventually I’d get to appoint I would say, “Okay guys, I’m going to put on a jump training session. It’s going to be a completely free workshop and it’s going to happen on this date. If you’re interested sign up here.” And I just talk to people about that and if I cannot get one person to sign up for it guess what, that’s validated that that’s not a good idea and anything people are interested in.
[00:43:58] Pat: However, even as a free workshop, if I get 10 people, 20 people interested in, who knows how many then that’s a sign keep going with it then move to the next step and then actually have that training. Again, not ask anything in return at that point but you give away that thing away and you do it and you see if people enjoy it and if they want more. If they didn’t enjoy it well, if they don’t want more then guess what, it’s not done. You can ask them, “How come this is something you don’t want to continue with or why didn’t you like it?” That way when you “fail” in this process you’re not failing, giving up and starting over. You’re failing and you’re assessing what happened and that’s the cool part about this iterative process. I’m just kind of riffing here.
[00:44:40] Scott: No, it’s okay, that’s great.
[00:44:43] Pat: You do this workshop then you can get people to sign up for maybe private lessons or group training or something like that. Maybe this is a consultation that you can offer to coaches instead if they’re the ones that are the point person to discuss these things. There’s a lot of things that can go along with that. I know that technology is also an important part in sports now. I have had training in basketball that involves some really interesting electronic items from stuff that I put on myself to see how much higher I can jump to where I am on the court during a specific game to what my arc is on my shot, to all those kinds of things. It’s really interesting so just seeing if maybe there is a crossover from another industry that can be incorporated into volleyball because then I can just tweak something a little bit and try it out and just show people and start to get feedback on it.
That’s again really the most important part, it’s just collecting feedback. Even if you don’t have a prototype you can just talk about it with somebody and just ask, “Hey, what are your initial thoughts about this?” If you’re scared to do that well, guess what, you’re not alone. A lot of us are scared to share our ideas with others partly because we’re just kind of introverted and it’s a scary thing but you gotta do what you got to do for your business. If you really want to find out these answers you got to put yourself out there and get uncomfortable a little bit. But often people are scared of people stealing your ideas and I’ll tell you that’s hardly ever going to happen because you’re the one that’s actually focused on building this business.
[00:46:11] Pat: Everybody’s so busy and yes they may say, “Oh, that’s a good idea or I wish I could do that.” But you’re going to be the one that’s actually taking the action here, you’re going through the process of validating it. And then you’d eventually get to a point where going back to that sort of jump training thing, I would then say, “Hey, I’m going to be offering three months of training here, we’re going to meet once a week and it’s 200 bucks. If you’re interested, sign up and you can pay right now and that way you’ll save a lot of money but then you’ll get in early and be on the waitlist and we’re only taking 10 spots and we’re really focus the next three months on you and see what happens.” And even though this is your first time doing it, you’re still getting paid for it almost upfront.
Now, for those of you who are worried about a physical product, well, guess what there are things now that exist that allow us to collect money for things before they’re even created for example Kickstarter. Now, I’m not saying you need to kick start your product but we are in a world now that people feel comfortable paying for things upfront, for ideas that you might have to get early access to those things or even be able to help influence what that thing becomes. If you have a physical product idea for this volleyball space, you can see if people would buy it upfront because it was Tim Ferriss who said if you want to know if people are going to buy something, don’t ask them if they would buy it, ask them to buy it. Then you would be able to keep in contact with them, allow them to help shape what this thing becomes so that when you build it and then you sell it you now it’s something that is actually going to resonate with them instead of this thing you guess is going to. You know because you’ve already worked with those people and you’ve gone through that process.
[00:47:40] Scott: I think Amazon though too Pat, Amazon is a great validation point. Let’s say that you’re going into that jumping space, you can go there and see if there’s already accessories being sold to help people jump and that might be something you’ve already used and that can be your own product in a way but you can make yours better or yours more unique. Again, what I’m hearing from you though is and again, you’re just thinking like on the fly, you’re taking doing it in person and then you can take that and scale it and sell that digitally online but then you can also add products that help assist with your jump training, is that what I’m hearing?
[00:48:18] Pat: Yeah, yeah and it’s a very specific thing and actually in the basketball world, there are hundreds of products related to jump training so even if some product already exists they each have their own specialty or tweak to it that makes them different from each other. Yeah, that’s the approach I would take and the best way to serve your audience is going to be in a way that they want to be served so the only way to truly know the answer in terms of what it is you need to build is you need to have these conversations and get to a point where they are actually telling you what they need instead of you just guessing.
[00:48:47] Scott: Yeah and the one thing I will say, I’m sure people are going to be saying, “But Pat I’m not a specialty at this thing. I just noticed this opportunity.” What I would say is well there’s probably a lot of trainers there that have no idea of what they’re capable of and you could partner up with them or you could go over to them or maybe your son or daughter has been going to this trainer for three months, four months and you got to like them, you know the type of person they are and you’re like, “This person I would like to help and I’m sure they could help a lot of people,” and this might be a great opportunity for the both of you and then now with your expertise you can bring it all together. There’s so much that you can do but again this was just off of this one little example. I mean I had 100 different ideas going driving home I’m like, “Oh my gosh, you could do this, you could do that, there’s this.” You can down a whole bunch of different roads. It’s just bandwidth for me. It’s like how many projects can you start…
[00:49:39] Pat: And also your other example that that coach you pitch this idea to they might say “No, that’s a terrible idea because this, this and this.” And you’d be like, “Oh, okay, great, now I know. Now I’m going to go try something else instead of guessing.”
[00:49:51] Scott: Yeah, that is cool. Hey, I know we have to wrap up, you have to pick your son up at school. Really quick though, I do what to wrap this up but, where would Pat Flynn start today going all the way back. That’s one question I would want to know personally, like if you were to go back, I’m saying SPI. Let’s just go back to SPI, when you started that, you had no idea that it was going to turn into what it’s turned into but, what would you have told yourself I guess then that you know now? You’re in different places now. A lot of people, they’re in two different camps.
There’re some people right now like, “I just need to make money right now so I cannot focus on my passion.” Then you’ve got people who say, “I’ve got 6-12 months or maybe two years that I can actually do something.” Right now you’re in a different place trying to bring yourself back to that place and still with all the information and all the knowledge you’ve learned, would you have changed anything or would you have given yourself advice now or would you just let it play out?
[00:50:52] Pat: I mean obviously I’m very thankful for the way things worked out but if I can go back and give myself a little bit of advice, take the delorean back into time and do that, I would tell myself a few things. For one I would say, “Hey don’t be so afraid to talk to people.” That was the one thing. I was super shy coming out of architecture and it was a struggle for me to go out and talk to people, to ask questions, ask for help, to validate things and which ultimately led to me really struggling with the selling process because I just was not comfortable doing that.
And it wasn’t until I found that the results speak for themselves in terms of my products and what not that I started to get a little bit more comfortable and then now I’m obviously very comfortable speaking in front of people. Don’t be afraid to talk to people because you never know the next person you speak to can give you that exact piece of advice that you need or that feedback that’s going to help change your product in a way that you never thought possible.
The other thing I would say is build your email list sooner. That was one thing that I didn’t realize that it was very important. For those of us who are in this space know just how important an email list is. For those of you who are starting out who might be like, “Man, this process seems like it’s a lot and how do you know if it’s going to work and I need money sooner than later.” What I would recommend is you try and offer your services in a different way that you can get money sooner to start. It’s not going to be passive, not at all but it can help be that first step that will lead you into something else. What I would say is something like freelance.
[00:52:17] Pat: If I had to go back in time, if I didn’t have SPI but I had just gotten laid off, what I would do is knowing that I would want to get into online business, I would freelance as a graphic design artist because that’s what I knew about coming from architecture. I had a skill but I would do that for people for a very specific thing and I would become the expert on that so I’m just thinking off the top of my head, at the time banner ads were really big. I would become the expert banner ad designer in a way that would allow people to get higher conversions and that would allow me to be a part of the environment of online business in many different websites and be able to understand who the top players are and how this space works and begin to start realizing where the holes might be.
And I’d have built these amazing relationships by providing over the top value to people who are important in this space so that when I do create my own thing maybe it becomes an agency, maybe it’s something completely different, I don’t know but I will have already have earned the trust from these really high up influencers who have already served and who kind of owe me a favor now. That’s kind of the timeline I think, just kind of riffing, thinking off top of my head.
[00:53:20] Scott: I love that though. There’s a whole bunch of different ways you can do it and I think you just outlined an amazing way is to actually go out there. Like right now if you’ve just uncovered this whole opportunity, you probably have more information than a lot of people and you can probably walk up to someone and help them and then say, “Hey listen, if I give you results I’ll get a portion of that,” or something. You don’t even have to collect the money until they make the money. There’s a whole bunch of different ways you can do but I love it. I’m going to respect your time. I want to thank you again Mr. Pat Flynn. I really do appreciate you. Maybe give people a link to your website which I know that they probably already have but just give it to them anyway. How can people get a hold of you?
[00:54:01] Pat: Thanks Scott, I appreciate it. Thanks guys for listening in and listening all the way through. If you go to smartpassiveincome.com you can find me and all my other projects there.
[00:54:11] Scott: That sounds amazing. Pat, one more time man I thank you so much. I appreciate it and I’m sure that anyone listening is going to get a ton of value from this so I appreciate it, go have fun with the kids.
[00:54:20] Pat: Thanks, wish you all guys the best.
[00:54:23] Scott: Okay, well, there is a wrap on that but let me just say that was awesome. I had an awesome time. I hope you did as well. I hope you learned some things. Just hearing how to look at a market and then from there decide what you can serve to that market is huge. I will definitely recommend doing some of those exercises that Pat was talking about as we were going through that volleyball example because I think it’s really powerful to listen or to observe what is happening and there was just a ton of golden nuggets there that Pat was able to uncover for us just by having that conversation.
You may want to go back and listen to this one again. You may want to go over and grab the show notes, theamazingseller.com/314 everything will be there for you. Also check out smartpassiveincome.com that is where Pat’s home base is and I have to say, I’ve been there from just about the beginning and I’ve watched him grow and he’s helped me grow now personally. He’s just a great, great guy and someone that I think is really doing good things out there and inspires me to want to continue to do really good things and not necessarily follow the pack. The people that are maybe selling all of these products that they know they could sell just to make the money. There are so many opportunities that I have let go pass my desk and said, “You know what, I’m not doing that because I don’t believe in it or I don’t want to go down that road.” I’m staying true to who I am and who I want to serve and that is you.
[00:56:00] Scott: I want to thank everyone for listening. I want to thank everyone for being a podcast listener and a supporter of the TAS community because without you honestly, this podcast would not exist and I really just want to say thank you. You guys are awesome. All right guys, that’s going to wrap this up. Remember that I’m here for you and I believe in you and I am rooting for you as always but you have to do something and I want you to do it right now and I want you to just say it with me and say it loud, say it with conviction, “Take action.” Have an awesome amazing day and I’ll see you guys right back here on the next episode, beep, now that’s a wrap.
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