By Yaro Starak
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I have a special edition podcast episode for you featuring someone you may know well – Pat Flynn.
Several years ago when Pat was a lot less well known we did an ‘entrepreneurs journey’ podcast together, learning about how Pat got started online. It became one of my most popular podcasts and a small part of Pat’s early success.
You can listen to that episode here.
This new podcast with Pat is a conversation we just had about how to validate whether your topic or idea is one that can translate into a money making business.
Pat explained that the number one request he receives from his audience is for help determining whether a topic can make money.
I came to the same conclusion about my audience three years ago after doing a round of private coaching sessions. This led to the creation of my Blog Money Finder program that I recently released to help with finding a profitable blog topic.
During this podcast Pat and I talk a lot about the age old question –
Is passion or analytical research more important when it comes to launching a new online project?
Analytical research like keyword analysis, test advertising campaigns and surveys are often cited as important first steps to validate a market.
Creative people often prefer to just get out there and share their ideas, hoping people will like their work and they can then figure out a way to make money.
Pat offers his take on these two alternative forces driving topic validation, and how he recommends you start the research process.
He also reveals an example of when he wasted $15,000 on a project that never went anywhere, and the lessons he learned from that experience.
I asked Pat what he sees as the fundamental reason behind his success at so many different things. His answer may surprise you.
I hope you enjoy this podcast, and if you want more, pick up a copy of Pat’s new book – Will It Fly.
Talk to you soon,
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Pat Flynn: Will It Fly? How To Validate Or Find A Profitable Topic For Your Online Business
Yaro Starak: Hello. This is Yaro Starak and welcome to a special edition of the Entrepreneur’s Journey podcast. We’re not gonna’ do the traditional background story of an entrepreneur because my guest today has already done that interview with me many, many years ago. And, in fact, it was possibly one of the most popular podcasts I did.
In case you are wondering you that was, his name is Pat Flynn. And, if you’re doing anything online to do with, I guess, making money or passive income or podcasting , you’ve probably heard of this guy’s name.
But today with Pat we’re gonna’ dive deep into the subject of essentially proving that your topic can make money or finding a topic that can make money as Pat’s about to release a brand new book called, “Will it Fly?” which really covers the subject.
So, we’re gonna’ talk to Pat and find out how he’s made the decision to pick products and services that he’s sold and determine whether they can be profitable—or perhaps not—and also how he advises other people and obviously I’ve done a bit of the same advising people how to pick topics, so we’re gonna’ really riff. And hopefully by the end of this podcast you will have a lot more insight into validating or finding a profitable topic for your online business.
So, Pat, welcome for episode two of the Pat and Yaro podcast.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, back again. I’m excited to be here. Thanks Yaro, I appreciate you inviting me back. And, obviously, this is just a top of mind to me right because it’s what my book is about.
But, you know, where this book came from is actually, you know, I have another podcast called, “Ask Pat” where I answer voicemail questions from my audience five days a week. And so I get dozens of questions every day from people who want to be featured on that show, and the number one question was, “Well, how do I know if this thing I’m working on is gonna’ work out?”
You know, a lot of people don’t have much time and they wanna’ use their time exactly where it should be spent and, you know, we’ve all heard stories of people focusing on their businesses for sometimes years only to have it not work out. And that’s very scary and for obvious reasons.
So that, along with a survey when I surveyed my audience earlier this year, it was just confirmation that this was definitely the topic to tackle. And it’s a tough one which is why I think a lot of people don’t go too deep into it. I mean, validation and things like that is not something brand new, there are a lot of different ways and levels to validate an idea—to decide whether or not it’s gonna’ fit in that market that you’re trying to get into.
But I first heard about it in Tim Ferriss’ book, “Four Hour Workweek.” There was a chapter called, “Testing our News” where he microtested, I think it was, it was just a hypothetical example, but he was selling French tailors shirts, I think. He set up a landing page and drove cold traffic to it from Adwords and he would just keep track of how many people were clicking on that “buy now” button.
And if nobody clicked on it, then you know that that’s a business that you don’t have to go into. And you wouldn’t have kind of wasted all that time setting up the business before you finally realize that it didn’t work.
So that’s why it’s such an important thing. And now, I mean that was written in 2007, years later now…Gosh, it’s almost 8, 9 years, there are a lot more tools available and a lot more knowledge out there in terms of doing this.
And a lot of people are validating businesses—actually getting paid for these ideas up front sometimes from their potential customers in all different niches to let them know that this is something they want to go down.
And the cool thing about this is: when you validate your idea whether it is going to work or it isn’t going to work it’s a win for you ‘cause then you know what to do next.
Yaro Starak: I’d really like to dive into your evolution of this process because yes, you know, Tim Ferriss presents that sort of analytical Google Adwords driven approach. And I remember that was even earlier days, I remember 2001 some of the marketers were talking about validation through paid advertising first and I remember reading about that and going, “that just sounds so boring to me.”
Pat Flynn: Right.
Yaro Starak: I hated the idea of that. It sounds soulless, it sounds analytical…You know, I wanted to go, “I care about a subject” and try and figure out how make money out of it. But then, there’s a lot of people who share that belief, try and do it, and don’t make money because it’s the passion and maybe it’s not a passion shared by enough people, or maybe they don’t know how to market a business, there’s all kinds of pieces of a puzzle they have to get right.
So could you maybe talk about, in terms of even your own projects and how when I first interviewed you, you had just had your initial success with your leads exam niche Ebook and then the Smart Passive Income Blogging podcast which then turned into a bunch of other products and services you’ve released.
Have you found yourself sort of evolving from, “I’m focusing on a passion” to, “I’m doing analytical” to meshing the two? Like, where do you sit on that? Almost like an argument, you know, “I prefer analytical” versus, “I prefer passion.” Where do you fit with that?
Pat Flynn: Yeah, I mean, I think it has to be a combination of both. And I’m so glad you brought this up because passion is important, of course, but it can also get in the way of really just bringing us back to reality in terms of what will or won’t work. And I think there has to be a cross-over.
Because, for example, a lot of people know I have a site at securityguardtraininghq.com which was validated through some series of keyword research and things like that. Which is, you know, that kind of validation process has changed because Google has changed, too.
But, you know, when you think about it, I’m not passionate about security guard training, but I am passionate about helping people find the information they need as soon as possible, which is where that comes from.
So I think there are ways to put passion into your project without it having to be completely about that. Because, you’re right, it has to have some, there has to be some sort of analytics and proof behind that concept before you actually can, “No!” and can continue to move forward with it.
And a lot of times, you know, traditionally, especially in the online space, it’s part of a, you build your thing and you put it out there and you just shout from the roof tops and you kind of hope it works. And sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t, but either way you don’t know exactly what’s happening because you’ve just kind of done everything at the same time.
Whereas now, in the book, it kind of breaks down that process of building into very specific steps and iterations so that if you come to a stopping point at one of those steps, you know what part messed up and you can kind of refocus and see if it is something that…You know, maybe it’s the market that isn’t interested or maybe it’s the way you shared it or things like that.
So, you know, either way I think the most important thing is to before you’re getting into an idea, whether you have a business already and are looking to add more products into it or you’re somebody who’s just starting out and you’re looking to test your idea, you have to talk to people about it. You have to see what their reaction is and you have to gauge that first before anything because, you know, I made the mistake back in 2010.
A couple of our friends, actually, had built WordPress plugins that did really, really well. They’re making six figures and more and I was like, “Oh, I wanna’ do that.” So I immediately jumped into it, completely rushed into it, just came up with a couple ideas in my head, didn’t validate it, didn’t talk about it with anyone, and then primarily because I was like, “I want this to be a big splash. I want it to be a surprise. I’m gonna’ keep it secret until launch day and it’s gonna’ explode. And, you know, I have this platform already built and it’s gonna’ be amazing.”
And so, I rushed into it and I actually paid a developer fifteen grand to build these ideas. And the sad thing is: I didn’t even know exactly what I wanted. I just knew kind of what I wanted a little bit, but then because of that the communication with the developer was just very poor and I would get upset at him and he would get upset at me.
You know, I didn’t take the little bit of time up front to really plan things out, to talk about this idea, to figure out what it was. And the, finally once these plugins were built, I was just not happy with them and I finally went to talk to people about them.
And I was like, “Guys, like this isn’t what I thought it was gonna’ be. Like what do you think about this?” And they’re like, “This is a terrible idea. I don’t know why you spent all this time doing this. Like nobody needs this or there are ways to do this much easier than the way you’re proposing. Like, gosh, Pat. You should just, like, talk to me first.” That’s what a lot of people said and I truly wish I did that.
But it was a big lesson—a fifteen thousand dollar lesson—that I’m obviously happy to pass on. And I think the other part of that was: I didn’t have passion in it. It was specifically done just to chase money. And whenever I’ve done that in the past it’s always not worked out. It’s always been, “Okay, well. What’s the problem I’m solving?” Learning about that, learning about the people in and around that problem, and how they describe it, and then providing a solution to that.
As you know and as you teach, it’s all about solving somebody’s problem in an easy and convenient way. Not about chasing money.
Yaro Starak: Right, yeah. You’ve unfortunately reminded me of a few lots of thousands of dollars I’ve wasted on a few projects over the years, too. I remember a long time ago my proofreading company, Better Edit, I wanted to turn what was largely a manual process done with human beings and email into an automated software process.
And I got quoted thirty grand for it and I put in about fifteen grand and then I said, “Stop.” This is crazy. It doesn’t need software. In fact, human beings and email is probably the best way to do this. So, you know, sometimes you get more excited about creating something new, I think, than actually, like you said, planning and then realizing whether people need it.
So can we turn their attention into the type of person listening to this. They’re very likely some kind of expert, teacher, author, speaker, trainer, coach, someone who has skills and knowledge and they wanna’ translate that into digital products, sell-through blogging, email marketing…You know, live that passive income lifestyle or “laptop lifestyle,” as they call it.
But, you know, pretty much in teaching. They love what they do, they know their passion, their subject, they’re already helping people probably privately, so they already kind of know the problems people have. What do you say to that person when it comes to translating that into an online business and validating whether that will actually work as an online business?
Pat Flynn: Yeah, well, even before we get to sharing this idea with others and potentially even pitching it and getting paid for it before you even build it, you have to figure out what’s out there already. And I like to, there’s a chapter in the book called “The Market Map” which is actually where you find your three P’s of your market.
The first P is the places. Where do all these people exist online and offline so you can know where they’re at. And the second P are the people, the other influencers in the space because those are great to know because those people already have some clout, some trust with that audience already and that’s a great thing because you could potentially reach out to those people, you could potentially partner or JV with them, or guest post on their site, become a guest on their podcast and what not.
And then the final P is the products that are already out there, the products. What books, what courses, what software, what things are they already paying for. And once you create this sort of map, you know, when you outline all these things and see what’s out there already, it’s very easy to see what position you could come in and kind of, you know, make your own.
Because a lot of times we get into a space and we are already doing somebody something else is doing, which isn’t bad because they’ve validated that thing’s working already. But when you are going to a space and doing something exactly the same as others, you’re always gonna’ second best or there’s just, the follower, not the leader, not the person, not the innovator.
So, you know, the cool thing about this is, when I run this exercise with others, it’s almost an immediate understanding of how the space works. And that’s something that a lot of people who are in that space, serving that audience already don’t even know because they’re deep into it.
So those of us who are just getting started and you might feel like you’re behind. I mean, maybe so, but you are actually at an advantage because you can see it from sort of top-down bird’s eye perspective and you can put yourself in that place of the customer and you can sort of see what needs to be done. So that’s the first part of it.
We’re talking about market research still at this point and then it goes into the customer research. And I know a lot of us have talked about, you know, the customer avatar and, you know, even creating a name for this person who is of your ideal audience and things like that, which I think is important and I know where that exercise comes from.
It’s because you wanna’ know that, and make sure that, your message, your product, whatever solution you’re creating, a blog podcast, anything that you’re creating is for that person. You always have this person in mind when you move forward.
However, you know, I don’t like the just thinking about that because you need to feel what your customers are feeling. You need to get to know them. You need to literally talk to them. And this person, this avatar you’re creating is just made up and when I’ve gone through the avatar exercises, I always feel a little kind of unfulfilled because, I don’t know, I can’t reach out to that person. You know, Jimmy who’s so-and-so with X amount of kids and has this problem…I can’t talk to him.
And so I created something called the “Creating the Customer PLAN” P-L-A-N. And so that acronym is, well, first you gotta’ kinda talk to people. Whether it’s through surveys of an audience you’ve already built or through conversations with people you know or you get in front of these other audiences by delivering value to that other influencer and then therefore get access to their customers, or to your potential customers and can talk to them.
But you need to figure out what those problems are and then you can kind of decide, “Well, is this idea I have actually in alignment with those problems or not?” You might actually shift your solution based off of just those conversations alone.
But the second part, the L in the P-L-A-N, is the language that they use. And this is where a lot of people struggle because, you know, us as content providers, experts, you know, we have this thing called the ”curse of knowledge” which is, you know, it’s hard to know what it’s like to not know something. Once you know something, it’s almost impossible to know what it’s like to not know it—to be in the customer’s shoes.
And so, understanding the language that they use to describe their problems and that sort of thing is really important. So I go through a number of exercises in the book to find out where people are talking about these things, on blogs, on forums, and how to extract that language that they use. And almost create a database of vocabulary that you should use when pitching your product in the future or writing blog posts or doing guest posts or writing Ebooks or, you know, anything related to your potential product.
Now the A—and that’s my favorite part—are the anecdotes or the stories that go along with this person who has this particular problem. So through conversation, through looking at stories in forums, and there’s actually some cool Google tricks you can use to find some specific phrases within specific websites to sort of, you know how when you put quotations in Google, it finds that exact order of words everywhere on the web.
Well, you can do the same thing, but then add, “site:” and then a website. So, if I were to put “awesome post” in quotations space “site: entrepreneurs-journey.com” I would find everywhere on your site where somebody said, “awesome post.” So you can do the same thing and find out where people said, “great story” or “I have a story” or, you know, all those kinds of things. You can find out a lot of information on forums where people open up.
People open up on forums sometimes more than they do with their, you know, immediate relationships and families because they are with their own people there. So, you know, once you find these stories, you get to really feel what the people have in terms of pains and problems.
And then the N is sort of your hypothesis, the need. So after you figure out the plan or the, excuse me, the products and the people and the marketplace, and then the problems that they’re going through, the language, and then finding actual people with their stories, then you create a hypothesis of what that need is. And it may or may not align with that original idea.
And most of the time it actually doesn’t, which is really interesting because now you’re actually focusing on the customer not you and what you think, but what you actually know the customer needs. And form there that N, that hypothesis, sort of like…I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the show Mythbusters…
Yaro Starak: Yup.
Pat Flynn: But it’s one of my favorite shows, one of my son’s favorite shows. And what they do is they use science and data to prove or disprove certain things people have said, certain myths. They either bust them or confirm them. And a lot of times when they have a large-scale experiment to run, what they do is they create a very small-scale version of it to test a hypothesis and then to figure out what’s going on.
And that’s exactly what you’re doing in this validation process. Is you’re kind of creating a very small-scale version based off of that need, that hypothesis that you have, reaching out to actual people and then actually validating whether or not that is something that they want.
And actually validation is on the surface just people saying, “Yeah, that’s interesting” or “Yeah, I would buy that.” But that’s actually not validation because, as we all know, people say stuff, but don’t actually do it. And so setting up pre-orders, setting up a landing page where you can collect payments or at least gauge whether or not they’re taking action to say, “Yes, this is something I will get,” not something just, “Oh, yeah, that’s what I’m interested in.” That’s very important.
So, you know, probably the meat of the book is part four which is what I like to call, “the flight simulator.” In “Will it Fly” there’s some flight themes in here, but this is where you go through the small-scale experiment with just a small number of people in that target audience who you get access to either by the audience that you’ve created or through partnerships and communications and getting in front of another person’s audience.
So you could do this from scratch, you don’t need to build that blog up front even. And then actually getting them to pay for stuff. And I have a number of case studies and examples of people who have done this and then have either failed and then said, “Gosh, thank God I did that small experiment because it’s very obvious that this is something that, although they’re interested, they would never pay for it.” Or, it becomes a hit and they know that this is gonna’ work and then they go to that full-scale launch and blog and brand behind that thing.
Yaro Starak: Yeah, that’s fantastic. There’s so much research you can do. I remember when I was constructing training for this exact same subject. I’ve got a program teaching blog topic selection. And I remember sort of thinking, I went through a lot of research to see what everyone else was saying. It’s almost what you just said, “See what everyone else is teaching about how to pick a topic because you’ve got the hardcore analytical people, then you’ve got the bloggers…”
Somebody was saying, like I remember John Morrow, for example. He was like, you know, “Don’t start a blog, put a landing page up and see if you can get some people onto an email list and then, you know, maybe learn from those people and then construct your offer from them and then roll out the blog.”
And then there was more of the traditional internet marketing information marketer guys and I remember Eben Pagan was always, “Get people on a private coaching call. That’s the first thing you should sell. You know, don’t go build products, don’t go build blogs…Offer consulting or coaching and have the conversation with a paying customer ‘cause then you’re kinda like figuring out all of the things you just talked about with someone who just paid you money to get help with that problem.”
And I love these sort of different combinations, but I think a lot of this comes down to personality types as well. I know, some of the people I coach, their inherent desire is to either create content—or not…
Pat Flynn: Right.
Yaro Starak: Their inherent desire is to buy ads—or not. You know, and it’s very rare to find one individual who actually enjoys every part of this research process whether it’s keyword research, paperclip traffic, creating a landing page, writing a sales copy, sending a survey, or talking to someone private in a coaching call, you know, the introverts are like, “I’m not sure I wanna’ do that.”
Pat Flynn: Totally.
Yaro Starak: “I don’t feel confident enough.” So, you know, what do you say to the people who are either way, you know, they don’t feel like they’re a complete human being in terms of doing all of these activities. Is it possible just to do the one thing you’re good at and get a result, you think?
Pat Flynn: Yeah, oh it’s definitely possible. I mean, I think I proved that when I first started ‘cause I didn’t start in this way. I wish I’d knew about this stuff because I would’ve probably got a lot of different products out sooner and made a lot more money. But in a slow, kind of day-to-day kind of way, I built a blog ‘cause I was just deathly afraid of putting myself out there, I didn’t want talk to anybody, and I just put content out.
And then over time, you know over a year and a half, I eventually found out who my audience was and how I could serve them. And so, yeah, definitely, but I think this is the way to know. Because, again, this is like the short cut for, “well…what happens after a year and a half and I don’t have an audience?” you know that sort of thing.
So this is kinda just a way to speed through that. And again, a lot of the research will, which is still behind the scenes, will help you with that conversation that you have in your head. But, on the flip side I’m like, ‘cause when I talk to people and I coach people through this process, they are scared of talking to other people. Just that alone freaks them out.
And then I’m like, “Well if you have a business, you have an expertise and you really wanna’ help people, you might actually be doing your potential customers—these people that you could help—a disservice by just being shy. And you have to put yourself out there.” I mean, if you wanna’ build a long term business I feel like you have to really put yourself out there.
And that’s why this is cool because you can start small. Actually one of the chapters is just there’s an exercise which the goal is just talk to one person about your idea. So this is almost kind of a training manual for entrepreneurs it’s just like kind of getting into the process of doing these things that successful entrepreneurs do, but not all up front and not at the same time.
Yaro Starak: It’s like dating.
Pat Flynn: Oh, totally.
Yaro Starak: I was amazed how much dating and business are overlapped, you know.
Pat Flynn: You’re totally right. That’s funny ‘cause you mention Eben Pagan from David DeAngelo from Double Your Dating. But it is so true. And so, in a way, it’s very much like that where you’re kinda feeling this idea out, you’re seeing what it’s like, you go on these first dates, and you don’t really go all the way of course because it could just turn out to be…
Yaro Starak: Sure, a floozy.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. You don’t wanna’ have a one-night stand with your business ideas.
Yaro Starak: No.
Pat Flynn: You wanna’ learn who this person is or who this idea is and who they’re for or who it’s for…I keep crossing over the different analogies now, you screwed me up.
Yaro Starak: Now you’re messed up?
Pat Flynn: Yeah, no, but, no. It’s really interesting. There was a guy named Noah Kagan who has a business AppSumo, and SumoMe and a few other things. He validated a business idea and it’s a case study in the book and I interviewed him on this, too. Where…
Yaro Starak: The tacos?
Pat Flynn: No, it was actually beef jerky.
Yaro Starak: Okay, alright.
Pat Flynn: You’re close. You’re pretty close.
Yaro Starak: I remember the jerky, yep.
Pat Flynn: Usually a food type of item with Noah…
Yaro Starak: Yes.
Pat Flynn: But he in 24 hours was able to validate a business idea for a beef jerky subscription service and was able to generate a thousand dollars of profit within 24 hours. But he did put himself out there, he went up to people and just asked what they liked and disliked and how they would best be served this thing.
And so it turned into this healthy snack that people love to try different kinds of jerkies. And, you know, even before he figured out the manufacturing process of how to put these things together, he just wanted to see if this is something people wanted.
And when I think about it that way, I’m like, “Why wouldn’t you start with that? Why would you potentially risk all this time?” Not even just the money because a lot of times you can start a blog or these things for free. But the time is something you can’t get back and that’s really what this process is all about is again that shortcut to figure it out beforehand so you don’t waste that time and money.
Yaro Starak: Yeah, it’s a time side, isn’t it? I can’t remember, during the early days, I remember writing this recently on some blog post when I was talking about this subject of choosing a topic and finding where there is money to be made in a market.
And I was thinking back to my early decision-making process for what things I started and I remember that I had this very naïve and simplistic view of entrepreneurship. I saw it as: come up with a great product idea and buy billboard ads or TV ads or radio ads and then it would take off because of the utility, you know, the effectiveness of the product itself.
And that’s often because you kinda focus on the bigger products that you know of in the real world, you know, like an iPhone or a certain camera if you’re into photography or a certain car. You don’t sort of think that, you know, is BMW running some pay per click ads to test whether their BMW is gonna’ sell or now, you know? You don’t read about that.
So I thought that’s it. And I didn’t even think about marketing or testing or asking whether the audience wanted to actually purchase it and why they did or why they didn’t…all those things.
Pat Flynn: Right. Right.
Yaro Starak: So…
Pat Flynn: It’s sort of like, you know on TV, right? When a new series is coming out, what’s the first episode usually called? A pilot episode.
Yaro Starak: Right.
Pat Flynn: I don’t know if it’s called that because it has to do with flying which is a cool coincidence in this case, but it’s like they show it and they get the reaction before they end up getting a studio and hiring the actors for the whole rest of the time. And even the actors know, like, “Okay, this may or may not work out, but here’s our best foot forward, here’s what it’s gonna’ be like. Let’s see what the reaction is before we end up putting the rest of the time and money to it.”
Yaro Starak: So in the last sort of five minutes here before you have to run off on your interview train I know you’re doing today.
Pat Flynn: Man, it’s crazy.
Yaro Starak: No doubt. I’m trying to even think…you’ve got Smart Podcast Player, Security Guard HQ, Smart Passive Income Podcast the blog, YouTube TV channel…
Pat Flynn: Food Trucker…
Yaro Starak: Food Trucker…the leads and there’s still kind of a trucking way behind the scenes a little bit, I know you don’t focus on that anymore and also the same as your apps business, right?
Pat Flynn: Yep.
Yaro Starak: Is there anything I’m missing?
Pat Flynn: Well, the book and feature courses…
Yaro Starak: Yeah, the book.
Pat Flynn: And…I’m raising two kids and trying to be a good husband at home…
Yaro Starak: Well, I wasn’t gonna’ ask you about that but you know…
Pat Flynn: Like, soccer coaching…and yes.
Yaro Starak: Choosing….
Pat Flynn: Yeah, it’s a lot of stuff.
Yaro Starak: Referring to picking all these businesses you start, not necessarily your children and your wife—I don’t think you did market research for those decisions…
Pat Flynn: Uh, no.
Yaro Starak: Probably did with some of them…
Pat Flynn: Well, I did date my wife…
Yaro Starak: Yeah, I guess you did market research. Probably read a few books about having a baby first, too. But thinking back to all those projects now, is there any, ‘cause obviously you don’t have time to talk about them all, but some of that’s software, some of those are niche websites, some of those are big-branded businesses, some of those are information products.
So, have you found there’s some universal truths across the board no matter what product type when it comes to your own experience launching those successful products that maybe you could share? Like, what had to go right to make those work?
Pat Flynn: Yeah, great question. I love that. So, with the Smart Podcast Player, for example, I really had to show people what it was like before they wanted to buy it, right? And that’s the case with anything, with the affiliate marketing even, that’s something we all do and think about is like, you need to treat those products that you’re selling that are other people’s like they were your own. I mean, why wouldn’t you do that? Just show that you know that product better and that your audience will trust you.
And I think across all the different websites, that trust factor is really the most important thing. So with my software it was the fact that I was communicating with a beta group to test that product and make sure it was like something they wanted and also working with them in a sort of lean startup kind of fashion in terms of what additional features should be in there and it made them feel more like it was for them instead of me just putting something out there and having them kind of be forced to buy that product.
And so with all the websites and all the content and blogging and just the deciding factor for the thing that’s been the most successful across all the board is the relationship that you build with that audience and the trust that you have with them.
And it might seem funny I say that because, for example securityguardtrainingHQ.com, you don’t even know I’m on the site, but there’s a trust factor there in terms of, well, “Is this the right content? Is this the most updated stuff? You know, is there somebody on the other end actually putting the time and effort to make sure that person who lands on that website, whatever kind of website or product that might be, is of the most high-end quality in terms of, ‘yes, this is the information I need.’”
Again, it doesn’t need to be a fancy-looking website. It doesn’t need to be the best-looking thing. It needs to just be navigationable, uh navigable, whatever. Easy…
Yaro Starak: Easy to navigate.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, easy to navigate and also just stuff that’s actually helpful. And across the board, that’s the number one factor. For those of you listening, with whatever you create, when people land on that page that you have, what is their first impression? Are you giving off, you know, trust? Or are you kind of putting up red flags?
And the easiest and best way to do this, and I think this is a great practice based on what we said earlier, is to reach out to some of your email subscribers, talk to people who have been to your website, and literally ask them, “What was your first impression of my website? What do you like about it? What do you not like about it?”
And I do this, I actually literally put this in my calendar every single month to reach out and have a phone or skype conversation with ten of my audience members out of the, you know, emails is what 150K now, but only talking to ten people. “Well, how does this help?”
I’ve gotten the best information from these little five to ten minute conversations because they tell me exactly what I need to know. Not necessarily what I want to hear, which is sometimes what we put online when you put out a survey, even sometimes they don’t even tell you the truth.
But when you have these conversations on the phone, you can talk and get deeper, you can really hear the intonation and what they’re saying and use that information moving forward.
Yaro Starak: Awesome. Okay, Pat. So where do we go for the book, “Will it Fly?”
Pat Flynn: So head on over to WillitFlybook.com and that’s where it’s at WillitFlybook.com. I appreciate you all spending the time with me today. I’m so thankful for our friendship and the fact that you’re helping, you know, with the book and stuff. And, you know, I’m here for you and your audience, too, you’ve done a lot.
I’ve talked about this on the blog before, but, you know, when I first started out you were a big reason why I had the motivation to do what I have done and so I thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. I really appreciate it.
Yaro Starak: Well you’re welcome, Pat. I’m glad to play a small part in the start of what you did. And this is a great subject, so I strongly recommend anyone who’s still struggling or has struggled with the, “I can’t figure out where there’s money to be made” or “I don’t know how to validate” or “I’m not sure whether my passion translates into money.” Those are great questions that need to be answered before you dive in and build a business. So WillitFlybook.com from Pat will be a—or is, by the time you’re listening to this—a great place to start and get some solid research methodology practices to implement online and hopefully answer that question.
So, Pat, thanks again for joining me.
Pat Flynn: Thank you so much!
Yaro Starak: And thanks everyone for joining us on this Entrepreneur’s Journey special edition of this podcast. And if you wanna’ get the show notes or the transcript to go along with it, you know where to go. Just Google my name, Yaro Y-A-R-O and that’ll take you to the Entrepreneur’s Journey podcast where you can find Pat’s episode.
Thanks for listening, guys! Talk to you soon. Bye-bye.
I hope you enjoyed that discussion with Pat Flynn and you’re feeling excited about validating or finding a profitable topic for your online business. We’ll be going back to the regular scheduled Entrepreneur’s Journey style interviews, so don’t worry, that was just a special, once-off discussion. Normally you’ll get the full, hour-long interviews where I dive deep into the background story of a specific entrepreneur and how they got started. If you want to make sure you get those interviews as soon as I release them, then you must sign up for my Interviews Club email list. Go to InterviewsClub.com, enter your name into the form you’ll find on that page where you can then subscribe. And every time I release a brand new interview, I’ll send you an email. You’ll also get a series of my very best interviews from the past—the archives—sent to you on a regular basis so you’ll never be short of amazing inspiring interviews from other online entrepreneurs.
Okay, just one more request before you go. If you could log into your iTunes software right now and take a minute to leave me a review. You can fine the Entrepreneur’s Journey podcast by doing a search in iTunes for my first name, Yaro Y-A-R-O. Once you find it, click the “review” button and let me know what you think of the show. I really appreciate your comments.
Okay. That’s it for this episode. I’ll talk to you on the next episode of the Entrepreneur’s Journey podcast. Thanks for listening. Bye-bye.
About Yaro Starak
Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.