«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 ...»
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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 Yaro Starak ● www.entrepreneurs-journey.com ● Page: 1 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 © Yaro Starak ● http://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com ● Page: 2 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.
Yaro Starak ● www.entrepreneurs-journey.com ● Page: 3 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.
© Yaro Starak ● http://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com ● Page: 4 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.
Yaro Starak ● www.entrepreneurs-journey.com ● Page: 5 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.