Let me tell you a secret: I love internet marketing. The whole concept fascinates me and as I’ve seen my blog grow exponentially, it fascinates me more and more. What is even more captivating is when you read a story of someone that took being laid off from what was supposed to be his dream job and then turn into a life changing business venture on the web. We all hear stories of how to make passive income on the web and many of them are scams. (If you want to see a bona fide scam, check out this post) I assure you, this is far from it.
Pat Flynn has quickly rose to one of the Internet’s elite in internet marketing and in a short time has made a large chunk of cash that will have you in disbelief. What makes this story that much more exceptional is that Pat is an awesome guy. He goes out of his way to help his readers and answers their questions. I was excited to have Pat stop by the blog and sit down for quick interview.
Interview With Pat Flynn
1. Pat, can you give us a little bit about your background and what prompted you to start Smart Passive Income?
I studied architecture at the University of California at Berkeley and started working in a large architectural firm soon after graduation. I quickly excelled in the workplace, becoming the youngest Job Captain in the 250+ person firm, and was later assigned to some really high-end, multi-million dollar projects. I truly loved what I was doing.
Unfortunately, that didn’t last long. After 3 years, I was laid off.
The lay off was tough, but it helped me realize that even what may seem like the most secure of jobs can be taken away from you in a flash. The only way to truly establish financial security in my life was to take matters into my own hands, and start a business of my own. So, that’s what I did.
I decided to start an online business that revolved around an exam (http://www.greenexamacademy.com) that people in the design and build industry take, which I was quite familiar with. Long story short, in just a year I had grossed over $200,000.00 – obviously far more money than I ever made while working in an architecture firm.
As much as I’m happy about the amount of money I’ve earned online, it’s the amount of hours that I now spend working on this business each week that I’m the most pleased about. On average, I spend about 2 to 4 hours a week on that business, which continues to bring in a full-time income. Because of the business model and the services I use to almost automate the entire process, from customers payments to delivery of my electronic products, I am truly able to live a 4-Hour Work Week (which if you didn’t know, was a NY Times Bestseller by Tim Ferriss). Tim was definitely an inspiration for me as I structured my online business.
I spend all of my free time with my family, creating new businesses and projects, and blogging about how I got to this point in life. That’s what The Smart Passive Income Blog is all about. It’s basically a free resource for people who want to learn how to do business online in a way that can generate a passive income – meaning you don’t have to trade your hours for dollars. You put in the hard work at the beginning, and reap the benefits later.
The Smart Passive Income Blog is my way of giving back for all of the fortunate things that have happened to me in my life. It is my hope that anyone with a drive and passion to succeed can learn from what I do (both from my successes and my failures), and create an online business for themselves too. I’m not anyone special, and there are a ton of people out there who are smarter than I am, so I know this is possible.
2. What would you say are 3 common characteristics that one must possess to cross over into being an Internet marketer?
First and foremost, an internet marketer must be willing to take some risks. Luckily, doing business online is much less risky as far as the initial investments required to get started, but it still takes some guts to buy your first domain name, to create your own products or deal with other businesses online. That being said, what drives us is that we all know that the possible rewards of starting an internet business far outweigh the risks involved.
Secondly, one must be able to welcome failure. As weird as that may sound, a failure is actually one step closer to finding success. I’ve personally had many failures online, but they’ve all lead me to this point because I’ve learned from each and every one of them.
Lastly, an internet marketer should always be self-controlled and disciplined. It’s hard, especially when working from home, to stay focused on certain tasks that need to get done. There are a lot of distractions out there that will try to hold back our productivity, but by keeping systems in place and our goals in mind, we can keep on progressing.
3. You recently just launched an Ebook called The $mart Way. What was your inspiration for creating the ebook?
An eBook is what I used to help launch my successful online business. I love eBooks because they are relatively easy and cheap to create, you can automatically deliver them to your customers (no going to the post office to package and ship after each order), and you can get started right now.
eBooks the $mart Way is all about how to publish, market and automate a killer eBook. I wrote this guide because I really want to help people who may be interested in creating an eBook of their own. And yes, the guide is absolutely FREE, much like all of the other material on my website. As I said before, it’s my way of giving back for all the good things that have recently happened to me in my life.
Publishing an eBook changed my life, and I’m hoping this guide can help people improve their businesses and change their lives too.
4. You write and sell Ebooks, you maintain an awesome blog, your extremely active on Twitter and Facebook, you have a new child: Where you find the time to keep your business growing and what keeps you motivated?
My primary motivation behind everything I do is my family. My beautiful wife April, and our newborn son, Keoni, are the inspiration and motivation behind everything I do online and every decision I make.
For example, because I want to spend more time with them, I’ve created a business that allows me to do just that. Furthermore, I have systems in place and schedules that I follow that allow me to make sure I get the things in a productive manner so i don’t waste any time.
Additionally, I truly love helping other people succeed. I get a sense of fulfillment, almost a “high”, when someone sends me a thank you email for the eBooks I’ve written, or when people tell me that I’ve motivated them to start working on their own ideas again. To go along with that idea, I also believe in Karma. The more you help others, the more fortune you’ll have. So far, in my experience, this has always been the case.
5. You’ve had great success with your LEED Ebook. Do you foresee any challenges to sustain your income levels in the future as others try to mimic what you’ve done?
There are always challenges that we face, especially in today’s world where everything seems to be changing so fast. One of the biggest challenges that I face with my current primary business is that the company that the exam is about has recently released their own set of study guides to help people pass the exam.
That being said, I almost take it as a compliment because I know for a fact that they knew about my business and how successful it has been. Maybe it was a direct response to what I was doing, maybe not – but either way, I am still seeing strong earnings each and every month. I think it helps that I’m just “a normal guy”, not a large company, who is helping people pass the exam and who is here to immediately respond to any questions they may have. I have the track record, and people who have used my website before are usually more than willing to help spread the word.
Furthermore, I have other projects in other niches that are there for diversification purposes. If any one of my current businesses or income streams were to disappear tomorrow, I’d still have a generous income to provide for my family. Plus, I know that if everything were to disappear tomorrow, i could easily come back and do something else and succeed.
6. Having just had my 2nd son and seeing you just had your first, how has having a child impacted your life?
Words can’t even express how wonderful being a father is and seeing a “mini-me” enter the world. It truly puts life into perspective and makes you think about what’s really important in this world. Seriously.
Beyond just wanting to succeed so I can provide for my son and his future, I want to do so in way that can be a good example for him when he grows up.
I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world – not even the sleepless nights, spit-ups, or poopy diapers 🙂
7. What’s on the horizon for Pat Flynn and Smart Passive Income in the upcoming year and beyond?
I’ve got a lot planned for the future.
Besides the blog and all the businesses that I have now, I’m working with others on potential business ventures and passive income projects as we speak. I can’t get too specific at the moment, so you’ll have to check in to the blog to keep updated as things progress.
Specifically for the Smart Passive Income Blog, I’m coming out with a podcast that should be ready to go by mid year. I’m hoping to provide some motivational and useful content for those of you who want to get into online business, and have some extra time during your commute or while at the gym to listen in.
Jeff, thank you so much for the opportunity to share a bit of my story and some of my thoughts about internet marketing and entrepreneurship. if there’s anything that you or any of your readers ever need from me, please do not hesitate to come by The Smart Passive Income Blog and shoot me an email.
Thanks again Jeff! Cheers!
Be Sure To Check Out: Pat recently did an interview with Darren from Problogger.net. Definitely worth checking out.