Pat Flynn is a beloved thought leader in the areas of online entrepreneurship, digital marketing, and lifestyle businesses. He has experience in niche sites, running conferences, creating online courses and selling physical products.
His journey is fascinating. I recommend that you read The History of My First Online Business for an overview of his story. I also recommend that you read If I Had to Start Over…This is What I’d Do Differently. You can learn so much from his transparency.
Smart Passive Income
The Smart Passive Income Podcast
In this podcast, Pat reveals all of his online business and blogging strategies, income sources, and effective marketing tips and tricks.
Since 2010, the podcast has been featured in The New York Times, and has generated a total of over 60,000,000 downloads.
In early 2014, he announced a new feature titled ‘Ask Pat’. He said:
Before the idea for AskPat, I used to answer voicemail questions from the audience at the end of The SPI Podcast, which isn’t going away and will continue to run weekly. But, I felt like the questions changed the feel of the episodes that were often about something else. So, I decided to dedicate an entire show to answering your questions instead!
You can check out the archive here.
- ASK PAT is Coming Soon! Here’s What It’s All About!
- 200 Episodes of #AskPat Later: Revenue and My Top 5 All-Time Favorites!
In late 2013, he did a major redesign of his blog. I recommend that you read The Mega-Details Behind the New Design of The Smart Passive Income Blog to learn more about the process. You can learn a lot from how he fixed the mistakes he’d made.
The History of Themes for The Smart Passive Income Blog (The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!) also has a lot of useful insights.
- SPI 260: Undergoing a Website Overhaul with Rocket Code
- Website Redesign—One Year Later (Critical Lessons Learned)
- SPI Podcast Session #208 – SPI Gets a Makeover! Why I Redesigned a Website that Wasn’t Broken
In 2017, Pat and Caleb Wojcik came up with the idea for a brand new tripod for Vloggers. 2 years later, the SwitchPod launched on Kickstarter and raised over $415,000 from over 4,000 backers.
Caleb has shared a lot about the experience:
- Launching the SwitchPod Handheld Tripod to $400k+ on Kickstarter
- 17 Lessons I Learned from Inventing & Launching SwitchPod
- Every SwitchPod Prototype
- Pat Flynn Talking SwitchPod — Caleb Wojcik Show #71
Pat also shared the behind-the-scenes details at his blog.
- Meet the SwitchPod: My First Physical Product (Costs, Manufacturing, and More)
- SPI 356: Everything Behind the Launch of My New Invention—the SwitchPod
In 2019, Pat held the first Flynn Con. He described it as ‘a conference that is small, intimate, family-friendly, focused on the SPI community, with just the right combination of inspiration, information, conversation, and action.
You can learn more at the FlynnCON website.
He wrote a couple of posts about the conference:
- The Origin of FlynnCON1 and What I’ve Learned So Far Creating My First Conference
- SPI 391: FlynnCon1 – The Unexpected Story – A Behind the Scenes Interview with Pat Flynn
In 2015, Pat and his team created a podcast player called The Smart Podcast Player to encourage binge listening and subscriptions on websites.
He shared more about the journey at:
- The Smart Podcast Player Is Back! And My Top 7 Lessons from Building a Software Product
- My June 2016 Monthly Income Report
In February, 2020, Pat relaunched the brand as FuseBox.fm, a suite of tools to help podcasters grow their business and connect with their listenership on their websites. You can check out the launch post at Product Hunt.
In 2019, Pat released Superfans to help help other entrepreneurs learn how a smaller, more loyal audience is better than a larger, disengaged one. He shared more about the release in AP 1074: What Is Superfans About and Who Is It For?
Will It Fly?
In 2016, Pat self-published a book to help readers validate their business idea. Will It Fly? combines action-based exercises, small-scale ‘litmus tests’, and real-world case studies with anecdotes from the author s personal experience of making money online, hosting successful podcasts, testing niche sites, and launching several online businesses.
He wrote about the experience extensively on his blog:
- SPI 197: Behind the Scenes of Writing Will It Fly?
- Will It Fly from Start to Finish—How I Wrote a Wall Street Journal Bestseller – Part 1
- Will It Fly from Start to Finish—How I Wrote a Wall Street Journal Bestseller – Part 2 (Marketing and distribution)
- Behind the Scenes of the Will It Fly? Social Media Strategy
- SPI 198: Building a Book Launch “Street Team”
- SPI 199: The Marketing Effort Behind Will It Fly?
- Lessons Learned from a Best-Selling Self-Published Author – SPI TV Ep. 55 Pat shares all those surprising moments, unexpected challenges, successes, and lessons learned from writing Will It Fly?
- Income Report: All the Numbers Behind My 2016 Bestseller, Will It Fly
- SPI 383: Income Report: How Much Did “Will It Fly?” Make?
Let Go is Pats story about overcoming adversity through a commitment to pursuing his own path. This book has evolved over time, beginning as a blog post in 2012 and expanding into a Kindle book in 2013. He wrote about the experience at SPI 060: Behind the Scenes of My New Publication, Let Go
In 2017, he published an updated version with a lot more stories and lessons learned
In 2019, he ran a kickstarter for the 10-year anniversary edition.
Smart From Scratch
Smart From Scratch is a hands-on, comprehensive course that enables you to develop a business idea, validate it, and determine if that idea is viable to pursue. Learn how to test whether or not there’s an audience for your business idea.
In this episode, Pat shares what he fixed about his launching strategy. You’ll hear what he’s learned about validating product ideas, pricing a course, building community, and creating a product he can stand behind. He shares more in 7 Lessons I Learned While Testing & Launching My First Online Course.
The details behind the Smart From Scratch re-opening, including many launch emails
Behind the scenes of the email strategy Pat used for his launch
In 2017, Pat took his podcasting course out of beta and launched it publicly for the first time. He went through the details in his July 2017 income report.
Physical Product Experiment
In 2017, Pat decided to create a physical productivity calender that can help for planning in shorter, extreme bursts. He wrote about his early concept explorations at Physical Product Experiment [PPE #1] — Let’s Start Something New.
He followed up with four more posts:
- Physical Product Experiment [PPE #2] – Validation and Feedback
- Physical Product Experiment [PPE #3] —The section on how they were managing their community of beta testers was really interesting.
- Physical Product Experiment [PPE #4]
- Physical Product Experiment [PPE #5] – Product Testing
Note: the below links take you to archived posts.
2010 The Niche Site Duel
On August 2nd, 2010, Tyrone Shum challenged Pat to a Niche Site Duel. It was both a public experiment and challenge to become more familiar with creating niche nites. He documented the entire process at The Niche Site Duel. He provided an update on the experiment one year later.
In 2013, he started working on his second niche site. He documented the entire process at NicheSiteDuel.com (link takes you to archived website)
Running Smart Passive Income
Take a sneak peek behind the curtains of how SPI operates, from our core values and mission to management to business systems and tools for performance.
Creating A Team
For the first five years after starting his online business, Pat did about 99 percent of the work on his own. As his business grew, he began to realize he couldn’t do all the work alone. Here’s how he found the members of Team Flynn.
In this podcast, Pat introduces Jess to his readers and discusses their strategies for getting the most out of an executive assistant.
In a few weeks, Pats new executive assistant was able to help him go from 9000+ unread emails to consistently reaching inbox zero each day.
Learn how to increase your income by recommending products and services that matter to your audience.
This episode is all about the personal experience Pat has had putting his affiliate marketing strategies into practice. Each of these affiliate products succeeded as a result of careful strategizing and plan
The Year of Online Courses (The Results. The Good. The Not so Good.) One of my 2017 goals was to create and launch powerful online courses. Learn what went well, what could be improved, and what my plans are for 2018.
Pat highlights ten specific strategies to help your course customers follow through and take action on what you’re teaching.
Selling and promoting a product or course? Ask yourself: open cart or closed cart? The pros and cons of an open cart, closed cart, and more!
Pat analyzes the most popular posts on SPI to determine why they are popular. Take a look and see how this can help you make the most of your popular posts.
Take a peek into a week in the life of Janna Maron, SPI’s content director, including how content production and sprint planning works at SPI!
Janna, the managing editor at SPI, shares how she revolutionized the SPI editorial process, how she helps maintain our workflow, and what she recommends for solo bloggers who want to improve their own editorial habits.
This post is a revised look at what Pat uses for planning his editorial content: the content pyramid. Here are both the types of content and how often he uses them.
After a decade of podcasting, Pat shares everything you need to know about how to start a podcast, the smart way.
Pat reflects on the top ten lessons he’s learned since he started the Smart Passive Income Podcast in July 2010.
Email Marketing Strategy
In less than 4 years, the SPI blog has grown to over 50,000 subscribers! Here are some important notes about how he got there.
In this video, Pat takes you step by step through his email system on ConvertKit
In 2015, Pat decided to move his email list of over 135,000 subscribers to Infusionsoft from AWeber. He had been using Aweber for the previous five years. Within 3 months, he had moved again to ConvertKit.
Need help getting started with your email list? Check out Pat’s 72-hour 100 Email Challenge
Pat revealed he’d leased new office space that could primarily be used as a video studio. One of the main motivations was that it would be easier to leverage live video streaming.
Caleb was the videographer behind SPI TV. In this podcast, he shares his expert knowledge on the gear and techniques you need to make killer video content. He’ll give his advice for launching a video podcast of your own, creating an efficient workflow, and producing high-quality video week after week.
My April 2017 Monthly Income Report Scroll down to where he talks about Ask Pat Live.
SPI TV’s very own producer, Caleb Wojcik, talks about all things live streaming video: where it’s headed, how Pat uses it, and how you can start using it in your own online business.
Pat started going live on YouTube every day at the same time to give my audience something to look forward to. Little did he know it would ignite an incredible community of business professionals.
Pat shares the equipment he uses to host his live streams. He includes lower cost / budget options to potentially achieve the same results.
Pat shares the store of his first public speaking gig at the 2011 FinCon. He shares everything he got wrong in that first presentation, and everything he’s done since to become a cooler and more confident public speaker.
Pats Blog World Expo presentation did not go as expected — not at all. Here’s how he handled the unexpected mishap and why so many people loved it.
Other changes and improvements
- SPI 261: SEO Self-Audit Checklist – An Interview with My Recent SEO Hire
- So THIS Is What Happens When Your Server Goes Down for a Week
- My Getting Started Page: Success or Failure?