You are probably aware of the fact that there a numerous strategies to earning revenue. One such approach has been touted as “passive”. Other names that passive income often goes by is residual income or leveraged income. In either case it is revenue, and (hopefully!) income in the form of profits, that is continuously generating additional income based upon the efforts of the initial investment. Not an investment in this case could be time and energy or it could be money. Most often it is a combination thereof.
ansleyRDgroup is honored and humbled to have with us today, on a very important day – Let Go Day – Pat Flynn; Entrepreneur, Internet Mogul, and author of the best selling book “Let Go”.
Our very own Jason Ansley, Vice President and Principal Consultant for ansleyRDgroup was able to sit down and interview Pat Flynn this past week in preparation for Pat’s huge Let Go Day event honoring the 5 year anniversary of when Pat was “Let Go” from his job.
Without further ado, let’s jump right in to the interview with Pat Flynn!
Jason Ansley: Pat, Your brand is “Smart Passive Income“. Tim Conley, from Foolish Adventure states that any active business, cannot be a passive business. What I understand him to mean is that if one is going to succeed in business, or anything for that matter, there is an active role that the person (and their team) must play. From following you I can attest that you, Pat, are anything but passive. You are very active! Can you elaborate on this for us? How does one balance active business and (smart) passive business?
Pat Flynn: When it comes to passive income, there is no such thing as 100% passive income – something that will forever automatically generate earnings for you with absolutely zero upkeep. Even passive investments like real estate and target-date mutual funds require some type of active upkeep, by somebody.
[Tweet “Staying active in your business is important, but it’s also important to realize that you don’t have to be active in all parts”] of it – you can utilize tools, services and software to take the human element (i.e. yourself) out of your business yet keep your business running in an automated fashion. This is how one can create a business that works for them, instead of the other way around – how one can create a business that allows you to complete transactions without you actually having to be there to make it happen. Being smart about when and where you automate your business can put you in the active roles in your business you should be active in.
Jason Ansley: I have been following you and many of those in your circle (both those you influence and those that influence you). There seems to be a congruent factor that the vast majority of Internet entrepreneurs are “creatives”. For example, you Pat, were (are) an architect. That requires a creative person for that industry. For businesses that are offline, or for individuals that may be more like Warren Buffet (less creative and more “Lord” or “Accumulator” profiles); is it possible for them to succeed in the online world and how might they do so?
Pat Flynn: The ones who get noticed and the ones who succeed are the ones who are creative…but they aren’t necessarily ‘creatives’.
There are millions of Internet entrepreneurs, for example, but the ones we remember and the ones we connect with are the ones that have thought out of the box and did something different than everyone else, and not all of them came from a background like that of architecture, music or arts.
You don’t have to be a creative to do creative things. [Tweet “Standing out of the crowd is simply done by looking at the crowd and purposefully doing something different”], even on an engineered, calculated level. To those who are a part of that crowd, and to those who interact and consume information from that crowd, that difference – whether it comes from the heart of an artist or the brain of an engineer – becomes something memorable – something creative.
Jason Ansley: Building on question 2, Michael Hyatt discusses five levels of delegation.
- Level 1: Do exactly what I have asked you to do.
- Level 2: Research the topic and report back.
- Level 3: Research the topic, outline the options, and make a recommendation.
- Level 4: Make a decision and then tell me what you did.
- Level 5: Make whatever decision you think is best.
Even though you recently “let go” two of your virtual assistants, you are a big proponent of delegation in the form of external outsourcing. What level did you get to with your team? Was there a talent/skill issue? What could you do better as a leader to be able to attain that next level of delegation?
Pat Flynn: Letting Go of my virtual assistant team was very difficult for me because I loved the two people who were working for me. When I asked them to do work for me, they did excellent work. Letting them go reminded me of when I was let go in 2008 and that event being the result not of anything I didn’t do, but rather circumstances beyond my control. The projects that I initially hired them to help me with were no longer there, and as a result it just didn’t make sense for me to keep them around anymore.
It was not a talent or skill issue – they were both very skillful in what they did and they always did their jobs on time when asked to do something for me. But, like I said, when the projects were done, so was what I could delegate to them.
It is still important for me to be efficient with my time and utilize others who may do certain tasks that either I don’t have the time to do myself, I cannot do myself, or I shouldn’t do myself. This is why I’m currently exploring building a new team, one that includes people who wouldn’t just do what I ask them to do, but would truly feel plugged into my business, like they were a part of it, and feel comfortable enough to speak up and make suggestions that may take my business – and our team – to the next level.
The VAs that I hired, although amazing at what I asked them to do, only did what I asked them to do. Now, I’m looking for more. As a leader, I’ll have to find a team that I mesh well with, one that I can feel comfortable delegating tasks to, but also one that I would feel comfortable receiving advice and criticisms from for the betterment of the business as a whole, and the experience of my audience and customers.
Jason Ansley: You may not be familiar with the book One Question by Ken Coleman. He is an excellent interviewer and has had the opportunity to interview many greats such as Tony Dungy, Seth Godin, John Maxwell, Jack Dorsey, Malcolm Gladwell and many others…While I have not read it yet, but plan to starting next week, there are two chapter titles that caught me.
Do you believe there is a difference between Vision and Dreams? Is one better than the other? Are they both needed? How have they played a role in your entity, Flynndustries as well as the single brand Smart Passive Income?
Pat Flynn: Like you I have yet to read this book, so I’m not quite sure how the author differentiates the two, and I can imagine many people having different definitions and interpretations of each word. To me, dreams are extremely important because they become the goal that we work toward, which helps determine our path and course of action. How do we know where to go if we don’t know what our destination is?
A vision, which is similar, is more like what is, or what will be – not necessarily a more metaphysical feeling like a dream might be, but actually what the environment is like and what you and people around you will do and/or feel.
I’m not sure if that makes sense – all I know is that without knowing what my goals were, I wouldn’t have taken the action that I did take to make things happen the way they did.
Jason Ansley: At what point would you have called it quits and gotten a J-O-B?
Pat Flynn: The point at which I had no other choice. In my head, that’s when the savings and the emergency fund ran out, and in order to survive I would get that J-O-B. That said, even if I were to get a J-O-B, because of the past events in my life I would always be looking ahead and looking out for opportunities to work for myself and be in as much control as possible. The J-O-B would be forward thinking and related to a particular market or niche I was possibly interested in branching out on my own for. Having the experience and the relationships from that J-O-B could easily give me several opportunities down the road to pursue something on my own.
Jason Ansley: How did you overcome the initial doubt of friends, family, and the world at large that thought you might be crazy for “letting go”? I am sure there were many days and moments of fear and worry. How did you overcome this?
Pat Flynn: I was very lucky to have the support of most of my family and friends. My fiancee (now my wife) at the time was incredibly supportive, and I know for sure that if it wasn’t for her believing in me and saying that everything was going to be okay – no matter what happened – I wouldn’t be where I’m at today.
My dad, however, had some doubts about my decision to go off on my own. He was a man who worked for the same company for 40 years and then retired, and he suggested that I go back to school to get my graduate degree so I could come out of it with a better paying job and a better resume. The worst part about that was that I knew he was right – I could do that, but I also knew that I had already done everything that I was ‘supposed to do’ – and that hurt and didn’t work out so well.
The most fear and worry I experienced was from…myself. I feared hundreds of things from the moment that I was let go, to the moment I had my first customer, and even today I still am met with fear whenever big decisions have to be made in my business and in life.
What helped me overcome my own fear was asking myself, “Realistically, what’s the worst that can happen?”
That realistically part is very important because my brain tends to think of these incredible, ridiculous scenarios when I’m met with something new or different or challenging in my life. [Tweet “When I asked myself, realistically, what the worst thing that could happen was, it wasn’t as bad as I had thought”]. Maybe after trying to do business for myself it doesn’t work out – I had my parent’s support, their house to live if times got rough and I knew I was more than qualified to do other jobs not related to architecture, so I wasn’t ever going to be completely broke.
Or at the point at which I was writing and publishing my first eBook, realistically the worst thing that could happen was that no one would buy the book, and at least I gave it I shot. Truly, [Tweet “the worst thing that could happen would be that if I didn’t take action, I would never have known if I would have succeeded.”]
Jason Ansley: I have always wondered what your religious views are. Would you mind sharing those? Were they any part of your “letting go“?
Pat Flynn: I am Catholic. I’ve always known God to teach life’s best lessons through the unexpected and unplanned, so I knew to pay close attention to the opportunities that were presented to me at the time I was Let Go.
Thank you Pat for taking the time to address these questions for our audience!
Thank you, the ansleyRDgroup audience and family for sticking around to read this interview. As we post this we are live on the Let Go Day Event. If you want to tweet about it, click any of the “tweet this” links above or use the hashtag #LetGoDay on either Facebook or Twitter!