How to Experiment and Test Before Launching a Product with Pat Flynn | PoP 551

Why should you start off using your current audience before branching out when working with a new product? How can doing a testing phase before launching a new product significantly increase its success? What are the benefits of experimenting and why should you cap it?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Pat Flynn about experimenting and testing before launching a new product and why this is important to do.

Podcast Sponsor

When you’re in private practice it can be tough to find the time to review your marketing efforts and make improvements where needed.

Whether you are a seasoned clinician whose current website needs to be revamped, or a new therapist building a website for the first time, Brighter Vision is here to help.

By first understanding your practice and what makes it unique, Brighter Vision’s team of developers will create a custom website catered to your specific marketing goals. Better yet, they provide unlimited technical support to make sure it stays updated, and professional search engine optimization to make sure you rank high in online searches – all at no additional cost.

To get started for $100 off, head to brightervision.com/joe.

Meet Pat Flynn

Pat Flynn is a father, husband, and entrepreneur who lives and works in San Diego, CA. He owns several successful online businesses and is a professional blogger, keynote speaker, Wall Street Journal bestselling author, and host of the Smart Passive Income and AskPat podcasts, which have earned a combined total of over 60 million downloads, multiple awards, and features in publications such as The New York Times and Forbes. He is also an advisor to ConvertKit, LeadPages, Teachable, and other companies in the digital marketing arena.

Visit his website and connect on Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

In This Podcast

  • Test before launch
  • Use your audience
  • Questions to consider about products for your practice
  • Advice from Pat

Test before launch

Test before launch with a handful of people. Reach out to your following with news of a new product or service you are thinking of offering and see if you can get even five people to sign on with you.

After working with them for a few weeks one-on-one, you can turn this experience into the ultimate end-product; the course, event, or product that you are thinking of advertising to your wider audience.

The cool thing about testing in that way first before launching publicly is A: those people feel like they get a little bit of additional access to you, B: a lot of people like being the first to receive that information and C: you get to test whether or not you like it, and if they like it, and if they do and they get results, now you have testimonials so when you launch this thing big … you have real people who have gotten real results with a real before and after story. (Pat Flynn)

By getting a sense of whether or not people want this potential product by doing pre-testing, is a good thing, because if you can find this out now, you save yourself from committing a whole bunch of money, time, and effort into a project or product that no one is willing to buy.

You don’t want to find customers for your products, you want to find products for your customers. (Pat Flynn)

By testing, playing, experimenting, and trying out possible avenues, you either get the result that you wanted or the lesson that you needed.

Use your audience

Optimize your ability to serve your current audience because your best customer is your existing customer. They remain with you, purchase your products, and will potentially help you create new content because they have experienced your services and like what you have given them thus far.

They have already received an experience you have given them and they could potentially want another again and you do not have to work on building that new customer-service provider relationship because that relationship already exists.

In most cases because you already have access to your current audience, utilize your current audience to help guide what your next decisions will be likely is the best case so I would much rather focus on different products for the same audience versus a different audience to get into the same products. (Pat  Flynn)

Questions to consider about products for your practice

  • What is your tripwire? What is the product that gets people stumbling into your business or your practice, ready and willing to work more with you and potentially purchase your products?
  • What is the customer journey? Where are they coming from, and what is potentially stopping them from working with you and being a client with what you are offering them?
  • What captures your clients after they have finished their first product with you? What else can you offer them after the first phase that will keep them working with you?

Advice from Pat

Surround yourself with people who want to interact with other business owners because there are so many positives and benefits of connecting with people who also like and do the same kinds of things that you do, even those who may on paper be considered as competitors.

The world is abundant and there is enough for everyone. If we approach business in a way that is cut-throat, solo and take-all-you-can-get then it will become that. However, we can approach business in a way that benefits everyone involved.

When you work together with others and help each other out, that is what makes the world a better place.

Useful Links:

Meet Joe Sanok

private practice consultant

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

[JOE SANOK] When you’re in private practice, it can be tough to find the time to review your marketing efforts and make improvements where needed. Whether you are a seasoned clinician whose current website needs to be revamped or a new therapist building a website for the first time, Brighter Vision is here to help. By first understanding your practice and what makes it unique, Brighter Vision’s team of developers will create you a custom website catered to your specific marketing goals. Better yet, they provide unlimited technical support to make sure it stays updated and professional search engine optimization to make sure you rank high in online searches, all at no additional cost. To get started for a hundred dollars off, head over to brightervision.com/Joe. Again, that’s brightervision.com/Joe.

This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 551.

Well, I am Joe Sanok your host live here at Practice of the Practice world headquarters. As you all know, we are on the road and right now I’m in a Walmart parking lot in, where are we? You guys remember where we are? No? Uh, Fresno. Fresno, California, on the way to Yosemite. So as all of you probably know, we’ve been living on the road since September in a camper, meeting a bunch of you socially distanced here and there and seeing the country as we quarantine within our camper. And I hope you are doing awesome today. I hope that you’re staying safe. Today, I am so excited to have Pat Flynn hanging out with us. We just had Pat as one of our experts, every month we do Ask the Expert for our membership community, Next Level Practice and Group Practice Boss and it was the most attended Ask the Expert we have ever had.

Pat just blew it out of the water. He talked about principles from his book, Super Fans, which we’re going to talk about how you can get a free copy of that at the end of this podcast. So make sure you stick around for that. And Pat invited me after that to be on his show. So that’s going to be going live. We’re going to be promoting that through our email list and on social media and I’m just so excited about this because I want to just tell you a little bit about Pat and kind of his impact on my life. So I still remember the moment that I was mowing the lawn at our old house, listening to Pat Flynn in my ear every Saturday and just hearing him talk about passive income. The light bulb went off for me that in my private practice, it would have been really weird to have a bunch of affiliate links and all these other things within the practice to make passive income.
[JOE] So I had this idea of starting Practice of the Practice and launched the website, launched the podcast as many of you know and really Pat was the very first person that showed me that business didn’t have to be slimy. I had sold Kirby vacuum cleaners door to door when I was early in college and they taught me how to do all these sorts of like slimy methods and it just didn’t feel right. Like that’s what I thought business was, but Pat was the first person that showed me that business can be, for people that have all sorts of interests, it’s just finding your correct audience. So today we have Pat Flynn here on the Practice of the Practice podcast. Pat, welcome to the show.
[PAT FLYNN] Hey, thank you for having me, Joe. I’m curious, of all the places you visited on your travels so far with your family, what’s been your favorite. I’m just curious.
[JOE] Oh my gosh. There’s, I think it’s the unexpected places, because there’s places that were just amazing. And you know, I have pictures of them on Instagram, but someone along the road said, “You’ve got to go to Carlsbad caverns.” It’s this cavern system in Southern New Mexico, we just added it to the trip. We decided, “All right, let’s go”. And their large room, I think they call it the big room, you could fit three US capitals in it. It’s the largest cavern system in the whole United States. And it was unreal. It was crazy and we’d watched these YouTube videos ahead of time and a bunch of these families said, “Take the natural entrance. Don’t take the elevator down.” And it’s like this extra mile hike and our six and nine year old were like, “We would have missed two thirds of the awesomeness if we hadn’t taken the natural entrance.” So I feel like it set us up for like prepping, watching videos before we go places and all the extra learning and just, I loved it. And then petrified forest was amazing too. My six year old is such a rock hound and she could have just sat there and stared at these petrified wood for just days and to see just like the Zen of my daughters in nature is just, there’s nothing like it.
[PAT] I love that. That’s what I love about you, Joe. You’re a family man, just like me and I’ll have to get more info from you about those places because we’re always looking for fun adventures too, but dude, I’m so stoked to be here. You and I have gotten to chat a lot recently and it was so fun to chat with your members and I’m just really excited to see what I can do to help out your audience today.
[JOE] Yes. Yes. I mean actually one other place, we just went to Death Valley and the whole time we’re like, this looks a lot like tattooing and then as we’re looking into it, we’re like it was recorded here. And so we’ve been doing a bunch of Instagram reels with like Star Wars music and like us running through looking for sand people in Jaguars. And it was just, it was so much fun. So yes, we were talking about watching the Mandalorian again and going through the whole series again, because the girls absolutely love it.
[PAT] That was the best.
[JOE] Oh my gosh. They have kids that like Star Wars, like, I mean, we can talk about nothing else Pat, but that, and it would just be amazing. Oh, okay. So you talked a lot about Super Fans and some of those principles and all of our members, you can have access to that within Teachable within our whole archive. But one thing I really appreciate you Pat, is how much you not only test what you’re doing publicly but you really go into the nuts and bolts of it. And I feel like when I think about counselors, therapists, coaches, people that listen to the show it’s really people that have had a very traditional career. And similar to how you were kind of in the engineering world and then you spun off of that, you’re trained to write a paper, you turn it in, you get a grade or you do your thesis or your dissertation. And that’s just not how the business world works. So I would love to hear how did you move away from that mindset? Because I think when you’re highly educated and you’re in that world, it’s hard to undo that. And then secondly, maybe some examples of how you’re testing and experimenting now, and then we’ll just see where it goes from there.
[PAT] Okay, cool. Yes, testing is very important because you know, like you said, when we go to school or for me, I was, I grew up in a traditional household where it was all about getting good grades and if you didn’t get good grades, then you had to do better. And so you just worked so hard to try and be perfect. And especially with, I imagine a number of people who have clients and there’s a lot of medical and that kind of stuff. Like, yes, okay, those things, you have to get it right because you’re offering specific kinds of advice and those things are really important. But when it comes to the actual business part, the growing of your business, if you were to treat the growth of your business in the same way, you’re never going to get anywhere because there is no perfect launch. There’s really no such thing.

The growth in business happens from you getting quicker to the points of failure. And so I often say, fail faster. And there’s many different examples of that. But if you want to go back to the analogy that you mentioned, which I love, which is like, okay, let’s write a dissertation. It has to be perfect. You turn it in and that’s, it is what it is and then it’s done and you move on. The business approach or the smart business approach is to, okay, let’s just figure out. Okay, first of all, what is this about? And let’s see if we can just nail the overall overarching theme of this first. Let’s test that. Let’s talk about it with people. Let’s talk about it with others and see how they respond to it. If we don’t get the response we want, then it’s not even worth writing the whole thing yet.

Let’s just first see if we can nail the purpose of this first. Now that we’ve nailed that, we got a green light, let’s move on to the next step. Let’s write that first paragraph. And that just kind of sums up everything. It hooks people into the, whatever it is and that’s, let’s test that, now let’s test that and see how people respond. Because if people don’t respond to that, then the rest of the thing probably doesn’t even matter. So let’s test that, experiment, try things out and fail so we can know what to do next. And that’s been my best, best strategy to move forward is just, okay, let’s remove the guesswork as much as possible by chopping this big thing up into something much, much smaller and then actually going to our target audience or people who are knowledgeable about this stuff and actually seeing how it goes first.

Essentially instead of like launching the whole experiment, I’m going to test it first in a little tiny petri dish, because if it fails, well, good thing it’s contained in that petri dish. If it works great, let’s just rinse and repeat and level it up from there. And I’ve done this in many different ways from testing book ideas, to course ideas, to just overall businesses in general. For example, when I wrote my book Super Fans, initially, that was just a video about that idea. And because that video actually performed very well, it moved on from a video to then go on stage where I could then talk about more ideas and start to unpack this book even more. But before putting them into the book, I actually had a chance to talk to people about them and test different things. And there were so many things that I did not include in the book because after speaking with people or speaking on stage and reading the audience, hey, it didn’t hit home as much as some of the other things that ended up sticking in.

I do the same thing with my courses too. For example, I teach podcasting. I have a course on how to podcast. Well, I didn’t just create the course at first. I actually just helped a couple people first to see if A, I do I even like teaching other people how to podcast? I don’t know. So let’s figure it out. Let’s remove the guesswork. And then of course what happened was I helped a couple people out more actively. It wasn’t a course or anything close to passive at first, but after helping people out, not only was I like, “Oh, like this actually helps people,” but it unlocked the confidence in me that, “Okay, I can do this and I can scale it and I can grow it into something much bigger.” And now we’ve sold over two and a half million dollars worth of that single course to help people pass a, not pass an exam, to help people start a podcast. And again, the tests really told us the way. The failures give us the direction.
[JOE] I love that you mentioned to see if I even like it, because I feel like there’s so many ways to make money and a lot of therapists and counselors maybe don’t feel that way, but there really are. But to really figure out like, do I even enjoy this? And for me personally, that even changes year to year. I was doing a lot of mastermind groups a few years ago, and then that commitment of every single month running a mastermind group, I just passed that off to other consultants. And then for them, they wanted to level up and that idea of doing what you enjoy doing is just as important as the making of the money. I love that you make that point. So when you’re testing out things, as you said in a petri dish, like what are some kind of practical examples of that? Because I think, you know, if you’re testing a book or a course, like, what does that look like? Is that an email to your list? Is that on social media? Is that thrown out on the podcast? Is it all of the above. Like, what’s that actually practically look like?
[PAT] So let’s pretend we’re trying to create a new course about something and ultimately we think in our heads, “Okay, we really need to add another asset to our business, an online course that could teach people versus having them come into the practice, which costs much more. It allows us to serve those who perhaps can’t afford us or who just, we don’t have the time to serve everybody.” So an online course, great. Okay, this makes sense, but let’s test it first. So what does, what might this look like? It might simply be a post on social media that says, “If you need help with X, Y, and Z, let me know below and let me know what your biggest struggles are about that.” If you have nobody reply, well, then why would you even move forward to create a course yet? We haven’t actually understood that people actually want this or know that they want it yet.

Another test might be, and again, that’s just like the first test. Maybe you do get a lot of people saying, “Yes, I want more information.” It doesn’t quite mean yet that you’re ready to create a course, but let’s move on to the next step. “You all said you wanted help on this? Well, I am putting together a free workshop and it’s going to be a one-hour training. It’s going to be a webinar. You sign up here, you register with your name and email, and we’re going to come together on this date and I’m going to just get to teach you for 45 minutes to an hour about this topic, because y’all said that you wanted more information about it.” Let’s see if that’s true. Let’s have a registration page. Let’s send that out. Again, if you get nobody to come in, well, good thing. You don’t create the course yet.

Now people said they wanted it, but they didn’t actually do anything about it. So that’s the red light where we go, “Okay, well, what about that was wrong? You said you wanted this.” And that’s the point at which we can go back and start to decipher what the problem or the issue was or the misunderstanding. But if again, you get a green light. Great. Okay, now next step might be to get these people on this webinar and you start chatting with them, talking with them and you say, “Hey, a lot of you are here and you loved it. If you want to work with me, one-on-one or perhaps get more information about this send a reply to the email that I’m about to send you with your phone number. I’d love to call you and just chat with you about it, to see if it’s a good fit.” And then you can just go, “Okay, I’m going to try to get five people to pay for this thing, to work with them for a month, one-on-one and I’m going to just turn that into a four-week online course program eventually, but I’m going to test it with these five people first to see if A, I like it or B, they even like it.”

And the cool thing about testing it in that way first before launching publicly is A, those people feel like they get a little bit of additional access to you, B, a lot of people like being the first to receive that information and C, you get to test whether or not you like it. And if they like it, and if they do and they get results, well, now you have testimonials so that when you launch this thing big, you’re not like, “Hey, I’ve never launched this thing before or tested this with anybody.” You have real people who’ve gotten real results with a real before and after story that you can now share with people who might otherwise not purchase because they don’t want to be the first. So this is how we can take these iterative approaches to things.

And again, if you get a sense of, well, people don’t want this, that’s a good thing. You’ve found that out now, versus what most people do is they go, “Oh I think they might want an online course. My friend did an online course and it worked for them. So I’m going to, I think it’s going to work for me too.” So then you build the whole thing and then you start to try to sell it and then you go, “Why isn’t anybody buying?” It’s crickets. And now not only is nobody buying, but you have nobody that you can go back to who had said they were interested, but then didn’t purchase. That would give you a lot of information to figure out what is wrong. And I think it was Seth Godin, who said, “You don’t want to find customers for your products. You want to find products for your customers.” So it starts with who it is that you’re serving and figuring out what it is that they need first versus most of the case, people go the opposite direction.
[JOE] Yes. And I think those are emotions around it where creative types like you and I, we sometimes have, “Oh, this is the greatest idea in the world. It’s going to take over the world.” And we totally just like disregard our audience. And I think there’s that tendency, and I think there’s also the emotional tendency that when people don’t resonate with something that we’ve so fallen in love with that all of a sudden we feel like we’re a giant failure. In Podcast Launch School, we often teach fall in love with the pain and the people before you ever pitch a product. So that idea, I mean, so many times I’ve built out a product only to have crickets. And to just work through those emotions, how do you stop yourself from getting too excited about an idea before you test it? Or maybe you let yourself get excited and then how does that work for you, because I think that emotional side, we talk all this strategy, but then it’s like, “Oh my gosh, this idea though, this is going to change the world.” How do you not get too much buy-in from yourself before you dive into a product?
[PAT] Well, there’s one very important thing to do first, and that is to realize what have you already said yes to that this could be a distraction to? Because I think a lot of us, when we do get these new ideas, we just go full force into it. All of our brain space goes into it, such that our other obligations that we had once felt the same way for before now are getting put aside. And so one thing I do is I like to do what I like to call the 20% each rule. And with a 20% each role means I allow myself 20% of my time during the week to play, to experiment, to get excited, to contain that. Winter fail, I’m using 20% of my time to try something new and scratch that entrepreneurial itch. 80% of my time is used for the things that I’ve already said yes to, my team, my obligation, everything else I already know I need to do in my business. So from a week standpoint, this is Monday to Thursday. Every day I’m working on my business. Friday’s my experimental play day where I can try something new and I can experiment and I can get out of the comfort zone a little bit, knowing that even if I were to fail, it’s still good. Because when you try something new, you either get the results you wanted or the lesson that you needed and the beauty of this is —
[JOE] Say that again, I feel like we need to underline and highlight what you just said, say that again.
[PAT] Sure. You either get the result that you wanted or the lessons that you need. And that’s so great, because again, this takes us away from the fact that this is not failure. When things don’t work out, it is a lesson. It is a learning point. And that’s the importance of that quote and why I feel that A, doing only one thing, which we often hear, “You should only focus on one thing.” There’s a book about it and in fact, I’ve interviewed one of the authors, Jay Papasan. I love him. He’s great. I can’t mentally just do one thing because I’m such an entrepreneur that I see opportunities everywhere. So it’s a matter of, of all the opportunities that exist, let’s prioritize them so I understand which one I can focus on first, in addition to the 80% of the things that I’m already going to be doing, and then dedicating time and effort and energy into that and learning everything I can about that.

And again, if it fails, it fails. It’s almost like I don’t condone gambling, but if you ever go to a casino, the best strategy is to take a certain amount of dollars that you don’t mind losing. It’s like, “I’m going to bring $200 to the casino. I’m going to play,” I don’t know, blackjack, craps, poker, whatever games you like. And if you lose that money, that’s fine. Like, that’s your entertainment money. If you lose it cool, but it gives you the opportunity to also win something as well. And hopefully you’re just having a good time. You just don’t bring your ATM card and go back. For many of us who are entrepreneurs, we keep withdrawing from that ATM machine of our energy and our energy bank gets depleted because we keep going back to that to give to this new thing where we know we have to give that energy elsewhere too.

So case in point, recently we had tested the idea of a membership component within our own community and all of the small things we were doing and plus the conversations they were all pointing to, yes, this is going to work out. So we launched with a founders group. We launched something called SPI pro and its membership just exploded and did so, so well. And we knew it was going to go well. And we launched with a minimum viable product. It wasn’t all the bells and whistles. It wasn’t all the buttons on the remote that most of us don’t use anyway. It was exactly what they wanted and they needed and then we’ve been building on top of that after. Even for me, personally, recently, I’ve been spending 20% of my time on something completely brand new.

I built a new product in the physical product space. This is a tripod for vloggers and YouTube, and that was just an itch I wanted to scratch, but I dedicated all my time to that. And I learned about Kickstarter, I learned about manufacturing and this product now is about to launch in Best Buy stores. In fact, we’ve sold tens of thousands of these things now on Amazon and it’s in and of itself now a completely new business, which is pretty cool. And it’s also experimental in a way where I could share a lot of that information to the other people who were following me on Smart Passive Income. So all these experiments to say, there are only failures if you choose not to learn from them and you give up. So that’s how we can take these big things and chop them up into little pieces, take an iterative approach and have that become something that although we might get excited about it, at least it’s contained.

I mean, this is not new. This is Google. They allow their employees 20% of their time to build new things that aren’t about the things that they were meant to do. I think Gmail was one of those things that actually came out of the 20% of time. Gary Vaynerchuk does this suite. He spends 80% of his time on social media platforms that he knows he needs to spend time on. But then he spends 20% of his time on other social media platforms so he can learn about them so it can be first to them. He was one of the first to use Musically, which eventually became TikTok. And he was ahead of it because he dedicating a little bit of time to learn everything he could about that and hey, if it were to fail well, he would have more knowledge going into another platform later. So yes, I hope that helps.
[JOE] Yes, and so much of that supported by the brain research, I’ve been digging into that, a ton for the book Thursday is the New Friday that comes out in October. But just even allowing your brain to work on something that’s fun compared to just working how that just kind of spurs on a different part of the brain in a different way than our regular work. I think that that energy and time kind of ROI is so important that people just often don’t think about that. Now I’m wondering how much, when you’re thinking about those 20% of those new products, are you thinking through, I want to bring the Smart Passive Income audience along with me versus finding a new audience? Because I think therapists oftentimes kind of pigeonhole themselves into this corner of, “I’m a trauma therapist. I should just create products for trauma.” And then they make some cheesy, I don’t know, cards or something that they’re going to sell and then they don’t sell.

But the reality is they, as a mental health provider have so much knowledge of just how the brain works, how people think of best practices for leveling up in your life. They think that they have blind spots in regards to here are the talents I have that could actually help the world and make me some money. So how do you think through how much of your current audience you bring forward and how much of it’s a new audience?
[PAT] Yes, that’s a great question. I think that in most cases, when I teach other business owners, it’s like, have you optimized your ability to serve your current audience yet? Because if you haven’t, then you would potentially be spreading yourself thin by going into other spaces. I often recommend, instead of going, niching is important, one inch wide, one mile deep. I often recommend trying to go two to five miles deep with that one inch versus going two inches wide, one mile deep, four inches wide, one mile deep. I want to go deeper because there are many, many ways that you can continue to serve the same audience. Your best customer is your existing customer, because you’ve already given them an experience. They could potentially want it again or more, or go deeper with you. And you don’t have to work on building that new relationship because that relationship already exists, which is why it’s really cool you’re doing this right.

You have people who are consuming information from you for free, for example, here on the podcast and on your website and then people can dive deep into your courses and then go into your membership and likely even deeper from there. And going into the vertical in that way is your best bet for keeping things as organized as possible. So if you potentially aren’t yet as organized or as optimized as you can with how you’re serving your current audience, that’s where I would start. But then there comes a point where it might make sense for you to start a, sort of branch out and experiment, and yes, that can happen concurrently while you’re focusing on your current audience. But at the same time it can be a distraction.

So it’s very, very important to make sure, at least all the things that are needing to happen in your business are in fact taken care of whether that’s you or systems software or other people to help continue to manage those things. Thus then opening up more time for you to try other things outside of that. In most cases, because you already have access to your current audience, utilizing your current audience to help you guide what your next decisions will be likely is the best case. So I would much rather focus on different products for the same audience versus a different audience to get into the same products.
[JOE] Yes, I totally echo that. I think people often underestimate their audience. Even just thinking about what’s been the easiest to launch for us, it’s always been things that are part of that private practice journey. And so you know, when we launched Next Level Practice, the membership community for people starting and growing a practice up to a hundred K, we didn’t have anything other than, we had a $17 one-year practice plan and then the next step up was our mastermind groups that were 500 or 600 bucks a month. And so there was nothing in between that. And so we launched the Next Level Practice, but then we started noticing that after like six months, people were so successful with their private practices that they started leaving Next Level Practice. We were noticing what was happening and then we launched Group Practice Boss, which is aimed at helping people grow a group practice to add extra clinicians.

But then there was a gap between Next Level Practice and Group Practice Boss, where people want to just start a group practice. And so now we have Group Practice Launch that’s between those two. It’s a six month program to help people get their very first hire, whether that’s a W2 or a 1099 and then they can go into Group Practice Boss. And so then it keeps leveling up where at the very top, we have people that want to exit their practice, that are sick of doing counseling, they’ve come to terms with the fact that their group practice is rocking out. They want to launch a podcast, they want to launch public speaking, and book writing and all of that. And so we have this whole like Done For You program at that end. And so I think for the average clinician, when you’re thinking about your practice, think about, the people that aren’t quite ready for counseling, like what do they need and then the people that are done with counseling, what do they need?

That’s just two products of before and after that you can include in your price, you can give for free, there’s so many different options there. Pat, what are some other things that someone owns a practice, let’s kind of do a little case study here. So someone owns a practice, maybe they help families and kids and couples. So it’s kind of a general family practice. Maybe they have a couple of clinicians that work for them. If you were coaching them, or if you were, if they had paid to talk to you to figure this out, what would be some things that they should think through in regards to products for their practice either before people come or after, or maybe there’s different ways to think of it than even those two sides of it? Like what questions would you ask them to think through as they’re looking at products beyond just counseling?
[PAT] This is a great question. You’ve sort of teed this up perfectly for me with your own example. The way to think about this is not like customer to product fit. It’s what is the customer journey? So meaning where are they coming from and what is potentially stopping a person from working with you and getting to be a client with whatever it is that you have to offer right now? Like what is holding them back? What is the maybe first step that they hadn’t yet taken that could then after they do that, unlock the ability to get excited about working with you? That could be a great product. Like you said, you have this sort of beginner stages stuff for people who maybe can’t afford the stuff that you already have to offer or aren’t even thinking that they’re qualified yet for it.

So in my world, for example, I teach a lot of business. For example, in many cases, people don’t even know where to begin, which, if they don’t know where to begin, then how is my recommendations for email marketing software, audience building? Everything that I have to offer doesn’t matter anymore because they haven’t taken that first step. So we have a lot of free things that we’ve offered. We choose to offer this for free as sort of a lead magnet to be a little bit more competitive with some of the others that are out there. But we have a a course that helps people just walk through what is your brand about? Who is it that your target market is and what messages do you need to have on your website? And there you go.

Now that unlocks everything else that we have to offer. So that’s a very, very simple first step. And in fact, that’s where I would start, because then that allows for more clients to come in. If in fact you need help with more clients coming in. And then, like you said, the second half, it’s almost like a sandwich. Like you have, your practice is like the meat or the sort of featured part of the middle of the sandwich and you need like a bottom bread though, to hold it up and then you need like a top bread to complete it. And what’s cool about this is once you have multiple parts of the sandwich, you can actually start offering them in many ways. So for example the sort of beginner stuff could be a challenge or a training program that is potentially offered for free or offered at a low dollar amount, often called a trip wire to figure out who is it in fact, that’s paying for this stuff that then unlocks you to work with them further after they complete that.

And you know exactly where they’re at in the journey, they’ve already built a relationship with you, you’ve already built value with them and then now they’re ready for the next step, which is what it is that you already have. And then the sort of top right is, okay, well, what if a person comes in and they’re leaving? Well, what might actually capture them after? I had this problem with my first business, which is helping people pass an architectural exam. When people pass the architectural exam that I was teaching, like there was literally no reason to come back. So I was thinking about different ways to help them with additional exams or bigger exams or career growth that comes after passing the test which didn’t happen because then Smart Passive Income started to grow so much. I put all my time and effort into that and then I just basically had everything on my architecture website, automated, and it’s still been automated for 13 years now and still making money after that much time, which is kind of cool.

But yes, again, the journey that your clientele is on, where are they at? You know, I think a lot of, I have a person who’s a friend of mine, she is a photographer and she does wedding photography. And the sad thing about wedding photography is once that person is done with the wedding, it’s like, “I don’t need the photographer anymore.” So she’s always feeling she needs new clients all the time. And referral marketing is very key. I know it’s very key for a lot of us who are listening too, and that’s great, but what she’s done and she’s now offered services where she can contact those who were married within a year and go, “Hey. How are you a hopeful as well. If you have anything exciting in your life happening right now, I’d love to be there to capture it.” And of course, for many new couples, they might have a baby or a new home or something happening in their life at that time and now she’s able to help them remember that she can take great photos so that now she’s like, they’re not wedding photographer anymore. They’re like a life photographer.

She’s had clients that have now, like she’s seen these kids grow up, she’s seen these kids go off to college, like that kind of stuff happens. And it’s just pretty neat how you can become that sort of de facto person that kind of grows up with that family versus just helps them in that specific moment in time.
[JOE] Oh yes. That’s such a good point to really expand beyond just what you think your specialty is. Now, one thing I’m wondering, because I’ve been looking at schedules and optimizing our lives and working less to make more and all of that kind of throughout this book writing process, I’m always interested to hear, how do you think through your own schedule, your own time with your family? You know, going back to that, there’s always more ways to make money. When do you say, “Enough is enough. I’m going to call it a day. I’m going to call it a week.” Because with a business there’s always 50 million new ideas or things you could be working on, that could be the best ideas to work on. They could, maybe not be. How do you think through your schedule, particularly around when you’re going to keep working and when you’re going to kind of take time out for your family?
[PAT] It’s all about discipline, but for me, discipline in this regard is really, really hard because I have a brain that likes to think about all new kinds of ideas all the time. And I’ve had to train myself to stay disciplined and stay within these containers of time to be able to focus on the things I should be focusing on at that time. What I mean is, for example, is my calendar. My calendar is my brain essentially in terms of what I need to be focusing on and when. I even have scheduled in my calendar when it’s time to focus on the family. The beauty of having that nine to five job I remember was at 5:00 PM, I’d come back to my apartment and I was turned off of the business, of my job as an architect, and I could turn on to, you know at the time when I was living in an apartment with my fiancé and we could just continue to enjoy each other’s company.

That got blurred when I became an entrepreneur to a point where I was with my family, but not actually mentally with my family. I was mentally with my business and vice versa. And especially when you work from home, it’s even harder. So two things have definitely helped me. Number one, actually creating those boundaries of time. So during these times is when my primary focus should be the business or the primary focus should be the family. And then for a while, even just having that time in there was proving a little bit of trouble. So I had to implement another strategy, which might sound kind of weird, but it worked for me. I heard this from somebody else at one point, and it was actually having alarms on my phone, go off at random times, l like, I don’t know, 3:12 in the afternoon for no reason, other than to just have a message pop up on my phone saying, “Are you doing what you’re supposed to be doing right now? Or are you focusing on what you’re supposed to be focusing on right now?”

In the beginning that alarm would actually catch me drifting or not fully present with the work that I should be doing. And then over time it just started to, like, I started to anticipate that these alarms would show up and therefore focused on the things I needed to focus on much more. And I don’t need that alarm system thing anymore, but it definitely helped me because it would catch me. It would absolutely catch me in the act if you will. And that’s much better than for example, our like rescue time reports that come in now are times that come in with regards to what apps we’re using on our phone. Like those just make us feel bad later for, “Oh, I —”
[JOE] Hundred percent, yes.
[PAT] You know, “Oh my gosh, I spent this much time.” But when you are caught in the act, essentially it definitely triggers you. And what’s cool is when these alarms go off when you’re supposed to be doing what you’re supposed to be doing, it reinforces that and it makes you feel better and it just has you lean into that even more. So I don’t need that anymore, but those time boundaries in my calendar and when I’m should be doing what is very, very important to me. It’s even to a point now where it’s at that hour, it’s like, “Hey, I got 10 minutes before. It’s time to just be fully focused with my family.” I feel like that pressure of, okay, I only got 10 minutes left to do this. Let’s crank and that pressure and those deadlines even within the days are really good at pushing me to just cut through the crud and not like mess around anymore and just get done what I need to get done. So that’s been really helpful.

The second thing is actually physical space boundaries. For a while I was doing a lot of my work in a kitchen nook in my apartment back in the day when I was just starting out in 07/08. You know, it became very apparent that I needed a space to do work where when I was in that space, I could mentally check into work and when I was out of that space, I could mentally check out, but it also was for a service to others around me too, to know that, okay, when I’m in this chair, I’m working and when I’m not in this chair, I’m not working. Now I have my own home with an office with a door and that door is the entryway into focus time for both work or when I leave the office, focus time for the family.
[JOE] Yes, I think it’s so important to have those habits, whether it’s having specific places or like when I was writing, I had a playlist that even when I went to go make my lunch, even though I’m around the family, it was during the pandemic. So they’re there. They knew if I had my headphones on, like, “Don’t talk to daddy, he’s still in his zone.” And it was like, it protected this bubble of work around me. And even at the beginning of the day and the end of the day, I would say, “All right, girls, I’m going to work.” I’d give them hugs and I’d go into my office and then at the end of the day, I’d be like, “Daddy’s home,” because I missed those hugs from when I actually went to a physical office and you know, they’d come running and it just became this habit where even though we were in the same house, it made it very clear daddy is in work right now. Just let him go and do that. And now he’s home and he’s ready to play and like, let’s get some Legos out.

So I love that you had those things. I as well, I still use timers. If I see that I have half an hour till a consulting client, I’ll set a timer for 27 minutes and I will just go full tilt into email or whatever else is on my to-do list that I know I need to get done so that every single minute of the day is just work. Because I feel like if I’m going to like dink around while I’m working, like that’s stealing time from my family, that I might as well dink around at the end of the day and go dink around with them rather than just doing it during my workday.

Well, we’re getting towards the end of this interview. I know we could just go on and on and I’m excited to continue these conversations with you, especially around travel and our being, super excited for you guys. If you ended up doing that, I would love to be a resource for you there. I I’ve literally gone from never driving any sort of trailer, like no boat, nothing, to driving a 37-foot pull behind camper in less than a year. So it’s just like, there’s so much to learn. I’m so excited for you and your family, Pat.

The last question I always ask is if every private practitioner in the world we’re listening right now, what would you want them to know?
[PAT] This is a great question because there’s a thousand things I could say. But honestly, when I think about my own journey and think about what has helped me the most and what has allowed me to be the happiest, what has allowed me to be fully focused on the things I should be fully focused on, it is actually a result of other people I’ve surrounded myself with. What I mean is, I remember when I started business, it was very obvious to me that there were people who did not want to interact with other business owners for fear of stealing of ideas, for fear of stealing of clients, for fear of this, fear of that. Although a lot of those fears are justified, I mean, there are some not so great people out there, there are so many more positives and benefits that could come as a result of connecting with other people who are also doing the same kinds of things as you, who might even be considered on paper as competitors.

And for me, a lot of the people who might on paper seemingly be competitors have become probably the most amazingly helpful resources I could ever ask for who I now speak with every single week in mastermind groups, who I’ve connected with and we shared trade ideas. Because the world is abundant and there’s enough for all of us. And I think a lot of us approach our business in a way where it’s like, kind of like a poker table, where if you imagine a poker table, I keep talking about gambling. I don’t even gamble. I don’t know why I keep using these examples, but if you imagine a poker table, we all have our chips and it’s a zero sum game. We’re all just kind of like exchanging chips, but like nothing else happens. Like I give you some and I take some and you take from me. It’s just like, if we approach business in that way, of course, it’s going to feel very solo, it’s going to feel very lonely and it’s going to feel like cutthroat and doggy dog, but if you imagine that, yes, you might be playing poker, but like you all can help each other and then the casino just gives you more chips because you’re all providing help and service to your clients.

I know that’s not how poker actually works, but like that’s how the world can work. And when you work together with others and you help each other out, I think that’s what makes the world a better place when we all do this to help everybody out and just provide value and serve others first. Connecting with others, honestly, as a shy person growing up, I only wish I knew how important it was if other people were going to be in my life to help me get to where I needed to go and help me live my happiest, most fulfilled life. So this is why I love coming on other podcasts and connecting with people like yourself, Joe, especially other people who share the same values as me with relation to family and business and that kind of thing. There’s just so many, so many great things that can happen. You never even know that the person that you connect with could be an absolute game changer for you and your future and your family.
[JOE] Yes, a hundred percent. Oh my gosh. So good. Well we’re going to share a couple more resources with all of you, including how to get a free copy of Pat’s book, but first we have two super fans sitting in this truck. They have been so quiet while we’ve been doing this interview. So they are big fans of All Of Your Beeswax, the podcast you did with your son, Keoni. Girls. You all do, yell, “Hi Pat.”
[GIRLS] Hi Pat.
[PAT] Hi. Oh my gosh. That’s so awesome.
[JOE] So they have been quietly just hanging out in the back seat, being amazing. It’s just so funny to be on the road and it’s like, every time there’s this nervousness of, well all of our four internet’s just totally not work or will one of them work. So we actually bought all of our Next Level Practice and Group Practice Boss membership people, Pat’s book’s Super Fans, because we are here, at Practice of the Practice super fans of Pat. We wanted you to get those. If you didn’t get one of those and you’re in those communities, you can follow the link I’m about to give you. Also, if you’re a listener and you want this book for free, all you have to do is pay the shipping and handling. So Jess, Pat’s assistant has been coordinating with me and all of our team and so we have a unique link set up.

So you just need to go to practiceofthepractice.com/pat, that’s, Pat, Pat book. Super simple. It’s going to redirect to a contact form. All you have to do is pay your shipping and handling there. We have purchased I think 50 of these books that are going to be coming your way. And we’re also doing international as well. So you have to pay the shipping and handling for that as well but we have purchased Pat’s book. We can’t recommend it high enough. So go to practiceofthepractice.com/patbook, and you will get access to that. Pat, what are other things, if people have loved this conversation, if they want to follow you more, if they want to work with you, like what are the things that they can do to work with you or learn from you?
[PAT] Sure. And thank you again, Joe. Thank you everybody who’s listening to this. I’m just super grateful and honored to be here. If you want to learn more business type stuff for me, Smart Passive Income would be the place to go as well as PatFlynn on YouTube. And you can connect with me at PatFlynn on most social media channels. And, and that’s basically it. I have a personal website at patflynn.com as well if you want to just see some of the interesting things that I’m up to in life, but yes, that those are the places to go.
[JOE] Well, Pat, thank you so much for being on the show. This has been amazing.
[PAT] It’s been super fun. Thank you.
[JOE] I know that you absolutely loved this show. Go take action. Don’t just listen. Don’t be a consumer where you’re just eating, eating, eating, or listening, listening, listening to this. Go take action from this. I want to encourage you to take two or three actions from what you’ve learned, go test some things, brainstorm and that before and after journey of your particular clients or audience.

Also, if you don’t absolutely love your website, you’ve got to do an update and doing an update can be complex. It can be frustrating, but Brighter Vision makes it so easy. Head on over to brightervision.com/joe. And they’ve got a deal that is going to help you able to maximize the image that you have for yourself, connect with your ideal clients and be able to really make a difference in your community. If you don’t love your website, there’s no reason to keep it. So switch over to a Brighter Vision website today, over at brightervision.com/Joe.

So thanks so much for listening to the show. Thanks for letting me into your ears and into your brain. I will talk to you soon.

Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. We really like it. And this podcast is designed to provide accurate authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

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