Get UNSTUCK by Pat Flynn

I Went Against My Mentor's Advice

published2 months ago
4 min read

Hi, it’s Pat! 👋

In the early stages of my business, one of my mentors offered me some advice. I know you’re supposed to listen to your mentors, but there was something in my gut telling me to go the other way.

There was tension, for sure, that all-too-familiar push and pull of what the right course of action might be. But in the end, I decided to go with my gut.

How did it all end up? Well, in his words, not mine:

“Pat, I got it wrong. You were right.”

This email tells the story and the big lesson that changed how I do everything online

Let’s get unstuck.


“All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like, and trust.”

— Bob Burg


Creating my first podcast wasn't an easy feat (as so many of you know). My recording equipment had been collecting dust in a box under my desk for over a year and a half because I kept making excuses not to do it.

But with the help of several people, including some business mentors, I pushed forward and launched the Smart Passive Income podcast.

Before publishing my first episode on iTunes (Apple Podcasts came later), I shared the .mp3 file to everyone who had helped me muster up the courage to finally hit record and go.

It felt like turning in homework, and I was eager to hear what my “grade” was.

One of my mentors, after listening to the episode, texted me back right away:

Pat, I listened to your episode. It’s great, but the first minute seemed like a waste of time. I’d recommend cutting out the cute intro with the random fact, and just do a quick introduction of the show before going straight into the topic of the episode. That’s what people expect when they hit play, and you’ll want to deliver on that expectation as soon as possible.”

The cute intro he was referring to was my idea of having the voiceover guy read a fun fact about me at the top of every episode. No one else was doing that, and I thought it was a fun way to stand out and make a connection to the audience faster.

That being said, I could see my mentor's point. When I thought about my own podcast listening preferences, a big pet peeve of mine was when hosts jibber jabber randomly at the top of the show — and here I was proposing to do exactly that.

Maybe this was why no one else was doing it.

On the other hand, some of my favorite things about listening to podcasts were the small and interesting things I learned about my favorite hosts outside the context of the show. Those random facts connected me to the host more and made them seem more human.

In the end, I didn’t take my mentor's advice. I went with my gut.

Now, 12 years later, I am proud to say that every single one of the 650+ episodes of the SPI Podcast includes a different, random fun fact about me, read by the same voiceover guy as the first episode. (Thank you, John Melley!)

After episode 100 was published a couple years later, the same mentor sent me an email to congratulate me on the milestone episode. At the very end of his email, he wrote:

“Pat, I got it wrong. You were right.”

People don’t connect with logos or websites. People don’t connect to the look of a video or the sound of your voice on a podcast. They connect with the person or people who are in that medium.

Even though five of the random fun facts on my podcast are about my passion for Back to the Future, it doesn’t take another fan of the movie to know it’s just one part of many in my personal creator makeup, something that helps me differentiate amongst the sea of other creators out there.

Your Call to Action

My question to you is: What makes you, you? What’s a passion you have, a trait that you weirdly own that could help you not just stand out from the crowd of other creators in your space, but truly help you become more of a human being to another person on the Internet?

You are your own unique advantage. Use it.

(And listen to your gut sometimes, too.)


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We work hard at SPI to remain unstuck and consistently provide you with the latest news, trends, and events to support your businesses. Check it out:

  1. Tomorrow, January 25th, our latest All-Access Pass workshop begins, Social Media 101. This exclusive event will teach you the basics of the most popular social media platforms, what the best organic practices are, and how to begin creating a social media plan for your business. Become a member of the All-Access Pass and accelerate your business growth.
  2. The next SPI virtual networking event is set for Wednesday, February 8th from 2:00 - 3:00pm EST (11am PT). Connect with like-minded entrepreneurs to expand your business network. This completely free event is open to the public. Sign-up today and add the event to your calendar!
  3. Budgeting can be a scary word for entrepreneurs. So what steps can we make to finally set us up for financial freedom? On the Smart Passive Income podcast, Pat Flynn is joined by Jamila Souffrant, founder of Journey to Launch, a financial support company to help clients eliminate debt, save more, and achieve financial independence. They discuss the best strategies for sustainable budgeting, what the safest investments we can make at any level are, and how we can achieve our dream lifestyle and retire early. Click here to listen.
  4. Getting that first paid sponsorship is one of the most rewarding moments a creator will experience. So what steps need to be taken to get there? Justin Moore, founder of Creator Wizard, has developed a proven 8-step process to help creators make consistent income by helping them land well-paying brand deals. Learn more in this featured article.


How many tickles does it take to make an octopus laugh?

10 tickles.