033: How To Create A Passive Income Business (Pat Flynn)

Pat Flynn

So often we create a plan, a timeline for ourselves and just as we think everything is falling into place from out of nowhere comes an unexpected challenge or bump in the road. But what makes all the difference is how we face that challenge: do see it as an opportunity or a setback? If you see it as an opportunity, you’re among good company like our guest for episode 33, Mr. Pat Flynn.

For those of you who don’t know him, Pat has his fingers in many cookie jars but he is most known for his business: SmartPassiveIncome.com. Join us as we talk about how Pat began as an architect and transformed into an online businessman on this episode of How’d You Get Into That?.


Pat’s early career days began when he was a student at UC-Berkeley in the San Francisco Bay area. Taking his love of Leggos and Lincoln logs, Pat opted for architecture. He wanted to utilize his creative abilities and serve the world by making something beautiful. Most important to him was to follow his dad’s guidance and go to school for a safe, secure job. Pat combined his love of architecture, his creative abilities and his dad’s advice to graduate with a degree in Architecture.

After school, he landed a job in an architecture firm and worked his tail off. He went above and beyond what his role called for him to do; he served his company and wanted to be invaluable to them. Things looked golden for him, he was enjoying his work and was receiving feedback on what an asset he was to his firm.

As the cherry on top of it all, he proposed to his girlfriend who said yes. He was thrilled for them to start their life together. But shortly after, his firm gave him notice he would be let go in the coming months.

They acknowledged Pat as one of the best, brightest and youngest talents in their architecture business, but the economy was terrible. No one was building anything, hence there wasn’t a great demand for any architects. Around the entire country, work in the architecture field dried up and Pat’s job along with it.


  • How much did Pat make in his first online sale?
  • True or false: just a few years ago, Pat was deathly afraid of public speaking.
  • What does he keep in a shoe box and what lesson can it teach you?
  • How many TedTalks has he watched?
  • The two questions he asks himself when faced with a huge pivot point in his business.
  • And so much more!

Immediately after receiving the news, Pat phoned everyone he knew in the architecture industry to ask if they had work and no one did. He was angry: with his boss, with himself. And most of all, he was worried about letting his parents down. They had paid for school for him and he wanted them to feel they had made a good investment. His dad assured him everything would be ok and he recommended Pat go on to pursue his master’s degree while he waited for the economy to improve. Pat always followed his father’s advice but for some reason this time it just didn’t sound like the right thing to do.

So for the next few months, Pat was looking for what else was out there. He was also filling his daily commute listening to podcasts when he found the Business Mastery podcast. He got an idea to take a web site he had already built about passing the LEED exam and to turn it into something more. After meeting with some other people who were successfully building an online business, he created an ebook about passing the LEED exam.

In October of 2008 he launched the ebook and made over $7,000 on that one product. It was an absolute turning point for him! He had put a lot of time, effort and energy into his original web site about the LEED exam, he had given a ton of value to his followers and now it was paying off handsomely.

To date, he has sold over 20,000 copies of that ebook – some to people who bought it even though they had already passed the exam! They simply wanted to thank him for the support he gave them.

Since then, Pat has created additional products and additional web sites in different niches. And he’s always shared with his followers how he he has been successful. He is known in the industry for his transparency, right down to his monthly income statements. He is truly someone who gives far more than he takes.

Please join me in thanking Pat for sharing his knowledge biscuits on the show; he’s an awesome guest and it was great to chat with him. Leave him a comment below or send him a Tweet.

Tweetable: “When I go in with something, I go all in.” Pat Flynn


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