The Architect, Podcaster, Passive Income Guy, & Security Guard Trainer, With Pat Flynn

MIP #3

Making millions of dollars a year isn’t the most interesting thing about Pat Flynn. Neither is the story about how being laid off jolted him into the world of entrepreneurship or his strange obsession with all things Back To The Future. The most interesting thing about Pat Flynn is how he makes his money. Pat is mostly known for his website, smartpassiveincome.com, which teaches people to create successful, passive income-driven online businesses. But that’s not Pat’s only business. Some of Pat’s other ventures run the gamut of pretty much every odd and unrelated industry you could think of including food trucks, camera tripods, architecture exam study guides, best-selling books, and security guard training. Through Pat’s main business, smartpassiveincome.com, he takes his audience through a behind-the-scenes look at different tactics and strategies in creating and running all kinds of businesses, hoping to inspire and educate others and help them build success.

Your experiences, no matter how bad they may seem, can help other people

Pat had two loves as a young adult: music and architecture. So, as soon as he entered college he knew exactly how he wanted to spend his days in college. While deejayed and leading the Cal Band as a drum master, Pat began working on his architecture degree. Then in 2005, Pat graduated from the University of California Berkeley with his B.A. in Architecture and landed his first architect job a few months later.

Working at his (then) dream job as an architect, Pat wanted to do what every young, career-minded professional did—get promoted and advance quickly in the company. So, he started taking on extra duties and projects in hopes of getting promoted. And within two short years, Pat was promoted to the title of job captain—a distinguished role in an architecture firm—and became the youngest architect in his company to hold that title. Making about $60k a year, life was good for Pat. His career was booming, he was well respected in his company, and he had just proposed to his girlfriend (who said yes). But, in 2008, life decided it was time for a drastic shakeup in Pat’s fortune-tempered life. 

Pat was called into his boss’s office one day and told: “you’re one of the smartest, youngest guys we have, but we have to let you go.” Those two notions seem entirely oxymoronic, recalls Pat as he tells the story. But as he shares with us that experience of being laid off over 10 years ago, there’s a deep sense of appreciation he has for what happened because it changed the trajectory of his life completely—for the much better. It didn’t just spur the beginnings of his multi-million dollar empire. It gave him freedom from the expectation that we have to live our lives a certain way, that we have to work for someone else, 9-5 in order to achieve success. And that freedom changed everything for Pat.

Uncontrollable curiosity makes us better at what we do. If I’m not curious, then I wouldn’t create the work I do. 

Before Pat was laid off, while he was in his distinguished role at his architecture firm, he was constantly looking for ways to advance his career. One thing that Pat wanted to achieve was to pass the LEED AP exam, an exam that gives architects credentials and certifications in sustainable building practices. While studying for the exam, Pat noticed that there was a shortage of resources available online to help him prepare. So, he decided to start a website that served as an online repository for all the graphics, charts, information, notes, and knowledge he was gathering for this exam.

After being laid off, he understandably didn’t know what to do with himself and didn’t know what he would do to provide for the family he was about to start. So, Pat started doing some research online, hoping to find some other way to utilize his skills and degree. He took an interest in podcasting and soon began consuming podcast episodes in hopes of finding inspiration for his next career move. In one particular podcast episode, Pat remembers a man talking about how he was making six figures teaching people how to pass the PMP certification exam. That got Pat thinking about that old website that he built for the LEED exam, called greenexamacademy.com, and became curious about whether or not he could do something similar. He placed an analytical software on his site and was almost floored to find that this repository-site that he has built for himself was being viewed thousands of times each month by architects from all over the world. It was even getting links from government agencies that supported LEED exams and curriculum. So, Pat did what any site owner would do; he installed AdSense. 15 minutes later, Pat Flynn made his first dollar from the internet (well, $1.08 to be accurate).

Being an entrepreneur allows you to build a business around the life you want to live versus living a life within the business that you happen to be in.

Pat’s first online business, greenexamacademy.com, made him $8,000 in its first month, and he soon made more money in the next few months from the site than he did in an entire year as an architect. That’s when Pat realized that he had stumbled onto a gold mine called passive income and needed to share his success with others (but in an authentic and transparent way) so that they could replicate it and have the same results. Suddenly, smartpassiveincome.com (his biggest and most well-known venture) was born. Through smartpassiveincome.com, Pat teaches others how to build successful passive income-based businesses online. From building email sequences to becoming a YouTube sensation, Pat blogs, and podcasts about different tactics and strategies that he’s personally tried in his various businesses. In essence, SPI (Smart Passive Income) is the ultimate behind-the-scenes look at successful online businesses.

Now, Pat and his wife spend their days hanging out with their two children. They walk their kids to and from school every day, something that Pat says no one else in their neighborhood has the luxury of doing. While his kids are at school, Pat spends time with his wife and works on his businesses. Pat’s also big on traveling and creating memories with his family, so you’ll often see goofy pictures of his kids on Instagram or vacation pictures of the whole family. All the while, in the past 12 months, Pat has made approximately $2,171,652.55 (when Pat says he’s transparent, he means it).

Veterans have discipline, grit and perseverance, wanna-preneurs can only wish to have those traits.

Pat may not be a veteran but he knows quite a few things about veterans and why they make such amazing entrepreneurs. Of course discipline, grit, and perseverance top the list of distinguishing characteristics of veterans. But another thing Pat mentions is a strong mind. “Successful entrepreneurs have strong minds and there’s nobody who I know who has a stronger mind than somebody who’s been in the military.” That’s just one of the reasons Pat’s excited about MIC19.

One of the last things Pat mentions in his new book, Superfans. In some really simple terms and with some really simple match, Pat explains that it doesn’t take much to build a six-figure business online IF you know how to cultivate superfans. It’s one of the things he’ll be talking about this year as he takes the stage in DC. Humbled and honored to meet the service members and spouses that’ll be in attendance, Pat shares that “the next person you meet could be the game-changer.”

The Only Google Result For “Navy Nascar Driver,” with Jesse Iwuji

MIP #2

Jesse hasn’t always had a following of devoted fans (who are referred to as Iwuji Nation and are a pretty die-hard group) or a clear sense of direction for his life. Like many of us, his story includes trials, changes, failures, and uncertainty. But despite all of that, Jesse found a way to meet the ambitious goals he set for himself and achieve several firsts that illustrate the unstoppable nature of a man and his whiteboard.

If you don’t write it down, if you don’t visualize it and commit it to memory, it will never happen.

Jesse’s parents migrated from Nigeria in the 1980s, shortly before Jesse was born. In a country that was struggling to rebuild after tumultuous times—a genocide of one of its native ethnic groups, the Igbo people (which Jesse is a descendant of) and several uprising and revolts against established governments—Sebastian and Enderline Iwuji decided to leave their home and migrate to America. With hopes of finding safer, more opportunistic conditions, Sebastian, Enderline, Jesse, his two younger brothers, and one younger sister settled into their new home in Dallas, Texas.

Growing up in Texas, you learn one thing: high school football isn’t a sport, it’s a way of life. One day, Jesse decided to write down an audacious goal on his whiteboard: play college football. Jesse, only a freshman at the time, didn’t have a lot of experience playing football, nor did he know how to prepare for college football. So, he quickly dove headfirst into the world of high school football, grinding away at practice, lifting weights on the weekend, staying late to get in a few more hours of drill time. By the time Jesse was heading into his senior year of high school, all of that hard work and goal setting had paid off. Jesse was recruited to play college football with the Naval Academy, a Division 1 school.

There may just be 24 hours in a day, but if you maximize the time that you have, you can make anything happen.

Playing football while attending college can seem challenging for any student-athlete. Add to that the stress and duty that comes with preparing for the inevitable deployment that’s waiting for you after graduation and things can seem almost impassable. But, Jesse has a knack for managing all of the time he has in a single day. Not only did Jesse receive a Bachelor of Science degree from the Naval Academy, but he also played safety for the Midshipmen, who beat both the Army and Air Force four years in a row (our sincerest condolences to all the Army and AirForce fans out there). In fact, it was with the football team at the Naval Academy that Jesse found a brotherhood that he still cherishes today.

After Jesse graduated from the Naval Academy in 2010, he became a surface warfare officer. Responsible for driving Navy ships, Jesse quickly began to understand the importance of being a capable leader. He deployed twice, once to Bahrain where he spent 15 months in the Arabian Gulf. But serving his country wasn’t his only passion. In his free time, Jesse started racing. He would find nearby courses that had open tracks and race his Corvette, or he would drag race with his Dodge Charger. Then, in 2014, Jesse decided it was time to set some new goals for his life. So, he stared at his whiteboard again (not the same whiteboard from high school) and thought about what he wanted to do next. When the goal finally came to him, he wrote it down: be a professional race car driver.

Even after Jesse left the military and began racing, his desire to pursue more than one passion stayed with him. In order to maintain the camaraderie of the military, Jesse joined the reserves in 2017. But that wasn’t Jesse’s only other job outside of racing. In fact, Jesse at one point in time had three other jobs outside of racing. He worked as the VP of Marketing/Sales for Magnuson Superchargers and owned his own drag racing promotion and events company. Late nights quickly became a necessity but, as Jesse once said, “I can’t expect a million dollars with a $50,000 effort”.

First service academy graduate to race in NASCAR, only active duty service member to race in NASCAR, and the only Google result for “Navy NASCAR Driver”.

It was just 4 years after Jesse wrote down his goal of becoming a professional race car driver that he actually became a professional race car driver. But Jesse didn’t just achieve his own personal goal. Jesse started a long list of “firsts” that gained him national recognition for his achievements. Jesse was the first academy graduate to ever race in NASCAR, the first veteran to race professionally with NASCAR, and (as of 2017) is one of three African-American drivers actively competing in a NASCAR series.

Jesse also has some other amazing accomplishments. He won the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy four years in a row and was named one of the “Mighty 25: Veterans poised for impact in 2016″ by We Are The Mighty.

Give, even when you don’t have a lot. It might be really hard but the universe will put it back into you.

As Jesse recounts some of the amazing things he’s achieved in his career so far—becoming the first active-duty service member to race in NASCAR, winning the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy four years in a row, becoming a professional xracer in only 4 years—his passion heightens as he tells the story of one particular event in his life. In 2016, Jesse heard about a young boy who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 4 and given only a few months to live. One thing on this young boy’s bucket list was to drive in a professional race car. With a race quickly approaching, Jesse decided to spend some of the money he had been saving and fly this young boy with his family out to meet with Jesse, his team, and drive in his race car. This moment holds a very special meaning to Jesse.

Of course, spending some of his hard-earned money that he was saving for an upcoming race was difficult. But Jesse believes in giving, even when it’s difficult and you feel like you don’t have much. As Jesse so eloquently and simply explains, being influential calls you to help others, not just to simply advance yourself. “If you don’t influence people in a positive way, you won’t move forward.” With the platform Jesse now has, he puts serving others above everything he does, knowing the possibilities for good are endless.

Welcome to the Military Influencer Podcast | Like Nothing You’ve Heard Before

Welcome to the first-ever episode of the Military Influencer Podcast, a podcast that’s all about leadership and influencing our people. Curtez Riggs, founder of the Military Influencer Conference, is joining us for our flagship episode as we talk about what the Military Influencer Podcast is and what you can expect from it.

In order for each of us to grow and benefit from MIC, we need to be more than a conference.

Most of us listen to podcasts all the time. It’s a powerful way to digest content because we’re always moving and we each have so many things going on any given day. But there is nothing out there like what you’re about to experience here with the Military Influencer Podcast.

Let’s first talk about the origin of this podcast so that you understand the why and the vision. As Curtez explains, this is something that’s been in the making since the beginning. If you’ve ever attended a Military Influencer Conference before, you know that it’s jam-packed with influencers and executives, phenomenal workshops, and some crazy good times! But, Curtez shares that his vision for MIC is much bigger than that.

As a guy who usually stands in the background—quietly planning all the details, working to bring amazing people together, and executing the heck out of things—Curtez has done something amazing. He’s amassed a huge following of people who have rallied around the mission to change the narrative surrounding the military community. Year after year, MIC keeps growing in numbers, passion, and results.

But, one thing that tends to creep up in a large collection of people, such as the Military Influencer Conference, is passivity. Instead of simply coming, meeting, leaving, we want there to be more, relates Curtez. This podcast will give influencers the opportunity to reach through the conference, straight to the community so that we can each grow our impact and learn from one another. Plus, this podcast will be where we talk about something essential to the success of this community—military entrepreneurship.

Information will be flowing, particularly about the conference.

Now, let’s talk about what to expect. To start, the information is going to be flowing, says Curtez. People will find everything that they need about the conference, from hotel information to speaker announcements to food options. It’s also the place where you as an attendee will have access to the amazing resources and people that have made MIC a killer event for military entrepreneurs.

You will get to know our speakers before they hit the stage and will have the ability to build connections with influencers all year long, not just at the conference. This will truly be the place for growth in the community and in our overall impact.

A few new things you can expect at MIC ‘19 include a spouse-focused track and new TEDx style talks.

Curtez also drops some new happenings (but rest assured there’s more to come) that we can look forward to this September. He first surmises MIC as a 3-day gathering where we come to celebrate, connect, and collaborate. It’s a place that brings together executives, entrepreneurs, influencers, and brands to shape and support the military community. Talk about an amazing mission!

And what’s new about this year? To start, there will be a TEDx style talk hosted by We Are The Mighty called The Mighty Talks. People will be racing to this event as Jesse Iwuji (NASCAR driver) and Charlynda Scales (Mutt’s Sauce founder) take the stage to talk about the transition and the narrative of the military community.

Then, founders and innovators will have a place to rally around the goal of getting their new ventures off the ground. And there’ll also be a panel for funding opportunities. We all need money and resources to grow our business, and this panel will help you find it! Create content for a living? There’s going to be something for you too. Is social impact important to your mission? We’re going to help you out there too.

Then, there’s a special track that speaks directly to the 43% of conference attendees. Empower will be a military spouse-focused track (thanks to the help of the Rosie Network) that will empower military spouses to take their business to the next level.

In Curtez’s words, this isn’t a “bro vet” event. This is a diverse event that is meeting the needs of our diverse community. 

But what exactly is a military influencer?

Something that’s commonly misconstrued as Curtez tells us, is the word influencer. It’s not someone with a camera and a few followers on Facebook. An influencer, according to Curtez, is a person who is shaping and changing our community. It doesn’t matter how many followers or fans you have, what matters is what you do with the platform and the power of your influence. It’s about telling the world what you do and helping others in your space. Sound familiar?

Now, it’s time for some action. Check out militaryinfluencer.com to sign up for the newsletter (a must for weekly updates), subscribe to the podcast (a place for community and impact), and get tickets to MIC ‘19 (the conference that started it all).

And we’ll see you there!