An entrepreneur who earns up to $170,000 a month shares the biggest mistake people make when trying to start a business

Pat flynn
Pat Flynn. Courtesy of Pat Flynn

Rich people focus on earning — and they often develop multiple streams of income.

In fact, in author Thomas C. Corley’s study of 177 self-made millionaires, “65% had at least three streams of income that they created prior to making their first million dollars,” he found.

If you’re looking to launch an online business, experiment with a side hustle, or make the leap to full-time entrepreneur, there’s a costly mistake you’ll want to avoid: Forgetting to serve your audience.

“A successful business — a successful anything online — is one that provides value and serves others in some way, shape or form,” emphasises Pat Flynn, self-made millionaire and founder of “Smart Passive Income,” a resource designed to help others run an online business and optimise it for passive income.

Flynn would know.

During the 2008 financial crisis, he got laid off from his job at an architectural firm. The then 25-year-old decided to create a website that would help him pass an exam in the architecture industry: the LEED exam.

“Little did I know, this little website I created was generating thousands of visits a day,” he told Forbes. “As I was doing all that LEED stuff, I didn’t think of myself as an entrepreneur … I didn’t realise it until after four or five people said, ‘Pat, your stuff is so good, I would pay you for it.’ That’s when I finally took action.”

Flynn’s accidental entry into the entrepreneurial world quickly turned into a lucrative online business. He made $7,000 his first month, he told Forbes, and $200,000 within one year of going into online business; after six years, he had earned $3 million in passive income; and today, his business can earn up to $170,000 a month  — or more — and bring home the bulk of that in net profit.

The key, he says in an episode of his podcast, is putting your audience first.

“A lot of people will build something without doing the proper research — without understanding the pains, problems, needs, and wants of their target customer,” Flynn explains. “They just build something.”

Taking that step of actually creating something is crucial, he notes, but it’s equally crucial to understand who the customer is and how you will provide value to them. You have to “pinpoint a particular niche and truly understand what they’re going through — what their pains and struggles are, and what they’re looking for that they can’t get yet,” he emphasises. “It’s when you understand that, that it changes your whole mindset.”

“The better you can serve your audience, the more you’ll get back in return,” he continues. “Your earnings are a byproduct of how well you serve your audience.”

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