Friday, December 16, 2011

Pat Flynn Exposed - A Skeptical Review of his Smart Passive Income Claims


"He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches."
- Man and Superman (1903) "Maxims for Revolutionists", George Bernard Shaw.

Hi all,
I've been looking over the blog of a popular internet marketing guru, Pat Flynn, at Smartpassiveincome.com. It is very helpful and generous with all its free advice and instructions for generating online passive income and creating websites to do that with. He is definitely very knowledgeable.

However, I can't help but be a bit skeptical of his personal success claims. First, he tells us in his intro 101 page that making money online is not easy. It takes a lot of hard work and time to build up. That's true. See here:

http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/passive-income-101/

But then he claims in his interviews and story that he made $8,000 in his first month off of selling one ebook about how to pass an architect license exam. Then he says he made over $200,000 in his first year, and that he now makes over $30,000 monthly. That seems to contradict his teaching that it takes a lot of time and effort to make money online, doesn't it, since he claimed to get rich quickly.

Here are his monthly income reports where it shows his monthly build up of $8k a month to $30k:

http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/my-income-reports/

Here are his interviews where he makes these claims:

http://www.incomediary.com/pat-flynn
http://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com/1860/pat-flynn/
http://www.blogtrepreneur.com/2010/12/25/pat-flynn-interview-7905-55-from-one-ebook-in-the-first-month/

Now, I've been making money online for years, and I know many others who are doing it too. So I have some good knowledge and experience in this area, and I know that making $8,000 during your first month, especially selling one ebook, is an extraordinary claim. After a few years, I managed to pull in a few thousand a month, which was no easy feat and only due to my novel original ideas that were the first of its kind. But that's after a slow steady traffic build up that involved hard work and production of good original content, with no secret formulas. So based on my experience, his claims of success and quick high profits are extraordinary.

He doesn't seem to have any proof of these claims. Yet all his fans seem to believe everything he says, based on their comments in his blog and on other third party blogs as well. To them, all his claims are true. If he says it, then it's true. Amazingly, on the internet, there are no critical reviews of him. There are dozens of blogs that praise him, with many positive comments under them, but no critical ones (could the bloggers have edited out all negative comments?). Everyone says he is the real deal. But how do they know? Where is the evidence or proof? Online, anyone can say anything.

His sample passive income business sites do look great though, and are ranked very high. So he definitely must have a lot of traffic coming in, which would give him good income. But there are many sites out there that look great with web 2.0 graphics and nifty Wordpress themes, but they ain't making shit. Here are his online businesses so you can see them for yourself.

This one was created as part of an online contest with another internet marketing guru to see who could create a better new passive income site, and ended up generating $2,000 a month for him:

http://www.securityguardtraininghq.com

Here is his original online business that he allegedly became successful and rich off of:

http://www.greenexamacademy.com

On his blog teaching people how to make passive income, he gives a lot of free advice and information, which his fans say is very generous and altruistic of him. However, within his free advice blog are embedded various affiliate links to a number of website optimization products that claim to help get traffic to your site, which you have to pay for of course. So I wonder if that's why he's giving out so much free advice, to get commissions on these SEO products? It's hard to believe that he would do it for nothing or do it out of altruism.

Could it be that he is making more money off his "making passive income blog" than off of his online businesses themselves?

But what evidence is there to back his $30k a month income claims? Why hasn't he posted screen shots of his Adsense report earnings, or monthly PayPal transactions? But even those are easy to fake. Anyone can download or save a webpage offline, and then manipulate the HTML in it to produce any numbers they want. On the internet, anyone can claim anything. Even in Amway and other MLM's, lots of people making nothing are claiming to be doing well and pulling in thousands of dollars per month. It doesn't mean it's all true.

Furthermore, if Pat Flynn really made $30k a month, why is he always wearing cheap looking worn out T-shirts in his video interviews? See this one for example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tRfvjDz3EE

And in his self-intro on his home page, same thing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJIJ_6G9Z84#t=28s

In my experience, people who really are pulling in a lot of income do not like to draw public attention to it, unless they are celebrities. There are negative consequences to doing that. Especially if you are making a lot of money online, it is not in one's best interest to publicize it, for it will draw bad people, and incite others to follow your business model and create copycat versions of your site, which could potentially jeopardize your income. No rational person would want to do that.

In addition, there is an old adage that says: "You cannot make a lot of money by telling people the truth". I wonder if that applies here. Another witty quote says:

"The men the American public admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth." - H. L. Mencken

So it makes sense to be skeptical here, doesn't it?

What do you all think?


Questions for Pat Flynn:

Dear Pat,
I like your blog. There is a lot of good useful advice and information for free in it. However, I am a critical thinker and can't help but be skeptical about a few things:

- First, you seem to contradict yourself. In your 101 intro, you tell everyone that making passive income online is not easy, and that it requires a lot of hard work and time to build up, which is true. But then in your story, you say you made $8000 off one ebook during your first month attempt at this, and that in your first year, you made over $200,000, and now you make $30,000 a month. Isn't that a direct contradiction? By your claims, you got rich quick easily, but you tell everyone that it takes a lot of time and hard work and is not easy.

- I've been making money online for 3 years now, and I know many others who are doing it too. $8,000 in your first month is an extraordinary claim, not a realistic one, even if you are a super genius. It took me 3 years to build up enough traffic and reputation to make a little over $1,800 a month. And that was through hard work and content generation, not with any secret formula. Your sites do look great, and do have top rankings I see, but there are many sites out there that look great with web 2.0 graphics and nifty wordpress themes too, and they ain't making shit. I still think your claims are extraordinary. But your fans seem to believe everything you say, like a Gospel preacher in a church, with no skepticism. Why is that?

- What evidence is there to back your income claims? Why haven't you posted screen shots of your Adsense report earnings, or of your monthly PayPal transactions? But even those are easy to fake. Anyone can download or save a webpage offline, and then manipulate the HTML in it to produce any numbers they want. On the internet, anyone can claim anything. Even in Amway and other MLM's, lots of people making nothing are claiming to be doing well and pulling in thousands of dollars per month. It doesn't mean it's all true. Furthermore, if you really are making $30k a month, why are you always wearing cheap looking worn out t-shirts in your video interviews?

- In my experience, people who really are pulling in a lot of income do not like to draw public attention to it, unless they are celebrities. There are negative consequences to doing that. Especially if you are making a lot of money online, it is not in one's best interest to publicize it, for it will draw bad people, and incite others to follow your business model and create copycat versions of your site, which could potentially jeopardize your income. No rational person would want to do that.

- In addition, there is an old adage that says: "You cannot make a lot of money by telling people the truth". I wonder if that applies here. Another witty quote says:

"The men the American public admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth." - H. L. Mencken

So it makes sense to be skeptical here, doesn't it?

Update:

Pat Flynn has responded to my skeptical review of him and would like me to post his response. I went ahead and did that in my forum, which you can see at the link below. Included is also my counter-response.

http://www.happierabroad.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=61172#61172

Btw, if you are truly interested in making online passive income, we have a discussion about it in the Happier Abroad Forum that is realistic and no-nonsense with nothing to sell. If you wish to read or participate, here is the link:

http://www.happierabroad.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=11535

I also have written a basic how-to-guide in this blog on how to make money online with an overview of the ways one can go about doing so (with no affiliate links or vested interest).

http://blog.happierabroad.com/2012/01/how-to-make-money-online-myth-vs.html


Addendum: Further Thoughts on Pat Flynn's Response

You know, I just re-read Pat Flynn's response to me at the link above. And I get the impression that what he is saying is: "It's ok and natural to be skeptical, as long as you believe me when I reassure you that I'm telling the truth about everything."

Hmmm. ::: scratching head ::: I don't know about you, but that sounds a bit circular doesn't it? I mean, think about it. EVERYONE in the world will tell you that they are not a con artist or liar. Everyone. So then who is a con artist then? lol. I mean, if you believe what you hear, then there is no such thing as a con artist or a liar in the world right? They don't exist right? lol. Everyone claims not to be one, after all. This is a lesson in gullibility and critical thinking.

Likewise, every MLM, including Amway, will say, "We are not a pyramid scheme. We are a legitimate business opportunity." ALL of them will say that. They all acknowledge that there are pyramid schemes out there, but each one of them is not one of them. lol. So, if we are to believe whatever they say, then pyramid schemes don't exist right? lol You see what happens when you believe whatever people tell you?

One time, I went to a timeshare presentation in Sedona, Arizona. At the beginning of the presentation, the speaker told everyone, "Don't you hate those high pressure timeshare sales presentations?" and everyone nodded. Then he said, "Well we aren't like that here. We are different." But what do you think happened right after that? Yep, you guessed it! They proceeded to be exactly that - a high pressure timeshare sales presentation! They badgered me, wouldn't take no for an answer, and then ended up insulting me! What fricking hypocrites! Playing cheap tricks to make us think they were different. That was so deceptive and low.

The lesson is: DON'T BELIEVE WHATEVER YOU HEAR! QUESTION EVERYTHING! LEST YOU BE TAKEN IN!

Addendum 2: Logical Reasons why I don't think Pat Flynn really makes $30k a month

I got to thinking and realized some logical reasons why Pat Flynn probably doesn't make $30k a month in online passive income as he claims on his blog. It's all very simple when you apply basic logic and common sense. Let me explain.

First, think about this. Suppose you were making $30,000 a month from online passive income. Would you do anything to jeopardize such a big cash cow? Of course not. But if you were to publicize it on a web page, as Pat Flynn did, you'd be doing just that. When you publicize how much money you are making, there are undoubtedly going to be a lot of envious people out there who will either try to emulate you, or sabotage your enterprise. Since you don't know who is out there, why would you take such a risk and expose yourself like that? Furthermore, if you were making it that big in online income, you'd have it made and have NOTHING TO GAIN in publicizing it or drawing too much attention to it.

In other words, if you were really making $30k a month, you'd have NOTHING to gain by publicizing it and A LOT TO LOSE!

But on the other hand, suppose you were making a lot less than $30k a month. In that case, you would have something to gain by exaggerating your income (which anyone can do) and claiming that you make $30k a month. By doing so, you attract attention to your site, which increases traffic hits, thus increasing your online revenue and affiliate commissions. And you also get a large group of followers and fans willing to do anything you say (which means they will buy any product or service you suggest). And whoila! Bingo!

So in that case, you would have A LOT TO GAIN and NOTHING to lose! See how that works? It's simple logic.

Second, I've noticed that whenever I email Pat Flynn, he usually replies within an HOUR! This happens whether I email him late at night or in the afternoon. What this seems to indicate, is that he is online all day and evening, trying to make money and answering emails. If that's so, then he is WORKING HARD - which means he is earning Active Income, rather than Passive Income. LOL

Now, if his income were truly passive, why would he need to be online all the time? That doesn't make sense. If he had a passive income of $30k a month, he would be in the Florida Keys or Cancun sipping a margarita by the poolside or beachside, and not be online much. Come on now. Get real. This appears to be a logical contradiction.

What do you think? Isn't that suspicious? Do these logical reasons make sense?