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Smart Passive Income

Smart Passive Income is a resource run by me, Pat Flynn, to teach you proven strategies for running an online business and optimizing it for passive income—but what is passive income?


I’m a family guy in my early thirties who learned about passive income because I had to. Like so many other people, I’m on my Plan B career.

I graduated from college with an architecture degree and went to work for an amazing architectural firm as a Job Captain. I was thriving in my career and had no plans to leave it—but there are some parts of life we can’t control.

The downturn in the economy hit my industry hard. In 2008, just a few months before my wedding, I was laid off from my job.


My family is the primary motivation for everything that I do, and you’ll hear me mention them often throughout the site. My wife, April, and I have two kids—a boy, Keoni, and a girl, Kailani, as well as our dog, Gizmo. The best part about my job is that it allows me to plan my day around my family, not around my business.


If you haven’t started an online business yet, don’t worry, you’re not alone and you’re not too late. Spend some time exploring my Start Here page to get a sense of what is involved. This page is designed to help you make good business decisions on your own, without having to pay some sketchy “online business guru.”

In fact, I give out all my best advice for free inside my newsletter. I hope you subscribe. You can do so using the form below:

Nicole Dean, one of my earliest guests on the Smart Passive Income Podcast shared her motto, “make money by making the web a more wonderful place.” I share this sentiment completely. I have worked hard to build this site into a resource that not only helps you build your business and avoid the false promises of get-rich-quick schemes, but also helps you provide a real benefit to your business’s audience.

After all, I have to be able to look my wife and kids in the eye every day.


My readers and listeners are the reason Smart Passive Income has thrived over the last seven years (and counting). I’ve built this site for you. I love hearing stories of your own successes—so much that I’ve built a special page just to highlight my readers’ successes.

Thanks for reading this! I’d love to have you join me and my community of 150,000+ other aspiring and existing business owners.


SPI 298: Before Your New Year Begins . . .

Today’s episode is a very special one, and it’s just you and me. We’re closing in on the end of the year, and there’s a lot to talk about. This time is a great opportunity to reflect on the past year and what’s to come for the year ahead. Hopefully you’re already thinking about 2018 and the things you’re going to try, what you’re going to experiment with—but hopefully this episode inspires you to go even further, to be vulnerable, and to be courageous.

SPI 297: Looking Back at 2017—What Went Well, What Did Not

This episode is all about learning from mistakes. Last week we talked about my plans for 2018—well, a lot of the lessons I learned this year resulted in those plans. Today, I’m sharing those lessons with you, not just as an example of what not to do, but to reveal what decisions I made for 2018 because of those experiences.

SPI 296: What’s Coming in 2018 for the Podcast and SPI

We are closing in hot on the end of the year here on SPI. Next week I’ll be recapping the year in full (the good and the bad) but today I want to give a little sneak preview of what’s coming up in 2018 for SPI. It’s going to be a very exciting year, and I can’t wait to share my plans with you!

SPI 295: 35 Quick Life Lessons from 35 Years of Life—Plus a Pencils of Promise Birthday Challenge!

Guess what? Today’s my birthday! I am 35 today and very grateful to have lived this long and experienced so much. I wanted to share some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way, so today I’m giving you 35 quick lessons from 35 years of life. I’m also ending today’s episode with a challenge.

SPI 294: 21 Top Places to Include an Affiliate Link

So, you have the perfect affiliate product and you’re excited to tell your audience all about it. The only thing is . . . where do you put that affiliate link? This is the episode you’re going to want to listen to, because it’ll tell you exactly where you should be putting your affiliate products (and where you’re probably not putting them currently).

SPI 293: My Top Performing Affiliate Marketing Products, and Why They Performed So Well

This month is affiliate marketing month, and we’ve covered a lot of ground so far. We’ve talked about strategies—long and short term—and last week we even talked about the dark side of affiliate marketing and how to avoid it. But this week we’re keeping it a little lighter: I’m sharing my top performing affiliate marketing products (that aren’t mine) and breaking down exactly why they’ve performed so well.

SPI 292: The Dark Side of Affiliate Marketing (and How to Do It Right!)

Everything has a sort of yin and yang, dark and white, and affiliate marketing is no different. It’s important to understand the light and the darkness, so let’s go a level deeper on our affiliate marketing journey; let’s talk about the dark side of affiliate marketing.

SPI 291: A Blueprint for a Successful Short-Term JV (Joint Venture) Affiliate Campaign

November is Affiliate Month here on SPI. Last week we talked about long-term affiliate relationships, so today we’re going to be talking in depth about how to create a successful blueprint for a short-term JV (joint venture) affiliate promotion. How is a short-term affiliate opportunity different, and how can you plan your campaigns to take advantage of the opportunity in a shorter time span?

SPI 290: Affiliate Marketing: An Insider Look at My Most Successful Long-Term Campaigns

This whole month is all about affiliate marketing here on SPI and I couldn’t be more excited about today’s episode. Affiliate marketing is something I’m incredibly passionate about: It’s helped me make millions of dollars and it’s absolutely changed my life. Today I’m taking you through my process for getting started.


SPI 110: Tim Ferriss on Podcasting, Productivity, Experimentation, and if He Had to Start Over

I’m extremely happy to welcome Tim Ferriss back to the SPI Podcast! Tim is an unofficial mentor of mine and a huge inspiration for the Smart in Smart Passive Income.

He was with us in November of 2012 in Session #51, but a lot has happened since then and it was great to catch up to see what he was focusing on.

We cover a plethora of topics in this session, including his brand new #1 ranked podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, why he started one, how he’s been experimenting with it and what he’s been struggling with.

SPI 092: The Psychology of Selling and How to Price Your Products with Ramit Sethi

In this session of The Smart Passive Income Podcast, I’m stoked to welcome Ramit Sethi from I Will Teach You to Be Rich to the podcast! Ramit’s blog is one of the first blogs I ever subscribed to back in 2006 when I was still working at an architecture firm before I had any idea I would eventually create businesses of my own.

I respect Ramit for several reasons:

  1. His confident position in the personal finance space. He tells people to stop worrying about saving money on the small things just to save a few dollars here and there, and he encourages people to go for the big wins. It was this big win philosophy that inspired me to know what I was worth and ask my company for a raise. I got it, and I increased my salary from $38,000/year to $60,000/year.
  2. He tells it like it is. He’s not afraid to be honest and upfront with people. I appreciate this as his friend, but also because I know he’s doing it to serve his audience without messing around. You’ll hear his honesty and stance on a number of things here in this podcast.
  3. He’s EXTREMELY thorough and incredibly smart. Ramit knows what he’s doing. This is not only through his own experience, but also by spending millions of dollars on data collection and analysis. When I saw him speak for the first time in Chicago at FINCON11, I was blown away and I’ve had a ton of respect for how he runs his business and the products he has created ever since.

In this episode, you’ll hear how Ramit got started with his blog and more specifically what happened when he started selling products to his audience.

SPI 089: Gary Vaynerchuk and How to Fight and WIN with Social Media (+My 50 Book Giveaway!) #JJJRH

In this session of The Smart Passive Income Podcast, I’m extremely happy to welcome Gary Vaynerchuk to the show!

I’ve learned so much from Gary over the past few years. His first book, Crush It!, was a huge inspiration for me and I always share that as required reading for those getting into online business. Actually, I own 3 copies of Crush It! and I don’t have any of them right now because I’ve lent them to friends.

Gary’s new book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook : How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World (or JJJRH, for short) is a very tactical utility to help us get the most out of our time and effort on social media platforms, which Gary says a lot of brands (especially personal brands) are misusing.


  1. Best Business Podcast Academy of Podcasters
  2. Best International Podcast New Media Europe
  3. Best Business Podcast
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