My First Entrepreneurial Event – Business Breakthrough with Pat and Chris

Shane Labs January 12, 2014 9

Last week I had the amazing opportunity to attend the 1-Day Business Breakthrough with Pat and Chris, and it was awesome. Everyone there was full of great ideas and inspiration, and I feel like I’m actually on my way to becoming a real web entrepreneur!

Business Breakthrough Event

Me with Pat, Chris, and 20 other genius web entrepreneurs.

I had first heard

I had first heard about the event on Pat Flynn’s blog back in November. He made a simple post talking about it – a bunch of online business owners get together to critique products and offer suggestions to problems, and it sounded very intriguing. But I was on the fence about it. I’d have to take off work from my full time job. I’d have to spend $600. And I’ve have to get in public, show my projects, and be vulnerable for criticism!

I talked it over with my wife and she encouraged me to go. It was in the same city that I live in (sunny San Diego), so I wouldn’t have to pay for flight or hotel costs. I was already making a good amount of money  so the expense wouldn’t come out of my pocket. And I was sure I’d get some great ideas on how to further my sidestrapper career. But the biggest reason I decided to attend was because it would push me to be accountable. I had a couple side projects I was developing back in November, and having a deadline in January to present them would force me to focus and crank them out!

A month prior

A month prior to the event Pat had set up a survey and a facebook group for all attendees to introduce ourselves ahead of time. Although that seems simple, both of these proved to be invaulable. The survey was awesome because it asked me to talk about the website I wanted input on. But I don’t have a website, I have like 10. After realizing I wouldn’t be able to get input on many sites, I had to choose one (AmpedSense). This little decision to focus on one project was incredible – I really was able to see where my time is best spent, and what I’m most excited about. Switching between so many side projects is crazy!

The facebook group instantly gave me tips on my site. I was looking for ways to get cheaper traffic, as keyword marketing was proving to be impossible (SEO was saturated) or too expensive ($4-10 CPC on AdWords is way too high). Someone suggested I look at Facebook advertising. Within a couple days, I was getting targeted traffic to my site at $0.40/click. Win!

The day of the event

The day of the event was exhausting, in a great way. So many smart people, so many successful businesses, so many suggestions to improve! The format was as follows: Each person was in the ‘hot seat’ for 15 minutes. The first minute you present your business (which gave us practice explaining our product concisely). Then Pat and Chris gave a few minutes of feedback. Then the rest of the group chimed in. There were a total of about 20 people, so it took about the whole day to go through everyone’s stuff. Afterwards we had an hour of general Q&A, followed by a tasty dinner at the Yardhouse. Started at 8:30am, and I left at about 8:30pm – I hadn’t “worked” at 12 hour day in a long time!

The Room

In between sessions, we chatted and made some good connections

I was very impressed with all the attendees. People were respectful, yet gave honest feedback. No one was browsing on their laptops while others were presenting (most people, including myself, took notes with pen and paper). The most interesting part of the audience was the wide variety of people. From no website, to a website making over $500k/year. From 24 years old to 64 years. From people working 4 hours/week, to 70+. Even an equal male/female balance (I’m not used to many women in the tech field)!

Pat Flynn and Chris Ducker

Pat and Chris were perfect hosts. The event started on time, and each person got exactly their allotted time (no one got robbed of minutes, and no extra favoritism). I had not known much about Chris prior to the event, and I wish I had. He’s a straight talking, very personable genius, and he’s great at what he does. Plus his English accent is fun to listen to.

I did know a lot about Pat beforehand, and it was incredible meeting him in person. What amazed me is that he’s not the typical adviser trying to make money off of people. At one point someone was asking about web hosting, and instead of pointing someone to an affiliate link on his site, Pat suggested a completely different service he has no affiliation with (he could have easily made $100 with an affiliate sale).

Key takeaways

Everyone walked away with very specific advice for their business. But I noticed a few key themes that were repeated often, and applied to most everyone:

  • Develop your brand/personality. Show off your face, voice, story. People like people, and it’s in our nature to connect to others and their journey.
  • Don’t do everything yourself. Learn how to outsource. If you’re spending time doing mundane tasks, you’re not respecting your time. Figure out what your time is work (Chris’ is $750/hour), and if someone can do the same task for less than your hourly rate, hire them. We all have “superhero syndrome”, where we think we can do everything ourselves and have a fear of letting go. LET GO!
  • Charge more. A lot of products were undervalued. Many suggested almost doubling the price. Not only does this give you more revenue, but it refines your customer base (the people who can afford higher priced items are not the ones that complain, unlike penny pinchers). And it could result in even more sales since people could perceive your product as having higher value.
  • Build a community. People like being a part of a group, and with tools such as Facebook and Instagram, it’s super easy. Start social profiles for your product and get people involved – hold contests, feature customers, ask for feedback.
  • Entrepreneurs are lonely. A lot work from home, and crave social interaction. It’s important to be around others – and a mastermind group is a great way to do that, while also getting good feedback from others. Pat is in 3 mastermind groups per week (he started 2 of them himself!).
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Own your customers and your product. If all your revenue or all your publicity is from one source, you could be in trouble. One person’s SEO got ruined, but luckily he maintained a mailing list of his customers. Another person relied solely on Facebook for promotion, and if Zuckerberg decided to stop that feature, they’d be dead.
  • Develop rich media. People like to digest information in multiple ways. Make videos, start a podcast, hold webinars, etc. If you do a live event, hire a film crew to record it, then sell it later to those that couldn’t attend.

In addition to these points, I also gained a lot of good connections. I now am in contact with a few people I never would have known could help me out before.

I learned a lot

I learned a lot, and I really think for the price ($600) it’s going to prove to be a valuable investment. I have tons of ideas for my own projects (which I’ll post about next) that I never would have come up with myself. Before leaving I told Pat and Chris that they could have charged twice the amount for the event, and everyone still would have attended.

Have you ever attended an entrepreneurial meetup before? How’d it go??


  1. Nick Loper January 12, 2014 at 11:02 pm - Reply

    Sounds like it was an awesome event! I was fortunate enough to see both Pat and Chris speak at NMX, which was really cool, but this kind of intense one day session seems super valuable.

    Would love to chat “side hustles” with you sometime. Cheers,


    • Shane Labs January 13, 2014 at 6:48 am - Reply

      Hey Nick – I’ve heard great things about NMX too, thx for sharing! Would love to chat as well, feel free to contact me at any time!

  2. Geb January 24, 2014 at 11:04 pm - Reply

    Good to see fellow SDians.

    • Shane Labs January 25, 2014 at 10:45 am - Reply

      Best city in the world!

  3. Jack January 21, 2015 at 8:18 am - Reply

    If I understand your article correctly, you paid these guys between $600 and $700 for a one day seminar and you are currently making around $400 per month from your side projects? I hope it was worth it in terms of real ROI.

    So those guys pulled in $12,000 (less costs of the room and lunch). Nice return for them. Would be nice to hear one day how much you are returned on your $600 investment.

    • Shane Labs January 21, 2015 at 9:07 am - Reply

      That’s correct. Although I don’t view it as though they cheated us. They gave each of us very personalized, great advice that if it didn’t work was probably our faults. So don’t judge just my experience alone on that. It was also a good networking event, I met others that I’m in touch with and share ideas between. Also, that wasn’t $12k in pure profit for them. They paid for everything – room rental, lunch, dinner, plus they had to split it. I feel it was actually very reasonable.

  4. Jack January 21, 2015 at 12:25 pm - Reply

    Cool! I’m glad it is working for you. It looks like you may have taken the breakthrough class about a year ago. I’m happy to see it is paying off.

    My ‘side project’ websites are bringing in an average of $3k/month. I would love to have someone help me improve on that so I can get to a point where I can do it full time.

    But even at $3k/month, I’m not sure I’d pay $600 for a one day seminar. That would eat up too much of my own ‘side’ income for the month.

    Interesting topic, Shane. Thanks for sharing your perspective!

    • Shane Labs January 22, 2015 at 10:16 am - Reply

      If your side projects are bringing in about $3k/month, that’s stellar! Hit me up if you’re interested in being featured here as a success story. And good points about the more specific advice. It was specific, I just tried to generalize it for the masses.

  5. Jack January 21, 2015 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    One other comment if I may. Please consider this constructive.

    I think it would be cooler if they offered actual advice that you could show directly brought in more revenue for you. That way you can see a specific return on your investment of $600 or so. (It looks like they are charging more today than back then.)

    Above you say they gave some generic business advice like, “charge more”, “develop your own brand”, “build a community”, etc. I don’t think that is anything unique.

    What would be really cool is if you showed specific advice around one of your side project websites like: “they had me move an ad to this location which brought in an extra $60 per month and paid for their seminar in 10 months.” or “they showed me how to improve my keyword use and placement which brought in an extra 2k visitors per month and and extra $25 per month. I can use this in all my websites.”

    That would be more interesting to me than generic business tips like, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Pretty sure that one has been around a while. 🙂

    more specific advice for your business, less generic high level business advice.

    Have a fantastic day!

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