What does it take to go from nothing to making over $280,000 per month?
John Lee Dumas is the Founder and Host of the Entrepreneur On Fire podcast which was awarded ‘Best of iTunes 2013’ with 7.4 million downloads, 829,000 unique listens and subscribers in 145 countries.
John interviews today’s most inspiring and successful Entrepreneurs 7-days a week and has been featured in Forbes, INC, & TIME Magazine.
John has turned Entrepreneur On Fire into a business that generates over $200,000 dollars a month & shares all the details in his monthly income reports.
John also founded Podcasters’ Paradise; a community where over 1200 Podcasters learn how to create, grow, and monetize their podcasts in a supportive environment.
Listen to the following interview to find out how John went from unknown to Best of iTunes 2013.
Say hi to John at entrepreneuronfire.com.
Read Raw Transcript Now:
Success Harbor: Hi everyone, this is George Meszaros with Success Harbor and I have John Lee Dumas with me today, John is the founder and the host of the entrepreneur on fire podcast which was awarded best of iTunes two thousand and thirteen with seven point four million downloads and eight hundred and twenty nine thousand unique listens and subscribers in a hundred and forty five countries.
John interviews today’s most inspiring and successful entrepreneurs, seven days a week and has been featured in Forbes, INC and Time Magazine. John has turned entrepreneurs on fire into a business that generates over two hundred thousand dollars a month and shares all the details in his monthly income reports. John also founded podcasters paradise, a community where over twelve hundred podcasters learn how to create, grow and monetize their podcast in a supportive environment.
I am very excited to have John on the Success Harbor podcast today, check us out at Success Harbor dot com and subscribe on iTunes.
John Lee Dumas: I am excited to join you George and of course prepared to ignite.
Success Harbor: By the time you started your podcast in two thousand and twelve, there were a lot of podcasts, it wasn’t really a new concept yet you have managed to stand out and differentiate yourself, what do you think people need to do today in two thousand and fourteen to have the similar success that you had and create that differentiation that you were able to do?
John Lee Dumas: There are three letters that I want to bring up George, USP, Unique Selling Proposition, that was one thing that I was really able to identify as missing as a void in the marketplace in podcasting back in September two thousand and twelve, there wasn’t a seven day a week podcast, there wasn’t a podcast, it was just structure and it gave me the same format and flow overall every time you press the play button so that’s really what I did and I was able to do it in more of a broad sense.
But in today’s game George, the saturation is much more heavy, a lot of people are getting into it for obvious reasons, it’s an incredible medium and a great way to build an audience so my biggest suggestion to podcasters these days is look at your market right now that you want to get into, your passion, what you are excited about and then find a way to niche down and then niche down again and then even niche down a third time, you might feel like you are niching a little too much but believe me, when you get to that point, you are now at the place where you can start, dominate that niche, build a rating fan base in that niche and then once you get the momentum George, then you can start to build out and expand a little bit but you are never going to get that momentum if you start too broad so don’t be afraid to niche to dominate and then expand.
Success Harbor: So it’s almost like niche down until you feel like you are talking to one person.
John Lee Dumas: Absolutely and it can be only one person because sometimes you can start with one and then once you have converted that person [Inaudible] then you can be like ok, lets expand the market to ten people, now a hundred and before you know it, you have all these raving fans because you have connected with them in a powerful way.
Success Harbor: So, what are the most effective ways for you in the beginning to market yourself to get the word out about your podcast?
John Lee Dumas: What’s so powerful about entrepreneur on fire and interview podcasts in general is when I started out, I was a nobody, I had no social credibility, I had no online platform, I had no online experience, I had no interview experience so I was weighing heavily on my guest now if I was only doing one episode a week, that would be four guests a month that I would be relying on to help me spread the word of entrepreneur on fire and that would have taken a lot longer to get going but doing a daily interview show allowed me seven days a week to interview inspiring and successful entrepreneurs and to have them, every single day, share their journey with their massive audience.
Exposing a whole new level of people, a whole new number of people to entrepreneur on fire for the very first time, a certain proportion of which were listening, a certain proportion of that were becoming evangelists and subscribers and that snowball effect really helped me build that momentum while I was still a poor broadcaster, while I was still an inexperienced podcast host but it allowed me to build that momentum which I have now maintained over the last seven hundred and fifty episodes.
Success Harbor: When you mentioned the numbers, seven hundred and fifty episodes, it’s almost scary for somebody that starts out and it’s almost like… previously you mentioned about finding that niche and really focusing down to something narrow. You want to set a goal that’s so scary that other people don’t even want to try to do what you are trying to do.
John Lee Dumas: There is a book, a great book and he actually talks about BHAG, the Big Hairy Audacious Goals and if you are not willing to set those big hairy audacious goals, guess what, you are never going to accomplish them so why not just get out there and set those really scary goals for you and the book is actually by Jim Collins, how to achieve big hairy audacious goals so it’s really just something to think about for people.
Shoot for the moon, odds are you are going to miss but at least you will land amongst the stars so fortune favors the bold, think big, go big and have a blast doing it.
Success Harbor: So when I was doing my research, I read about the twelve hour work days that you put in and I would be shocked if you are still not doing a lot of that even today so what advice do you have for those that are interested in starting out maybe a podcast, a blog or a business, how many hours do you think they should expect to put into that business especially in the beginning?
John Lee Dumas: It really depends on what your goals are of that business, if you were me and you were going all in because I wanted my entire business to revolve around my podcast, I wanted to build a business around entrepreneur on fire, a seven day a week podcast, I went all in, I went in ten, twelve hour days, six, seven days a week and I am still at that cliff almost two years later. The reality is that not every, A, can put in those efforts right away because they need to be monetizing, they still need to be bringing paychecks to be paying the bills, to be paying some mortgage, to take care of the kids etcetera so there is nothing wrong with starting as a sidepreneur, waking up an hour early, going to bed an hour late, stopping, watching, no longer watching amazing race or voice with the stars.
And instead working on your business because if you can do that as a side preneur two hours a day for six months and you are consistent with it, you will be shocked at how far you have come and then this time you can take that leap because you have set enough of a platform. I just did the full leap without any knowledge of what was awaiting me below but I had the financial backing to allow me to do that so if you do, I recommend going that route because there is nothing like trial by fire, there is nothing like on the job training, there is nothing like putting your back against the wall and having to survive, having to thrive but if it’s just not realistic, the side preneur route can be powerful as well.
Success Harbor: So, tell me what is it about a podcast that makes people take notice, there are people with a following, Tim Fares is a good example, he started podcasting and he is doing a great job and he already had a huge platform, for somebody that’s starting out now without a brand, without an audience, what can they do, what do they have to do to create something special so people take notice.
John Lee Dumas: It really goes back to the things we have been talking about which is what I love because it is a scene that is really consistent throughout this interview. Unlike Tim Fares, when I launched, I had no online presence, I had no name, I was nobody in the world, I had never done anything entrepreneurship related whatsoever in my previous career, I was an officer in the army for eight years, I was in corporate financing, I was in commercial real estate XYZ but I knew that I needed to mix elbows with the right people so I hired a mentor, somebody that was in the place that I wanted to be, Jamie Tardy of the eventual millionaire.
I joined the mastermind [Inaudible] which was really powerful because it was chalk full of likeminded podcasters and then I started going to conferences and rubbing elbows with the right people at conferences with the ten Ds, [Inaudible] they are really getting into it and building relationships because when it came down to it, the success of entrepreneur on fire was built off, number one, of the relationships that I made with the guests that I had on every single day of the week and then, number two, the unique structure that I took into creating entrepreneur on fire so find that niche as a podcaster that you really want to nominate and then get out to those rock stars in that industry, ask them to mentor you.
Ask them to be a guest in your show, do whatever you can to try to ingratiate them with you and you with them so you can really become a powerful connector in this universe and again, don’t be afraid to niche down until you are in an area where you can actually make some ways, if I jump into the pacific ocean right now and I start jumping around, I am not going to make any waves that anybody in Japan is going to notice but if I jump in my little pool right here on my patio, people are going to start noticing some waves, anybody that’s hanging out by my pool.
There might only be a couple of people by the pool but they are going to notice these waves so really don’t be afraid to make waves.
Success Harbor: You brought up Jamie Tardy and that was one of my questions actually, can you bring up one example that helped you working with Jamie Tardy?
John Lee Dumas: So a great example is I sat down with Jamie and she agreed that she was going to mentor me for three months and it was not cheap, it was thousands of dollars for me to invest so number one, that investment along just flipped my mind to being like “Ok, this is real now, I am investing real money that I spent a lot of time working to create and make into this mentorship, I am going to make the most of it”, so when Jamie looked at me, she said “[Inaudible] number one, I want you to go to an entrepreneurial conference. Next week in New York city, there is blog world, I am speaking there, other people like Pack Flynn, Michael [Inaudible], Corporate Bar are speaking at this conference, these are your future guests for entrepreneur on fire, I want you to buy a ticket, get a plane ticket, get a hotel room, invest in yourself, get down there and attend this conference”.
I was like “I spend all this money investing in Jamie Tardy and now I need to spend more money on this three day trip, it’s going to over a thousand dollars in total if not more” again George, it was something that I knew was right, I listened to my mentor, I went down there, for the first time, I was hanging out with other attendees that were like minded attendees, these were people that were in similar situations to me which was so powerful, I was seeing that energy.
I sat in the front row and listened to the speakers as they went on about what they were doing, I went to the networking events and I asked questions of the speakers and I asked them straight up. I said “Hey, listen, Jamie Tardy is my mentor and they all knew Jamie Tardy because she has been a rock star in the industry for a while and she has spoken about events and I said “Jamie is my mentor, she is rocking and rolling and she has suggested that I come up to you and ask you if you would consider being a guest on my upcoming podcast entrepreneur on fire”.
And George, that’s where I got my first couple of yeses because I was there, in person, looking at these people in the face asking them if they would join me on entrepreneur on fire showing social credibility with my mentor Jamie Tardy, I got my first couple of yeses at conference, I was able to go back to my little studio and man, that I was able to then start writing E mails to other people’s saying, hey [inaudible] they would agree to be on my podcast, I would love if you would join me as well and that’s how I build up my first forty [inaudible] just from that that one trip, with just a couple of guesses, turned that social credibility into forty guesses and getting to pair for my daily podcast launch.
Success Harbor: How much more effective do you think is to actually meet some of these people that you want to interview as opposed to just reaching out to them on twitter because it feels to me and I….tell me if you have a different experience that if when you look at somebody and they look you in the eye, it’s a lot harder to say no than it is just to send them a hundred and forty characters to why you want to interview them.
John Lee Dumas: I completely agree with you, I get DM’s and I get Facebook messages and I get E mail messages every single day from people asking me to be on this show and I can tell you honestly that any time I get an E mail right now from today we’re talking George and forward and this has been the way for the last few weeks, I’m just frankly booked out for [inaudible] for all of two thousand and fourteen like when you booked this, you had the book a little ways in advance and after you booked, I pretty quickly filled up and so my response back now is, listen I’m sorry like I’m completely booked up for the rest of two thousand and fourteen and I’m not even booking for two thousand and fifteen.
But if you want to reach out to me in January, you know we can see where you are at, I mean we can talk about where you want to schedule then and that’s what I say to the multitudes of requesting, I get coming to me from unknown people but George whatever I get asked by somebody who [inaudible], a great example is the interview right before this, I went to…I spoke as Jonathon Fields camp GLP in September in Maine, so I was in upstate New York and it was a great [inaudible] conference and I got to spend a lot of time with specific individuals there and one was a woman named Lora.
And Lora was a great person, she looked me in the face and she said, John, can I get…can I have you on my show and my answer to everybody else is that I get E mails from and messages from as you know I’m sorry, I’ll reach back out in January because I’m booked out but my answer to her was, listen, she [inaudible] E mail when I got back to San Diego, I’ll fit you in and I did and that’s the power I’m looking for In person.
Success Harbor: Can you talk about being helpful because networking comes up so much and I’ve interviewed a lot of people and networking is probably the most important thing when it comes to success, also be helpful comes up with networking so what advice do you have for people that want to reach out, want to network, want to grow their network, how can they be helpful to the people that they want to interact with?
John Lee Dumas: So this is a very powerful question because your answer whenever you’re reaching out to somebody to ask for something is first and foremost, how can I provide value, how can I be a person of value, so here’s a little strategy that I used that has a lot that is [inaudible] really well, has had a lot of success over the past two years, what I’ve really drilled in and narrowed into something that I really want to have on my shelf, I start adding value to them by retweeting their tweets by going to their blog posts and commenting on their blog posts.
By sharing their blogs, by liking a comment and sharing their Facebook messages, I become a person of value in their world, I just get, give, give add value, add value and then after I’ve done that Gary V, jab, jab, jab for a little while, then I pull that right hook and then I say, hey by the way this is John not sure If you have mentioned, I have just been loving your stuff recently, I’ve been sharing with my audience for some time and of course, they are going to see that because you’ve been doing it for some time.
Listen, I’m doing this late show, it’s perfect for you, I know that because I’ve been following you for some time now and then know you have because they have seen you following them and that just share [inaudible], join you for twenty five minutes on a Skype audio only call, I’d love to share your journey with my audience and George, works every time.
Success Harbor: So let’s talk about evolving as an entrepreneur, I mean since you started, you have generated about two million dollars in that income, I mean it’s a huge accomplishment in a world where most businesses fail, you have accomplished a lot but at the same time you’re also evolving as an entrepreneur so how are you changing, how have you changed in the last couple of years and how is that helping you to take yourself to the next level as an entrepreneur?
John Lee Dumas: So I really like to kind of focus in [inaudible] an Albert Einstein quote, which is trying to become a person of success but rather become a person of value and George I was going after success for most of my life, after I served in the military, I jumped to [inaudible] worlds and I went to Law school chasing success, chasing [inaudible] and then I quit cause It was miserable and I tried to corporate finance and I was chasing that success and that respect and that easy money and then I failed miserably there.
Same story commercially, the reality was I realized finally after six years of these failures, of these setbacks, of these quittings, that I had quit every single one of those ventures, I realized that I was going at my [inaudible] all wrong, I was trying to become a person of success which is a sprint, in a sprint you always get burned out but if I instead turn into a marathon and try to become a person of value and for me that value turned out to be entrepreneur [inaudible] delivering free valuable consistent content seven days a week and just delivering, delivering, delivering value and then letting my audience grow and then my audience tell me the way that I can monetize and so I once I got to the tipping point with my audience fire nation and what they told me exactly what they needed and what they wanted and what their struggles and pain points were.
I could then turn around, create a solution for them George, often a solution then create a [inaudible] business.
Success Harbor: So Podcaster paradise is your biggest source of income, what gave you the idea to create this community of paid members, how did you come to that idea?
John Lee Dumas: So exactly using the method that I just shared, I would reach out, my audience would reach out to me and say, John, loving the podcast, thank you for the content, I would respond with the most powerful question you can ask your audience, what are you struggling with? And there answers John were, I create my own podcast on how to make sure my messages with the world, how can I create a podcast that allows me to share my voice, allows me to roll an audience, allows me to monetize my business and all these questions kept coming George and the answer for me was an aha moment.
I need to create a community that teaches people how to do just that, how to create, grow and monetize their podcast and that turned the podcast paradise, George since October of two thousand and thirteen so just a little over a year now, we’ve generated over one point three million dollars of revenue and we have over fifteen hundred members since podcast paradise has launched, hundred, if not now thousands of podcast and more coming every single day and just an amazing community that just is every single day they are taking nearly over two hundred video tutorials that we have every part of the process.
They are the accountability match maker tab, we match people up with the accountability partner, the thriving Facebook group where people can ask for guidance, support feedback and give the exact thing, again you get to over fifteen hundred people, it’s amazing [inaudible] level that you get and then we do the monthly webinars with today’s top podcast exclusively for podcast’s paradise in a monthly Q and A session with me.
All of those ideas George, every one of those came with our members, it didn’t come from me, it came from the members of our community telling us what they wanted and what they needed and then us providing that solution.
Success Harbor: So in December of two thousand and twelve, you have interviews, Barbara, everybody knows her, she is in the introduction as a huge, it’s a huge win for you but it was back in two thousand and five so I mean today it was a lot easier when you just said, you know I have millions of downloads and hundreds of thousands of subscribers or…in hundred and forty five countries subscribed to us in a hundred and forty five [inaudible] support but you were talking about two years almost two years ago so how did you land someone like Barbara?
John Lee Dumas: See that’s a great question because it’s not easy, cause you don’t have that sort of credibility, you don’t have that social proof but you do have what you do have and that’s what I use, I did have a platform, I did have a podcast that was live, I did have a podcast that was rated one point number one and number one in [inaudible], Notebook or iTunes, I did have a lot of [inaudible] guests, by December I’d already interviewed close to a hundred people and I was able to share all of these numbers with Barbara and just say, listen this is what I’ve done thus far, this podcast is only growing, your episode is going to be ever green, meaning that people when they hear about entrepreneur [inaudible] for the first time, they are going to go back and listen to that episode like it was the very first time.
Because for them it is and that’s again another power of podcasting and I just listen to very much the value [inaudible], I would be adding value to her twitter, her tweets, I’d be adding value to her social media in any way possible leading up to me asking that question so when I did, I didn’t come across as a complete stranger, she made a comment on [inaudible] where she said, I love the military, I’ll do anything for them and so I started off the E mail by saying, I’m a US army veteran, I spend thirteen months in the army and you say you’ll do anything for the military, I’m asking for twenty five minutes of your time to talk to me about your journey with my audience.
That’s a pretty powerful ask and it’s pretty hard to say no to that, on National TV, you just proclaim you’ll do anything to the military, well here’s a veteran that has spent thirteen months at war, after twenty five minutes and that was a pretty easy guess for her.
Success Harbor: We only have two minutes left so really quickly, can you talk about, I know you have multiple BA’s that are helping you, in the beginning, what were some of the first things that you outsourced?
John Lee Dumas: So the first things that I definitely outsourced is any redundant task meaning you know tasks that might be used to [inaudible], sending E mail reminder to our upcoming guests, sending thank you messages to past guests, going ahead and entering, in the bio, the Skype ID name and entering the calendar, all of the interviews that I was scheduling, I’m scheduling social media releases and tweets and Facebook posts via [inaudible], doing all of the tasks that are very redundant, that’s what I use my BA’s for, so my suggestion to anybody is, take no over the course of one week, right now everything that you’re doing and then go back on Friday night and look at the tasks that you are doing over and over again.
But if you could just sit down at one time and create a video tutorial using a tool like JING or SNAGGET and you can just show a BA how to do it that will be completely taken off your plate, opening up so much bandwidth and energy that you previously didn’t have.
Success Harbor: Well John I really want to thank you for coming on success harbor and I want to thank you for your service as well and I do wish you much more continued success with entrepreneur on fire, how can people contact your….connect with you, find out some of the projects that you’re working on right now?
John Lee Dumas: So George all the magic happened at EOFire.com and I highly would recommend anybody that thinks podcasting might be for them, go ahead and check out our free weakly podcast workshops, we do them every week when they are free, they are alive, you can ask them any questions you have, that’s podcasters paradise dot com and also George I’d love to get all listeners a gift, my book podcast launch completely free, no E mail required, just go to EOFire.com/gift.
Success Harbor: John and everyone else, thank you very much.
John Lee Dumas: Thanks George, bye.
Success Harbor: Thank you.