John Lee Dumas shares 8 tips that helped him become a successful entrepreneur. They include working hard, having accountability, and 100% commitment.
Interview with John Lee Dumas
John Lee Dumas Bio
John Lee Dumas grew up in Maine and was an active duty Army Officer for four years, he tried Law School and was a 1st semester dropout. Then he then tried Corporate Finance, Commercial Real Estate and felt he was just in the grind of going to work and getting a paycheck.
While on the way to work one day he had an epiphany when a podcast he was listening to finished and he had nothing but the radio to listen to for the next 45 minutes. He wondered why there wasn’t a 7-day-per-week podcast to help make his commute be more productive.
Then came the “ah-ha” moment. He had the thought that he could do it. He could start that 7-day-per-week podcast. And he did. Podcasting has since become his passion.
JLD is the host of Entrepreneurs on Fire, which is an award winning podcast where he interviews inspiring Entrepreneurs who are truly ON FIRE. With over 2000 episodes, 1 million + listens a month, and seven-figures of annual revenue, he is just getting started.
John is the author of Podcast Launch, The 100-Day Goal Journal, The Freedom Journal, The Mastery Journal, and the Podcast Journal.
John currently lives in Puerto Rico where he enjoys watching the sunrise and living the dream.
The Keys to Being Successful
Benjamin Hardy wrote, “Making a commitment means you’re seeing it through to the end. It means you are leaving yourself no escape routes. You are burning any bridges that might lead to lesser paths of distraction. Your decision has been made. There’s no going back. You’ve passed your point of no return.”
Dr. Hardy once studied what made the difference between would-be entrepreneurs and successful entrepreneurs. One of the things he noticed was that those who were successful seemed to burn the bridge to their past which tended to force them to commit fully to their future. They had a point of no return.
When I asked JLD if he had seen this in his own life, he explained it had happened to him several times. After experiencing what he did serving full-time in the military in Iraq, John came home determined to make a difference in the world. “I had seen how precious life is and how quickly things can be altered, changed or taken away. I had that desire, but it didn’t translate into instant success.”
He spent the next 6 years trying to find what that focus was going to be. He tried law, finance, real estate and he was successful because he was committed and “all in.” John quickly found out that these avenues he was trying were awesome but just weren’t satisfying his need to make a difference. So, he burned that bridge and moved to the next thing wholly committed.
Be 100% Committeed
The lesson John learned from this is to commit 100% to whatever you do. Give it time to see if it is the right thing. If it isn’t, then don’t be afraid change your plan and pivot until you find your true mission in life.
This also gave John an opportunity to “taste” and then eliminate things that weren’t for him. But each career he tried took him one step closer to what was his one true mission in life.
When John committed to podcasting he was all in! He wasn’t going to be a weekly podcaster. He was going to be a daily podcaster. “How does anybody become good at anything doing it once a week? You don’t. There is no professional athlete that’s practiced one a week that has become a professional athlete. It just doesn’t happen.” So, John had to put in the reps 2000 days in a row making 2000 episodes to become who he is today.
- 2200 episodes
- 80 million listens
- 60 million dollars in total revenue
John concludes looking at his past by saying, “it was a good bridge to burn.”
How to Face Rejection
In the early days of John’s podcasting he knew that he was a nobody in podcasting and so he wasn’t surprised when nine times out of every ten he was rejected.
When I asked John if any of the rejections were particularly hard on him and slowed his forward progress he answered, “No rejections were hard because I had the right attitude. Why should these people want to be on my show anyway?”
But John also knew if he put in the reps and enough work that one out of every ten would say “yes.” And then that one could turn in to three or four and it would snowball.
So, in four months he recorded 40 interviews–but he had queried between 400 and 4000 entrepreneurs.
“Every rejection was not a surprise. It was expected,” John explained, “I’m a big believer that you have to get nine ‘no’s’ to get to a valuable ‘yes.’ So I loved the ‘no’s’ because to me that was just getting me one ‘no’ closer to that eventual ‘yes.'”
Lesson: Getting a no or a rejection is just part of the process.
Lessons from the Lowest Low
When John launched his podcast, Entrepreneurs on Fire (EO Fire), it became a mini success right away. Back in 2012 podcasting wasn’t what it is today. There weren’t as many podcasts nor listeners. So, when something new came out, people noticed. No one had ever done a daily podcast before. EO Fire became a hit on iTunes “New and Noteworthy” List and had over 1,000 listens to each episode because it was featured as the #1 new podcast for eight weeks.
Well, on week eight, day 1 (when a podcast would no longer qualify for the New and Noteworthy list), EO Fire wasn’t featured anymore and John’s numbers plummeted 80%.
Over the next week, John’s numbers for his podcast kept going down. He began to wonder, “Is this the beginning of the end? How is anybody ever going to hear about the show anymore?” He just had this sinking feeling.
One of the good things that John did was that he was always recording 40-45 episodes ahead of what was launching. So, even if he did stop interviewing he had a month or two of content scheduled to launch.
John watched as his numbers bottomed out and 100 and then 400 listens per day. And then they slowly started growing slowly but surely. Now they are anywhere from 40 to 100 thousand listens per day–and over 1 million listens per month. John is quick to remind that this isn’t his first year podcasating. This is year seven.
It takes time to allow for growth. Be patient!
Move Forward As If
So, JLD’s focus was on building the future–even if you cannot see it. And move forward “as if” you were already successful. Now that doesn’t mean that he was fully confident. “I was moving forward with some anxiety and fear and with hope. That was really what I was moving forward with.”
When I asked him how he dealt with the anxiety, John responded, “I just got up and did the work every single day. I had a plan and I executed. And I think that is where a lot of people will fail. They don’t have a plan to execute on every single day. So when things start struggling, it is really easy to lose your way.”
“So even though I had the fear and the doubt and the anxiety and the stress I still had a plan to execute on every single day.” So, John got up each day and did what he needed to do.
Lesson learned: make a plan and stick to it no matter what.
The Importance of Accountability
“You have got to find your tribe,” John quickly replied when I asked him for any final tips to those who are struggling to find hope.
What he means by this is to find people who you know, like and trust to help you form a mastermind.
JLD explains you don’t want more than four people and no fewer than three “because that is the sweet spot.” And then every week you get together with your mastermind and you “commiserate, you share your wins, you share your losses.”
Then you rotate through each week and put one person on the “hot seat” and grill them for 45 minutes on their biggest struggle. You brainstorm and find solutions. Then the group is in it together. “When you have the accountability and you have the support, you are much more likely to get through the ‘dips.’ Because we all hit the dips.”
Tamara’s Takeaways from JLD’s episode
1. Figure out what is holding you back and burn that bridge
For me, this was fear of bullying as I started my podcast. Believe it or not, this bullying stemmed from 6th grade. Seriously? I thought I was over that–that I had forgiven those people and moved on. But sometimes when you are going to take bold steps forward, past injuries surface and you have to deal with them before you can move forward.
I had to write about my fear and realized it stemmed from the bullying and this fear was resurfacing because by podcasting I was putting myself out there and making myself vulnerable. So, I really had some good heart-to-hearts with God talking it through with Him. Finally it boiled down to the question, “Do I trust God is leading me on the right path?” The answer was yes.
So, I set my goal and let that vision pull me past the fear into the launch.
I did this again recently at a Richard Paul Evans Premier Author Training. Rick had us write about our past hurts in a notebook and then we had a “Book Burning Party.” Seriously, we burned the notebooks with all of our past hurts in it. We let go of those things that prevented us from moving forward and we gave them to God.
That evening I felt my burdens lift. My past injuries were not going to impede me anymore. I now saw my challenges as stepping stones like JLD that helped me learn and grow. They were not stumbling blocks any longer.
2. Be 100% Committed
JLD commented also that when he tried something new he committed himself to try it 100%. He knew if he gave it his all he would be able to discern if this was the right path for him. If he didn’t give it his all, how could he have ever known if this was the path that would help him make the difference in the world he wanted to make?
The same can be true for each of us. So few people are committed and driven. Inc.com reported “According to 2015 data from Gallup, only 32 percent of employees in the U.S. are engaged. Their data, which was largely unchanged from 2014 and previous years, shows that 51 percent of employees are unengaged, and 17 percent are actively disengaged.”
This article continues to teach how to change this by, “Consistently show[ing] your team how the work they do benefits the lives of the people they serve in a positive way.” Truth is, people want to make a difference. If you want to be more committed, figure out how what you are doing makes a difference and remind yourself of that on a regular basis.
Personally, I have found that releasing a regular a podcast takes a lot of commitment. I am no where in the same league as JLD, since he released a podcast daily, but doing something consistently takes drive and commitment.
Figure out how what you do is changing the world, and give it 100%. You will be happier.
3. Be Prepared
One of the things which impressed me the most was that JLD was about 45 episodes ahead of the day he was launching. How many of us are that prepared for the next 45 days of our lives? I know I am not.
Alexander Graham Bell said, “Before everything else, preparation is the key to success.” I have found that to be true in my life.
I remember when my kids were young and challenging. They were so busy that going anywhere with them usually required a LOT of preparation. This included going to church on Sundays. I found that if I was prepared for church the night before that everything generally went much more smoothly.
I had to get the quiet toys ready and by the door in a bag. I set out each child’s clothes and shoes and socks for church. I also knew I had to get up before them so I could be ready to go. When I was prepared, we were much more successful at arriving at church without my blowing a fuse (which was an achievement in and of itself.)
We can apply this notion of being prepared in our own lives in so many ways. It isn’t just being prepared in business, it is being prepared for life. Preparation for any venture, whether with special needs kids or in business is key.
If you feel you are lacking in this, pick one area in which you can improve. Then try to be better prepared in that one area. Then life will go a little more smoothly like it did for JLD with his podcast and me with getting to church on Sunday.
4. Be Patient
I once heard the quote, “Be patient. Great things take time. Empires aren’t built in a day.”
This is true for our lives as well. In this digital society we often want things right now. But we must remember that most good things take time. Healing take time. Work takes times to produce results. Diets and exercise take time to sculpt our bodies to become more healthy. Children take time to teach, grow and learn. And our lives take time to live and figure things out.
As one wise leader once admonished, “This is a race of endurance. We have to apply and reapply the divine. . . principles. Day after day we need to make them part of our normal life.
Too often we [are] like a farmer who places a seed in the ground in the morning and expects corn on the cob by the afternoon” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, The Way of the Disciple).
If we are after good results, we must realize that one week or one month of trying isn’t going to produce an eternity of results. It is only by patient diligence doing things that push us to reach our goals that we will achieve the reward.
5. Move Forward As If
“What you envision in your mind, how you see yourself and how you envision the world around you is of great importance, because those things become your focus.”–Eric Thomas
Vision boards and visualizing results are a big thing right now. I have a vision board above my desk. It is filled with quotes to remind me I can do hard things and that God will be with me. It also has my monthly and yearly goals so I can see them daily.
As I read these almost daily it reminds me of my goal: to inspire hope. That is why I write, podcast and speak. It is because I remember what it feels like to be in despair and I want to help others who are in that same space. I want to inspire them to hang on because life truly does get better.
Having a vision enabled JLD to move forward as if he was already receiving the rewards of his hard work.
Having a vision has also enabled me to move forward as if I am already a successful podcaster, speaker and author. When we are trying to extend our reach beyond our current goals, we need a powerful vision to pull us forward. Most importantly, we must believe we can become who we want to become.
Tony Robbins said, “If you talk about it, it’s a dream. If you envision it, it’s possible. But if you schedule it, it’s real.” Vision combined with hard works makes dreams become a reality.
6. Rejection is part of the process
When I asked John if any of the rejections were particularly hard on him and slowed his forward progress he answered, “No rejections were hard because I had the right attitude.”
Wow! This is such a powerful way to look at hard things in life! I think the concept of having hardship and rejection is universal. The thing which differentiates successful people from those who are not is how they view their past. Do they view it as something they should get down and depressed about because of the rejection? OR do they have a winning mentality of that challenges are just stepping stones? Look at everything I learned from that trial!
This is what I would define as a growth mindset. As I have interviewed successful people on my podcast I have found a common thread: Instead of looking back and seeing hardships as things that weighed them down, they have seen them as stepping stones to learn from. Hardships were used to propel successful people forward with added wisdom and strength.
There is a great quote that says, “Sometimes the most important lessons in life are the ones we learn the hard way.”
7. Stick to Daily Plans in Hard Times
“Even though I had the fear and the doubt and the anxiety and the stress, I still had a plan to execute on every single day.”–John Lee Dumas
Brian Tracy, a motivational speaker, recently reported, “According to the best research, less than 3 percent of Americans have written goals, and less than 1 percent review and rewrite their goals on a daily basis.” Is it any wonder then that we have no idea what to do during difficult times?
I have a planner that I use daily. I also write in my journal daily about goals, ideas, plans, struggles, wishes and dreams.
Are there days where I feel down and exhausted and don’t want to do anything?
But I still use my planner and write in my journal and do my morning routine anyway. It gives me my quiet time with God, and time to figure out what I think my day should look like. Maybe I need to relax. Maybe there is someone who is struggling more than me who I need to text. I won’t know unless I at least stumble along with my routine.
Begin even a simple routine with a checklist and you will be surprised how much you can accomplish in one day!
8. Mastermind Accountability
I joined Benjamin Hardy’s Accelerated Momentum group in October of last year. It was a mastermind that gave us content to inspire us to set powerful goals and move forward toward them with purpose. He promised we’d be 10x more successful this year as we committed and worked hard.
Believe it or not, I have been 10x more successful this year. I have relaunched a new website, launched a podcast, launched a book, and begun writing articles online. I never would have imagined doing all these things.
How do I continue to move forward in powerful ways? I have an amazing accountability group. We text, call, inspire, and motivate each other to keep going with our goals. I have had to share with them my failures, my successes, and you had better believe there have been many times when I am doing one last weekly goal on Saturday evening so I can report that I did it.
Another great perk of having a group is they are great to brainstorm with when you are having a problem or are stuck. We have done weekly accountability via the Marco Polo app, monthly phone calls and now we are doing daily accountability via text. It is powerful! I am more productive because I am accountable daily to three other people.
What are you waiting for? Set some goals and begin an accountability group today!
Contact John Lee Dumas
You can find and contact JLD at https://www.eofire.com/contact/
Books by John Lee Dumas: