I love reading inspirational quotes and Gandhi’s quote really stuck with me. “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
My friends, we all want the gold but we don’t love the grind. What’s up with that?
So many people go after mentors just because they’re successful at something. They need to be successful at what you are wanting to do.
When my mental bandwidth is the highest, that’s when I go into action mode. First thing in the morning, the first hour is me producing my best content, period.
“They need to be successful at what you are wanting to do.” – John Lee Dumas
I’m the host of EOFire, an award-winning podcast where I interview today’s most inspiring and successful entrepreneurs seven days a week.
In four years, I’ve interviewed over 1600 entrepreneurs, amassed over 40 million listens and have turned EOFire into a multi-million-dollar-a-year business.
I’ve created two journals to help guide entrepreneurs to success: “The Freedom Journal” and “The Mastery Journal.”
I’m John Lee Dumas and here are my top ten rules for success.
Rule #1: Be the Change You Want To See
Five years ago, almost to the day, is when I first heard about podcasting for the same reason.Because I was sick and tired of Miley Cyrus on the radio.
I even went to the sports radio, but I’m not a Padres or Chargers fan so I wasn’t loving the sports talk radio either. And these commercials were so long, so I found podcasting as a listener and I fell in love with the medium.
I got it right away, on-demand targeted content. You can listen to it and you can really connect with people. And I started listening to people like Pat Flynn who has now become my good friend.
He’s right here in San Diego. Andrew Warner, David Siteman Garland, these guys inspired me and I said, “Man, I don’t have to follow this traditional route that I thought I had to.” Coming from a very traditional family, military, et cetera, and my eyes were opened.
And it still was a couple years before I made that leap but in September of 2012, that was the day that I launched Entrepreneur On Fire. Here we are just 1000 episodes later now, which is crazy to think.
That is crazy.
“I decided to stop just whining and complaining about the fact that it didn’t exist and step forward and make it exist.” – John Lee Dumas
Seven days a week and we average over one million unique listens per month in over 145 countries, so it’s really become a platform that reaches the world. Which I love.
So when you think of just like, almost becoming a lawyer and being in some of those moments, what was it that bubbled over where you said “I just can’t take it any more.” Where you’re just like “You know what, I have to just do something different.” Because last time we had a lot of folks that have quit their jobs, replaced income, and so if you’re in that E quadrant that we talked about on the cash flow quadrant.
Interviewer: So what was it that just said, you know, “I can’t take it anymore, I’m just going to go for it.”
For me, what was the really big boil-over point is I was in commercial real estate and I did enjoy a lot of the profession, but the reality was this: I locked down a huge deal, and it was going to be a big commission check and I was not excited about it. I was like “Man, I am not excited about locking down what’s going to turn out to be a five-figure check.” Because I’m like “Now I’ve got to write the contract up, I got to do this, I got to do that.”
And I’m sure a lot of people in this room can resonate with either your current or your past jobs, just not being excited about what it’s going to take to get to do what you need to do.
And I said “If I’m not even excited about bringing in this big commission, this is as good as it gets. IS this the rest of my life, is this what the rest of my life is going to be like, where I’m just looking at the watch, trying to make a beeline home as soon as possible, locking down big deals, not even caring.
Is that going to be my life?” And I said “That’s it, I refuse to live a life on those terms, I want to take control.” It had always been at the back of my mind, I’m loving listening to these interviews with inspiring entrepreneurs.
Pat Flynn’s podcast was twice a month, David Siteman Garland’s once a week, Andrew Warner, once a week. And they were bringing on great guests and telling great stories, and I was listening to these interviews as I was driving to work being like “Man, I need more of these.
Because I’m driving to five days a week, hitting the gym, I need more.” And I couldn’t find it. And so the idea was in the back of my mind. I love reading inspirational quotes, and Gandhi’s quote really stuck with me. “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I wanted to see a seven-day-a-week podcast.
I didn’t know if anybody else wanted to see that, but I decided to stop just whining and complaining about the fact that it didn’t exist and step forward and make it exist.
Rule #2: Love the Grind
My friends, we all want the gold but we don’t love the grind. What’s up with that? I get it. We see entrepreneurs that we admire having these amazing experiences around the world, we see that Olympian with tears streaming down their face as the Stars and Stripes go up and “The Star-Spangled Banner” is playing.
“Set a goal, make it big, make it meaningful, and then start the grind. Start it today.” – John Lee Dumas
But my friends, that’s just a snapshot of the success of their lives. You don’t see that 10 years of failure that that entrepreneur went through to get to success.
You don’t see those four years of sweat that Olympian had to put in to get that gold medal. No, we just want that gold medal. We don’t even think about the grind that it took to stand on that podium.
It’s time for a mindset shift, Fire Nation. I’ve interviewed over 1400 successful entrepreneurs, and they all love the grind. You must love the grind. So set a goal, make it big, make it meaningful, and then start the grind. Start it today.
Rule #3: Find Mentors
The smartest thing that I really should say that I did and my biggest early success was making that realization that I needed a mentor. Because again, I only knew how to press Play on a podcast, nothing else.
So I looked out there to the podcasters that were currently at where I wanted to be. That’s so critical, so many people go after mentors just because they’re successful at something.
They need to be successful at what you are wanting to do. They need to be where you want to be. And for three months and a heavy investment on my part, rightfully so, I was mentored by Jamie. And that’s just what opened up so many doors so quickly.
Interviewer: Okay now, we had a great question from Facebook which was: If someone is starting right now and they can’t afford that kind of investment to find a mentor or coach, what do you suggest that they do? Because at the very beginning, it seems like you have no doors and no connections. You’re just like, yourself alone starting a podcast in your basement.
Interviewer: What do you suggest to them?
“The smartest thing that I really should say that I did and my biggest early success was making that realization that I needed a mentor.” – John Lee Dumas
So number one, I would say getting that one-on-one mentor is critical. So if you know you can’t afford X, think about what you actually can afford. What can you invest, what dollar amount, and then just go.
For me, a great example, I have people that come to me now all the time, and say “John, can you mentor me to be a podcaster?” And I don’t even have a price anymore. I don’t one-on-one mentor anymore, I focus on other parts of my business, But I’m able to say “I’m sorry, I don’t mentor but I have a couple great options for you.
What’s your price range? Let me introduce you, hand you off to an amazing mentor who loves doing this, who’s great at what he does, or what she does, and then you’ll be off to the races.”
Fortune favors the bold, so still reach out with that mentality. And also offer what kind of value are you going to exchange? Maybe you’re willing to run their Twitter account and maybe you’re willing to create some images or some design for them.
Think about the bartering that you can do, trading your time, which is valuable, saving them time. There can be some really cool things that you can exchange that doesn’t have to necessarily be dollars and cents.
And then also I do want to add, there’s also some great group coaching out there that’s a lot cheaper. And then, somebody that you’ve interviewed as well, Lewis Howes, as well as myself, we run membership masterminds.
He runs the School of Greatness. I run Fire Nation Elite. These are membership masterminds that are around 100 people each. And so it’s a lot less expensive.
Rule #4: Embrace Fear
Whenever people reach out to me and say “I’m doubting what I’m doing,” I say “Well, congratulations, you’re a human being.” That’s what it means to be a human.
“We need to learn not to let it control our lives but to embrace that fear. And so I still have it, every single day.” – John Lee Dumas
You doubt what you do, it’s that voice inside our head. It’s innate in all of us. We’re born with the Imposter Syndrome, so we don’t walk outside of the cave at dark with a saber-toothed tiger.
It’s like there’s a voice saying “Don’t walk outside, it’s dangerous.” But we don’t live in that same world anymore. But we still have that inside our head, and that’s fine, but we need to learn not to let it control our lives but to embrace that fear. And so I still have it, every single day.
We talked about my revenue last month. I still wake up and say “Man, should I be doing, should I do this webinar?” I have these doubts and these fears. That’s just a reality and I’ve just learned to embrace that.
Rule #5: Dare Greatly
This quote is by the ex-President Theodore Roosevelt. He delivered this in Paris back in 1910. “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. Credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by blood, by dirt, by sweat, who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deeds, who has great enthusiasms and great devotions and spends himself on a worthy cause. Who, at the best in the end, knows high achievement, and at the worst, if he fails, he fails daring greatly, so that his place will never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Rule #6: Listen To Your Gut
I had this mentor, Jamie, and I was in Cliff Ravenscraft’s broadcast mastermind, and they said “John, you’re insane, it’s going to be so much work.
Don’t do a seven-day-a-week podcast, do a one-day-a-week podcast.” And I think this is really important too, is that you need, as an entrepreneur, to really take the great feedback and the great advice from those who have come before you, from those who are mentoring you, but at the same time you need to listen to your gut, to your intuition.
“I listened to my heart, I listened to my gut, and I think that’s so important for people to realize that you’re going to have something in your gut that’s telling you to do something and hopefully it’s something that is unique and it is different.” – John Lee Dumas
I took so many great pieces of advice from both Cliff and Jamie and applied it to my business, but when it came to a seven-day-a-week podcast, my intuition, my gut was telling me it had to be that way.
That’s what I was meant to create. I had the military discipline, I knew how to create systems, I knew how to work hard. I had the finances to allow me to do so for a significant amount of time without being distracted by other things.
I knew that I could make it happen, I knew that was going to be my USP, that unique selling proposition, my differentiator.
So I listened to my heart, I listened to my gut, and I think that’s so important for people to realize that you’re going to have something in your gut that’s telling you to do something and hopefully it’s something that is unique and it is different. And make sure you follow that.
Rule #7 Commit
“If you can commit to getting to that tipping point, then that tipping point’s going to happen when you’re doing the free, valuable and consistent content.” – John Lee Dumas
Interviewer: I think a lot of people that are going to watch this, that are watching, that start podcasts or have podcasts, or want to start them. So what’s kind of the right way to do it for you?
If you are willing to step back and say “Hey, I am going to commit to delivering free, valuable and consistent content,” those three things. “I’m going to commit to delivering free, valuable, and consistent content,” you are going to grow an audience in your niche.
If you can commit to getting to that tipping point, then that tipping point’s going to happen when you’re doing the free, valuable and consistent content.
You will get to revenue, but it’s not going to come overnight, over one month. It’s going to take time, and that’s why I’m not against a side hustle.
Rule #8: Start In Action Mode
I want to talk for just a minute about action versus reaction. Such a critical concept. So many people start their day in reaction mode. “Let me grab my phone, let me see what’s on X, let’s see what’s on Y, let’s see what’s on Z. Facebook, what’s in my email, what do people want from me?”
“Start to be intentional about when you act, and when you react. And remember, use your best mental bandwidth, your energy, for action.” – John Lee Dumas
If you start in reaction mode, you’re likely going to end in reaction mode. No bueno. We don’t want to start or end in reaction mode. How about this, we’re going to start in action mode.
We’re going to take actions that are going to improve our business, add value to what we’re bringing in value to other’s lives.
When my mental bandwidth is the highest, that’s when I go into action mode, first thing in the morning. The first hour is me producing my best content, period.
I’m not going to spend my best mental bandwidth answering somebody’s emails, someone’s questions, someone’s ask, want, need. No, it’s your best mental bandwidth.
Reaction’s part of the game though, realize you do need to engage, you do need to answer those emails, those tweets, those Facebook messages. Did you Snapchat me? I’m answering back, that is part of the game.
Start to be intentional about when you act, and when you react. And remember, use your best mental bandwidth, your energy, for action.
Rule #9: Press “Launch”
Fire Nation, as entrepreneurs, we love getting right to the finish line and then never crossing it. You want to know why? Because as long as we’re living in the pre-launch mode, we’re living in the fairy world of “this might work, it might work,” but as soon as you press Publish thn it gets real, then the market tells you if this is going to work or not.
“There’s one way to win: press Launch. Let the market decide.” – John Lee Dumas
You either win or you lose. And we are terrified of losing. We want to live in that comfortable pre-launch stage of where everything and anything is possible.
Fire Nation, everybody told me EOFire would not work, that a daily podcast was doomed to fail, so I kept pushing back my launch so I could live in my fairy world of this might.
I wanted my dream to stay alive a little longer, until I pushed that go button, that publish button, EOFire was still possibly a success. Reality hadn’t set in.
So yes, your chances of losing are a lot less pre-launch, but your chances of winning are zero.
So take this away, Fire Nation. You will lose if you remain in your fairy-tele land of pre-launch, and you will never win. There’s one way to win: press Launch. Let the market decide.
Rule #10: Find Your Path
The alarm clock would go off very early, every single morning. I’d wake up, I’d check my phone immediately for any emails that had come in, and then it’d be shower, shave, dress in my full suit, and jump in a car.
And that car, to me, represented my first kind of drudgery task for the day. It made me feel trapped because I had done all the right things.
I had gone to college,
I had been an officer in the Army for eight years,
I had gone to corporate finance.
I had worked with John Hancock,
I’d done commercial real estate,
I had done all the right things, and now here I was, stuck on this hamster wheel going nowhere, inspiring nobody, especially not myself, and just feeling like I was trapped in this world that I had created.
“I was devastated, but at that moment, at that devastation moment, that is truly when my “ah-ha” moment happened.” – John Lee Dumas
And it was a sinking pit in my stomach, and I just was wondering “Why? Why have I not found what I’m looking for when I’ve done everything that I was told I was supposed to do? Here I am, years later, on the same hamster wheel, feeling like I’m even further behind where I thought I was five years ago.” And this sinking mundane feeling would just not go away.
It was ever-present with me, and I just wanted freedom. And I just wanted freedom. I just wanted to do work that I was inspired by, and I just wanted to do work that inspired others.
So there I was, stuck in traffic again. But at least I had my podcasts, or so I thought. Then, before I knew it, poof. My last podcast had ended, and I scrolled through my iPod and there was nothing left.
And I thought to myself, “Man, I have to sit here for another 45 minutes in traffic, with nothing but the radio?” I was devastated, but at that moment, at that devastation moment, that is truly when my “ah-ha” moment happened. That’s when the light bulb went off.
I said “What? There’s not a seven-day-a-week podcast? There should be a podcast that comes out every single day of the week, that interviews inspiring and successful entrepreneurs.”
And that’s when I had my light bulb moment, I said “There should be someone that creates it, why not me? I know all these great entrepreneurs who are hosts of their own shows, I could be just like them, I can do this.” So I had all of these thoughts swirling in my head.
“Am I going to fail, am I going to look like a fool in front of my friends and family, who up to this point had only seen me as a success.” And these were real fears.
I used to wake up sweating in the middle of the night, saying “What am I doing, this is insane.” And the only way that I would be able to go back to sleep was by convincing myself that when I woke up in the morning, I was going to give it all up and go crawling back to my job in commercial real estate.
But luckily for me, I would wake up in the morning, the sun would be shining, and I’d say “You know what, I’m going to give it one more day. One more day, I’m going to sit down. I’m going to learn what it takes to upload a media file. I’m going to learn how to create great audio. I’m going to learn what it takes to be an interviewer, a host of a show.”
And every single day I would get shot down, I would struggle, I would come up against another wall that would knock me down, but I kept getting up, I kept taking one step forward for every half-step that I was taking back.
And slowly but surely, I saw myself turning in to a podcaster, right before my very own eyes. And it was a slow process, but it did come and I was able to continue to move forward, until the launch of Entrepreneur On Fire on September 22nd, cause at that point, there was no turning back.
Fire Nation, look what we’ve created. Look at the inspiration we’ve spread throughout this world. A podcast, seven days a week, interviewing the most inspiring and successful entrepreneurs in the world.
Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki, Tim Ferriss, Gary Vaynerchuk. We are listened to in over 145 countries, millions and millions of unique downloads. Fire Nation, look at what we’ve created. Look at what we’ve done. And we’ve just started.
Evan: Thank you guys so much for watching. I made this video because Ethan Pariseau asked me to, so if there’s a famous entrepreneur that you want me to profile next, leave it in the comments below and I’ll see what I can do.
I’d also love to know, what did John say that really resonated with you, what lessons are you going to take and apply to your life or to your business? Leave it in the comments and I’m going to join in the discussion.
Thank you guys again for watching. I believe in you, I hope you continue to believe in yourself and whatever your one word is. Much love, I’ll see you soon.