John Lee Dumas is the Founder and host of the top ranked business podcast, EntrepreneurOnFire. It’s a daily podcast where he interviews the most brilliant entrepreneurs of today. It generates over 175,000 unique downloads every single month in over 145 countries.
What is your background in regards to your education and experience?
I was born and raised in the state of Maine. At 18 I went to college with an army’s scholarship and I spent 4 years as a Cadet in college. Over the next 4 years I was an Officer for the US Army and during that time I spent 13 months in Iraq. This experience was pretty intense but I made back safe and sounds. At 26 years old I was out of the Army and I started to travel around. I went to Guatemala, India, Nepal and when I returned to the United States I decided to jump into some corporate finance with a company called John Hancock. After that I tried some real estate and worked in a tech start-up. Finally I was just driving around and listening to podcast and I said “you know what, I can do it better!”, I can make a daily podcast that interviews and inspires entrepreneurs. I did that and EntrepreneurOnFire was born in June 2012. It has been going strong ever since.
Which knowledge or experience has facilitated your career?
I was always traveling in my car and I wanted to consume great content but I hated the radio and the talk shows. I fell in love with podcast: they are on demand, you can press play/pause whenever you want and they are free. So my AHA moment was when I realize that there are a lot of entrepreneurs out there with amazing stories that needed a platform to share those and nobody was doing it, especially on a daily basis.
If you could go back, what would you do better and what wouldn’t you do at all?
Going back I would change my attitude. You have to realize that you are not just going to start and be successful. It is a process. You need to be persistent; I was persistent but I did let my confidence slack a couple of time. If I could go back I would say to myself “Hey, keep your head up John!”. What I wouldn’t do is spend a lot of time, money and effort at the very beginning on my explanation video. It’s a 60 seconds video that gives you a summary of what the website is about in a cartoon format. It wasn’t very important and there were other things I should have focused on like growing my audience or improving my interview skills.
What were your biggest difficulties?
Learning all the technical aspect of how to produce a podcast. Like recording, editing, formatting, uploading to a media host, getting the RSS feed etc. I had to learn everything from scratch. I’m kind of jealous of people now because I’ve just written a book call “Podcast Launch” that really lays everything out for people who want to create a podcast. It comes with 15 video tutorials that just walk you through every step of the process. I wish I had that when I started.
Who was or is your mentor?
I was very lucky because living near to me was another podcaster, Jamie Tardy of eventualmillionaire.com . I contacted her asking for help and explained what I wanted to do. She was available for coaching so I jumped in. She has been my mentor since June 2012. We went to Blog World, a major conference, New York City. There I meet amazing successful people who agreed to be interviewed for my show and gave me a reputation for the future interviews. Without her this wouldn’t be possible.
Did you have a vision when you started? How is your podcast now compared to that vision?
The vision of EntrepreneurOnFire is to inspire millions of people. That’s always been my goal and now that the podcast is getting over 175,000 download/month in over 145 countries it’s definitely on it’s way to fulfill that vision on mine.
What motivates you at work?
Every morning I am motivated to wake up, open my email and read from somebody else somewhere around the world saying something like “Thanks John, EntrepreneurOnFire inspired me to start my dream and every single day your interviews give me more courage, more reinforcement and better resources that allow me to do that”.
What gives you satisfaction at work?
As I said I love hearing stories from people who receive benefits from my work. It also gives me satisfaction hearing from entrepreneurs I interviewed who say that people still contact them about the interview. I love the fact that EntrepreneurOnFire is now big enough worth making an impact on these successful entrepreneur.
What would you suggest to the people who want to start a company?
There are great resources out there like Mixergy or Rise to the top who do interviews inspiring successful entrepreneurs. There are some amazing books. One I usually recommend because most people have never heard of it is called “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy which is all about how to do little things every day ends up in something big. And of course listen to my podcast every single day.
What do you think is the best habit which allows you to get the best results in yourlife/work?
Create a schedule and stick to it. That was taught to us in the Army when I was an Officer. What I discover is that without a schedule every single activity will take up all your time because activities always use up to the time that is allotted to them. It’s just a fact of life. For example, if you only give yourself an hour to do something, it doesn’t matter how much or how little that work is, you are going to take an hour to do it.
How do you set your goals?
I set them very attainable and very short term. In fact, I don’t think that in this age, where everything is evolving so fast, you can set long term goals because the world will be completely different. That way I only set goals maximum 3 months out. So I have a goal I want to achieve in a weekly, monthly and 3 months basis.
What do you think makes a podcast successful in your industry?
I think 3 things make a podcast successful: 1) Content. You can do everything correct with the podcast in this industry but if your content stinks, if you are not giving helpful information nobody is going to come back and listen to your podcast again, and the word of mouth won’t work either. 2) Quality of your audio. When you do a podcast you are literally inside people’s head and people don’t want background noise like dogs barking, phone ringing etc. People want to hear good quality audio. 3) Consistency. You wake up every morning and you know that there is going to be an episode of EntrepreneurOnFire waiting for you. Keep your pledge with your audience keeps people coming back.
What is success for you?
A great definition for success is: “Success is a gradual realization of a worthy goal”. I can see this definition in my work where every day I’m gradually reaching a bigger audience and I’m realizing my goal of inspire millions of people
What would you suggest to your child if they had just graduated?
I would say: “Listen, you need to really take a long walk and get lost in your own thoughts. You have to figure out what it is that gives you excited, makes you want to achieve more, make you wake up in the morning and run outside to start your day. After you figured it out find a niche within that and find a way to make it a valuable business. Every niche has a valuable business waiting for it.”
Would you like to add something?
What I always hear from successful entrepreneurs when I ask them what they attribute their success to they say they just started. If you have a passion go for it. You may say that you don’t have time or you have too many responsibilities but I’m sure you have an hour a day (that you probably spend watching television or surfing the web) where you can really make progress toward your passion and your goal. If you can commit to that one-hour-a-day you will be amazed at the progress you will make in 6 months.