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Apr 26, 2021

John Lee Dumas is one of the most successful business podcasters of all time, with more than 1 million listeners, more than 100 million podcasts listen, and many millions of dollars of revenue. Just last month, John’s Entrepreneurs of Fire show generated $313,000. In today’s episode, we’re going to discuss two key principles that helped John achieve this success. 

How John Escaped the Rat Race

It took six years of struggle. Six years of failure. Six years of feeling trapped. 

John Lee Dumas found himself sitting at a red traffic light with a sinking feeling in his stomach. Even after college and eight years as an officer in the army, his life moved at the same rate as his car in rush hour. It was going nowhere. 

“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,” John said. 

As he inched along the roadway, he went to listen to a podcast, only to find he had finished the series. He drove on in the silence for 45 minutes, listening to cars honking, tires rubbing against the asphalt, and the quiet hum of the radio. 

At that moment, a “lightbulb” went on. There needed to be a daily podcast interviewing successful entrepreneurs. “There should be someone who creates it, why not me? I know all these great entrepreneurs who are hosting their own shows. I can be just like them, I can do this,” John said to himself.  

John Lee Dumas is one of my heroes. After years of struggle, John is now the founder and host of the award-winning podcast Entrepreneurs on Fire. With more than 100 million listens, of his more than 3,000 episodes, John has turned Entrepreneurs on Fire into a media empire that generates more than 1 million listens every month and seven figures of net annual revenue for eight years in a row. 

He just published the book The Common Path to Uncommon Success, which I have personally been devouring and loving. John's book, based on thousands of interviews from his highly acclaimed podcast, teaches his revolutionary 17-step roadmap that outlines a proven path for entrepreneurs to achieve the financial location and lifestyle freedom they're looking for. 

From years of failure to years of inspiring success, here are two key principles that helped him do it. 

1. Become a Person of Value: the Solution to Someone’s Problem

“Do not try to become a person of success but try to become a person of value.” – Albert Einstein 

John decided to become a person of value first and foremost. “If you are the number one solution to a real problem in this world, you will win,” he said.  

In John’s book, he says every human is tuned in to the same radio station: WIIFM—What's in it for me. That’s what it all comes down to. People don't care about us and what we're trying to do. They don't care about our business or our branding; they care about how we can help them achieve what really matters to them. 

“[People] will ignore the second-best solution, all the way through to infinity, because people want the best solution to their problem, and if you provide that, you will win,” John said. 

It’s about filling a void, solving a problem, and finding the niche that isn’t being served. Anyone can be passionate, but who cares? It all comes down to the question, “What’s in it for me?” 

“What I saw was a bunch of great business podcasts interviewing entrepreneurs, and they were all doing it one day per week,” John said. “But I had a problem with them because I wanted a podcast that delivered a fresh episode seven days a week . . . So I said, ‘I'm going to fill that void, I'm going to solve that problem.’ And I launched Entrepreneurs on Fire, the first daily podcast interviewing entrepreneurs, and it was a Grand Slam.” 

We can take what we are passionate about (the big idea), determine our niche audience, find a problem, and be the solution.

In order to determine what unique value we can offer, we must keep our eyes open, dive deep into areas of our passions, and uncover problems that aren’t being solved. People will pay good money if you are the best solution to their problem.

A good entrepreneur doesn’t just find a problem and solution and run with it. They must constantly check in and make sure they are meeting their audience’s needs. We can’t assume we know what our audience wants. We must ask them. One of John’s biggest failures was simply because he built and launched a service and then discovered after it was launched that his customers didn’t want the service. Remember, success relies on being able to provide VALUE to our customers. 

4 Questions to Ask Our Audience:

John gave four questions we can ask our audience to help determine how we can increase monetization and the value we offer. 

  1. How did you first hear about me?
  2. What do you like about my content?
  3. What don’t you like about my content?
  4. What is your biggest struggle right now? 

Don’t stop there. John encourages entrepreneurs to continue to diversify their revenue streams. Provide value in different formats. 

Building additional revenue streams will help prepare for unexpected circumstances. In John’s case, he doesn’t only produce a podcast. He has other revenue streams such as affiliate marketing, books, online courses, a membership site, and more. 

We must ask, what is it going to take for people to join our revenue streams? What will it take to keep them in? Every month we must prove we’re worth it to our customers. 

2. Surround Ourselves with Mentors and Peers

“You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Roans 

John shared steps five and six from his book, The Common Path to Uncommon Success.

Step 5. Find your mentor. 

We must get the right people to help us on our journey. A great way to find personal success is by following the clues of success others leave. As John said, “Your best mentor is currently somebody who is where you want to be one year from now.” They are still relevant because they just did what we are about to do. 

One of the most impactful things he learned from his own mentor is that your network will equal your net worth. 

“I've always fostered my network, and that's why I'm so obsessed with Entrepreneurs on Fire and interviewing the world's most successful entrepreneurs and surrounding myself with the right people,” John said. “I truly believe that to the core.” 

Step 6. Create or join a mastermind. 

Being part of a mastermind, or group will help us get to know people and build trust and respect. 

“Everybody deals with fear and doubt,” John said. “I thought I was the only person that was scared to launch a podcast . . . but then I joined a mastermind, and I realized, ‘Oh, everybody feels this way.’ What a comforting feeling supporting and guiding each other through this; it was critical.” 

The most impactful thing John learned in a mastermind is that everybody struggles with fear and doubt. Masterminds provide support and help guide us on our path to success giving us more confidence to move forward.  

Key Takeaways

Thank you so much John for sharing your stories and knowledge with us today. Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:

  1. Become a person of value.
  2. Provide the number one solution to real problems. 
  3. Fill the void. Find the problem that isn’t being solved and be the one who solves it. 
  4. Don’t let failure stop you. 
  5. Follow the clues of success.
  6. Our best mentor is someone who is where we want to be one year from now.
  7. Build our network and surround ourselves with good examples.
  8. Create multiple revenue streams and provide value in more than one format.

Connect with John

If you enjoyed this interview and want to learn more about John, you can find his website at To read his revolutionary 17-step roadmap that outlines a path to financial freedom and fulfillment, go to

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