Episode 24: From Success to Significance with John Lee Dumas

September 27, 2021


Today we have the John Lee Dumas on the show. You probably know him as the host of one of the top podcasts of all time, Entrepreneurs on Fire. John turned his podcast into a media empire that generates over 1 MILLION dollars in revenue each MONTH. He has produced 3,000+ episodes with over 100 million listens! These stats are insane.

So yeah, he has blazed a path in entrepreneurship and podcasting. You don’t want to miss this episode!

John’s first traditionally published book, The Common Path to Uncommon Success, gives the roadmap to financial freedom and fulfillment. He breaks many of those pillars down in this episode, and it is exactly how he built his own business from the ground up. It is truly going to blow your mind!

Without further ado, the myth, the man, the legend himself, John Lee Dumas!


[4:48] Experts Benefit from Keeping Things Complicated

The experts benefit from keeping things complicated because then they can remain the gatekeepers – the ones who hold the secret sauce that we’ll keep paying them for. The truth is this: the path to whatever your version of success is, is a very common path.

John interviewed over 3000 successful entrepreneurs over the past 10 years, and he identified 17 core principles that these entrepreneurs worked through to reach their version of success. He lays out the principles in a chronological roadmap in his book.

[7:13] The Myth of Success

In John’s book, he says a big turning point for him was when he realized he wasn’t living a life of service, value, or gratitude because he was mistaking success for money, fame, and notoriety. He cites Albert Einstein here, saying, “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” 

He came up with a new personal definition of success, prioritizing value over traditional success, and that is when everything changed for him.

[14:40] Where are we going wrong as entrepreneurs? Why are Entrepreneurs failing at such a high rate?

John sums this up in one simple sentence: The reason entrepreneurs are struggling is because they are not providing the best solution to a real problem.

The people who provide the best solution to a real problem are winning. Everyone wants the number one solution, not the second best. So when entrepreneurs are just trying to imitate another successful entrepreneur, that isn’t attracting people because we don’t want an imitation, we want the real thing!

[15:56] What is it that people really want to achieve in their lifetime? 

We all want different things on the surface, but when you dig really deep into it, we all just want freedom — the freedom to do 1) what we want to do, 2) where we want to do it, and 3) who we want to do it with. What, Where, Who. If you have those three things working for you, you will feel successful and fulfilled.

[18:25] Our mountains to climb

One of the biggest things that a lot of entrepreneurs in pursuit of success overlook is the mountain we all have to climb. We have to do the things other people aren’t willing to do. John recorded more shows in one year than most people do in years and years of hosting a show. It was work, but it was fueled by passion and value. 

Sometimes you start climbing your mountain not from sea level, but from down in a valley, a bigger deficit. It takes even more belief and action to build momentum because you have a force working against you. There are so many people who think they’re behind the game and have no hope of catching up to the big names, but remember two things:

  1. If you can be the best solution to a problem, you will succeed.
  2. There is always something new coming, so be ready for it and act on it if it feels right to you. 

[21:15] Developing your own Big Idea

The first step is The Big Idea. Most people will live their entire lives without identifying their Big Idea. And then, a large portion of the people who do identify their Big Idea will get stuck there, for different reasons. One reason is that someone else will have had your same big idea. It won’t be entirely original because it’s a BIG world we’re living in. You’re going to have competition.

What you need to do is discover the NICHE within your Big Idea that is not being served, and then serve them. That will get you your initial traction.

John’s Big Idea was to launch a podcast → a business podcast → a business podcast that interviews entrepreneurs → a DAILY business podcast that interviews entrepreneurs. And then he stuck with this every day for years.

And THEN — you need to figure out how to make it hard to replicate.

[26:30] John’s favorite step in the 17 steps on the Common Path to Uncommon Success

Chapter 7, Step 7: Design Your Content Production Plan- This step took John weeks to develop (and it could be a business book all on its own!) because he believes so strongly in this step. Your Content Production Plan is probably terrible.

In this chapter, John lays out literally every single thing you need to know and consider to create your own Content Production Plan that will work for you.

[35:35] Considerations before launching a book

Consider the pros and cons of self publishing vs. the traditional route of hiring a big name publisher. Remember that it is a long process and huge time investment. And use your network to promote!


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