We sat down with John Lee Dumas who gave us a quick look at what he did (and continues to do!) to dominate the podcasting realm. From nailing time management (he literally works a total of 6 days a month) to current trends that can catapult you in the industry, you’ll definitely want to take some notes.
John is the founder and host of award winning podcast, Entrepreneurs on Fire, where he discusses all-things entrepreneurship with top-names in the industry, including Tony Robbins, Ann Hiatt, Allison Ellsworth, and Jeff Walker (just to name a few). Interestingly, John's passion for entrepreneurship started at the age of 32. After completing his army service (which included a tour in Iraq), quitting law school and walking out on a corporate finance job, John finally had his “Ah-ha!” moment - he was going to host the first seven-day per week podcast with the main goal: interviewing successful entrepreneurs. It wasn’t easy but today EoF has over 1,000 episodes and gets a whopping 1 million listeners per month!
You can listen to the episode here:
John shares his thoughts on the following topics…
Time management and his unique technique - Batching like a baller: [01:03]
“I like the phrase ‘batching like a baller’. I work really hard six days a month, six days a month I am back to back. You are one of 20 interviews I'm doing today. I just finished an hour Q & A with the Podcast Paradise community. Today is a 10 to 12 hour non-stop sprint...I have 24 to 25 days a month where I’m literally doing nothing. I’m focusing on my health and wellness...That’s my time management.”
What’s the number one thing businesses need to succeed? [03:33]
“Consistency. By a long shot. I mean, everybody who I've seen fail over the past 10 years failed because they stopped. They stopped producing content. They've stopped producing messages and missions and value to the world. They've just stopped being consistent. And there's a lot of reasons, you know... they get burned out. They were doing the wrong thing. They just ran out of money. A lot of reasons can cause inconsistency. And that's the strongest thing that we've been able to maintain for a decade now is we get up and we produce content. Now I did say, ‘Hey, I'm only working six days a month’. You're like, ‘well, how can you be consistent all month?’ Well, because during those six days, I'm recording 30 interviews for Entrepreneurs on Fire. So there's one going live essentially every single day of the week...consistently consistency is the key. It's why most people fail because they fail at being consistent and that’s definitely our superpower.”
What’s something you would like to improve on in your business?: [04:57]
“I think we can kind of continue to focus and improve on what to say yes to now. I'm very intentional about that, but I don't feel like I have a monitoring system of really fleshing out which opportunities are right and wrong. I'm pretty much right now just saying, ‘Hey, if you can fit into one of the days that I can chat with you, here's my scheduler, book it in’.”
How to nail sponsorships [11:46]
“I'd say the biggest thing that goes into a really good sponsorship is, is it personalized? Are you taking that product or that service and saying, this is why I, the host, the person that you know, that you like, that you trust, likes this product, likes this service and is promoting this product or service to you. This is how I use this product or this service, and this is why I'm recommending it to you...There's a lot of ways to do it right. And to do it wrong. But having the ROI for your sponsor at top-of-mind is very important. And having the user experience of your listener top-of-mind is very important.”
What’s the most important trend to watch out for in the podcasting space? [14:42]
“Niching is very important. It's been so for a long time. And by that, I just mean it's got to be a very unique and powerful niche. Maybe a combination of two niches. Like if you love yoga, if you love being a vegan. You need to combine that into the Yogi vegan. There needs to be a very unique flavor that your podcast is bringing. Don't just be another Entrepreneurs on Fire because there's plenty of those out there and it's gonna be hard to stand out and really get traction in a niche going forward. That’s a really big focus that I think a lot of people need to take when they're starting the creation of their show.”
David Tintner: All right. We got J L D with us today and we're going to do a creator spotlight, 15 rapid fire questions in 15 minutes. For creators looking to learn from the best. Uh, and JLD you absolutely are the best you've been dominating podcasting for years. So, first question I have for you is talk to me about time management.
David Tintner: You have a very tight schedule, strict time slots, and it seems from an outsider's perspective that you're managing your day tightly. How do you schedule your days and what are you thinking about in time management?
John Lee Dumas: Well, thank you for that wonderful introduction. I am honored to be here looking forward to providing some [00:01:00] thoughts to the thought leaders podcast.
John Lee Dumas: And I like the phrase batching, like a baller. Like I work really hard six days a month, six days a month. I am back to back. You are one of 20 interviews I'm doing today. I just finished an hour Q and a with podcast paradise community. Today is a 10 to 12 hour non-stop sprint. And I love these days cause I'm built for them.
John Lee Dumas: I call it batching like a baller, but guess what? I'm also built for doing nothing. I have 24 to 25 days a month where I'm literally. Doing nothing. I have nothing on my schedule or I have nothing on my calendar and I will actually kind of slowly adjust that I'm not doing nothing. I'm focusing on health, on wellness.
John Lee Dumas: I'm going to play golf pickleball, and I'm walking my dog hanging out by my pool. Yes. I'm still keeping up with emails and communication doing kind of like the bare minimum to kind of keep it at inbox zero and doing some social media, this and that. But I was spending very little time on my business at this point 10 years in.[00:02:00]
John Lee Dumas: on a 25 ish day basis, but six days I'm doing nothing, but my business I'm doing eight interviews for entrepreneurs on fire tomorrow. In one day. Again, I'm doing tons of interviews on other shows just today, but again, because I'm like an all or nothing mentality with my batching, like a baller strategy.
John Lee Dumas: That's my time management. And that gives me time for creativity to journal, to meditate on my days off, because I'm not kind of just continuously between meetings, which most people are. I either have a calendar that people would cry at looking at. Cause it's just so jam packed or cry looking at because there's nothing on it.
John Lee Dumas: And they're so jealous of it. I'm one of the two and that's how I love to operate. And again, I'm 10 years in. This was not the first season of my business, which was years, one through four, that was, you know, 60 to 70 hours a day, seven days a week. Like that was just growing the business season to stepping back a little bit, maybe 40 hours a week, the season [00:03:00] three, a little bit less than, than now.
John Lee Dumas: It's like I'm at this place where I'm at. Working so hard certain days. And then really just saying, okay, let's think about other things these other 25 ish days per month. And that's how my time management has evolved over the four current seasons of my, of my business.
David Tintner: Love it. And I love that. You're so conscious about it.
David Tintner: How many people are working for you?
John Lee Dumas: Five total, including myself? Uh, my fiance Kate's and we have three virtual assistants who all do work 40 hours per.
David Tintner: What is the strongest part of your business today?
John Lee Dumas: Consistent. By a long shot. I mean, everybody who I've seen this failed over the past 10 years that I've been in the business has failed because they stopped.
John Lee Dumas: They stopped producing content. They've stopped producing messages and missions and value to the world. They've just stopped being consistent. And there's a lot of reasons, you know, they get burned out. They were doing the [00:04:00] wrong thing. They just ran out of money. They, you know, a lot of reasons can, can cause inconsistency.
John Lee Dumas: But that's always the reason that I see as people fail. And that's the strongest thing that we've been able to maintain for a decade now is we get up and we produce content. Now I did say, Hey, I'm only working six days a month. You're like, well, how you be consistent all month? Well, because during those six days, I'm recording 30 interviews for entrepreneurs on fire.
John Lee Dumas: So there's one going live essentially every single day of the week. So we are always. Releasing consistent, free, valuable content to the world on a daily basis. Every single day, I may only be working six or seven days per month now because I've built my time is in the place where I can do that, but we are still producing and publishing and releasing.
John Lee Dumas: Every single day, consistently consistency is the key. It's why most people fail because they fail at being consistent and is definitely our superpower. What's something
David Tintner: that you're currently unsatisfied with in your business and you want to change or improve? [00:05:00] Ah,
John Lee Dumas: that's a good question. I would say if I had to.
John Lee Dumas: Pick out one thing in my business. That's I think we can kind of continue to focus and improve on that would probably be what to say yes to now. I'm very intentional on that, but I don't feel like I have a. Um, monitoring system of really fleshing out which opportunities are right and wrong. I'm pretty much right now just saying, Hey, if you can fit into one of the days that I can chat with you, here's my scheduler, book it in.
John Lee Dumas: And some of those just end up frankly, being huge waste of time for various reasons I won't get into right now. Like for instance, when David reached out to me and he said, I'd love to interview you. Thought leaders podcast. That'd be fantastic. Here's my scheduling link. I'm not vetting these opportunities to the depth that maybe I could as I'm continuing to go forward.
John Lee Dumas: So that would be maybe the one thing where I can add in a layer of maybe it would be like a, a Google doc that has to be filled in that my [00:06:00] virtual assistant would go over just to make sure that's the opportunities I'm saying yes to are the right opportunities.
David Tintner: So you're a big proponent of journaling.
David Tintner: Why, what does journaling do for you and what do you think? Um, it provides.
John Lee Dumas: It gets the thoughts out of your head and onto paper. A lot of people just always have a hundred thoughts ricocheting around in their cranium at all times. And as a result, they're taking action on none of them they're feeling overwhelmed.
John Lee Dumas: They're just not really doing the thing that they need to do. With those thoughts in their head, which is maybe disregard them trash them, never think about them again, or potentially taking action on the couple that really might make sense. And so journaling is just a way to say, Hey, what's in my head right now.
John Lee Dumas: How do I get it out of my head onto paper? And then how do I use my eyes to look at that paper and say, okay, there's actually a couple things here that are worth exploring more of, and the 19. Percent of the other things on this paper [00:07:00] just need to be disregarded. So that's the biggest benefit I find with journaling and
David Tintner: you've actually written several books as well as published several journals.
David Tintner: When in a creator's careershould they read a book?
John Lee Dumas: As soon as possible? It's an amazing learning process. You're going to work really hard. You're going to be able to learn a lot about yourself that you may not otherwise know. You're going to really understand the different processes of what it makes to create something and hopefully to create something great, or at least to create something that's not great.
John Lee Dumas: But then. Consistently and constantly work on that thing to improve and to get better, which is one of the things I do love about self publishing in the digital form, because you can continuously be uploading. Manuscripts to your Kindle or to Amazon, and they will consistently upgrade it. I mean, or, sorry, I should say update it.
John Lee Dumas: Whereas unfortunately, sometimes when you do write , a traditionally published book, which, which I recently did, which I love the process, but once that books out and paperback, like there's only so much you can do. I mean, it's going to be a couple of years before I really go back and do a [00:08:00] major update on that one.
John Lee Dumas: But. Early in your career, get a book out there and just update it. I did that with a book called podcast launch. I sat down in early 2013 because I saw there was no books in Amazon on podcasting. And I just wrote in one weekends podcast launch how to create and launch your podcast. And it wasn't great.
John Lee Dumas: The weekend that I launched it, I wrote it in one weekend, but guess what? The best book on podcasting on Amazon, it was also the worst. It was the only, but over the years, I've continued to update it and improve it. So that now it actually is really, really good over time. And that's what people can really be looking at as they're growing out their knowledge base.
David Tintner: Something I've always admired about you is your transparency. You, you publish all of your revenue online, publicly as revenue reports for all creators out there. I highly recommend you check these out. What went into the decision to publish revenue publicly? And is that something you will continue doing?
John Lee Dumas: EO fire.com/income for 94 [00:09:00] consecutive monthly income or reports.
John Lee Dumas: We did that because I was inspired by other income reports. When I was trying to figure out early in my career, can you actually make money online, doing things the right way, like adding value to the world. And I found some people that were doing it and some companies that were doing it. And I was like, that's really inspiring if I ever get to a place where I'm actually generating revenue.
John Lee Dumas: I want to share with other people I'm going to share with them the things that are working for us to be emulated and the things that are not working for us that can be avoided because both can be very valuable to people. For sure. And we've shared all of that for 94 income reports over 94 months, really since early 2013.
John Lee Dumas: So the income reports are something that we just love as it brings the transparency, the authenticity, and just really the intimacy. With our listeners, because it's kind of like, Hey, we're opening up the kimono. This is everything inside of our business. Check it out. And I love the relationship that, that builds with fire nation.
David Tintner: And I was really surprised to [00:10:00] see that sponsorships make up 70% of your revenue in 2021. Will that continue in the future?
John Lee Dumas: That will continue. It hasn't always been that way by a long shot, but our business has evolved. And I think that that's what those 94 months can really show you is how businesses evolve and how ours has as well.
John Lee Dumas: And, you know, we just signed a seven figure deal with HubSpot. And I mean, when you sign a deal that big for podcast sponsorships, they're going to all of a sudden start taking up a big part of your, of your overall income. Like I can remember we signed a deal just a couple of years ago for 25 K a month. And that was to sponsor every one of our episodes.
John Lee Dumas: And we were happy with that because it was one sponsor, 25 K a month, like just guaranteed revenue coming in and that worked out great. But now, you know, just our HubSpot is 50 K a month and we have a ton of other sponsors that are bringing in over a hundred thousand dollars of total revenue every single month, just through sponsorships.
John Lee Dumas: So that's, you know, at least 75, in some cases, a hundred thousand dollars more a month than we were making just a couple of years ago because of a [00:11:00] decision that we made, a couple of years ago to bring on that one sponsor for 25 K a month, because, you know, at the time it made sense in our business and now our business has evolved and changed.
John Lee Dumas: And it's, I think that's really interesting for people to see how businesses like ours in the media space can evolve and change. And, you know, you've seen companies like. Amazon purchase all Wondery for over $300 million Spotify as you know, bought the Joe Rogan show for nine figures and other shows for mid to high eight figures that we're talking 40, 60, $80 million.
John Lee Dumas: There's just real money to me in a podcasting right now. And so our business has evolved as a reason for that. And, and the people who have built meaningful media empires are going to have a lot of opportunities going forward
David Tintner: what goes into a good sponsorship?
John Lee Dumas: I'd say the biggest thing that goes into a, a really good sponsorship is is it personalized?
John Lee Dumas: Copy. Are you taking that product or that service that that [00:12:00] sponsor is promoting and saying, this is why I, the host, the person that you know, that you like, the you trust likes this product likes this service is promoting this product service to you. This is how I use this product or this service, and this is why I'm recommending it to you.
John Lee Dumas: And then here's a great call to action. That is special. So if you go to blah, blah, blah.com/fire. You are going to get30to 40 to 50% off, whatever that call to action may be, which is more than you're going to get. Then if you go to their homepage where you see it's only 10% off, if you join now. So it has to be all of those factors.
John Lee Dumas: Plus a lot of other things that we could get into. Cause you know, we've been doing sponsorships now. Over eight years and we've learned a lot about it. In fact, eofire.com/sponsorships is just a mammoth. It could be turned into a book, but right now it's just a mammoth post all about podcast sponsorships and how we have generated millions of dollars over the years through podcasts sponsorships alone.[00:13:00]
John Lee Dumas: There's a lot of ways to do it right. And to do it wrong. But having the ROI for your sponsor at top of mind is very important. And having the user experience of your listener top of mind is very important, which is why we look to make them very personalized and very focused on who our listener is.
David Tintner: You are huge on community.
David Tintner: You branded yours as fire nation. What's your number one tip for a creator, looking to build out their own community
John Lee Dumas: Make it personal with your community. Like you've got to want to communicate with them and talk to them and, and have an intimate connection and relationship with them. I mean, one thing that I do for our podcasting community podcast is paradise, which has over 6,000 members who have joined over the years.
John Lee Dumas: I not only have sent a person. Video welcome to each individual, calling out their name, welcoming them. I do it every single week. I have time set aside to welcome all the new members that join every single week. I also call them on their phone. Of course, they have to want me to call them. Not [00:14:00] everybody wants me to call them.
John Lee Dumas: Um, so they provide their, their cell phone number and I call them, every Saturday I'm kicking by my pool. I'm making phone calls, welcoming people to podcasts is paradise. And I'm doing this one by one by one, because I know. Hey, I need to do this to build the know like, and trust with somebody that just drops a thousand dollars to join my community, you know?
John Lee Dumas: And so that's one thing that I'm committed to is continuing to connect, to engage, to communicate with my audience, with my community, whether it be podcasts is paradise or fire nation, because they're what makes entrepreneurs on fire. The media empire that it is today.
John Lee Dumas: Amazing. I got last two questions for you.
David Tintner: What's the most important trend to watch out for in podcasting.
John Lee Dumas: Niching is very important. It's been so for a long time. And by that, I just mean it's got to be a very unique and powerful niche. Maybe a combination of two niches. Like if you love yoga, if you love. Being a [00:15:00] vegan. You need to combine that into the Yogi vegan.
John Lee Dumas: Like there needs to be a very unique flavor that your podcast is bringing. Don't just be a, another entrepreneurs on fire want to be because there's plenty of those out there and it's gonna be hard to stand out and really get traction in a niche going forward. Um, and that's, you know, a really big focus that I think a lot of people need to take when they're starting the creation of their show.
David Tintner: Last question for you here. What are your big plans for the rest of 2021 and 2022?
David Tintner: Ah, continuing to work hard the six days per month that I'm working hard and to relax the 25 to 24 days per month, that, uh, I get to relax. Um, and you know, really keep the space open for that next opportunity, which may come this year, may come next year.
David Tintner: It may not come around for five years. And when it does come, just having the time, the energy and the bandwidth to really go all in on that, having no idea what is.
David Tintner: JLD [00:16:00] thank you so much for doing this creator spotlight with us. We really appreciate your time and learned a lot.
John Lee Dumas: Thank you.