4 Strategies the 'Entrepreneur on Fire' Used to Build a $250K a Month Podcast

John Lee Dumas hosts one of iTunes' top-ranked business podcasts, thanks in no small part to the interviews he's managed to score with big-name entrepreneurs.

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By Eric Siu

John Lee Dumas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Podcasting is something of an odd man out in the marketing world. Despite the fact that it's been around for many years, only 3 percent of marketers currently use podcasting in their social-media-marketing campaigns, according to Jeff Bullas. When you consider that Apple has reported more than 1 billion podcast subscriptions via iTunes, and that 62 percent of podcast listeners don't mind sponsorship messages (compared to 6 percent of TV and traditional radio ad listeners), the magnitude of that oversight seems even bigger.

To learn more about this huge opportunity and to score some insight into how a self-made business man created a six-figure monthly income, I went straight to the source: John Lee Dumas, host of the Entrepreneur on Fire podcast. If you don't already know Dumas, his series is one of iTunes' top-ranked business podcasts, thanks in no small part to the interviews he's managed to score with big-name entrepreneurs such as Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuck and Tim Ferriss.

Related: How to Earn Six Figures From a Virtual Summit

Dumas currently earns more than $250,000 a month from his series, so if there's anybody out there that could can give me an inside look at how to be successful in both business and podcasting, it's him.

1. Ask interview subjects to share their episodes.

OK, so this one tip isn't exactly a secret, given that influencer marketing is all the rage right now. But what was really fascinating to me about my conversation with Dumas was the fact that he was producinging a podcast seven days a week for nine months without earning a penny. It was only by encouraging his participants to share their interviews with their established audiences that he was able to build a large enough following to monetize the show.

Dumas claims that one of the reasons his guests like to share his podcasts more than their other interviews is that he digs deeper than most hosts. Instead of just asking what's going well for them, Dumas asks his subjects about their worst moments as business owners. The result is a new series of stories that participants actually want their followers to hear.

2. Look for the right mentor.

If you could have Richard Branson as a mentor, should you? According to Dumas, the answer might actually be "no." He argues that most people approach finding a mentor the wrong way: they look for somebody who's generally successful, when they should be looking for a person who's exactly where they want to be.

Once you've figured out who that person is, it's up to you to ask. Dumas quotes the old adage, "Fortune favors the bold," stating that even though he turns down a lot of mentorship requests, he always tries to make referrals to other possible candidates. If you never ask in the first place, you have no idea where the conversation will wind up.

3. Let your calendar dictate your day.

Dumas is a big proponent of focus. What was most interesting to me about our conversation was the way that Dumas schedules his days to create an environment of focus.

Related: 5 Ways That Podcasting Is a Powerful Marketing Weapon

For example, Dumas wakes up promptly at 5:30 every morning to exercise, cook a healthy breakfast and get ready for the day. The result? When he hits the computer at 7 a.m., he says he can focus 100 percent without being distracted by things such as hunger or that sinking feeling of having put off a workout.

You can also see his focus at work in the way he schedules his days. Instead of simply tackling the day's emergencies, like so many people do, Dumas allots his Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays to internal, big picture work. On Tuesdays, he does his interviews, and on Wednesdays, he does webinars and interviews for other shows. As a result, he's able to prepare effectively ahead of time and focus on daily priorities, knowing that other needs will be addressed on other days.

4. F.O.C.U.S.

Dumas is so sold on the importance of focus that he has his own acronym for it: Follow One Course Until Successful.

"So many people are 80 percent done with 10 different things, which is sad to see," he says. "Instead of going a mile wide and an inch deep, it's important to focus on one project that you can go into a mile deep and just one inch wide."

Don't know which project you should be focusing your time on? In that case, Dumas recommends Gary Keller's book, The One Thing, which zeroes in on the theme of focus and discusses why humans are so bad at multitasking in great detail. It's a great book, and if you haven't already read it, you should definitely pick up a copy.

If you want to learn even more about Dumas's success, check out the full conversation here:

Related: 8 Business Podcasts Recommended by Experts

Eric Siu

CEO, Single Grain. Founder, Growth Everywhere.

Eric Siu is the CEO of digital marketing agency Single Grain. Single Grain has worked with companies such as Amazon, Uber and Salesforce to help them acquire more customers. He also hosts two podcasts: Marketing School with Neil Patel and Growth Everywhere, an entrepreneurial podcast where he dissects growth levers that help businesses scale. 


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