Advisorist Podcast – Episode 5: How Financial Professionals Can Get A Slight Edge And Why That’s All You Need To Succeed With John Lee Dumas


Watch And Subscribe On:

Follow on iTune
Follow on sticher
Follow on Overcast


On the episode of “All Eyes on You” with host Michael Levin, you’ll hear what you really need to succeed as a business owner in your insurance or financial practice, according to John Lee Dumas – and it’s not more complicated marketing.

John Lee Dumas is the founder and host of the award winning and hugely influential business podcast, “Entrepreneurs on Fire”, where more than a million entrepreneurs tune in every month to get the top business advice from John and his celebrity guests. He regularly interviews the likes of Tim Ferris, Seth Godin, and Gary Vaynerchuck. Listen to his podcast here.

There are some real differences between those that succeed and everybody else, but John Lee Dumas knows from personally interviewing thousands of ultra-successful entrepreneurs that those differences aren’t what people expect.

John Lee Dumas shares business secrets powering some of the most successful and influential entrepreneurs of our time, including:

  • The #1 trait you NEED to cultivate and sustain positive growth in your business AND life
  • A piece of business advice that transformed JLD’s life, from a famous physicist
  • The athletic perspective that SIMPLIFIES success and what it takes to achieve it
  • What FOCUS really means, and where to put yours
  • Why and how to REPRIORITIZE your business goals for real success
  • The difference between “Means Goals” and “Ends Goals”, and why it matters
  • ONE simple daily habit that ACCELERATES your growth and goal achievement, and an affordable tool to help you stay on track with it
  • Why you only need a SLIGHT edge to reach success, and how to apply it


Note:  This Advisorist Podcast transcript was created in part by computers – Please forgive any grammatical or spelling errors…or sentences that just downright don’t seem to make sense!  Please compare to corresponding audio if clarity is needed.

Jeremiah: Hi, this is Jeremy Desmarais, Founder of Advisorist and it gives me great pleasure and really it’s an incredible honor to introduce to you one of the hosts of the Advisorist podcast, Michael Levin. Michael is not only a personal friend, but he’s one of the most established ghost riders in the nation and a New York Times best-selling author who’s written, co-written, or ghostwriter over 550 books. Hundreds of them in the financial services arena of which 18 are national bestsellers. You would be hard pressed to find somebody that hasn’t been in more outlets than Michael. He’s been on Shark Tank, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Politico, the LA Times, The Boston Globe, Writer’s Digest, CBS News. I mean, the guy has even had his work optioned and made for film by Steven Soderbergh of paramount, HBO, Disney, ABC, Frank Perry, and so many more. He ghostwrote for some of the biggest names in sports and business including Dave Winfield, Pat Summerall, Howard Bragman, former Schwab CEO David Pottruck, Marketing legend Jay Abraham, NBA star Doug Christie, and the list goes on and on and on. As the host of All Eyes on You, Michael will bring his unique blend of insights and wisdom as it relates to using books to get to the level of your dreams that you’ve always desired. They are one of the most powerful introduction tools that financial advisors and insurance agents can use today. I know when I got my book written, oh my, did the doors open up. That’s why I’m so excited to have Michael hosting All Eyes on You as part of the Advisorist network. Michael, take it away my friend.

Michael: Hello, it’s Michael Levin. My guest today is John Lee Dumas. I’m honored and excited to have him because he has the podcast that is the most successful, the most admired in the business world, and that is of course Entrepreneur on Fire. You can’t miss it. You open up any book on business, and they cite him as the most successful person not just in financial terms or in numbers terms, but because of the fact that he helps so many millions of people live their dreams as he is living his. His website, Entrepreneur on Fire. John, welcome to the podcast, and thank you for being here.

John: Well, Michael, I am fired up to be here. Thanks for that lovely intro and I can’t wait to mix it up.

Michael: The short of it is first of all, I want to thank you for your military service, you were for 13 months as a Tank Commander in Iraq. Is that correct?

John: That is true. Four tanks, 16 men, 13 months right outside of Fallujah, Ar Ramadi in Habbaniyah, and a pretty intense time for a 23 year old.

Michael: What sort of leadership skills did you come away with it or what was the big takeaway for you from that experience?

John: I see the big takeaway would be perspective. I see so many people whining and moaning and complaining about something stupid. I find myself doing that from time to time as well. I am a human being, after all. I’m trying and able to most of the time to take myself back to when I really have something to complain about, which was like trying to survive day-to-day in a war. That perspective has really helped me. Just not over stress about things that you shouldn’t be over stressed about and not to just get overwhelmed or any of these different things that I see really let people take them down because stress is such a negative. It’s so negative for your health, it’s so negative for your sleep, and it’s so negative for you as a human being. If you can just release that stress by just stopping to over worrying about every little thing in the world, you’re going to be a lot better off. Again, I’m far from perfect. I whine, I complain, I moan and groan about this and that but perspective was a huge takeaway for me and has really served me well for the past 16 years now.

Michael: Well, let’s take off a look at the first few years after the military and tell me how you’re avoiding stress went because there were a series of essentially misfires in your career, if I may say so, trying law school, trying real estate in San Diego in 2008 just as the market is crashing and so on. You found a bunch of stuff that you realized you did not want to do, is that correct?

John: Total misfires. Just things that I was clueless about, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. So I said, “Hey, let’s go to law school,” huge mistake. “Let’s go to corporate finance,” big mistake. I just kept trying these things really chasing success each and every step of the way and every one of them just turned out to be a really wrong turn in life. But, a turn that you can learn from. It really wasn’t until I got into my early 30’s that I saw a quote by Albert Einstein that kind of clicked for me, which was “Try not to become a person of success, but rather a person of value.” It was just like, well, I’ve been just chasing success my whole life. I’m not successful, I’m not happy. This value thing might be worthwhile checking out. That’s when I said, “Let’s launch a daily podcast giving free value to the world every single day and let’s see how it goes.”

Michael: Well, that’s what I stressed in the introduction that the success you enjoy is primarily due to the fact that you serve so many people and you give so many brilliant ideas to so many people. So the question becomes, how exactly did you go about launching the podcast?

John: The podcast for me was filling a void that I saw in the world. I was that person who loved listening to podcasts. I heard about podcasting. The medium, I got it right away, it clicked, and I understood it. I saw that free, valuable, and targeted content was an amazing way to consume education and just knowledge in general. So I loved it. I loved it as a listener. I soon saw some flaws that were within that platform. Mostly, the shows that I love the most were once a week or twice a month where I wanted higher quantity. I said, “Well, what if I podcast it?” And I said, “Okay, well, if I podcast it, I’ll be really bad because I’m there done before.” Okay, well, how do you get good at something? Well, I’m an athlete, and I know that you got to put in the reps to get good at something. End of story. Period. Most people are just so silly about how they approach things and they’re like, “I’m not going to be good at that. So I’m not even going to try.” Well, of course, you’re not going to be good at it because you’ve never tried. So I knew I wouldn’t be a good podcaster but how do I get good at it? By putting the reps. How do I put in the reps? By doing one every single day. So I said, “Let’s be bad early and get good as quickly as possible.” That’s by putting in the work, putting in the reps, and actually doing the thing that I want to get good at. So I launched a daily podcast back in 2012 and as you and I are talking, almost seven years later, I have over 2,000 episodes under my belt.

Michael: How did you find your audience?

John: My audience found me. That’s kind of one of the things that I love about podcasting is there’s these massive directories that are out there. iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, iHeart Radio, Stitcher, SoundCloud, and they’re just these directories that are like, “Hey, we’re a directory. Come and post your stuff here, we will show it to the world. We are a storefront, come put your stuff in the store for our window.” And if you create good content, hopefully getting better, and you are actually focusing on delivering value, that’s a real solution to real problems, your audience finds you. Now of course, there’s a lot of ways that you can get out and grow your audience by actually being active a manager in that area but for me, it was really one of those things of if you build it, they will come. I built the first ever daily podcast interviewing entrepreneurs, there was a need in the marketplace for it so people found it and even though it wasn’t good, guess what? It was the best because it was the only. It was also the worst. That’s the void that I failed and that’s how I got the momentum going.

Michael: Now, a lot of the people who are listening to this may not be aware of just how successful you are. May I quote your December 2018 income from your website?

John: Sure.

Michael: $171,068. That’s not a misprint, is it? That’s correct.

John: That’s to the penny.

Michael: And that’s one month?

John: One month.

Michael: And how many hours did you work in December 2018?

John: So I say I average between 5 to 8 hours per day of work. That’s 6, sometimes 7 days a week. I don’t look at weekends like, “Oh my God it’s the weekend.” It’s like, “No, it’s another day that I can work with less distraction.” So I’m pretty much working 6, sometimes 7 days a week. Five to eight hours is a good range of what I do. There are definitely days where I’m just like, “Okay, I’m putting all the crap on one or two days of the month.” So that might be a 12 or 14 hour day but those are limited to 1 or 2 days per month. So typically 5 to 8 hours.

Michael: If I’m doing the math quickly in my head, it sounds like it’s about 12 to 13 or $14,000 an hour. Does that sound about right?

John: I don’t know because I can’t do math in my head. So maybe?

Michael: I can do math in my head but I don’t know how to make $170,000 a month.

John: Let’s just say an average of 7 hours a day, I’ll multiply it by 30. So that’s 210. $170,000 divided by 210 is $814 an hour.

Michael: Okay, so it was a little bit off but I think it’s still higher than that.

John: I’m probably doing the math wrong.

Michael: Yeah, I think you’re missing a zero there. I’m not being disrespectful. What I’m trying to do is have listeners understand that John is someone who knows how to get ideas across and how to sell what he offers. A lot of the folks listening to this may not be thinking podcast, although they may be thinking about it now when they hear what you’re doing but they are in a position where they’re working hard, they’ve got the goods, they are putting the hours in and they’ve got the knowledge base and the experience. The stumbling block is essentially they were where you were when the podcast was fairly new, which is to say they’ve got the goods, they’ve got what they have to offer professionally but they aren’t quite sure how they get the word out. Does that make sense?

John: It makes sense to me.

Michael: So what’s your message to them?

John: My message is this. I think a lot of people don’t spend nearly enough time sitting down and saying, “What makes me happy?” Because guess what? Making $171,000 a month may not make you happy. Making $17,000 per month, but doing something that you really love doing in a place you really love doing it could make you really, really happy. Why don’t you first define what makes you happy? Why don’t you first define what your version of success is, and then back plan from there. Back plan from there and just try to set up a plan of action to get there. Step-by-step, day-by-day, month-by-month, year-by-year and over time, you’ll get closer to that goal. Doesn’t mean you’re going to accomplish it but you will at least be getting closer because you’ll be actively working towards it. It just fascinates me how few people set real tangible goals, targets, aspirations, dreams, definitions of again, success, happiness. What does it mean to you?

Michael: So you’re saying, don’t start with the financial goals. Instead, start with what makes you happy.

John: Yeah. Your financial goals, you might hit them but if you’re hitting them commuting four hours into downtown New York City and sweating all day in a trading floor with the people you hate and then driving three and a half hours back and never seeing your kids, then is that financial goal that you hit really worthwhile? Probably not.

Michael: What you’re saying reminds me of something that Tony Robbins who’s been a guest on Entrepreneur on Fire talks about that people don’t distinguish between means goals and ends goals. And they say, “I want to get a million dollars.” Well, Tony says, “That’s a means goal, that’s just a means towards something else which is actually a feeling. How do you think that’s going to make you feel?” So what Tony is saying is that the ends goals are the feelings that you ought to be pursuing and then the means goals are the ways by which you reach those end goals. Does that makes sense?

John: I like it.

Michael: So what I hear you saying is that people are basically doing what Tony says. They’re putting their means goals ahead of their ends goals and they’re hoping that if they make that million dollars, or whatever that financial goal is or buy that car, buy that boat or whatever, then at that point, they’ll magically be happy. And you’re saying, “No, focus on happiness first”, is that correct?

John: Totally, because I can remember so clearly back when I was a corporate stooge and I was trying to like figure my way through corporate America. There was this cartoon that kind of stuck out to me and it was basically of this woman that was climbing this ladder, and she gets to the top of the ladder. She peeks over the wall and she’s like, “I’ve been climbing this ladder my entire career. Now I just realized it’s leaned against the wrong wall.” And I was just like, “Whoa”, I’m doing the same thing. Like I’m just climbing a ladder, I don’t even know why or what ladder or what wall. I’m climbing this ladder on right now. I don’t even get it. Let’s take a step back and let’s say like, “What am I really looking for out of these precious few moments in time I have called life?”

Michael: John, I have a feeling that a lot of the listeners have never really stopped in a long time to think about what makes them happy. Is that your experience with folks you meet?

John: Hundred percent.

Michael: What do you tell them?

John: I tell them to start doing it and start to sit down and identify what your definition of happiness is, what is your definition of success. I’ve created now 3 journals to try to help people do that. The Freedom Journal is all about accomplishing one goal in 100 days because I know that if you follow my process, you will accomplish a meaningful goal in 100 days. A goal that you otherwise would just kind of have in your mind fluttering around for years. But, through my system of just waking up every morning and making one step, one progression towards that end goal of 100 days, you’re going to accomplish it. Period. End of story. Obviously things like this do strike a nerve because I launched that idea that concept of a journal on Kickstarter back in 2016, and in 33 days, it raised $453,000. This is for a $35 journal. So you can do the math on as far as how many people were like, “Yes, I want and need this.” Since then, I’ve launched the Mastery Journal to similar success and now the Podcast Journal because I know that if people get intentional about what they want to accomplish in life, it’s going to have a lot higher chance of reality than just waking up and falling in the same footsteps of the day before.

Michael: John, you were kind enough to send me the Podcast Journal and I can tell the listeners that it’s fantastic and that I highly recommend it. The Freedom Journal and Mastery Journal as well. I’m not here to sell your service. You don’t need me to do that, you’re doing well enough on your own without me but I just want to let folks know that what you offer is clarity and focus, is that correct?

John: That’s the goal every day.

Michael: How did you realize that clarity and focus was so important?

John: Because I spent 6 years that we briefly talked about earlier with no clarity and no focus and I saw where it got me. It literally got me no further ahead than where I was 6 years prior. Like I literally looked at myself at 32 years old and said, “I’m in the same position like financially, career wise than I was at 26.” I mean, that was 6 years ago, like what am I missing? That’s what I was missing.

Michael: You are missing a sense of clarity or a sense of purpose in terms of defining happiness, or both?

John: Both.

Michael: So what did you do? This is before you had your own Freedom Journal or Mastery Journal, how did you come to the realization that you needed to find a new way?

John: I started educating myself. I started reading some of the most highly ranked and rated and reviewed business books of the last hundred years. I started listening to the audio versions, I started tuning into these free podcasts, interviewing successful entrepreneurs, and hearing what their thoughts and their processes and their path to success were, and then sort of applying some of them to my life. What worked, I kept. What didn’t, I threw out and I just kept emulating. One book that I really enjoyed was called ‘The Slight Edge’ by Jeff Olson because it just talked about that specific concepts of get 1% better every single day. After a couple days, you’re like, “I’m not any better”, but you are. You are 2% better and then after 40 days, you’re 40% better, like that’s super meaningful. Then before you know it, you just become a new person and that’s the concept that I loved that was at ‘The Slight Edge.

Michael: John, I’m just thinking that someone might be listening cynically and saying, “All these things worked for you. That’s terrific. But why on earth do I think that any of this stuff is ever going to work for me?”

John: I actually disagree with you. I don’t think anybody’s listening cynically because I think anybody who’s a cynic is not consuming this type of content. I think that they’re watching Bachelorette, or the Real Housewives of Orange County, or they’re just complaining with their buddy over a glass of red wine about how much they hate their job and their life. I don’t really think anybody’s listening to this cynically. For me, I just recognize that people are drawn to what they want to become. I was really desirous of becoming independent. That’s financially, location and lifestyle. It didn’t happen for me overnight but I watched my business back in 2012. Now I’m talking to you from Puerto Rico working. I’ve been for two and a half years running a business that’s generating 7 figures a year in net profit. So I’ve got there one step at a time, and anybody that’s listening can get to their version, and their definition of happiness and success if they take it one step at a time. Have persistence, have patients and make it happen. And again, their version of success maybe really should be making $4,200 per month in the town they live in happily spending a ton of time with their kids and their family and their loved ones and actually doing things that they enjoy doing, that can be a huge win and a huge victory and can really be a lot more happy than them essentially cashing in the next 10 years of their life for a financial goal that they really don’t even want in the first place.

Michael: You know, I have to say one word in favor of the housewives programs, I just have to stand up for them, John.

John: Sure.

Michael: Sometimes I go to the gym if I want to watch the game and I’ll just get on the treadmill. Sometimes, football games a lot of three minute timeouts and you glance over the other screen and it just seems like a lot of really super successful people. Their makeup is perfect, their hair is perfect, and they just look miserable. So it’s just endlessly interesting. You got to try. You got some time on your hands, you might enjoy it when you have the time.

John: This has been fun.

Michael: John, I really appreciate you taking the time and I hope that our listeners will go to, Entrepreneur on Fire, to check out your journals, check out the podcast, and it’s very generous of you to give us a little bit of your time. Thank you for coming on. Thanks for taking the time.

John: Thank you.


For more strategies and tactics, join our exclusive community of insurance and financial advisors at

Jeremiah Desmarais

Jeremiah Desmarais

Jeremiah is the founder and CEO of Advisorist® and is a 23-time award winning financial marketer, a TED speaker and philanthropist. He’s been featured on Forbes, CNN, and Worth. His work has generated over $2 million insurance leads and helped advisors in over 51 countries generate over $300 million in sales commissions. He is the author of the best selling book, SHIFT.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Other Articles