"Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development."
A few weeks ago, John Lee Dumas and I had a conversation about his new book, The Common Path to Uncommon Success: A Roadmap to Financial Freedom and Fulfillment, and we’ve both been blown away by the response. I got a huge number of comments, emails, and responses, and John got more emails after our podcast than any other he’s ever recorded.
One of the questions I was asked was simply, “What are the 17 steps to uncommon success?” With John’s book still weeks away from release, I asked him if he’d be willing to pull back the curtain and share ALL of these steps with the Miracle Morning Community – and he was gracious enough to say, “Yes, let’s do it!”
Today, John returns to the podcast for the second time in less than 30 days—something I’ve never done before—to share all 17 steps to uncommon success, with my added insights and commentary.
- How a single quote (from Albert Einstein) transformed John Lee Dumas’ life more between the ages of 32 and 41 than he did in his first three decades on Earth.
- The life-changing power of the ripple effect.
- John’s 17 steps to achieve Uncommon Success (taken from 3,000+ interviews).
- How John was able to get the BEST person to interview for each step.
- How you can apply each step to create your own path to uncommon success.
- And much more…
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Hal Elrod: John Lee Dumas, we are back. What's it been like a week or two since I talked to you, man?
John Lee Dumas: We did like this rapid-fire like a couple of days in a row where you and I were just like getting on calls for different things. And I was like, "Man, I need me some more Hal Elrod in my life,” because like you know I believe in that quote, "You're the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” and the more time I get to spend with you, brother, the better my average is.
Hal Elrod: I appreciate that and, yeah, although I feel like we might be getting to the point of too much time. I don't know if there's such a thing. Yeah. Let me share for the listeners if anybody's not clear, we did an interview for the podcast just a few weeks ago and talking about your new book, The Common Path to Uncommon Success: A Roadmap to Financial Freedom and Fulfillment. And you just told me earlier at the end of the podcast, I kind of joked, “Yeah, I don't even know if anybody really listens or pays attention to my podcast but, hey, I hope it helps.” And both you and I were blown away by the amount of people that responded to our conversation. The amount of people that I got in comments and emails and responses and then you said you got more emails from our podcast than any other podcasts that you've done.
John Lee Dumas: Combined.
Hal Elrod: Combined. Okay.
John Lee Dumas: Now, I'm doing 40 podcasts a week.
Hal Elrod: That's insane. So, the reason that we're doing this, I had questions come in like one of the questions that I got and I threw this out to you is, what are these 17 steps to uncommon success? The book doesn't come out until next month like I wanted the steps and I just reach out and go, “Hey, would you be willing to just peel back the curtain and give all, we just run through all 17 steps, and if people want to know more, they can, of course, get the book but at least give all the steps?” And you were gracious, you're like, “Yeah, let's do it.” And so, this is a rare - I don't know that I've ever - I've had repeat guests on, John, but never within a month. Never in a 30-day window. So, that's a lot of pressure on you. You better deliver, man.
John Lee Dumas: I'm ready for it, brother. Listen, you used the words blown away like that's an understatement like your audience is fantastic. I mean, they are all unbelievable individuals, unbelievable people, and they’re obviously achievers in a massive way because they take action, they're excited for this, they're excited to consume your content, they were obviously excited with our conversation. So, I mean, it was an absolute no-brainer for me to jump back on with you and run through the 17 steps and give some cool commentary. So, I think what'll be neat is I'll be able to give my commentary as the author, but like your audience is going to be able to get some of your commentary with each one of these steps as well because I don't even know what you're going to say on some of these things.
Hal Elrod: Well, and arguably my commentary is going to be more insightful and valuable than yours. So, that's like a huge win.
John Lee Dumas: We’re actually going to change the author's name in the book to you after this conversation.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. You might throw me in as, "With Hal Elrod,” as well. So, here's what I want to do. I decided I wanted to start and actually, I text you this like 10 minutes ago and said, “I want to open up by asking you something a little bit off-topic or on-topic of you but off-topic of the book.” And the question I have for you, John, is just who is John Lee Dumas? If someone is listening and they've never heard you before, they don't really know you, maybe in our last interview, we didn't get to go as deep in terms of who you are, in terms of what you value, what you stand for, the difference that you want to make in the world or anything else that you want to share who is John Lee Dumas?
John Lee Dumas: So, I can really cut John Lee Dumas in half as far as the timeline like the John Lee Dumas up to 32 years old was a different person than the John Lee Dumas from 32 to where I am now 41 years old, so almost a full decade of that first 32 years.
Hal Elrod: All right. Real quick, let's get away from the third person. It sounds weird what you're talking about the two John Dumas and say, "There's two versions of me.” All right, let's go with who you are. There we go. It's my fault for setting up the question instead of asking who you are. I asked, “Who is this guy, John Lee Dumas?”
John Lee Dumas: I’m already learning from you, brother. I'm already getting better every single day. And so, I mean, the first 30 years of my life, I mean, it was super traditional like I went to high school, I went to college, I was in the army, I went to corporate finance, I was in law school, I was in real estate like I was doing a very traditional path, and I was all over it. I thought that that was going to be what I needed but at 32 years old, I kind of had one of my first what I would call like a quarter-life crisis, the first quarter of my life, hopefully, 32 years old and I said to myself, "Hey, like, you're doing a lot of the right things over these 32 years, like you went to high school, got your degree, served as an officer in the army for eight years, went to law school, did all these things. But like, are you really happy? Like, are you really somebody who's enjoying the day-to-day?” And I had to be honest with myself, Hal, I was not. I was dealing with some PTSD from my time in the military. I was kind of making bad career choices in hindsight like I thought they were good career choices at first, but they weren't. At 32 years old, I read one quote by Albert Einstein that changed everything and changed the next decade of my life. And that quote was, "Try not to become a person of success, but rather a person of value.” And that's where I saw that I was going wrong like I was just chasing success for these first three tiers of my life. Everything I did I thought it was bringing me closer to like what I thought was success.
However, when I had to look in the mirror, and honestly ask myself, what are you doing of value every day, every week, every year? The answer was I came up empty. I had nothing like I wasn't being a person of value. So, it was in that moment, I committed to becoming a person of value, and then at 32, it planted that seed. A few months later, I had that idea and that concept to launch Entrepreneurs on Fire, the first daily podcast interviewing entrepreneurs, and I was like, "Here is an idea. This is going to be a free valuable, consistent piece of content consistently valuable every single day, 365 days of the year. I'm going to do my best with this. I'm going to be that person of value.” That just changed everything for me, Hal, like the next again almost decade of my life, I've been doing just that, being a person of value, interviewing as many individuals as I can that I know, like trust, and respect. I’m over 3,000 of those interviews now, over 100 million listens of the podcast, 1.4 million listens every single month of Entrepreneurs on Fire and I can honestly say that every day now in some way, shape, or form, I'm being a person of value.
So, to kind of end this by saying like who am I? I'm a person that thrives on what I call the ripple effect, the fact that somebody right now, Hal, is going to listen to this episode that we're doing together or, by the way, one that you and I did seven-and-a-half years ago. They might be listening to it right now and they're going to be inspired by something that you said, by something that I said, and they're going to go off and do something that they might not otherwise have done in their life, and now inspire a whole host of other individuals who have never heard of JLD and Hal Elrod but are off doing something amazing now, and there's going to be that second, third, fourth-degree of separation where people are doing amazing things in this world maybe because of one thing that you and I said years ago, and that's the ripple effect that I strive for today. That's who I want to be, the ripple effect.
Hal Elrod: That is profound and I hope anybody listening caught that, right? One thing you say, the ripple effect of that could lead to someone changing the world or saving a life or saving or changing their own life. Then, John, a couple of things you said that really resonated with me. One is that one quote changed your entire life, right? For me, it was that Jim Rohn quote, "Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development.” So, I created this little morning ritual to enhance my personal development called the Miracle Morning and then that became what it became, which never would have predicted. The other thing that you said is about value. You said you've done over 100 million listens, right? You've impacted millions upon millions, tens upon millions with the ripple effect, hundreds of millions, countless people because you decided to add value. And if you're listening to this right now, I want you to ask yourself a question, I want you to consider something. The dominant question in my life when I was about 27 years old, I read a book by Tim Sanders called Love is the Killer App, and he said something very similar, which basically just says that the amount of value that you add to the lives of others kind of determines the value that you bring to the world.
And so, the dominant question in my mind from that point on was, how can I add value every day to every person that I meet in every possible way? And really even though I didn't hear the Albert Einstein quote of becoming a person of value, that became the focus. And there's another great quote from Zig Ziglar that you can have everything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want. Again, it all boils down to how can you add value every day to every person in your life in every way possible? And if your focus is on what you can give as opposed to what you can get out of every person and every situation, you enrich your life in ways that you never imagined. And it's a simple but a radical paradigm shift that most people are in the paradigm of how can I get, how can I consume versus how can I give? How can I create? How can I serve? And so, if you're listening, I'd encourage you to consider that. And the beauty of that is you can be selfishly selfless, right? Because, John, you’ve built a fortune, right? You built an empire of fortune. So, not only have you enriched all these people's lives, also it reciprocated and came back to you, right?
John Lee Dumas: Yeah. I mean, one thing I just want to kind of like make sure that people really strive home from what everything that we're talking about here is next time you make that Instagram post and you might get like two or three likes and that might disappoint some people, just remember, those two or three people that liked that post and maybe were impacted by that might be that individual that Hal and I are talking about who needed those words at that moment that you sent that I didn't send, that Hal didn’t send, but you sent, and now they're going to go off and do something amazing as a result and you never, never know. So, never discount anything that you do in this world as long as you're leading with value.
Hal Elrod: Beautiful. I love it. All right, we got 17 steps to the Path of Uncommon Success: A Roadmap to Financial Freedom and Fulfillment. Let's dive in, man. Step number one, who could have come up with step number one in your book?
John Lee Dumas: Let's just start with a bang and I can tell you like all these little interviews that I've been on, it's so awesome because they always ask me for the example of chapter one and like who I brought in. So, I'm always talking about Hal Elrod this, Hal Elrod that. I mean, you're getting so much love, my man, it's unbelievable, rightfully so by the way. So, step one, and we're going to go through these 17 steps fairly rapidly because we want to make this a concise interview and, of course, the book is everything. The book has 71,000 words, has exercises, has templates, there's a free companion course that comes with it. So, if you are like left wanting a little bit more in this interview like, of course, but it's there for you, you got this, and we'll tell you all about it. So, step number one, you've got to identify your big idea. And I'm going to be honest with you right now, Hal, and this doesn't actually apply to most of your audience because I know them now from having been on your show and received so many messages from them but this applies to most humans is that they're going to die without ever identifying their big idea.
I don't think that's going to happen at a very high percentage for your audience but the human race, in general, is going to die without even knowing what their big idea is. They're never going to take the time to sit down and give themselves the space, the opportunity, the thought bandwidth to come up with what their big idea is in this world with what is their zone of fire. And it's such a sad thing. It is such a sad thing. When I sat down and said, “Okay. I know that my big idea was Entrepreneurs on Fire. Who else do I know that came up with what I consider not just a good idea, but a really big, amazing idea?” That, by the way, is not just a big idea but it's their big idea. Like it's so personal to them. That's the key part of this. And, of course, Hal Elrod came to mind and I said, "What he's done with the Miracle Morning and the Miracle Morning movements, with everything, the books, the movies, the podcast, the content, the speaking from stages around the world, and what he's done, of course, with SAVERS and what he's built that acronym to mean and into, and the lives he's changed as a result, this is the individual that comes to mind of the 3,000 people I've interviewed over the past decade. This is the one person that best exemplifies this step in the process, identify your big idea.” So, Hal, I want to kind of hand this over to you now because this is really the key point that you're going to jump in on.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Thank you. I'm honored to be featured in the book, let alone chapter one. So, in terms of coming up with your big idea, it usually is born from something you have either overcome or something you've accomplished that other people want to overcome or they want to accomplish. So, before my “big idea” of the Miracle Morning, I took that same philosophy when I left my career in sales, and I go, “Okay. I want to be an entrepreneur. What am I qualified to do?” And I looked at my background, I go, “Well, I've pretty much sold a lot of Cutco kitchen knives.” That was my six-year career. So, I went, “I'm going to coach other Cutco reps. I have accomplished something. I've overcome the challenges in this direct sales world and then I accomplished something that other people want to accomplish.” So, that's what I was qualified to do. And then fast forward eight years later, a few years later, I overcame a depression, I overcame financial collapse in 2008. I created a morning ritual that changed my life and I went, "Well, wait a minute, if this worked for me, and I'm just a human being, this can work for anyone,” and then that's where I went out and decided to take action on the big idea, which is so important, right, John?
You might have that big idea in the shower. You know, your intuition says, “Man, this thing would help others but who am I to go share it? I don't know where to start. We have all these excuses. And so, not just having your big idea, but actually taking action on your big idea is absolutely crucial. And again, where do you look for it? What have you overcome? What have you accomplished in your life that other people want to overcome and/or accomplish? And then you figuring out how you're going to get that message out to them, whether it's a book or it's a podcast, or it's whatever else, whatever their form to reach people with your big idea. So, yeah, alright, so that's step one, identify your big idea. What's step two?
John Lee Dumas: Okay. Nailed it. And that's where we're going to have spent the most time because we're going to go through these other six steps a little faster because, again, we want to keep this concise and clear. One thing I do want to add before we move on to step two is everything that Hal said and that can boil it down to one sentence that I found to be true, which is, "If you can become the best solution to a real problem in this world, you will win, not the second-best, not the 10th best, the best solution,” and this is the step in the chapter that we teach you how to do that. Hal and myself, we teach you how to do just that.
So, step two, discover your niche. Because, Hal, this is where most people go wrong. They have their big idea. They're like, “I'm going to go all-in with this big idea. It's going to be great.” But guess what, a big idea is a really good idea. So, other people are probably doing it right now. There's probably a lot of competition there, which is a good thing because it's proof of concept but, listen, we've got a niche down. We've got to find a void that hasn't been filled. We've got to find that underserved part of that marketplace that we can serve better than anybody else. That's how you get the initial momentum, initial traction, initial going forth and actually getting some success here. Now, real quick, my big idea was a podcast. I niched down into a business podcast. I niched down a third time into a business podcast interviewing entrepreneurs. I looked around, Hal, there were seven other podcasts doing that. Did I want to be the eighth-best podcast doing that back in 2012? Heck, no. So, what could I do that they weren't doing? I wanted to do a daily podcast. They were doing once a week, every one of them, all seven.
I could differentiate myself and claim the niche and fill the void of a daily podcast, interviewing entrepreneurs, so I niched down until it hurts and the day I launched Entrepreneurs on Fire, it was the best daily podcast interviewing entrepreneurs. It was the worst daily podcast interviewing entrepreneurs. It was the only. Now, to drop these value bombs on my book, I brought Selena Soo. She's amazing. She has a brand called Impacting Millions and she actually talks really interestingly in this discovering a niche about how she actually took two big ideas and combined them into a special niche, and you have to read about it to see what exactly she did. But you know, an example might be like, hey, if you love yoga, it's hard to be the best in yoga. If you love vegan food, it’s hard to be the best in vegan food. But what if you become the yoga vegan? Like you've taken two big ideas, niche them down and, boom, now you can own that space. So, any commentary you want to make on that, Hal?
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Just you take your like so, me, Miracle Morning is the big idea, right? And then it's niched with the Miracle Morning for Salespeople, the Miracle Morning for Parents and Families. So, I would like Miracle Morning for College Students. No college student is necessarily going to buy the Miracle Morning book because they don't think it applies to them until it's, “Oh, it's specific for college students.” Yeah. So, I just think you can have a big idea and kind of have a sub-idea within the big idea to find that niche, and everybody's just different. You know, my friend Jesse’s book came out today, If Not You, Then Who? It’s for addiction. It's helping people. He's a recovering addict and so he has a very specific niche but the beauty of that is then you know where to target, you know which podcasts to go on, you know which blogs to reach out to. It's not everybody. It's your niche. And that focus effort yields usually the best results. Alright. Step three, brother.
John Lee Dumas: Step three is creating your avatar. Now that you know that niche, now that you know the area that you can and want to dominate, now you've got to create your avatar. That's the perfect listener of your podcast, the perfect customer, the perfect client, the perfect fill-in-the-blank consumer of your content. So few people do this. So, they just really struggle, knowing what to do next. They're like, "Okay. Like, I have my big idea, like I had the niche, but what do I do next?” When you sit down here at step three and really, truly create your avatar, that perfect individual, that individual will guide you every step of the way. Now, they become your north star. I sat down day one and I created Jimmy. I go into super details about who Jimmy is, how old, how many kids, how long his commute is to work. I have everything about Jimmy. So, every time I had a question about, "Well, should I do this or this? Left or right at this fork in the road at Entrepreneurs on Fire?” I didn't ask myself. I was the host of the podcast. I wasn't my perfect listener. I asked Jimmy, WWJW. What would Jimmy want? And then that was the answer. I was off to the races. I made it happen.
I brought Jon Morrow. He is this great smart guy, Smartblogger.com. He has created such an amazing avatar for his business where he was struggling so hard to make any sales before because he wasn't speaking the language. He didn't know the vocabulary they were using. He didn't really know what their real struggles were. He had a great product but nobody knew what he was actually solving. When he finally started speaking to these individuals and having the ability to craft this one perfect customer, everything changed for him, his vocabulary, his sales page. Everything in the way he communicated, it all changed and his business blew up. So, Hal, what you got about creating the avatar?
Hal Elrod: Yeah. It's something that I think people often overlook like, “Eh, I don't need to do that like I have a general idea of who I'm trying to reach.” But I think that the specificity again yields the best results. And for me with the Miracle Morning, I thought about who am I writing for and it was really, I was originally the avatar. I'm someone who I know that I'm capable of so much more and yet I'm settling for less than I really want in this life. You know, now, that was like the general idea. But then when I was writing the book, I thought, okay, for someone that knows they're capable of more, for example, what's standing in that person's way? Maybe it's excuses, maybe it's fear. I was able to really understand how to communicate to that person and give them what they needed in terms of the steps, this instruction, etcetera, to overcome what was holding them back so they could accomplish what they wanted. So, again, it's something that you can't skip step three. Creating your avatar is absolutely crucial. What's step four?
John Lee Dumas: Well, and if anybody can see behind Hal right now, I can just tell you, his studio is full of all of his new avatars now. So, he's actually spanned out to all these different avatars like the real estate, the college student, the family, the this, the that. And so, your avatars can or will expand over time but you've got to start clear, concise with one and serve them at the best way possible. So, step four, choose your platform. This is where so many people get it wrong because they’re like, "Okay. Now that I have my big idea, the niche within it, and I know exactly who I'm trying to serve with that perfect avatar of mine, now, I'm just going to go do everything all at one time.” And the problem with this is I call it they go a mile wide and an inch deep in all these different areas, and they make no impression and no impact, zero, zip, zilch. You need to find the perfect platform which you will know because you know your avatar, so you ask your avatar, "Hey, where do you spend your most time? Which platform? Which one of these million platforms that are out there do you spend the most time, can I reach you in the most impactful way?” They will tell you. You will choose that platform. It's like I went all in 100% with podcasting. That was my platform. Now, have I built out and expanded over the years and created a much bigger media empire? Of course, but I started with one. I chose my platform. I went all-in and I made a massive impact. I went one inch wide and one mile deep.
And to drop the value bombs in this book, I brought Leslie Samuel because I love to bring him in on this because he was getting going in the time of podcasting was hot, YouTube was hot. Social media was hot, but he's like, "No. My avatar is still reading blogs. I'm focusing on the blog because they come, they read the blog, they subscribe to the RSS feed in the blogs.” He knew it and so he went a little old school but it worked for him because he didn't try to just do it all or compete with everybody or just chase the hottest trends. He did the platform that worked best for him and his perfect customer and client. So, Hal, what you got about choosing your platform?
Hal Elrod: Yeah. For me, I chose wrong and right early on. So, for me, there were two. I chose Facebook, which is where I created the Miracle Morning Facebook Group, the community, which now has 300,000 members. And back then Facebook's algorithms were a little kinder. They actually showed your posts to other people. So, that's changed a little bit. So, if I were starting over today, I don't know that'd be my first choice but the wrong platform I did was television. I thought, "Oh, I got a morning book, I'll get on morning shows.” And it didn't sell very many books and I really dissected and analyzed why that was. I realized, "Oh, my avatar isn't sitting at home watching television. They're actually listening to podcasts pursuing personal development.” And so, I switched from television to podcasts and the needle started to move. So, it made a huge difference when I realized, "Oh, just because I have a morning book, morning shows, that audience that's not my avatar. Those people aren't seeking personal development. They're seeking distraction.” They're getting the kids ready for school while they got the TV on in the background, but people listening to podcasts, they are by default searching for personal development that I'm delivering. So, that's my made a mistake and then figured it out with the avatar.
John Lee Dumas: Okay. So, now that you've identified your big idea, and you've discovered the niche within it, you created your avatar, you've chosen your platform, now you're ready for step five. And this is critical because you can't do step five before any of these because you don't know who to look for. Who am I talking about? Your perfect mentor. Now, that you know the platform is going to be crushing who your perfect client customer listener is, the niche and the idea that you're going to be working within, now you can find your mentor. I have one real sentence that I drill down on with this. Your perfect mentor is somebody who is currently where you want to be, somebody who is currently where you want to be. So, guess what? I want to be a successful business podcast host. I would have found a mutual friend of myself and Hal’s, Jaime Masters who was a successful business podcast host of The Eventual Millionaire, and she was my perfect mentor. Now, another example and somebody I brought in for the book, Shawn Stevenson. This guy is a physical beast. He has The Model Health Show. He's written two unbelievable books, Sleep Smarter, Eat Smarter. This guy is a giant. He's actually my personal mentor in the health space for a long time and actually still is virtually.
This guy was doing it all in the physical space, but guess what, his finances were a wreck. It was a mess. He didn't know where to start. But guess what, luckily one of the people that he was trained to get better fitness-wise was a financial guru and this person took him under his arm and mentored him on how to get his finances straight. That was where Shawn wanted to be, have his finances squared away. Because of that, everything's changed. And now Shawn’s finances, all his hard work, is actually enabling him to keep the money he makes. So, finding your mentor, that person is currently where you want to be. Hal?
Hal Elrod: Yeah. I’ll just say that you can find your mentor in the form of a book or in the form of a podcast. For me, like that's the least expensive way to get a mentor, right, is you buy a book. You spend $20 and now you're getting that mentor's wisdom distilled. Arguably, you're going to get more value from that than spending hours with that person because the hours might turn into a random conversation but in a book, it's focused, it's thoughtful. It's like if you want John Lee Dumas as your mentor, for example, you buy his book and you're reading, literally, he's mentoring you page after page after page. You know, I seek out mentors in the form of masterminds, the form of books, the form of real-life human beings, and just realize that your mentor can come in many forms.
John Lee Dumas: Step six, join a mastermind. This is a critical step that so few people do correctly. There's a wrong way to do it and there's a right way to do it. In the specific way that I talked about, there's a lot of things in the chapter I go into but the specific thing I want to talk about now is you need to be part of a weekly mastermind that consists of either three or four total people, no more, no less. Either three or four, including yourself. This is a weekly mastermind. Now, you can be part of other masterminds that are bigger and are this and or that. I get all of that but this is an absolute mandatory thing for you to be part of a weekly mastermind that consists of either you and two other people or you and three other people. Now, I won't get into super details but in this book like I tell you exactly how to run the masterminds, how to find people to get into your mastermind, either how to join the right mastermind, or more likely, create that mastermind because you're going to be one of the only people that knows how to do it right. And to drop value bombs on this step and chapter, I brought my mentor Jaime Masters to just share her genius of masterminds because she's been somebody that I've learned so much from, from masterminds over the years. She runs them so right. She gives away her entire mastermind philosophy and format, which is spectacular. It's actually one of the longest submissions of any one of these 17 contributors because there's so much content that she gave here and it's absolutely critical. So, Hal, what do you want to say about masterminds?
Hal Elrod: Just that I do exactly what you said. I'm in a four-person mastermind. It's actually part of the GoBundance men's group and we meet every other week. We've got strategy, feedback, accountability, all of the things that you talked about in the book.
John Lee Dumas: Yeah. And the real quick point as to like why that four or three is the perfect number is because guess what, now Hal gets to be on the hot seat once every four sessions, and that is so critical. We have masterminds that are too big like there's 10 people in that mastermind. You could be in the hot seat like once a year. That doesn't make any sense. So, like you have to have a small enough number of people where you're able to be the focus of that meeting at least once every month or two, at the very least. And we go into all the details why. So, step seven, this one and you as an author, Hal, you'll get this, I wrote and wrote and wrote this chapter, and I had no idea what I was getting into when I started because it turned into a beast, 13,500 words. 13,500 words for this one chapter alone and the chapter is called Creating a Content Production Plan. And I'm telling you right now, Hal, you know this because we talked about this in detail, but I need to just be so honest with your listeners right now. This is why we've won at such a high-level Entrepreneurs on Fire. Our content production plan is fantastic. And most people's content production plan is terrible. Ours used to be not good. Ours used to be terrible. Now, it's fantastic. It's taken us a decade to get to that word fantastic but OMG is it fantastic now.
And 13,500 words later, after you read this chapter and apply its principles, your head will first pop off, so put your head back on because it's just going to be so much awesomeness. And for the first time in your life, you will have in front of you a proven content production plan that's been running our multimillion-dollar a year business for 10 years now. And by the way, we've been 90 months running up over $100,000 of net profit. Our content production plan is the main reason why Chapter 7, Step 7, I brought to Kate Erickson who's my fiancé and my business partner in crime. She's the genius behind her content production plan. You need to download her genius. Hal?
Hal Elrod: Two things. Finally proposed, man. That's been a long time coming. Number two, all I can say is I suck. I'm one of those that suck at the content production plan. So, this is the chapter I'm most excited to read. And I'm a student of this one.
John Lee Dumas: Cool, man. Well, listen, I did push my next interview by 10 minutes. So, we actually have 15 more minutes and strong here. So, I want to just keep going because this is such a great interview. So, step eight, Chapter 8, Create Content. Now that you've gotten down and you actually have your content production plan, now it's time to put away the excuses, put away the fear, put away the “perfectionism” which is another word for “I'm a coward” and just create content. Of course, I brought none other than Pat Flynn to drop value bombs here. This guy's been producing and creating content for well over a decade now and he's a master at it. I don't even know if you've seen his latest thing. He's now got a Pokémon YouTube channel that's crushing it, Hal. I don't know anything about Pokémon but he does. He loves it. He does it with his kids. It's crushing it because he knows how to create content. And this guy is a master. I share with you, Hal. We create content. Our system is how you can too and why it’s so important. Anything to add on that?
Hal Elrod: Just that, A, Pat Flynn is one of my favorite human beings on the planet. I love him.
John Lee Dumas: Truth.
Hal Elrod: And two, he's the most prolific like his, A, creativity, like you said, he got a Pokémon channel. He's got a smart passive Income channel, right? He shows up as Marty McFly in Back to the Future on his video. He is so creative. He's so funny, so authentic, and genuine. And just the amount of content that he puts out consistently is on another level. So, if you can get just a little bit of that Pat Flynn and apply a tenth of it to your business, it's going to be a game-changer.
John Lee Dumas: Step nine, if you think Pat Flynn was the right fit for step eight, create content, well check out step nine, launch. And who did I bring in for this? Jeff Walker. Of course, he is Mr. Launch himself. He is Mr. Product Launch Formula. But listen, this is where people go wrong. They do all of the first eight steps because those are, I'm not going to say they're easy, but then like you can do it and you can kind of be behind a wall and doing it and it's all exciting and stuff but when it comes down to it, so many people fail to ever launch because they love living what I call the pre-launch world because it's so safe there. It's like this might work. I know it might not work but this might work. So, I want to keep living in the world of it might work. You've got to launch. I fell victim to this, I delayed my podcast launch for well over a month and it cost me, by the way, well over $100,000. I call it my $100,000 mistake. I won't go into detail about that now, but it's in the book. And you need to flipping launch. So, I brought Jeff Walker to teach you how to launch, why to launch, how to get over yourself. And of course, I give you all my tips and tactics as well. Do it. Hal?
Hal Elrod: I'll just say this. So, I read Jeff Walker's book launch. I bought his product and program many years ago, Product Launch Formula, right? I've learned from Pat Flynn, Jaime Masters. I'm giving it away but the next person, Ryan Levesque. What's cool is I had to go out and read 20 books to get all of this. So, that's what I'm noticing is I'm looking at the list of all the 17 steps and the people that you brought in for each one. You got Russell Brunson like you have the best of the best of the best in each of these categories, all condensed into one book. So, yeah, man. So, I'm blown away by that.
John Lee Dumas: Well, you're exactly correct. That was my one goal. My one focus in this book was to bring in the best and I had this 17-person dream list. I had backups and then I have backups to those backups. I didn't even have to make those other two lists. Every single person I asked first said yes. So, that was one of the bigger honors of my life for sure and, yes, it was just so everybody knows, these are my number one choices for all of these different areas. So, number 10, pinpoint your avatar’s biggest struggle. This is such a key part right here. Listen, I know that you know your avatar back from step three but now you've launched. Now, it's real. Now, you have actual clients, actual customers, actual listeners, actual avatars. In the real world, now I teach you in a very specific step-by-step formula how to pinpoint their biggest struggle. It is a science and I teach you how to do it in the best possible way through my failures, through my mistakes, to where we now have it at a fantastic level. And of course, I brought Ryan Levesque. He is Mr. Ask, the New York Times bestselling author of Ask. I mean, that is the book that really breaks it down in such a meaningful level. So, not only do I share with you how to pinpoint your avatar's biggest struggle but Mr. Ask himself gets to come in and share all the details as well. So, just like Mr. Launch gets to share with you about launching, Mr. Ask gets to share with you about pinpointing your avatar’s biggest struggle, which if you haven't figured out the spoiler alerts, it has to do with asking certain questions. So, Hal, what do you want before you move on?
Hal Elrod: Again, I'm just going to say that I have read Ryan's book, Ask. I then have my team go through a one-day with him and right now got a team member going through the entire course. So, again, the amount of money, effort, and energy that I've put into learning the stuff that you've got in the book, I think it just shows how valuable it is. And again, if you're listening to this, it's so crucial that most of us think of what do we have to give to people versus what do people need that I have to give to people? And so, it's really just flipping it from us projecting what we believe we should give to those to actually asking, “Hey, what do you need? What do you need? Oh, okay. Now I understand. Here's how I can best serve you.”
John Lee Dumas: Cool. Now, we're moving into kind of rapid-fire moves. We've got like eight things left here, and we just got to keep moving. So, step 11, Chapter 11. After you pinpointed your avatar's biggest struggle, it’s time to prove the concept and craft the solution. You need to prove the concept and then craft the solution. I all too often thought I had the best idea in the world. I didn't prove the concept and I paid for it dearly. So, I teach you how to not make those mistakes, how to prove the actual concept, and then craft the actual solution. We have amazing individuals for this one. Omar and Nicole Zenhom, they created WebinarNinja, which is a massive webinar software platform. It's a huge SaaS, software as a service platform. And they're over in Australia rocking it with a huge team making things happen and they did this so unbelievably well, it was great to bring them on for this. But, again, you skip this step. It's going to cost you money, period. Hal?
Hal Elrod: I'll just say that with the Miracle Morning, I taught the Miracle Morning to people and have them implement it and give me feedback beginning with my coaching clients and then from small speeches for three years before the book was published. So, for three years, while I was writing the Miracle Morning, I was doing that exact step 11, proving the concept, crafting the solution in real-time with my real-time avatars.
John Lee Dumas: Step 12, Chapter 12 build a funnel. I brought Mr. Funnel himself, truly, Russell Brunson. He kills it in this. I mean, he's so good when it comes to funnels like you can have everything right up to this point but you're leaving so much money on the table. You're leaving so much opportunity on the table if you don't build a meaningful funnel. So, I teach you how I built multiple, multiple million-dollar funnels. Russell comes in, of course, crushes it, talks about his ClickFunnels experience, and all of the things that happened before building a funnel. Hal?
Hal Elrod: Real quick, what's a funnel, John?
John Lee Dumas: Chapter 12, step 12, buddy. No, but listen, the funnel is the journey that you take your customer, your client, your avatar on from the moment they meet your brand or your business for the first time all the way through to a sale. That's a funnel. It's a journey, and it can be an amazing journey if you do it right.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. And the Miracle Morning, it just starts out with people get to opt-in for the sneak peek of the book. If they like that they get an audio and a video and it's all free, and it's all free value. And then most likely they're going to go, "Wow. This is really great,” and then they end up watching the documentary or buying the book. You again, you brought in the founder of ClickFunnels, the number one person in the world app is Russell Brunson. So, really excited for that. All right, step 13.
John Lee Dumas: Diversify your revenue streams. A mutual friend of ours who's crushing it up there in Canada, Stu McLaren, he has a whole brand now around TRIBE. He is so good at diversifying revenue streams. Of course, his focus is on membership sites and building a tribe but he has so many recurring revenue streams around that with software and this and that, like your head will pop off with how much that he shares what he has going on. You don't need to implement all this at once like we teach you how to do it step-by-step, day-by-day, month-by-month, year-by-year but, hey, look what happened in 2020? This world can flip on a second. If you're not diversified, if you don't have things spread out over assets with your investments, with your business, you are vulnerable, period. I don't care how much you're crushing it at one thing. You have to diversify. I teach you, Hal, that I've done it and now I have nine active revenue streams on every single income report and Stu teaches it and how he does it in his business. And by the way, he gives some unbelievably cool investment diversification advice, which I think you'd find really interesting, Hal. It's all about real estate and luxury homes and what he's doing up in Canada like with lake homes is really cool stuff that he shared. So, that's step 13.
Hal Elrod: Very interesting. And I'll just say that I think that especially In today's world/economy it's very risky and in some ways irresponsible to put all of our eggs in one basket. And so, I think I wrote an article for Entrepreneur.com a few years ago, that was all about how crucial it is to diversify your sources of income. So, you're not dependent on one, and if one goes away because the economy, the market changes, you can pivot, shift, put your energy into the next one, and stay afloat.
John Lee Dumas: Step 14. Increase your traffic. There are few people that are traffic masters at this level as Mr. Billy Gene. This guy's done it all. We're talking billboards, we're talking exotic cars, we're talking ads of everything you can imagine. We're talking podcasts. We're talking YouTube. We're just talking everything. This guy knows it. He gets it. I figured out ways to increase traffic over the years and I teach you, Hal, in my part of this chapter, of course, but Billy Gene comes on my favorite quote of his entire part of that is, "Boring will put you out of business,” and it's so true. And he teaches you how not to be boring because I'm going to be honest, some of you guys are boring, not all of you but some of you are. I was boring at one time and boring will put you out of business, period. Billy Gene.
Hal Elrod: You were definitely boring at one point but in terms of increasing traffic, increasing traffic really it translates to increasing income and increasing impact. If you have 1,000 people come to your website every month, you can impact 1,000 people, increase your jobs to 10,000. Now, you can impact ten times as many lives, earn ten times as much income, etcetera. So, again, that's a crucial step.
John Lee Dumas: Implementing systems and building a team is step 15, Chapter 15. And listen, I've built a lean, mean profit-making machine. It's myself, three virtual assistants in the Philippines, and Kate. This is my team. And our percentage of our net profit and gross revenue is over 80% on average every single month, which is fantastic and, of course, we live in Puerto Rico so we get to keep all that profit because we don't pay anything in taxes except for a mere 4%. So, I tell you all about how I built such a lean mean team but then I bring in the one and only Amy Porterfield, who has really started to go big. Like now she has 20 people on her team and she's going bigger and broader with her team, and how she's doing that. And she talks about all of her departments and how she runs her operations. And her systems like it is such a valuable contribution part of the chapter that we actually made a couple of key changes right away just after seeing what she sent over for this. And I was like this needs to happen now. So, we give you like the small lean team, we give you the insights from a person that had a small lean team, which was Amy, and now she grew a team out bigger. And we go all-in on this, step 15.
Hal Elrod: What I love is that they get the contrast. They get to see two different ways to do it. And I've opted toward, I used to think I want a big team and have a huge company and a big office space. No, no, wait a minute, I want to work from home with a couple of other people on my team that make everything work. So, I love that you're offering both.
John Lee Dumas: So, step 16 is managing affiliate partnerships. And Jill and Josh Stanton from Screw The Nine To Five, they are just amazing. They actually run their business, literally. Almost all of their revenue comes from affiliate partnerships. We make bank like I think 23% to 25% any given month of our revenue comes from affiliate partnerships. So, we love affiliate partnerships. We always have gone all-in on that. Jill and Josh Stanton talked about how to do that, how to set that up. It’s a very key amazing part of your business that can really turn into true passive income if you do it right. Step 16.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. It’s an area that I've dabbled in but I'm excited to read that chapter and really amplify that in a way that serves the audience and helps the business grow as well.
John Lee Dumas: Listen, step 17, Chapter 17, Keeping The Money You Make. There are so many people out there that are making a lot of money, Hal. They're making a lot of money, but they're not keeping almost any of that money at the end of the day when we take away salaries and expenses and this cost and that cost, and then taxes come in and swipe all that other stuff away. It's like, "Where's all my money at the end of the day?” And I said that for multiple years in San Diego. I was paying seven figures a year in taxes, and that had to change. And so, we don't just talk to you about tax strategies, of course, but we talk to you about all the different ways you can keep the money you make. And of course, I bring in Ramit Sethi, who was Mr. I Will Teach You To Be Rich. He dropped so much value in this part about keeping the money that you make. It's so valuable, so key. So, you get myself, somebody who literally is keeping over 80% of the money he makes. And you get Ramit Sethi who's a genius in that as well. So, two great examples. Hal?
Hal Elrod: Yeah. And like many of my listeners, this is an area that I have to grow and improve in because I am not a detailed person. I'm not watching the spreadsheets like I should be. So, I'm excited to finish off your book with number 17. So, let's wrap it up. Where can people go if they want to, if they identify, they want to really go deep into these 17 steps, where do they get the book?
John Lee Dumas: Yeah. I know we're going to wrap it up but I'll add one more thing. There is a bonus chapter, Chapter 18, which is fantastic. It’s called the Well of Knowledge. It's just a bonus chapter. It’s not meant to be read at once. It's not meant to be read in order. It's the well of knowledge for a reason. It's my favorite inspirational and motivational passages throughout the past decade of my life that I've read or heard or seen. And you have to go check it out whenever you need that little dose of inspiration, motivation. Every one of those passages is a 10 out of 10 quality-wise, and there's a ton of them. So, dip your ladle in that well of knowledge, make it happen.
John Lee Dumas: And my friends, we did rapid-fire here but if you want all the awesomeness, head over to UncommonSuccessBook.com. If you're one of those amazing and many, many, many, many people that's already taken action from Hal Elrod’s community, I got some special news for you. We're doing something really cool and I set this up especially for Hal’s audience because they're amazing. You know somebody that needs this book as well. You have somebody that you love that’s meaningful in your life, a friend, a mastermind partner, whatever that might be, give them the gift. So, if you've already invested in this book for yourself, you've already gotten the amazing bonuses because my team is on it, we're sending you the bonuses out immediately, get a gift for a friend. Get two, three, whatever that makes sense for you because you know, after hearing this, for sure, this book is very, very special. Again, go through the same process, send me an email with a screenshot. Just let me know that this is your second-order at a minimum if not two or three. And we have an additional secret special gift and it's very awesome. I'm just going to leave it there.
So, anybody listening that hasn't yet done the pre-order, do a pre-order. We'd love it. We have five bonuses. You can learn all the details, the endorsements from Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, all that jazz. I get the first chapter away for free, UncommonSuccessBook.com. If this is your first time doing the pre-order and you want to go right to the two or the three, you're going to be qualified for this extra special Hal Elrod’s audience’s gift. If you've already done it from the last interview we did, do a second one now and we’re going to get you on that list as well and get you out that special six bonus that's only available for this amazing audience. So, Hal, you're the man. Your audience is unbelievable, UncommonSuccessBook.com. Thank you, brother.
Hal Elrod: Love you, John. And, goal achievers, thanks for tuning in. I hope you got as much value as I did. Honest, I'm excited to read the book. There are a lot of holes in my game that I see in these 17 steps that I'm excited to fill. So, John, thank you for the work that you do, man. We'll talk to you soon.
John Lee Dumas: Love you, bro.
Hal Elrod: You too.
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