There is a quintessential moment that every entrepreneur will face at some point in their life. It doesn't matter what kind of business you're running, or what kind of niche you're in, if you're an entrepreneur you will experience a moment unique only to those who dare to try their hand at entrepreneurship.
It's the moment when you look in the mirror and realize that you're not happy doing whatever is you're doing. That the system doesn't work for you, so instead you're going to go out there and create something for yourself.
For John Lee Dumas that didn't happen until he was 32 years old.
"I gave myself my own job and that's what I kind of love about it, because I've been asking, begging, pleading for jobs really for the first 32 years of my life. And it wasn't until I said, 'You know what? It's time to get out there and create my own job, a job that I want that I'm actually excited and passionate about.'"
You'll likely recognize Dumas as the founder and host of Entrepreneur on Fire where, in the past four years, he's built a multimillion dollar business from interviewing the top entrepreneurs in the world.
Today, Entrepreneur on Fire boasts 1.3 million listens a month, it's one of the most popular business podcasts in the world and it took over 10 years of trial and error for Dumas to get to where he is today.
"My journey at EO fire started when I was 22 years old when I graduated college. I just spent 4 years training as an army officer and then I spent the next 4 years in the army during 2002 to 2006-and when I got out at 26 years old, I promptly went on to try 3 different careers and they were in the traditional fields," he said.
"Law, corporate finances, commercial real estate, and I just failed, failed, failed at all three of those and that was over the course of 6 years."
Dumas remembers the exact moment he knew that the life of an employee wasn't for him.
He had just walked out the doors of the commercial broker firm he was working at, and he knew that this wasn't the future or career that he wanted. Once he got home he changed and decided to take a long walk around his home city of Maine, listening to a couple of podcasts as he went.
As he walked and cleared his thoughts he began to feel inspired by the people he was listening to. People like Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income and Andrew Warner of Mixergy, all of whom seemed to really love their jobs as podcasters interviewing other entrepreneurs.
"I just faced that reality on that walk. It was actually on that walk that I said 'I need to start listening to more of these episodes,' so I went back and I went to download some more episodes where they were interviewing entrepreneurs and to my shock there weren't that many shows out there that did that"
Most podcasts those days would only release an episode once a week, or maybe even once every fortnight. Realising that there must be other people who, like himself, who wanted more content, who wanted to listen to a new episode every other day.
Despite having no broadcasting experience whatsoever Dumas set out to create the first 7 day a week business podcast from scratch.
"My first real entrepreneurial adventure and journey was EO fire and I'll tell ya, it wasn't pretty for a significant amount of time. I mean I wasn't a good podcast host, I didn't know how to run an online business. I didn't know what I was doing."
Unperturbed Dumas soldiered on. He didn't view Entrepreneur on Fire as just a business opportunity, but a way for him to invest in himself. So he began seeking out courses and communities that were teaching what he wanted to learn.
He'd make up for his lack of experience by learning from those who did have it. Learning how to take their methods and strategies and spinning it so that it fit his own situation.
"I'm a huge believer that we're all standing on the shoulders of giants, I look back to people who inspired me to launch EO fire and I learned from them, and they learned from people who came before them. It's so important not to duplicate and replicate and copy, you see a lot of people doing that out there in this world.
But there's nothing wrong with investing in yourself, learning from those who are teaching it, who have come before you and then implementing their structures, what's worked for them with what will work for you individually as a person."
In the end it took him 9 months and 20 thousand dollars spent on equipment, mentors and courses before he started to turn a profit with Entrepreneur on Fire.
A big difference to this year where Entrepreneur on Fire is projected to clear 4 million dollars in revenue, something that Dumas publicly shares with his listeners and community with his monthly income reports.
"I want to start showing people what we're being successful with when it comes to generating revenue. So that they can see what's working for me, just like how I emulate others and their success, Fire nation can emulate my success.
But we also talk about the failures in our reports as well, and we get in-depth on those because I also want podcasters to see my failures, my mistakes, my missteps so they can avoid those pitfalls. I don't want them to make the same mistakes that I did if they don't have to."
For Dumas he wants be as authentic and as transparent as possible to his audience.
A big proponent of "know, like and trust", a marketing concept on how to build and retain a loyal audience and following. Dumas is always looking to build that trust with his audience, something he believes that no successful business can survive without.
To achieve this he continuously produces valuable content for his audience for free.
Including a weekly webinar on podcasting, another webinar on how to monetise a business with webinars, along with his daily podcast interviews and blog.
For Dumas he's in the business of helping others succeed. In fact a large part of the appeal behind the Entrepreneur on Fire podcast is that in every interview he'll ask his guests to share their darkest moment as an entrepreneur and the mistakes they made. All done in order to help his audience, whose he affectionately calls 'The Fire Nation', succeed in as many different ways possible.
"I'm big on providing Fire Nation with the tools they need to succeed"
In order to further achieve that goal Dumas has spent 2015 working with Pencils of Promise to create his very first physical product: The Freedom Journal. In which all proceeds will go to building schools and providing education to children in developing countries.
When asked what the common element between all his guests are, Dumas realised that all of his guests weren't just great at setting goals, but reaching them.
In his own words The Freedom Journal is:
"A beautiful leather bound gold embossed journal which I've called 'The Freedom Journal: Set and accomplish your #1 goal in 100 days'. And it does exactly that, it teaches you how to set a SMART goal, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound and then how to accomplish that goal in one hundred days."
To learn more about the journal, you can visit http://TheFreedomJournal.com.
Whilst most entrepreneurs would be happy with the level of success Dumas has achieved and just work to maintain that. For Dumas he's still keen on growing the Entrepreneur on Fire brand as much as possible by trying to provide as much value and inspiration to as many people as people.
"I'm an active person, waking up and just sitting on the beach all day, it's good for a week and I love taking vacations. But I'm an active person, I like having my finger on the pulse, I like being cutting edge, I like doing things that matter and interacting with people that matter. It's always been big on my agenda list."