John Lee Dumas on the Common Path to Uncommon Success | PoP 544

Share this content

What are some of the core principles of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs? Can reciprocity help your businesses, from one act of kindness? How can you find real fulfillment in the work you do?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with John Lee Dumas about the common path to uncommon success and how reciprocity has been a game-changer.

Podcast Sponsor

Try out TherapyNotes! It makes notes, billing, scheduling, and telehealth a whole lot easier. Check it out and you will quickly see why it’s the highest-rated EHR on TrustPilot with over 1000 verified customer reviews and an average customer rating of 4.9/5 stars.

You’ll notice the difference from the first day you sign up for a trial. They offer live phone support 7 days a week.

So when you have questions, you can quickly reach someone who can help, you are never wasting your time looking for answers.
If you are coming from another EHR, they make the transition really easy. TherapyNotes will import your clients’ demographic data free of charge during your trial so you can get going right away.

To get 2 free months of TherapyNotes, no strings attached including their very reliable telehealth platform click on and enter the promo code: Joe

Meet John Lee Dumas

John Lee Dumas is the host of Entrepreneurs on Fire, an award-winning podcast where he interviews inspiring Entrepreneurs who are truly ON FIRE. With over 2500 episodes, 1 million + listens a month, and seven-figures of annual revenue, JLD is just getting started. Visit to set YOUR Entrepreneurial journey ON FIRE!

Visit his website. Connect on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

Listen to his podcast.

Pre-order JLD’S new book: The Common Path to Uncommon Success now!

In This Podcast

  • The 17-step roadmap to financial success and fulfillment
  • Pinpoint your avatar’s biggest struggle
  • Keep the money you make
  • Reciprocity

The 17-step roadmap to financial success and fulfillment

  1. Identify your big idea
  2. Discover your niche
  3. Create your avatar
  4. Choose your platform
  5. Find your mentor
  6. Join a mastermind
  7. Design your content production plan
  8. Create content
  9. Launch
  10. Pinpoint your avatar’s biggest struggle
  11. Prove the concept and craft the solution
  12. Build a funnel
  13. Diversify your revenue streams
  14. Increase your traffic
  15. Implement systems and build a team
  16. Manage affiliate partnerships
  17. Keep the money you make

Pinpoint your avatar’s biggest struggle

Strike up a conversation with your ideal customer, your avatar, on what it is that they need help with in their lives. Ask them these four questions:

  1. How did you find out about me? Learn how people find out about you, your business, and your content so you can do more of those things that are clearly working to connect you to your ideal clients.
  2. What do you like about my content? Learn what it is that they actually like about your content and what draws them to you.
  3. What don’t you like about my content? Ignore the first thing that comes up, but keep your ears open if a theme comes up because then you can clearly define what the issue is and change it.
  4. What is your biggest struggle right now? “Right now” will unlock everything for you because it will show you where they are exactly in their lives now, and it will show you what your next step is in helping them.

Keep the money you make

If your business is location independent, you can consider relocating to save yourself from having to pay heaps of tax.

Pay yourself first.


What are you doing in your world right now to build reciprocity? What are you doing right now to be a person of value, to your family, to your friends, to your loved ones, to your peers … what are you doing everyday to be of value? (John Lee Dumas)

Do not have your gears always focused on success, have your focus lie in being a person of value because when you sincerely assist those in building themselves up, they will help you in turn.

It is in the building of these reciprocal relationships that you can solidify and strengthen your business alongside others around you, building each other up and hereby strengthening your community.

Pre-order The Common Path to Uncommon Success now!

Useful Links:

Meet Joe Sanok

private practice consultant

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

Feel free to leave a comment below or share this podcast on social media by clicking on one of the social media links below! Alternatively, leave a review on iTunes and subscribe!


Podcast Transcription

[JOE SANOK]: Is managing your practice stressing you out? Try Therapy Notes. It makes notes, billing, scheduling, and tele-health a whole lot easier. Check it out and you will quickly see why it’s the highest rated EHR on Trustpilot with over a thousand verified customer views and an average customer rating of 4.9 out of five stars. You’ll notice the difference from the first day you sign up for a trial. They offer live phone support seven days a week so when you have questions, you can quickly reach out to someone who can help. You are never wasting your time looking for answers. If you’re coming from another EHR, they make the transition really easy. Therapy Notes will import your clients’ demographic data free of charge during your trial so you can get going right away. Use the promo code [JOE] to get three months to try out Therapy Notes, totally free, no strings attached, including their very reliable tele-health platform. Make 2021 best year yet with Therapy Notes. Again, that’s promo code [JOE] at checkout to get three months totally free.
[JOE]: This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok session number 544. I’m just going to dive right in because we have John Lee Dumas on the show today. If you don’t know John Lee, that is shocking to me. Let me just tell you about him. So John Lee Dumas is the founder and host of the award-winning podcast Entrepreneurs on Fire with over a million monthly listens and seven figures of annual revenue. JLD is spreading entrepreneurial fire on a global scale. His first traditionally published book, The Common Path to Uncommon Success is available for pre-order now at, JLD. Welcome to the Practical of the Practice podcast.
[JOHN LEE DUMAS]: Brother, I am fired up to be here. You are a rock star. Way to make it happen.
[JOE]: Thanks. And I’m so excited because in June you are going to be one of our experts with Ask the Expert with Next Level Practice, right after our next cohort opens up. You’re the first expert that we’re hanging out with and we just gave away 75 of your books to Next Level Practice people. So, I mean, you’re killing it and you’re helping our community already. It’s amazing.
[JOHN]: I can’t wait. I mean, getting this book into the hands of your audience makes me so happy. So thank you, Joe.
[JOE]: Yes. Well, so The Common Path to Uncommon Success, just that name alone, I feel like is my audience completely. Like we all went, got master’s degrees, got PhDs, we took the common regular schooling path and a lot of us are experiencing uncommon success, but I want to hear your story about the book and kind of the main pillars of the book. Take us through what that means for you to have this common path and uncommon success.
[JOHN]: I mean, my journey is a long one and at 32 years old, I was kind of looking back over my life and saying, “Okay, I was an officer in the army for eight years. I tried law school, corporate finance, commercial real estate. Nothing’s working for me. What is wrong with me?” And that led me down a path of reading the right books, learning from the best people, listening to their audio books, and also listening to podcasts. Because I was like, “This is a pretty cool medium.” That’s kind of way back in 2012 and really just getting educated by all of these amazing individuals and planting a seed in my mind that said, “Hey, what if I surround myself with the right people? What if I interview other successful entrepreneurs? What would that look like?” And that led me to Launch Entrepreneurs on Fire, which, now, as we’re talking has over 3000 episodes, has over a hundred million listens, has 1.4 million monthly listens.
And I’ve been able to build a little bit of a business around that. We actually just crossed our 90th month in a row of generating over a hundred thousand dollars of net revenue every month for 90 straight months. So very proud of the business that we’ve built. And I look back and say to myself, “Well, listen, you have these interviews with 3000 of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. You have literally been mentored by 3000, unbelievably inspiring and motivating individuals. You’ve learned so much and now you’re having your audience asking you essentially the same 10 questions. Why can’t you answer these questions one by one, because nobody has all that time?” So what can I do to serve my audience best? And I said, the only way to do that is to sit down and to write the definitive book, that is, The Common Path to Uncommon Success, the book that has every answer to every question my audience asks me on a day to day, week to week, month to month basis.
How can I write this book? What would it look like? And so I sat down and I essentially boiled all of the commonalities that all successful entrepreneurs possess. And I said, “Wow, there’s actually 17 core foundational principles staring back up at me right now.” 17, like you think there maybe hundreds. There were just 17, very core, very foundational, very common principles. I put them in chronological order and I said, “This is now a roadmap. This is a 17-step roadmap to financial freedom and fulfillment. This is the book I have to write. This is The Common Path to Uncommon Success.” So Joe, I have written now for 480 hours total, 71,000 words, 273 pages to bring to you the 17-step roadmap. It is finally going to be live and available for everybody on March 23rd and I cannot wait.
[JOE]: Oh man. That’s just so killer when you have those insights where you’ve created all this content, you’ve talked to all these people, you’ve done all the work. And I think sometimes people will say, “Oh, they’re an overnight success,” but they don’t look at just how much work goes into it. How did you get to the 17? I mean, was it like just staring you in the face or did it take some time to really unpack that?
[JOHN]: Oh, it took some time. Like I literally had to sit down and say like, “What have I learned over 3000 interviews? What have I learned over thousands and thousands and thousands of hours of conversations with these unbelievably inspiring and motivating human beings, with these unbelievable successful entrepreneurs?” And now it was just not easy. But when I started writing my pen continued to flow and I realized I was writing down a lot of things, but a lot of them were kind of similar. And by the time I boiled things down and combined the similar ones and cut out the fat, there were just 17 principles staring back up at me. When I put them in that chronological order, I knew that I was looking at the 17-step roadmap. I knew I was looking at 17 chapters that were going to comprise this book.
Now it was just a matter of sitting down and writing the book. So I had the steps, I had the principles, I had the foundational core elements. Now I just had to execute. Now I will say, you know we had a little quarantine in 2020 and I did use that time very wisely. And for two hours every day for eight months, I did nothing but write. I didn’t try to write 10 hours a day. No. Two hours a day. The first two hours of every day, I wrote this book, 480 total hours to bring you The Common Path to Uncommon Success.
[JOE]: Oh man. So why don’t we go big picture and maybe just give us the 17. Just can you just list those and then I’d love to really dig into one or two of your favorites.
[JOHN]: Okay, the 17. Identify your big idea, discover your niche, create your avatar, choose your platform, find your mentor, join a mastermind, design your content production plan, create content launch, pinpoint your avatar’s biggest struggle. Prove the concept and craft the solution. Build a funnel, diversify your revenue streams, increase your traffic, implement systems and build a team. Manage affiliate partnerships, keep the money you make. 17 steps, 17 chapters. Which ones do you want to dive into Joe?
[JOE]: Oh my gosh. Well, I definitely want to hit on and keep the money you make because that’s where I’m at. But I know that our audience is way earlier than that. And so let’s start kind of early, I think there was one that was the kind of the pain your ideal client is dealing with. I forgot how exactly how you said it. I love how you just like tore through them.
[JOHN]: Pinpoint your avatar’s biggest struggle.
[JOE]: Yes. How have you, like, what have you learned from your guests that helps with that?
[JOHN]: Listen, your avatar is the perfect customer, clients, listener, individual who’s consuming your content. You need to have conversations with them at non-scale. What do I mean by non-scale? I mean, one-on-one. You need to do things that don’t scale. You literally need to do things that don’t scale. You literally need to get your avatar, your customers, your clients on a call and ask them four questions. Number one, how’d you find out about me? You need to start to learn about how people are finding out about you, your business, your content so you can do more of those things that are working.
Number two, what do you like about my content? You need to learn what people actually like about your content so you can keep doing those things. What don’t you like about my content? When the first person says one thing, don’t worry about it but if you hear a theme that comes up, then maybe you change that thing. And then number four. What’s your biggest struggle right now? What is your biggest struggle right now? That word will unlock everything for you. It will share with you exactly what your next step is in this world. Pinpointing your avatar’s biggest struggle is everything, step 10.
[JOE]: So when you did that with your own audience, and I’m sure that you kind of walk through that, what were things, especially for that third question that, when people said what they didn’t like about what you were creating, what did you stop doing? What did you change? What did you discover that you were blindsided by? How did that work for EO Fire?
[JOHN]: So there’s very few things that I stopped doing. Because again, when somebody is like, “Oh, I don’t like this about your show.” It’s like, well, that’s one person. They might be an anomaly, but again, if you hear the same thing over and over and over again, then you know it’s time to change. And like, one thing that I did hear over and over again was like, “John, I do love the fact that you ask about your audience’s biggest struggle or your guests’ biggest struggle. I love that you ask about your guests’ biggest aha moment and how they turned that idea into success, but you never talk about what they’re doing right now. Like what are they doing right now that’s really working? I don’t like that you never talk about that stuff.” And I said, “That should be one of my questions.” And I made that one of my questions because I got that feedback enough and it was really, really meaningful.
[JOE]: Oh, that’s awesome. So let, let’s go to that last one, the keep your money. Deconstruct that for us.
[JOHN]: Keep the money you make. Is that the question you want to talk about.
[JOE]: Yes.
[JOHN]: Chapter 17, step 17, the final part of the process. Listen. So many people will get to step 16 correctly. They will be running a thriving business that’s actually making a lot of money, but believe me, there are very, very few people out there who are actually keeping the money they make. And it’s brutal because they work so hard. Hourly, they’re having all the success, but man, would they be embarrassed to show you their bank account? Because they are not keeping the money they make. They may have a practice that’s thriving with all these clients coming in and they’re having all these customers and all this money’s flowing into their business and guess what? It’s all flowing in. But after expenses and staff and taxes and you name it, they’re like, “Where’s all my money?” And if you actually boil down what your hourly rate is at the end of the year, with how much money you have left over, it would make people cry. It is so critical to keep the money you make in a meaningful way. So few people do it and so few people do it right. This chapter will make sure that probably the first time in your life, you’re actually prioritizing and keeping the money you make.
[JOE]: What are some of the strategies or mindsets that you dig into?
[JOHN]: I mean, listen, number one, you’re getting crushed by taxes. You’re getting crushed by taxes because you live in a place that is taxing the crap out of you. So if you are location independence, get your butt up and move. Stop coming up with a million excuses as to why you’re still giving half of your money to the government. I left for Puerto Rico five years ago, and it’s been the best decision of my life. I now pay a flat 4% tax, as opposed to what was 51%. I saved 47% the day that I moved. That gave myself a 47% raise. Now, listen, I know that a lot of you guys have practices and offices and all this different stuff, so that’s not potentially possible, but I wanted to throw it out there for those location-independent individuals. Like that’s very meaningful. But one of the biggest strategies that a lot of people do, or as you say don’t do is they literally never pay themselves first. They pay themselves last. And of course there’s no money leftover when you pay yourself last. There’s a book you need to read called Profit First. It goes into super detail.
[JOE]: Yes.
[JOHN]: Mike Michalowicz, he’s such a ball.
[JOE]: Yes, he is. He’s been on the show and he’s been one of our experts. And he’s just so amazing. Yes, Profit First, go get that book.
[JOHN]: You’ve got to read it. Listen, that is essentially the book that I pulled the best practices from to put into chapter 17, step 17. So when you get to that point, reach chapter 17, do step 17. And I also in that chapter tell you to read Profit First because it’s critical. That’s how you actually keep the money you make.
[JOE]: Man. I’m noting that book in my book as well and it’s just one of those books that made the rounds just a couple of years ago and it’s changed how people think about it. So, that’s so great that you take that principle in there. Now I want to zoom out a little bit because I think people can see success with the book, they can see success with a podcast. I want to hear some stories of struggle of where either you wanted to throw in the towel or like mental ways that you broke through. I know being military, you probably just keep working at times, but then maybe you had to say to yourself, like, “Am I doing the right things?” Like where have you struggled? How did you change that? Because sometimes it’s great to have the 17 steps to dig into those, but I think the heart of this podcast too, is like, like, how did you keep going when you were just like, “Screw this. I don’t want to do this.”
[JOHN]: Listen. I had many of those moments in my life. I mean, I went to law school and I almost made the mistake of the sunk cost fallacy, which is, “Oh, just because I went to one semester of law school and spent $20,000, I need to spend the next 50 years of my life as a lawyer.” So many people do that. They do that in the medical field and the law field and other fields and it’s really, really too bad because listen, how I kept going at every single step in the process was I was really able to look in the mirror and ask myself. Listen, are you living in your zone of fire? Like, are you literally doing what is a big idea that is so personal to you, that only you can do that? And the answer every time was no. It was, “No, I’m not living in my zone of fire as a law student. No, I’m not living in my zone of fire and corporate finance and commercial real estate, at this tech startup.”
I kept being honest with myself and saying this isn’t it and starting over and not hitting a home run the very next time, but being willing to continue to swing the bat. And then finally by educating myself and by reading the right things and by surrounding myself with the right people, the idea came for a daily podcast, interviewing entrepreneurs to learn from them. And I didn’t know where that was going to take me, but I knew it was another opportunity that could potentially end up being my zone of fire. Because it wasn’t my zone of fire at the beginning. I didn’t know what I was doing. I wasn’t good at it. I was bad. I was a bad podcast host. I was a bad communicator. I was bad at all those things, but guess what? I kept putting in the reps. I kept getting better. I saw that I loved it having conversations with inspiring people and it became my zone of fire. It became my big idea. It became the thing that I wanted to get up and do every single day.
Because listen, when you boil things down, like when you really boil down to the nuts and bolts of what it is you want in life, you want freedom. You want freedom to do what you want, where you want to do it with whom you want to do it with. If you’re doing those three things, you’re living an amazing life. You’re living a very, very awesome version of uncommon success. That’s fantastic. That’s the goal. That’s what you’re striving towards. That’s why you’re working hard; to get there. This book is going to get you there faster.
[JOE]: Oh, I love that. I want to, we’ve got probably 10 minutes or so left until you got to jump off. I have a book coming out as well, and I just want to be selfish with this. It’s not everyday I get to hang out with JLD. What have you learned through this launch process, through growing your book, interviews, all of that to have a successful book, because you know, I know that this is going to be a great book. It’s going to help a ton of people. What do I personally need to know that maybe wouldn’t be directly apparent in regards to launching a traditionally published book?
[JOHN]: I’ve learned that reciprocity is real. Reciprocity is real. So back in 2012, I read a quote that changed everything for me. It was “Try not to become a person of success, but rather a person of value.” That was an Albert Einstein quote. And that day I made a commitment to become a person of value. And guess what, Joe? I’ve done that every day, now for almost 10 years. For 3000 episodes, I’ve brought guests on my show and I’ve elevated them. I have helped them share their message, their mission, their value with the world. I’ve brought them on my stage on Entrepreneurs on Fire and I’ve held them up so that they can get a bigger audience, so that they can get their message out, so they can be more successful in what they do. And now, because that reciprocity is real, because of my relationships with them is real, guess what? Now when it’s my time to say, “I need help. I want your support. I would love to share my book, my message with your audience.”
The answer is yes. Every single time it’s yes. It’s, “How can I help? How can I support? How can I do it? What needs to happen?” Every single time. And that’s it. Reciprocity is real. So what are you doing in your world right now to build reciprocity? What are you doing in your world right now to be a person of value to your family, to your friends, to your loved ones, to your peers, to your clients, to your customers? What are you doing every day to be of value?
[JOE]: Oh man, that’s so awesome. And just even thinking through all the people I’ve had on the podcast and trying to help therapists for so many years and just thinking through even sponsors. Like Therapy Notes and Brighter Vision have been around forever and that’s a reciprocal relationship, you know where they’re paying, but then I’m also sending them clients and figuring out ways to do bulk sales with them. You got my wheels turning.
[JOHN]: That’s what I do.
[JOE]: Well maybe in the last couple of minutes I would just love to hear where is EO Fire headed? What can people expect? How do we continue to support the work that you’re doing to just help people get to that next level?
[JOHN]: Listen, I don’t decide where my business is headed. I don’t decide we’re Entrepreneurs on Fire is headed. I just ask my audience, “What is your biggest struggle right now?” And then I listen to them. They tell me and I provide the solution. They guide me. Fire nation guides me into those next steps. They always have and they always will. And so ways you can support and the ways that you can get behind what we’re doing right here now is listen. Understand that this is 10 years of my life. This is thousands and thousands and thousands of hours of interviews with the world’s most successful and smart and intelligent entrepreneurs that I’ve been the mentee, I’ve been mentored by every single one of them. And I’ve learned so much. I’ve applied it to my business, which is one reason my business has been a multi-million dollar business, eight years running now, but it’s so much more than that.
It’s these 3000 conversations. It’s these 17 foundational principles that you need in your life, you need in your business. You need to apply this 17-step roadmap to get to your version of financial freedom and fulfillment. So if you want to join myself and the thousands of other people who are on this very common path to uncommon success, you can pre-order this book. We have five amazing bonuses with every single pre-order. Just one of those bonuses, I’m shipping all three of my amazing journals to your door, literally to your door. The Freedom Journal, the Mastery Journal and the Podcast Journal. I’m shipping these to your door. They are fantastic physical pieces of work that I’ve created over the years and I’m giving them to you at my expense. That’s for everybody in the US. If you’re outside the US, I’m going to email you the beautiful digital packs immediately so you can implement those into your life hopefully sooner than later.
There’s four other insanely awesome bonuses. There’s a personal endorsement from Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, Neil Patel, Dorie Clark, Erica Mandy, just absolute illuminaries in their respective fields. I give away the first chapter for free as well and show you all five bonuses listed out at And these bonuses, they do disappear on March 23rd. So take action, pre-order this book, help us get this word out get one for a friend, a loved one. Give them the gift of uncommon success, give them the gift of financial freedom and fulfillment;
[JOE]: So awesome. Well, the last question I always ask is if every counselor in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?
[JOHN]: I would want them to know this. If you become the best solution to a real problem in this world, you will win. Until then, you’re not going to find that level of uncommon success you’re probably striving for. So be honest with yourself and become the best solution to a real problem.
[JOE]: So, awesome. Well, you may have noticed that this episode is actually out of order and we were going to launch it in mid April to kind of boost things for JLD, but we’re actually going to bump it up early. So if you’re like, “Wait episode 552? That doesn’t go in order.” It’s because we don’t want you to miss out on those amazing bonuses. So we are going to coordinate with Mitchell and our whole podcast team and just like move it up so we make sure that we get those pre-orders in for you. So we will probably re-air this later at some point as well. JLD thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast.
[JOHN]: Joe needs the world, brother. Thank you.
[JOE]: Well, John Lee Dumas never fails to impress. That was awesome to just hear about his book, learn from him and just grow together. You know, if you are looking to keep everything organized with your progress notes, your billing, your online teletherapy, all of that, Therapy Notes is the best solution. And you can get three months wholly free over at Just use promo code [JOE] when you check out to get those three months free. Thanks so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an amazing day special.
Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. We really like it. And this podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.