BONUS: The Common Path to Uncommon Success with John Lee Dumas

30 March 2021 | By Salome Schillack

When you’re still trying to figure out your strategy, who you serve, and what you do, the steps to actually reach your goals can feel blurry and confusing. 

Well, what if someone crazy successful, with years of experience in the industry, took you by the hand and laid down every single step you’d need to take to get to financial independence?

That’s exactly what today’s extra special, bonus episode of The Shine Show is all about!

Today, John Lee Dumas joins me as we discuss his new book ‘The Common Path to Uncommon Success’. 

John is the host of ‘Entrepreneurs on Fire’, an award-winning podcast where he interviews aspiring entrepreneurs who are truly on fire. He has over 3,000 episodes, gets over a million listeners per month, and (this made me almost fall off my chair) has 7-figures in revenue, 80% of which is pure profit. 

If there’s anyone who can guide you to success, it’s him!

So listen in as John breaks down the 17-step chronological roadmap to success that he discusses in his book, 'The Common Path to Uncommon Success’, and shares what he’s learnt from contributors like Amy Porterfield, Ramit Sethi, and Stu McLaren (Just to name a few).

Once you’re done, make sure you go place an order (you’ll definitely want to!) and come back and send me a DM (@salome.schillack) on what you’re most excited to learn about in the book!

When you subscribe and review the podcast not only does that give me the warm and fuzzies all over, it also helps other people to find the show.

When other people find the show they get to learn how to create more freedom in their lives from their online courses too!!

So do a good deed for all womenkind and subscribe and review this show and I will reward you with a shout out on the show!!


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Salome Schillack (00:00):

Hello everybody. Today, I have a very special bonus episode of The Shine Show for you. I am interviewing Mr. John Lee Dumas. He was kind enough to come on the show and talk to me about his brand new book, The Common Path to Uncommon Success. And if you don't know who John is, John Lee Dumas is the host of Entrepreneurs On Fire, an award-winning podcast where he interviews inspiring entrepreneurs who are truly on fire. He has over 2,500 episodes and gets, wait for this, more than a million listens a month on eofire. He has seven figures in revenue and the best part of this is that seven figures in revenue is 80% profit.

JLD is just getting started and you can learn more about him at, and about the book, The Common Path to Uncommon Success, by going to I have put my order in, I would love for you to put your order in too, and we can have book club together. So, without further ado, here is my bonus episode with Mr. JLD, John Lee Dumas, himself. Enjoy.

Giving up your time and freedom to make money is so 2009. Hi, I'm your host Salome Schillack, and I help online course creators launch, grow, and scale their businesses with Facebook and Instagram ads so that they can make more money and have an even bigger impact in the world. If you're ready to be inspired to dream bigger, launch sooner, and grow your online business faster, then tune in because you are ready to shine and this is The Shine Show.

John Lee Dumas, hello, lovely to meet you. Hello and welcome.

John Lee Dumas (02:08):

Thank you so much. Looking forward to rocking the mic. I'm glad you were able to be flexible here, so we can get this in.

Salome Schillack (02:14):

I am, of course I'm flexible for you. It's a beautiful Saturday morning in Australia. So, thank you very much for taking your time.

John Lee Dumas (02:23):

I love Australia.

Salome Schillack (02:24):

Yeah, I know. I've seen you've been here. You've traveled here, but let me start by saying congratulations.

John Lee Dumas (02:24):


Salome Schillack (02:34):

On, I was hoping you would ask that, because I was first going to say, congratulations on getting engaged!

John Lee Dumas (02:41):

I put a ring on that finger.

Salome Schillack (02:42):

You did, it's taken you a while, but congratulations. And of course, mega congratulations on The Common Path to Uncommon Success. Your book coming out, oh, look at it, is it smelling nice? It smells good. I'm so glad. Congratulations.

You start the book off with a quote by George Washington Carver. It says, "When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world." Tell me how that has been significant to you?

John Lee Dumas (03:17):

So, a lot of people in this world, they think that they are going to live lives of just mediocrity. They think that they're going to wake up, go do something they don't really want to do for a set number of hours so that they can then come home, eat some food, watch some TV, go to sleep, and then wake up the next day, and do it all over again.

And that's a reality for a lot of people, but it doesn't have to be everybody's reality because there's a way to sit down, and for a lot of people for the first time in their life, actually define what uncommon success means to them. Because everybody has a different version of uncommon success. My version of uncommon success is going to be something different then yours, others, this person, that person. We all have our own version of what uncommon success is.

But listen, I've interviewed over 3,000 successful entrepreneurs over the past decade. Path to get to uncommon success, it's a very common path. There are 17 core foundational principles that all successful entrepreneurs that I've interviewed over the past decade have trod upon to achieve their version of uncommon success.

So, these 17 principles, these are a roadmap. I put into a chronological order. It's a step-by-step revolutionary roadmap to financial freedom and fulfillment, and it's in this book, The Common Path to Uncommon Success. And I'll tell you, this was a labor of love. Not to mention, I had to interview 3,000 people over the past decade to get the knowledge to write this book. I then had to sit down and write this book which was two hours a day for eight months I committed to writing. 71,000 words, 273 pages, it was 480 hours of writing to get this book complete.

Salome Schillack (05:01):

That is spectacular. If interviewing people was an Olympic sport, you are a gold medalist, a record holder. So we know that you have the stamina and the ability to sit down and just get done what you need to get done. And then you brought in some of your friends to help you co-write some of the chapters, like each chapter has somebody else who has created uncommon success by really doing something very well.

So, I would love for us to go over a few of those chapters. I know you've said the book is chronological, and I've listened to some of your interviews with them. I've listened to you talk about the book so I know, having built my own business up, I can see how there's a step one that needs to be done before step three, five, or 12. But I do want to go over and touch on a few of the highlights.

You brought Ryan Levesque, The Ask Method, and he talks about pinpointing your avatar's biggest struggle. How did that happen for you, and how did you pinpoint your avatar's biggest struggle?

John Lee Dumas (06:16):

The way you pinpoint your avatar's biggest struggle is to do the unscalable. And I'm a huge believer in doing things that do not scale. What are the things that don't scale? One-on-one conversations, just one-on-one conversations that aren't even recorded, that aren't going to be shared with the world. And I committed to doing five per week, every single week for the first three years of my business. And that was a minimum. Sometimes I did more.

So, I was always asking my audience, "Can I chat with you? Can we jump on a call because I have four questions I would love to ask you. Number one, how'd you first hear about Entrepreneurs On Fire? How'd you first hear about me?" So, I can start to understand how people were finding out about Entrepreneurs On Fire. And so that I could really start to pour some igniter fluid on the things that were working in my business, things that were working to get people to listen to my podcasts and they hear about me.

Then I would ask people, "What do you like about my show?" As the second question. So, I could really learn about what people actually liked about the show. And that was so critical, that was so key, because I could start doing more of those things. I could start using their vocabulary in my sales letters, in my courses, my products, my services, the way that I was talking.

And then I asked people, number three, "What don't you like about my show?" So, I could start learning things that people didn't like, but then not changing things right away, but if a theme came up, then boom, I could make some adjustments, I could make some pivots.

And then number four, and this is really the key for this pinpointing your avatar's biggest struggle, I would ask them, my audience, people who are listening to my show, and liking my show, and jumping on a call with me, "What is your biggest struggle right now?" And I would listen, I would listen to their pain points, or obstacles, or challenges, or struggles, and then I would create this solution for these themes that would come up. I would create solution for these struggles in the form of products, of services, of courses, of communities, of coaching.

And Entrepreneurs On Fire, has really been my only brilliant idea of my entire business. Every other thing that's come out of my business that looks like it was brilliant coming from me, was just me asking my audience the question of what they're struggling with and then creating the solution for them. So my audience has guided Podcasters Paradise, Webinar on Fire, The Freedom, The Mastery, The Podcast Journal, even this book.

This book, The Common Path to Uncommon Success came from my audience asking essentially the same 10 questions over and over again that I couldn't answer independently because the 100s of 1,000s of emails every day, week, and month, no human can answer time-wise, but I said, "I can sit down, take all the lessons I've learned from the 3,000 entrepreneurs that I've interviewed, and put it into one book with a 17 step roadmap to financial freedom and fulfillment that has all the answers to their questions in chronological order." And that is why I sat down to write this book.

Salome Schillack (09:00):

I love it. And I love that you have combined it with your super power to interview people, and to bring people along. And that you're not just sharing your incredibly generous wealth of knowledge and experience, but you're also sharing all of these other people with us. It's fantastic.

I'm so glad you said you interviewed one person in your audience, one of your ideal customers, every single day, because just having those one-on-one conversations are so important, and that is the difference between people who make offers that convert, hear their audience, understands their audience, and so many people just want to rely on social media for that, and it just doesn't happen. So, yeah, that's amazing.

You also have your wonderful fiancée in the book. She is, I want to say, the brains behind your business. Can I say that? So, you've got Katie in the book as well, and she talks about the incredible content machine you guys have driving all of your podcasts, driving all of the content you put out. So, talk to me about that. What was that like working with her, having her share all of that in there? I know it's the one of the biggest chapters in there.

John Lee Dumas (10:17):

Not one of the biggest, it is the biggest chapter. So, this is a 71,000 word book, the average chapter [inaudible 00:10:26] 3,550 words. Chapter seven, step seven, Kate Erickson's chapter, 13,500 words.

Salome Schillack (10:34):


John Lee Dumas (10:34):

It is a business book in of itself. It is mental how big this chapter is, but it's the most important part of our business, designing your content production plan. Most people's content production plans are terrible to not-existent. They're one of the two. They're either non-existent, or they're terrible. Ours used to be terrible, by the way, but over a decade, we've crafted an amazing, fantastic, content production plan. There's the reason why we've been a multi-million dollar a year business for eight years in a row. There's a reason why we've generated over a $100,000 in net profits for 91 months in a row. Our content production plan's fantastic. Didn't always used to be, now it is. A decade of hard work to get us there.

We have three virtual assistants, and myself, and Kate, and the team. We're a small, lean profit making machine, and any business could be too. We have 3,000 plus podcast episodes. We have journals, courses, books, all the nine yards. Our production is amazing and it's extensive, and the quantity is high because we have a fantastic content production plan.

So, you can finally go from either non-existent or terrible content production plan, because you're one of the two, to a amazing content production plan, all you got to do is read 13,500 words. Follow the processes, employ the exercises, the templates, and you will have an amazing content production plan and it will change your life.

Salome Schillack (12:06):

I agree with you so much. And I know the listeners, I hear my students and my listeners say, "Well, I just bought this $37 template thing that's going to teach me this." Or, "I just invested in this coach that's going to teach me how to build my Instagram." And it is as simple as just learning from the best, just looking at what you guys have done to build this enormous platform that, by the way, I have to say, I was absolutely blown away, literally almost fell off my chair, when I saw the numbers that you publish every single month, your revenues an 80%, between 80... I think last month was 89% profit.

John Lee Dumas (12:47):

We've had 90% twice-

Salome Schillack (12:49):

[inaudible 00:12:49].

John Lee Dumas (12:49):

... and almost three times. And yeah, we really take pride in the net profit percentage to overall gross revenue, because it's all about keeping the money you make. You can [crosstalk 00:13:00]-

Salome Schillack (13:00):


John Lee Dumas (13:01):

... all the money in the world, if you're not keeping the money you make, then what are you really doing? I mean, that's honestly step 17, chapter 17, it's the final chapter, because one through 16, I'm going to get you to where your business is generating revenue. You're going to be rocking it. You're going to be making money. You're going to be a revenue machine, but you've got to learn how to keep the money you make. And it is really hard to do in this world. And very few people do it, but those of us that do, we reap massive rewards because it takes money to make money, and once you have more money, because you're keeping it, you're able to do some amazing things to exponentially grow your business.

Salome Schillack (13:37):

That's amazing. And you've got Ramit Sethi coming in, in chapter 17. Mr. I-Will-Teach-You-To-Be-Rich to talk about that as well. And just, I think, anyone can learn so much from you from this content creation. Making money and keeping it, you have done something very uncommon with this 80 plus percent profit. I was completely inspired when I saw that, because that's what it's about, that's why we do this every day.

You've also brought in my absolute favorite launch teacher, someone who changed my life completely when I went through Product Launch Formula, Mr. Jeff Walker, and you talk about launching. And right now you are in the process of launching this incredible book. So, talk to me about how launching... How does launch... Once you've created your content machine, you've got your content up and going, talk to me about launching.

John Lee Dumas (14:40):

This is a lot more difficult of a step than most people really think about, because they're just like, "Oh yeah, once I'm ready, I'll just launch." But then they never do. Launching is such a psychological burden, it's such a psychological hurdle that, frankly, most people can never get over it. And I'm going to be honest with you, I had that psychological hurdle. It took me a month of trying to fool my mentor from launching this podcast, and I just pulled out all the tricks because I was scared.

And so, I want to just kind of share one thing on this topic. And this, again, is just me telling you the truth because you need to hear it, is that you're going to find yourself at some point saying, "You know what? I'm just a perfectionist. I'm a perfectionist. I want this to be perfect before I launch it so I'm going to perfect this and perfect that. But it's because I'm a perfectionist." It's not because you're a perfectionist, it's because you're a coward. You need to substitute the word perfectionism with coward. Every time you say perfectionist, or perfectionism, say the word coward, say, "I can't launch this yet because I'm a coward. I'm a coward so I can't launch this yet."

And by the way, I'm also pointing at myself. I was a coward for over 30 days trying to launch my podcast, but being too scared to do so. Stop hiding behind the wall of perfectionism. You are just instead hiding behind a wall of being a coward, and guess what? It's okay to be scared, it's okay to be fearful, it's okay to be a coward at times because that's a human emotion, it's a survival instinct, it's cowering behind a wall when the saber-tooth tiger is roaring outside, that is okay. But now understands you've got to get over your cowardness, you've got to get over your fear, and your doubts, and you're scaredness, and you've got to launch.

And that's what the chapter's all about. It's getting you to that understanding that you have to launch, and yes, you might fail, but you will learn so much in failure and you will learn nothing being in a cowardly emotion of prelaunch.

Salome Schillack (16:43):

I love that so much. And I want to add to that, just like it is a key to feel scared, and it is okay to feel like this is a very big thing. It's also okay to fail, and it's also okay to feel disappointment, and it's also okay to feel shame, because that's something that comes up from my audience is, "What if I fail, and I feel so much shame?" And I keep bringing it back to, "Yes, but look at what you've learned. Look at what you've done." In Facebook ads land. I say, "Yes, but you've just bought so much data. Look how much data you've bought. And then you can learn and look at it."

The challenge I think is most people never move on from the negative emotion. They don't move on from the disappointment, or from the shame, or from whatever happens if it doesn't go their way. But you were saying, "Just keep going at it, keep going at it, do it again, and again."

John Lee Dumas (17:38):

It's the only way.

Salome Schillack (17:40):

The only way, it's the only way to learn. Yes. Now, once we've launched our courses, we're going to start to diversify our income a little bit. We don't want to put all of our eggs in one basket, we want to make sure we've got all of our bases covered. And I absolutely adore Stu McLaren, I'm in his mastermind, I learned from him in Tribe, he's just an inspirational human, I adore him. So you've brought him in to talk about diversifying income. Talk to me about how you've diversified your income.

John Lee Dumas (18:12):

Listen, just like he mentions, if you put all your eggs in one basket, you're at risk, because something might change, something could happen, something could shift in the economy. You just never know, and you got to be prepared so you want multiple diverse revenue streams. And within our business, we are always striving to have at least four major diversified income streams, preferably between six to nine, that's the sweet spot. And we've really been doing a great job over the years of having multiple diverse revenue streams. And we show in our income reports, actually, the pie chart [inaudible 00:18:47] really break it down. And we have four or five major ones, but then we do have a lot of smaller ones as well that make up significant revenue as well.

And it's such a critical piece to the pie because you never know exactly what's going to happen in the future, this may blow up, this may start to kind of die out, and when you have diversified revenue streams, you're actually able to keep your finger on the pulse and seeing, "Oh, what's trending in what direction? This is going up, this is going down." And we've had multiple times where things in our business were actually... We saw it trending up, because we have our finger on the pulse. We were then able to pump more energy, and focus, and just overall quality, and value into those things. And that was huge, huge benefit for us, because we were able to double down and maximize those things.

And then we were able to see, "Well, hey, some things are kind of slowly kind of tinkering off, because we have the data that shows that, let's look into it. Let's identify what's not working as well as what used to, and then maybe start putting less resources into that because now we can put it into other things that are more meaningful." And that all comes with being able to gather data from diversifying your revenue streams, and trying new things.

Salome Schillack (19:48):

And would you say, I mean, because your book is a pathway, so diversify is not the thing you want to do first. And I think a lot of people often think, they hear diversify and they think, "Oh, that means I need to be everywhere, and do everything, and make sure that I've got all my bases covered from day one." When is it important to start diversifying, and when is it important to not diversify?

John Lee Dumas (20:12):

So as you mentioned, this is a 17 step chronological roadmap to financial freedom and fulfillment. Diversifying your income stream, it is down the line, it is down the line because you need to first have some kind of success. You need to focus, follow one course until success, and really dial in on something that is working, giving it all your effort. That's how you're going to become what I call the number one solution to a real problem.

Once you become the number one solution to a real problem, and you've really got that dialed in, only then do I recommend going out and adding one, or two, or three diversified income streams. So, for instance, our biggest initial revenue stream when we launched our course was Podcasters' Paradise, and we just focused on that. And it was for a year, we just focused on growing that podcasting and course, teaching people how to create, grow, and monetize their own podcasts, and we sold mostly through webinars.

But once we got that really dialed in, a lot of people were like, well, "How are you doing these webinars so effectively?" And so then we said, "Okay, it's time to [inaudible 00:21:09] a second course, Webinar on Fire, teaching people how to create webinars that actually convert." And this allowed us to add more revenue streams to our business just based off of the feedback from our audience, but we didn't do it all at once, we did it step-by-step, incrementally only after we had built a strong foundation with the initial.

Salome Schillack (21:29):

Yeah. I love that you say, "Become the number one in what you do first and then start diversifying." That is so true. Once you're in that phase where you're starting to diversify, you're also starting to build a team. And Amy Porterfield is my mentor, has been my mentor for a long time, I'm so lucky to get to teach her students Facebook and Instagram ads. Amy shares how to build a team. Tell me how you have built your team, and how you think about that because you obviously think... You're not thinking big, you're thinking quality.

John Lee Dumas (22:07):

Yeah. I love how Amy comes in and shares her process, which is really interesting, how she has operation heads, different departments, and she only deals with the department heads, and then she's able to still really live a very autonomous life with her business without having to get into the minutia of the 20 people, just the four people, then they work with their team, et cetera. So, that was fascinating and a really helpful part of what she contributed to the book.

For me, it's just like, "Hey, what do I need to do? And what can only I do?" Interviews on other podcasts, interviews for Entrepreneurs On Fire. Really sitting down and thinking of the big projects. That's what I do. Everything else, I take off my plate. So, we have three virtual assistants, that's it. So, we have 120 hours per week that we're able to give to these assistants to work on other things in our business that Kate and I do not want to work on, and that's how we built [inaudible 00:22:58].

And one of my virtual assistants has been with me for 12 years, another seven, another six. So, they really know their path, they really know what role they fill in Entrepreneurs On Fire, and that's key. And so this has come over time, but again, mostly by identifying, "What are things that only I can do, and then everything else, how can I outsource that?"

Salome Schillack (23:18):

I love that. That's the base question, and that's the question I've been asking myself this year, and it's changing my life completely. Thank you so much. We started this on a quote, I want to end it on a quote. I heard that there is an Einstein quote that changed your life. Tell me what that quote is, and how did it change your life, and wrap it up for us.

John Lee Dumas (23:39):

"Try not to become a person of success, but rather a person of value." It changed my life, because I saw from that quote that I was just chasing success and I wasn't giving value in any way. So, my next step I said I'm going to do is I'm going to be a person of value, whatever that looks like, and that gave me the idea three months later to launch Entrepreneurs On Fire, which changed everything. Which eventually led me to interview over 3,000 successful entrepreneurs over the past decade with a 100 million listens, over 1.4 million listens to every month, and allowed me to write this book.

Because listen, this book did not come from this brain, this book came from the 3,000 successful entrepreneurs that I've interviewed over the past decade, boiling down the 17 core foundational principles that they all share on their common path to uncommon success, that allow me to create that 17 step financially freedom and fulfilling roadmap to your version of uncommon success. So, if you want to learn more about this book, read the endorsements from Gary Vaynerchuk, Seth Godin, Erica Mandy, Dorie Clark , Neil Patel. Get the first chapter for free by the way. Also see me jumping in my pool here in Puerto Rico with all my clothes on, and tell you more details on the book. See all the bonuses that we currently have available. They're always changing because we're updating, we're doing some cool things there., Check it out.

Salome Schillack (25:03): There you have it. John Lee Dumas, thank you so much. You are on fire. You are an inspiration. I know everyone in my audience is going to buy a book, and we are going to have book club together, and we're going to go through it step-by-step. I am excited, I can't wait for my book to get here, I've already bought it. Thank you so much for spending time with me today. I wish you all the best with your book launch, and I can't wait to learn even more from you. Thank you. Have a lovely day.

John Lee Dumas (25:30):

Thank you.

Salome Schillack (25:31):

Wow. Well there you have it. I can't wait to get my hands on my copy of John's book, and there are some amazing people that have co-created this with him, mentors of mine like Amy and Stu. If you hang out with me, you know I love Amy and Stu, but other people as well that have changed my marketing career, my business, and in that, changed my life, like Pat Flynn, who taught me everything I know about podcasting, Jeff Walker, who taught me the foundations of launching courses.

So, this book is really going to be special. And I really want to invite you to go to, grab your copy, learn more about John Lee Dumas. He is an absolute Olympian when it comes to creating content and building a community, which if you're listening to this, those two things should matter to you, and I know that is something that you want to learn from the best. So that's why I'm so honored that JLD joined me today. Go to the website, uncommonsuccessbook, grab your copy, and thank you very much for listening today.

Thank you so much for listening. If you had fun, please come back next week, and remember to hit that subscribe button so you never miss a thing.