Russ Perry is joined by the legendary podcaster and host of Entrepreneurs on Fire, John Lee Dumas, in this week’s episode of The Russ Perry Show.
John Lee Dumas, or JLD for short, tells his story of his own book the ticket moment and how one moment forever labeled him as the “podcast speaker”.
Now, over 2000 podcast episodes later, JLD shares his story about how he got started and dives into how that one moment where he said yes forever changed his life. Tune in below:
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BONUS: No need to take notes – we transcribed the episode for you!
Hey everyone, and welcome to another episode of the Russ Perry show. As you may or may not know, we’re in season 4 of the Russ Perry show, and this is a nice kind of fun, summer season when we’re actually doing interviews, that’s right, well last episode we had my good friend Nick Long, and this episode we actually do have another friend of mine, John Lee Dumas.
Now, you may wonder how the heck is an average guy like me, is friends with the podcasting master John Lee Dumas, and the answer is I paid for his friendship.
Honestly though, John had a mastermind opportunity where we get to work together for a day, I invested in it, and boom, we’ve created a great relationship. Perhaps slightly fueled by money but I’d actually like to think we’d be friends regardless, that investment was just an opportunity to be able to get together both the commitment from me and a commitment from him and then out of that we had an incredible day. Really super influential in the shape and format of this show, as well as the other podcast I do with my wife, Good To Be Home, which you can definitely check out on iTunes, top rank, top 10 podcast, which is really fun.
But back to The Russ Perry Show interview.
As you have heard with Nick’s interview, we’re doing interviews on this concept of “Book The Ticket”, so you gotta go back and search, just go to my website russperry.co and search for book the ticket (or click here!), you can find a whole explanation, there’ll be a little intro on the bumper here in a second, but basically, I asked John, you know, what was his book the ticket moment?
Because for most of us who know who John is, and even if you don’t he’s just, he’s been the podcast guy, and that was his brand and has been his brand since I’ve known him, but that was not always the case.
And so, as we dive into this rapid-fire interview, John unpacks his book the ticket moment, literally regarding some travel, as well as his turning point in his brand, and how he had to go all in, as well as the mistakes he made on the way.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy this episode of the Russ Perry Show.
Decisions are important, but making them quickly is the key to getting what we want. It guides us down a path of reality based on the feedback of those decisions. But here’s the secret trick: the most important decision you can make? It’s the first decision.
And so, book the ticket is just that, taking the first step towards what you want. This phrase has now grown from a college party rallying cry to a motivating concept in all areas of my life, but I know, from repeated results.
RUSS PERRY: Alright John, so hello, we’re both international right now, you’re in Puerto Rico still.
JOHN LEE DUMAS: Technically, Puerto Rico is an American territory, so I’m not considered international, for everybody watching, you don’t even need a passport to get here, just put your license, come on down to old San Juan, it’s beautiful.
RUSS PERRY: Sponsored by the Puerto Rico tourism authority. I’m over here in Florence, and thanks for hanging for a bit and talking about the book the ticket moment, so you and I did some work together, helped me get really clear on some things, but I want you to go back for us, and I wanna unpack the book the ticket moment that you’ve had in your life.
JOHN LEE DUMAS: Yeah, and that’s the sort of thing I loved about the time that we worked together, we spent a whole day together in San Diego, from everything from our ice cream together, to our sushi, to just our very intimate, you know, man session, and very small, confined WeWork space, you know, it was a really cool day,
RUSS PERRY: Don’t forget the bromantic walk down the beach that we had together that was really good.
JOHN LEE DUMAS: I’ll never forget that I was gonna keep that as our thing, but I’m glad you shared that, so that’s cool.
But one thing I really loved about what came out of that day for us was, you know, I really held your feet to the fire about getting specific, and about really standing for something that other people are gonna be like, “Yes, I feel like that person’s talking to me, “I feel like that person is really one that can understand and get me, I want to bet part of that tribe”, and that was honestly one of the “Aha” moments I had, when I launched Entrepreneurs on Fire, I didn’t really stand for anything, I was slowly able to niche down and actually standing for something, momentum started to happen for me, specifically in my Book the Ticket moment, was pretty cool because it actually also involved me investing in myself very heavily, like you invested in yourself, a lot of levels, including the day that you spent with me, I’ve done the same thing.
RUSS PERRY: Before we get into specifics, give us a little color commentary, ’cause everyone knows you now, so paint a picture just before you drop it, you know, make sure we know, who were you then, what was your life, what were some of the details that put you into this decision?
Because I think hindsight’s 20/20, and we can see how great it was at the time, but in the past what were the fears, or just concerns, or shoot, what were you like, what was the dress, not the dress, but the clothes that you wore, would kinda like a picture.
JOHN LEE DUMAS: I was not wearing a dress that day specifically, but you know, to kinda paint the picture, after I got out of the military at 26 years old, I had six years where I struggled, and I know you’ve had periods in your life where you struggled, those were really my struggle years, and I was trying to find myself, to find a passion, to find a motivation, and I failed time after time.
Law school, corporate finance, commercial real estate, but then I really took to self-education, and that was in the form of books and podcasts, and I fell in love with the medium of podcasting, and just got it, came up with the idea to launch the first daily podcast, was gonna interview successful entrepreneurs, you know, looking back now, that was six years ago, that was 70 million listens ago, that was 14 million dollars in revenue ago, that was 2022 episodes ago, a lot’s happened since then, but it all started from that “Aha” moment, and that got me to where I really wanted to be, which is leading into the book it moment, was I invested in myself.
I didn’t just go at this blind, I knew that there were people that had come there before me, I knew that there were people had achieved what I wanted to achieve, I knew that there were people who were currently at where I wanted to be, so I invested heavily in a mentor, and in a mastermind, two separate things.
And the person who led the mastermind was Cliff Ravenscraft, who was the podcast answer man and still is the podcast answer man. And back in 2012, he was the guy teaching podcasting, there was really nobody else doing it at a big level, so, so cool to get into his mastermind, invest heavily in myself and that.
It was a huge check to write, this was $3500 check, you know, back when I wasn’t making any money with my business, and it was a huge check to write, but I knew I had to be a part of that. So I invested in that mastermind, I got the information from Cliff.
But the moment came two months after I launched my podcast, I’m driving home from a ski weekend in Maine, I remember we pulled off to go see the first of the Lord of the Rings, which was not The Two Towers, but the first one.
RUSS PERRY: Fellowship of the Ring.
JOHN LEE DUMAS: Fellowship of the Ring.
So I’m in the movie theater, about to watch it, excited, and I get an email from Cliff, and he said, “John, I think you know that I am running “the podcasting track at New Media Expo”, which to build some context there, was really the only social media conference back then. They did a June and a January one, so they had two conferences every year, it was just New Media Expo, that was the conference that everybody went to, and he goes “I’m the podcast track coordinator, and we just had a last minute drop out. Can you, next week, come to the New Media Expo and give a solo talk on podcasting?”
And I was like “this is it, this is the moment”, I went from someone that had no idea about podcasting, invested in myself, learned about podcasting, launched a daily podcast but was still figuring out my ass from my elbows, for sure, but now I’m being asked to get up on stage as an expert, to talk about podcasting, and I was like “This is the moment”.
And so without even hesitating, I replied back, “Yes, count me in”. Then I watched the movie and enjoyed the crap out of it ’cause I loved it, but thinking the whole time, “Oh my god, what am I gonna talk about, I’ve never talked on stage before”.
RUSS PERRY: ’cause you’ve never presented on it before?
JOHN LEE DUMAS: No, nothing. And so I was completely starting from scratch, and I’ll be honest with you, I did not give a great talk, I did not give a good talk. I gave what I would say a mediocre to below mediocre talk, I just wasn’t good, never done it before.
I think I delivered some good value, just ’cause I learned a lot on the way, but, you know, my delivery was poor, my stage presence was poor, my cadence was poor, everything was not good. But, guess what? From that moment on, I was that ‘podcast speaker’ from New Media Expo, so then when another conference launched and they came to me, Social Media Marketing World, to speak on podcasting, and I just became the podcast guy from that moment, and it all stemmed from investing in myself. And that’s huge and that’s the theme that’s been a big part of my life.
RUSS PERRY: Right, right, ’cause I remember when we first met in person, it was at a conference, you were talking about the same type of content and I love it though, because your identity, I know you’re in a ton of other things and you’re working on tons of new projects, but has been the podcast guy for so long. But that came out of your Book the Ticket moment.
Like, you probably weren’t wanting to become the podcast guru, you were just trying to figure out a business model, and so you invested in yourself, you got to work with this guy, you had some success, he thought you were good enough, at least, in his group to ask you.
JOHN LEE DUMAS: You nailed it, I never thought I was going to be teaching podcasting, I never thought I was gonna be teaching other people how to podcast, I thought that I was gonna interview. I was using the medium of podcasting to interview amazing people, to build great relationships, connections, but to learn from them, then build products and services, and communities based off of that information.
Podcasting to me was just the way I was doing that. It’s like picking up a phone, talking to somebody, then being like “Oh, you’re gonna be the phone guy now, you’re gonna teach people about phones”, like what?
But then what happens, 8 months later, I launch Podcasters’ Paradise, which has now generated almost 5 million dollars in revenue, so you think about that kind of step-by-step process and it all comes from the Book the Ticket moment.
RUSS PERRY: Okay, so let’s close out with this, it’s gonna be super rapid-fire, I love this season of the Russ Perry show cos it’s just so ‘lax, I’m not writing scripts, there’s no production, we got these headphones rockin’.
JOHN LEE DUMAS: Story of my life, brother.
RUSS PERRY: Someone’s faced with the book The Ticket Moment, whose listening to it, maybe there’s a decision they need to make today, maybe it’s something that they got confronted with this week and they’ve gotta go for it, but we all know what that feeling is inside of us, that “Oh my gosh, “should I do it, should I not”, what would you tell them?
What is the sage advice as a guy who’s had that moment, and now is on the other side of the success that came from it, what would be the one takeaway that you could give that person?
JOHN LEE DUMAS: So for your book the ticket moment, I think that when you grasp that moment, you need to make the most of it, just like I tried to make the most of it with my talk at New Media Expo, and I fell short in a lot of areas. And looking back as to why I fell short, and knowing what I know now in hindsight, I wasn’t really focused on solving the biggest problem that my audience in that room was gonna have.
So when you have your biggest moment, whether it be on a stage, or a podcast, or a video, or a book, or name your Book the Ticket moment, whatever it is, your one core focus should be “How can I provide the solution to the biggest struggle that the people who are going to be consuming this content are gonna have”, ’cause if you can do that at a high level, you’re gonna win.
Why does Podcasters’ Paradise win, and continue to win five years later? Because it solves a massive problem with how to have the desire to podcast, all the way through to creating, launching, growing, and monetizing your podcasts. That’s a huge solution for a real problem. What real, huge solutions are you providing for an actual struggle?
RUSS PERRY: I love it. For anyone listening whose Book the Ticket Moment might be something they’re a part of, they’re being asked to join a team, to move somewhere, to try something, a personal relationship, I think what John’s saying here is that you go into that, all in, and maximize your contribution of value to whatever it is. Whether it’s a creation, or a collaboration, or whatever it might be.
John, rapid-fire, man, just like you like it, I love it. Thanks a lot, we’ll wrap this up and hope you have a good time, I still need to get out there to see you and hang out in America in the territory.
JOHN LEE DUMAS: In an American territory called Puerto Rico. Well listen, man, thanks for having me on, as always I love delivering as much value as possible, so let me just leave your listeners with one last value bomb.
I’ve interviewed over 2000 people, and I’ve found that, by far, the reason that people, and by people, I’m mostly talking about entrepreneurs, ’cause that’s who I talk to, and the reason why entrepreneurs are successful is because they have one big idea, and they go all in.
I mean, you had a really big idea with Design Pickle, you went all in and you just filled that void and you created that success.
And a lot of people really struggle with that big idea, they either don’t have a big idea, which is a problem, they have a lot of ideas, but they’re not sure which is the big idea, so they struggle there, or they have a big idea, but they need that clarity and focus and direction, which I’m sure you needed with Design Pickle at first but you got there, like you got there through investigating yourself and learning.
So because of that, and because I’ve recognized that as being a huge issue for so many people, I’ve created a completely free training called “3 hours to your big idea”, so I’m just asking you to give me 3 hours, I’m gonna give you your big idea, it’s completely free, yourbigidea.io, get there, get your big idea, you’ll be off to the races.
RUSS PERRY: I want everyone to know, you will be the second interview, we’ve ever done in over 30 episodes, I know that’s not like 3000 episodes, or wherever you’re at, but point is this, is that I’m only selecting people to be on here and I’ve worked with John personally, dude, you could pitch whatever, talk about whatever, and I’d be all about it ’cause you’re the real deal, and that’s what I love about what you’re creating out there, you’re the real deal.
And I think in terms of the Book The Ticket moment if you’ve yet to have it, I can guarantee you, it’s gonna come in that program.
JOHN LEE DUMAS: It will. I mean, I poured my heart, my soul, my blood, sweat and tears into this, because I am at the point now where I really want to help people have their ripple effect, and I’m just excited about it.
RUSS PERRY: Cool man, well that’s it, thanks so much, take care.
JOHN LEE DUMAS: Cool brother, peace.