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Want to crush your biggest goal in 100 days? Listen in as Legendary host of Entrepreneur On Fire, John Lee Dumas discusses how you can do just that.

John Lee Dumas is the founder and host of the Podcast “Entrepreneur on Fire.” John has interviewed over 1200 entrepreneurs and his Podcast generates over one million monthly listeners.

John’s latest project is The Freedom Journal. It is designed to guide you in setting and accomplishing your number one goal in  100 days.

In this episode we discussed:

  • The magic potion for entrepreneurial success. (1:02)
  • Why people have trouble achieving their goals. (2:13)
  • 5 important attributes of a SMART goal. (2:51)
  • Identifying the one big domino in your life to start your goal. (6:31)
  • How John accomplished his goal in 100 days. (7:22)
  • The benefit of having accountability partners. (9:27)
  • Resources provided from The Freedom Journal that can help you reach your goal. (12:38)
  • Traditional publishing vs self-publishing. (21:13)
  • What if your fear is greater than your desire. (22:39)

You can check out John at Entrepreneur on Fire, and The Freedom Journal.

00:01 Michael Port: Welcome to Steal the Show with Michael Port. This is Michael, and today’s episode is all about goal setting. And today’s guest is John Lee Dumas, and he’s the founder and host of Entrepreneur on Fire, an award winning Podcast where he interviews today’s most successful entrepreneurs, seven days a week. JLD has interviewed over 1200 entrepreneurs and EOFire generates over one million monthly listeners. Now, John’s latest project is The Freedom Journal, a gorgeous leather-bound journal that guides you in setting and accomplishing your number one goal in a hundred days. And you can learn more at What’s up, buddy?

00:46 John Lee Dumas: Michael Port, there’s no place I’d rather be than right here, right now, with you.

00:50 Michael Port: Fantastic. So listen, I’ve been on your show three times.

00:52 John Lee Dumas: Yes.

00:52 Michael Port: And every time I’m on your show, you inspire me.


00:56 Michael Port: So let me ask you a question. What inspired you to create The Freedom Journal?

01:02 John Lee Dumas: 1,200 guests that I’ve had on the EOFire, you three times, episode 756, 1059 and 1184. You’re such a rock star. One question that I always get from my listeners is, “John, what the heck is going on with these successful entrepreneurs? What’s their magic potion for success? What is Michael Port and all the other guests you’ve had on, what is their… Just that magic potion?” And I always say, “Listen. Number one, they work really hard.” And that will always be true. But I wanted to give my listeners more than just that. So I took a little bit of space and I realized all my guests on EOFire have one thing in common. They know how to set and accomplish goals, and my listeners, they struggle to do that very thing. So I wanted to create the solution, the bridging of the gap, so to speak, that tool that would allow everybody, not just to set goals, but to accomplish those goals in a time-bound format. So I didn’t wanna create a PDF for an app or something that clutter. I want it just to be real, physical, beautiful, so I decided… And this took a year… To create a gorgeous leather-bound journal. I’ve called it The Freedom Journal with the specific tagline of “Accomplish your number one goal in 100 days.”

02:13 Michael Port: It really is gorgeous. I have it in my hands and it feels so nice. It’s not typical. Often you get these little books that you can scribble in or doodle in, or put… Jot down some of your ideas, but this feels substantial. I think it’s gonna make a difference in terms of how people interact with it. So, you talked about the struggles that some of your listeners have with setting goals. So what’s the difference? Why can some of… Most of your guests set goals and then go after and accomplish them. And why are some of the people, some of the listeners, having trouble with the goal setting? What’s the problem?

02:51 John Lee Dumas: So my guests are successful entrepreneurs, and what they do right, is they understand how to set SMART goals. And this is one thing that I see so many people struggling with, and I think a perfect example of what a SMART goal is and how people fail to do so, is this time of year. It’s early 2016, a lot of people are just like, “I wanna lose weight.” Well, that’s a specific goal, and that’s one of the five attributes of SMART. But that’s just one of five, and that’s why people fail. A SMART goal is specific, measurable, relevant, time-bound, and attainable. It has to be all of those things, all five of those attributes. So let’s kind of go through what it would look like to make a SMART goal with people just around me say, “I wanna lose weight.”

03:34 Michael Port: Yeah. And before you do that, I just wanna say, one of the things I really like about the journal is that you set everybody up really clearly at the beginning for each goal that they set, so that they are making sure that they are SMART goals. It’s not just a journal for… Sometimes when people think of a journal, they think of a book with lots of pages that they can just free form journal in. This is not that. This is more structured so that you’re setting these SMART goals and then you’re going after them in a very specific time frame, so I appreciate that you did that. So back to you with the SMART goals.

04:10 John Lee Dumas: Yeah. And again, I love journalling and this is why I wanted to create a journal. But one thing that I really felt was missing and a void that was out there was a journal with a specific end goal in mind.

04:21 Michael Port: Well, that’s why I like it ’cause I hate journalling.


04:23 Michael Port: I don’t like journalling. Everybody tells me, “Journal, journal, all that… ”

04:26 John Lee Dumas: Right.

04:27 Michael Port: But I like doing it in here because it’s more structured. When it’s so open I feel… I need some constraints around about how do I do it? How long should I do it? When should I do it? What should I do? And this helps with that.

04:41 John Lee Dumas: Yes. And step one, again, is that SMART goal, where so many people just fail. And when you fail that beginning, you have no chance for success. So specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound. Let’s go back to that example of losing weight, like “I wanna lose weight.” Okay, that is specific, but that’s only one of those five attributes. Now, is that measurable? Well, “I wanna lose 10 pounds.” Okay. That is measurable now. Is it attainable? Well, “I’ve been 160 pounds before,” so I know that is attainable, “I want to get back to my army waist.” Is it relevant? Well, it is relevant for me ’cause I wanna look better, feel better, have more energy. So yes, it’s a relevant goal. But now, is it time-bound? And that’s where The Freedom Journal comes in. You have a hundred days to accomplish that goal, and we guide you through every step of the way. So just like you mentioned, Michael, step one, page one of The Freedom Journal, you are taught and guided in how to set that SMART goal.

05:36 Michael Port: What about you? You obviously have accomplished an extraordinary amount in such a short time, and you really… You came on to the scene and you just blew up the Podcasting world with your show. And think about 1,200 entrepreneurs, I’m not even sure if people get the magnitude of doing seven shows a week. I mean, I do two and I’m starting to slow down to one. It’s a lot of work. And you’re not just sort of banging out half-baked episodes, they’re serious episodes.

06:09 John Lee Dumas: Yes.

06:09 Michael Port: Really well-thought out. Really well-researched. And you put a lot of time into it. So what about… So it may seem easy to you. You got all this energy and you’re inspiring. People are like, “Oh, that’s just easy for John.” You know, no big deal. So what’s one goal that you set for yourself that you felt was particularly difficult or impossible maybe even at the time? Then how did you overcome that and then accomplish it?

06:31 John Lee Dumas: We all have that one big domino in our life that we just know instinctively. Like if I can knock over that big flipping domino, I’m literally gonna be able to start this chain reaction of awesome. But sadly, months, years go by without knocking over that big domino. And for me, back in 2012, Michael, it was my big domino. It’s a seven-day a week podcast ’cause I don’t know why it doesn’t exist. And I know that if it does exist, it could really open up some massive doors for the host of that show. And when I decided to step up into that void and do it, I gave myself three months. And this is where the 100 days came in because I have looked back over my journey and seen that all the great things that I’ve done and the successes I’ve had, I’ve taken about three months, about a hundred days. The launch of EOFire, the launch of Podcasters’ Paradise, which were over 2,800 members and $3.5 million in revenue in just over two years.

07:22 John Lee Dumas: All of these things have taken right around three months of an incredibly focused diligent effort. So, with me launching EOFire, it was June of 2012, I said by September, I’m gonna launch a seven-day a week podcast. And I had to get so specific about how I was gonna do that because people were telling me it can’t be done because if that’s a seven-day a week podcast, that’s all you’re gonna be doing is interviewing, how you’re gonna grow a viable business? I had to figure out a way to bust that myth. And for me, the big breakthrough that I had in that goal setting process was my goal is to do eight interviews one day a week. Now, that’s tough. It took a lot of energy to get there just like I couldn’t run 26.2 miles tomorrow, but if I train for a marathon, I’d be able to. So, it took time to get there, but I knew that was gonna be the big domino effect where if I could just have that one day where I crush eight interviews, I could use the other six days of the week to grow my business. So, we all have that one big domino, when we break it down like that, it becomes more attainable.

08:22 Michael Port: One of the things that’s interesting to me about goals is their connection to making commitments and fulfilling them. And I think that our reputation is based on our ability to make commitments and fulfill them. It’s one of the reasons that people pay attention to someone who is successful because they do the things that they say they’re gonna do. But it’s also a requirement in getting things done. And if you think about a business, a business is made up of the completion of one successful project after another. And a project is made up of the completion of one successful commitment after another, one fulfilled commitment after another. And it’s often more difficult it seems to follow through in commitments by yourself when it’s just you. Because I could say right now, “Okay, Michael, you know you should make this goal. You’re gonna drop five pounds, you’ll look great.” But then I can go upstairs and like, “Oh, bread and almond butter. Great.”


09:27 Michael Port: So I know and I wonder if you’ve seen this too, in a lot of your guests and, of course, friends, I know that I am much more likely to follow through on something if I’ve made that commitment public because it drives me. I’m not gonna let you down. If I say, “Look, Johnny, I’m gonna do this thing. I’m gonna do it.” There’s just no way I’m not gonna do it. So do you find that there’s a difference, the people who you see really accomplishing goals, they’re very motivated by the public accountability that comes with saying they’re gonna do something and then, of course, are they more willing to make commitments publicly? And then the third part of the question is, Is there a way… Do you have a way of bringing people together so that they have some accountability to each other around the goals that they set?

10:19 John Lee Dumas: Okay. So many great questions within there. Let me just riff off a few of those and let’s kind of circle back after and tie it all together. Accountability is everything, Michael. It is everything. And that’s why I’m so passionate about being in a mastermind. It’s just myself, two other guys who meet an hour every single week. We know each other inside and out. We know our goals, our dreams, our hopes. And we hold each other accountable to that. I’m part of a few bigger masterminds with uppers of a hundred people in these Facebook communities and stuff. And we make declarations and we support and guide each other. It’s so critical on so many different levels to have that accountability partner, accountability partners, people that are guiding you through this.

10:57 John Lee Dumas: And there’s a quote that I love, “To err is human, to forgive divine.” And so I kind of wanna point to the first part of that which is “to err is human.” I mean we, as humans, we’re gonna err over and over again. And that’s why we need to kind of have this support group to keep us going and they’re gonna say, “Hey, what’s up there, buddy? Let’s do this. You said this. Are you gonna actually follow through on this?” So, it’s so important having that support of community. I love the quote by Jim Rohn, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” It is critical that we surround ourselves with the right people who are going to not only bring positive vibes to us, but they’re gonna actually hold our nose to the grindstone when we actually need to have that nose to the grindstone being held.

11:38 Michael Port: And go back, Johnny. Go back to that first quote. Just say that one more time, the first one.

11:43 John Lee Dumas: “To err is human, to forgive divine.”

11:46 Michael Port: And you know what I love about that is you’re giving people the opportunity to forgive themselves when they’ve erred. So, it’s not just forgiving other people, it’s about yourself too so you don’t hold on to the shame of not following through on something or hold on to the shame of not accomplishing something that you set out to accomplish. There is no shame in any of that, but the shame can hold us back.

12:13 John Lee Dumas: The only shame in my eyes is actually not trying, and that is where the real shame lies. So, anytime you put out anything, a goal, a wish, a hope, a dream and you fail, that in and of itself is a success ’cause you tried. There is no shame in that. It is part of the journey that we live in which is why you want those accountability partners that are gonna pick you back up, dust you off and say, “Okay, let’s do this tiger. Let’s get back in the game.”

12:38 Michael Port: I love it, it’s beautiful. So what other resources are… So talk to me a little bit more about the resources that people might have if they use the Freedom Journal that might help increase their accountability?

12:48 John Lee Dumas: Yes. And this is why I love the Freedom Journal because it’s so much more than just a journal. So, number one, I kind of will say it for even the third time, “To err is human, to forgive divine.” That’s why I love that the Freedom Journal is an inanimate object. It is a physical product that’s gonna be on your desk, on your night stand, in your book bag and it won’t let you fail because it’s there, it’s a physical product staring at you saying, “Hey, I’m reminding you every single day.” But above and beyond…

13:13 Michael Port: And it’s big. It’s big.

13:15 John Lee Dumas: And it’s big. It’s a weapon if you need it… [chuckle] Someone breaks into your house tonight, toss a little Freedom Journal at them and, boom! [chuckle]

13:22 Michael Port: That’s it.

13:23 John Lee Dumas: So for all of those things, it’s so powerful. Now, there needs to be a component as well. So we’ve done a lot of cool things to add components to really just make sure that you have the best possible opportunity to really accomplish that one big goal that you’ve set within the Freedom Journal. So, every Freedom Journal comes with either an iOS or Android app or whatever you have. And it’s just a great little app that will remind you in the morning and at night that, “Have you done your daily tasks? Have you done your nightly recap? Like what’s up? Are you checking these blocks?” And it’s a really cool little reminder for you. And what’s really awesome is after you checked those blocks, Michael, it comes up with this camera function that says, “Hey, take a picture of your day or take a picture of your nightly recap.” And you do that and then it says, “Okay. Now share this on Facebook. Let’s get this out there to your friends, your family, your followers.”

14:07 Michael Port: Nice, nice.

14:08 John Lee Dumas: That you have said that these are your goals, this is what you’re gonna accomplish, and this is what you’ve done. So now, you’re bringing in your family, your followers, your fans, whoever that might be. So you’re bringing in that component. Then also we have a very powerful, and then it’s very exclusive Facebook group just for people who have invested in the Freedom Journal. And we’re already well over 1,000 people in this group with many more coming every day ’cause we have over 5,000 backers as we’re talking right now on the Kickstarter campaign and growing every minute. And that is a community that is committed to supporting, guiding each other on that journey to staying and accomplishing goals. So, we really have that full spectrum that’s there for you, both the human accountability, the inanimate accountability, and everything in between.

14:56 Michael Port: So you’ve got 5,000 backers already for the book on Kickstarter?

15:00 John Lee Dumas: 5,000 backers, we just crossed $325,000.

15:05 Michael Port: Wow! That’s great. Is that the only place that people can pick it up?

15:11 John Lee Dumas: Yes. Right now, the only place that you can claim your Freedom Journal is at, which will take you right to that Kickstarter campaign, you can claim your Freedom Journal. That’s the only place you can do it. And this might be actually a little bit of an interesting conversation, side conversation, Michael, because you’re a guy that’s launched many books, very successful books, New York Times Best Sellers. You’ve rocked and rolled. And a lot of people come to me and say, “John, why did you go the Kickstarter route? Why did you launch your book in a very untraditional way via Kickstarter?” And I didn’t really have the greatest answers because I was drawn towards it. I wanted to really leverage this awesome platform of crowd funding and try something really cool and be in complete control of the entire process. I really wanted all of that. And as we speak right now, my book has generated over $325,000 in sales for me, the creator of the book, the entrepreneur who published it. And a lot of people think that publishing the traditional way is a way to generate a lot of revenue. What are your thoughts here?

16:17 Michael Port: Yeah, it’s interesting. You know me in general like I don’t think there’s one way to do anything. I think that what’s beautiful about the world in which we live is there are many different paths towards the same goals. And each person will take the one that is most appropriate for them or the only one that they see at the time. So, I’m a fan of both traditional publishing and self-publishing. It really just depends on the individual. So, I started writing books in 2005. So, self-publishing was something you did if nobody would even consider publishing your book. And the books at that time looked… You could tell a self-published book in 2005. Like the margins were all weird and the texts was like crooked. It just looked terrible. But now, it’s a whole different world.

17:02 Michael Port: So, I think that if I was writing a book now for the first time, I honestly don’t know which way I would go. I really don’t. I think for somebody who has a big platform like you, gosh, it makes such sense to do what you’re doing. You get a million downloads a month, I think it’s really smart the way that you did it. This is one of those things and people ask me this a lot. I don’t have one. I don’t have a perspective of this is better or that’s better. I think in each situation it’s different. For me, I still publish with the big publishers. And, fortunately, I get that kind of advance on them. But, either way, whether I get it as an advance or later on when it’s sold, it still the same money. Every time the book is sold, that money is now just going back to the publisher until the advance is earned out. And then, I can make more money on that but still it’s tiny. So, I don’t know.

18:00 Michael Port: The thing that’s interesting about a book to me is that in part one of the things it does is it helps you move an idea, which then produces momentum for all the different things that you offer. So, a lot of times people have trouble marketing themselves or even their business because it’s not tangible. But once you have a book, once there’s an object there, then you’ve got something that you can market. And either way, the author is going to be marketing it whether they do sell for or traditional. But what you’ve done here is a demonstration of the principles of the book and that’s what I love.

18:36 John Lee Dumas: And I think you can have your cake and eat it too, Michael, I really do. Because like for me, I have that big audience right now, but even with that, I couldn’t have gone to a big publisher and been like, “Hey, I have a million podcast downloads a month. I wanna publish my first book with you.” It would have been a hard sell because they love proven commodities like you, like Michael Port. But now, I’ve actually had conversations with people that are like, “Hey, you’ve proven this now on Kickstarter, we can visually see it, you get a lot of backers, you generated a ton of revenue. We can get this into Barnes & Noble and bam and other places, so that’s kind of come for me as a result of my initial success. So, I think you can go both ways. And personally, it’s a dream of mine to be able to walk into a Barnes & Noble and go over to the journal section and see the Freedom Journal. I would love that. So, I love going both routes.

19:21 Michael Port: Yeah, I think that’s really cool. What I love about this world in which we live is the choice that we have. And the fact that we do have a lot of control over our future. The future’s uncertain meaning we cannot predict a result, but we can certainly put the circumstances into place that will take us in the direction of what pleases us most. And that’s what I love and that’s what I think a lot of your work is about. A lot of your message is about is that if you believe that there is a place for you in the future, then you can carve out that place, you can create that for yourself. And that’s one of the things that I really feel that you put forward in a significant way.

20:14 John Lee Dumas: I listen to your podcast and I actually found myself getting lost in your words right there. I almost was like, “John, by the way, you might have to say something in a second here because you’re on this podcast.” I just love your words, Michael.

20:25 Michael Port: You’re so kind. You’re really, really sweet. So, okay, so here’s the thing, this is the thing. A lot of times people hear the same thing again and again. And there’s something every once in a while that moves them. You can hear the same thing over and over and over and you know what you’re supposed to do, and you know you’re supposed to do this thing, you just don’t do it. But then something shifts. What can we do to make that shift, so we’re not stuck in hearing the same thing again and again, but instead we can hear it for the last time, and then finally take action on it?

21:13 John Lee Dumas: So, a lot of people that are hearing my voice for the first time on this podcast might be like, “Dude, this guy says a lot of quotes.” And I usually don’t, but I just feel like this is a really apt quote for what your question just was, and that is, “If you want to be, do.” And for me looking back on my journey, for a long time, I wanted to be an entrepreneur, I wanted to do my own thing. I wanted to do X, Y, and Z. But nothing ever happened ’cause I never actually did anything. I just wanted to be that and it stopped there, I didn’t do that. And a lot of people are like, “John, how did you become such a successful and good podcast host and behind the mic and on stage?” And I’m like, “By doing it really badly for a decent amount of time, then to doing it okay for a significant amount of time, and then continuing to do it to get a little bit better every single time.” So what is it that you want to be in life? Do that thing. I wanted to be a podcaster, I had to podcast. Michael Port wanted to just crush it from stage, he had to present on stage. What is that thing that you want to do? So in one word, it’s action; you have to take action on that thing.

22:22 Michael Port: And it seems like your desire to accomplish the goal is greater than your fear of trying to accomplish the goal.

22:31 John Lee Dumas: Yeah, totally.

22:32 Michael Port: Because if your fear is greater than your desire, probably not much is gonna happen.

22:39 John Lee Dumas: Exactly. However, I really want the listeners to say, “Okay. I know I have fear, but am I the only one?” And the answer to that question is, “Absolutely not. You are a human being which is why you have the imposter syndrome saying, ‘Who am I to jump on a podcast episode with Michael Port?'” Which is what I said back at episode, the first time I had you on, 757. I’m like, “Wow, This is crazy.” Who am I to interview people or to speak from stage. We all have these fears, these doubts, these voices in our heads. So the fear’s gonna be there, and it’s gonna be big but when you can just say, “Hey, it’s there because I’m a human being and every single human being that’s come before me and will come after me will feel that in some way shape and form. Let’s just embrace that and rise above it.”

23:23 Michael Port: Amen, man. I’ll tell you, I’m afraid all the time. Yeah, all the time. Yeah, I mean I’m afraid right now I’m gonna miss dinner. So we better start…


23:32 John Lee Dumas: Almond butter and bread.

23:34 Michael Port: Yeah, right. [chuckle] Exactly. We better start to wrap it up. Listen,, that’s where you go get the journal and look, if you’ve never listened to John’s podcast, you gotta go listen to Entrepreneur on Fire. That really is one of the best podcasts produced today, so without a doubt, go check out Entrepreneur on Fire on iTunes, and of course Any last words my friend?

24:00 John Lee Dumas: Yes, if you are gonna start listening to EOFire, start with the Michael Port episodes because every time that man over-delivers.

24:09 Michael Port: You’re so kind. And hey, listen everybody, keep thinking big about who you are and what you offer the world. I love you very much and not in a weird way, but I love you because you stand in the service of others as you stand in the service of your destiny. Until next time, bye for now.