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How John Lee Dumas is Killing Your Business

Recently, I attended a family get-together in Cleveland, OH. While at lunch with several family members, I struck up a conversation with one of my distant cousins. He has 3 kids, one of which is a teenager. We began discussing our families and soon began discussing the wonders of teenagers.   He said something that struck me:

“Remember how when we were kids we all just wanted to be like everyone else? Well at some point as we get older we realize how silly that is and how, in fact, the real interesting people are the ones that are different. That don’t dress, talk and act like everyone else. My goal is to teach my kids sooner rather than later that being different is not only ok, but good.”

What a concept!

In life AND in business, different is not only good it’s ESSENTIAL. Most successful businesses find success by being different. Some do it by re-imagining products and services in a new and unique way. Others create small incremental changes that make substantial improvements on old concepts, products and services.

The John Lee Dumas Clones

 John Lee Dumas burst on to the podcast scene not too long ago, and absolutely has been killing it!

In a good way. No, in a great way!

Being a podcast junkie himself and having run out of podcasts to listen to, he decided to launch the first 7 day-a-week interview-based podcast.

Certainly an audacious goal.

He was clearly up for the challenge.   Six months or so after launching, he began to gain big traction. I don’t think it is a stretch to say that he is doing extremely well in this medium.

For more info on John and his Entrepreneur on Fire podcast and brand, go to

John, however, did not find success by being like everyone else. He learned from others but differentiated himself based on his own uniqueness and style.

Combined with his high energy-style, military discipline, FOCUS, and right hand partner (in business and in life), Kate Erickson, he launched Entrepreneur on Fire.

John’s podcast is one of the most popular ones in the entrepreneurial space. He has incredible guests and does great interviews. From this, John has built a tremendous business.

Check out EOFire’s Monthly Income Reports

I think it is fair to say that John has not accomplished all he has by being like everyone else.

A sad by-product of John’s success, though, are all those trying to copy his way to success.

Don’t believe me? Tune in sometime to some of the entrepreneurial podcasts out there, it won’t take long before you start hearing ones that sound a lot like John. Same interview questions, same attempted style.
But here’s the thing: No one else can be John, but John.

And that is a good thing.

We all have something in us that is different, special & unique. And sooner or later most of us realize our time is better spent identifying and embracing our own uniqueness rather than mimicking others.

Different for the sake of being different, though, is no good. You must be different with a purpose.

Freaks Welcomed

I recently had the great pleasure of interviewing Chris Brogan. Chris has a fantastic book called: The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits and World Dominators (I highly recommend it).

In it, he speaks to the inner “freak” that defines each and every one of us and helps us figure out where we fit in.

Every successful person I know is a “freak” of some sort.

But nothing is freaky about cheap imitation.

It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation. – Herman Melville

The best compliment we can all pay to John Lee Dumas and other “freaks” is to NOT be like them.

Because we are not them. Never will be. And never should want to be.

Be You. And You will always Be.


25 thoughts on “How John Lee Dumas is Killing Your Business

  • Really incredible write up, Josh, and such an important lesson to be learned. Being unique is what’s going to get your business noticed. Learn from those you look up to, of course, but leverage your own experiences, knowledge and background to make it shine. Thanks for the kind mention and for all that you do!

  • Hi Josh!

    Great points here, all accurate. The reality is, we are all standing on the shoulders of giants, and the pose you choose to take on those shoulders should be your own 🙂

  • Great, great post. We can learn so much from folks like John and Chris. But it is the application of those lessons to who WE each are and what we’re passionate and knowledgeable about that makes the magic.

  • I couldn’t be John Lee Dumas even if I wanted to be! If he’s on fire, then I’m the iceman. 🙂 That’s not a dis, we’re just different people with different energies, and that’s a good thing.

    And thanks Josh for the reminder to be ourselves…it’s something we need more often these days.

  • Excellent article Josh! I think sometimes people don’t explore a niche because many other people are doing it, but it is the person doing it in their own style, and not copying someone else, that makes it unique. Be yourself always.

  • SO TRUE! Plus, who is willing to hustle like John and Kate have, REALLY? What they have is admirable, and I’m SO glad that people want to be like them because they should! I just agree that they need to do it in their own way. That is what John would tell them to do, as you pointed out, to find their own unique success. Brilliant post!

  • Josh, you are absolutely dead on… great post and great comments from your visitors as well –really adds depth!! It is certainly helpful to learn from others and then adapt our style and deliverables based on who we and also in conjunction with the needs of those we serve. Keep Rockin it!!

  • To walk through life and not be your own self is a shame. To walk through life and be yourself is a gift. Allowing yourself to just be, that is a talent!

    I agree it is crucial to allow yourself to be comfortable with who you are and let that uniqueness shine.

    Nicely said, Josh Brown!

  • Great insights Josh,

    People can always copy what you do, but never who you are. Some take offense at others knocking them off, but leaders like John Lee can take it as a compliment.

    Pay Flynn talked about this on one episode he called “The dark side of ..” Others will copy what you’ve done, but they’ll never copy what you are going to do.

    – Tom

  • Great post Josh! I’ve heard a few podcasts that almost have the same questions but never the same energy / heart. I agree that it’s so much better to be yourself, still learning from people like John & Kate, but doing things in your unique way!

  • So true, Dave! Ever check out the # of small business advise books there are out there? Quite a few. And most of them share the same principles, as business principles are timeless. But it is the way in which the information is organized and conveyed that attracts audiences.

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