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Ep. 261 – The three thought leaders that changed my entrepreneurial journey

The three thought leaders that changed my entrepreneurial journey

Five years ago, I started my podcast REACH OR MISS for entrepreneurs. Two hundred sixty episodes to date and counting. I took something from any episode, and, of course, many taught me something new.

However, three past episodes are the core of entrepreneurial marketing.

In today’s episode, I invite you to listen to these three thought-leaders and find the difference between what you do and what they talk about. Choose one thing that you will do differently from today.

I think that will help you become a better entrepreneurial marketer. And every entrepreneur should also become their own marketer.


John Lee Dumas

John Lee Dumas

John Lee Dumas: John is the host of EOFire, an award winning podcast where he interviews today’s most successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders. JLD has grown EOFire into a multi-million dollar a year business. with over 2000 interviews. He’s the author of The Freedom Journal and The Mastery Journal, two of the most funded publishing campaigns of all time on Kickstarter. All the magic happens at!

Fire Nation (EOFire)

John’s best advice about approaching the customer

  • Number one, you need to know who your perfect customer is, the ideal customer, your avatar.
  • Once you know who that person is, you can start creating free valuable, and consisting content for that person.
  • Then you want to make sure you are getting it in front of them, so you have to find them and put that content in front of them. And, of course, they will be attracted to that content because you are creating it for them specifically.
  • Then, once you have the opportunity to get in front of them, ask them a question, send them an email, newsletter, or a social media message, you have to ask: What are you struggling with?
  • Then you can start to understand your ideal customers, what their pain points, obstacles, challenges, and struggles are, so then you – the person that, by the way, has been delivering them free value and assisting content, can provide the solution in the form of a product, a service or a community.
  • You are not just somebody pitching them something; you are somebody that already provided them value, who they are growing to know, like, and trust, who asked them what they are struggling with, who listened to them when they were telling their pain point, and who now says: ‘Hi, you told me you are struggling with this, here is the solution, and I’d love to offer it.’ That’s the way to approach your customer.

Biggest failure with customers

  • This is a big mistake that I made, and it was a big waste of time, energy, effort, and money. It goes back to 2013. Many people said they love my podcast and love to create their podcasts. I wanted to create an entire platform where I would create other people’s podcasts for them. I’ll host their shows; I’ll edit their podcast. I’ll make their show notes; I’ll do it all. I called it PodPlatform. Everybody that heard the idea said it’s a great product.
  • I made all the arrangements and invested so luckily it was the perfect number…which quickly let me realize I don’t want to be in this business; I don’t want to edit other people’s shows, upload their outro and intro, and host that for them. And I went back to this one person, here is your money back, but this isn’t the kind of business I want.
  • But I wasted so much time, so much energy, and money. And actually, I could say if anybody telling me they want this before I’ll go and creates this and invest so much time and money, let’s have people put money where their mouth is and invest in this product before it exists.
  • And I did that a few months later with Podcaster Paradise, and I had 50 people signed up before we launched, which made me realize that this is something that can actually work. Fast-forward to today, Podcaster’s Paradise has over 3000 members and over 4 Million Dollars in revenue.

Biggest success due to the right customer approach

  • Podcaster’s Paradise was a huge success, but I did share it briefly; another one that’s was very successful is “The Freedom Journal” I had it at the back of my mind for a while because my audience kept asking me, “John, how do we set and accomplish goals?” Because this is something, I talk a lot about at EOFire.
  • So I started to create a resource and a guide that will walk people through the setting and accomplish their number one goal in hundred days. I turned that into a Physical full lather golden bust journal and called it “The Freedom Journal.” I wanted to have a proof of concept, so I approached a hand full of people and asked if this were something they would actually want to use, and when people said yes, I offered them to pay ahead 20 Dollars for the product that would be sold for 40 Dollars later. And people wanted to pay for it, and it made me realize this is something that can succeed.
  • So I created the journal, and I launched it through Kickstarter, and we sold it for 453000 Dollars in just 33 days.

John’s Key success factor

  • That would be my investment in myself through mentors through masterminds because I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and I didn’t know a lot about podcasting. Still, I knew that if I were willing to invest in myself with the right mentor and surround myself with the right people via mastermind, I would give myself the best opportunity to succeed.
  • People that are not willing to invest both financially and time-wise are going to have a lot of more challenging roads than the people who are.
  • For me investing in myself with the mentors, with the masterminds, with the communities, and with the conferences has been everything.


Chris Brogan

Chris Brogan

Chris Brogan provides strategy and skills for the modern business. He is CEO of Owner Media Group, a sought after public speaker, and the New York Times bestselling author of nine books and working on his tenth.

Chris Brogan

Chris best advice about approaching the customer

  • The best advice that I can have for a startup or entrepreneurial person is always designed forward from the customer. To ask what the customer wants at this moment and how can we give them that? How can we deliver something that will be great for a customer?
  • I would take a big piece of paper, real-life paper, and an actual pen or pencil; I would start with a circle in the middle and say this is my customer; how do I get them what they want? And what is my role in it?
  • A business should really look to be helpful first, and they should think in terms of is this simple? Is this smart? And is this sharable?

Biggest failure with customers

  • I fail every day! My biggest ones are that every time I try to design from my idea or my arrogance or my ego, I usually fail because I believe that I know best.
  • My biggest specific failure was that I started a bunch of tiny private online communities that I thought everyone would love – healthcare, nonprofits, real-estate end more, and I failed horribly.
  • Every entrepreneur is so intelligent; the experience I have had many times with those people is that they developed a product they know how to create, but they haven’t necessarily set a product that anyone asked for.

Biggest success due to the right customer approach

  • I don’t know if I have had my greatest success yet… My most tremendous success will be when thousands of people say, “you’ve changed my business and my life, and I feel like I can do better because I followed what you gave me as advice,” That hasn’t happened in a significant volume yet. I guess I’m still waiting for my parade…


Mark Schaefer

Mark Schaefer 

Mark W. Schaefer is a globally recognized author, speaker, podcaster, and business consultant who blogs at {grow} — one of the top five marketing blogs of the world.

Mark Schaefer

Mark’s best advice about approaching customers

  • I asked a young marketer that wanted my advice on whether he talked with the company’s customers or joined their salespeople? He was already six months in that position and never spoke with a single customer!
  • You should talk with your customers and ask them:
    • What do you love about your business?
    • What do you hate about your business?
    • What keeps you awake at night?
    • How can we serve you better?

Biggest failure with a customer

  • It wasn’t necessarily a failure with my customers; it was a failure with me. I don’t enjoy selling and self-promotion.
  • The sales jobs I have had in my career were enterprise sales. It was relationship development, and that’s something I’m good at.
  • The B2B sales process wore me down. There were so many things in my life that were interesting and fun; I couldn’t do it! The lesson is I need help on the sales side.
  • The failure was my own because I didn’t listen to my head and be self-aware like I should have been.

Biggest success due to the right customer approach

  • I had a very long career and a lot of stories, but I like to reflect on a more recent one. I have a place on my website where people can sign up for an hour of my time at a very reasonable price. I do that because a lot of people ask to get my advice (for free), and, although I love helping people, if I’ll do that for everyone that asks, it would be the only thing I’d be doing and the only thing I have to sell is my time…
  • The idea was that those serious about their business would be willing to pay this basic payment. And surprisingly, a lot of people signed up. So I get to talk to people from all over the world and all kinds of businesses and help them with their problems.
  • I specifically remember a very successful woman who was handling practice insurance for physicians. A regulatory change has destroyed her business. And she was looking for what to do. She told me she was very sick as a child, and when she grew up, she decided she wanted to help doctors be doctors by assisting them to reduce the time they spend on paperwork. And I advised her to base her unique place on working with doctors and go to her clients, listen to them, and find out how best she can serve them. Within a month, she wrote me an email saying she had rebuilt her business.
  • All this woman needed to do was find an under-served need and find a way to serve them better than everybody else.
  • You have to get out there and ask questions.

Mark’s key success factor

  • A key success factor stands from a beautiful piece of advice I got in graduate school, where I had a life-changing opportunity to study under Peter Drucker. He is probably the greatest author and business consultant in history. He said, ‘the key to leadership is not having the right answers; it has the right questions.’
  • That is such great insight about being successful in business today. To be humble and lead the company to success by listening and helping them find what they are missing. By asking those questions, you can find the opportunity.
  • That’s what I’m good at, and I can see where all the dots connect; I can see how trends come together.


I’d love to hear what are your favorite episode?


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