Tag Archives: Southern California

Episode 77: Thriving Out of the Recession | Richard McKinnon, President of System 1 Interiors

Richard McKinnon of System 1 InteriorsRichard McKinnon is the owner and President of System 1 Incorporated. Because of Richard’s business sense, he realizes the importance on people to people interactions. That and advice from his father have helped him and his business get through the recession and thrive.

System 1 Interiors specializes in interior home remodeling including acoustic ceiling removal, plaster ceiling resurfacing, recessed lighting and interior & exterior painting. System 1 has been the leader in Acoustic Ceiling removal in southern California for over 30 years.

System 1 Interiors, Acoustic ceiling removal in southern California.

Zeb’s Take

He is a good friend of mine. Richie and I have known each other forever. He’s a really good guy. I’ve always been impressed with him. Basically, he was responsible for his entire family after his dad passed away and the business itself. He was able to overcome all of that and build a better stronger business. I’ve been working for Richie since the beginning of 2012.

The thing I want to touch on is the recession and how it contributes to business. In Richard’s mind he thinks that was a blessing. It was a good experience because he was able to take his business and lean it up, learn to make it more efficient, and that made his business ultimately better. He learned a lot of life lessons too; business lessons; what not to do, what to do. He really carved out a niche and now that his business is doing extremely well he has a much better understanding of his business. He runs a tight ship.

On more of a grand scale, I think, a recession really provides an opportunity. When you’re in a bull market and people are doing well in the economy, people look at the system in the wrong way. I’ve been involved with a few businesses where their question is, what’s the return on investment? They look at everything as numbers, and people like Richard and myself understand it’s not just a numbers game. It’s taking that extra step. Richard was on his way home when he got a call to do a job in Malibu, and even though he didn’t want to do it, he did, and it ended up saving his business. Those are the opportunities that you can’t value on a piece of paper. What ends up happening is people end up cutting those expenditures. They think, it’s going to cost this much in gas it takes this much time, it’s not an appropriate expenditure, let’s not do that. They miss out on this huge job, three months of business. They’re looking at numbers and not people and doing right by people. People look at numbers to tell the story of a business, but they can never take the place of the people to people interactions.

I’m going to work as hard as I can to make introductions, meet as many people, expose people to my business and add as much value and to genuinely help and be of service to people. If I looked at everything from a financial perspective, a balance sheet, whether or not going to the Chamber of Commerce was worth my time, whether or not having this podcast is worth my time, I would miss out on so many opportunities that have opened up as a result of me doing these things that I feel are necessary from a business sense.

The recession trims out those people that are looking at the bottom line. Those are the businesses that tend not to do so well in recessionary times. And the businesses that do do well, especially the ones that thrive out of a recession, are the ones that make those people to people encounters and really foster and develop those relationships.

 

Find out more about System 1 Interiors and Richard McKinnon

Go to www.system1interiors.com to contact Richie and find out more.

Quotes

  • “When I took over the business, for me, there was a lot of fear of the unknown. When I don’t have someone to go to, what is it going to be like when the training wheels come off?”
  • “We take pride in being the best. We’ll always strive for that.”
  • “Dealing with customers and dealing with employees and the different personalities and making that work and making it a positive thing. That’s the biggest struggle.”
  • “You’ve got to go, and you’ve got to do some things whether you like them or not sometimes because they could be very big opportunities.”
  • “I’ve always lived by the motto of just being real.”
  • “Don’t worry. Because it doesn’t improve anything in your life.”
  • “Just being a hard worker is successful in itself.”
  • “You’re going to be successful if you’re the best at what you do, or striving to be the best at what you do.”

richie

More from the Interview

How did System 1 Interiors get started?
In 1978 Richie’s father worked for a company that did acoustic ceiling spraying. He realized that if he had the right machinery and tools, he could start his own business and be able to raise and support a family. He knew he wasn’t the type to be answering to anyone, he wanted to be in charge of his own destiny. He got a loan from his father-in-law and began his business.

Richie grew up around his father’s business. He says, once he actually started working for his father he understood what it took. “It was very different: knowing what somebody does and then knowing what somebody does first-hand.” At the age of 20 he began working full-time with his dad. A few years later his dad was diagnosed with skin cancer. Richie decided he needed to get to know the business end of things as much as possible. He went with his dad to as many estimates and appointments, management things, as he could to see how things were done. When his father passed away Richie had already been mostly running the company for about a year and was able to get a lot of his questions answered.

He says, his father was the kind of person that no matter what, he would make something happen. “When I took over the business, for me, there was a lot of fear of the unknown. When I don’t have someone to go to. What is it going to be like when the training wheels come off?”

The Recession

“It was a complete blessing. It was business 101. It was a crash course. I really didn’t look at it then that way. I honestly get chills thinking about some of the things I had to go through, making decisions at such a young age. I was only 25 years old when I took over this company. We had, at the time, 7 employees. I had a lot of determination knowing that it really was sink or swim.”
Richie’s whole family was dependent on this business.

Richie says his business felt the impact of the economy on the decline before he heard about it in the news.
“I was grieving, at the time I had to put on that armor and lead this company through the troubled waters.” Having to explain to his long-time employees why there was no work while not really understanding why and trying to figure out how to fix it was difficult. In hindsight he realized that it’s nothing that they were doing wrong. It was difficult because a lot of the news wasn’t out he didn’t know how bad it was. “But the blessing about the economy dropping off for us, we’re a very very good business, we have a great reputation. I remember my father telling me before he passed, the one strength that you’re going to have and you’ll understand it one day, is that I’ve worked hard for 30 years of building this business to where it’s solid. No matter what you do, whether it’s advertising or things like that. We’ve built up a reputation… one day you’re going to see, when it gets busy again, just how much work was put into it.” He says, “Now I can understand that really what you put into your business, what you’re willing to put in, you will get it. So when you plant your seeds and you’re doing that hard work. A lot of times you don’t see the benefit, it comes later. A lot of times you can look back and say you know what, everything we did up to this point brought us through these lean times.”

The recession taught Richard to bear down and be a lean mean machine. They got a smaller shop, ordered less materials at a time, took away a lot of the things they didn’t actually need. If it wasn’t for the economy going down he says he would not have made those changes. Today System 1 would probably be wasting a lot of money, energy and resources, and not working as smart. “When you have an economic downturn, it’s really a reality check, and a time to go through everything and figure out what you need and don’t need. And then when the economy picks up all of a sudden you’re like a marathon runner, ready to go. … We’re better for it.”

I think a lot of our success has to do with the customer feeling comfortable and knowing exactly what they’re going to get and then where the success comes in is with executing that exactly as planned and exactly as you stated and if there is a hitch fixing it ASAP and making it right. That is the essence of what we try to do.

“My number one thing that I’ve learned is that clarity is key. Clarity is before you start anything with a customer you’re being crystal clear up front. In our business there are things that are unpreventable because of the nature of the business, explaining that to the customer ahead of time, so there’s not shock. Delivering exactly what you say you’re going to deliver. Knowing that it’s okay if somebody wants the impossible, to explain it, “That’s impossible.”

Biggest struggle
There are a lot of customers that are not capable of being pleased. Richie knows for certain they are the best company in southern California at what they do. “We’ve always known that we’re a very good company. We take pride in being the best. We’ll always strive for that.”

Dealing with customers and dealing with employees and the different personalities and making that work and making it a positive thing. That’s the biggest struggle.

Thriving out of the Recession

The last 3 years, his business has rebounded really well. The biggest asset to the company has been the internet. He says, the internet has separated the good companies from the bad companies. For the good companies, it makes them better. You don’t know who is going to put up reviews. We don’t have an on off switch where we do good work we do bad work. We only know how to do it well. If you can get a hundred reviews and 95 of them are straight A’s you’re going to get more business. At this point I’m not sure if the economy is as good as I believe it is, or if it’s a matter of since we’ve established ourselves as being a good company through our reviews that we’re just getting more work than others.

Advice

What’s the biggest piece of advice you learned from your dad?
Probably, never to give up on anything and to be there. It’s 4:30, it’s raining, there’s traffic and I get a call from a general contractor. He wants me to come to Malibu right now because a painting contractor didn’t show up. I really didn’t’ want to go; it’s going to take me an extra 3 hours to get home. But, I just had that advice, that you’ve got to go, and you’ve got to do some things whether you like them or not sometimes because they could be very big opportunities. It ended up being a job that probably saved our business back in 2008. I had no idea what it was, it ended up being a huge house for a Hollywood movie producer. It kept us busy for 2 or 3 months.

Be yourself. You don’t have to go and sell the jobs. You don’t have to put on a salesman pitch or face. Just go in there, be yourself and you’ll do fine. I’ve had to understand that I’m perfectly capable of doing this without having to try so hard on the sales pitch thing. Go in, be yourself and people will see though the fakes and phonies. I’ve always lived by the motto of just being real.

His advice to me was always just to be myself and to know that I’m perfectly capable of doing it.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone who found themselves running a business, like you did?
Don’t worry. Because it doesn’t improve anything in your life.
Don’t let the doubt and the worry […] freeze you from having a clear brain and execute what you need to do. You start looking at the bills you have coming in and the amount of work you have and it will freeze you up. One great thing about business is that you can bounce back and it doesn’t take very long to bounce back. Knowing that not only can you bounce back, but you will, and it doesn’t take long.
If you keep going, and you work hard, and you’re never gonna give up, and you keep going at it. Not only is it a probability that you’ll bounce back but you can even turn it into something more amazing than what you had before.

I’m constantly trying to figure out how to perfect the business. Constantly trying to think of creating new businesses.
I don’t like the thinking that everybody just needs a slice of the pie. Create your own pie. I’m constantly thinking about what else can I do. I feel I’m successful because I have a business mind and I have a mind to create.

 

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Episode 65: Creating an Online Community with Zeb Welborn

Creating an online community is no easy task.  The key ingredient toward building an online community of people who take action is consistency, persistence and greatness.

Online Community, Online Golfing Community, Bunkers Paradise

Bunkers Paradise

I came into contact with Bunker’s Paradise while working for Los Serranos Country Club in Chino Hills, CA.  Bunker’s Paradise is an online golfing community where they talk about anything and everything golf.  Mostly they focus on reviewing golf clubs and golf equipment, but they’ve created a great golfing community here in Southern California.  The key to creating a vibrant golfing community online is creating good, quality content according to Ken Lee, the Editor-in-Chief at Bunker’s Paradise.  Ken is a full-time police officer, yet in his free time he’s been able to build this online community of golfers.  If you’re a small business, work to build a community like Ken Lee’s Bunker’s Paradise.

Greenskeeper.org Online Community Online Golfing Community

Greenskeeper.org

Greenskeeper.org is another great golfing community in Southern California.  Greenskeeper.org started as a website to notify golfers when golf courses were performing aeration.  The community has expanded substantially since it began more than 10 years ago and is working to make the golfing experience more enjoyable for golfers.  The owner, John Hakim said that whenever he invested in his community he’s seen rewards come from it and he works hard to be of service to his GK’ers.  By creating a vibrant golfing community which now regularly rates and reviews golf courses he’s been able to create a community of 60,000 golfers here in Southern California.  He routinely holds golf outings and gets his golfers involved.  In fact, we’ll be having a golf outing this week on March 14 at Los Serranos Country Club in Chino Hills, CA.  All are welcome!  Contact Zeb Welborn at Zeb@WelbornSocialMedia.com

Scrapbook Expo Online Community

Scrapbook Expo

Scrapbook Expo is another great company that has been able to build an online community which have helped them increase sales for their business.  They started by developing an extremely active Facebook presence, now with more than 120,000 Facebook followers.  These followers are very active online and contribute regularly to the Scrapbook Expo Facebook page and in turn, build massive word of mouth exposure for the events Scrapbook Expo holds all over the country.  Look to Scrapbook Expo if you’d like to build a strong online community. Creating an online community is no easy task.  Many who set out to achieve that goal quickly realize the amount of work it takes to establish and develop an online presence and quit.  To develop a strong online community it takes consistency and persistence.  Develop a loyal customer base and have those loyal customers promote and build your brand online and you’ll be well on your way to developing a strong social media presence.

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Episode 49: Just Show Up! | Photographer Chris Carlson from the Associated Press

Chris Carlson has done photography in more than 40 different countries covering some of the world’s greatest sporting and political events.  He’s been involved in the business a long time but attributes his consistency and reliability to be one of the keys to his success.  Learn how to just show up in Episode 49 of the Defining Success Podcast.

Associated Press Photographer on the Defining Success Podcast with Zeb Welborn

Chris Carlson

Chris Carlson has been a staff photographer at the AP in Southern California for the past 6 years, Prior to that, he has been on the staff of the Orange County Register where he shared a Pulitzer Prize for coverage. During his career, he has been on assignment in over 40 countries.

Chris’s family was in the newspaper business.  Early on he realized his spelling was so bad that the only way he could stay in the newspaper business was by becoming a photographer.  Like any field you get into, you have to hone your craft. Chris was very lucky to work with people who were very skilled.  Many people took Chris under his wing and helped develop him into a world class photographer.

When Chris started in photography, there was a huge delay between the time he took a picture and the time he had it developed.  In some cases it was several hours.  Now, photographers know very quickly whether or not they have shot something great or not and they have the ability to take more if they are not happy with what they’ve shot.  Twenty years ago photographers were not as lucky because if they took bad shots, they would not be able to recognize this until hours later and in some cases this meant the opportunity was gone for good.

In photojournalism, they have deadlines and now the deadlines have sped up excessively.

One thing that Chris thinks many people in photography may not realize is the way that professional photographers are able to effectively use lighting to create a better picture.  The average person would be able to look at a picture and say it’s beautiful, but the professional photographer would be able to understand why the picture looks beautiful.

Some people get into journalism because they want to get into the world. Chris got into journalism because he wanted to see the world.  Being a photographer has given Chris the opportunity to see how the world has unfolded before him.

One of the best assignments Chris ever had was the 2007 U.S. Open where Tiger Woods won in a 19 hole playoff and watching him make a put on the 18th hole to force a playoff was probably the most exciting thing he had ever seen.  Watching the crowd react and watching Tiger’s reaction and seeing how competitive that day was was amazing.  And he felt very fortunate that photography was the vehicle that gave him the opportunity to witness the experience in person.

A lot of pressure comes from being a photographer.  Chris works hard to capture special moments, but sometimes many factors can contribute to the missing of a moment which can be lost and gone forever if he doesn’t capture it as it’s happening.  The stress of capturing these events can be a burden.  Over time the stress of having to capture that one moment can weigh on you a bit.

Chris attributes his success to luck, good decisions, hard work and sometimes, no matter how hard you try, something happens that you couldn’t plan for and in his case he feels very lucky.  Somebody once told Chris that a key to success is just showing up.  If you show up and do work you’re already ahead of your competition.  He looks at his colleagues that are very successful, he sees that it’s because they have a very strong work ethic.

One of the biggest mistake Chris has made was that he didn’t know if he enjoyed it enough in his time.  He wonders if when he retires if he’s going to say that he enjoyed it enough while he was doing it.

Working at the Associated Press, Chris feels fortunate that they cover big stories and the one event Chris wants to go to that he hasn’t yet is the Masters Golf Tournament.  Every year Chris covers the Kraft-Nabisco women’s golf tournament events which conflicts with the Masters, but he hopes he can make it to the Masters.

Chris has done countless brush fires, earthquakes, civil unrest. He was on the presidential campaign with President Obama and he’s done the Iowa Caucus and recommends that if anyone has an interest in politics that they should visit Iowa during that time because they are all very knowledgeable about politics.

If you’re interested in becoming a photographer you need to decide what kind of photography you’d like to do and then position yourself to be able to do that.  Sometimes it means starting at the high school level and hone your skills to build up to the big time.  Photography is incredibly competitive and in order to be successful you must love photography and if you have a good work-ethic, you’ll have a chance to be a good photographer.

When they started introducing digital cameras, your competition grew and the ability to make a living in photography is a lot tougher than it used to be.

Associated Press Photographer Chris Carlson Brandon Marshall from the Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos on the Defining Success Podcast with Zeb Welborn

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Engaging Discussion Questions:

  • What does it take to make a great picture?
  • How important do you think being reliable is to business?
  • Would people say you just show up?

Links to Great Stuff:

AP Images – “AP Images gives you access to the world’s largest collections of historical and contemporary photographs, so you have all the imagery you need, right when you need it. AP’s timely, powerful and informative images cover topics ranging from breaking news and sports to business, entertainment, weather, fashion, travel, royalty-free, rights-managed, microstock and more. You can purchase the images you need immediately on our site or set up a subscription service with your sales representative. And with our new API delivery method, you get images in a more flexible, fast and reliable way, within your own interface. AP’s Assignment & Publicity Services is also ready to assist you with start-to-finish planning, execution and distribution for all your promotional needs.”

The International Center of Photography – “The International Center of Photography (ICP) is the world’s leading institution dedicated to the practice and understanding of photography and the reproduced image in all its forms. Through our exhibitions, educational programs, and community outreach, we offer an open forum for dialogue about the role images play in our culture. Since our founding, we have presented more than 500 exhibitions and offered thousands of classes, providing instruction at every level. ICP is a center where photographers and artists, students and scholars can create and interpret the world of the image within our comprehensive educational facilities and archive.”

MSNBC – Pictures of the Week – “NBC News Digital is a collection of innovative and powerful news brands that deliver compelling, diverse and visually engaging stories on your platform of choice. NBC News Digital features world-class brands including NBCNews.com, tv.msnbc.com, TODAY.com, theGrio.com, NBCLatino.com, NBCPolitics.com, Nightly News, Meet the Press, Rock Center, Dateline, Newsvine, Breaking News, and the existing apps and digital extensions of these respective properties. We provide something for every news consumer with our comprehensive offerings that deliver the best in breaking news, segments from your favorite NBC News shows, live video coverage, original journalism, lifestyle features, commentary and local updates.  NBC News Digital reaches an audience of more than 58 million unique visitors who generate more than 1.2 billion page views and 140 million online video streams each month.”

New York Times – Lens Blog – “Photography, Visual and Video Journalism.”

Success Quotes:

  • “Success is balancing my career, my family life, my social life and my future.”
  • “I got into journalism because I wanted to see the world.”
  • “The one thing that separates amateur photographers from professional photographers is the way they handle light.”
  • “Photography is about capturing the moment.”

Special Requests:

Engage with us on Facebook, Twitter and leave reviews on the Defining Success Podcast in iTunes.

Chris Carlson at the Breeder's Cup Just Show Up

by Robert Hanashiro

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Episode #15: Exposing People to Their Passions | Principal Collin Miller from Sparks Middle School

Teaser: Collin Miller is extremely hard working and extremely passionate about education and works hard to improve the lives of his students. His passion shines through in Episode 15 of the Defining Success Podcast as he shares what he’s doing to improve the lives of the students that step foot in his school.

Thank you for visiting the Defining Success Podcast.  Please download, subscribe and rate our podcast on iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/defining-success-podcast/id619459909 Thanks for listening!

 

Exposing People to Their Passions Collin Miller Sparks Middle School

Principal Collin Miller from Sparks Middle
School

Recap:  At 33 years old, Collin Miller is one of the youngest administrators in Southern California and was recently nominated as a new administrator of the year by the HLPAA. He started as a teacher at Sparks Middle School and he’s now the principal at the school he originally started working at.

Collin graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a degree in TV, Radio and Film and got a job with a multimedia company and he wasn’t sure if that wasn’t his passion.  The only way he knew he would go anywhere in the industry, he knew he would have to move to Los Angeles.

He had a friend who was a second grade teacher who gave him the opportunity to teach a five-step lesson plan on soccer and he knew he found his passion.  He then took all the necessary steps to become a classroom teacher and quickly moved into the classroom and up the ladder to administration.

When you’re young you have people you look up to and Collin had some great mentors who helped guide him to become an administrator.  Collin loved exposing people to their passions and building relationships with them.  He teaches in a low income area.  As a teacher he saw how resilient many of his students were.  As an administrator the same goes for building relationships with students and growing them.  Collin now feels like he has the same opportunity to work with teachers and help them become better in the classroom.

One of Collin’s goals for Sparks Middle School is to help get more parents and partners involved with the school.  Collin works really hard to get his students college ready. One thing Collin stresses to his students is that “Success is the only option.”

Principal Collin Miller from Sparks Middle School - Exposing People to Their Passions

Principal Collin Miller from Sparks Middle School

I was actually fortunate enought to attend a career day put on by Collin at Sparks Middle School where I taught students how they can use the Internet to achieve their goals.  Collin worked really hard to put on the event in order to show students how many job possibilites there were out there.  Too often students don’t understand what options they have when it came to a career choice and his career day was designed to open the eyes of many students at his school.

One of Collin’s favorite things is to get a yearbook and have student’s sign his yearbook and his personal reflection is reading what student’s say and is his best evaluation of himself for that year.

One of the challenges Collin faces is that you’re always looking for what’s in the best interest of the students.  And that’s challenging because we have feelings and mistakes are made and he always tries to learn from his mistakes and not make the same mistake twice.

Collin considers himself to be a great motivator and is very passionate at what he does which sets him apart from some other educators.  Learn how Collin works tirelessly exposing people to their passions.

Engaging Discussion Questions:

  • How do we work on exposing people to their passions?
  • What can we do to help our schools and educators?

Links to Great Stuff:

  • Sparks Middle School – Sparks Middle School is located in Hacienda – La Puente in Southern California.  Collin Miller is the school principal.
  • The Tutoring Solution – The Tutoring Solution tutors students in Corona, Chino, Ontario and across Southern California.  Visit our website to learn more about our Share Your Passion scholarship gven to students who complete an essay about their passions and how they are using their passion to help others.
  • Welborn Media

Success Quotes:

  • “Success is being involved with something . . . and seeing a greater result.”
  • “Living every day like you couldn’t have done anything else.”
  • “We want students to own their future.”

Special Requests:

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Episode 10: The Business Breakthrough | Entrepreneur On Fire Host John Lee Dumas

Fire Nation ignites seven days a week in John Lee Dumas’ Entrepreneur on Fire podcast.  He has interviewed some of the most successful entrepreneurs and shares the takeaways from his podcast with us.

If people are telling you something is impossible, or you’ll never be able to do it . . . take that as a sign that that is something you should do.

John Lee Dumas

John Lee Dumas

Recap:

John Lee Dumas is the founder and host of Entrepreneur on Fire, a business podcast that interviews today’s most inspiring and successful entrepreneurs 7 days a week. Entrepreneur on Fire is a top ranked business podcast generating over 150,000 unique downloads a month in over 140 countries. His lineup includes Barbara Corcoran, Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, Gary Vaynerchuk, Guy Kawasaki and hundreds more. All the magic happens at EOFire.com so be sure to check them out.

John went to college in Providence, RI on a ROTC scholarship.  He spent 8 years in the U.S. Army as an officer with a 13 month tour of duty in Iraq.  He tried corporate finance, residential real estate, commercial real estate, tech start ups.  In June 2012 he started his passion of sharing the journey of other entrepreneur’s with the world where he interviews some of the most successful and inspiring entrepreneurs.

John Lee Dumas

John Lee Dumas

American spend so much time commuting to and from work which is where John Lee Dumas had his AHA Moment for Entrepreneur on Fire.  In 2009, he discovered podcasts and became hooked because he could find the content he was looking for and the content had zero commercials.  He started listening to Wall Street Journal and found another unique podcasts to listen to.  At some point, he ran out of content and realized that there wasn’t a podcaster who was posting a show once every day and he’s been posting it every single day since September 20, 2012.

Entrepreneur on Fire follows a format for his podcasts and John wanted to hear about the journey of successful entrepreneurs.  Every episode starts with a success quote and how they apply that quote to their life.  Then he discusses obstacles and failures they’ve had in the past and how they’ve overcome those obstacles.  Then covering the AHA moment that turned them into successful entrepreneurs.  Then they talk about their current business and what’s exciting them now and their plans for the future and then they have a lightning round which usually consists of five questions that pull out great information and resources for the listeners.  The podcasts typically last 25 to 35 minutes.

John Lee Dumas has interviewed over 200 entrepreneurs and one of John Lee Dumas’s favorite interviews was with Barbara Corcoran who is on ABC’s Shark Tank.  Hearing her story about how she was living in New York as a waitress and never thinking she was going to be more than that and how she had her AHA moment which led her to becoming one of the most successful entrepreneur’s in America.

The process began for Entrepreneur on Fire in June 2012.  He quit his job and went all in deciding to start his podcast.  He went down to a conference called BlogWorld in New York City where he met Pat Flynn, Derek Halpern, and Adam Baker who were willing to be some of the first guests for his show.  He planned appropriately and had 40 guests lined up and ready to go by the time he launched his podcast in September, 2012.

Consistency has been one of John’s greatest attributes which have helped him build his following.  “Fire Nation” has been a group of loyal listeners who have come to expect and appreciate the daily posting of podcasts by John Lee Dumas.  As a result of his planning and consistency, he’s getting 175,000 downloads in over 140 countries every single month.  Just six months after the idea of Entrepreneur on Fire John was asked to speak at BlogWorld as an expert in podcasting.

John says the most important thing you can do is to have a high level of quality.  John has always tried to produce the highest quality of show that he can possibly do.  And every episode he creates he produces higher and higher levels of podcasts.  So when people come across his podcast they know that the podcast is high quality and that he is someone who is working hard to bring an exceptional experience to them.

When he’s talking about podcasting one example of how he strives to be the best is having high quality audio and the actual content has to be high quality.  The guests and the topics have to be valuable to the people who will be listening to the podcasts.

One thing John points out in his interview is the existence of his “Avatar” or the target market for his podcast for John, his “Avatar” is 25 to 45 year old “Wannabepreneur” and they haven’t done it yet, or maybe they just started it.  His goal is to help entrepreneurs by motivating them and giving them motivational boosts along the way.  If you have a clearly identifiable target market it’s much easier to reach them.  Asking for feedback from that group is also a great way to enhance your podcast to make it better.

Entrepreneur’s are very transparent and love sharing their stories about how they’ve overcome mistakes.  At the beginning John was very nervous to reach out to entrepreneurs and he learned that it was okay to reach out to people.  His big takeaway was that people in the online world are very friendly, welcoming and willing to help.

If you’re interested in podcasting, John Lee Dumas highly recommends buying Podcast Launch by John Lee Dumas.  It goes through every step of the procees, it comes with 15 video tutorials, it’s $5 and it’s something John wish he had when he started podcasting.  He wanted to come out with a book that was completely transparent about his process and he wants to further the brand of Entrepreneur on Fire by giving away great content and helping others.  Right now, it’s the #1 podcast book on Amazon.

One of John’s greatest success stories came from a captain in the Marines who didn’t know he had a story to tell, but because of the podcast he had his own AHA moment who came out with his own podcast called A Dose of Leadership where he interviewed some incredible leaders all over the world.  His name is Richard Rierson and he’s interviewed some successful leaders and is having his own impact and he started all because of Entrepreneur on Fire.

From Day 1, John always wanted to turn Entrepreneur on Fire into a business.  And set out to become just a podcaster and now that he’s getting close to 175,000 downloads a month he’s getting sponsors who are providing a significant revenue for Entrepreneur on Fire. Once you have a big enough audience people start to take notice.  Audible.com, Legal Zoom and SquareSpace.com are currently sponsoring Entrepreneur on Fire.  But, John is also able to add books, products and services which have helped create a great income stream.

John’s determination has been his greatest asset.  Many people told John that doing one podcast a day was not doable and he had tons of people who were telling him that he couldn’t and shouldn’t do it.   John was determined, passionate and was able to take over his niche of providing daily content for “Fire Nation.”

Entrepreneur on Fire

Entrepreneur on Fire

Engaging Discussion Questions:

  • Have you had an AHA moment?  What was it?
  • Has anyone told you something you wanted to do was impossible?  How did you respond?

Links to Great Stuff:

  • Entrepreneur on Fire – “John Lee Dumas is the Founder and Host of EntrepreneurOnFire, a daily podcast that interviews todays most inspiring and successful Entrepreneurs.  EntrepreneurOnFire tells the journey of the spotlighted guest, sharing their early failures, AHA moments, and insight into what is working for them now and why.  Every show ends with a 5-question “Lightning Round” that pulls priceless nuggets of information from these incredibly successful Entrepreneurs.  Subscribe to iTunes via http://bit.ly/RX3yMa and Prepare to Ignite!”
  • Podcast Launch – “Have you ever considered creating your very own podcast? Podcast Launch will take you through the entire process, from step one to step done. This book comes with 15 video tutorials where the author, John Lee Dumas, will walk you through the more technical aspects of podcasting. These tutorials will make your podcast experience enjoyable and stress free.”
  • Barbara Corcoran – “Barbara Corcoran’s credentials include straight D’s in high school and college and twenty jobs by the time she turned twenty-three.  It was her next job that would make her one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country when she took a $1000 loan to start The Corcoran Group.  She parlayed that loan into a five-billion-dollar real estate business which she sold in 2001 for $66 million.”
  • Seth Godin – “Seth Godin has written fourteen books that have been translated into more than thirty languages. Every one has been a bestseller. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything.”
  • Tim Ferriss – “Tim has been featured by more than 100 media outlets–including The New York Times, The Economist, TIME, Forbes, Fortune, CNN, and CBS–and has been a popular guest lecturer at Princeton University since 2003, where he presents entrepreneurship as a tool for world change and ideal lifestyle design.”
  • Gary Vaynerchuk – “Meet Gary Vaynerchuk, a 36 year old New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best-Selling author who is also a self-trained wine and social media expert. From a young age, it was clear that Gary was a businessman. At 8-years-old he was operating seven lemonade stands in his neighborhood and by 10 he had moved onto selling baseball cards at local malls. In high school while working at his family owned liquor store, Gary started reading The Wine Spectator and wine books, and realized collecting wine offered an allure similar to his previous hobby of collecting baseball cards. With a wealth of knowledge and an entrepreneurial spirit, Gary spent every weekend of his college years at his parents’ wine store. Recognizing the importance of e-commerce in 1997, Gary launched Winelibrary.com and helped grow his family business significantly from $3 million to $45 million by 2005.”
  • Guy Kawasaki – “Guy Kawasaki is the co-founder of Alltop.com, an “online magazine rack” of popular topics on the web, and a founding partner at Garage Technology Ventures. Previously, he was the chief evangelist of Apple. Kawasaki is the author of ten books including Enchantment, Reality Check, The Art of the Start, Rules for Revolutionaries, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, Selling the Dream, and The Macintosh Way. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.”
  • Audible.com – “We’re here to establish literate listening as a core tool for anyone seeking to be more productive, better informed, or more thoughtfully entertained.”
  • Legal Zoom – “Every year, Americans spend millions of dollars on routine legal needs, from incorporations and trademarks to last wills. Others put off creating essential legal documents because of the inconvenience and high fees. As attorneys, we knew there had to be an easier, more affordable way to take care of common legal matters.”
  • SquareSpace.com – “Whether you need simple pages, sophisticated galleries, a professional blog, or want to sell online, it all comes standard with your Squarespace website.”
  • A Dose of Leadership – “Hosted by Richard Rierson, the Dose of Leadership Podcast is the ultimate resource of inspiring & educational interviews with relevant and motivating leaders; real-life leadership & influence experts who dedicate their lives to the pursuit of the truth,  common sense, & courageous leadership.”
  • BlogWorld – “The BlogWorld/New Media Expo Blog is a prolific new media industry news and information site that offers a diverse array of content – covering social media for business, blog, podcast and video content creation, distribution, and monetization, the latest social networking tool, tech and trends –– and also covering topics in all vertical niche areas of blogging (tech, business, parenting, sports, real estate, military, politics, etc).”
  • Pat Flynn – “I’m Pat. I’m a 30 year old dude from Southern California who makes a living on the internet. I consider myself the luckiest person on Earth.”
  • Derek Halpern – “I show people how to turn web traffic into leads and sales. And if they’re not getting any traffic, I show them how to get that, too.”
  • Adam Baker – “At Man Vs. Debt, we hope that by sharing a transparent and honest account of our own journeys to remove barriers – primarily our debt and excess clutter – we can empower and inspire others who find themselves on similar paths.”

Success Quotes:

  • “Success is the gradual realization of a worthy goal.”
  • “When you hear people talking strongly against an idea, that means it’s a great idea.”
  • “Once you have an audience in place, the sky is truly the limit.”
  • “The mission of Entrepreneur on Fire is to inspire millions.”
  • “If you want to make millions, you need to inspire millions.”
  • “The online world is a very friendly place.  We are in this huge marketplace where helping people is only going to help ourselves.”
  • “Help spread the word and get more people motivated and passionate about following their dreams.”
  • “She definitely flirted with me quite a bit throughout the interview so I definitely enjoyed that.”
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