Author's note: This is not an article bashing John Lee Dumas. It is written to educate the influx of people being exposed to his incredible success and believe the medium will deliver the same results for them – and it's going to leave a bad taste in their mouths.
Everybody wants to know “How can I make money podcasting?” Affiliate marketing, digital products, and new customer acquisitions have brought a little something to the table but advertising is finally realizing how powerful podcasting is. However, podcasting newbies are getting the wrong idea and are being infected by the “John Lee Dumas Effect.”
This isn't a question of integrity or doing something illegal, it's my concern that the effect will have an adverse reaction to the medium.
John Lee Dumas is an Entrepreneur On Fire
John Lee Dumas is on fire – an Entrepreneur on Fire to be exact. He saw a need, had the desire to fill it, and worked hard for a few months to record dozens of podcast episodes before releasing them to the world. His plan was to interview a successful entrepreneur every day of the week and inject a couple advertisements to make money.
The show has become known as Entrepreneur On Fire and has been at the top of iTunes charts for almost a year.
John Lee Dumas’s business plan
John’s idea for making money on his podcast is very simple: Put out a show with some ads and get paid per download However, this isn’t your typical once-a-week niche podcast:
- John Lee Dumas releases an interview with an entrepreneur every day of the week – no exceptions!
- The podcast includes a 15 second commercial at the beginning of the show and a 60 second one towards the last half.
- Each sponsor pays the Entrepreneur On Fire podcast $18 – $25 per one thousand downloads (CORRECTION: See John Lee Dumas's comment below).
- The persons interviewed share the show with their audience, increasing the likelihood of EOFire gaining more followers.
- More followers translates into more downloads.
- John would share his successful story on other blogs and podcasts, increasing his visibility and finding new subscribers.
It sounds like a great idea that anyone could replicate. That is where people go wrong.
How John Lee Dumas does it right
John does more than just put ads in his podcast…
- The advertisements are read by him
- The ads fit the needs of the listeners
- He does it in a way that does not interrupt the listening experience
One more thing John does that makes his show stand out: He calls his listeners “Fire Nation”, giving everyone a piece of ownership in the tribe. This fosters a sense of belonging and once someone belongs to the club they tend to talk about it with their friends. John isn’t selling advertisements, he’s giving his audience value and pride of ownership in the show. That is something we all should be working on – bringing our audience into the “club”.
The John Lee Dumas Effect on New Podcasters
It should be noted that John Lee Dumas isn’t the cause of the John Lee Dumas Effect. He is only the carrier. I would bet that he doesn't want the John Lee Dumas Effect to hurt this wonderful medium any more than I would.
But here is the problem: Everyone is hearing about John’s huge success and wants to replicate it. There are new shows coming out with dreams of making lots of money by interviewing people and selling ads, just like John does.
Is this a bad thing? Maybe:
- If your sole reason for doing a podcast is to make money then stop right now
- If you decided that a podcast was your way to an instant 6-figure income then think again
- If becoming a Professional Podcaster sounds like an easy job then stop lying to yourself
This is the byproduct I call “The John Lee Dumas Effect” and it is very tempting and seductive.
The John Lee Dumas Effect will cause you to look past the fact that it took John months of recording before launching his first episode. It will tell you it’s easy to find an audience and won’t mention that he had to earn every download. Don’t dismiss the fact that John spends a lot of time connecting with his audience and giving value!
How to take advantage EOFire’s success without selling out
Launching a podcast that you aren’t passionate about is like taking a job you hate: It doesn’t work out well for you or for the person paying you.
- If the thought of having your own show appeals to you then continue reading.
- If the idea of helping people you never met interests you then keep going.
- If you have a skill or ability very few people have and you can share it via a podcast then don’t stop here.
- If you believe hard work in an area you are passionate about pays off in the long run then start planning.
Become a Podcaster, not a Podfader
The reason for this article is not to discount John Lee Dumas’s success or tell you that it can’t be done. This post was written to ensure new podcasters don’t become podfaders.
The world won’t come to an end if you spend some money and launch your show before giving up on it after only a handful of episodes. No harm is done pursuing a passion and trying this new medium called podcasting. I asked Pat Flynn, successful blogger and podcaster at SmartPassiveIncome.com, if podcasting was alive, dead, or just treading water. His response was “It’s just starting. It’s been around for a while and only the techie people knew how to figure it out but it’s become so easy to produce a show you will see more and more coming out.”
Make plans to get started.
- You could take Cliff Ravenscraft’s Podcasting A-to-Z course
- Join Dave Jackson’s School of Podcasting*.
- John Lee Dumas is launching a program to help newbie podcasters called “Podcasters Paradise: Helping you create, grow, and monazite your podcast in a very powerful way*.”
This is not an endorsement of any of these programs although I have had experience with most of them (and each has wonderful benefits to their members). Joining one will ensure you get started without selling out to the John Lee Dumas Effect.
*Note: These are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you are convinced these products/services are for you at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support.
Enter the podcasting field with the passion and desire to help people. Sell them on your ideas, tools, or digital products that can make their lives better. Create a tribe of dedicated listeners that will follow you anywhere. Don’t be blinded by the dollar signs – it’s a powerful symptom of the John Lee Dumas Effect and has nothing to do with being an awesome podcaster.