C-Suite Network™

Riding the Podcast Thunderbolt – with John Lee Dumas


Anyone who listens to business podcasts has likely heard of John Lee Dumas. JLD, as he’s known, hosts Entrepreneurs on Fire, one of the top podcasts in the category.  


Before podcasting, John Lee Dumas was a tank commander in the U.S. Army, serving time in Iraq and Kuwait. 


“We called it riding the thunderbolt,” JLD recalled. “When you stand up out of the turret, and you fire the actual weapon, it feels like you got punched in the face. Your eyes start streaming, but you’re just like, ‘Wow. That was real.’” 


After his stint in the military, JLD may have felt the business world was punching him in the face. He tried many career paths, including financial services, real estate, even law school. None of them stuck. During that time, he listened to many business podcasts but couldn’t find a daily show that focused on conversations with business leaders.  


So, he started one himself. And “Entrepreneurs on Fire” was born. 


Niche your way to the top 


With more than 2 million shows listed on Apple Podcasts, you might think it’s hard to stand out. At C-Suite Radio, we believe you need to forget the old media model of casting a big net to the broadest audience. Business is constantly changing and doing things a certain way, just because that’s how it was done in the past is a fast ticket to obscurity. Our team believes there are riches in the niches and JLD agrees. 


“One of the biggest things I say when people start their business is, ‘hey, you gotta decide what’s your big idea. Then within that, discover the niche within that big idea that’s not being served.’ You may need to niche down and niche down again until you look around and you’re saying, ‘you know what? There’s either weak competition here, or there’s no competition,’ and dominate that niche,” JLD said. 


He continued, “I always ask people all the time, ‘so what problem is your podcast solving?’ and they have some vague ‘it’s solving the lack of inspiration in the world’ it’s like ‘no, everybody can do that.’ I want you to have the best solution to one specific problem, a real pain point than you could win.”   


A Steady Pace Wins the Podcast Race 


While John Lee Dumas is widely known by his initials, it didn’t start that way. He was just a guy with a podcast.  


“In the podcast world, the online business world, now (JLD) means something. I didn’t eight years ago, six years ago,” he remembers. 


Remember, JLD says he started out by filling a niche because he couldn’t find a daily leadership business podcast.  


“I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to follow Gandhi’s advice and be the change you wish to see in the world.’ That day I decided I’m going to launch the first daily podcast interviewing successful entrepreneurs,” JLD remembers. “That day that I launched, I was the best business podcasting interviewing entrepreneurs seven days a week. I was the worst daily podcast interviewing entrepreneurs. I was the only game in town.” 


His story runs against conventional podcast wisdom.  


While headlines focus on all the money being thrown at podcasters, you might be surprised to learn that for every Joe Rogan out there, there are thousands of podcasters with a fraction of his audience.  


Does that make them any less successful? 




It’s all about serving a specific audience.  


“I would niche my face off. I would find one major problem that exists in the world that I can provide the best solution,” JLD said. 


Beware of False Profits 


Since podcasting has become such a booming business, many give the illusion of success but are they really successful? 


Like any other up-and-coming industry, those acting in good faith want to genuinely help, while others are what I like to call false prophets offering false profits. 


JLD sees this too.  


Like any relationship, business or personal, it’s all about trust. 



During our conversation, JLD talked about the radical transparency behind his company, the parallels between entrepreneurs and soldiers, and more. 


Listen here for the full interview. 


If you’re looking to start a podcast or have one already, contact the solutions team at C-Suite Radio. We are the world’s largest and fastest-growing business podcast network. We’ll help you scale your show to the next level or find your niche.  

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