Social distancing. Stay at home orders. New safety precautions for businesses. How can a business make meaningful connections with its customers and clients? The Entrepreneur on Fire, John Lee Dumas, speaks to six ways to connect in a meaningful way with your customers, clients, and peers during a crisis.
Rich: Our guest today is the host of Entrepreneur on Fire, an award winning podcast where he interviews inspiring entrepreneurs who are truly on fire. I assume figuratively and not literally, with over two thousand episode. You heard me right, 2,000 episodes and 1 million+ listens a month and seven figures of annual revenue.
He’s just getting started, born and raised here in Maine, but currently spending his quarantine time at his home in Puerto Rico, John Lee Dumas. John, welcome to the show.
JLD: Well, I am excited to be here. And you’re such a Marvel fan, Rich. I’m surprised we can’t both be figurative and the literally on fire. That just makes sense to me.
Rich: Good point.
Yury: Good point.
Rich: Oh, Yury, you want to jump in here?
Yury: Yeah, let’s do it. You know, I just want to make sure that we’re staying in line. Well, John, first of all thank you for an incredible participation right out the gate. You know, you set the room on fire. Your content is always spot on. And I am a huge fan of the Freedom Journal. That thing totally changed it. So thank you very much. You know, before that solution, I never considered kind of like keeping things on track, but I learned a lot from it, so thank you.
JLD: Awesome. That’s great.
Rich: And welcome to Maine, virtually.
Yury: You’re from Maine originally, and you’ve also experienced a little bit of corporate life as well as the military life. How did those experiences growing up in Maine, being in the military, working corporate, how did it contribute to the person you are, or how did it lead you to.
JLD: I am very proud of my Maine roots. Born and raised in a very small town of Alfred, Maine, which is actually the county seat of your County, which is pretty cool. And it’s a town of about 2,000 people. So I went to a tiny elementary school, a conglomerate of a high school, massive basic, which was actually made up of six, and I think it’s now seven towns. And you know, kind of that small town vibe that I got growing up definitely just made me realize that there’s a real impact that just one person can make.
I look back at my days growing up and I can name one, two, three people that just as individuals [00:03:00] made massive impacts in our community in Alfred, Maine. And you know, now we live in this world where literally you as one individual can make a massive impact on your niche. It doesn’t have to be a location or a region niche like it was for me in Alvin, Maine, but it could be for people that love yoga, but that are also vegans or whatever niche or industry or kind of passion that you have. So an open mind, that really was solidified in me.
And you know, I’ve kind of always taken that small town roots with me. I lived in the big city, New York City for a while. I lived in Boston for many years. I’ve lived in San Diego, so I’ve also experienced the big city. And where did I end up settling down for the past four years? The location you’re seeing right behind me here. This is actually my actual backyard here in Puerto Rico. I’m a very small town, a very small community, Palmas Del Mar. You know, we have a couple thousand residents, so it feels very Alfred, Maine-ish.
And I love the community. I love just the overall vibe of it. I [00:04:00] feel completely at home here, and I really do kind of trace it back to those first 18 years I spent in Alfred, Maine. So that’s my answer to your question. You’re right. Thanks for asking.
Yury: Awesome. Thank you. That was great.
Rich: Hey John, as you know, Maine is under a stay at home order right now, and many people are remote working for the first time in their lives. Even those of us who have worked the occasional snow day from home, this is a completely different experience. You have experience at years working remotely. What advice would you give to some novice remote workers to stay sane and productive these days?
JLD: Yeah. So there’s a few things I definitely want to go over today. I mean, specifically one thing I want to speak to you right at the top is most people, unfortunately right now, are in a state of being paralyzed. Meaning they’re just not doing anything because change is hard. When you have this much change this fast, it’s hard to adjust and a lot of people are just not coping well at all with this reality.
So many people are just sitting at home under this new reality. They’re watching Netflix, they’re going down YouTube rabbit holes of cat videos. You know, they’re doing literally nothing productive. They’re not even exercising. And people have this fantasy like, man, if I didn’t have to commute half an hour to work every day, and then if I didn’t have to work for eight or nine hours, then if I didn’t have to commute home every evening, just think of all the things I would do. I would like read all these amazing books. I would exercise for an hour and a half a day. I would eat the best foods because I would be able to prepare them and do all these other things. And the reality is people are doing none of those things. And I’m speaking very generally, but I’m speaking to the majority because that is the reality.
That’s the majority of people right now. They are not making use of this quarantine opportunity. So, you know, I prepared a few things I definitely want to kind of go through them one by one on things that I think that individuals – specifically small business owners, entrepreneurs, business men and women – can be doing right now to really [00:06:00] be at least taking some action during this time.
Even if you feel like you’re completely handcuffed and you can’t do things that you used to be able to do and your mind is like how you actually go out there and create and generate revenue, there’s things you can be doing right now that I think are going to be very beneficial.
So Rich, if you want to start going one by one. I want to hand it back over to you and not take the step by step.
Rich: Yeah. Well Yury, why don’t you fire off a question maybe, around this one right here. I think we can kind of think it through with John
Yury: Q’s up, you know, the, uh, the bullet points. Well, you know, John, you’re your recommend people surprise and delight as they connect with one another.
So what does it look like and how do we ensure that we’re not coming across as like. Tone deaf to sound, who might be really suffering now. Um, you know, due to a Corona. So listen, everybody’s suffering right now in some way, shape, or form, some [00:07:00] much more than others, some physically, some emotionally, some a mixture of both.
So we’re all suffering here. So now you, again, as one of those individuals that I mentioned, a businessman, a business woman, an entrepreneur, small business owner, any. Like kind of thing that you fit within that concept. There’s an opportunity for you right now to surprise in the light. You can surprise and delight your customers.
You can surprise and delight your clients. You can surprise and delight your referral partners and there’s a lot of different ways that you can do this. Something that Kate and I did a week and a half ago, you know when we were really in the midst of this, as we still are, obviously right now, is we sat down and we said.
How can we surprise and delight our audience, fire nation, because we know a lot of people are struggling through things that are sharing at the beginning by being paralyzed at home, or you know, now you have two or three or four screaming kids in your house that you’re, you know, used to be at school or used to have daycare, used to have all these different things, and now you’re just like, ah, like what am I supposed to [00:08:00] do?
You can surprise and delight. So Kate and I sat down and we said, what can we do for those individuals that are struggling right now? Which again, is everybody on multiple levels. And so we sent out one email to our audience and we said, we want to gift a freedom journal or a mastery journal to you, and we’re not just talking some digital version, like an actual physical journal.
We’re going to ship it to your door and we’re going to cover everything we’re going to cover shipping. We’re going to cover, obviously the journal itself, you know, which we had to pay to get produced and stored and all that jazz. But this is our gift to you in these hard times because fire nation, and that’s what I refer to my audience as you supported us all these years.
How can we now go forward and support you? So over the course of the next week, we had that open actually for five days. Um, we ended up shipping over 2000 journals, and that was over $20,000 of. Actual money, like out of our pockets, you know, that’s close to a hundred thousand dollars and like actual potential sales that we would have made on those same journals.
But I mean, that’s like $20,000 literally, that we invested in surprising and delighting our audience. And that was obviously a branded gesture. And I’m not recommending people go to those extremes, but what are some things that you can do in your industry, in your niche? I mean, like one thing that I kind of came up with is, if you have these customers, these clients, and you know that there’s a specific audible book that could really help them. Right now, you know, a lot of us are sitting at home or when we are going out we’re having to go on walks by ourselves, that’s a great time to be consuming audio content. Why not send them audible credits with a recommendation of a book that you love and could help them right now or in their business, or maybe it’s in their personal life, like somebody that could really help them in that way and the way that we’re dealing with this Coronavirus with Covid-19 right now.
So that’s just one example of how we surprised and delighted our audience and they’re never going to forget that. I mean, they’ve been sending pictures and people have been in tears with the gift and they now are using the Freedom Journal. Like Yury said, to accomplish their number one goal in a hundred days, which he’s used before and had much success with. And what’s going to happen a year from now, three years from now, seven years from now, when my name comes up randomly in a conversation in front of these individuals and they’re going to think back, not to that time that I did X, Y, or Z, but so that time, that’s when they were struggling. I sent them a gift that was completely, no strings attached. They’re going to remember that. They’re going to talk about it.
This is a way that you’re going to create evangelists, people that are not just a fan of you in a growing a know, like, and trust for you, but they are also going to be raving about you to their friends, their family, to their peers, and it’s going to have this effect. It’s just going to continue to expand out. And again, it’s not just going to benefit you for doing the right thing today. It’s going to benefit you for years to come as you continue to live and work in your business.
Rich: That’s awesome. John, you talk about connection. Connecting is something we are used to doing in person, but obviously not possible these days. How can we connect with our ideal customers or clients or even coworkers and peers in a meaningful way?
JLD: So this is one thing that I see almost everybody to a T struggle with. You go up to any individual and you say, “Oh, so who’s your ideal client? Who is your one perfect customer?” Or for me as a podcast host, “Who is your perfect listener for your show?” And I’m talking singular, and people just kind of will lean back a little bit and they’ll kind of take a deep breath and then they’ll kind of be like, “Well, you know, my ideal customer is somebody in Southern Maine between the ages of 20 and 74, and they’re either a man or a woman.” And you’re like, “Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. That’s nothing even close to what an ideal client, customer, consumer of your content is.” You need to have that nailed down to one single individual. Who is that person?
Now is that the only person you’re ever going to serve for your entire life? Absolutely not. But this is a time when if you can take the time that we have being quarantined, we’re not commuting to work, we’re not having the mayhem of the office. Having this or having that, running different forms of mayhem, but we should be able to carve out some time in these days that we have to actually sit down and craft our ideal customer, our ideal clients, and really get to know that individual so amazingly well.
Like back in 2012 when I was sitting in my studio on 99 Silver Street in Portland, Maine, where I launched Entrepreneurs on Fire. Rich is pointing to it right now because it was right down the street. What did I do? I sat down and I created Jimmy. And Jimmy, from that day, has been my single perfect listener for my podcast.
Jimmy is 40 years old. He has a wife and two kids ages three and five. He has a 25 minute commute to work every single day. He sits in a cubicle at a job he doesn’t like for eight hours. Then he can commutes homes, he gets stuck in a little bit of traffic because it’s a 35 minute commute home. And he gets home, he plays with his kids, has dinner with his family, puts his kids to bed, hangs out with his wife at the end of the night, having a little Jimmy pity party wondering why he doesn’t spend more time doing things that he loves. Like spending time with his family and his friends, and why he spends 90% of his waking hours doing things he doesn’t enjoy doing.
I could go on and on and on, which I won’t for time purposes now about Jimmy, because I know everything about this individual. And so every single time I come to a fork in the road of like, what should I do with Entrepreneurs on Fire, should I do this or should I do this as a fork in the road? I don’t ask myself because I’m not my own perfect listener. I’m the host of the show. I’ve produced now over 2,500 episodes. I’ve been running a seven figure net profits a year business for seven years in a row. Now, I am not the perfect listener of my own podcast. Jimmy is, Jimmy should be making those decisions. So I asked Jimmy what those questions are that I have, I let him answer. And since I know who he is, I know what his answers are and I follow his advice that WWJD what would Jimmy do. And then I’m off to the races.
So this is an opportunity for you to sit down and really identify who your customer is, who your client is. And then you’re going to be able to serve them at such a higher level. You’re going to be able to really understand what it means to surprise and delight them, and you’re going to understand what they actually need, what they actually want.
And as I continue to go down through a few other things here today, you’re going to see how knowing your ideal customer, your ideal client, listener, viewer, whatever it is that you’re producing in this world, or whatever businesses that you’re running, why that is so key to your success. And again, I need to stress this, 99% of people that are watching this right now that are existing in this world right now would have a very terrible, vague response to that question.
Rich: I 100% agree and I have the best, worst answer I ever heard to that, who’s your ideal customer was, “people that need to eat to survive”. And I’m like, that’s funny. That’s funny. You’re going to go out of business.
Yury: How do you navigate the person’s mindset or help them to develop the right mindset when they start niching down and realizing well, that’s not big enough for me. I need to broaden the scope of the market? Do you have any recommendations about that? Like, do we need to niche down or where’s the right balance?
JLD: That’s kind of a different conversation because there’s two conversations. One is, what is your big idea? Like what’s the idea that you’re going to come out with in this world that you’re both passionate about, that you’re excited about, that you’re curious about, but at the same time, you’re both an expert in. You have skills, knowledge, and value to add to the world. How can you combine those two sides of the equation and do what I like to call the ‘zone of fire’?
And then once you have that idea. How can you now niche it down to be unique, to be different, and to not just be a bland imitation of what everybody’s doing. Like when I launched Entrepreneurs on Fire in 2012, it was the only daily podcast in the world that interviewed successful entrepreneurs. So from day one, it was the best daily podcast interviewing entrepreneurs. It was the worst daily podcast interviewing entrepreneurs. It was the only one doing the interviews with entrepreneurs seven days a week. And so I was able to niche down and find that.
But then five years later in 2017 and beyond, you know, there’s thousands of daily podcasts interviewing entrepreneurs, so it’s no longer a niche. And so it’s no longer working for a lot of people because they weren’t first to market. They weren’t a first mover. How can you niche down within that concept and that question that you’re asking and really be that person who is in that blue ocean, who isn’t that area where you’re filling a void that is otherwise not being filled.
So you can get that initial momentum. And then once you get that initial momentum, momentum, and traction, you’re off to the races. So two different questions. Your ideal client is one thing you have to absolutely identify. But to your points Yury, that big idea in niching down to that concept is a very important step in the process to do before you go down that entire road.
Yury: That is awesome. Thank you. Was that was really helpful, John. I appreciate it. Um, in, um, earlier conversation in preparation for this interview, you were talking about the importance of being relevant. There’s a relevancy change because of the current situation. And, uh, if so, how, how do we stay relevant. So there’s an amazing book, and this could actually be a book that some people use to surprise and delight others where the, with an audible credits.
JLD: Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence, it is an amazing book. It’s timeless. I will say that 90% of business book – and I’ve read hundreds if not into the thousands – the first 25% of most business books are great because that’s all the person’s great value. They’re just giving right to the front or front loading it as they should. And then the remaining 75% is just kind of filler to get to 30,000, 40,000, 50,000 words. So make it an actual book that is by far the case with most business books.
Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence, is that from page one to page done. The last page is unbelievable. It’s just packed. It’s full and it’s so great. But one thing he says in that book, which is really relevant to what we’re talking about here, about being relevant is entering the conversation that’s already taking place in people’s minds. So guess what? There are conversations that are currently happening in your customer’s, in your client’s, in your avatar’s mind.
Right now they’re thinking about things. And so like an example, and this is again because of course, almost everybody is on lockdown. Almost everybody is quarantined. Almost everybody’s finding themselves stuck in home a lot more than we usually are. So I have an example for people that are in real estate.
And again, we could talk about multiple examples here because it applies to every industry. But what if you were in real estate and instead of just like most real estate agents now, just being glum and down that you can’t get out there and do what you do, which is sell real estate and show houses and try to find more properties and do this and do that and go meet with clients and all these other things. Instead of that say, well, I can’t do that, so I’m not going to just be paralyzed as a result. Let me think about doing something that’s really going to be relevant for my current customers and clients and maybe even for my future customers and clients. Which of course in real estate, that’s a mix of both your past customers and clients are absolutely going to be your future customers and clients as well as they sell homes and buy new homes and do all that jazz.
So what if you were to create 10 things you can do over the next 10 days to improve the value of your home. And so now you know that people are stuck at home right now and you’re going to give individuals these nice little do it yourself projects that could really add value to their home over the next 10 days. So they’re feeling productive, they’re feeling like they’re actually potentially generating revenue because they’re adding value to their house while they’re doing things. And we as human beings, we love being productive. We love that feeling of accomplishing something. We love the feeling of progressing forward in the right direction.
And that’s what you doing something like this, being relevant in these times, is really going to help. So how can you sit back and say, what is a quick PDF or maybe a quiz or an assessment or something that I can just sit down, create, and then gift to my customers and clients and my avatars, my perfect ideal individuals that is going to be relevant to them right now and make them happy. And so then again, when this is all over, or when at least this settles down in the future, you’ll be at a place where you are actually continuing to provide value to people at the right times, which is all times.
Rich: John, that’s awesome. And I see you dipping into the reciprocity weapon of influence right there. This is actually the second time Dr. Cialdini’s book has come up today because I’m listening to it in my car – when I’m in my car – for the fourth or fifth time. So this is a book that I continue to go back to and I completely agree if you’ve never read it, not just for marketers but for all business owners, it really cracks the code of what makes people tick. A fascinating read or listen.
So you kind of touched upon a little bit of this in your last answer, John, but, as we continue to sell – those of us who are in a position to sell – what are ways that we can add more value to our products and services? And obviously, you know, some of this is going to be dictated by coronavirus, but I’d love to hear your take on that.
JLD: So one thing that I’m seeing that again I think is a big mistake that a lot of individuals are doing right now is they’re completely shying away from selling. They’re just like, “Oh, it’s not the right time. It’s not the sensitive thing to do”, and you know, fill in the blank with all kind of phrases like that.
But the reality is that this is not the time to shy away from selling. Maine needs businesses that are generating revenue. Maine needs businesses that are able to continue to pay their payroll to employ people. Maine needs these businesses where the individuals in that business are making money so they can go out and invest in, spend money in other areas as well.
That’s how this world works. This is how the circle of capitalism keeps going, is Rich crushes it and makes a lot of money. Now he’s able to throw a huge event at USM and pay USM money for that event. USM is now able to have more scholarships in those individuals going to USM that weren’t able to before, and are now becoming the next businessmen and women of the world.
I mean, you can just see that’s one random road, but that’s how this world works. And when we’re in a situation like this where everything seems to grind to a halt, that’s where we are unbelievably vulnerable. So it’s up to the business men and women to not shy away from selling. And you need to do it in the right and a classy way. But you have to keep selling. You have to keep generating revenue for all those reasons that I just shared.
So what are a couple of examples of ways that you can maybe continue to keep selling, but knowing that a lot of people are being a little tighter with their wallets right now, a little more frugal with their money for very understandable reasons. Well, one thing that a lot of people don’t think about, but as a huge opportunity is for your products, for your services, why not offer a free financing option? Why not offer installment payment? I mean, I know it’s something that we’ve absolutely done with our sponsors.
For Entrepreneurs on Fire, we used to require an upfront payment the first of the month for all sponsorships that we’re running that month going forward. Now we’ve had some sponsors come to us and they’re understandably very nervous and we said, “Listen, let’s make this a win/win because we know that these sponsorships are going to continue to benefit your business, so we know you want to run them because a lot of these sponsors have been with us for years, but let’s talk about installments. Maybe you just pay us 25% now, 25% in a week, and so on and so forth.” So that gives them that operating capital to keep doing other things they need to be doing in their business.
Another opportunity is, “Hey, listen, I know you sell this one product or this one service, but how could you maybe bundle a few things together?” Like how could you actually do what’s called a value stack? We are taking this one product or this one service that you’re typically selling and now you’re adding some bundles, you’re adding some value, you’re adding some things to this that’s just making it much more appealing of much more value. And hopefully for you, it’s a scalable and leverageable thing that you can do. So it’s not taking a ton of time and effort and energy each addition you’re making, so maybe it is like you’re adding that 10 ways to improve the value of your home in the next 10 days. These things you can create one time that is truly valuable as a standalone, but then you’re able to distribute it out on a very scalable way.
And so that would just be like one crisp example of how you could bundle some different services from products that I have to make this make more sense. Then also, the last thing I kind of would add on this part is why not go out to different referral partners that you’ve worked with in the past and say, “Hey, let’s team up.” Before it was like, somebody got this service for me and then I recommended them to go to you, and that’s how we had a great reciprocal relationship and helped each other out. But now let’s just proactively come together and maybe let’s create something as referral partners that’s just kind of an exciting win/win/win for all. So win for you, it’s a win for your referral partner, and it’s a win for your potential customers and clients that you’re servicing.
So that’s a way that you can really be continuing to sell, because you need to. And I want people to be really clear that this is something that’s mandatory for this world of capitalism to keep cranking forward. But it is a time to say how can I add more value to these products, into these services?
Rich: John, I think that’s a great point. And I love the fact what you’re doing with your sponsors. One of the things that we need to do is we want our clients to succeed. Because we want, even selfishly, we want them to be able to continue to do business with us when things do ultimately get back to normal. So anything we can do to keep them alive is really also helping us out in the long run.
Yury: John, in the last two years we’ve seen a lot of participants from different businesses in different parts of the state, ranging from donut shops to law offices and big retail outlets. Can you give us some recommendations on how they should and can adjust the products and services?
JLD: So we’re in new times. I mean, we’re going to have to keep beating this dead horse because it’s just the world that we live in. But you need to be open and willing to adapt your products and your services from in-person, if you were before, to remote. And you know, a great example is what we’re doing right now. I mean, there’s a lot of times when these kind of events would be held in the conference room, would be held in an in person venue. And I know that Rich has done many, many events over the years in person, as have many people done conferences and events and gatherings. And there’s so many businesses that have people come in for retail and do these different opportunities. And because of that, they’ve always relied on these in-person experiences. They’ve really kind of lagged on this remote, on this online, on this virtual kind of interaction that things like Zoom make so simple. So there’s just a lot of opportunities right now for you as a business owner to really step up and to say, okay, listen, I know at some point and of course we’re really hoping at some point soon that things are going to start to normalize and things are going to start to go back to normal and that we’re going to be able to at some point, snap our fingers and we’re going to be able to go back to the way that things were. But during this time, why would you not take the opportunity to add this unbelievable layer of security and overall protection to your business for future situations like this?
I mean, listen, in 2017 a hurricane devastated this island. People were just, you know, for 4-6 months and sometimes for over a year, certain places on this island, people were paralyzed. They weren’t able to do anything. And guess what? This island came back so much stronger, so much better for it. So that when the next one comes of that magnitude, it’s going to be a different ball game.
A hundred percent just like now this Coronavirus has taken over the world and a lot of people were caught with their pants down. You know, a lot of people were really caught unaware that anything like this could ever happen to their business and to their life. And now we’re looking at the reality and we’re saying, wow, how do we adjust? How can we adjust our proxy services from just that in person or mostly in person, to now remote and going forward like that? So I think that this is the opportunity to factually step forward and do things along these lines.
And one thing that I’ve seen businesses do, and I’m going to give you a specific example here in Palmas Del Mar, that’s really been working out pretty well for our local barber. And that is, he’s not able to give haircuts right now. I haven’t had a haircut in a long time. I’ve kind of got like the Corona haircut right now. She’s just kind of scruffy. Rich has pointed to his head, he’s got a couple of flares going out. Usually it only happens when he wakes up in the morning. He’s a pretty well-groomed individual for the most part. Well, I was going to say coiffed, but you know, that’s a weird word. But I reached out to my barber and I said, “Hey, listen, I know that unfortunately I’m not going to be able to come to your shop over the next multiple months, and I know that’s your only source of income. So how about I proactively pay you for my next 15 haircuts? I will send you right now a PayPal, 15 times 20, which is, you know, how much my haircuts cost here in Puerto Rico. And you can just have the money now so that you can still support your family and hopefully be able to get through this over the next 15 to 20 weeks, however long it’s going to take. Who knows, hopefully less, maybe more. And then when it’s over, you’ll just know I have a punch card, for my next 15 or 20 haircuts. And he was like, “That would be a lifesaver.”
Now that was me just kind of knowing and thinking and being a business owner that he was struggling and doing that on my own accord. But that’s something that he could have been doing on his own accord, and that’s something he should have been doing. And hopefully he took my reach out and planting of a seed for him and turned around and did that to his other clients by saying, “Hey, listen my friends, you’ve been coming to me for years. This is my only source of income, so I’m not asking for a handout but I am willing to give you a 10% discount per haircut if you’re willing to pay for your haircuts in advance, because you’re going to be here for the next number of years and you know you’re going to get a bunch of haircuts from me. If you want to really help me out, help my business out so I can keep paying my bills and keep paying rental fees and my lease agreements and all that jazz. I would really appreciate that.” And guess what? We love this guy. He is so jovial. He’s so nice. He’s so fun. Whenever we go down there and he’s blasting music, he’s having a party, we’re doing this. I look forward to going down and having haircuts with them. The last thing I want is for him to go out of business as a result of this. So I was more than happy. To make this happen for him.
And there’s a lot of you individuals right now who have customers and clients who love your products, who love your services, who are rooting for you. And if you go to them in that manner. None of us want to be like, can you give me some money? That’s just not how we are as human beings.
That’s not how we are as business men and women and entrepreneurs. Like we’re not looking for handouts, but this is a really abnormal situation and that can be a great way for you to go, “All I’m asking is a little upfront payments for the services that I’m going to be providing you in the future. And as a result, here’s a discount for doing just that.”
And I think that that’s the kind of example that could really kind of explode out to different individuals and kind of really help all of these different business owners just get through this initial hump of going from revenue coming in every day, every week to nothing, and this can be a big way to help.
Yury: Yeah, John, you know, I wanted to follow up on that. You came up with this solution for the individual that wasn’t even thinking that the solution is there. What about those business owners that are currently in the situation like the barber, but not thinking about the ways to keep them going, thinking outside the box? You came up with a solution, you basically the delivered value to him. Are there any tools, hacks, something that the business owners should know about and start thinking about the ways they can survive in the next few months?
JLD: I mean, my honest advice is just keep it simple. I mean, the solutions that you provide to this world, if you really sit down, just like you should sit down as I was talking about earlier, and really get clear on who your perfect customer, your perfect clients, your perfect listener for your podcast is, like that one single individual. You need to get very, very clear on what is the solution that you really give to your best clients, your best customers, and then now you understand what that solution is. You can really use that terminology in a way to be like, “Hey, listen. I keep your hair looking great and I want to keep doing that. And I know that you really enjoy the fact that you can just go 20 feet down the street to the Plaza in your own community and get a haircut and be back in your house within 30 minutes, instead of having to go outside the gates and go find another.
So really show what that value proposition is that your business, that your products, that your services, that your solutions provide and use that to your advantage to again, make it into a benefit for your customers and clients to think because I reached out practically, I just paid him in full for it because I wanted to help him out.
But my recommendation to him if he had asked would have been to give that reasonable discount to his other customers and clients to incentivize them to, number one, want to help them out. But number two, have the opportunity to get the next 15 haircuts at a slight discount.
Rich: I think you have to figure out what you want to do and how you want to frame it. It sounds like, because you don’t want to come off as sounding desperate during these times. So maybe positioning it in a way is like, “I understand these times may be difficult or challenging for you, in this case, as your hair’s growing out of control.” And I know you do a lot of videos, John that they could have maybe reached out to you in that way. So I think some of this, when you approach your clients, it has to be about what are their pain points and how do I come across as being helpful instead of stinking of desperation. Would you agree?
JLD: Yeah, absolutely. And maybe there’s ways that you could have some value exchange to where you’re like, “Listen, I know that you do X, Y, and Z. How can I support and help you in this area? Because this is where we can and should really be coming together.”
Rich: Yeah. And for any other barbers out there, another option might be to put together, like John said for his real estate agents, a PDF of how to cut your hair at home, with an affiliate link to Amazon where they can buy the clippers. And then your first haircut, because you know you’re going to screw up, is half off when you come back to me to fix it.
JLD: That’s brilliant. That’s really brilliant.
Rich: Okay. So I know you had six things you wanted to cover today before we get to some Q&A from our audience. I wanted to kind of wrap up on those six points. We’re all seeing this right now, people’s posts on social media and in meaningful conversations with friends and family, we know that some people are really struggling. How can we practice self-care while under quarantine so that we are in a better position?
JLD: Now, I don’t want to try to come across as I’m this podcasting expert, like this marketing expert, but I’m also this health and wellness expert. I know a few things really well. And then most other things, I just really invest in myself with coaches, with mentors, reading books, doing all the things. So I’m only an expert at a couple things, and health and wellness is not one of those things.
But I do want to step up and say, I’ve invested literally tens of thousands of dollars over the years in educating myself and hiring. I have a functional medicine doctor, I have a nutritionist, and I have a virtual trainer. I’ve read so many books on these topics, so there’s a lot of information I would like to pass on to individuals because this is just some real basic things that so many people again, just are not doing. And they’re not doing it for reasons I get because they’re stressed, because there are new environments and change. But if you can just really sit down and say, if I just get the simple few things that John’s about to share right, then I’m going to be in such a better situation. So if Corona or hopefully not, but if it does enter my household and enter my body, that my body can and will fight this off because your body absolutely – and almost every single case – is able to fight this thing off if you’re doing the right thing.
So number one, people way underestimate the amount of sleep they need. And number two, that they’re getting. And I can tell you this 100%, my dad loves to brag and he’s been a lawyer in Southern Maine now for like 40 years, Sanford, Maine, and he loves to brag, “I only need four or five hours of sleep a night.” He’s an absolute liar. He just is slowly deteriorating his health day by day by not getting enough sleep. You know, he has terrible sleep cycles. He’ll fall asleep in front of the TV at 6:30 PM and he’ll wake up and be up until two 2:00 AM and it’s just like our bodies are meant to follow a circadian rhythm.
We really need to be in bed sleeping between 9:00 and 10:00, and then we should be getting up between 5:30 and 6:30, depending on the time of year. As you know, the sun is kind of adjusting as well. But those are very close parameters for 90% to 95% of people throughout a course of a year.
And I’m telling you without doubt – because I’ve been tracking my own sleep using the OuraRing now, which is a ring that tracks your sleep for years now – it’s that deep sleep, which is the most important part of your sleep, happens between 9:00 PM and 12:00 PM that’s when your high quality deeply happens. So if you’re only getting to bed at 11:00 or 12:00 or 11:00 or 11:30, you’re not giving your body any chance to get into any substantive deep sleep, you’re really going to suffer as a result. You really need to be prioritizing this.
At 7:00 PM I’ve got these nifty little blue blockers. They look just like Rich’s glasses right there. I toss them on, they block out all the blue lights from my computer, from my television, from my screens. So from 7:00 PM on, my eyes aren’t getting any blue lights. So my cortisol levels aren’t spiking and I’m trying to get to bed by 9:30 and I’m waking up between 5:30 and 6:30 almost every single day.
Rich: Do they make those glasses as readers? Because otherwise, that’s not going to help me.
JLD: I don’t know, they must somewhere. These ones are just on Amazon for like $50. Another thing is, are you keeping your stress levels in check? I mean, listen, the news is nonstop and the news – although it does provide information and sometimes it does provide good information, sometimes being the key word – it’s almost always massively exaggerated information because they’re looking to beat out the other news stations and news channels with the most egregious and exaggerated headlines. That’s just what media does. Believe me, and I’m part of media, and I know this firsthand. So tone down your stress levels by really trimming down your exposure to the news. I subscribe to the CDC’s newsletter, so I get informed by a very bland source every single morning on exactly what the latest is on the situation in this world. Besides that, I consume almost no news. And believe me, I’ve missed almost nothing over the years. I just am very specific on the news that I consume.
And then I talked about the sleep, but then when people wake up, usually they’re just screwing things up right away. You need to have a morning routine. You have to have a morning routine that you’re committed to. There’s a reason why I’m 40 years old and in almost as good as shape as I was when I left Maine at 18 years old. It’s really close. I have a virtual trainer, I have a nutritionist, and I’m focused on sleep. But it’s my morning routine. That’s the reason why at 40 I’m still as healthy as I was in my twenties and we can all see what’s happened with Tom Brady. Even though it’s devastating that he’s left New England now. But what happened? He was like a pudgy, out of shape, 24 year old coming out of college, and you saw the picture of him. And then at 43 he’s ripped and he looks great. And he almost looks younger in some ways than he did when he was 23 because it’s how we’re treating our body. So this morning routine is critical.
So for me, I’ll rip through a quick thing. Like when I wake up, I’m immediately drinking 16 ounces of purified water from my reverse osmosis machine. Then I’m hitting a training session with my trainer, Jeff. Then I’m going into my infrared sauna to really just sweat out the toxins. Then I’m hitting my Peloton bike for a quick little bike exercise. Then I’m coming up into my office here and there’s a lounger right behind me and I’m reading a business book for 20 minutes. I’m reading a health book for 20 minutes, and then I’m journaling for 20 minutes. That’s like a 90 to sometimes 120 minutes morning routine. Then I’m turning my focus to business for the rest of the day.
And you can ask Rich, I’m not known as a slacker. Even with that morning routine, I’m still getting business work done. I still produced over 2,500 episodes over the past seven and a half years. I’m still running a net profits seven figure a year business with myself, my girlfriend Kate, and three virtual assistants from the Philippines. So don’t think that you are like your business is going to take as a result of spending a couple of hours in the morning focusing on you. Oftentimes it’s the opposite, because your energy just goes through the roof.
And then the last thing I’ll just say before we get into some Q&A’s, are you just giving your body the vitamins and the minerals that it needs. Every single morning, and right to my left here, I have my daily nutritional powder. That’s just all the vitamins, all the minerals, all the nutrients my body needs literally in a cup of water mixed with this daily, this daily nutritional support. Then I have the same thing with my daily fruits and vegetables powder where I’m getting my daily fruits and vegetables in a powder. Now I’m not saying you should be getting all of your nutrients and vitamins from these powders. No, this is my foundation, my baseline, and then I’m eating real food. You know, real vegetables, fish, real food throughout the rest of the day for my meals to also continue to fortify myself in two key components that I think a lot of people could really be using right now, specifically to very much so boost your immune system.
And I’m actually going to add a third because I’m speaking to people in Maine right now. The first one is vitamin C, got to get your vitamin C every single day. And you know what we’re talking, don’t drink a glass of orange juice, that’s the worst thing, but get actual vitamin C and go with that.
And then zinc is amazing, just a small little capsules of zinc. One small capsule will give you your daily allotment, and that’s huge for immunity. And then the last thing, much more so for Mainers and for Puerto Rican is like myself, you’ve got to be getting vitamin D and you can just get these little droppers and just one tiny drop into water. It’s tasteless. We’ll literally give you your daily allotment of vitamin D. Of course, being out in the sun is the best way to get your vitamin D for 15 to 20 minutes a day, like in real sun. So in Maine it might be two hours a day because the sun is so weak up there. But if you’re outdoors, getting some sound gazes at some vitamin D, you’re doing all the right things to really fortify your body going forward. So, little rant on self-care and that’s all I got.
Rich: All right. Well I will ask, we’ve got a question in the Q&A section, and then I think Yury has his favorite question he loves to ask all of our guests. But before we get to that, Denise wants to know, what are the top mantras, ideas, or quotes that you live by, John?
JLD: So the quotes that changed it all for me. I want to take you guys back to 99 Silver Streets, Portland, Maine, right in the Old Ports. It’s an old shoe factory. You guys might know it. It’s right next to, what’s that hotel rich? It’s right next to the Regency. The Regency right next to the Regency Hotel.
That’s where my condo was in 2010, 2011, 2012. And I’m sitting there and just like I still do today, I like to consume content from great books, great entrepreneurs, wherever it might be. And I’m reading this book and there’s this quote from Albert Einstein, and that quote said, “Try not to become a person of success, but rather a person of value.” And when I read that quote, it was literally like somebody reached out of the page and slapped me across the face because it was at that time, pre Entrepreneurs on Fire, where I was trying to understand why I was not really successful in life. Why was I not meeting my goals, my aspirations, because I thought I was doing all the right things? Eight years as an officer in the army. I went to law school, but then I dropped out because I hated it. Tried corporate finance, tried real estate, tried all these different things, and I just wasn’t clicking with any of them. And that quote slapped me in the face because I realized that I was actually chasing success. I was trying to become that person of success, which Albert says, “try not to become a person of success”.
And I said, well, what does it mean to become a person of value? And that led me down my path of thinking, well, what ways could I just add value to this world? And that led me to my ‘a-ha’ moments of, well, what’s something I wish existed in the world that doesn’t? And one of my first answers was a daily podcast interviewing entrepreneurs because I listen to podcasts every day and these podcasts that come out once a week or twice a month was just not enough quantity for me. That led me down the path of launching a show that was free, that was valuable, that was consistent and made almost no money whatsoever for 13 months. Until it did until I hit the tipping point. And since that tipping point in October of 2013 we’ve never had a month with a net profit under a hundred thousand dollars for 79 months in a row.
Yury: Wow. That is remarkable, John. Thank you for inspiring and motivating all of us. You know, especially those who are live and those who are going to be listening later.
We are all grateful for your participation and attendance. So the question that Rich mentioned is, if you were to change one thing to improve the business ecosystem in Maine or the lives of Mainers, what would it be or what would you do?
JLD: I would carve Maine off the Atlantic coast and float it down to Puerto Rico, because then everybody would be happy because of the weather down here and it would be the Caribbean. Totally kidding. I love Maine. Maine will always be the way life should be. Born and raised in Maine and I will always treasure that wonderful state as my home.
But my answer to this question is, I am such a believer and such a supporter and small business owner, I think that there’s nothing more important. I think whenever you find a town or a community or a state that has thriving small business owners, you have a thriving state. For kind of all of those reasons that we shared earlier, with that being a cyclical thing where when businesses are generating revenue as they should be and they’re able to invest in themselves and invest in other things, it really makes the world go round.
So what I think really needs to happen and really needs to be stepped up to make Maine a better place or a more appealing place for small business owners, is there needs to be absolutely incredibly low rates loan opportunities for Maine business owners that are long-term. Very low rates, and they need to be backed by the power of the Maine state government. And even if you could get any support to further that from the small business association or even the federal government on some levels, but if Maine business owners were given an opportunity to have very low rates, very long-term, very impactful loans, they could actually get out there and start their dream and start moving forward.
Nobody starts a business hoping to fail. Nobody starts a business hoping to become bankrupt or go to business like people start businesses to succeed. And yes, it’s tough and yes, it’s hard. But a lot of times when people fail it’s because they run out of money. They run out of runway, and the reason why they run out of money is because they have these sometimes egregious loans. They’re paying back the interest on these loans. It’s just not allowing them to ever get over the hump. But once people can get over the hump and just get profitable, then they can really be off to the races and invest more of themselves, build up their infrastructure, build out their team.
But it’s going to start with them having a low overhead to start. And a low overhead would include an opportunity for them to get a very low rate, very long-term business loan for their business. That would be something that I would really be pushing if I was the governor of Maine.
Rich: Great answer. Thank you, John. John, I’m sure a lot of people want to learn more, hear more from you. Where online can we send them?
JLD: EOfire.com is where all the magic happens. We have some great free courses for all business owners. If you want to use this time – like my sister is right now, by the way – to start a podcast, this can be a great time to take my free podcasting course. Again, it’s completely free and you can find it eofire.com. And we have other great free courses there as well, just to help entrepreneurs and business owners get going.
And again, it’s all focused for the online virtual world. So for those individuals that kind of need that little push in the right direction, that is a place you can go to really get going and gets free knowledge on how to get those parts of your business moving forward. And the last thing I would just say is Entrepreneurs on Fire is my podcast. I’m coming up on my 2,600 episode quite shortly. So I would love for people to tune in and there’s just no lack of content.
Rich: Awesome. John it’s always great seeing you. Glad to see you’re healthy and doing great down there. And we miss you, come back up to Maine soon. And yeah, I’ll totally crash your pool party.
JLD: Let’s do it. Take care brother. Take care, Yury.