This post was submitted by John Lee Dumas, the Army veteran turned real estate broker who erupted on to the podcasting scene in 2012 with the “Best of iTunes” smash-hit podcast, Entrepreneur on Fire.

John started out with no name and no entrepreneurial background yet in a very short time created a massively successful brand and business empire that generated more than $150,000 in income in November alone. To say he went from 0 to 1,000 MPH in a very short time is an understatement.

In this article, John gives us a glimpse into how it all began – and how he’s made his biggest business and personal goals actionable and attainable. He shares the exact strategy, techniques, checkups, and motivational methods he’s used to build a multi-million dollar business in just two short years.

If you’re going to learn from someone, learn from the best. And John certainly knows a thing or two about setting and crushing business goals.

You can replicate what he did.

In this post you’ll learn about John’s backstory, the obstacles that held him back, and the steps he took to create an intentional plan to make massive success inevitable.

Without further ado, take it away, John!

John Lee Dumas, host of Entrepreneur on Fire

#Enter John

“Life is short, fragile and does not wait for anyone. There will NEVER be a perfect time to pursue your dreams and goals. ”

Over the past 3 years, I’ve interviewed more than 1,150 entrepreneurs.

In that time, I’ve learned A LOT about what sets successful entrepreneurs apart. Hearing about each individual’s biggest struggle, their a-ha moment, and how they’ve turned their idea into a successful, thriving business is inspiring, to say the least.

Of all the lessons I’ve learned from my own experience in building a multi-million dollar business, plus the experience shared by each and every one of those 1,150 guests, there’s something that stands out the most:

Successful entrepreneurs have gotten to where they are by setting and accomplishing goals.

Freedom: the Force that Drives Entrepreneurs

John Lee Dumas, Chris Drucker, and Pat Flynn Over the past year, I’ve set out to create something that will help others take this discovery and put it to good use – to actually help others set and accomplish goals.

Because if there’s something else I’ve learned over the past 1,150 interviews, it’s that whether you strive to become an entrepreneur, or already are an entrepreneur, there’s one thing we all have in common: the desire to create freedom in our lives.

Freedom to travel when we want, take time off when we want, spend time with our loved ones when we want – freedom to do whatever it is that fills us inside.

And in order to experience that freedom, we have to learn how to set and accomplish goals. Only then will we experience what true freedom really is.

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. ~ Zig Ziglar

It’s one thing to give lip-service to the important of goal-setting and accountability, but how do we actually do this?

What are the best methods to determine and set goals, and more importantly, what can we do to ensure we actually accomplish it?

I’m not only going to share a framework here for setting your #1 goal, I’m also going to help you 10x your progress towards actually accomplishing it.

What’s your #1 goal?

When it comes to setting goals, most of us have a pretty good idea of what it is we want to do.

  • Quit my day job
  • Start my own business
  • Grow an email list
  • Travel the world
  • Make $10k / month

What’s not so easy is making sure that our goals are S.M.A.R.T., so that we have a way to track and measure progress, and pivot when necessary.

  1. Specific
  2. Measureable
  3. Attainable
  4. Relevant
  5. Time-bound

S.M.A.R.T. is the foundation I use help me accomplish my goals, because it ensures the following:

  • you are specific about what it is you’re looking to do,
  • you have some way to measure your progress,
  • you know (and believe) that it’s attainable,
  • you confirm that it’s relevant, and
  • you have set a timeline  for yourself…

Without these five tenets in place, it becomes substantially more difficult to make substantial progress.

Pushing Through Obstacles

Another threat to progress?


Our journey as entrepreneurs is full of them.

I learned this lesson firsthand once I set out to launch a daily podcast that interviews today’s most successful and inspiring entrepreneurs seven days a week.

Rewind back to June 2012, when I was working as a Commercial Real Estate Broker.

Several long drives (with no daily podcast to accompany me and provide me with inspiration and motivation), months of working with clients (only to find out that the deal was going nowhere), and a lot of soul searching later, I had my own a-ha moment.

What if there was someone else in my situation? Surely there must be. Why had no one yet created a daily entrepreneurship podcast for them?

When I started, I’d never interviewed someone before.

I had absolutely zero social proof, and even less credibility in the entrepreneurial world.

But I realized these for what they were: merely obstacles I would need to push through in order to accomplish my #1 goal: to launch a daily podcast that shared the journey of entrepreneurs who had a ton of inspiration to share with an audience who needed just that.

Once you’ve set your #1 goal – and it’s S.M.A.R.T. (smart, measurable, actionable, relevant, time-bound) – there are five steps you can follow to 10x your progress towards attaining it.

I used these five steps to accomplish my #1 goal, so I know they work.

And if they worked for me – someone who had zero experience, zero social proof, and zero credibility when he started – then I know they can work for you, too.

How to journal and set goals

Step 1: Track Your Progress

Once you have a S.M.A.R.T. goal set – this is your #1 goal – the progress you’re able to make towards it will be the motivation and momentum that helps you accomplish it.

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”
~ Pablo Picasso

Progress is represented in the mini sprints and reviews that we set for ourselves.

For example, if you’ve set a S.M.A.R.T. goal to publish your first book in 100 days, then accomplishing that goal is dependent on the sprints and reviews you set within those 100 days.

Want to 10x your progress towards publishing your first book in 100 days?

Instead of declaring the goal, and then going about your daily routine for the next month before you take 1 step towards actually accomplishing it, sit down – today – and set your sprint and review periods.

Step 2: Set “Sprint and Review” Periods

Here’s an example of what it looks like to set your sprint and review periods (and why it’s so important):

I want to publish my first book in 100 days

Sprint 1 (10 days): Write an outline

Review 1 (on day 10): Did I accomplish my sprint goal? If so, what worked; if not, what didn’t work?

Your sprint periods help you take a single steps towards your #1 goal, and this is important to understand because goals aren’t just about getting from Point A to Point Z – they are the culmination of successfully reaching every point in between.

In addition, your review periods help you reflect on your progress.

By identifying the things that are working for you, you can continue doing those things knowing they’re helping you make progress.

By identifying the things that aren’t working for you, you can avoid doing them moving forward.

Step 3: Gain Accountability and Support

There’s a lot you can do by yourself in order to ensure you stay on track with getting 1 step closer every single day to accomplishing your #1 goal. Setting sprint and review periods is one of those things.

But as much as some of us hate to admit, there are a lot things we could use help with, and accountability and support are two huge ones.

One of main reasons why it’s so easy to set goals, but so difficult to actually accomplish them is because we lack accountability and we don’t have the proper support in place.

This is one of the major reasons I’ve spent the past year working on creating something I know can help with the accountability piece of the goal-setting & accomplishing equation.

The Freedom Journal by John Lee Dumas

It’s called The Freedom Journal, and its purpose is to help you set and accomplish your #1 goal in 100 days.

Then, you’ll start your 100 day journey to accomplishing that goal through:

  • daily journaling (specific questions you’ll answer each day and each night in regards to your action steps and progress, keeping you accountable to moving forward);
  • 10-day sprints to ensure you’re hitting the smaller milestones that will help you accomplish your big goal;
  • quarterly reviews to help you track your progress and pivot or tweak what might not be working so well for you if necessary; and
  • daily motivational quotes and resources.

When I first started out, I didn’t have something like The Freedom Journal, and so the route I took once I had declared my #1 goal back in June 2012 was to hire a mentor.

Step 4: Find a Mentor

When I hired my mentor, there was one main thing I was looking for: someone who was exactly where I wanted to be.

For me, that was Jaime Masters of The Eventual Millionaire.

Once I hired Jaime, everything got a little bit clearer; I had someone I could turn to for accountability and support. I also had someone who knew the exact steps I would need to take in order to launch my podcast.

After a couple of weeks working with Jaime, she told me to set my launch date, which I did: August 22, 2012.

August 22 came and went, and I didn’t launch my podcast – not because Jaime wasn’t holding me accountable, but because I was scared.

What if I launched and no one tuned in to listen?

I didn’t want to come across as a failure. I didn’t want my friends and my family – who I had told all about this venture – to find out I launched, only to have zero listeners.

What if my fear of being a terrible interviewer was proven to be true?

Again, I’d never been on the mic before, or interviewed any successful entrepreneurs up to this point, and I didn’t want to end up embarrassed by my lack of experience on the mic.

I had a bad case of the impostor syndrome. I was finding a million different ways to ask myself one question: “Why me?”

Why would anyone tune in to listen to me?

So when Jaime called me and asked why I didn’t launch, and I told her it was because I was scared of launching – that I didn’t know what to expect and feared that no one would tune in to listen – she told me she was going to fire me unless I picked a date to launch and actually did it.

The accountability and support Jaime gave me through her mentorship is the reason I was able to accomplish my #1 goal.

I set my launch date: September 22, 2012, and I actually did it.

Step 5: Never Give Up

If there’s one thing that will forever prevent us from accomplishing our goals – simply because it’s something that never goes away – it’s fear.

What we believe is possible, is possible. And so when it comes to ways you can 10x your progress, actually believing you can accomplish your #1 goal – even when it gets really tough – is the way to go.

Remember when I talked about pushing through obstacles earlier?

There were so many moments in time when I was working towards launching my podcast that I wanted to give up.

I would wake up in the middle night, jump out of bed, and think, What on earth am I doing?… I can’t do this!

I would go back to bed and fall asleep telling myself that when I woke up in the morning, I’d quit; I’d stop working on the podcast, and I’d go back to Commercial Real Estate.

And then, I’d wake up the next morning, and I’d think about the reason why I started pursuing a podcast in the first place.


Despite wanting to give up multiple times, despite all the fears that were holding me back from launching the podcast, and despite everyone who told me that I would never be able to sustain a daily podcast, I never gave up.

And I never gave up because I knew, deep down, that in order to experience the freedom I wanted in my life, I had to not only learn how to set my #1 – I had to learn how to actually accomplish it.

Today, I know it’s only when we’re able to set and accomplish our goals that we’ll experience what true freedom really is.

“Our beliefs are like unquestioned commands, telling us how things are, what’s possible and impossible and what we can and can not do. They shape every action, every thought and every feeling that we experience. As a result, changing our belief systems is central to making any real and lasting change in our lives.” ~ Anthony Robbins

What’s Your #1 Goal?

To take my own experience, along with the lessons learned from talking with more than 1,150 successful entrepreneurs, and distill that into one thing that sets these entrepreneurs apart was tough.

In fact, it took me 3 years to discover.

Today, I’m confident the one thing that sets successful entrepreneurs apart is their ability to set and accomplish goals.

And today, I’m confident YOU can set – and 10x your progress towards accomplishing your #1 goal – by tracking your progress, finding accountability and support, and never giving up.

Sound like a lot of hard work?

No one ever said freedom isn’t worth it.

“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” ~ Jim Rohn

The real question now is: What’s YOUR #1 goal? And what are you doing now to achieve it? Let us know by leaving a comment, share your goals with us, and we’ll keep each other accountable.

John Lee Dumas, host of Entrepreneur on Fire

About the author

John Lee Dumas is the founder and host of EOFire, an award winning podcast where he interviews today’s most successful Entrepreneurs 7-days a week. John has interviewed over 1200 Entrepreneurs and EOFire generates over 1 million monthly listens. John continues to inspire Fire Nation to conquer their fears and take the Entrepreneurial leap!

2 Responses

  1. Ryan Biddulph

    John Lee did a fabulous job breaking down goal setting here Danny. He walks his talk! Dude is magnetic to dough and more importantly, he’s inspired me and many others to go far, far beyond their limiting beliefs. So far that I’ve stunned myself.

    Seriously….as a guy with zero knowledge and cred online I have been able to free myself to live a neat lifestyle, all through the internet thingee. John’s interviews are fascinating because one can spot strong patterns easily if they’ll just listen to 3 or 4. He rocks.

    Thanks for the share!