January 2018 Income At-A-Glance Gross Income for January: $205,842 Total Expenses for January: $66,463 Total Net Profit for January: $139,379 Difference b/t January & December: -$4,114

Why We Publish An Income Report

This monthly income report is created for you, Fire Nation!

By documenting the struggles we encounter and the successes we celebrate as entrepreneurs every single month, we’re able to provide you with support – and a single resource – where we share what’s working, what’s not, and what’s possible.

There’s a lot of hard work that goes into learning and growing as an entrepreneur, especially when you’re just starting out. The most important part of the equation is that you’re able to pass on what you learn to others through teaching, which is what we aim to do here.


**We’ll receive a commission on the affiliate links below.

Josh Bauerle’s Monthly Tax Tip

What’s up Fire Nation, my name is Josh Bauerle. I’m a CPA and the Founder of CPA On Fire, where we specialize in working with entrepreneurs to minimize their tax liability while keeping them in line with the ever-changing tax laws.

I’ve been working with JLD & Kate at Entrepreneurs On Fire for years now, and they’ve included me in these monthly income reports with unlimited access to all their accounts so I can verify that what they report here is complete and accurate.

And because they believe in delivering an insane amount of value to you, my job doesn’t stop at the verification level; I also provide a new tax and accounting tip every month!

Josh’s January Tax Tip: How to handle the 1099’s you receive

Well Fire Nation, it’s that time of year again: tax season.

As I prepare to go into my tax season hole to grind away at 500+ tax returns, I wanted to give you one last tip to make sure you don’t get hit with an unexpected IRS letter this year.

I want you to ensure the 1099’s you receive are addressed properly.

This may seem like a minor issue, but incorrect 1099’s are one of the biggest reasons we see clients get audited by the IRS.

What happens most often is one of the wonderful people who paid you money over the previous year sends you a 1099 made out to you personally instead of your business. Then, you claim it in the business, and the IRS thinks you failed to claim the income altogether since they expect to see it on your personal return.

Next thing you know, you’re receiving a love letter from the IRS demanding thousands of dollars for unreported income.

Here are a few scenarios that could easily cause this to happen:

  • You switch your sole proprietor to an S Corp mid-year and either don’t update your clients who issue 1099’s, or they fail to make the change.
  • Your business is a partnership, but your clients use your personal info for the 1099 not knowing the details of the entity.
  • You mistakenly fill out your W-9 with your personal info instead of your business info because you weren’t quite sure what they were asking.

I’ve seen incorrect 1099’s issued for all the reasons above – plus many more.

Here are4 steps you can take to make sure you aren’t getting a surprise letter from the IRS due to an incorrect 1099.

1. Check every 1099 you receive to make sure it is issued to the right name and tax ID number.

Unless you are a sole proprietor using your SSN as the business tax ID, your name and/or SSN should never be used on the 1099.

2. If you find a 1099 incorrectly made out to you personally, immediately contact the person or company who sent it and ask them to issue a corrected 1099.

Make sure they send the corrected version to both you and the IRS.

3. If they refuse to issue a corrected 1099 (and some will) you’ll need to note it very carefully on your tax returns.

Assuming the 1099 was made out to you instead of the business, you will claim the 1099 on your personal return Schedule C, and then put an expense for the same amount with the description “Claimed on 1120’s (or whatever business return you file) EIN XX-XXXXXXX”.

Hopefully if you own a business you are using a professional for your taxes, in which case you can simply make sure they’re taking the steps above.

4. Now that we are into a new year, make sure that all your clients who issue 1099’s have your accurate W-9 on file.

You should have one on file at all times with the correct info so you can be sure you are giving new clients the correct info to prevent mistakes in the future.

No more love letters from the IRS, especially ones that could be avoided with some simple due diligence!

By making sure the 1099’s you receive are accurate you can drastically reduce your chances of receiving a nasty letter from our good friends at the IRS.

As always, please feel free to contact me if you’d like to discuss what would be best for YOUR business. I LOVE chatting with Fire Nation!

*Bonus* Claim your spot in Josh’s FREE Course on Business Entities! David Lizerbram’s Legal Tip How to Hire a Lawyer for Your Business – Part II

For Part I of this series check out our November 2017 income report

Sooner or later, every business is going to need legal representation. A lawyer can either be:

  • An expensive line item, or
  • A huge asset for your business.

As an entrepreneur, it’s up to you to make that choice.

If you haven’t hired a business attorney before, the process can be intimidating. I’ve seen the process many times, having been hired by hundreds of clients to represent them over the course of my career.

When the client (that’s you) is informed and knows what they’re looking for, there’s a much greater likelihood of having a positive result for both sides – the lawyer and the client.

Ultimately, we both want the same thing: a mutually-beneficial, long-term business relationship.

To help you achieve that result, I’ve put together this list: 7 Keys to Choosing the Right Lawyer for Your Business. (For the first 4 points, be sure to check out our November 2017 income report!)

5. Choose a lawyer who brings other resources to the table

Let’s be honest: good legal services aren’t cheap.

Here are some questions you can ask to help get the most bang for your buck:

  • Does this law firm host regular events for their clients to meet and network? (These may take the form of live events, webinars, or other virtual resources.)
  • Do they have a network of other attorneys and professionals they can refer you to when you have specialized needs?
  • Are they members of trade associations or other groups you can benefit from?
  • Are they willing to make introductions to other clients, potential customers, and strategic partners?

Don’t be afraid to ask these types of questions and dig for detailed answers. But approach this line of inquiry with a bit of skepticism: beware the attorney who over-promises.

Use your best judgment.

6. Do you need a lawyer in your city or state?

This one can vary depending on your specific needs.

Of course, it’s great to be able to meet face-to-face on a regular basis, but I find that even with my local clients, the vast majority of our contacts are through phone and email rather than in person.

If you live in a small town or a place without a lot of lawyers (how depressing!), you may not have easy access to a local attorney who has the skills and experience that you need. And often, that’s not really a problem.

Now, if your attorney has to go to court, he or she may have to live near you, or at least in your state. But for many business law needs, an attorney who lives in another state may be able to serve you just as well. This means that you can cast a wide net and seek out the best legal counsel for you.

So feel free to look for legal counsel outside of your geographic area, but be sure to let them know where you are and confirm that they’ll be able to handle the transactions you require.

  • Tip: If your business has customers, vendors, or partners in another country, be sure to ask if the firm has relationships with attorneys in that country.

7. Make sure you’re comfortable with their fee structure

Your potential lawyer should not be afraid or nervous to discuss fees with you, and you shouldn’t be hesitant about bringing it up. Whether you’re a solopreneur or seeking legal advice for a big company, you still need to be able to plan for your legal costs.

Traditionally, most business lawyers work on an hourly basis. This means that each attorney has an hourly rate, and the attorney bills in increments of that rate (for example, 1/10 of an hour, with a minimum of 2/10 of any hour for any particular task.)

Some lawyers have moved away from hourly billing entirely and only bill a fixed amount for each service.

The most common approach is a hybrid of hourly and fixed fee billing, depending on the project. For example, if your business needs help with a complex contract negotiation, it can be very difficult for the attorney to estimate the amount of time involved, so billing based on the clock might make the most sense.

But if they’re doing the type of filing that they’ve done many times before, and they know pretty much what it’s going to take, both sides might be better off with a fixed fee for that project.

The most important part of this conversation is to be sure that the arrangement works for you, the client. If you prefer one or the other – hourly, fixed fee, or some other type of arrangement – be sure to communicate that to the attorney.

As long as you’re upfront about your expectations, he or she should be able to work with you; if not, this probably just isn’t a good match.

And that’s OK: as I said at the top, not every attorney-client pairing is a good match. Hopefully, applying these 7 Keys will speed up the process of finding the right match for you and your business.

Bonus Tip: This is not a “Till Death Do Us Part” decision.

Ideally, you’ll establish a relationship with a lawyer that will last for the life of your career. Maybe you’ll even become good friends. But just like with any other type of business relationship, there’s no way to know that on Day 1.

It’s possible the day will come when you have to tell your lawyer “It’s not you, it’s me.” Or whatever your preferred breakup line might be.

Nobody wants to hear this from a client. Believe it or not, lawyers are people too. We have feelings like anyone else. But, for the most part, we’re also professionals, and we know that not all client relationships are going to last forever.

If you get the feeling that you and your lawyer aren’t on the same page, the best thing you can do is pick up the phone and express your concerns. I suggest you avoid doing this over email – despite all the advantages of technology, when things get sticky, it’s best to talk it out whenever possible to avoid escalating the situation.

If you can get together in person, even better.

If that doesn’t work, and the situation just can’t be reconciled, your lawyer is, in most circumstances, obligated to return your files to you or forward them to your new attorney.

If you have funds remaining in the firm’s client trust account (also referred to as a “retainer account” or “IOLTA account,”) those must be returned to you as well.

If you have a legal question that you’d like me to cover on a future Income Report shoot me an email with your request! I’ll be sure to give you a shout-out when I join John & Kate to talk about your legal questions!

*Bonus* Download David’s FREE Checklist on Intellectual Property for Entrepreneurs! What Went Down In January Memoir is LIVE!

I’ve always loved biographies, and with Memoir, I have a great excuse to dive deep into the lives of the men and women who changed the world.

The first feature is Alexander the Great, and let me tell you, this man packed a LOT into 32 years.

Visit Memoir.one to listen or visit iTunes here :-)

We hired a Tech Marketing Strategist

Making the decision to hire a tech / marketing strategist on retainer was a big decision – and an even bigger investment.

We’ve always run a super lean team here at Entrepreneurs On Fire, and with our focus shifting towards unraveling the complexity of what our business has become, bringing another consultant on retainer on board wasn’t a quick or easy choice.

This brings our monthly consultant retainer to five (our CPA, our accounting team, our designer, our web guy, and our tech marketing strategist).

But one thing John said during the many conversations we had about hiring a strategist is that being good always keeps us from being great.

One month into our contract we’re feeling great about the decision, and we wasted no time getting straight down to business.

Since she came on board we’ve:

  • Initiated a full website redesign (with the goal of making the UX 10x better)
  • Focused in on our campaign conversions
  • Started to revamp our quiz to more closely relate to our ideal customer
  • Identified our top 5 focuses for the next 6 months

We’ll keep you posted as we continue on with these exciting projects, and be sure to check out JLD’s Facebook page every once in a while: that’s where we post behind-the-scenes looks at our active projects!


January 2018 Income Breakdown* Product/Service Income: $153,835

TOTAL Journal sales: 882 Journals for a total of $32,992

The Freedom Journal: Accomplish your #1 goal in 100 days!

The Mastery Journal: Master Productivity, Discipline and Focus in 100 days! +2

  • TheMasteryJournal.com: $1,671 (33 Hardcovers & 14 Digital Packs sold!)
  • Amazon: $13,417 (382 Mastery Journals sold!)
  • Total: $15,088

Podcasters’ Paradise: The #1 Podcasting community in the world!

  • Recurring: $28,218 (237 monthly, 4 annual)
  • New members: $14,814 (34 new members)
  • Total: $43,032

Podcast Sponsorship Income$72,500

Podcast Websites: $5,000 Your all-in-one podcast website peace of mind

Skills On Fire: $30

Podcast LaunchAudiobook$228| eBook: $53

Free Courses that result in the above revenue:

Free Podcast Course: A free 15-day course on Podcasting

Free Webinar Course: A free 10-day course on Webinars

Free Goals Course: A free 8-day course on Setting & Accomplishing Goals

Funnel On Fire: A free 8-day course on Creating a Funnel that Converts!

Kickstarter On Fire: A free 5-day course on going from Idea to Launch on Kickstarter!

4 Days To Mastery: A Free 4-day course on how to master Productivity, Discipline & Focus!

Affiliate Income: $52,007

*Affiliate links below

Resources for Entrepreneurs: $37,682

Courses for Entrepreneurs: $10,546

Resources for Podcasters: $1,949

Other Resources: $1,830

  • Amazon Associates: $711
  • Other: $1,119
Total Gross Income in January: $205,842 Business Expenses: $63,628
  • Advertising: $14,674
  • Affiliate Commissions (Paradise): $1,628
  • Accounting: $849
  • Cost of goods sold: $3,175
  • Consulting: $0
  • Design & Branding: $952
  • Education: $15
  • Legal & Professional: $560
  • Meals & Entertainment: $475
  • Merchant / bank fees: $1,190
  • Amazon fees: $9,081
  • Shopify fees: $36
  • PayPal fees: $260
  • Office expenses: $813 + 123
  • Payroll Tax Expenses..
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As an entrepreneur you’re taking on a lot of responsibility, and it can sometimes feel like you’re doing everything yourself – because likely, you are.

And it makes sense: you decided at some point that you had an idea worth pursuing and a vision and mission to carry out. So you started to do the work necessary in order to accomplish that.

But once you have the foundation set and your business is ready for growth, you can’t continue to be the one working in your business; otherwise, you’ll never get to be the one working on your business.

Plus, scaling a business on your own is virtually impossible.

Hiring a virtual assistant or employee

In order to make this switch – from doing everything yourself and constantly feeling overwhelmed, to actually having time to brainstorm new ideas, implement them and start to scale – you have to consider hiring a virtual assistant or employee to help.

If you’re happy running your business on your own and aren’t interested in hiring a virtual assistant or employee, then that’s perfectly fine. But understand that in making that choice, you are choosing a particular type of business: a business that might provide you exactly what you want and need, but that will never be a scalable business.

So, let’s look at the specific steps you can take and the considerations you should have in mind.

1. Choosing your type of business

Before we dive into hiring a virtual assistant or employee, let’s make sure that’s the right move for you.

Choosing your type of business is actually quite simple, and it’s tied directly to two things:

  1. What you want your business to accomplish (your vision)
  2. What you want your lifestyle to look like (your end goal)

Let’s take Entrepreneurs On Fire for example.

John launched Entrepreneurs On Fire in September 2012 with a vision to inspire millions.

He was willing to put in long hours, hire others to help, and run into whatever roadblocks came his way. He would find a way around them.

But he also started out with two virtual assistants on his team, who were both general virtual assistants, meaning they worked on a variety of tasks in the business, including:

  • Social media
  • Graphics
  • Website updates
  • Guest scheduling for the podcast
  • and more

This allowed John time to focus on the things most important to the growth and sustainability of the business long-term, like:

  • Producing a great podcast people wanted to listen to;
  • Connecting with amazing entrepreneurs;
  • Becoming a better interviewer;
  • Attending conferences and events to get his name out there;
  • and so on.

This wouldn’t have been possible at the same level had John started out on his own.

As Entrepreneurs On Fire found its footing and the team collectively established the initial business foundation, it was time to start thinking about growth and scalability.

At this point John had:

  • Established credibility and authority through the podcast,
  • Published over 100 episodes (and therefore had built 100 relationships with successful entrepreneurs), and
  • He was showing an increase in listeners week after week.

Once his audience started reaching out to him via social media and email with questions and feedback, he could see the growth opportunity standing right in front of him.

His audience was reaching out with questions and feedback like:

  • I’m LOVING the show so much! Thank you! (confirmation)
  • John, how did you launch your podcast? (interest: podcasting)
  • A daily show?! FINALLY! (confirmation)
  • I have an idea, and I want to turn it into a business. Where do I start? (interest: starting a business)

John listened to his audience, and regardless of whether it was a comment or a question, he kept a running list of the things people were saying on social media about the podcast and things people were emailing him about.

Through doing this, he started to see the opportunities more clearly:

  • My audience wants to learn about podacsting
  • My audience is interested in starting their own business

John knew he could help with these two things because of his experience starting his own business and podcast, and so he started offering one-on-one coaching to those who were interested.

And sure enough, more people started asking him for similar advice.

That’s when he knew that in order to start scaling the business – creating a community platform, a product, more services – he needed to hire someone else to help him implement and establish all of this.

That’s about the time I came on board as employee num. two.

Today John and I run a team of six:

  • John, host / founder
  • Me, operations / systems
  • JM, John’s VA
  • Jess, customer service
  • Tipu, repurposing / video & audio
  • Claire, social media manager

I share this progression and story with you for a very specific reason: we’ve made the conscious decision that this is how big we want our team to be, and there’s no way we’d be where we are today if we didn’t have this team in place.

We’ve had fewer employees throughout the years and we’ve had more employees throughout the years, and in making the decision to run a team of six we’ve established the type of business we want to run.

We know that there are great opportunities available to us with this team – which we’ve already proven – and we also understand that there are limits to what we can accomplish with this team – and we’re okay with that.

We’re still able to accomplish our vision to inspire millions, and we’re still able to live the lifestyle we want.

So the very first thing to consider before hiring a virtual assistant or employee to help scale your business is the type of business you want to run.

2. The type of virtual assistant or employee 

Once you’ve established the type of business you want to run – and have confirmed that requires at least one virtual assistant or employee – it’s time to figure out the type of virtual assistant or employee you need.

The best way to do this is to take inventory of the tasks and projects you have going on in your business.

Exercise: Take inventory

This exercise will take you one week to accomplish, and it’s very simple: let a piece of paper follow you around for one week and write down every task or project you spend your time working on each day.

It could be as big as “worked on website launch”, or it could be as small as “checked email”, but you do want to be as specific as possible.

At the end of the week, take a look back at the things you’re spending your time working on.

This will not only be eye-opening (maybe there are several tasks you’re working on that really aren’t that important based on the goals you’ve set for your business), but it will also help you start organizing the tasks that are:

  • most frequent
  • take up the most time

The tasks that are most frequent and take up the most time (that don’t require you) are the ones you should be considering hiring a virtual assistant or employee to help with.

Tasks that don’t require you are ones where the outcome will not be different if someone else performs the task.

3. Create a job description and overview

Once you’ve identified the tasks that are most frequent and take up the most time (but that don’t require you), you’ve essentially described the type of virtual assistant or employee you should hire.

That might be a general virtual assistant who does a wide variety of tasks, like helping you manage your calendar, posting on social media, and formatting and scheduling your content; or it might be a specialized virtual assistant or an employee who has experience in a specific area, like social media, customer service, or website management.

Take some time to write out an actual job description, including the number of hours you think you might need your virtual assistant or employee for per week, and a range you’re willing to pay them for their services.

4. Reviewing your business goals

Once you have your job description and overview, how does it stand up against the goals you’ve set for your business?

When you’re looking to build a team you have to be clear about where you’re business is headed for several reasons:

  • If you hire a virtual assistant or employee, you’re becoming their leader;
  • Delegating tasks that aren’t important to helping you reach your goals will lead you nowhere;
  • Your virtual assistant or employee has to be on board with your mission and vision.

These are just a few reasons why being clear about where your business is headed – and having the right goals set that will help you get there – is so critical.

If you’re not clear about the specific goals you’re working towards over the next 3 – 6 months, then I strongly urge you to join Free Goals Course. Then, set your SMART goals for the next 3 – 6 months before taking another step towards hiring a virtual assistant or employee.

5. Start your search

You know what type of business you want to run, you know the tasks and projects you need the most help with, you’ve created a job description, and you have a clear vision of where your business is headed based on the SMART goals you’ve set – NOW it’s time to start your search.

There are several ways to go about finding the virtual assistant or employee you want to hire, and it’s largely going to depend on the tasks and projects they’ll be working on.

Hiring someone local

If you need someone who is local and who can come into an office or have in-person meetings with you from time to time, then you’re looking at more of an employee role than a virtual assistant role.

If this is the case, then ZipRecruiter is a great place to start your search.

ZipRecruiter helps match you with the perfect job candidate and makes the process super easy. When we moved to Puerto Rico, ZipRecruiter is who we used to find our first local hire.

Because ZipRecruiter is a sponsor of the Entrepreneurs On Fire podcast, you can post your first job for free by going to ZipRecruiter.com/fire!

Hiring someone virtually, but high-level

Let’s say you’re looking for someone who can handle high-level tasks and projects, but you don’t need them to be in your area – maybe you’re looking for a project manager.

In this case, Priority VA is a great resource where the founder, Trivinia, and her team will get on a call with you, figure out exactly who you’re looking for, and then go out and find them for you from their pool of experienced virtual assistants.

Project-based hiring

Maybe you want to hire a virtual assistant, freelancer, or contractor on a project basis – meaning you need them to be super specialized in a particular area, and you’re not necessarily looking to keep them on full time moving forward.

If this is the case, then UpWork is a great site to check out.

Hiring a general virtual assistant

Finally, if you’re looking to hire a general virtual assistant at a low cost who can do a lot of different tasks for you – and who doesn’t have to be local – Chris Ducker’s Virtual Staff Finder is an excellent service.

Chris and his team have Virtual Staff Finder set up in the Philippines, and the way it works is:

  • You submit your job description,
  • They go out and source 3 general virtual assistant candidates for you,
  • You interview each of them and choose your favorite.

They also have more specialized virtual assistants if you’re looking to go that route.

Preparing for the change

Now that you know all the steps you can take and the considerations you should have in mind, let’s talk about preparing for the change.

Hiring a virtual assistant or employee is a big step and an exciting move for you and your business! But it’s not easy, and it will require your focus and time, especially in the beginning as you onboard them and delegate tasks and projects to them.

The great news is, hiring a virtual assistant or employee will be a game-changer for you and your business if you’ve followed the steps above. Because this is where you get to make the switch from doing everything yourself and constantly feeling overwhelmed, to actually having time to brainstorm new ideas, implement them and start to scale.

To get our complete resource guide on how to grow your team, including interview questions, how to onboard your virtual assistant or employee and more, be sure to check out EOFire.com/team!

The post 176: How to scale your business by hiring a virtual assistant appeared first on Entrepreneurs on Fire with John Lee Dumas.

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Each year we like to put together a list of the top conferences for entrepreneurs because we get asked the question often:

What conferences should I attend?

But knowing the answer to that question for YOU, as an individual, would require that we know way more about your business, your goals, and where you’re at right now on your entrepreneurial journey.

So first, let’s talk about a few steps you can take to figure out what conferences are right for YOU in 2018.

What conferences should I attend?

First things first, you have to know what your goals for your business and life are for the next three to 12 months.

Once you have your goals set, you’ll be able to look at conference opportunities from a new perspective: will this conference help me get one step closer to accomplishing my goal?

You can determine whether a conference will help you accomplish your goal by looking at things like:

  • The main topics they’ll focus on
  • The speaker lineup
  • The time commitment
  • The monetary investment

For example, if your goal is to improve your stage presence, learn how to be a great speaker, and eventually get paid to speak, then attending a conference like Michael and Amy Port’s Heroic Public Speaking is definitely one to look at.

Whatever your goals, interests or focus this year, be sure you weigh your options, talk to people who have attended the conference you’re interested in and ask about their experience, and consider the time commitment and the investment involved.

One things for sure: attending events can make a HUGE impact on your journey, and more often than not the most pivotal moments on one’s journey are directly tied to an experience, a mindset shift, or an individual they connected with at a conference.

Conferences to attend in 2018

Here’s our list of the top conferences for entrepreneurs to attend in 2018, including notes on where you can find us this year!


Podfest is an annual podcasting conference that hosts about 100 attendees from around the world.

Dates: Feb 8 – 10

Location: Orlando, FL

Who it’s for: If you’re a podcaster, or thinking about becoming a podcaster, then this is a great event! Surround yourself with like-minded people and take advantage of a more intimate, single track format.

Traffic & Conversion Summit

Traffic and Conversion Summit brings together some of the brightest marketing minds in the online space to share the strategies and tactics that are working right now in email marketing, social media marketing, and online sales.

Dates: Feb 26 – 28

Location: San Diego, CA

Who it’s for: Existing entrepreneurs who are looking to scale and grow their business through online sales and automation.

*Bonus: JLD is a featured speaker!

Social Media Marketing World

Social Media Marketing World is one of the biggest events in the world around social media, hosting nearly 5,000 social media experts and students, and it’s THE place to meet with the brightest minds in social media today.

Dates: Feb 28 – Mar 2

Location: San Diego, CA

Who it’s for: Entrepreneurs looking to dominate social media and learn about the latest strategies and tactics working in social media today.

*Bonus: JLD is a featured speaker!

Funnel Hacking Live

Funnel Hacking Live is an event hosted by the software ClickFunnels and it’s focused on building funnels that will help you automate and scale your business.

Dates: Mar 21 – 24

Location: Orlando, FL

Who it’s for: Established entrepreneurs looking to sell products and services to their audience through email marketing.

Social Media Day Denver

Social Media Day is internationally recognized as a day to focus on – and learn more about – the powers of social media.

Dates: June 30

Location: Denver, CO

Who it’s for: Anyone looking to enhance their social media skills, meet other entrepreneurs and like-minded people in the Denver area, and meet the top-notch speakers who are there to share their skills and knowledge!

Podcast Movement

Podcast Movement has been bringing together thousands of podcasters every year – for five straight years – to celebrate this incredible medium: podcasting.

*Use promo code FIRE for $50 off your ticket!*

Dates: July 23 – 26

Location: Philly, PA

Who it’s for: Whether you’re thinking about starting a podcast, have been hosting a podcast for years, or just like being around podcasters, this event will not disappoint.

Agents of Change

Agents of Change focuses on three major categories in the digital marketing space: Search, Social and Mobile.

Dates: Sept 20 – 21

Location: Portland, ME

Who it’s for: Entrepreneurs looking for tips and advice on how to build a strong foundation for their business and grow their online presence.

Youpreneuer Summit

Youpreneur Summit, put on by Chris Ducker, shares a little bit of everything when it comes to growing and monetize your online business.

Dates: Nov 3 – 4

Location: London, UK

Who it’s for: Entrepreneurs both new and seasoned who are looking to connect with incredible, like-minded people and have an amazing time while learning loads about what it means to be a Youpreneur.


Attending events is a powerful thing. Not only does it give you the entrepreneur to learn from the experts in your industry or niche, but it also gives you the opportunity to build meaningful – and hugely impactful – relationships with like-minded people.

Now, we’d love to hear from YOU: where will you be this year?

The post 175: Top Conferences for Entrepreneurs in 2018 appeared first on Entrepreneurs on Fire with John Lee Dumas.

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Manage overwhelm, plan and delegate: three things strong enough to hold any entrepreneur back.

How do you make any progress when you simply have too many tasks on your plate, causing you to wonder where to even start?

A few months ago I attended an event in London put on by Chris Ducker called Youpreneur Summit. The event was incredible for several reasons, but one of my favorite things about the event was that I got to meet and spend time with someone I’ve been friends with online for a while now.

His name is Gerjo – you might remember him from previous seasons because he’s always gracious enough to leave me a voice message with his feedback on the content he wants to hear about most. In fact, Gerjo is the one who reached out to me and requested that I create a post and episode around these three things.

Does this sound familiar?

When Gerjo asked me about these three things, I thought to myself: I’ve struggled with the exact same things. His words sounded SO FAMILIAR to me.

Because I’ve also struggled with how to:

  • Manage overwhelm
  • Plan
  • Delegate

I remember so clearly starting my day feeling like I was already so far under water that there was no hope of me getting to float before the day was over – let alone get out of the water completely.

But last week, yesterday – today – I didn’t feel that way, and it’s because I’ve managed to accomplish beating overwhelm, being dedicated to a plan, and diligently delegating tasks that I know I shouldn’t be working on.

My goal with this post

My goal with this post and episode is to share with you exactly how I did it.

Warning: There’s going to be a little bit of tough love in this post and episode – and a lot of precise steps you can take right now to manage overwhelm, plan and delegate. With reading this post and/or listening to this episode comes great responsibility: I don’t create content so that nothing can be done after consuming it. I create it so you can take action.

The tough love and precise steps are exactly what I needed in order to turn the corner, and I was lucky to have John by my side giving it to me. Today, I’m paying it forward and giving it to you.

Here’s the bottom line

So here’s the bottom line: managing overwhelm, planning and delegating is just about doing it.

Sounds like no help at all, right?

That’s because you’re over-complicating it, just like I was.

So stop right now and make a commitment to yourself: “I will not over-complicate this process.”

I’m going to break down each of these three struggles, give you a “quick win” you can implement right now, and then talk about making your actions consistent so that this won’t be a one-time thing, but rather an ongoing process.

How to manage overwhelm

Overwhelm is a feeling you get when you have too many things going on, or too much to accomplish all at once. Therefore, in order to manage it we need to learn how to let things go.

Now I don’t mean in the sense of writing them off, or completely deleting them from your life. I mean choosing a priority knowing that you will get to the things that matter most to you when it’s their turn.

Quick win for managing overwhelm

If you don’t already have a to-do list for your day, take 5 minutes to create it now.

  • Your to-do list should include the tasks you need to accomplish today in order to feel as though you’ve been productive.

Once you have your to-do list for your day take another 5 minutes to reorganize it.

  • What is the number 1 MOST important task on your list: the one that you simply cannot skip?
  • Move that task to the top of your list.

Continue to put your tasks in order of priority. Once your list is “in order” start from the top.

Set a timer for 30 minutes (or whatever timeframe you feel is necessary to complete your first task – anywhere between 15 minutes a 1 hour).

If you think your task will take more than 1 hour to accomplish, then it’s too big of a task; break it down into smaller tasks.

Once you set your timer you are committing to being FULLY FOCUSED on the one single task you’ve said is your BIGGEST priority for the day. No distractions.

When your timer goes off, give yourself a score. On a scale of 1 – 10 (1 the lowest and 10 the highest):

  • How productive were you?
  • How disciplined were you?

Now, set your timer for 5 minutes and take a well-deserved refresh break!

Didn’t that feel amazing?

You just organized your task list and accomplished the one thing you said was MOST important in less than 1 hour!

Being consistent with managing overwhelm

You now have the exact framework you can use every single day to set yourself up for success – and beat overwhelm.

Each day try to increase the number of FOCUS sessions you complete.

Some days it might just be one FOCUS session, depending on whether you have a full-time job, a family, or other life commitments.

Some days it might be three or four FOCUS sessions.

Practice this every single day, and before you know it you’ll not only be checking the MOST important tasks off your list, but you’ll also be proving to yourself that a lot of the tasks on your to-do list really aren’t that important – otherwise they’d be at the top, and you would have accomplished them already.

At the end of your first week – where you’ve practice managing overwhelm with the system I’ve shared above – take our your task list, and ask yourself:

  • What tasks really aren’t necessary?
  • What tasks aren’t going to help me make real progress in my business?
  • What tasks don’t contribute to a specific goal I’ve set?

I’m willing to bet there are a lot of tasks on your list that really aren’t necessary – at least not right now. So go ahead and back-burner those tasks that can wait; literally get them off your list.

Asana is really helpful for this because you can document ALL of your tasks so that you don’t forget about them. Those tasks that aren’t a priority right now don’t have to disappear; but they do have to get off your to-do list, because they are the ones causing your feelings of overwhelm.

How to plan

Planning can sometimes seem like an unnecessary step; you already know what steps you need to take in order to accomplish something, so you just dive right in and start doing the work.

While I LOVE your enthusiasm for just starting, this is not the way to go about planning because there are way too many distractions and roadblocks that will come up in the process that will derail you and push you off course.

Having a plan in place will not only save you so much time, it will also:

  • Save you bandwidth on trying to figure out what to do next (which can be SO exhausting), and
  • Take the guesswork out of making progress (just move on to the next step on your list!), and
Quick win for planning

Pick a bigger project that you’re currently working on and using a tool like Asana (or just a piece of paper) write out the name of your project.

Underneath the name of your project write the date you will accomplish that project by.

Then, below that, write down numbers one through five (as though you’re making a list).

By each of those five numbers write down – in order – which steps you’ll take in order to complete your project.

If your project requires more than five steps, continue writing out as many steps as you need in order to complete your project.

If you’re not sure exactly what every step will be, that’s ok – just focus on what you know you need to do right now.

With your goal date in mind (the date you’ll finish your project by), write down a due date for each one of your steps. This should be easy to back into since you know the date you want to finish the project by.

There you have it! You’ve just create a lose project plan for yourself!

Being consistent with planning

In order to dive deeper into planning – and actually make it a habit – take time to map out the bigger goals you’re focused on over the next 3 months.

Schedule one hour in your calendar as soon as possible, and during that one hour follow these steps:

  1. Write out, in order of priority, the major projects (or goals) you’re working on over the next 3 months.
  2. Take the first project (goal) – your highest priority – and make sure it’s SMART (click here for this exercise).
  3. Just as you did in the “quick win” section above, take your SMART goal and start creating your plan for it, including the date you’ll accomplish it by, the steps necessary, and a due date for each of your steps.
  4. Keep your plan CLOSE throughout your project so you know exactly what your next step is – and so you can check in with your progress.
  5. Rinse and repeat! Once you’ve accomplished your goal, move to the next goal on your list, make sure it’s SMART, and then create a plan you can execute on.
How to delegate

For purposes of this post I’m going to assume that, if you’re struggling with delegating, then you have at least one employee, contractor, or virtual team member who is helping you in your business.

Quick win for delegating

Identify one task you do daily (or multiple times per week) that you shouldn’t be doing. Considering that you’re overwhelmed with tasks, this shouldn’t be an issue.

You’ll recognize a task as one you shouldn’t be doing because the task:

  • Is a $10 / hour task (you could pay someone $10 / hr to do that thing for you)
  • Doesn’t require that YOU be the one doing it (anyone capable could perform this task and it wouldn’t make any difference in the outcome)

Once you’ve identified that one single task, create a video tutorial of how you accomplish that task or a checklist that walks through each step you take.

Loom is a great resource for recording a video, and Asana or Process.st are great platforms for creating checklists and processes. All of these recommendations have a free version available.

You’ve identified the one task, you’ve documented how you do that task, and now it’s time to delegate it.

Get in touch with your team member (employee, contractor, virtual team member, etc) and let them know you have a new task you’d like for them to handle. Give a brief explanation of the task, why it’s important to the business, and send them the video link or checklist of how to do it.

Have them do it once, check their work, and smile: you’ve just delegated a task!

Being consistent with delegating

Delegating is not easy – I get it. Oftentimes your instinct is to just do it yourself because you:

  • Already know exactly what to;
  • Can do it quickly;
  • Don’t want to spend the extra time to teach someone else how to do it.

If you can’t get over this mindset, you will continue to feel overwhelmed. You have to believe that the time you’re investing in delegating a task to someone else will pay off – and it will.

Now that you know how to identify those tasks you shouldn’t be working on, make it a weekly habit to check in on your to-do list and continue delegating those tasks.

Actually schedule it in your calendar: “Check to-do list for tasks I can delegate”. Set it to recur once per week. Add a notification or reminder so you don’t forget.


There is not one step I’ve shared with you here that is difficult. It just requires your time and patience.

This is such simple process to follow, but it’s not going to be easy (if it were, then you wouldn’t be wondering how to manage overwhelm, plan and delegate).

You have to commit to being disciplined about this, and that means not just doing it one time and then falling back into your normal routine of “I’ll just do this task one more time before I delegate it cause it’ll be easier”.

Now it’d be silly to pretend that I’ve done this all on my own.

I already mentioned that John gave me some tough love to help me beat overwhelm, conquer planning and make a consistent habit out of delegating. But he also gave me this: The Mastery Journal.

Here’s what it looks like and how The Mastery Journal works…

By using The Mastery Journal daily I’ve been able to get more done before noon than I used to get done all week.

With the help of four FOCUS sessions per day, my task list has never been cleaner, and I’ve never made so much progress towards accomplishing my projects and goals.

Trust this process.

Following the steps above, and using The Mastery Journal daily to help keep you on track, is how you win.

The post 174: How to manage overwhelm, plan and delegate appeared first on Entrepreneurs on Fire with John Lee Dumas.

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A New Year, a new you? It doesn’t have to be quite so drastic…

But one thing is for sure: if you’re looking for different results, then different actions are necessary.

Let’s take growth, for example – it’s typically a big one when considering goals. Personal growth, business growth, financial growth – they’re all things you want.

But how do you put together a growth-focused goal with the smaller steps necessary to actually help you get there?

It starts with setting a SMART Goal

A SMART Goal is:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

You can check out this post for a deep dive into how to get started with your own SMART Goal, but for example’s sake we’ll cover one here in this post, too.

Creating a SMART goal is important because it’s what will allow you to put a plan in place you can execute on, along with a specific goal date to help hold you accountable.

Goal: Get more qualified leads for your business

Let’s say your growth goal is business-related: you’re looking to get more qualified leads for your business.

But getting more qualified leads for your business doesn’t meet any of the SMART criteria, so you’ll have to put it to the test.

Specific: Bring on paid beta members for my new marketing services package who are tech savvy business owners.

Measurable: Bring on 5 paid beta members for my new marketing services package who are tech savvy business owners.

Attainable: If I can reach out to and engage 250 qualified leads, then I know a 2% conversion (5 of 250) is attainable.

Relevant: Yes, beta testing my marketing services will help me turn this into a strong offer moving forward.

Time-bound: I will bring on 5 paid beta members for my new marketing services package who are tech savvy business owners by May 1, 2018.

Now that you have your SMART Goal set, it’s time to start putting a plan in place you can execute on.

Putting a plan in place

You know from reading about the importance of knowing your avatar, your niche and building a strong foundation for your business that you can’t just jump from launching a website, or a blog, or a podcast, or a YouTube channel, to suddenly getting lots of qualified leads on your list that you’ll automatically convert into paying customers.

So your first step, which you could think of like your first micro-goal, is to understand who this marketing services package is for, specifically.

Go ahead and brainstorm it out…

  • What does this person’s business look like now?
  • What are their biggest marketing struggles?
  • How will your services help them solve those struggles?
  • Where do they want to be in their business?

Once you know exactly who it is you want as a beta member, there are a couple of different options.

Option 1

Do your own lead generation to find this person.

Option 2

Automate your lead generation with a platform like LeadFuze.

Let’s look at option 1 first.

Doing your own Lead Generation

Since you’ve already defined who it is you want as a beta member, you know who you need to find.

Now, you need to figure out where you’re going to find them.

This means your next micro-goal will be to decide where you’re going to find your avatar, and which manner you’ll engage with them:

  • Online communities or at in-person events
  • Through referrals
  • With content marketing

It might be on social media, in online communities, at in-person networking events, or through personal referrals.

You could also take the content marketing route and try to attract your avatar to you through providing free, valuable and consistent content. This is what we’ve done here at Entrepreneurs On Fire with our daily podcast.

This will take time and require hard work, so you have to patient.

Remember, this is a measurable goal, so you should always be checking in with your timeline to be sure you’re on track when you start a new micro-goal.

In this example, given that you need to find 250 leads, which route will you take?

Once you’ve decided where you’re going to find your avatar, the fun part comes into play: engaging with them!

You not only need to know your avatar is on point (meaning, the avatar your defined actually exists, you’ve found them, and they’re interested in what you have to offer), but also that they’re a good fit for you and your services.

Your next micro-goal is to have at least 10 one-on-one conversations with your avatar – offer up a free 10 minute chat, or meet up at a coffee shop to chat about what they have going on.

Your goal in connecting and communicating with them one-on-one is to confirm that:

  1. They are, in fact, your avatar (your perfect customer)
  2. What you’ve put together can and will help them solve their biggest struggle

Now all that’s left to do is rinse and repeat.

Where can you find more of your avatars?

How can you start to reach them on a one-to-many level?

This might be through building an email list and campaign that introduces your marketing services, or maybe via a live training webinar you offer.

Remember, your goal is to reach at least 250 of your avatars, so always have that part of your goal in mind.

Now that you have an overview of how you might go about doing your own lead generation, let’s look at option 2: using software like LeadFuze that can help automate it.

Automating your Lead Generation

In a nutshell, LeadFuze (that’s our affiliate link) automates the heavy lifting when it comes to finding – and starting to develop a relationship with – qualified leads for your business.

But to get way more specific, let’s look at the steps you would take on your own if you were to go out and start looking for qualified leads for your business (this is assuming you’re a B2B business):

  1. Research who those people are and start building a list of companies
  2. Finding contacts at those companies you can reach out to
  3. Verifying contact details
  4. Preparing a message to send them
  5. Send that message
  6. Following up until you get a response

These are the steps that LeadFuze automates for you, and here’s how…

How does LeadFuze do it?

Once you know who you’re trying to reach (your avatar), you would put that information in LeadFuze. Let’s carry our example over from option 1: say you’re trying to pitch marketing services to other tech savvy business owners.

First thing you’re going to do is select the industries you’re interested in – let’s say Computer Software and Internet Technology are two that are high on your list given your avatar.

Next, you would look at the role of the person you’re trying to reach within the industries you’ve selected.

You can start typing in job titles yourself, or select from LeadFuze’s pre-built filters. You can even use “negative keywords” to exclude certain roles from showing in your search results, which will help you dial in your targeting.

Then, you’ll want to identify any other traits of your avatar you want LeadFuze to know about before it performs your search for you.

This might include something like “Employee Size” (so you can exclude companies that have more than X number of employees).

You might also think of this criteria in terms of revenue. If so, LeadFuze recommends using a simple formula for calculating estimated revenue based on the employee size: ($150,000) x (number of employees).

It’s generally somewhere between $100,000 and $200,000, but as a rule of thumb the $150,000 is recommended. That said, some industries are on a whole other level, so be sure to do your due diligence before relying on this equation.

So let’s say you want to work with businesses that are doing $100 million in revenue. That equates to about 660 employees. So in LeadFuze, you’d start with 500+ employees.

Once you have all your information set, LeadFuze will perform your search, and you’ll receive a screen like this:

Based on the search criteria for those two industries, LeadFuze has found just over 16,000 leads available.

A lead is considered someone who LeadFuze has put through their double verification process, which results in single digit bounce rates. This is important since that can impact your future deliverability.

Once you assign Fuzebot, he’ll do all the work of building your list for you. No more researching companies, finding contact details, and verifying information – the prospecting is all done for you.

As we covered in option 1, the next step is to reach out to them and connect, and LeadFuze automates that, too! (Click here to get the full rundown on LeadFuze and everything it can help you do)


If you’re looking for different results this year than you saw last year, then different actions are necessary.

Whether you’re after personal growth, business growth, financial growth, or some other type of growth, there are simple steps you can take to get there, and oftentimes platforms available that can help.

All it takes is getting started with a SMART goal and a plan.

The post How to Get More Qualified Leads for Your Business appeared first on Entrepreneurs on Fire with John Lee Dumas.

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I launched Kate’s Take in August 2014 with sweat dripping down my brow and a lump in my throat. You see, at the time, I didn’t feel like I had much to share with an audience.

Around this time I was going through some major personal development stuff. I had recently wrapped up a transformational training series where I learned some pretty deep truths about myself.

Mainly, that I was walking through life invisible.

I walked away from that training with a major declaration: I would never walk through life invisible again.

I also had some big goals lined up for myself in 2015, including speaking on stage 5 times. Now that was a pretty lofty goal for me because at the time I had spoken on exactly zero stages.

As you can imagine, launching a podcast and setting a goal of speaking on stage 5 times were both WAY OUTSIDE of my comfort zone.

The beginning of a new journey

But I knew I had a message to share, and I knew that if I was that scared about launching my podcast, chances were I wasn’t alone.

What if me launching my podcast inspired someone else to launch theirs?

What if through sharing my story of walking through life invisible encouraged someone else to make the same declaration I did: that they’d never walk through life invisible again?

And so I launched – scared to death, but ready for a change.

The evolution of a podcast

Kate’s Take has evolved a lot since launch. Not only has my content evolved, (and improved in my humble opinion), but things like my format and frequency have shifted as well.

  • I started out publishing episodes two times per week.

And I continued with that publishing schedule for nearly one and a half years.

When I wasn’t able to reach my goal in 2015 of hitting 30,000 downloads per month on the podcast, I decided to change things up.

I wasn’t ready to let the podcast go, but I knew I needed to shift – something wasn’t working.

  • So I started publishing in Seasons on the podcast.

The idea was that I would be able to create multiple pieces of content all related to the same topic – in sequential order – and collectively that would make them easier to find and consume.

I launched Season 1 of Kate’s Take in January 2016, and since I’ve published a total of 7 Seasons: 1 each quarter up until October 2017.

In October of 2017, I noticed something happening: not only was Season 7 my least downloaded Season out of all of them, but my call to action for my listeners to help me decide on a topic for Season 8 fell flat.

Sticking to my guns (I told my audience I would only go ahead with Season 8 if I got a certain number of people to reach out to me with their feedback for a topic), I stopped recording in Seasons.

But I still wasn’t ready to let the podcast go…

  • So I went to a once per week publishing schedule

In November 2017 I published an episode letting my audience know that I was going to commit to a once per week show: every Monday I will publish an episode that systems-focused and that will show you behind the scenes of a 7-figure business.

Hopefully you can see from this that a podcast isn’t a set thing that works out exactly how you had envisioned from the very beginning.

I’ve learned over and over that being flexible, and your ability to pivot as an entrepreneur, is critical to your success.

The best of Kate’s Take

I’ve learned more than I ever could have imagined through producing this podcast, and I’m so happy and grateful for every one of those lessons.

Kate’s Take has…

  • Helped me create an amazing one-on-one connection with my listeners.
  • Allowed me to have a better understanding of what our audience wants and needs.
  • Helped me become more confident and a better speaker (I did land those 5 stages back in 2015, by the way); and it has
  • Helped me become a better – and more intentional – creator.

And so while the best of Kate’s Take may not be determined by massive downloads or huge revenue streams, this podcast has changed my life, and I hope that through tuning in it’s helping you change yours, too.

Top 5 episodes from Kate’s Take

Here are the top 5 episodes I’ve published to date (in no particular order).

1. How to Set and Accomplish your biggest goals

When we launched The Freedom Journal in January 2016 I had an idea: to create an entire season on the podcast around setting and accomplishing goals.

We had an entire promotional calendar filled with guest posts, guest appearances on other podcasts, press releases, our Kickstarter launch – why not also promote on Kate’s Take and add massive value in the process?

To day, this is my most downloaded episode – by thousands! And for good reason: setting and accomplishing your biggest goals isn’t easy. But there is a step-by-step process you can follow to make it happen.

In this episode, and throughout Season 1, I cover every one of these steps.

Ready to accomplish your #1 goal in 100 days? The Freedom Journal is your accountability partner to help make it happen!

2. Why creating systems in your business is so important

In January 2015 I was sitting on a balcony in Puerto Vallarta with John and our great friends Jill & Josh Stanton from Screw the Nine to Five.

We were having a little balcony mastermind session, and when it came to me I shared a struggle: I didn’t feel focused or like I was putting my best foot forward in the business.

After some brainstorming and back and forth, it was discovered – the thing that I’m best at.


Since that day I’ve focused all of my energy in the business on putting my best foot forward. Whether it’s creating new systems, improving already existing ones, or learning about new strategies I can then share with you, it’s been all about systems for me.

Which is why when Season 2 came around on the podcast I knew exactly what I wanted to cover: How to Create Systems in Your Business.

This episode is the first in Season 2, where I talk about the importance of creating systems in your business. This episode lays the foundation for what could save you a ton of time and frustration, and what could also help you scale and grow your business.

3. Top 7 Strategies: How to grow your podcast audience

Podcasting is a pretty big topic here at Entrepreneurs On Fire. In fact, we created an entire online training and community around it in October 2013 called Podcasters’ Paradise.

Today, Paradise has over 3,200 members and is the most thriving online community I’ve ever been a part of.

It has not only helped me become a better leader, but it has taught me about some of the biggest struggles that podcasters face – especially when they’re first starting out.

One of those struggles? How to grow an audience.

So, just as we teach, I listened to that struggle come up over and over again, and then decided to create a solution for it: this post and episode.

To date it’s one of the most highly trafficked posts on our site.

4. How to Make This Your Most Productive Year Ever

Productivity is a pretty hot word in the online world today.

Everyone wants to know how to become more productive.

And I know from personal experience that when you commit to productivity, BIG things happen.

Suddenly, you feel a weight lifted off your shoulders.

When you commit to being productive, you actually get to check more off your to-do list than you put on it.

Focusing on productivity has helped me get more done before 12pm than I used to get done all day – literally.

And so I thought it a crime to not share the exact steps one can take to become more productive TODAY with our audience. I do just that in this post and episode.

5. Kate’s Take: The Audio Blog

This post was created back in 2014, right along with the launch of Kate’s Take.

Episode 0, as we like to call it, isn’t my most popular episode, nor is it anywhere near the most downloaded, but it continues to be one of the most popular “back linked” posts on our site (meaning, a lot of other people link to it on their site).

In this post I share a detailed journey of the things I did before I become an entrepreneur, and how each and every one of those things has inspired me to share my lessons here on the blog, and on the podcast.

Thank you Kate’s Take listeners!

Thank you for helping Kate’s Take become what it is today. I truly appreciate every single individual who tunes into this podcast, and as always, I’d love to hear from you!

Reach out to me any time with episode requests, to say a quick ‘hello’, or to provide feedback!

The post 173: The best of Kate’s Take: Behind the Scenes of a 7 Figure Business appeared first on Entrepreneurs on Fire with John Lee Dumas.

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December 2017 Income At-A-Glance Gross Income for December: $210,291 Total Expenses for December: $66,798 Total Net Profit for December: $143,493 Difference b/t December & November: -$11,103

Why We Publish An Income Report

This monthly income report is created for you, Fire Nation!

By documenting the struggles we encounter and the successes we celebrate as entrepreneurs every single month, we’re able to provide you with support – and a single resource – where we share what’s working, what’s not, and what’s possible.

There’s a lot of hard work that goes into learning and growing as an entrepreneur, especially when you’re just starting out. The most important part of the equation is that you’re able to pass on what you learn to others through teaching, which is what we aim to do here.


**We’ll receive a commission on the affiliate links below.

Josh Bauerle’s Monthly Tax Tip

What’s up Fire Nation, my name is Josh Bauerle. I’m a CPA and the Founder of CPA On Fire, where we specialize in working with entrepreneurs to minimize their tax liability while keeping them in line with the ever-changing tax laws.

I’ve been working with JLD & Kate at Entrepreneurs On Fire for years now, and they’ve included me in these monthly income reports with unlimited access to all their accounts so I can verify that what they report here is complete and accurate.

And because they believe in delivering an insane amount of value to you, my job doesn’t stop at the verification level; I also provide a new tax and accounting tip every month!

Josh’s December Tax Tip: The New US Tax Law

You may not – but should – know that the US just passed a pretty massive tax overhaul.

Depending on who you listen to, the tax changes will either make us all rich and send the economy soaring to never before seen heights, or hurt the middle class to pad the wallets of the rich and will surely put us into the next great depression.

So what’s the truth?

Is the plan good or bad overall, and for you specifically?

That’s exactly what we are going to look at here, with 3 caveats…

  1. This is a completely non partisan look at the tax bill with no regard to political parties, including which side initiated the plan;
  2. This will only look at how the plan will impact the average person’s – and specifically small business owner’s – taxes with no regard to larger economic impacts;
  3. This is a short, general summary on how it impacts the average small business owner. How it impacts each of us specifically can’t possible be covered here. Definitely talk to a professional to find out your specifics.
How Entrepreneurs Are Impacted

The new tax law provides plenty of changes for the average person, from doubling the child tax credit and standard deduction, to eliminating personal exemptions and capping state and local tax deductions.

But the biggest changes come for a group near and dear to Fire Nation’s heart: entrepreneurs.

Essentially, the new tax plan is going to reduce the amount of income you pay taxes on for your business by 20%.

If you remember any of our talks re: business entities, then you know almost all small businesses are what they call “pass through entities”. And pass through entities get their name because the profits pass through to the owners, who then pay any taxes as a part of their personal return.

Under this new plan, small business owners with pass through entities (again, almost every business owner listening to this) will only pay taxes on 80% of their profits instead of the normal 100% they always have.

So let’s say your business, after all deductible expenses, profits $200,000 in 2018.

Under previous rules, you would pay taxes on all $200k.

Under this new law, you will only pay taxes on $160,000, even if you pulled out all $200k in distributions. This could easily save you $10,000+ in taxes with that move alone. And as your profits go up, obviously, those savings become greater.


If your profits are over $315,000 and you are married – or profits are over $157,000 and you are single – there may be a few other restrictions on the 20% rule that involve your salary or guaranteed payments.

So if you are at or approaching those levels, please speak with a CPA as soon as possible to make sure you’re in line to maximize those savings.


Overall, and again, looking at this only from a tax perspective – and mostly taxes for entrepreneurs – I’m very happy with this new plan. Most small business owners, between the new breaks on the individual side, and especially the 20% reduction in taxable profits, will see significant savings on their 2018 taxes.

But with these changes it is more important than ever to talk to an expert and make sure you are in the proper entity and falling within the regulations to take these savings!

As always, please feel free to contact me if you’d like to discuss what would be best for YOUR business. I LOVE chatting with Fire Nation!

*Bonus* Claim your spot in Josh’s FREE Course on Business Entities!

What Went Down In December Memoir: Audio Biographies

In 2018, I’m taking on a passion project.

This project has been banging around my head for a couple years now, and it’s finally time to unleash it to the world.

In short: I’ve always been a fan of history, and most of my favorite books are biographies of the men and women who changed the world.

These books are often GIANT works, and can take MONTHS (even years) to finish.

My idea is to create a fun audio experience that can be consumed in an hour or two and that will be both fun and educational.

Enter Memoir: Audio biographies of the men and women who changed the world.

Episode #1 will be Alexander the Great, and I have some other CLASSICS in the pipeline.

If this seems up your alley, sign up here to listen to the 1st episode: What is Memoir?, plus receive sneak peeks and special announcements!

I would LOVE your feedback on this project, so please with any thoughts about Memoir.

I can’t wait!

The Podcast Journal

Another exciting project we’ve been working on for a long time is The Podcast Journal: Idea to Launch in 50 Days.

The Podcast Journal is unlike any other journal we’ve created here at Entrepreneurs On Fire in that it’s essentially a step-by-step workbook that guides you through creating and launching your own podcast.

With detailed instructions for each of the 50 days, plus video tutorials, an online resource center, and check points along the way, The Podcast Journal will help you finally launch your podcast in 50 days or less.

We first came up with this idea in early 2015, and ever since we’ve been focused on other projects. But 2018 IS the year for The Podcast Journal, and our goal is to launch by the end of Q1 2018.

If you’re interested in learning more about The Podcast Journal and being the first to hear once it’s available, be sure to join our interest list!

The Fire Nation Freedom Quiz and 4 Days to Mastery

Our newest free course, 4 Days to Mastery: Master Productivity, Discipline and Focus, launched in December – yay!

But the way we went about it was a little different than usual…

It started a few months ago actually, when Chanti reached out to us with a proposal: she was convinced we could be crushing it with a quiz optin on our site.

We accepted Chanti’s proposal, and within a few weeks she sent us an outline for The Fire Nation Freedom Quiz: How to Eliminate Fear and Finally Achieve Entrepreneurial Freedom.

We signed up for Interact quiz software and got to work.

The main goal of having The Fire Nation Freedom Quiz is to get more qualified leads into our free courses, including Free Goals Course, Funnel On Fire, Free Podcast Course, and Free Webinar Course.

Because we know if we can get more leads into these free courses, that means more potential for:

But in reviewing Chanti’s outline for the quiz, I realized she had an “outcome” that led to a funnel we hadn’t create yet: it was for The Mastery Journal.

So John and I sat down and brainstormed, and within an hour came up with the outline and name for 4 Days to Mastery: Master Productivity, Discipline and Focus!

In December we not only got to launch 4 Days to Mastery, but we also got to launch The Fire Nation Freedom Quiz in several areas on our site.

The first phase is to test conversions and outcomes with the quiz to see if it’s working and of value to Fire Nation, and we’re currently doing this in 3 areas on our site:

  • Our welcome gate
  • Our hello bar area
  • Our sidebar

Want to check out 4 Days to Mastery and The Fire Nation Freedom Quiz?

You won’t be sorry, and we’d love to hear your feedback!

Click here for 4 Days to Mastery

Click here to take The Fire Nation Freedom Quiz

Our Business Lessons for 2017

We could’t wrap up December properly without sharing our biggest business lessons for 2017, which included:

  • No one cares about your business as much as you do
  • You’ll never know until you take action
  • Compare and despair
  • Constant improvement is key
  • Failures are a healthy part of business
  • And several more!

To check out a deep dive on each of these lessons, and to check out the rest of our business lessons learned in 2017, head over to the post!


December 2017 Income Breakdown* Product/Service Income: $154,111

TOTAL Journal sales: 1,161 Journals for a total of $49,593

The Freedom Journal: Accomplish your #1 goal in 100 days!

The Mastery Journal: Master Productivity, Discipline and Focus in 100 days!

  • TheMasteryJournal.com: $2,620 (64 Hardcovers & 10 Digital Packs sold!)
  • Amazon: $17,975 (460 Mastery Journals sold!)
  • 100 Days to Mastery: $3,171
  • Total: $23,766

Podcasters’ Paradise: The #1 Podcasting community in the world!

  • Recurring: $24,620 (249 monthly)
  • New members: $10,257 (34 new members)
  • Total: $34,877

Podcast Sponsorship Income$64,250

Podcast Websites: $5,000 Your all-in-one podcast website peace of mind

Skills On Fire: $59

Podcast LaunchAudiobook$284eBook: $48

Free Courses that result in the above revenue:

Free Podcast Course: A free 15-day course on Podcasting

Free Webinar Course: A free 10-day course on Webinars

Free Goals Course: A free 8-day course on Setting & Accomplishing Goals

Funnel On Fire: A free 8-day course on Creating a Funnel that Converts!

Kickstarter On Fire: A free 5-day course on going from Idea to Launch on Kickstarter!

4 Days To Mastery: A Free 4-day course on how to master Productivity, Discipline & Focus!

Affiliate Income: $56,180

*Affiliate links below

Resources for Entrepreneurs: $39,330

Courses for Entrepreneurs: $14,006

Resources for Podcasters: $2,262

Other Resources: $582

  • Amazon Associates: $507
  • Other: $75
Total Gross Income in December: $210,291 Business Expenses: $60,477
  • Advertising: $117
  • Affiliate Commissions (Paradise): $3,070
  • Accounting: $2,529
  • Cost of goods sold: $4,640
  • Consulting: $802
  • Design & Branding: $1,980
  • Education: $74
  • Legal & Professional: $297
  • Meals & Entertainment: $1,023
  • Merchant / bank fees: $1,358
  • Amazon fees: $8,764
  • Shopify fees: $120
  • PayPal fees: $359
  • Office expenses: $2,063
  • Payroll Tax Expenses / Fees: $1,258
  • Paradise Refunds: $2,220
  • Promotional: $1,191
  • Total Launch Package fees: $0
  • Sponsorships: $11,500
  • Show notes: $728
  • The Freedom & Mastery Journal: $5,000
  • Travel: $700
  • Virtual Assistant Fees: $9,207
  • Website Fees: $1,477
Recurring, Subscription-based Expenses: $6,321
  • Adobe Creative Cloud: $100
  • Boomerang: $70 (team package)
  • Brandisty: $24
  • Authorize.net: $91
  • Cell Phone: $576
  • Dropbox: $99 (annual fee)
  • Google: $45
  • Internet: $631
  • eVoice: $10
  • FastSpring: $39
  • Infusionsoft CRM: $396
  • Insurance: $551
  • Libsyn: $400
  • Manychat: $65
  • Chatroll: $49
  • PureChat: $20
  • ScheduleOnce: $9
  • Shopify: $176
  • TaxJar: $19
  • MeetEdgar: $39
  • Taxes & Licenses: $300
  • Interact Quiz Software: $89
  • WP Engine: $2,490 (annual fee)
  • Zapier: $15
  • Zoom: $15
Total Expenses in December: $66,798 Payroll to John & Kate: $15,900

In our May 2014 Income Report and our June 2016 Income Report, Josh focuses on how to pay yourself as an entrepreneur. Check them out!

Wondering what we do with all of our net revenue? We share all in our April 2017 Income Report :)

Total Net Profit for December 2017: $143,493 Biggest Lesson Learned Importance of Doing a Business Review

Unless we’re looking back at the strategies and tactics we’ve implemented or tested, and then taking the time to understand which ones worked and which ones didn’t – and why – we’re never going to know what to..

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Systems and Standard Operating Procedures may not be the sexiest things in business, but they are critical to any business’ success!

That’s why when I started working on a recent project I knew I couldn’t keep it to myself: this is the start of me sharing the exact project plan, brainstorming exercises, and implementation steps I’m taking in order to create systems and standard operating procedures throughout our entire business.

Be sure to tune into this episode for additional content not included in this post!

Starting a major project

As is the case with anything that comes to life in your business, the first step necessary is to decide that you actually want to work on a particular project.

I’ve been creating systems in our business since the beginning, but something I haven’t ever taken a step back to brainstorm and create: standard operating procedures for everything we do.

I’d been thinking about this a lot because in the past couple of years we’ve been able to launch some pretty amazing free courses, online communities, and even a second physical journal (The Mastery Journal) based on our knowledge from previous projects.

Because we’ve documented the steps we took in each case, we’re able to recreate that same success with different topics and in different areas of our business without having to start from scrath.

So now I know firsthand how much time you can save yourself – and your team – when everyone has a central place they know they can go for the exact steps to accomplish a particular task or project.

Same goes for every day tasks and projects in your business.

Once I decided I wanted to take on this project, the next thing I did was COMMIT to it.

This might sound super obvious, but when’s the last time you actually stopped and committed to yourself – out loud – that you were all-in on a project?

It can make a huge difference when it comes to holding yourself accountable.

Why do you want to do it?

Once I had decided on and committed to this project, my next step was to understand why I wanted to do it.

I know a project without a purpose behind it is going to be tough to create a plan for, and it’s also going to be tough to follow through on when the going gets tough. I need a WHY to come back.

When I asked myself WHY I wanted to do this project, here’s what I came up with…

1. I want to get a good handle on everything that’s going on in our business.

Now that we have a solid team of 4 virtual team members, plus myself and John, I wanted to have a solid, overall picture of what everyone is working on.

This is important because I know once we have that overall picture it will give us the opportunity as a team to evaluate and decide:

  • What we don’t need to do anymore at all;
  • What we can make more efficient / better;
  • What’s working great so we can double down.

2. I want to have a central place where we can all go to understand any process or system in our business.

Because some of the tasks and projects we work on overlap – or for some of our bigger systems, we have multiple people managing different steps of the process – it’s important that we’re all on the same page and understand what other pieces of the puzzle are necessary.

Having a central place where everything is documented will help:

  • Cut out the guesswork;
  • Make sure everyone is on the same page;
  • Save everyone time;
  • Serve us when doing new on boarding / training.
What will it look like when it’s complete?

Once you’ve decided and committed to your project, and you have a good understanding of WHY you want to do it, it’s time to brainstorm how you want it to turn out.

In other words, what will it look like when it’s complete?

You not only want to have a good understanding of the major deliverables (because that’s going to help you identify the individual steps you need to take to get there), but you also want to know HOW it’s going to help you.

So when I took a step back and thought about what our systems and standard operating procedures will look like when complete, I came up with four major deliverables.

1. A list of everything we’re working on in our business

2. Confirmation that everything is running optimally

3. System in place for each task or project

4. A central location where everything lives

In coming up with my list of major deliverables I was able to see exactly how this project is going to help us once complete. Once we have all 4 of these things in place, the reasons why I wanted to do this project in the first place will be met.

What’s the very first step?

Only thing left to do is START your project, which you can go about doing in several different ways.

You might start by putting together a detailed project plan, which is typically what I would recommend. But in order to get started on this particular project, all I needed to figure out is the first step.

I knew if I got too deep into putting together an entire plan in the beginning that I might get bogged down with everything I don’t know at this point. So instead, I’m starting with what I do know: the very first step.

I know that once I take the first step, the others will start to reveal themselves. Plus, as I start to identify new steps, I can start putting my project plan together as I go.

It’s easy to get held back when first starting a big project: overwhelm and not knowing where to start happens to all of us. So it’s ok if you don’t know all the steps right now.

Focus on the first step and the others will reveal themselves.

Steps for creating Standard Operating Procedures

Here are the first steps I’ve taken in creating standard operating procedures for our business.

Step 1: Create a board in Asana

I created a board in Asana for the overall project: Standard Operating Procedures for Entrepreneurs On Fire.

Then, I created a column for each team member.

Next, I reached out to all our team members and explained the project and why it’s important.

Finally, I requested their help with the first step: sending me a list of their tasks in the form of: daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly and 1-time tasks.

Once I receive that information back from each of our team members, I’ll document what everyone sent me in their respective columns.

Step 2: Match tasks that already have a system

Next, I’m going to start matching up tasks and projects on each of our team members’ lists with the systems and processes that we already have in place. That way I can identify two types of tasks and projects everyone is working on:

  • Tasks and projects that already have a system
  • Tasks and projects that don’t have a system
Stay tuned for more steps!

This is only the beginning of this project, and I hope you can see from this that starting big projects doesn’t have to be overwhelming or scary.

All you have to do is set aside the time to talk through it and brainstorm.

Ask yourself:

  • What are my goals for this project?
  • Why do I want to do it?
  • What do I hope is accomplished when it’s complete?
  • What’s the first step I have to take to get started?

If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide that can help you with setting and accomplishing a BIG goal like the one I’ve shared here, The Freedom Journal is that guide.

The Freedom Journal is your accountability partner with daily check-in’s, 10-day sprints, and quarterly reviews to make sure you’re on track to hitting your goal.

Grab your own Freedom Journal today at TheFreedomJournal.com!

The post 172: Systems and Standard Operating Procedures for Your Business appeared first on Entrepreneurs on Fire with John Lee Dumas.

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One of my favorite times of the year is when I get to sit down and gather up our biggest business lessons learned from the past 12 months.

But this hasn’t always been the case…

Looking back at my first year as an entrepreneur, I now know what an incredibly valuable learning experience that was.

But the problem was: I didn’t see it as such at the time.

I was blinded by frustration and overwhelm, which caused me to jump from project to project and task to task without ever taking time out to review what was happening. As a result, there were a lot of lessons I learned years after the fact – ones that had I taken the time to uncover them back then, could have helped me make big moves in my business that first year.

Since I have started to take time out to review what’s happening, I’ve learned so much. And more importantly, I’ve learned lessons that serve me in real time instead of years after the fact.

I now know how critical frequent reviews of your business are to its success – and to your growth as an entrepreneur.  So while I get excited to do this at year-end, keep in mind doing a review like the one I’m about to share with you shouldn’t only be a once-a-year thing; it should really be happening at least once per quarter.

Knowing what’s working and what’s not

Unless we’re looking back at the strategies and tactics we’ve implemented or tested, and then taking the time to understand which ones worked and which ones didn’t – and why – we’re never going to know what to continue doing, or stop doing, moving forward.

I not only hope the business lessons I’m about to share will be valuable for you and your business, but I also hope this post and episode will inspire you to do the same type of review in your own business.

So before I dive into our biggest business lessons for 2017, I want to share the steps you can take to do a review in your own business.

How to do a Business Review

Regardless of whether it’s the start of a new year, the middle of the year, or nearing the end of a year, a business review is always a good idea.

One of my biggest lessons year over year is that no one cares about your business as much as you do, and that’s never been truer than when reviewing what’s working and what’s not working in your business, because if you’re not looking out for your time and what gives you the best ROI, who is?

The answer is NO ONE.

Step 1: Take note of your bigger projects

First step is to take a look back at the bigger projects you’ve worked on in your business over the past year.

This will include things like:

  • Creating and/or launching new products or services;
  • Trying out / moving into a new piece of software;
  • Hiring and/or firing team members;
  • Engaging in new business relationships / partnerships; and
  • Anything else that took a significant amount of your time to prepare / implement.
Step 2: What worked, and why?

Once you have your list, it’s time to review each item and make note: which were successful?

If you have a hard time determining whether one of the projects on your list worked, then that’s a business lesson in and of itself.

It should be very simple to answer whether something worked based on the SMART goal you set when you committed to doing it.

Once you’ve picked out the ones that worked, actually write out an explanation of WHY it worked.

Step 3: What didn’t work, and why?

The same way you reviewed each item and made note of which were successful, make note of those that were unsuccessful.

Once you’ve picked out the ones that didn’t worked, actually write out an explanation of WHY it didn’t work.

Step 4: Lessons learned

Based on the list you’ve just created, including the notes you’ve taken by each project re: whether it worked or not (and why), what are you biggest lessons learned?

  • What will you do again in the future because it worked so well?
  • What will you avoid doing again in the future because it didn’t work at all?
  • Make a list of all of your biggest takeaways
Step 5: Looking ahead

Remember: knowledge is power.

Now that you have a complete list of the projects you’ve worked on, which ones worked and which didn’t (along with why), and you have pulled out your biggest lessons learned as a result, it’s time to look ahead.

  • How can you leverage this knowledge to help you WIN in your business moving forward?
  • How will you double down on what’s working, and avoid the things that didn’t work so well for you?

Now that you have a complete system for how to complete your own business review, let’s dive into what I discovered after following these steps for Entrepreneurs On Fire.

Biggest Business Lessons of 2017 No one cares about your business as much as you do

This will always continue be a major business lesson for me.

In fact, I remind myself of it every day. Because no matter how many team members you hire or how much money you invest in consultants and professionals to help you build a business, none of them will ever care about your business as much as you.

I don’t share this business lesson to freak you out. I share this business lesson because I’ve learned this the hard way, several times.

Most recently, I realized that we weren’t being paid out on our American Express transactions.

Tens of thousands of dollars that we thought were being deposited into our account weren’t being deposited into our account.

None of our merchants, or gateway processors, or credit card companies alerted us of this issue, and while that made me really angry – and scared me to think that these companies, even though we pay them a hefty sum every month, weren’t looking out for us – it also helped me come to a powerful realization:

At the end of the day, it’s no one else’s responsibility.

It’s not their business. It’s mine.

So next time you rely on a company, a service, a product, or a contractor, remember that ultimately, the responsibility is yours.

This also prompted a huge overhaul of our system for tracking payments – clearly something that was NOT working in our business given the magnitude of what we were missing.

You’ll never know until you take action

Leading up to the launch of The Mastery Journal in January of this year we thought we had it all figured out.

Having just launched The Freedom Journal in January of the previous year we were feeling pretty confident about the steps we needed to take to make The Mastery Journal launch a success.

So we essentially took out our project plan and checklist and started going down the line.

While this definitely worked as a systems overview of what boxes needed to be checked, we should have known better:

As is true with everything in business, you’re never going to know what unforeseen roadblocks or challenges will present themselves until you take action and just start.

And if this was the case with a project we already knew how to prepare for, imagine a project you don’t know how to prepare for!

Prep and planning is very important, but it’s never going to outweigh the simple act of taking one step forward in order to uncover what’s next.

While our prep and planning for The Mastery Journal was spot on, nothing was going to actually happen until we started taking action.

Compare and despair

Sometimes we don’t even realize we’re comparing ourselves to other people; comparing our launch to someone else’s launch; comparing our podcast downloads to someone else’s downloads; our email list size to someone else’s list size…

All you comparing yourself to others is going to result in is despair.

If you knew you were creating energy that would lead to a lack of motivation, frustration, and feeling down about yourself and your business, then why would you create that energy?

Now you know: every time you compare yourself or your business to someone else’s, you’re creating energy that leads to a lack of motivation, frustration, and feeling down about yourself and your business.

So just don’t do it.

I’ve caught myself going down this path many times in 2017 and it has led me to second-guess a lot of actions I’ve taken. Me second-guessing my actions leads to sub-par work. Sub-par work leads to disappointment.

And so I practice. Every time I catch myself starting down that path, I immediately stop and regroup. There just no point in comparing yourself to other people, and I don’t want to do things that don’t have a point.

Constant improvement is key

Podcasters’ Paradise has been alive for 4+ years now. We launched in Oct 2013, and around Oct 2017 – 4 years later – we gave Paradise a major facelift.

In doing so, we found a renewed energy throughout the community. Our existing members were really excited about the upgrade, plus, it gave us something new to promote on our bi-weekly live Masterclass to potential new members.

Making sure you’re continuing to deliver value on a consistent basis is key when you’re running an online training and/or community.

Sure, a recurring membership sounds great – and it is – but it’s not a “one and done” type of thing. If you’re asking members to pay you money on a recurring basis, then there has to be constant improvements being delivered.

This upgrade worked really well for us in 2017, and it’s something we’ll be putting a lot of focus on in 2018 – for all areas of our business.

Failures are a healthy part of business

There were a few projects we scrapped or decided to majorly tweak in 2017. One of those projects: FireUP, a software tool we launched as an MVP that didn’t quite stick.

In theory, FireUP was a great idea: a software plugin for your website to help you convert your websites visitors into email subscribers, and eventually, paying customers.

The problem was the MVP couldn’t stand up to the competitors already out there, like Optin Monster and Sumo.

We ran the MVP to see if could get some initial traction – enough interest to help prove the concept – and then we would move forward with adding additional features and improving the software.

But we didn’t get that interest, and therefore decided to let FireUP go.

Proof of concept is something we’ve come back to over and over again in our business – because it works. It’s a simple way to make a black and white decision: are we doing this or not?

It wasn’t an easy decision; we had partnered up on this project, and we didn’t want to end that partnership or see the software go. But this is why it’s so critical to have measurements and tracking in place when it comes to hitting goals: it makes it that much easier to make smart business decisions (versus decisions based on emotion).

Live events and the power of community

Committing to attending live events isn’t always easy.

  • When you commit to attending a live event you’re not only committing your time – your most precious resource – but you’re also committing financially.
  • Sometimes it’s hard to tell what the ROI for an event will actually be.
  • Your projects come to halt while you’re preparing for – and attending – said event.

This is why it’s key to have goals in mind for the live events you’re attending – and to do as much up-front research as possible before committing.

We attended and spoke at a lot of events in 2017, and we even hosted our very own first live event here in Puerto Rico called Puerto Palooza.

Here’s what we’ve learned:

1. You can’t put an ROI on creating and nurturing relationships…

…and a great way to create and nurture relationships is to put yourself in a physical space with others who are on the same path as you. Doing this has worked really well for us in regards to building a strong community who feels connected to us.

2. You get back what you put in.

You can’t show up to an event unprepared and stand in the corner the entire time. You have to go into events knowing exactly what it is you’re hoping to walk away with, a plan to help you accomplish that, and a positive attitude you can share with others through actually communicating with them.

I’ve proven this to myself many times over, so I speak from personal experience. Don’t go to an event expecting to get something out of it if you’re not willing to put in the time and effort to show up big.

3. Actual experiences bring things to the next level.

The online world is amazing, and it gives us access to so many things we may not otherwise have access to. But experiencing things in “real life” will always bring them to the next level.

4. Hosting your own live event isn’t easy…

…but the results and the ripple effect make every second of prep and planning worth it. John and I are actually chatting now about Puerto Palooza II; if you’re interested in hearing more about our in-person mastermind here in Puerto Rico, don’t hestiate to reach out :)


We’ve continued to double down on our marketing efforts from lessons learned in the past. For example, our closing and opening of Podcasters’ Paradise is a campaign we ran back in 2015, and that we repeated in 2017 with great success.

The basic outline is that we close the doors to the community for a set period of time in order to make improvements and upgrades within, and in doing so this gives us the opportunity to get a group of members in before the doors close (and the investment increases), and a group of members in when the doors open (based on the improvements we’ve made within).

But there are a couple of things we did in 2017 that didn’t work out so well for us, like running Facebook ads during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

When we planned for the doors to Paradise to open on Nov 30, we didn’t consider that being right in the midst of these two “holidays”.

As a result, our ad cost and conversions weren’t where we wanted them to be.

I’m not typically one to say the time of year matters for much of anything you do in your business, but in this case, had we thought about it beforehand, we probably would have changed that opening date.

Overall, 2017 proved that marketing as a whole is a system and an idea that, at its core, doesn’t really change much. The psychology of selling and influence doesn’t change.

What does change is everything around us – the actual market – and so you have to continue coming up with new and unique ways of reaching your ideal audience.

In order to do this in 2017, we’ve picked up on a lot of new tactics, like FB Messenger Bots for email marketing.

Never stop evolving and thinking about new ways of delivering your message. This will work because it will set you apart.

Your business foundation

I’m a big fan of systems and processes; it’s my focus here at Entrepreneurs On Fire, and this year it became more relevant than ever due to some unexpected – and some expected – travel.

We’d been planning for most of the year to take a 40-day trip overseas to attend two conferences and to enjoy seeing a new part of the world we’d never been to before: New Zealand, Australia, and London.

What we didn’t plan for was a Category 5 hurricane named Maria to hit our island and community within weeks of our planned departure.

Because we chose to be off the island when Maria hit, we were inadvertently choosing to not be able to go back home before our 40-day overseas trip. So being away from our home office and out of our normal routine for nearly 3 months in a row took us a bit by surprise.

Luckily the foundation we’ve worked so hard to build over the past 5 years in business served us well, and even though we weren’t in our home office and didn’t follow our normal routine, our business continued running as if nothing had happened.

Seeing how resilient our business has become was really comforting and gave me loads of peace of mind, which is why I decided to create this post, which goes into detail about how you can make sure you’re creating a resilient business, too.

2017 in Review

To recap, make sure you’re actually taking a look back and doing some reflection around what’s gone on in your business.

This should be done quarterly at the very least.

It’s also powerful to do it at the end of each year to ensure you’re taking the time to let the lessons you’ve learned sink in, and also so you have the opportunity to double down on what’s working well for you moving forward, and remove the things that aren’t.

We hope our business lessons from 2017 will serve you on your journey moving forward!

The post 171: A Year in Review: Business Lessons from 2017 appeared first on Entrepreneurs on Fire with John Lee Dumas.

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When Kristin reached out to me and said “I’d love to hear tips on connecting in business: networking online, offline, building meaningful relationships, and being genuine while building a business”, I immediately started drafting this post.

Building meaningful relationships and connecting with others is critical to the success of your business, and it’s also necessary for your own sanity.

But how do you actually do it?

As an introvert, I had the exact same question when I was first starting out on my entrepreneurial journey.

Luckily, I’ve always had a thing for building relationships, but translating that to building relationships in business was tough for me for several reasons:

  • I didn’t have a solid purpose for building relationships;
  • I didn’t know where to find the right people to connect with;
  • A lot of times I felt slimy at networking events – the connections didn’t feel real or genuine.

That’s about the time I took on a huge challenge: I wanted to figure out the exact steps I could take in order to build meaningful relationships in business.

Understanding why relationships are important

My challenge to figure out how to build meaningful relationships in business started with me getting clear on why we as humans crave and value relationships.

What do they provide us?

What happens when we don’t have the right relationships in our lives?

I came to realize through very little research and a lot of reflection and common sense that relationships provide us with comfort through:

  • Connection (knowing we’re not alone)
  • Support (knowing we have help)
  • Validation (knowing others feel the same way)

Then I thought back to how many times in the past 5 years or so I had turned to an individual whom I’ve built a relationship with for one of those 3 reasons (connection, support or validation).

I counted A LOT of times.

What would have happened had I not had those relationships?

What type of place would I have been in at the time – and more importantly, right now – if I wouldn’t have had connection, support and validation available to me?

One thing is for sure: I DEFINITELY wouldn’t be where I am right now.

All of this combined proves what everyone always says: how important networking and building meaningful relationships is; plus, it helped me understand at the very base level why it’s so important (by realizing where I’d be – or where I wouldn’t be – without relationships).

Which brings me to the next step in my challenge: how do you build relationships in business?

How to build relationships in business

Something else Kristin said to me in her email is this:

So many times I think that we know networking matters, or who you know matters, but many people don’t know how to build those relationships from a place that doesn’t feel slimy.

So then I started thinking… “Is it really that we don’t know how to do it, or is it just that we’re uncomfortable doing it?”

Or maybe we’re not confident enough?

Or maybe we don’t know where to go to start?

Because everyone’s personality is different, how you build relationships as an individual might be different from how I do it. However, I do believe very strongly in the five steps I’m about to share with you.

At the very least, they will put you on a path to success – regardless of your personality or where you’re at when it comes to building meaningful relationships in business.

5 Steps to getting started 1. State your goal or intention

First step to most things in life is to understand why you want to do it.

What’s your goal or intention with building a particular relationship in business?

Some examples might be:

  • To have an accountability partner who I can meet with once per week;
  • To find someone who is where I want to be so I can learn from them;
  • To engage in a joint venture or affiliate relationship;
  • To invite people on my podcast.

These are just a few examples – there are countless more.

And it might just be that you simply want to connect with others in your industry or niche so you know you’re not alone.

2. Pick your place

Now that you know exactly why you want to build a particular relationship, it’s time to figure out where you can go to put yourself in a place where these people might be hanging out.

That might be:

  • A specific in-person conference or event;
  • An online summit;
  • A Facebook or LinkedIn group;
  • Through a mutual connection.

Conference, events and online summits are easy to find via Google. Just type in the type of event you’re interested in (conference, event, meetup, summit, etc) + the keyword or topic you’re interested in.

An example might be “Conference for speakers”.

Another example might be “Summit for online marketers”.

In regards to a Facebook or LinkedIn group, a great place to start is to search right within the platform itself. Same idea here: you want to type in the keyword or topic you’re interested in connecting around.

That might be “podcasting group”, or “gardening group”, or “self-improvement group”.

Finally, figuring out whether you can build a relationship through a mutual connection just takes you talking about what it is you’re looking for with those you already know.

Next time you’re having a chat with a friend, let them know what you’re up to – maybe that you’re interested in connecting with people who have similar interests around gaming, or around comedy, or around music.

Then, simply ask if they know anyone who is interested in those topics who might want to connect.

Picking your place takes time and research, so don’t get frustrated, and know that if you commit the time to finding the right place to connect, that you will find the right people you want to connect with.

3. Introduce yourself, and offer value

Now that you know your goal for building a particular relationship and where to go to find those you want to build relationships with, it’s time to introduce yourself and offer up some value!

Remember, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” ~ Zig Ziglar

Whether you’re at an in-person event, attending an online summit, or joining a new online group, introduce yourself and offer up some type of value that can connect you with who you want to meet.

For example, if you’re looking to connect with an accountability partner, then let people know that.

Post in the group, or include in your conversations with people, that you’ve just started an online business around helping mom’s build stronger connections with their children through one-on-one time together, and that you’re interested in having weekly chats with someone who is in the same industry or who has similar interests.

4. Be interested

This isn’t all about you; be interested in the others who are around you.

Learn about their background, listen to their story, and find out what it is they’re passionate about.

As questions like:

  • How did you get into what you’re working on now?
  • What’s something you’re really excited about right now?
  • Any question related to the type of business or industry you’re in.

Through asking these types of questions you’ll start a natural conversation that will lead you to learning more about their interests and what’s important to them.

Based on what you learn about them, offer up value whenever you can. This might be through a recommended resource, an introduction to someone who you know, or perhaps you have knowledge or expertise that can help them.

5. Follow up

Relationships aren’t built overnight. They take time and care to nurture and grow, so be willing to follow up, continue to engage and always take the initiative.

If you’ve met at an in-person conference or event, send them an email afterwards and follow up on whatever it is you connected over at the event.

If you’ve met on an online summit, send them an email afterwards and ask what their biggest takeaway from the summit was, and what their plan is to implement that into their own business. Perhaps there’s a way you can help support them in that?

If you’ve meet through an online group, connect outside of that group one-on-one. Maybe you could set up a quick Skype chat, or bring the conversation over to email so you can get to know more about one another and what each of you has going on.

Be natural, and don’t over-think it

Relationships are a part of human nature. The reasons why we crave and value relationships – they’re a part of us.

So just be you! Don’t over-think the process of connecting with others and building meaningful relationships in business. Just follow the 5 steps I’ve shared here and you’ll be on the right path to connecting with the right people.

I want to give a huge shout out to Kristin for emailing me with this question. It’s such a HUGE topic and holds so much importance on your journey to building a successful business.

So why not start today?

The post 170: Tips on how to connect: building meaningful relationships in business appeared first on Entrepreneurs on Fire with John Lee Dumas.

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