Summary: The Common Path to Uncommon Success By John Lee Dumas
Summary: The Common Path to Uncommon Success By John Lee Dumas

Summary: The Common Path to Uncommon Success By John Lee Dumas

Kindle | Hardcover | Audiobook

Identify Your Big Idea

Everything begins with an idea. —EARL NIGHTINGALE

Your common path to uncommon success begins with an idea. A big idea.

There are two mistakes people make when trying to identify their big idea.

  1. They believe their big idea can be something they are just passionate about. I love muffins! I’ll open a bakery!
  2. They believe their big idea is something they just have expertise in. I know how to code; I’ll build websites!

Let’s look at scenario one: just passion. Having passion for your big idea is important. You need to be excited to work on your big idea every single day. However, if you just have passion and you’re not providing a needed solution to the world, your idea will not gain traction.

Now let’s look at scenario two: just expertise. It’s great to be great at something. It’s wonderful to share your knowledge with the world. However, if you’re lacking passion, excitement, and curiosity for your area of expertise, you will never achieve fulfillment.

Clearly you can see the flaws in the above two scenarios. Your big idea is not either-or. It’s not about following your passion or something you’re good at. It’s both. Your big idea needs to be a combination of your passion and your expertise.


Discover Your Niche

If everybody is doing it one way, there’s a good chance you can find your niche by going exactly in the opposite direction. —SAM WALTON OF WALMART

Identify an underserved niche and fill that void to the best of your ability.

Most assume the broader your niche, the more potential customers, clients, and followers you’ll have access to. It makes sense. If you resonate with everyone, you’ll be able to carve out a bigger piece of the pie. Of course, you want everyone (and their mother) to buy your product, service, offering. But when you try to resonate with everyone, you’ll resonate with no one.

Once upon a time, an inventor created an amazing bug spray that killed every bug you could think of. Cockroaches, ants, beetles, termites . . . you get the idea. In big, bold letters on the spray can, he emblazoned the words “Kills every bug in your household.” He invested heavily in shelf space at local markets and waited for the money to pour in. Sadly, the waterfall of sales never materialized.

The inventor couldn’t understand why his product wasn’t selling. It was the best product on the market! In desperation, he hired a person to stand in the bug spray aisle and observe. When someone picked up a bug spray that wasn’t his, the employee approached the individual to inquire why.

When the inventor received the results of the project, he was shocked by the simplicity of the findings:

  • “I have an ant issue, so I’m looking for something that specifically kills ants.”
  • “I have cockroaches; I want something specially designed to kill those buggers.”

 A light bulb went off and the inventor immediately switched from one broad promise on his product to multiple labels with different promises. His hundred bottles of “Kills every bug in your household” became twenty-five bottles each of:

  • “Kills every ant in your household.”
  • “Kills every cockroach in your household.”
  • “Kills every beetle in your household.”
  • “Kills every termite in your household.”

Now, he had a specific solution to the exact problem people were seeking. The result? Sales exploded.

Lesson? Always enter the conversation already taking place in the customer’s mind.


Create Your Avatar

Everyone is not your customer. —SETH GODIN

Your avatar is the north star to guide you along your journey.

An avatar is one single individual. Your avatar is your perfect customer, your model client, the ideal consumer of your content, your products, your services, and your offers.

This is an incredibly important step on the common path to uncommon success, yet it’s one of the most ignored. When you know your avatar with absolute clarity, you can operate your business with confidence and speed.

So, how can you craft your avatar? Sit down with pen in hand, and answer the below questions. Remember, you are creating one perfect consumer of your content. One single person.

  1. What is the age of your avatar?
  2. Male or female?
  3. Married?
  4. Kids?
  5. Job? If yes, what?
  6. Do they commute to work? If yes, how long?
  7. Do they like their job?
  8. What are their passions?
  9. What are their hobbies?
  10. What do they do in their free time?
  11. What are their dislikes?
  12. What are the skills they’ve acquired over the years?
  13. What value can they bring to the world?
  14. What are their life goals, ambitions, hopes, and dreams?
  15. What does a perfect day in their life look like?
  16. What type of content do they consume? How often?
  17. What is their biggest struggle in life right now?
  18. What is the solution they are looking for?



Choose Your Platform

When I hear somebody sigh, “Life is hard,” I am always tempted to ask, “Compared to what?”—SYDNEY HARRIS

It’s hard being unsuccessful. It’s hard living paycheck to paycheck and just scraping by. It’s hard being stressed about money all the time. It’s hard not being able to support your family, friends, and loved ones. It’s time to choose your hard.

You have your big idea, you’ve niched down, you’ve created your avatar, and now it’s time to decide which platform will become the main delivery vehicle for your content. Your platform is how you will share your message with the world.

There are three major platforms to choose from: written, audio, and video.




·        Written content is easily shareable.

·        Many people prefer consuming written content over other platforms.

·        Writing is less stressful and time-consuming than producing audio or video.

·        It is much easier to edit a written piece of content than audio or video.


·        A piece written of content is difficult to repurpose into other forms of content.

·        Many people don’t like reading.

·        Written content has a low barrier of entry so everyone can do it, which results in a very saturated platform.





·        People can listen while they are doing other things, which is multitasking at its best.

·        It’s free.

·        It’s on demand. You can listen when you want.

·        It’s targeted. There are hundreds of categories and subcategories of podcasting. You can find a podcast focused on the exact topic you are interested in.

·        It’s intimate. Humans are drawn to voice.


·        There are times when people want or need to see a visual representation.

·        Some people just don’t enjoy listening to audio content.

·        It has a medium barrier of entry, which results in a lot of podcasts and a saturated market.





·        Humans are visual creatures by nature and love the visual stimulation video can provide.

·        It’s free (usually).

·        It’s on demand, meaning your listeners can pause your video and pick it back up where they left off when the time is right for them.

·        It’s targeted. You can watch videos on the exact topic you are interested in.

·        It’s easily shareable.

·        It has maximum repurpose capabilities.


·        There is a lot of prep in the creation of high-quality videos: lights, camera, wardrobe, and so on.

·        Creating professional videos is pricey.

·        Creating professional videos is time-consuming.

·        People are unable to constructively multitask while watching videos.

·        It has a medium barrier of entry (anyone with a smartphone) so many people are doing it, which results in a saturated platform.


Find Your Mentor

A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself. —OPRAH WINFREY

Your perfect mentor is currently where you want to be one year from today.

When you use this approach to find a mentor, you’ll be learning from someone who has recently completed the journey you’re embarking upon. This will ensure their advice is valuable and relevant. They’ll know the rabbit holes and bear traps you must avoid. They’ll know where you can take shortcuts and which activities are worth skipping over. They’ll be able to connect you to the right people in your industry and recommend the events and conferences you should be attending. The right mentor will keep you moving in the right direction while ensuring that your foundation is solid.


Join or Create a Mastermind

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. —JIM ROHN

It consists of either three or four people. No more, no less. This mastermind will meet for one hour every week and will have a strict attendance policy. If someone cannot commit to making 95 percent of the weekly meetings, they are not the right fit for your mastermind.

When it’s just you, procrastination will win. When two or three people whom you respect are holding you accountable every week, your productivity will skyrocket. You won’t want to let them down and will accomplish great things as a result.

So, where can you find the two or three people who will make up your mastermind? You should be looking for people who are at a similar place in their journey as you are. They can be a little ahead or a little behind, but the key is finding those who are motivated, positive, and ready to support you on this roller coaster of a ride we call life.


Plan Your Content

Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue. —ANDREW DAVIS

Picture two scenarios.

  1. You test all your content ideas by going one mile wide and one inch deep.
  2. You take all your focus, energy, and bandwidth and go one inch wide and one mile deep with one single content idea.

Of the above two scenarios, which one do you think will make a deeper impression on your audience? Do you think you’ll ever be able to gain traction and proof of concept by going one inch deep with multiple ideas? Never.

Eventually, your content production plan can include multiple big ideas, but to gain that elusive initial traction, you need to keep your content focused. Whenever you hear anyone clamoring to be omnipresent, ignore them. Omnipresence is amazing when the time is right, but for you, that time is not today.


Create Content

Content isn’t king, it’s the kingdom. —LEE ODDEN

What separates the entrepreneurs who fade into obscurity and those who find uncommon success? Consistency. Not for a week. Not for a month. But for years.

It’s hard to remain consistent for that length of time, and it’s easy to stop. If your why is not strong enough, you’ll stop too. Everyone has a different why and it’s critical to identify yours early and often.

If you’re a parent, you know how a baby could throw your life into chaos, take up an incredible amount of time, and give you every excuse in the world to abandon your work. But the one thing a baby will give you is your why.

It’s important to remember that, at our core, we are all human beings. It is natural to have doubt, fear, stress, and anxiety when we try something new, especially when that something new might not work.

It’s scary to sit down, face your fears, and do the work. What’s scarier? Not providing for your newborn.




The most dangerous way we sabotage ourselves is by waiting for the perfect moment to begin. Nothing works perfectly the first time, or the first fifty times. Everything has a learning curve. The beginning is just that—a beginning. Surrender your desire to do it flawlessly on the first try. It’s not possible. Learn to learn. Learn to fail. Learn to learn from failing. —VIRONIKA TUGALEVA

Perfectionism sucks. Perfectionism is a word you hide behind so you never have to face the possibility of rejection, failure, or fear.

You will imperfectly, awkwardly, and clumsily launch your voice, message, and mission into the world. On your path to uncommon success. You’ll stumble, you’ll fall, you’ll struggle. You’ll learn to learn, learn to fail, learn to learn from failing. The best part? You’ll survive.

This process will repeat over and over and then one magical day something will click and your life will never be the same. But none of this can happen until you launch.

The red button is in your hands. Go ahead. Press it. It’s time. It’s time to launch.


Pinpoint Your Avatar’s Biggest Struggle

Inside of every problem lies an opportunity. —ROBERT KIYOSAKI

You’re producing free, valuable, and consistent content on a platform of your choice. Maybe it’s podcasting, vlogging, blogging, social media, some other platform you’ve chosen, or a combination of the above. By producing free, valuable, and consistent content for your avatar, you are naturally growing an audience.

That audience is beginning to know, like, and trust you because of the value you are adding to their lives. Now, it’s time to engage with your audience and ask them four simple questions.

  1. How did you hear about me/find my content?
  2. What do you like about the content I’m producing?
  3. What don’t you like?
  4. What is your biggest struggle right now?

Don’t overcomplicate things. If you’ve been building an email list, send them an email. If you’re connected with them on social media, send them a private message. Whatever platforms you are using to produce content, use those same platforms to pose these questions.

It just needs to be a simple message like:

Hi [name],

Thank you for listening to/watching my content. I’d love to jump on a quick call to ask you four questions. It would really help me to learn more about you.




Prove the Concept and Craft the Solution

Approach each customer with the idea of helping him or her solve a problem or achieve a goal, not of selling a product or service. —BRIAN TRACY

You identified which struggle you’ll create the solution for. Now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and craft the solution, right? Wrong.

This is where many stray off the path toward uncommon success. This is where many would lock themselves away for months, crafting the perfect solution, finally emerging from their cave of isolation to proudly announce to the world, “I hath returned bearing the world’s greatest solution to your most grave and unjust problem.”

But this is a narrow path and there is no need to stray. Before we craft the perfect solution for our audience, we need to verify that people will pay for the solution. Remember this truism: People vote with their wallet.

If you are going to spend your most valuable asset, time, to create the perfect solution to your audience’s biggest struggle, you must know with 100 percent certainty that your audience is willing to invest in the solution.

If people are not willing to prepay, or at the very least put a deposit down for a solution you’re offering to create, chances are their struggle is not painful enough.


Build Your Funnel

You have to tell a story before you can sell a story. —BETH COMSTOCK

A funnel is the journey your avatar takes from the moment they are introduced to your content for the very first time all the way to becoming a customer, client, or evangelist. The days of “Hi, my name is John, now buy my product” are long gone. In fact, they never existed.

Which real estate agent do you think would be more successful?

One who meets you and says, “Hi! I’m Mary and I have the perfect house for you. I know we just met and I don’t know anything about you and haven’t asked you any questions, but just trust me, you’re going to love it.”

Or, the agent who says, “Hi, I’m Maria and here is a pamphlet on the ten biggest mistakes first-time homeowners make. I want to make sure we avoid all those! I’d love to sit down, get to know you, and hear what your dream house would be. Then I’ll share my knowledge of the real estate opportunities in this area that would fit your needs. Then we’ll take a drive and I will educate you about the different neighborhoods, we’ll see some houses, you’ll tell me what you like and don’t like, and I’ll adjust the search accordingly and we’ll keep at it till we find your dream home.”

Obviously, Maria crushes it and Mary wonders why she sells zero homes, has zero referrals, and of course makes zero revenue. Sadly, most entrepreneurs treat their avatars like Mary without even realizing it.

The first thing to know is humans buy from humans. Secondly, humans buy from humans they know, like, and trust.

You know your avatar’s biggest struggles. You deliver solutions to these struggles on your platform of choice. You deliver these valuable solutions for free and consistently. As a result, your avatar knows, likes, and trusts you.


Diversify Your Revenue Streams

You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. —MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.

We’ve all heard the wise words don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Those words ring true today. We live in an incredibly dynamic world. Opportunities are changing and evolving at a rapid rate.

What’s hot today can be ice cold tomorrow. What could be crushing it for you this month could produce a goose egg the following month. The common path to uncommon success is not about finding one thing and crushing it, but in building a diversified business that has a foundation that will see you through the economic cycles and shifts to come.

Uncommon success means that you will thrive in the good times and survive during the lean. Uncommon success means you must create diversified streams of revenue so you can adapt when the economy, Mother Nature, or life in general throws a curveball.


Increase Your Traffic

You are out of business if you don’t have a prospect. —ZIG ZIGLAR

In the movie Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner is famous for saying, “If you build it, they will come.” Sadly, the real world is not the Field of Dreams. A more accurate quote would be, “If you build it, most people won’t care.”

Harsh words, but true. A more accurate quote is, “If you build it, they won’t care until you make them aware.” How do you make them aware? Not by creating content in your bubble and staying inside your bubble. You need to create great content and then collaborate with other creators in your niche who are creating great content for your avatars

This is creating a win-win relationship and will allow their audience to become aware of you and vice versa. Before you overthink this, please remember the following: All ships rise in a high tide.

You must approach this task with a mindset of abundance. There will be people who have no desire to collaborate; simply move on to the next opportunity. They are displaying a mindset of scarcity and there is no need to sink to their level.

Abundance is the world you want to live in, and there are plenty of creators who feel the same. Open your arms, open your heart, and find others who are at a similar place in their journey to collaborate and commingle audiences with.


Keep the Money You Make

It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep, how hard it works for you, and how many generations you keep it for. —ROBERT KIYOSAKI

If you commit to keeping the money you make and build a financial war chest, you’ll be able to deploy your assets in ways that will fortify and grow your business.

There are two amazing books that will further expound upon this topic as well as provide specific tactics you can employ. The first book is a classic: The Richest Man in Babylon, by George S. Clason. You’ll be taken back thousands of years to learn a timeless principle: pay yourself first. The second book is very tactical and strategic: Profit First, by Mike Michalowicz.

The common path to uncommon success is about creating financial freedom and fulfillment. You can’t do that with an empty bank account. You can’t do that without keeping the money you make.

Learn the principles in these books and you will be on your way to uncommon success.


The Well of Knowledge

Everything you’ve read so far is easy to digest but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to pull off every idea perfectly. When you start to apply your knowledge, it’s okay to suck at it. If you revisit the outcome of each of your interactions, you’ll learn what to do differently to get a desired outcome next time.

A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for. —JOHN A. SHEDD

What a journey we’ve been on. Now it’s time to take your ship out to sea. It’s time to join us on the common path to uncommon success.

I highly recommend you purchase the book to immerse yourself in a sea of personal stories and firsthand insights. You’ll also consume what John calls the ‘Well of Knowledge’. It’s a compilation of the best advice he has received over the years with his thoughts added. It’s as applicable as it’s inspiring when you need a dose of motivation.

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