This post was originally produced for Forbes.
John Lee Dumas is one of the most successful podcasters on iTunes. Last year, when he decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign for his “Freedom Journal,” he partnered with Pencils of Promise. He raised $453,000 on Kickstarter and donated $75,000 to the nonprofit. Now he’s at it again.
Dumas boasts over 1 million listens to his “Entrepreneur on Fire” podcast every month. You wouldn’t think he “needs” to partner with Pencils of Promise in order to be successful with his campaign. Dumas is a savvy entrepreneur. He’s clearly figured that this is an important part of the strategy.
His last campaign for the “Freedom Journal” raised enough to build three schools in Ghana, Guatemala or Laos, the three countries where the nonprofit operates. For his current campaign launched this morning for his “Mastery Journal,” he hopes to raise $100,000, enough for Pencils of Promise to build four schools.
Dumas has not only been successful as a podcaster, talking with successful entrepreneurs seven days a week (here’s his 2014 interview with me), he’s become a business coach for podcasters. He reports his revenue and profit publicly each month. Last year, he reported revenue of $2.6 million and net profit (presumably pre-tax) of $1.7 million.
He says, “My goal with EOFire is to inspire entrepreneurs to succeed, emulate success and avoid mistakes.”
The Mastery Journal is a manual for accomplishing big goals, Dumas explains. In it, he teaches entrepreneurs how to deal with their three biggest problems: lack of productivity, discipline and focus. The book includes a daily guide to building those three powerful skills.
Dumas, who served in the military, says he learned discipline there. But he recognized that he lacked focus and productivity. His business took off once he mastered those skills.
He says the biggest challenge people face is the constant barrage of what he calls “OPA” or “other people’s agenda.” One of the tricks he uses to overcome OPA is to block out 42-minute stretches of time for focused activity with absolutely no distractions allowed.
Dumas acknowledges that some people can’t use the system. For those in 9-to-5 jobs with little autonomy, the Mastery Journal won’t help much–unless they are willing to use the tool for their free time outside of work in an effort to break away from the 9-to-5. He says, “Some people are just in reactionary mode and can’t use the book unless they are ready to leave that behind.”
He believes that the Mastery Journal will help people accomplish their objectives. “A lot of people have amazing voices to share with the world, but they don’t because they don’t give themselves permission to do it. This gives people the structure to be productive and share their message with the world.”
So far on the first day, as of January 23, 2017 at 4:00 Eastern, Dumas’s Kickstarter campaign for The Mastery Journal has raised $29,009, topping the initial goal of $25,000. The campaign ends on February 24, 2017 at 10:59 PM Eastern. In order to reach his goal to donate $100,000 to Pencils of Promise, he’ll need to raise another $571,000.
Dumas clearly believes the partnership with Pencils of Promise is a win for everyone. Not only does it provide needed cash for the organization to deliver on its mission to educate underserved communities, it makes the crowdfunding campaign more appealing to backers. They get both the value of the book but also the honest sense of helping to build a school for deserving children in the developing world.
On Tuesday, January 24, 2017 at noon Eastern, Dumas will join me here for a live discussion about The Mastery Journal, his crowdfunding campaign and the strategic partnership with Pencils of Promise. Tune in here (at the top of this article) then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.