2022 TMBA Year in Review – Our Top 10 Most Memorable Moments

Here's a collage of this past year's events!

Last year, I wrote a review and a mid-year update and got many quality replies from readers. So I figured I’d take another stab at it.

Generally speaking, this year just felt busy and dense (like it was two years). Part of that was travel, which for me, returned to pre-pandemic levels – with a trip every month and a few long stays abroad. Our business was equally frantic at times.

Growth and Challenges

We grew quite a bit this year! We’ll be just shy of $2,000,000 in sales (we did not quadruple, as I had written down on last year’s goals lol).

Beyond the numbers, I’m proud of the habits we got into as a team. Basics like having clear strategies, agreed upon ideal client profiles, strong meeting cadences, agendas, clear financials, etc. Just ‘growing up’ in general as a business.

This Year’s Business Theme

If the theme of last year was “back to basics,” the theme of this year was “alignment.”

Questions we’re regularly asking:

Does everyone on the team share the same core beliefs about the company? The customer? The mission? The goals? Do their day-to-day behaviors align with those beliefs?

Alignment started with Ian and me doing what we love to do the most – digressing into long conversations about business and life (often, before we hit record on the podcast, we’ll have already talked and joked for an hour).

But this year, we raised the stakes on those conversations. We invited facilitators, made pro-formas, created presentations, attended coaching sessions, and wrote detailed documentation.

Team members were also better prepared – with KPIs, scoreboards, ideas, and key issues. And it felt necessary. Finding density and alignment in our language. There was a lot to get on the same page about.

Implementing Appropriate Scale Systems

In 2023, we’ll continue our education in earnest about business best practices (to this end, Scaling Up by Verne Harnish has been particularly inspiring). It’s fun to pick out the processes that promise the biggest impact. For a business our size, a full SU implementation would be overkill.

I don’t believe it’s necessary to follow accepted business-building wisdom to grow a great lifestyle business. Still, in our case, it has opened up many possibilities. We’re generally more aligned as a team- so what we do can be executed with greater force.

Also, I find it useful to both 1) know where you’re going when uncertain and 2) have the flexibility to take opportunities when they’re presented. Since installing some key processes in our business, it feels a little less like Groundhog Day around here.

That’s the overview. Here are 10 of my highlights:

1. The return of DCBKK.

It’s crazy that our largest annual event, DCBKK, started 10 years ago (2012) and that we had to skip the past two years due to world events.

It was so fun to be back in Thailand and to spend time with nearly 400 entrepreneurs. Their businesses continue to impress me. We celebrated the end of the event with a Tuk Tuk parade to our closing party venue (lol). Here’s a video from JoelRunyon:

Instagram Video from Joel Runyon of the TukTuk Parade

The TukTuk Parade at dCBKK 2023


Also, I love this shot of our team from the opening party: 

Dynamite Circle Team Photo at DCBKK

2. Tropical MBA brand refresh.

The New Tropical MBA Logo

We haven’t even published it yet, but dang, I like it. We’ve long toyed with the idea of re-branding to be more ‘professional.’ In the process, we sort of watered down some of the fun-loving travel elements of the TMBA brand.

One thing that helped with this decision was feedback from listeners and recognizing that our main topic is really discussing (primarily) 7-Figure Lifestyle Businesses. That’s serious enough for me.

So this year, we’re just going to own the ‘cocktails and dreams’ vibe of the brand and see how it goes.

Cocktails and Dreams inspiring the new logo

It was also cool to have one of our episodes picked up by the webz in a somewhat viral fashion. I really enjoyed that topic as well – solopreneurship and some misconceptions would-be entrepreneurs have about ‘starting points.’

3. The initial response to DC Scale.

In Q4, we launched a much more expensive version of the DC community, focusing on business building. It is cohort-based, features an expert facilitator, and has an in-person element as well. It’s designed to help founders (and their COOs) deal with scale challenges.

The program sold out in just a few days. Awesome! Our waitlist is also busy. Right now, we are focused on our first group. I’m excited to see how it goes and what we learn.

4. DCers meeting around the globe.

Our member-led events were spotty there for a few years. This past year, it was inspiring to see members get back together all around the globe, from monthly meetups, to member-hosted events, to our annual holiday parties.

2023 will prove to be interesting, as members in Asia will have the chance to reboot their events. So far, we’ve got Gold Coast, Miami, Colorado, Mexico City, London, and Bangkok on the event calendar, with more cities coming down the pike in the coming weeks.

It looks like our April Mexico City event will be at capacity, and we’ll have a big crew in London as well. It’s going to be a fun run-up to the summer.

Here's a collage of this past year's events!

5. Doing trust falls with the Bossman.

From hours-long conversations in our office, podcast digressions, consultants, coaches, and therapists, it was a great year of getting experts involved and learning how to be better entrepreneurs together.

Who knows if we’re getting any better, but we’re having fun!

6. The launch of RemoteFirstRecruiting.com.

This is a screenshot of the Remote First Recruiting Homepage

For those of you who listen to the podcast, you’ll know we’ve been droning on about our job board, Dynamite Jobs, for years. But a good deal of our business there was done-for-you services we offer, like flat rate recruiting and guided hire.

It wasn’t an easy decision to break out the agency from the job board, but we ripped the band-aid off, and it’s been great so far.

There’s still tons of cross-over. Specifically, our recruiters at RFR extensively use our candidate database. The growth of which is my next highlight…

7. The enormous growth and usefulness of our remote candidate database at Dynamite Jobs.

I was long concerned that the growth of our candidate database was merely a vanity metric (we’ve now got over 225,000 profiles). But this year, our development team built internal recruiter tools (some of which we extend to clients in certain cases), and we’ve been making a meaningful percentage of our recruiting placements from our database.

8. Finding strategic alignment across our team (and working with people who love to come to work).

It’s just been a pleasure to work with the team this year. Our meetings are… fun. A lot of the Scaling Up type thinking has improved conversations across the team.

One challenge on my mind for the new year is helping our team thrive and grow their careers in our organization. That’s a type of leadership I don’t think I’m great at, and something I’ll be more conscious of this year.

9. Barcelona.

My all-time favorite city was a surprising star this year.

Our summer there was filled with many close friends and business colleagues just stopping by. The conversations we had over long lunches, bike rides, and co-working sessions led to much of the growth mindset we’ve had this year. I love a Zoom call as much as the next micro-manager, but there’s nothing like spending time in long-hangs with intelligent, engaged entrepreneurs.

Here’s to more of that in 2023.

Dan biking in Barcelona by the beach

10. Books!

We failed to do a book episode this year, normally a tradition. I spent a lot of time reading this year, here are 10 titles I enjoyed in no particular order:

  1. In the Weeds
  2. Working Backwards
  3. Guns, Germs, and Steel
  4. 1493
  5. The Stand
  6. The Rape of Nanking
  7. Scaling Up
  8. Exploitative Play in Live Poker
  9. The Private Life of Chairman Mao
  10. The Glass Kingdom

Speaking of books, we finally released a copy of our book in paperback this year. Previously, it was only available on Kindle and Audiobook.

If you’d like a free copy via PDF, feel free to email me at Dan at this domain.

Here's the cover of Before the Exit, our book on selling businesses.

Finally, if you’re looking to catch up on some TMBA pods from last year, here are some listeners enjoyed:

That’s it!

Thanks for reading and here’s to a great 2023,