Want To Build a Lifestyle Business? Follow These 8 Lessons

This is a post by David Hehenberger from the Tropical MBA Semester 2. Follow him on Twitter.

Time goes by fast. Exactly 10 months ago, I met Dan and Sean (from Badladz) for the first time. Naturally, our first meeting culminated in an epic night out in Manila.

On the next morning, we rose at 5am (a bit too early in my opinion) to avoid traffic-jam and made our way to Puerto Galera. From this day on, I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time with Dan and Sean until I left 6 months later.

Puerto Galera

I learned a lot from these two successful businessmen (too much to cover in a single post). Today, I’m sharing 8 things they taught me.

1. Relationships Matter

Dan opened my eyes. Relationships may be the most important thing in life. Being friends with smart, successful and influential people is the biggest asset you can have.

Being a trusted friend of Dan made it a lot easier to become friends with many other smart people. I’d go so far and say that building the right relationships was the biggest thing that i got out of the Tropical MBA.

2. Seek out a Mentor

Having a mentor is not about having somebody constantly hold your hand and giving you step-by-step instructions – he won’t. It’s about having a trusted advisor that gives you constructive feedback. Not only that it’s also about having a friend who genuinely cares about you being successful.

Having Dan as a mentor is a very powerful thing that helps me a lot. I know that it’s easier said than done, but if I were you, I would try to reach out to some more experienced entrepreneurs who do something similar to what you would like to do.

For inspiration, check out how Charlie Hoehn reached out to Tim Ferriss.

3. Trust Your Team

Trust is an important part of every relationship. Dan trusted me from the get go. He told me things that he will never publish online.

Having no secrets and trusting everybody involved (instead of being paranoid) is a key element in making a business work.

4. Ship Something Every Day

Most people who want to “start their business” end up doing nothing but reading, reading and reading. The best way to get out of analysis paralysis is to ship something.

Shipping (or publishing) something every day is the only thing that will bring you closer to your goals. It’s better to ship something that is not perfect than not shipping at all.

Does your new website’s design really have to be 100% perfect? Your time could be better spent on creating content and building an audience. You can always go back and improve the design later.

5. Work Hard

Nobody I know who ”made it” built his business by working only 4 hours a week.

Building a business is hard work. Dan did nothing but work during the first year of his business.

6. Get Up Early

Sean gets up every morning at 5am. Dan is not that extreme, but he’s usually up and working at 8 or 9, even after a good night out.

**Note from Dan: In 2011 I’ve been waking up between 7-8AM. I really believe in this one and am taking it more seriously. @AnythingIan and I call going to bed before 12AM and waking up before 8AM “the General’s schedule.” I have no idea why…

They both swear that it makes them way more productive. Unfortunately, I suck at getting up early. That’s one thing I really need to work on.

7. Work On Stuff you Like

When discussing projects, Sean always used to say “I don’t care if this doesn’t make us a lot of money, what I really care about is if this will result in us having fun fun fun.”

Keep in mind that Sean is already well off and doesn’t need any extra cash to survive. Building your business will not always be fun – I think those “do your passion and the rest will follow”-guys’ voices are a bit too loud in the blogosphere.

However, working on something that you like and believe in will not only save your sanity, it will also increase your chances of success.

8. Join us at the TMBA if you can.

The Tropical MBA is a great win-win situation. Dan gets smart, talented people to work for way below market rate.

In exchange for that, he offers freedom, adventures, relationships and mentorship.

Dan is a genius for coming up with that. I hope to also hire young, motivated interns and help them to make the leap at some point in the future.

Dan, Sean, David

***Note from Dan: congrats to two of my favorite people, Jamie Marsden and David for getting together on V2 of MuseTraffic.com. I’m really looking forward to what they come up with.

Lots going on behind the scenes here at the TMBA (not much writing), however we’ve been working on a re-design, a few new internship opportunities, and a private mastermind group…. more on that soon.

SEMESTER V of the TropicalMBA LAUNCHES THIS WEEK. HIDE YOUR KIDS. HIDE YOUR WIFE. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMtZfW2z9dw)

Cheers from Dumaguete,