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TMBA495: Going All In on a Side Project

On today's podcast, Dan and Ian are following up with the subject of one of the most popular episodes in recent years. Tommy Griffith is the founder of ClickMinded, an online SEO training course that he started while he was working at Paypal. Tommy joined us two and a half years ago to talk about how he started that business as a Saturday Morning Side Hustle. When we last spoke with Tommy in 2017, he was about to quit one of the best jobs in the world as the head of SEO at AirBNB to travel the world and focus on Clickminded full-time. It didn't go quite as planned, as you'll find out on this week's episode. Tommy returns to the podcast today to talk about what went wrong, and why he decided almost eight years into growing his business that it was time to take on a co-founder.

TMBA494: The Affiliate Marketing Adventure

Dan and Ian have heard many variations of the same question over the years: "I want to be an entrepreneur, but how do I get started?" Today's guest has some really practical insight into what it means to take the leap into starting your own business. Dom Wells started out, as many do, building affiliate marketing sites. He's gone on to establish several successful spin-off businesses from what was effectively a side hustle, all while he was still working a full-time job teaching English in Taipei. This week, Dom joins us to share tips for getting started on the long journey of entrepreneurship, how to build a skillset and a network, and the mistakes that he made along the way.

TMBA492: The Re-Readables: Rich Dad Poor Dad

Recently, Dan and Ian have been revisiting some of their favorite books on this podcast in a recurring series that we like to call "The Re-Readables."This week, we are digging into a classic entrepreneurial book that was suggested to us by our friend, author, and frequent guest on this podcast, Kyla Gardner of KylaGardner.com.That book is Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad Poor Dad. In that book, Kiyosaki basically suggests that if you want to be rich and successful, you've got to ditch the middle-class mindset.Kyla joins us this week to discuss some of the controversial opinions in this book, which ideas in that book have aged the best and which have aged the worst, and much, much more.

TMBA491: Breaking Up is Still Hard to Do

Dan and Ian have shared a lot of business success stories on this podcast over the years. We love sharing those stories on this show, but sometimes the tough experiences that entrepreneurs have endured are the ones that we learn from the most. Freddy Lansky is the co-founder of iChess, which sells chess videos, courses and DVDs online. Recently, Freddy decided to leave that business, choosing to dissolve an eight-year business partnership with one of his closest friends. On today's episode, Freddy joins us to speak about the origins of iChess, what it felt like to be trapped in a business that was no longer fulfilling to him, and how he and his partner navigated their breakup.

TMBA486: The Re-Readables: Getting Things Done

Dan and Ian are excited to start a new series on this week's show.One of our favorite podcasts to listen to lately is The Re-Watchables, a series presented by The Ringer, where the hosts look back on legendary films.They discuss why these movies had such an impact, what parts have aged the best and worst, and other categories which they use to assess what has made these films stand the test of time.We thought it would be fun to talk about some of our favorite books in a similar light. This week, we are looking back at the single most important book we read in our business.Getting Things Done by David Allen represented a paradigm shift in the early 2000s, and it was the first book that was truly written for information and knowledge workers.On today's podcast, we are revisiting Getting Things Done, talking about why that book was so influential, and whether the ideas in that book are still as relevant as they were at the time it was released.

TMBA485: Mastering the Art of Entrepreneurial Kung Fu

Dan and Ian have talked a lot about business strategy on this show, but there are some business techniques that are so powerful, you have to learn them from a true master. Jason Cohen, the founder of WP Engine, recently wrote a piece on his blog ASmartBear.com titled Kung Fu. In that blog, Jason proposes that all entrepreneurs are essentially fighters. We are fighting to make a living, fighting to survive, and fighting to change marketplaces. Any good fighter needs to have a plan, and in that blog post, Jason shared his own "secret moves" for running a business. On today's episode, we are talking about some of Jason's secret business moves, and sharing a few of our own as well.

TMBA484: 5 Things We’ve Learned From Running a New Business for 6 Months

A lot of our listeners have been reaching out to us lately to ask about Dan and Ian's newest business venture, Dynamite Jobs. They have been running the business for the past six months, and it is still very much in the early stages. As the business has grown and changed over that time, they've learned a lot of things that they didn't expect. On today's podcast, we're sharing five things that we have learned in the last six months of running a new productized services business. Later on in the episode, we'll be discussing some specific numbers, goals, and takeaways from the first six months of Dynamite Jobs. You'll also hear three reasons why we think the remote hiring process isn't working for a lot of entrepreneurs.

TMBA483: Search Engine Optimization in 2019 (Plus, The Dark Side of SEO)

Longtime listeners of this show know that Dan and Ian spent the early part of their entrepreneurial career building product businesses online. What you might not know is that Search Engine Optimization, commonly referred to as SEO, was one of the first skillsets that they learned when building those businesses. A lot has changed in the last decade when it comes to SEO, and this week's guest seems to be at the forefront of that progress. Tim Soulo is the Chief Marketing Officer and Product Adviser for Ahrefs. Ahrefs is a Software-as-a-Service company that provides a suite of incredibly useful SEO research tools. Their website is also host to one of the best SEO blogs on the internet. On today's podcast, Tim shares some keen insight on the evolution of SEO and how you can make SEO work for your business. We'll also be exploring some of the darker sides of SEO and content marketing.

TMBA482: “I Got There and I Thought It Sucked” – From Digital Dreams to Deals

Dan and Ian have shared many stories on this podcast of people who have escaped from the cubicle in search of location-independence. This week's episode is a little different, as today's guest left his 9-to-5 job in pursuit of entrepreneurial freedom, only to find that it wasn't what it was cracked up to be. Coran Woodmass left his job in Australia and moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand. He started building, buying and selling small web properties, but ultimately realized that it didn't make him happy. These days, Coran has moved into a field he is incredibly passionate about, advising and brokering quality deals for Amazon FBA owners through his new business, TheFBABroker.com. This conversation is about buying and selling Amazon businesses, but it's about a lot more than that too, specifically, what makes you feel satisfied and fulfilled.

TMBA481: Our Favorite Books of the Past 12 Months

On this week's episode, we are continuing one of Dan and Ian's favorite traditions on the podcast. Today we are talking about books, and in particular our favorite books that we have read in the past year. Last year, we invited our good friend and talented author Kyla Gardner to the show to talk about books with us. We had so much fun with that episode that we asked her to return this week. On today's podcast, Dan and Kyla are sharing their five favorite reads of 2019. This conversation also details how some of our reading habits have changed since last year, why Kyla has started writing fiction, and much more.

TMBA478: The Downsides of Success

"Success" isn't always what it's cracked up to be. Dan and Ian know this feeling all too well, as they have dealt with some of their own internal struggles after selling their product business. On today's episode, we are talking about five specific downsides to success. These aren't necessarily strategic elements, as much as they are about the mindset of success. You'll hear about some of the common traps that successful entrepreneurs often find themselves in, and how success itself can actually become a competitive disadvantage.

TMBA477: China From the Inside

One of Dan and Ian's goals heading into 2019 was to feature more stories about China on the podcast this year. China is the primary location where many of the products that entrepreneurs sell are traditionally manufactured, and it has become a fulcrum for a lot of the stuff that online product-based businesses do. On today's show, we are excited to bring you some insights from someone who has been living and working on the ground in China for the better part of a decade. Brian Miller lives in Shenzhen, China, where he operates a third-party logistics company called EasyChinaWarehouse.com. He also runs a mid-six-figure Amazon FBA business, as well as a small China sourcing agency, so he is pretty diversified in the sourcing and fulfillment model that we have discussed so often on this podcast. What makes Brian's story unique is that he actually started his working life within a Chinese state-owned enterprise, which is something that very few westerners have done. This isn't just a conversation about manufacturing in China, though. Brian also shares his experience living in the country, what it's like to interact with the Chinese people, and much, much more.

TMBA476: “An Adventure Worth Going On”

Dan and Ian have decided to be a little bit self-indulgent with this week's podcast. On today's show, they are talking about their goals for 2019. In particular, they wanted to talk about what they have planned for their newest venture, Dynamite Jobs. On this episode, they will be sharing the single goal that they are working towards for Dynamite Jobs this year. You'll also hear what went into the decision to choose that goal, as well as some of our biggest business takeaways heading into the new year.

TMBA475: The Messy Marketplace

One of the things that Dan and Ian love about creating this podcast is that they not only get to talk to some pretty interesting people, but they also get to follow their stories as they build and scale their businesses. About two years ago, we spoke with Brent Beshore, the Founder and CEO of Adventur.es. Since we last talked, Brent's team has more or less doubled. They've made a decision to raise capital, bought a headquarters in Columbia, Missouri and Brent has written a book about buying businesses called "The Messy Marketplace". On today's episode, we are revisiting Brent's story and hearing how Adventur.es has grown since we last spoke. We'll also hear how things have changed since they have raised over 50 million dollars in investment capital, and why he decided to share the story of his business in his new book. 

TMBA474: “You’re Not Working With Clients Anymore, You’re Working With Customers”

Dan and Ian are back to kick off 2019, and looking forward to another 52 podcasts about how to grow better, more profitable lifestyle businesses. What better way to start the year than by addressing a topic that so many listeners are constantly reaching out to us about? On this week's episode, we are speaking with Tommy Joiner. Tommy is the co-founder of ContentPros, which is a productized business that offers high-level content generation services. Tommy joins us today to talk about how to create a successful productized business, rather than getting stuck in a freelancer, consultant, or agency model. This is something that we know a lot of entrepreneurs are struggling with, and Tommy shares some valuable insight into how he was able to make this transition, as well as his top 4 tips for starting a successful productized service.

TMBA473: “Which Hill Do You Want to Die On?”

Last week, Dan and Ian shared some of their favorite moments from the interviews that they've conducted on this podcast in 2018. This week, we wanted to get a little more abstract. On today's podcast, we are looking back on some of our favorite conceptual ideas that we've covered in 2018. These are the business and lifestyle themes that have been echoing throughout the Tropical MBA airwaves this year. We'll be revisiting some of our most talked about episodes of the year, and you will hear our current thoughts on some of those topics including investment, remote work, and the long journey of entrepreneurship.

TMBA472: Surprises and Delights of the Year

As we approach the end of 2018, Dan and Ian have been reflecting on some of their favorite conversations of the year, many of which happened on this podcast. They both feel incredibly fortunate to be able to speak to so many people that they admire and respect on this show. This year has been a landmark one for us here at the Tropical MBA, and on today's episode, we are revisiting some of our favorite moments from our very favorite episodes of 2018. We aren't just revisiting the highlights, though. Stick around after the credits to hear our 2018 blooper reel.

TMBA471: The Helsinki Bus Theory

Dan and Ian have spent a lot of time in Chiang Mai. One of the traditions that Dan has every time he visits is to touch base with Kevin Graham. You may remember Kevin from a previous episode we released in early 2017. In that episode, Kevin joined us to talk about the first major business that he co-founded, which was a suite of Amazon Associates affiliate sites. These days, he has been focusing on a different project; a web hosting business called Bulk Buy Hosting. In particular, he has decided to take a different turn with that business and we invited him on the show to talk about it. Today you'll hear about Kevin's experience with Bulk Buy Hosting, and why he decided to move into a completely new direction with it. Kevin also shares why he believes a bus station in Helsinki is has a strong connection to a topic that we've talked about a lot on this show - The 1,000 Day Principle.

TMBA470: The Elephant in the Room

Today's episode is about a place that has played a very special part in Dan and Ian's entrepreneurial journey. China has become one of the most important countries in the world for entrepreneurs. Chinese supply chains and manufacturing are the lifeblood of many online businesses around the world. Things have changed over the last several years in China, though, and arguably no one understands that better than today's guest. Matt Kowalak of China Ecom Boost not only works with manufacturers in China, but with major product companies and celebrities as well, helping them break in and market themselves into this enormous country. In this episode, we talk about culture, commerce, and Matt's trajectory, including why he has had a major re-evaluation about the kind of business he wants to be doing in the future, focused on the vast potential opportunities that he sees in China.

TMBA469: It’s No Good Having Ideas if They Don’t Bring You Results

Dan and Ian have said for years on this podcast that the most important thing your business should be doing is solving people's problems. Today's guest has taken that philosophy and ran with it. Kean Graham is the founder of Monetize More, a monetization agency that helps online brands optimize their ad revenue. Monetize More is 100 people strong, and it's safe to say that they lean into location independence. In fact, they consider it a key value in their company. On today's episode, we are going to explore the inside story of how Monetize More got started. You'll also hear the strategies Kean has used to grow that business, some of which could be considered pretty controversial.

TMBA468: “Allowing Myself To Dream That Big”

Dan and Ian have encountered many entrepreneurs in their travels, from all walks of life. They first met today's guest back in April at our annual Dynamite Circle event in Austin, Texas. Sam Browne was the beneficiary of one of the scholarship tickets to that event. These scholarships have been donated by some of the more established entrepreneurs in the community as a sort of way to pay it forward. Sam is the founder of Find A Band, a New Zealand-based online booking agency for bands and musicians. He is also a talented musician himself, and you will hear some of his original music on today's show. Six months after attending our event, Sam wrote us to let us know that his experience at DC Austin had inspired him to dream bigger. His email was so exciting, that we just had to invite him on to this week's podcast to share his story.

TMBA467: The Long, Winding Road to 60 Remote Employees…

Dan and Ian have been wanting to share the story of this week's episode for quite some time. Justin Cooke is one of the co-founders of Empire Flippers. Empire Flippers is an online marketplace where businesses are bought and sold.  Since their inception, they have grown their team to over 60 remote employees, and they have helped people buy and sell over $50 million worth of online businesses. It wasn't always like that, though. On today's podcast, Justin is joining us to share the story of Empire Flippers. On this podcast, you'll hear about Justin's background in the mortgage industry, how he joined forces with his business partner, how the market crash in 2008 left them with almost no money, and how they were eventually able to create one the largest marketplaces in the world for buying and selling online businesses.