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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.

TMBA466: The Dos and Don’ts of Hiring Apprentices

It's no secret that Dan and Ian love hearing from the listeners of this show. This week, we received a question from Ben McAdam. Some of you might remember Ben from his earlier appearances on this podcast. Ben reached out to us to ask about our recent decision to hire a new apprentice. For those of you who are not aware, we brought someone new onto our team recently and we'd like to talk about it here today. On this week's episode, you'll hear all about why we decided to find a new apprentice, and what that process was like. We'll also be sharing a comprehensive list of "Dos and Don'ts" when it comes to hiring your own apprentice, as well as some quick tips on how you can find the apprenticeship of your dreams.

TMBA465: 5 Internet Business Themes for 2019

Dan and Ian are still resting up after hosting 350 entrepreneurs at their annual DC BKK event in Bangkok last week. While they were at that event, they had the opportunity to speak to so many entrepreneurs about their business struggles and successes throughout 2018. In light of those conversations, we've decided to address some of the common topics we've heard throughout that conference on today's episode. This week, we are discussing the five trends that internet businesses need to consider for the upcoming year. We'll be talking location freedom, hiring practices, conference strategies, and much, much more. 

TMBA464: 5 Reasons Your Presentation Might Suck

We are fresh off the heels of DC BKK 2018, our annual conference that we host in Bangkok. It's safe to say that in the many years of running that conference, as well as attending other conferences around the globe, Dan and Ian have seen quite a few amazing presentations from speakers. Not every presentation can be a home run, though, and we have seen our fair share of bad ones too. This week, Dan is talking about the science behind a great presentation, and specifically the five reasons your presentation might suck. The ability to give a great presentation is an important skill set for entrepreneurs. Even if you aren't planning on giving a presentation any time soon, learning these principles can help make you a better communicator in your business.

TMBA463: The Tao of the Hustle Redux

A few years ago, Dan and Ian published an episode of this podcast called The Tao of the Hustle. In the years since we still receive frequent questions and comments about our opinions on hustle and entrepreneurship that we shared in that episode. One of those questions recently came from a listener named Rob Sanchez. Rob loves creating products, but over the course of his career, he has failed to establish proper distribution channels as he's built those products. His insecurities about hustling have frequently led to less than stellar results when his products launch. On today's episode, we are addressing Rob's troubles, and revisiting The Tao of the Hustle. We'll be sharing six new elements to the Tao of the Hustle, as well as exploring the ways that our philosophies about hustle have evolved in 2018.

TMBA462: A Conversation with Michael Lombardi

Dan and Ian are always looking for new ways to gain insight into entrepreneurship, and sometimes that insight can come from some unexpected places. Michael Lombardi is an American Football executive and analyst. He also served as an assistant to the coaching staff of the New England Patriots, one of the most successful franchises in the history of the National Football League. While Dan was reading Michael's new book "Gridiron Genius", he realized it wasn't just a book about sports. In many ways, Dan found "Gridiron Genius" to be as much a business book as a football one. On today's episode, we are talking with Michael about the similarities between American Football and entrepreneurship, and some leadership strategies in sports that entrepreneurs everywhere can learn from.

TMBA461: The 40% Rule

If you've been listening to this podcast for a while, you would know that one of the major motivations for Dan and Ian in life is creating the freedom to live life on your own terms. That freedom can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. On recent episodes, we have spoken about how entrepreneurship shares a lot in common with the FIRE (Financially Independent, Retire Early) community. One of the tenents of FIRE philosophy is The 4% Rule, which is the practice of saving and investing enough money that it will allow you to withdraw 4% of that income every year to live off of.  In order for that rule to work, though, you would need to save 1 million dollars to live on a modest income of $40,000 annually. That can be a tall order for people who are on a small salary. Enter Jase Rodley. Jase recently wrote a piece called The 40% Rule, which addresses this idea head-on. The 40% Rule is an investment strategy that allows people to concentrate on returns from modest investments, while still allowing themselves to "stay in the game". On today's episode, Jase discusses The 40% Rule, the business that he is currently building, and how his experience with that business has informed his investment strategies.

TMBA460: Are We Being Honest About the True Cost of Bootstrapping a Business?

Today we are examining a discussion that Dan and Ian have been having behind the scenes of this podcast for years. These conversations revolve around a question that everyone who is considering an entrepreneurial lifestyle needs to hear: What are the real costs of bootstrapping a business? The truth is that it is often much more expensive and complicated than writers and "thought leaders" let on. It can steal so much of our time, our opportunities for relationships, and sometimes our own well being. Justin Jackson knows this better than most. Justin is a well-known podcaster with a track record of shows like Product People, Build Your SaaS, and MegaMaker. He has also recently launched an integrated podcast service called Transistor.fm. Justin has been addressing some of these more "taboo" entrepreneurial concepts on his blog. A recent piece called The Bootstrapper's Paradox addresses some of the hidden costs of bootstrapping. On today's episode, Justin shares his thoughts on those hidden costs. He also challenges some of the narratives that legendary figures in the movement have built around themselves and opens up about his own struggles with mental health as an entrepreneur.

TMBA459: The State of Bitcoin

Dan and Ian have spoken about cryptocurrencies before, and they have certainly been a divisive topic among the listeners of this show. The fact is that cryptocurrencies aren't going away. If you're interested in your financial future and really want to understand the nature of these markets and how to manipulate them, this episode is for you. We've invited our friend Taylor Pearson back to the show this week to talk about a recent article he wrote called The State of Bitcoin. On today's podcast, Taylor shares his thoughts on how cryptocurrencies essentially differ from other forms of investment, how to distinguish hype from opportunity, and why the "Bitcoin backlash" is happening.

TMBA458: Five Reasons You Won’t Be an Entrepreneur Next Year

Dan and Ian have been around the block a few times, and in that time they have seen many entrepreneurs come and go. What many don't understand is that the majority of entrepreneurial success stories don't happen overnight. Nearly every sustainable path to wealth and freedom is a journey that can take years, and often decades to achieve This week's episode is a list of the five common reasons that entrepreneurs will give up on their journey. If you identify with any of the reasons we mention on today's podcast, fear not. You can use the knowledge and information we share on this show to help you get over your obstacles and further sustain your journey as an entrepreneur.

TMBA457: Why Does Everyone Talk About Revenue and Not Profit?

A few weeks ago, Dan and Ian published an episode of this podcast about The Peter Principle, which is the idea that everyone will more or less rise to the level of their own incompetence. Today, we are talking about a different principle. This one comes from a great 19th century book, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. This episode begins with an excerpt from the book, where Tom is forced to paint a fence and convinces others to help him, eventually tricking them into painting the fence themselves. On today's show, we're sharing our thoughts on how entrepreneurs can use this same philosophy to lead a great team without working in their business day-to-day. We'll also be talking about the progress we've made with our new business venture - Dynamite Jobs, and why many entrepreneurs spend so much time focusing on top-line revenue rather than profits.

TMBA456: An Episode For Those Who Need a Business Idea Redux

One of Dan and Ian 's favorite topics to discuss on this show is business ideas. In particular, they love brainstorming new business ideas with the listeners of this podcast. Coming up with a great business idea doesn't come naturally for all of us, though we believe it really is a skill that you can learn and get better at. Today, we are talking about the science behind a great business idea. In particular, we are sharing five techniques that you can use to develop your own business idea. We'll also be revisiting some of the business ideas that we came up with on an earlier episode of this show from 2015.

TMBA455: The Rise of Audiobooks and a Giveaway

Every week, for over 450 episodes, Dan and Ian talk on this podcast about business, entrepreneurship, and location independence. They do so because they love creating and consuming audio content. It's no wonder then that when Dan finally wrote his first book, Before the Exit, he was naturally very passionate about creating a narrated audiobook version. On today's podcast, we are talking about audiobooks. In particular, we'll be talking about how we recorded our first audiobook, as well as sharing some of the most popular highlighted passages in that book. You'll also hear how audiobooks have made an impression on us, and why we think audiobooks are becoming so popular in 2018.  As a special bonus, listen in to find out how you could be the recipient of a very unique gift. 

TMBA454: What Does Your City Whisper?

Dan and Ian have spent many hours on this show talking about location and in particular the cities that location-independent entrepreneurs choose to live in. A little while ago, Dan read an article called Cities and Ambition by Paul Graham which theorizes that the cities we visit actually send signals to us in a variety of unspoken ways. Afterward, he felt compelled to write a blog post about the ways that certain cities "whisper" to us. On today's episode, you will hear that blog post, as well as some thoughts and reflections on some of our favorite cities. We'll be sharing what we love about those cities, why we can't stop visiting them, and what each of those cities has been "whispering" to us.

TMBA452: How to Master a Mastermind

On today's podcast, Dan and Ian are talking about one of the most critical elements to their own success in business: masterminds. We've talked about the importance of masterminds before on this podcast, but we believe it is an issue worth addressing again because we have seen the benefits that entrepreneurs can achieve from them firsthand. When taken advantage of correctly, the value of a great mastermind cannot be understated, and masterminds have played a vital role in the business journey of this week's guest. Ryan Heneise is the founder of Booster Stage, an agency that does web app development for startups. Ryan was a guest at our recent event in Austin, Texas and took part in his first official mastermind. On this week's episode, you'll hear from Ryan about how that event unfolded, and the benefits that he has seen from attending that mastermind. You'll also hear tips on how to get the most out of a mastermind, and how to create a successful mastermind yourself.

TMBA449: The Peter Principle Revisited

On this week's episode, Dan and Ian are going to explore one of the philosophical concepts that they have been talking about increasingly on this show. The Peter Principle was originally published by Laurence J. Peter in 1969. The basic premise is that every employee or member of an organizational hierarchy will tend to rise to their own "level of incompetence". On today's podcast, we are talking about what this concept means for entrepreneurs, how it applies to us, how it applies to our businesses, and what we can learn from it. We'll also share some strategies for what to do if you believe that you've reached your own capacity for growth.

TMBA448: The Cult of Early Retirement

Dan and Ian share stories of financial freedom every week on this podcast. On this week's episode, they wanted to explore what that freedom actually means. To some, living a life of frugality can allow yourself to retire early, but does it really bring you freedom? One year ago, Dan wrote an article called The Cult of Early Retirement Meets (Or Strangely, Doesn't Meet) The Cult of Entrepreneurship. This article turned out to be fairly controversial, with many readers of our blog sharing their thoughts on early retirement, financial freedom, and more. Today, we are going to present an audio version of that article, followed by some opinions and reflections on the discussions that arose from it. You'll also hear our thoughts on why the writings of early retirement bloggers don't entirely click with entrepreneurs, why we believe our time is more valuable than money, and a whole lot more.

TMBA447: The Suburban Entrepreneur

Dan and Ian return this week with another unique entrepreneurial origin story. In fact, today's guest has built a business in the last four years that has revenues in the low seven figures and he now employs five employees. Part of the reason we like to share these origin stories on the show is that there's a moment for every one of us when we really truly did not believe that we could achieve this sort of thing. Allen Walton knows that feeling all too well. Allen is the founder of SpyGuy.com, an eCommerce business which sells covert surveillance technology. Allen grew up in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas, and he still lives there today. On today's podcast, you'll hear Allen share the story of how he grew SpyGuy.com to a seven-figure business, what happened when he cold-emailed Mark Cuban, and a whole lot more.

TMBA446: The Tale of 12 Exits

As many of you know, Dan and Ian love hearing from the listeners of this show. A listener named Tom Hannon recently wrote in with a question that we really hadn't addressed on this show before. We've talked a lot about selling businesses on this podcast lately, but what happens when you don't have a choice? What happens when you are forced to sell? As we started talking with Tom, we discovered that he has actually sold twelve businesses of his own, and the circumstances of each of those sales were entirely unique. We invited Tom onto today's podcast to share the stories of those exits, as well as the lessons that he has learned along the way.

TMBA445: Finding Your Tribe

Today's show is all about seizing opportunities. Last year, Dan and Ian invited Greg Gerber, who is a member of our community The Dynamite Circle, on to the show to talk about how he gifted an up-and-coming entrepreneur an all-expenses-paid trip to our annual event in Barcelona. This idea of "paying it forward" has really taken off in the community since then. At our recent event in Austin, TX, Meryl Johnston offered two free tickets on behalf of her company, Bean Ninjas. Dan and Ian contributed a few free tickets of their own, with others offering free airfare, coaching, and more. On today's podcast, you'll hear from one of the recipients of that gift. Jen Anderson is the founder of Mai-Tie, a company that makes unique, fashionable bowties out of vintage Hawaiian shirts. While her business is still in its infancy, she has a huge amount of experience in the startup world, and some interesting insights into that as well. This is the story of what it takes to find your people.

TMBA444: When Should I Hire?

Dan and Ian are back this week to respond to another listener-submitted question. Chris Cage from GreenbellyBar.com recently reached out to us with a problem that many listeners of this show have been struggling with: when is it the right time to hire somebody? This is a moment in the entrepreneurial journey that every entrepreneur will eventually reach, and it isn't always easy to make the right decision. Hiring can be expensive, from both a financial perspective and an emotional one. Fortunately, Dan and Ian have a rich history of hiring experiences, both good and bad. On today's show, they will be opening up about the mistakes that they have made, as well as the successes they have had when bringing people on to their team.

TMBA443: The Knowledge Gap vs. The Efficiency Gap Revisited

A few weeks ago , Dan and Ian published an episode called The Knowledge Gap vs. The Efficiency Gap. In that episode, they tried to make a distinction between businesses that solve "Knowledge Gaps" for their customers and businesses that solve "Efficiency Gaps". "Knowledge Gap" businesses focus on educating their customers on how their business can solve new problems, whereas the businesses that solve "Efficiency gaps" for their customers are intent on providing more efficient solutions to their preexisting needs. A few of our listeners wrote in with some comments about that show. Nate Smith is the founder of AdmitScout, which specialized in paid traffic lead generation for addiction treatment facilities. Eagan Heath is the founder of a digital marketing agency called Get Found Madison, which is mostly aimed at businesses in Madison, Wisconsin. In this week's podcast, we've invited both Nate and Eagan on to the show to share their responses to that episode and to talk about how Knowledge Gaps and Efficiency Gaps have played a role in their own businesses.

TMBA442: ‘Til Death Do Us Part? Business Relationships

Dan and Ian love receiving messages and questions from listeners of this show. A few weeks back, one listener reached out to them about what the ownership structure of a business partnership should look like. This is a critically important issue for many entrepreneurs, and it's an incredibly complicated one to boot. Dan and Ian are business partners themselves, but they have seen many other partnerships evolve and dissolve over the years. On today's show, we are talking about five partnership styles that we've personally witnessed over the years, how those types of partnerships can affect your business, and how you can find the right business partner.