Tropical MBA Notes 2019

Tropical MBA

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

Date: 2019-01-03


You can care what people think but not to the point where it stops you from trying stuff.

In the service business it is easy to have that initial high.

There are some things in entrepreneurship that are hard to do and one of them for many of us is delegating and trusting someone else to do the work.

As long as you have a service that someone needs there is going to be someone out there that buys it.

For any service-based business make sure your gross margin is 60% or more.

To get your first set of customers you are going to have to hustle regardless.

TMBA475: The Messy Marketplace

Date: 2019-01-10


Face-to-face contact helps with building trust.

A deal never gets better as you start to explore.

Preparation is the only thing you can do.

You can’t control the outcomes but you can control the swings. Focus on making a good swing.

Invest in companies you want to own instead of as a portfolio piece.

Be intimate with your investments.

TMBA476: “An Adventure Worth Going On”

Date: 2019-01-17


If someone is successful they have been a grinder.

There is no need to check Reddit multiple times per day.

Always search for the best people.

Episode 477: TMBA477: China From the Inside

Date: 2019-01-24


You can ship your product directly from China to your customer in Australia. allows you to be a 3rd-party seller.

Wechat has become a big player in China for everything in life essentially.

Episode 478: TMBA478: The Downsides of Success

Date: 2019-01-31


Success can lead you to forget how fortunate you were the first time around.

Success can mean that you made a deal with the devil.

Book: The Myth of Sisyphus

As you become more successful it becomes even more important that you become empathetic of those that do not have as much.

Episode 479: TMBA479: Quitting Social Media – “The ‘Walled Garden’ Experiment Is a Big Failure”

Date: 2019-02-07


Walled gardens do not work well when you are tlaking about hundreds of millions of people connecting with each other.

Book: Digital Minimalism

Walking is a good way to just be with your thoughts.

We use Facebook too much because they have engineered that to be the case.

You should only count actual (face-to-face or voice-to-voice) interactions as socialization.

Being a digital minimalist means you are very intentional about what technology you use.

People need a philosophy for their digital life.

Episode 480: TMBA480: Thoughts on Funding Options for Bootstrappers with Rob Walling

Date: 2019-02-14


Tinyseed is an accelerator for founders who would otherwise bootstrap their companies.

Bootstrapping is a long hard road but you maintain full control.

Back to the wall is helpful.

There is a certain amount of toiling that you still need to do.

The (entrepreneurs) that are going to have success are the ones who have been pushing things forward even though it has been hard.

It is important to have a vision but you can’t hold on too long.

Being a founder is hard because you are making somewhat permanent decisions with incomplete information.

Taking money as a bootstrapper isn’t for everyone.

Episode 481: TMBA481: Our Favorite Books of the Past 12 Months

Date: 2019-02-21


Most things written about travel are consumer related.

1/10 of the people in the world are employed by the tourism industry.

Book: Tribe

Book: Straight Man

Book: Tai-Pan

You have the freedom to do whatever you want and you don’t have to follow any scripts.

It is easy to forget your instincts are valuable.

Book: Skin in the Game

Life is represented by information.

Book: Grit

Book: Liar’s Poker

Book: Educated

Book: Digital Minimalism

Book: Profit First

Book: Secrets of the Millionaire Mind

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

Date: 2019-02-28


The average business broker really doesn’t have the seller’s best interest at heart.

There are no two deals that are ever the same.

If you can take a business and improve the margin you are making money straight out of the gate.

What you are investing in needs to have some value already beyond what you are seeing on the balance sheet.

Entrepreneurs are always moving forward.

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

Date: 2019-03-07


Too many people create SaaS products that they don’t use themselves.

When someone asks you to add a feature ask them for use cases.

Put content above any SEO tricks.

Google’s algorithm is based on votes from other websites which is backlinks.

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

Date: 2019-03-14


Whole companies are remote now with hundreds of employees they just aren’t on the cover of the Wall Street Journal yet.

Paid customers are much better to work with than customers that are free.

A lot of the feedback you are getting from people that aren’t paying is not going to be the best feedback.

Sometimes you can’t work harder and make your business grow. There are natural feedback loops.

TMBA485: Mastering the Art of Entrepreneurial Kung Fu

Date: 2019-03-21


If you want to build a business the only thing that matters is people swiping the card.

It is hard to have a connection with an intangible (online) product.

There are so many companies that make millions of dollars a year and have a shit website but don’t have a social media presence. They are focused on the stuff that pays the bills.

Price such that revenue is enough that it can pay for two founders to work full-time off a couple of hundred customers.

A lot of times it is the entrepreneurs who have difficulty in letting go and realizing they do not have the skills to bring it to the next level.

Your price affects your market dramatically.

Most people who start a business have some sort of history with the market.

TMBA486: The Re-Readables: Getting Things Done

Date: 2019-03-28


Podcast: The Rewatchables

Book: Getting Things Done

If you have got all of this stuff on your mind it is hard to take effective action towards your goals.

Most people do to do lists wrong. Instead of putting “plan trip to Spain” on to do list put on the next physical action you can do.

He gives you a whole training on how to define the first domino.

If it takes longer than two minutes then consider it a project.

The idea of a universal inbox is tougher in today’s world where so much business stuff comes from so many different channels.

TMBA487: “If It Makes Us Money We Shouldn’t Be Doing It”

Date: 2019-04-04


A full-time position is one where you get their shower thoughts.

Full-time vs. part-time is a mindset issue.

It is fun being an entrepreneur.

Why would you hire somebody who isn’t equally passionate?

If you have found your ideal candidate how do you show them that you are their ideal employer?

TMBA488: The Re-Readables: The War of Art

Date: 2019-04-11


Book: The War of Art

The more important a project is to you the more resistance you are going to feel about it. In other words you are probably procrastinating on the most important endeavors of your life.

It isn’t so much a book about productivity as it is a book about motivation.

You’re never going to be a bigshot if you are a pro. A pro is going to stay close to their art.

TMBA489: Should You Hold a Company Retreat?

Date: 2019-04-18


A remote team has a lower cost structure. Most of the time these days if you hire someone remotely they are willing to work for less.

There are some inherently good things about having an office.

Every great remote company needs great team players.

Have a mission statement.

A mission is a real thing that you participate in.

Sit down. Define your culture. Evolve it as you go.

Your KPIs and spreadsheets need to be married with, “Why am I here?”

It matters who defines the company culture. It doesn’t need to be the founders but it needs to be the people that are pushing the company forward every day in a meaningful way who also have hiring capability.

TMBA490: The Six-Figure Slump

Date: 2019-04-25


(Going from six to seven figures) requires a self-reinvention.

If you are trying to get your business over a hump you have to put all of your eggs in one basket and take a risk.

When you find something that is working–focus on it.

The core of successful entrepreneurship is knowing the difference between value and money.

TMBA491: Breaking Up is Still Hard to Do

Date: 2019-05-02


You don’t figure out what you want to do with your life on a three-month backpacking trip through Europe.

When one partner gets married or has kids then their goals change.

TMBA492: The Re-Readables: Rich Dad Poor Dad

Date: 2019-05-09


Educate yourself in financial intelligence.

Nobody else is going to be responsible for your finances, life, and work except for you.

There is a difference between working for money and making money work for you.

You can’t trust the system.

TMBA493: What They Don’t Tell You About Entrepreneurship

Date: 2019-05-16


A job is just a client.

Get a job to learn and not to earn.

There are no shortcuts.

Keep focused on your business.

In entrepreneurship your runway is your cash.

Business ideas are the enemy sometimes–the shiny object syndrome.

(Over your entrepreneurial career) you might make less than you would with a job with a good salary and a 401(k).

The best employees turn out to be the best entrepreneurs.

At some point you are going to need to come into contact with other entrepreneurs in order to grow your business.

TMBA494: The Affiliate Marketing Adventure

Date: 2019-05-23


A lot of people start with affiliate marketing because it has a very low barrier to entry. But don’t confuse easy to start with easy to find success.

Successful people ask themselves, “how can I do something?” rather than “can I do something?”

It is better to have a niche than a broad topic.

Make your (affiliate) site information heavy rather than salesy.

SEO changes very rapidly.

Growth is not linear.

Content quality is always needing to be improved.

TMBA495: Going All In on a Side Project

Date: 2019-05-30


Is the world going to need more digital marketing ten years from now? Yes or No? Easiest call in the world.

The hardest part about starting an online business is getting someone to pay you.

Find really smart people and get out of their way.

Most people aren’t trying to start a business and capture market share. They are trying to get more meaning in their lives.

You have to make and create value for other people before you can get value for yourself.

TMBA496: Should You Go Remote?

Date: 2019-06-06


(With a hybrid approach of some in office and some remote) the people that aren’t in the office are almost second-class citizens.

Hire in the same timezone if you can get the quality of person you want at the price you can afford.

The office inspired discipline.

TMBA497: Success is Solving Other People’s Problems

Date: 2019-06-31


Government is not driven by results. Government is driven by all kinds of internal factors and politics.

People focus too much on what they want to do and not enough on what the market wants.

You have to be willing to change what the goal is.

Look after your customers as well as you can. Track if they are happy enough. If they are not then do everything you can to change that.

Run more experiments.

Ask more questions.

TMBA498: When Does an Artist Become an Entrepreneur?

Date: 2019-06-20


You have to trust companies that you partner with.

It is much easier to work with someone who has already been through the ropes on how licensing works.

TMBA499: 5 Approaches to Getting Rich

Date: 2019-06-27


Getting rich won’t make you happy.

Ways to get rich:

  1. Fight for equity in everything you do
  2. Delegate to people smarter than you
  3. Hustle in high-risk deals

You often see a mismatch between the founder and the kind of business they are trying to start.

Seek wealth not money or status.

Pick an industry where you can play long-term games with long-term people.

You have to cultivate a certain kind of persona or ego in order to become wealthy.

TMBA500: An Entrepreneur’s Trip to ‘Room 101’

Date: 2019-07-04


A fake-it-till-you-make-it entrepreneur is not someone doing hard stuff. They are lifestyle designers, lifestyle bloggers, and taking the perfect picture at the perfect time. They make you feel bad about sitting in your cubicle.

The startup culture is an extension of the Wall St. generation.

Almost universally advice that you pay for is corrupted.

TMBA501: Cease and Desist

Date: 2019-07-11


Ignoring (a letter from a lawyer) never helps.

You have reached a (legal) settlement when both sides are pissed off.

If you ever get a cease and desist letter from a larger corporation they are almost always overreaching.

Trademark law is very fluid. It is not rigid like patent law.

Trademark law is about preventing confusion in the marketplace. It is meant to protect the consumer so they know who is behind a product in the marketplace.

Domain names do not equal trademark rights.

You shouldn’t go around registering things you don’t care about.

For a brand you are building the benefits you get from trademark registration is a steal.

Find a lawyer that is creative.

TMBA502: What We’ve Learned About Our Listeners

Date: 2019-07-18


A lot of things that aren’t interesting (to you) are very popular.

Trust what you think is interesting.

Details matter.

TMBA503: What’s Your ‘Founder Fit’?

Date: 2019-07-25


The lone wolf has a profitable skill set and they don’t need to outsource the selling of that skillset to others.

There are so many ways to be in the world and be profitable in business.

TMBA504: Mailbag: From the Hamster Wheel to the Flywheel

Date: 2019-08-01


As an entrepreneur you have a big megaphone.

If you can continue to live cheaply that is one of the best things you can do for your business.

Often the advice you hear from people is the advice that they themselves feel they need to hear.

Trust your vision.

More people tomorrow will be working remotely than today.

TMBA505: How to Choose Your Own Product

Date: 2019-08-08


There is a thin line between stupidity and bravery.

TMBA506: The Power of In Person

Date: 2019-08-15


It is tough to develop a strategy around (networking).

You can build a whole career on networking.

Networking is a multiplier.

Knowledge is power.

People want to be in the room with other people who know important things.

It is not cool to show up to a business networking event without an elevator pitch.

It is important to find people on the same wavelength as you.

Transactional oriented people (a means person) vs. knowledge oriented people (an ends person).

The people you are with day-to-day are going to have the biggest impact on you.

Move to where it is happening (for your industry).

Being straight up about you and what you do in the world can be a very effective networking strategy.

Friends are more valuable than a business connection at the end of the day.

TMBA507: 50,000 Dollars a Month From One Blog Post?!

Date: 2019-08-22


Get advice from the true practitioners who have built what you want to build.

Book: 10X Content

Create content that is 10 times better, more in depth, comprehensive, more transformative, more useful that what is already out there on the market.

Make sure there is demand for something you are writing about (by checking keyword volume before writing).

Do a lot of competitor analysis. Examine the exact backlinks that a competitor article has. Launch a concerted campaign to get the same sites to link back to you.

Your free course needs to exactly match the intent of the user.

The email list is a priceless investment to start making as early as you can.

Have a revenue stream that at least matches what your day job is paying you before you leave.

TMBA508: The 4,000 Day Rule

Date: 2019-08-29


Most often you don’t know what it is that built your success so when things start to fail and you replicate what you are doing it is not going to work.

The greatest mistake most people make in business and life is not setting their goals high enough.

If you feel alone and are fighting entrepreneurial loneliness then being part of a community is awesome.

It is not a good use of your time as an entrepreneur to be personally delivering your products or services.

TMBA509: The Difference Between Value and Money

Date: 2019-09-05


Technology can be applied to the physical world of entrepreneurship as well.

You’re not just selling customers to choose you. You’re selling your employees to trust you. You’re selling your managers to take a risk and work for you. You’re selling your family members to support you. Every second of your day is a sales situation.

TMBA510: Driven to Distraction

Date: 2019-09-12


One of the best hacks in life is writing. It is undervalued. It is not for the sake of publication but for the sake of thought.

Having the best technology is table stakes.

Distraction starts from within.

Everything changes the brain.

When we believe we are helpless it becomes true.

Motivation comes from one thing which is the desire to escape discomfort.

If all behaviour is about escaping discomfort then that means that time management is really pain management.

If you don’t plan your time somebody else will.

In this day and age we have to keep a time-boxed calendar.

Plan the spontaneity.

Turn your values into time.

Your calendar should reflect your values.

If you want to see what someone is really about then see how they spend their time and money.

As an entrepreneur you need to be building five hours a day.

TMBA511: The 10 Year Career – Wealth in the Modern Age

Date: 2019-09-19


In ecommerce all of your money is always tied up.

Wealth just compounds.

It can be difficult recreating the first win you had.

A lot of people don’t realize that money isn’t the answer until you have money.

It has never been easier to start a startup but it has never been more difficult to succeed. Things are saturated.

You aren’t seeing massive jumps anymore in a lot of things. It is incremental.

The average tech CEO doesn’t have hands on experience on how to do things.

Angel investing is super illiquid with a high failure rate.

TMBA512: What Happens When Your Product Gets Suspended By Amazon?

Date: 2019-09-26


You must be doing something right if your competition is coming after you.

In Amazon’s eyes you are guilty until you are proven innocent.

If you are dealing with a product it is always best to have your own design.

TMBA513: How To Get Rich Without Getting Lucky

Date: 2019-10-03


No two people become rich, successful entrepreneurs the same way.

There is a huge hole in our everyday, labor intensive services.

There is no easy way to get wealthy.

It is harder than ever to become an online influencer.

If you are a salesman, and get out and sell, you can very quickly rise to the top and become a business that thrives.

Every business has either an employee problem or a customer problem. Either your employees cannot deliver what you are selling or you cannot get enough customers.

Plumbers don’t need clicks. We need more plumbers.

Quote velocity is huge in services.

If you answer the phone every time you are ahead of 90% of (service) businesses.

TMBA514: Mailbag: The Complexity of Cashflow

Date: 2019-10-10


Close your books as soon as you possibly can.

Get a bookkeeper involved.

Keep the (housing) expectations low because you need to put the resources into a business.

The Lindy principle is that how long something is liable to be around in the future can be approximated by how long it has been around in the past.

TMBA515: Dan and Ian: The Full Backstory. Part 1

Date: 2019-10-17


All we do in a small company is…try to make this organism live.

TMBA516: Dan and Ian: The Full Backstory. Part 2

Date: 2019-10-24


The product company supplied the narrative for the blog and podcast.

TMBA517: From High School Dropout to Seven Figure Exit

Date: 2019-10-31


Why aren’t you investing more to find your tribe?

Show up. Do the grind.

The company at 10 (employees) and the company at 20 are very different companies.

A really fast-growing company needs a lot more cash flow.

TMBA518: 5 Insights About the Entrepreneurial Community in 2019

Date: 2019-11-07


We are part of a very niche community.

When you are trying to get something off the ground it really matters who you are around initially.

Location independent is not location arbitrary.

Entrepreneurship–you learn it by doing it.

Build systems around value delivery.

If you want to see what people value you watch what they do.

TMBA519: Chasing Growth: What Happens When Your Business Burns You Out?

Date: 2019-11-14


Not all revenue is good revenue.

Calmness is a business attribute.

A calmer company is a lot nicer to be in charge of.

As a business grows you need to turn into a manager.

Try to get to profitability as quickly as possible.

Book: Company of One

TMBA520: The Re-Readables: Purple Cow

Date: 2019-11-21


The first step in marketing something is having a good product.

A purple cow is a product that stands out amongst a group of products that are already excellent.

Doing risky things is not risky anymore.

If you are not failing you are not taking risks.

The business of the future will be marketing-centric and marketers will be at the top of the food chain.

If you want your product to succeed you need to focus on the early adopters.

If someone is googling a question then they are looking for a solution so you want to provide that solution in the Google results which is SEO.

 Marketers need to understand everything because if you do you can run your own business.

You can’t do what other people are doing if you want to get ahead.

TMBA521: Is the RV Lifestyle Right For You?

Date: 2019-11-28


Class A motorhomes are bus chassis.

It becomes hard to source parts for (class A motorhomes).

You are definitely going to have a more difficult owner experience and maintenance experience with a class A motorhome.

The Class B is the most popular motorhome on the market.

A class B is essential a van that has been converted into a motorhom. It is very manageable to drive and to park.

17 to 23 feet is the range for most class B.

Class C can go to 40 feet long.

A pop-up is more of a really nice tent than an RV.

TMBA522: The Digital Nomad Lie

Date: 2019-12-05


An expatriate is building a career in a new place and everything that follows from that–their experience will be much, much different.

It takes about a month to get into a new routine if it is a new place to you.

It is very easy to become worse through travel as well as better.

If you do everything then you might not end up doing anything by the end of the day.

Use travel as an opportunity to connect with people.

Travel is a hack to behaving wealthy before you are wealthy.

Personal relationships are impossible to outsource.

TMBA523: A Love Letter to the Philippines

Date: 2019-12-12


Manilla is a very strategic city for business but also a tough city to live in.

So many products are supported on the backend by a robust Philippine team.

Anything worth doing is incredibly challenging.

When you are starting a business your runway is all you have. You have to find a way to get your personal and business expenses as low as possible.

TMBA524: Who Do You Think You Are?

Date: 2019-12-19


As you move up in the business world there are weird conversations that you have to have (when you use a pseudonym).

Sometimes taking a different identity can affect your whole psyche.

We all remember the truth. We forget lies we make up.

TMBA525: 5 Things We Learned On The Podcast in 2019

Date: 2019-12-26


Your journey of entrepreneurship is yours and yours alone.

You have to be your own leader.

Stick to your principles about what you value and what you want to build.

The surest way to kill a dream is to achieve it.

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