The Tropical MBA Podcast - Entrepreneurship, Travel, and Lifestyle

The TMBA Podcast - Location Independent Entrepreneurship

About the show

The Tropical MBA Podcast aims to show you the inside story of the people who are building "micro-multinational" businesses while they travel the world. We are interested in entrepreneurship, travel, internationalization, and personal freedom. Join 1,000's of listeners from all around the world, every Thursday morning.

Episodes

  • TMBA557: Ascending the Staircase

    August 6th, 2020  |  1 hr 2 mins
    bali, business, china, ecommerce, entrepreneurship, independent, lifestyle, location, philippines, profits, sales

    Rob Walling is no stranger to many of the listeners of this show.

    Rob is the host of a brilliant podcast called Startups for the Rest of Us, where he has shared stories of entrepreneurial ingenuity and struggle, and many concepts that we have discussed on this show have origins on that podcast.

    He is also the co-founder of a conference called MicroConf, which is a community and conference for bootstrap SaaS founders.

    After a rather impressive exit with his last startup, Drip, Rob has moved on to his newest project, an accelerator designed for early-stage SaaS startups called TinySeed.

    Rob joins us this week to discuss some high-level concepts like the emotional challenges of entrepreneurship, to finer details like finding the right pricing models, and how they decided on the right deal terms for TinySeed companies.

  • TMBA556: Navigating the Dip

    July 30th, 2020  |  45 mins 31 secs
    bali, business, china, ecommerce, entrepreneurship, independent, lifestyle, location, philippines, profits, sales

    On today's podcast, we are sharing some personal updates, as well as three specific updates about our core businesses.

    We are also announcing that for the first time in nearly five years, we are hiring a Community Facilitator for our private membership group The Dynamite Circle.

    Later on in the episode, we'll be exploring the idea of the moment in a business that Seth Godin refers to as "The Dip".

    You'll hear why this "middle period" of running a business is so difficult, how it feels to be in that dip, and why so many people just can't get out of it.

  • TMBA555: Are Productized Services Overrated?

    July 23rd, 2020  |  50 mins 56 secs
    bali, business, china, ecommerce, entrepreneurship, independent, lifestyle, location, philippines, profits, sales

    Productized services have long been a subject of discussion on this podcast.

    They are a relatively attractive business model, especially among first-time entrepreneurs, and we've shared many examples over the years of how to create these kinds of businesses and scale them.

    Meryl Johnston, founder of the online bookkeeping firm Bean Ninjas, recently started a rather lively debate in the members' forum of our online community The Dynamite Circle with a post titled, ‘Are Productized Services Overrated?’

    We've invited Meryl on to the show to find out why she decided to raise that question and to hear her thoughts on a business model that she has personally followed for the last five years.

    Meryl joins us today to discuss what a productized service really is, the strengths and weaknesses of the model, and why she's wondering whether her own company needs to evolve past it.

  • TMBA554: A Healthy Equilibrium

    July 16th, 2020  |  49 mins 51 secs
    bali, business, china, ecommerce, entrepreneurship, independent, lifestyle, location, philippines, profits, sales

    Christopher Gimmer is the Co-Founder and CEO of Snappa, a SaaS (Software as a Service) business that allows users to create online graphics quickly and easily.

    Christopher caught our attention recently when he opened up with a post on Twitter about the emotional cost of being an entrepreneur.

    We invited Christopher onto the podcast this week to discuss his own journey as an entrepreneur, how difficult it can be for entrepreneurs to find and maintain what he calls "a healthy equilibrium", and how he works to achieve his own balance.

    You'll also hear why Christopher feels that having a business partner has been key to Snappa’s eventual success and what he sees as the pros and cons of SaaS businesses.

  • TMBA553: Protecting Your Passion

    July 9th, 2020  |  39 mins 21 secs
    bali, business, china, ecommerce, entrepreneurship, independent, lifestyle, location, philippines, profits, sales

    It started with an innocuous-looking image of a yellow aeroplane and ended with a number of threatening letters from a law firm on behalf of the travel site Expedia.

    In today’s episode, we bring you the denouement of the story of why we decided to remove ‘that plane’ from our branding.

    And, to find out whether we really needed to do it, we’ve invited back our good friend and Intellectual Property (IP) attorney Sarah Kornblet Waldbuesser from Destination Legal.

    You'll also hear Sarah's thoughts on the best way to protect your brand or logo, how to differentiate between "trademark scams" and what should be taken seriously, and a whole lot more.

  • TMBA552: The Art of Buying and Selling Web Domains

    July 2nd, 2020  |  1 hr 8 mins
    bali, business, china, ecommerce, entrepreneurship, independent, lifestyle, location, philippines, profits, sales

    On today's podcast, we're excited to finally reveal that our remote jobs platform Dynamite Jobs is officially a ".com business".

    After three years of running the company with a .co domain, that .com marks a huge symbolic change for our company, but it didn't come cheap.

    Enter Rob Barbour of DomainSOS.com and DomainVIP.com.

    Rob has worked in the domain space for over twenty years and he owns a substantial portfolio of his own domains. He also specializes in helping people acquire domains that are difficult to obtain.

    In this week's podcast, Rob joins us to talk about his history as a domain broker, how the industry has changed over 20 years, and how he helped us secure DynamiteJobs.com for our business.

  • TMBA551: Transitioning from Freelancer to Running a Business

    June 25th, 2020  |  29 mins 31 secs
    bali, business, china, ecommerce, entrepreneurship, independent, lifestyle, location, philippines, profits, sales

    If we had to pick one word as our greatest motivation, it’s ‘freedom’. Freedom to live life on our terms, where we want, with the people we choose.

    Ali Marsland is the director of ‘The Effective English Company’.

    Ali began chasing her own freedom at the age of 18, as she traveled around the world for a year before embarking on a successful career in corporate communications.

    The corporate world eventually made her feel trapped, and when the opportunity arose to become a freelancer, she decided to chase that freedom once more.

    Ali joins us on this week's podcast to describe how she ‘stair-stepped’ her way into entrepreneurship by first becoming an on-site freelancer to outsourcing work, and eventually growing her own successful agency.

  • TMBA550: Revisiting Our 2020 Business Goals

    June 18th, 2020  |  35 mins 21 secs
    bali, business, china, ecommerce, entrepreneurship, independent, lifestyle, location, philippines, profits, sales

    At the beginning of the year, we recorded a podcast where we outlined some of our business goals and aspirations for 2020.

    We're now halfway through the year, and it's safe to say these past six months have been a period of disruption for entrepreneurs all over the world.

    Given the unexpected circumstances that we've all experienced, we thought it would be interesting to revisit those goals that we shared on this podcast back in January.

    In today's episode, we're looking back at how our business goals have played out thus far in 2020, how our plans have changed since we first recorded that podcast, and what we've learned from the last six months.

  • TMBA549: 10 Tech Tools We Use In Our Business Every Day

    June 11th, 2020  |  37 mins 11 secs
    bali, business, china, ecommerce, entrepreneurship, independent, lifestyle, location, philippines, profits, sales

    In 2009, we published an episode of this podcast called 10 Great Software and Tech Services We Use to Run Our Business.

    Over 10 years later, we've been challenged by one of our listeners to revisit that list and to talk about the core software and services that we are using to run our company today.

    In this week's episode, we are sharing ten of the most important tools and services that we are using behind the scenes in our business.

    You'll hear the specifics of how we are using these tools, and why they have become an everyday part of our business in 2020.

  • TMBA548: The First 1,000 Days of Running an Agency

    June 4th, 2020  |  48 mins 21 secs
    bali, business, china, ecommerce, entrepreneurship, independent, lifestyle, location, philippines, profits, sales

    We've talked about the '1,000 Day Principle' at great length on this podcast.

    The idea is that it takes around three years of full-time effort for an entrepreneur to replace the income from their day job.

    But what does that principle look like in practice? 

    Johnathan Solorzano is the founder of Solo Media Group Inc., a remote agency of web developers that are primarily based in Latin America.

    Johnathan joins us this week to share the story of his first 1,000 days running an agency, how he has found clients and fostered relationships with them, and where he plans on focusing his energy for the next 1,000 days.

  • TMBA547: How Coronavirus is Disrupting the Events Industry

    May 28th, 2020  |  49 mins 46 secs
    bali, business, china, ecommerce, entrepreneurship, independent, lifestyle, location, philippines, profits, sales

    Here at the TropicalMBA podcast we have been inspired and motivated by the stories of resilience and adaptation that you’ve been sending us.

    One such story that we received recently resonated strongly with us, in part because it was about an industry that we have been working in for years.

    William Griggs created Virtual Reality Rental just over four years ago.

    He built a ten-person team that brought VR experiences to conferences, parties, and other corporate events across the United States.

    Then COVID-19 struck and it all collapsed literally overnight, forcing him to reduce his staff by more than half.

    William joins us today to share his strategy for waiting out the current uncertainty in the events industry, and how he's challenging his remaining team to grow into the new roles that are necessary for these times.

  • TMBA546: Adjusting to the 'New Normal'

    May 21st, 2020  |  55 mins 59 secs
    bali, business, china, ecommerce, entrepreneurship, independent, lifestyle, location, philippines, profits, sales

    What do you do when you lose over half your Annual Recurring Revenue and test positive for Coronavirus, all within 48 hours?

    Jim Huffman described this exact experience in a post on his personal blog titled "The Hardest Day of My Career".

    Jim is the CEO of GrowthHit and co-creator of FunnelTeardowns, and when we discovered his blog post we knew we had to talk to him.

    Jim joins us on today's podcast to share his insights on how to create a successful marketing agency that aligns with your lifestyle, the strategies he deployed to save his company after facing such a dramatic event, and his plans for the future in the 'new normal'.

  • TMBA545: Is Dropshipping Still a Valid Business Model?

    May 14th, 2020  |  42 mins
    bali, business, china, ecommerce, entrepreneurship, independent, lifestyle, location, philippines, profits, sales

    "Dropshipping" is one of the most used and abused terms in Digital Nomad circles.

    It refers to the practice of selling items without keeping inventory on hand, relying instead on a third-party manufacturer to ship the items directly to the customer.

    The term recently reached a much broader audience through a widely-shared piece in Wired magazine by Sirin Kale titled “‘It’s bullshit’: Inside the weird, get-rich-quick world of dropshipping”.

    On today's podcast, Dan and Ian weigh in with some of their own thoughts about the article, whether dropshipping can be used to create long-term success, and the pros and cons of the business model itself.

  • TMBA544: Should You Hire a General Manager?

    May 7th, 2020  |  43 mins 42 secs
    bali, business, china, ecommerce, entrepreneurship, independent, lifestyle, location, philippines, profits, sales

    In our book Before the Exit, we reflected on many 'thought experiments' that we wished we had run before we sold our business in 2015.

    One of those experiments was called 'The Mediocre CEO Test', which questioned whether it was smarter to hire someone to run your business than it was to sell it.

    Today's guest did just that.

    JP Ji is the founder of Pro Teeth Guard, an eCommerce business that manufactures custom dental mouth guards.

    When JP decided to shift his focus away from Pro Teeth Guard, he chose to hire a General Manager to take over the day-day-day operations of the business.

    In today's podcast, you'll hear why JP decided to hire a general manager, the challenges of finding the right candidate, and why that relationship ultimately didn't pan out.

  • TMBA543: Taking the Entrepreneurial Leap

    April 30th, 2020  |  48 mins 44 secs
    bali, business, china, ecommerce, entrepreneurship, independent, lifestyle, location, philippines, profits, sales

    One of the most widely read and recommended books about business management is Gino Wickman’s 'Traction'.

    When Gino’s team reached out to say that he had a new book coming out that was aimed at helping would-be and early-stage entrepreneurs, we jumped at the opportunity to invite Gino on to the podcast to talk about it.

    On today's podcast, Ian sits down with Gino to discuss the ideas raised in his new book, ‘Entrepreneurial Leap’.

    In this wide-ranging conversation, you'll hear Gino's thoughts on the value of going to college, whether you should be following the passion or the money, and why not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur.

  • TMBA542: The Entrepreneurmobile Revisited

    April 23rd, 2020  |  54 mins 37 secs
    bali, business, china, ecommerce, entrepreneurship, independent, lifestyle, location, philippines, profits, sales

    Whether you’re saving a runway for a new business, or you need to cut your expenses to the bone due to the current economic climate, we know a lot of people are being forced to make some difficult financial decisions right now. 

    On today's podcast, we are revisiting one of our most popular concepts, and something that we've discussed many times over the years as a sure-fire way for an entrepreneur to live a little more frugally.

    We're talking once again about the "Entrepreneurmobile", or how you can get a reliable car that is generally inexpensive to maintain and fix, and that can save you a lot of money. 

    In this episode, we take a comprehensive look at what makes a great Entrepreneurmobile, which cars you should avoid, 10 cars that are great deals under $10K, and some luxury vehicles that are extremely affordable as well.