043: The Wealth Dragons Way with John Lee

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When John Lee’s parents came over from Hong Kong, they probably expected their son to follow in the family footsteps and open a Chinese restaurant. Instead, he went the way of the dragon – the Wealth Dragons. After figuring out that the normal 9-to-5 life wasn’t for him, this week’s Hardcore MBA guest John Lee has gone on to run numerous business and host events all over the UK and the world. He’s a great example of how perseverance gets you everywhere, and I’m very pleased to welcome him to the podcast.

In this week’s Hardcore MBA, John and I discuss:

  • How to build a huge platform, and just what those users could be worth to your business.
  • The importance of setting out priorities and cultivating healthy and wealthy habits.
  • And John lays out his four point plan for how to turn an underwhelming sideline in speaking gigs into a big business proposition.

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042: Zero to One by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters

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BlakeMastersThis week’s Hardcore MBA guest is a great example of the truth that you can succeed at anything, as long as you apply yourself, leverage your talents, and work hard. Blake Masters first rose to internet viral fame after blogging the comprehensive notes he took in Peter Thiel’s class on startup enterprises at Stanford University. It seems like a fairly minor thing, but Blake knew that the popularity of the online notes meant there would be demand for a published book on the topic, and he worked with Thiel himself to release Zero to One.

In this week’s podcast, Blake and I discuss:

  • The key idea of the ‘contrarian question’ – that is, identifying the things you know are of value, but which few others realise the value of yet.
  • The need to focus on niche markets in which your startup can dominate, rather than trying to compete in established industries.
  • And the way in which progress in technology is outstripping progress in other aspects of the world, giving us a distorted impression of how much needs to change.

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041: Getting Things Done with David Allen

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david allen hardcore mba podcastThis week on Hardcore MBA we have a very special guest indeed. David Allen is one of the most well-known time management gurus in the world, ever since writing the massively popular and effective book Getting Things Done. Procrastination can be a problem for all of us at times, but being aimless and distracted is something that you need to get over if you’re going to be successful. And no-one is better placed to help you on that front than David Allen.

In the podcast, we discuss:

  • The importance of focusing on one thing at a time, rather than constantly having a million thoughts zipping about in your head.
  • Some of the specific details of David’s Getting Things Done system for reducing procrastination and calming your psyche down.
  • And, for those of you who are really interested, how to become a Getting Things Done franchisee and help spread the word of this great technique.

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040 : Get Oversubscribed and Grab the Clients You Want with Daniel Priestley

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2isC4VHbThis week’s Hardcore MBA guest, Daniel Priestley, is a great example of how to take advantage of the opportunities that life puts in front of you. He worked as an assistant to a high-flying entrepreneur from the age of 19, doing anything asked of him and only making money on a commission basis. A tough few years to be sure, but Daniel took that in his own life to create numerous successful businesses.

In this week’s podcast, Daniel and I discuss:

  • Why you should focus on revenue before worrying about profit.
  • The importance of high-quality implementation, and why information marketers might be in trouble in the coming years.
  • And the reasons why giving away products for free may not always be a good idea for attracting the kinds of clients you want.

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039: Think Like A SEAL, Write Like A Bestseller with John David Mann

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JohnDavidMann_ErlendBakkeA little while back on Hardcore MBA, I talked with Brandon Webb, the former Navy SEAL who wrote The Red Circle. That was a very entertaining episode for me to record, and I’m now happy to hear about the SEALs from a slightly different perspective, because on this week’s Hardcore MBA we have Brandon’s co-writer and ongoing collaborator John David Mann on the show. John and Brandon have just released their latest book, Among Heroes, so the timing couldn’t be better.

In this week’s podcast, John and I discuss:

  • The story of how John got involved with Brandon and the details of their latest collaboration.
  • The particular mindset that Navy SEALs bring to every act, and whether true entrepreneurs have a similar approach to life.
  • And the possibilities for breaking into the traditional publishing world by starting out on self-publishing platforms like Kindle and CreateSpace.


“To be a better writer, you need to hone your craft all the time,”
John tells me. “And there’s three ways to do this. First, reading good books. I write non-fiction, but I actually read a lot of fiction as well, because that’s where a lot of the best writing is. Second, practice writing, a lot. Every opportunity you have to practice writing, you should take it. Third, you need to have smart people who will give you an honest critique of your work, and you need to be willing to act on those criticisms.”

John is a goldmine of great stories and anecdotes, as you’d expect from someone whose job is to craft spellbinding stories out of the sometimes boring or difficult material of real life. I encourage you to give this week’s podcast a listen, and think about two things: how can you become a better writer? And what mindset are you bringing to the table when you work on your business? Tomorrow, make sure it’s a SEAL mindset, and start to see the changes you really want in your life. If you enjoyed the podcast, consider checking out Among Heroes.

038: How To Make Money While Traveling The World with David Schneider

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downloadThis week’s Hardcore MBA guest, David Schneider, lives the definition of a freedom lifestyle. He quit his job and traveled to over 40 countries, supporting himself through travel blogging and other business ideas, and has now settled down to start working on a company that helps others do the same. Of course, that doesn’t mean his traveling days are over – he’s in charge of the business, so when he needs a little time away from it, he can have that. It’s what I expect every Hardcore MBA listener to be aspiring to.

In this week’s podcast, David and I talk about:

  • How David started to make money from his travel blog, and what he did to make that income snowball into something he could live off while traveling.
  • How to deal with outsourcing your work to people around the world, and the red flags to look out for when hiring an outsourced employee.
  • David’s great new project, Ninja Outreach, which aims to connect brands with bloggers to the benefit of both.

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037 : How to Shopify Your Way To A Million Dollar Business with Kurt Elster

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3S4Dhw9MCreating a great product is only half of the battle. You can have the greatest product in the world, but if you have no clear and easy way of letting your potential customers buy it, you’re gonna stay broke. This week’s Hardcore MBA guest, Kurt Elster, can help you with exactly that problem – he’s an expert in e-sales techniques, with a particular focus on the excellent Shopify website.

In this week’s podcast, Kurt and I discuss:

  • The reasons for using a flexible platform like Shopify, rather than the one-size-fits-all model of Amazon or similar sites.
  • How to optimize your e-sales site to be as intuitive as possible to visitors, thereby capturing the customers you’re currently missing out on.
  • And the future of e-commerce – Kurt reveals the point at which he thinks smaller e- commerce sites like Shopify will truly be able to compete with the Goliath that is Amazon.

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036 : Standing Up To Putin with Bill Browder

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William_BrowderThis week’s Hardcore MBA guest is a little bit different. His career started out in a fairly straightforward manner, running businesses and heading up an investment fund in a foreign country. But in recent years things have taken a different turn, and he now finds himself at the forefront of a human rights movement. The man is Bill Browder, the country is Russia, and in this week’s podcast, he tells us his story.

Bill and I discussed:

  • His grandfather, ‘the biggest Communist in America’, and how Bill decided to become ‘the biggest capitalist in eastern Europe’.
  • The terrifying events that took place in the late 1990s, when Bill was declared a threat to the security of the Russian state and forced to flee the country.
  • And Bill’s current role as an advocate for human rights and the rule of law in Russia and around the world.

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035 : Improve Your Productivity by Listening to Your Gut Feelings with Laura Linden

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Laura Linded Hardcore MBAAs entrepreneurs, we can very easily get caught up in our logical minds. It’s a good thing to have our brains whirring away, always coming up with new ideas, always thinking things through with logic and reason. It can help us make the right decisions we need to take to be successful. But entrepreneurship, like all things in life, requires a balance. That’s what this week’s guest, Laura Linden, is all about. She has written extensively on the use of intuition in business decision- making. The idea of listening to our gut instinct when it comes to something as important as our business might seem like madness, but Laura makes a convincing case for putting our logical mind to bed sometimes and going with our feelings instead.

In the podcast, Laura and I discuss:

  • The vital practice of pausing and listening to our intuition, rather than charging forward with our first thoughts.
  • The signs to look for when trying to interpret whether your gut feeling is good or bad.
  • And the daily habits we can develop to make it easier to hear what our inner self is saying to us.

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034: Let The Time Doctor Heal Your Productivity Problems with Liam Martin

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liamm-540x360I am a big champion of outsourcing, as you probably already know by now. But there is one big downfall to working with a remote team located in various places around the world – and that’s how to make sure everyone is being productive. That’s where Liam Martin, this week’s Hardcore MBA guest, comes in. He is the founder of Time Doctor, a company that helps businesses big and small track what their employees are doing and improve their efficiency. It’s kind of a Google Analytics for your team.

In this week’s podcast, Liam and I discuss:

  • How Time Doctor got started after Liam struggled with the productivity of his own staff while running an online tutoring business.
  • The difference in levels of productivity across various countries, and how countries with smaller GDPs tend to actually work harder.
  • And how the future of work is going to look very different to the present due to new software and productivity options that are being created now.

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