As you read this holiday letter, I hope it finds you caught in the “spirit of the season” and imbued with merriment and joy. Hard to believe that 2014 will soon come to a close. I pen this letter to express gratitude to you for being a part of the Advantage Family and to share the highlights of 2014!

2014 has been a year of “positioning” at Advantage, the first on our ambitious “Road to 1,000” 5-year march. It was a year of additions, transitions, and very robust organic growth. This year we welcomed Michael Huh, Mitchell Broderick, Charles Pollak, Keith Kopcsak, Patti Boysen, Jonathon Jacobs, Claire Watson, Harper Tucker, Scott Neville, and Susan Tuskan to our team. We were named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in America for the 3rd year in a row, and named for the 2nd straight year to the Best Places to Work in SC list. We welcomed 104 new authors to the Advantage Family, released 65 new titles, launched 4 online courses and 4 online universities.

We welcomed close to 100 Advantage authors and guests to Charleston for the 2014 AUTHORity Marketing Summit. The Summit featured 12 Advantage authors as speakers including keynoters Jack Daly, Steve Gilliland, and Pat Williams. Nate DaPore, Founder & CEO of Charleston-based software company PeopleMatter, was named 2014 Author of The Year for exemplifying what it means to “build your business with a book.” Nate’s book, PeopleMatter: Driving Productivity, Efficiency, and Profits Through Happier Team Members, enabled his company to secure a new client worth over $1M, per year, in recurring revenue. Nate’s sales team of 20 has him autograph and personalize 25-50 copies of his book daily, to be mailed to prospective clients, something I hope you are all doing. Runner Up congratulations go to Tim Thayne, Tara Shollenberger and Jack Daly.

Personally, 2014 has been a big year. I logged 222 workouts, 53,500 air miles, and 86 hotel nights. Staying true to my goal of “seeing the world,” I made international trips to Hungary, Croatia, and Cabo San Lucas. A decade-long bucket list item was completed when I crossed the finish line of the 7-day, 420-mile Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI). I visited three more Presidential libraries (Hoover, Kennedy, Bush II) with now only one (Clinton) remaining until completion. I also squeezed in Eisenhower’s 2nd home in Gettysburg, PA and Mt. Vernon, home to our very first POTUS. In my quest to watch a college football game at every Power 5 conference program, I crossed the University of Georgia and Boston College from the list this fall. I also attended the historic Army/Navy football game. I visited Clemson to watch my Tigers beat UNC and witnessed Clemson’s Orange Bowl victory in Miami at the start of the year over the Ohio State Buckeyes. As if I didn’t have enough on my plate, I accepted the call to lead a $3M fundraising campaign to build the YEScarolina Entrepreneurship Center in Charleston (more at yescarolina.com).

I read 27 books this year with my two non-Advantage favorites being Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It… and Why The Rest Don’t by Verne Harnish and WHO: The Method for Hiring by Geoff Smart.

Our 2014 success is a credit to you. Thank you for being a part of the Advantage Family and allowing us to partner in your incredible book project. It is our privilege to help share your Stories, Passion, and Knowledge with the world so others may Learn & Grow.

May your seas be stilled this holiday season and may you find a bright sunrise in the New Year.

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