Using my kids to sell stuff

I was interviewed for the Dutch business magazine Sprout, together with the founder of Tony Chocolonely and the founder of De Rollende Keukens.
The original question for the interview was:

"How do you incorporate family life into your working life as a busy entrepreneur?"

How it works with these kind of interviews is; You talk for over an hour about many different aspects and then the reporter tries to capture the essence into the x amount of words he/she has for the article. Usually this means some spicy quotes remain and two or three key take aways and the nuance, which takes up too many words and is left out.

People who know me instantly understand that that is often not a good deal for me. I talk a lot and am 'often' pretty opinionated.
The article in Sprout is fine by the way, but I do think I come out a little bit narrow minded, which I don't think I am. No, let's leave out the nuance; I am not!

Sprout headlined with:
"Using my kids to sell some Tag The Love platforms"
Which is true, with some nuances. I tried to explain our technology to the reporter and the way it actually drives traffic to websites. I did this with an example:

I use the Tag The Love technology for my personal communication as you might be aware of. In fact you're reading this blog on my platform http://mathys.to right now!

You could have gotten here via a few different routes:

1. Direct
You met me, I gave you my business card, you googled me and found my website or you clicked on a direct link to my website somewhere online.
Via the homepage you clicked on a latest blog or you clicked on 'press' here you found this particular blog and started reading it.

This is the conventional way.

2. Social Media
This is the social media age. People don't really look for content, they stumble upon it because their friends share it on their favourite social networks. I share my blogs on social media, so you might have directly saw that and clicked the headline. And now you're reading it, but many who click on social media links don't even get this far because they don't have the time or the concentration. (or got bored reading)
The chance that you see an explicite update of your friends is slim because the social networks are in charge of what you see and what not. After the Facebook IPO the showing algorithm was changed a lot resulting in especially company pages to be shown a lot less.

Now the bridge to the me 'selling my technology using my kids'

3. From implicit context
Mostly I think you buy things because you did research. The extensiveness of the research mostly has to do with the amount of money you will spend. Smaller expenses, for example groceries, you pick by doing little research, you choose trusted brands and enticing packaging. For bigger expenses, cars or travel, you do more research, ask friends and find influencers and experts. I think this is where the magic in sales lies. Advertising used to be about getting the right information at the right time. I think now is becoming more and more about creating a non-intrusive relationship with potential clients, building trust over the years and instead of selling stuff, but letting customers buy. Do you understand the difference?

To reach trust I think it is smart to gradually educate your audience and give them the right mix of content. I wrote about that already two years ago. Marketeers call this many things; trusted circle, word of mouth, guerrilla etc. I now name it.... tada:

'By the way'-marketing


Big chance that you stumbled upon my website because you've clicked on something snackable (maybe that adorable picture of Eli, or this one, or that ridiculous video). 
Those social updates (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) which are easy to produce drive people to my site and there, in the implicit space I cross sell the attention to something else. Could be inspirational stuff, could be me in The Press, my public calendar or one of my companies blogs. Smart right? The kids are selling my agenda.

This 'By the way'-marketing is actually what makes FB and YouTube so wealthy. Those companies use your content to create revenue showing ads around that content. So when you share a photo of your family, friends or kids, you're doing the exact same thing. You're just filling someone else's pockets. See below: 

Jeanique and Flynn are selling me the following stuff:
1. AWS (I can try it for free, although I'm paying them thousands of dollars each month already)
2. App Annie (might need it to shorten my roadmap to success)
3. Marktplaats (who's targeting me with the car I'm actually driving at the moment)
This taps into a blog I wrote if you want to learn more.

Now back on the original topic. (Yes the above was also 'By the way'-marketing):

"How do I incorporate family life into my working life as a busy entrepreneur."

First of all, I think that having kids makes it all worth while. That sounds cheesy but I don't don't care, I love cheese.
I try to incorporate it as much as possible and I feel blessed with the freedom my 'work' gives me.

Here 7 takeouts I don't think were really covered in the article:

Many entrepreneurs start their first business before they have kids, because making ends meet is easier if you are by yourself and when you only have to feed one mouth.

1. Focus
Having kids makes me more focussed. Sure, I cannot work till as late as I want, but I think the breaks and change of focus actually helps me concentrate. See it as daily deadlines or nicer rituals.

2. Aware of choices
Having kids makes me more aware of the choices I make because I constantly have to think about how my choices effect the people I love. This makes me say 'No' to certain opportunities and 'Yes' to others. You could state that this is also the case when you have a partner but no kids, but in the lives of the kids certain things are non-negotiable so that makes choices also easier.
Actually you've downsized the amount of choice and sometimes that makes things more simple.

3. Efficiency
An easy trap is saying to your partner:
"I have responsibilities so I have to work late", but actually because you have the responsibilities at home you are trained to be efficient.
So never use that line. Just do whatever you can to make it fun and see as much of your kids as possible because time flies. And sure if you have networking stuff/dinners in the evening (things you cannot plan) a good partner will support you. Mine does.  Having kids makes you more efficient because you have to combine things. 

4. Mirrors
The insights I get on a daily basis from simply observing my kids are countless. The way they discover life around them and make you rediscover life through their eyes is priceless.

5. Social responsibility
My past ventures have never been extracting energy from Mother Earth, but my future ventures will be focussed on making it a better place. For them. (yes cheesy again). I've always been trying to solve problems with my companies, but maybe not the most necessary problems.

6. Experiencing regular life
This might sound strange, but professional life often makes people a little bit narrow minded in a sense that they don't meet many people from outside the office. Kids going to school changes that. You'll meet many parents with different views and lives and common ground and problems: kids. I think getting that 'old' means not being open to new world views, opinions, innovation or simply experiencing new things and if you have kids being 'open' is unavoidable. Kids keep you young(er).

7. Fixing problems
My kids often encounter problems or arguments with friends to which I know the answer or solution, but just forcing those onto my kids won't learn them anything. This is made me 'softer' in my own relationships (okay, maybe not in my love relationship), because this also works the same way between adults. Having kids made me more empathic (more than before that is :) ) and that is good for the world.

Oh I really do love the picture Gerrit Jan Huinink  took of us. The idea was to make the kids my board of directors. Think that worked out nicely.
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