E029 PhDs in Photography - How to Start? Business Development for Dads

November 8th 2020

Dr Matthias Hombauer has a PhD in Molecular Biology but decided to follow his passions, music and photography, and became a self-taught Rockstar Photographer. After his two kids were born, he decided to become a stay-at-home dad and built the most significant online community of concert photographers around the world from his bedroom. In his latest project, Dadpreneur, Matthias is inspiring other Dads to turn their passion into a profitable business while gaining precious time for their families.

In this episode, Matthias told us how he launched his business as a concert photographer, and how he turned to help dads with businesses. He also shared his views on how to effectively convert your passion into a job.

Matthias’ website: https://matthiashombauer.com/ 🔥

Matthias’ Twitter profile: https://twitter.com/MatHombauer

Matthias’ LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthiasdadpreneurhombauer/

The episode was recorded on November 6th, 2020. This material represents the speaker’s personal views and not the opinions of their current or former employer(s).

Natalia 00:09 Hello, everyone. This is yet another episode of career talks by welcome solutions. And in these meetings, we talk with bold people with academic education who are now developing interesting careers and are willing to share some life advice with us. Today, I have the great pleasure to introduce Dr. Matthias Hombauer. He has a PhD in molecular biology but he decided to follow his passions, namely music, and photography. He became a self-taught Rockstar photographer. 

After his two kids were born, he decided to become a stay-at-home dad and build the most significant online community of concert photographers around the world from his bedroom. In his latest projects, Dadpreneur materials are inspiring underdogs to turn their passion into a profitable business, while gaining precious time for the family. Great to have you, Matthias. I’m very excited. I’m impressed with what you do. And I would like to now give the floor to you so that you can tell your story from your own perspective.

Dr. Matthias 01:22 Thank you so much, Natalia, for having me. It’s such a pleasure. And it’s so great to do this interview here or this talk with you, especially for PhD students or people who are in the academic career because this is how I started. I just want to tell you a little bit about myself and my story and what happened in the last 15 years or so. And for this, I guess the best way would be if I share my screen and show you some slides. 

You can see the slides, Natalia? My name is Matthias Hombauer. I’m based in Vienna, Austria. And this is where it all started at Dr. Peurgas, where I studied molecular biology. I studied there for about five and a half years. During my master’s, I was excited about this study because it was about Microbiology and Immunology, and all this stuff that’s going on in our bodies, and I was interested in this.

I really liked the studies. It was cool. I enjoyed the time, especially the internships I did during my study. I went for six weeks to Hamburg work, for example, and then I went for two months to the Salk Institute in San Diego in La Jolla. This is one of the most prestigious institutes for biology. And it gave me a glimpse of how cutting-edge research is working. And it was different from Vienna, honestly speaking because they had it for a lot of money, and probably we can talk about it later, but everything seems to be easier there. Because you get the funds. You have all the cutting-edge research there. And it was competitive. And for two months, I really worked my ass off.

But the cool thing was, I knew that after two months, I’m gone. And then I’m home again. But how hard these guys are working there. And this was already the first glimpse of how a PhD thesis or a postdoc thesis can be a postdoc job. That’s me in 2008 as a PhD student at the Institute of Immunology in Vienna. When I started, I wanted to win the Nobel Prize. I was highly motivated. Everything worked out well. In my diploma thesis, I also wrote in the same lab. I thought maybe that’s cool because then I can just continue my research there. 

And what happened was that I also got a prestigious stipend from the Stiftung, in Berlin. And for a biologist and molecular biologist, biochemist, if you get such a stipend, then your future is already set because this stipend will open a lot of doors for you if you stay in the academic career. This was already a good sign that I will stay or I wanted to stay in the academic career.

And the other good thing was that I got funded by the Stiftung. I got my money every month. I was a free PhD student for my boss. He didn’t have to pay me which gave me a little bit more freedom to move because I was not dependent on the money from the lab. This was a good thing. However, after two years, this happened and probably some of you know about PhD comics. This might be for the guys in the biology field. 

And this curve describes what’s happening because, in the first place, you want to win the Nobel Prize. You’re new to your PhD thesis. You think you can rule the world. And after a couple of years, you hope to have pepperoni pizza at the happy hour. And that’s what happened to me. I got frustrated. The projects were long. I’ve worked for four years on one project.

And I mean, luckily, I got a little paper out in the end. By the way, I finished my PhD after four and a half years and that’s a good thing. But I got the solution to how research is working in this field. I mentioned it before with the Salk Institute. It’s different than in the US in this kind of lab. Because they have a machine, you get your chemicals, get your antibodies, and that’s it. And you can go there every time. And here in Australia, you needed to fill out forms. You needed to wait four months until your boss gave you the money to order some reagent. If you want to be in cut edge research, then you need to go to these prestigious institutes. But the problem is, then you have to work your ass off. I’ve seen people who’re working 70,80 hours in the lab.

They went to a concert, and after the concert at 2 am, in the morning, they went back to the lab because they had to feed the cells. And this was not really for me. And somehow my body already told me, I need to find something else because I always had this feeling when I woke up in the morning, is it the right way? Is this what I want to do for my whole life? Or should I do something different? But the question was, what should I do differently? Because I started already five years. I did my diploma thesis. I was on my PhD thesis for two years.

And all of my colleagues around were frustrated and depressed as well. But no one had any clear answer about what to do. And it took me about two years, more likely, with waking up with this weird feeling in my gut and saying to me, Hey, that’s not what you want. You need something different to be happy in life. And I started to think a little bit about what excites me. And you can see little Matthias here on the left as a three-year-old already with the headphone of my dad and I was listening to his collection. And then a little bit later on at 13 or 14 years old, I played in my first death metal band. I had such long hair. And this was a cool time as well. Music always played a big and important role in my life.

During my PhD thesis, there was music that I liked. And at the age of 28, I also started to get a digital camera and started to photograph some random stuff like flowers and landscapes and some portraits. And somehow I figured out that music and photography would be a cool mix. And there is a story I always tell. It’s still a little bit esoteric for me. I now understand what it was but I was cycling my bike to work every day. It was about 35,40 minutes drive. And one morning, I was cycling to my work again. 

And then all of a sudden, an inner voice told me, Matthias, why are you not combining music and photography and become a concert photographer. And the crazy thing was I never thought about concert photography nor did I know what it is. Once I went to the lab, I typed in Google concert photography, and boom, there were some people around the world, most likely in the US who were concert photographers, and who was writing about how to become one.

Hearing this story again or telling this story, I think what spoke to me was my unconsciousness. They’re trying to tell me, Hey, you have to figure something out. And if music and photography is your passion, why not combine those two. And so I decided after I finished my PhD thesis, I held it in my hand and said, Okay, here’s my PhD thesis. I have the kind of safety net if something is not working out with the photography job, I can always go back to the molecular biology job or start a boring job in a pharma company, probably. I tried to figure out how to become a concert photographer.

And so this is what I did. Basically, as a concert photographer, you’re in front of the stage of a concert of the band. And you have three songs time to shoot the best photos. And if you get lucky and you are with the band, or you work with the bands, you can be on stage as well. I was one of the personal photographers of the Prodigy. Here are a couple of photos from one of their albums. And they also did the last promo shot before Keith Flint took his life, so they’re not anymore.

Then I took photos of almost everyone that I find interesting. I don’t like her music. But the show was great. I took photos of Metallica or Foo Fighters or iron maiden. I went to Saudi Arabia to shoot the biggest festivals there. This is DJ Marshmallow, for example. And here is also Wiz Khalifa from the Saudi Arabia shoot. And this is kind of crazy because I went there five times. They flew me in from Thursday to Sunday, from Vienna to Saudi Arabia and back. And it somehow happened that I also was shooting, the famous artist in the desert, like a private for our desert shooting in Saudi Arabia.

And then two days later, I was back in Vienna with my family. And it was kind of what’s going on? I mean, is this just a dream? Or is this happening? This’s what happened with this whole concept photography thing. And I just wanted to say I have no certification. In photography, I didn’t attend any courses. This’s all kind of self-learned by trial and error. I was working for Instagram, and shooting one of the biggest festivals in France in LaRochelle which was cool.

I was doing an exhibition with other international concert photographers in Buenos Aires. I flew there and we opened our gallery show for a couple of days. And then I flew back. I became a father and this is me and here is my daughter. She’s already four and a half years old and thanks to my wife because otherwise, nothing would work. That’s a huge part of the success story. I started to think again, what is the important thing in my life? Do I want to be a rock star photographer for my whole life?

Do I want to go on tour with bands which I did? You know for months or even four years if you are lucky and you can tour with famous bands like Guns and Roses or Bon Jovi or Aerosmith, they will have huge tours and they will be on the road all the time. I wanted to stay at home and wanted to be there for my kids and want to see them growing up. And there are a lot of stories if you read the biographies of Steve Jobs or other guys who regret that they didn’t spend the time with their family in the beginning.

They were rich and they were successful in their career but most likely something was missing and this was the family part. I didn’t want to become such a guy. And at this time, a friend of mine gave me the book The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, and maybe some of you know about it, maybe some don’t. I just want to give you a brief overview of what he says and what it is. The four-hour workweek by Tim Ferriss most likely propagates a new model, of the so-called New rich and new rich meaning not in money, but in time. And what he propagates is kind of, it would be a cool thing if you can independently do your work and earn money.

For example, if I shot a couple of weddings, if I’m shooting a wedding for eight hours, then I will get paid for eight hours X amount of money. If I shoot for 12 hours, then I will get paid more money. The problem is, I will also spend more time. The more time is spent, probably the more money you get. And I know a lot of friends in companies in management positions get a shitload of money, but they work for 70 to 80 hours a week. And they don’t have time for anything, but just that work. The idea of the whole concept is to get a job probably or build your own business, like an online business, and sell. 

For example, courses there. And if you do this, you record the course once. And then you don’t have to be all-time in front of your computer and you can sell those courses. This’s just an example. You can also do affiliate marketing. You can do shipment by Amazon and sell your stuff there. There are a lot of ideas and ways you can do it. But in principle, it’s like becoming independent from time and earning money. I thought that might be an interesting project for you as well.

I wanted to stay at home with my family and with my kids. I want to see them grow up. I don’t want to tour with those bands and hang up in all those weird clubs anymore. But I have a passion for concert photography. And probably other people are also interested in learning how they can also become concert photographers. I started a project called How to become a rock star photographer. It worked out. 

 I started by writing some guest articles in big photography blogs and magazines about how I got started and what I have learned and the best camera tips and settings for concert photographers, and so on. From there on, I wrote an ebook and sold it on my page. And I can sell an ebook for a PDF. It was like 70 Pages for 80 bucks which would be impossible if you do this on Amazon. There are millions of books but no one is selling a PDF 70 Pages for like 80 bucks. But it worked for me. And I thought maybe I can do a video course.

I recorded a video course and sold it for 400 bucks. And this is what shifted the needle and I could make an income by selling online courses about how to become a rockstar photographer. I built the most important concept photography community worldwide from my bedroom with over 6,000 newsletter subscribers and my blog reached already people in 100 plus countries. I generated an Instagram hashtag called htbarp short for how to become a rockstar photographer or full name. If you tell a marketer, this will slap you in the face because no I mean that’s what’s this word and no one can remember it. But it worked.

Ask some guys or community members if they want to tag their concert photos with hashtags and maybe we can get a couple of 100 photos and built-in awesome concert photography Instagram gallery and all of a sudden, we are reaching like 476,000 more photos, which is just crazy. And then I also did podcasts. I wanted to learn from the best because I also started with the beginner’s mindset and I was kind of not famous but people knew me in the music industry but in some way, other people were more important than me. 

And I decided to start a podcast. And over the range of two and a half years, I did a weekly show. Every week I published a podcast, interviewing the world’s best music photographers, including guys who were on tour with queen or Led Zeppelin in the 70s. I interviewed Baron Wolman who just died a couple of days ago. He was the first Rolling Stone magazine photographer who took photos in Woodstock, and so on. I learned a lot. I learned that I don’t want to be a rock star photographer anymore. Because most likely, it’s either your life and you’re just on tour or shooting the bands or you don’t have any family.

It’s most likely that those guys don’t have family and kids. The newest project is more likely how to help dads to balance their life and work better because I know how stressful it can be. Especially if you have kids at home, you have a stressful life. And I experimented a lot in the last years and found a way that worked for me, which is working for me, like, you know, installing good habits and implementing little things that are easy and fast to implement in your lifestyle. But we’ll give you a lot of benefits for yourself and also for your kids and your family. This was my story so far. What I would like to share with you also is what I found out, it’s really important to live your dream project to be happy in life.

And I think one of the main pillars in my life that give me satisfaction is to live my passion. And I just want to get into a little bit more detail about what passion is because I knew a lot of people who are doing the PhD thesis and who are doing the postdocs already.

And they are not happy with what they’re doing. But the path is already narrowed. Because if you’re doing like five years, six years of studying, then five years of a PhD, then you do five years of postdoc, probably two postdocs or five, six years, then you’re in the middle of your 30s or beginning of your 40s. And you walk this path and there is kind of no turning back. But what I want to say is that there is always a turning back. 

It’s just you need to know what your passion is. And a lot of people simply don’t know. Because if you say to people, Hey, what’s your passion? What do you like and they say they’re traveling or going to the cinema or something like this. And that’s maybe something that you’re curious about that you like but it’s not a passion that you can build a living on. What I like to show you here are these three words that are interconnected and I find this interesting. And I think that’s true how it works.

First, there’s a curiosity for something, then it follows into passion, and then its purpose. For example, you like to play the guitar, you’re curious about playing the guitar, you get a guitar from a friend, or you can probably rent it, and you play around. And probably you like it. It’s really hard in the beginning. It doesn’t sound great. You get a little bit frustrated but still, you have fun with it. 

And if you stick to it because you’re really into it, that’s something that interests you. It can get into a passion. It’s like you’re waking up in the night and just thinking about playing guitar and you’re trying to form a band. You’re playing every day for hours. And then if you see the purpose, like okay, I want to be a rock star because this band really inspired me and they love what they are doing and this is what I want to do. My purpose was, for example with the PhD thesis that I wanted to heal the world because I was into immunology but it turned out differently.

And then there was another purpose like my kids were born and my kids became the purpose. It’s shifting. It’s not like you decided once in your lifetime. It’s really flexible. And what you have seen from my story is that it shifts a lot. And this is something, I guess, that comes naturally, because as you get older, your focus shifts, your curiosity shifts, and what you like shifts. I was always into brutal movies. 

And now since I’m a dad, I can’t watch them anymore. It’s like, I start to cry if I see a drama or a love story. That’s different. And so I guess what’s important is this curiosity, passion, and purpose. It’s not like you’re set from the beginning of life until the end of your life. What’s also important is that you know your why. Maybe, you have heard this before, there is a famous book from Simon Sinek called “Start With Why” most people talk about what they are doing. 

And this holds also true for companies. The company will tell you what we are doing, what do you do? You know, I’m doing a PhD. I’m a molecular biologist, whatever. And then what do you do? That’s most likely a technique. Okay, I’m using this technique in the lab. I’m using this camera setting. And in the inner circle, it’s like, why do you do what you do? And what’s the purpose? And that’s the important question that not many people are answering because they’re not thinking about it. What drives you? What keeps you awake at night? For me, the biggest purpose now, as I said, is my kids. And this is an important purpose. And I think it’s a strong purpose. But it doesn’t need to be your kids. It can be whatever it is but you need to find it.

And why it’s so important is because there will be a lot of stones in your way if you want to pursue your dreams. There will be people who don’t support you. There will be projects that don’t work out well. There will be paths that you go that will end strictly or abruptly and you will need to get back a couple of steps. Maybe you find out that’s not your passion, that was just a curiosity. And maybe it shifts again, and you start again. And so to overcome all these obstacles, it’s important to know your purpose and why you were doing this. 

For example, the podcast was a lot of roots, doing 100 interviews in a weekly show for two and a half years in a row is a lot of work. My purpose was I wanted to do 100 interviews and then write a book about it about the key findings and kind of have this book in hand where I say, Okay, this is what I’ve done. If someone is interested in concert photography, here, you can learn from the best. I’m still in the process of writing it but this was kind of the purpose. And if you have a purpose, then it’s getting easier. And for the last slide, I don’t know if you know this method or the structure here is called ikigai, from the Japanese reason for being happy. 

And I think this sums it up really well. In the center, you have this ikigai, the reason for being while you’re here on Earth, and then you have these other cycles and you have on top what you love for what do you laughter is the passion and your mission. This’s the mission or the purpose. Then what the world needs. On the right side, there is your mission and your vocation than what you can be paid for. This is your profession and what you’re good at, again, passion and profession. If you find something that interacts with all these cycles, then you’re on a good way that you found your purpose. It’s way easier to work on projects that you’re passionate about than just to work for money. That’s the short presentation. And I will go back here and look forward to discussing things with you, Natalia.

Natalia 29:44 Thank you so much. Matthias for your presentation. Excellent, excellent My first question would be no, this is some question that I just got. Once you were talking about passion, seeing I think many people not only PhDs, but also people without PhD, I think many people have that issue that they don’t really feel that fire for anything. in your model, if I said my model, but

Well, in your approach, to get to the purpose, you have to go through this step of defining your passion or finding your passion. what would you advise? What would you say to those who don’t really feel that fire at the moment for anything?

Dr. Matthias 30:31 That’s a good question. And I think so many people, as I said, don’t know what their real passion is. There are different approaches. what I heard once from Steve Kotler, for example, was that you make a list of like 20 things that you like, it’s guitar playing, you want to paint or you want to write an oval, or whatever it is, you write this down, like 20 or 25 things. And then you search for interactions or overlaps. Maybe you like photography, and you like fashion. Maybe you can start as a fashion photographer and you need to start from this point where probably, you will try a lot of things.

Maybe you still don’t know what your passion is. But maybe you’re curious about knitting, for example, cooking and maybe you just have to try it out, and see if this sticks to you. And this is what I’ve done my whole life. I tried playing the guitar, which worked great, I had a band for five years. But then somehow I wasn’t interested in it anymore. And that just stopped it. Then I started playing Ultimate Frisbee in a team and then did it a couple of months for like training four days a week. 

And then I stopped it because I felt that’s not really my thing. And what’s important is that you’re really open-minded with this approach, or with this experiment. Because what I have felt as you start something and then all of a sudden, it slows down and you’re not interested anymore. And then you start to think, what’s wrong with me? I chose to study molecular biology because this is what I wanted to do. And now I’m here nine years later, and I’m not interested in it anymore.

And now I want to change. And a lot of people told me, most likely lab colleagues and my boss said, you’re crazy. what are you doing? you have this stipend, and you can go everywhere where you want. And you can do your postdoc in America and probably at the Salk Institute. And by the way, I know a guy who is now at the Salk Institute, he’s doing now his postdoc for five years, and there is no result at all, and he’s frustrated. It doesn’t mean just that you’re in a prestigious Institute, that you get famous or you get rich anyhow, I think you can’t get rich as a researcher, if you don’t have your own company and selling some patents or something. But I guess the most important thing is trying things out until something sticks.

Natalia 33:24 That’s very good advice. Actually, My feeling is that many PhDs at the end of their PhD journey have an issue finding their passion also, because of frustration because of the overload with work, and all these mental aspects of finishing a PhD. And my feeling is it’s hard to really find your passion if you cannot really listen to the voice of your intuition. And the voice of your intuition will not speak loud enough if you’re stressed if you are under sleep if you’re frustrated. It’s really hard to in that particular period of time, it’s very hard to really have this objective view, sober view of yourself. 

And that’s one confounder and that doesn’t make it any easier. And the second thing is, even if you feel that passion, then it has to be you have to have some skill that sells right to make it your job. And I think in your case, you actually were blessed to have so many talents and you are also working on your own to develop those talents early in your career. At that stage, when you took a decision to turn this into a profession, then you had already been at this level, where you could actually start charging for it.

Actually relating to this time, art for ikigai and what it is that you showed in the end, you had some skill in your hand that people are willing to pay for. And this is sometimes hard because many people like cooking many people like the things that most people like hanging out with friends, but how to monetize this? Right? I think in your case, maybe you never planned for this. But eventually, it was a good circumstance that you had some skill in your hand that you could actually turn into a profession straightaway.

Dr. Matthias 35:39 I totally agree. I think there are two parts of this question. First of all, I agree, it’s really hard if you’re in this PhD, let’s say our universe, that you have to work hard. And all you do is kind of grading papers and doing your experiments, at least in the biology field, but probably also in other fields. And you don’t really have time for doing something different. Probably a happy hour, and then you go to sleep. But how I started the whole thing was, I just did it. And it was a hell of work because I went to concerts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at some times. And going to a concert like 8 PM and then shooting the concert, developing the photos at home on the computer, going to bed at 3 AM. And then being in the lab again at 9 AM the whole day.

I really sacrificed most of my research work, I got really lousy, I have to say I was not a good researcher anymore, because all my focus went into photography. And what saved me was the stipend because I got the money. If my boss had to pay me, probably he just would have fired me. But since it was a free worker, a free student for him, this was a little bit easier for me. And the second part is, as you said, I built this business already during my PhD thesis, it took me like two years to build it. And when I finished, I had the feeling that they can survive as a photographer, shooting weddings, shooting for fun, using magazines, shooting portraits, whatever it was. This was a crucial step. And I wouldn’t advise anyone to quit his job from one day to another and then say, let’s write a cookbook and sell some book and make a living out of it.

You really have to be cautious about what you’re doing. And luckily, it turned out for me, I guess because concert photography is a really niche market. There are a lot of concept photographers, but there is really a handful, I would say people worldwide who are writing about how to do it properly. And therefore the niche is the key. If you want to write a general cookbook you won’t survive, you want to write a blog about fitness in general, you want to why if you need to become a specialist in one niche, and bring it, vegan breakfasts that you can do in two minutes, something like this needs to be specific and it needs to be for a niche market. Because otherwise, there are so many big players and no one will recognize it.

Natalia 39:04 That’s great advice. Indeed, I have nothing to add. Could we now, briefly go back to the times of your PDD to all your projects, because I have some questions. We’ll see. Since your area of activities, professional activities changed so much since a PhD. And it’s quite unusual, right to move from molecular biology straight to photography and being a professional dad. Then I would ask you, do you ever have some, in hindsight, have thoughts about was your PhD even useful for you in any way would you do PhD again if you had the chance, and Have you seen any real-world consequences of your PhD on your life right now?

Dr. Matthias 40:05 Good question. I’m someone who has no regrets at all. I would say I don’t regret doing this PhD. It’s taught me a lot, probably not. Or it’s not important for me like the specific field, I was working as a PhD. Sure, I was in this immunology field. And I was working with basic research on how Cd8 T cells are working. That’s not the thing that kind of traveled with me to my current life. 

But I think what really helped me is to have this endurance to survive a PhD, like doing a project for four or five years. Having all these challenges, all these obstacles being it a journal club that you hate, because you didn’t have any time to prepare for it. And then you need to do a journal club, and you have no idea what you’re talking about. And there will be nasty questions from professors because obviously, they know more about this.

I hate this or doing a lab meeting. And again, showing that you have no results at all because you did the experiment for three months and you did it five times. And two times it was positive two times it was negative one time it didn’t work out. And you don’t know what to say, after three months, if this experiment worked. I would say what really helped me also in the stadium now where I’m at is this. 

Learning about this endurance. Even projects can be a gather result if you stay long enough on them, and I think that’s also important for having a startup or working on your dream projects are living your passion, there will always be challenges. And I mean, everything seems so perfect, right? some people say that’s a Hollywood story. And you move from molecular biologist became this kind of famous rock star photographer, but it was a journey, and there was a were a lot of challenges.

There were a lot of failures. It’s just the mindset that you need, that you have this passion that to say it didn’t work out. I tried differently. I’m on my floor again, I don’t know, can I get enough money to pay the rent for the next month, and all of a sudden, the next day, you’ll get an email with a new job and say, let’s move on from here and that’s the importance of having a purpose because this will save you in this hard times, you need to know why you’re doing this. If it’s just I like cooking. Yeah, a lot of people like cooking, but what drives you? And so I think that’s important,

Natalia 43:09 Actually, again fully agree. And my feeling is that for most PhDs when they report about what was the main gain from their PhD, they most often say that it’s more of soft skills and personal things that they build up, rather than the particular knowledge that they gained during their PhD. I feel that too. I fully agree. And in business, that’s very useful indeed, and actually, if I can add something to this picture, I also feel that PhD, it’s so typically so challenging that it also shifts your perception of what is hard and I have to say, I did three different masters before my PhD, but they were nowhere near to the level of difficulty of my PhD. And my PhD was pretty much undoable.

I got a problem that after one year, I realized that this is undoable pretty much on the web or project, but yet still, I had to stay on this project. And I was struggling with it for another few years. And now, when people asked me, Is it difficult to run a company and this is difficult to write a book or whatever I could have I do. I always feel like, well, comparing to doing something that is mathematically impossible. That is quite easy. Now I feel like if something is possible, then it’s easy.

Dr. Mattias 44:50 Of course. And it’s also short-term, like I mean, writing a book probably takes two months or three months, maybe a year or maybe two years, but it’s nothing yet like working six years for the project you don’t know what’s the outcome. And this is what I really didn’t like in the end. If I write the book, I know it takes time but then I have an end result. And this is how I want to have it. But with the PhD thesis in biology, it’s like here’s your hypothesis. Let’s test it out. And if it’s not true after six years, then it’s not true. I mean, it’s no one’s fault. And you don’t have a paper, you don’t even get your PhD.

Natalia 45:29 I agree with your points. And now actually, I’d like to talk more about your businesses. we have a question from the audience. Amelie is asking, How did your research experience help you build your own businesses?

Dr. Matthias 45:51 I think, as we said, this insurance part, but also experimenting, it’s also with the business. I also started this business from zero, I had no idea how to program a homepage, I had no idea how to build the community, how to start an email newsletter, how to record a video course how to sell a course, and how to record a podcast, it took me like, a year, I guess, to figure out how to start a podcast and then how to do it. 

And so I think from my research work it what I took from it was like, How to experiment or how to set up experiments, and also stick to it. What I did is like, you’re searching for something and Google, my friends always telling me, it’s like, you’re still a researcher because you want to figure something out. And I have this kind of approach of, getting to the best sources, is it the best mentors, the best teachers, having a look at three or four different angles, and then building my view about it.

And this really helps, because if you start something new, and you have no idea, you can just move on by trial and error, and you try it and you figure out that’s not working, and you get another tool, and you figure out tool number 1 is not the competence compatible with the tool, number 2 is to build an online business or email newsletter, you try something different. And I guess this really helped, at least to know a little bit about how to properly execute experiments. 

And it’s not like, I’ve tried something out, I’m failing. That’s not for me. And that just leave because this is not how it’s working. And therefore, I also like, more the mindset of the startup culture in the US, if you want to learn something new, you need to fail first. And not like here in Austria and Germany, where it’s okay, you have one shot, try it out, if it’s not working out, you’re a loser, don’t do it anymore.

And it’s all about trial and error and being daring. In the long term, there is a nice quote, which says, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon, grind hard every day. And that’s exactly what it is, if you stay for a long period of time, in one field, your chances to be successful, maybe a lot bigger than just doing it short term.

Natalia 48:33 when you said, you turned your passion into purpose, and then you turn your purpose into a job with music and photography. Did you ever experience this or a Boris effect? What I mean by that is, it’s often the case that when people actually monetize under passion, then all of a sudden, they have to start thinking in these business terms. And they have to actually be become very practical about what they’re doing. And what often happens is this level of satisfaction gradually drops. Because all of a sudden, you have to start making compromises on your art or whatever you feel passionate about. And did you ever have that? Did it ever happen to you?

Dr. Matthias 49:20 That’s a good point. I would say a lot of creatives struggle with this, especially I know from the photography community because they want to create art, you want to take photos, you want to create art, but if it’s about business, the business side everyone is like, I don’t want to touch money. I don’t know how to do it. I don’t want to sell my work because that’s not like, that’s not me. I want to be just an artist. And that’s the wrong way to do it. I would say what you need to be is open-minded also for the business side, and it’s hard in the beginning, I had no clue how to market myself. 

But what I have learned is you need to find a balance between doing jobs that you need to survive that you really don’t want to do. But probably you need to pay your rent next month, and you need to do it, and shops that you love to do which a high priced, well paid, and you love to do. And this is kind of finding the balance. And I always tended to do the jobs that I really like. Even though you have to say no. And that’s a skill you need to learn. That’s a mindset. Saying no to something is hard in the beginning. 

Because if you say no to a client, your brain will d will start jumping, You said no to this client, maybe you don’t get any drop from him anymore. what should you do, you need the money. But if you stick to it, and you believe in yourself, and you have a positive mindset and everything, then it always turned out that there will be another job that they really love. And that keeps me like above the water.

I would say, it’s totally up to everyone’s mindset and do the things that you love. Because as you said, I mean, a lot of people struggled in building a business on jobs that don’t want to do, and then your passion, all of a sudden is gone. And you’re just doing boring jobs that you don’t like. And a couple of years later, you ask yourself where I am now I started this whole business as my passion, I loved it. And now I’m just doing shitty jobs that I don’t like and I hate it. It’s always important to be cautious about what you’re doing, and which jobs you’re doing. And I think what’s also important is to find your inner core values, that really helped me to be just cautious and say what I’m standing for and what are my three core values.

And if you guys didn’t know what core values are, you can just Google it, there is a list of hundreds of different words for what core value is, our core value is family. Everything for every job that I get or what I can do, is kind of balanced out with this family’s core values. If I get a job offer from a band, which took me or which will take me two years on tour, I would say no, even if it’s Guns and Roses, because that’s not what I stand for. And this is also how you become authentic because all of your actions will be in tune with your inner core values. And I think that’s really important because there are so many people who are just doing things because of money. 

But I can tell you this money is definitely not the purpose, or the driving force that you can stay in a business or job for a long term, maybe short term, it’s great to have a lot of money. But I guess I’m a big believer that money never makes you happy And again if you read a lot like me, there are so many stories of successful people, people with a shitload of money. But it’s more to life than just money. 

And there is an interesting study that they came across a couple of times now, which says, the happiest people are those who earn like $85,000 a year. That’s kind of a value where you’re really happy because you have a lot of money, or you have enough money that you don’t have to care. But once it’s raised, and you get 10 Million, also, the challenges will raise because you get out of problems.

And probably you’re not by yourself, like myself standing here in my so-called Dream lab, and being a one-man show, but probably you have 30 employees, and yet you make millions of dollars, probably, but the pressure that you have as a CEO, and what you have to deal with, might push you in a direction that you initially didn’t want to go. And then you again in a position where you say, hey, this whole project started as my passion, but now I’m the CEO and they have to figure out stuff that I don’t even like to do. And so always be cautious about what you’re doing and be cautious about what you’re wishing for. Because just if you wish you want to have $10 million, eventually you will get it. But there will be a price to pay as well.

Natalia 54:39 Actually my finding is that money likes to hustle. Money often comes to those who don’t care about it too much. That’s right. That’s also true. I was actually just referring to what you said before, about choosing the rewarding and pleasant types of jobs. I have a feeling that they are often the most competitive ones. I had the same dilemma when I was finishing a PhD, because I have a very technical education. And I have a master’s in mathematics and physics.

Dr. Matthias 55:11 Can you imagine how to do this?

Natalia 55:19 Actually, it was not a very healthy lifestyle, I have to say. And I also have masters in psychology. And I feel like, that’s also why I went for neuroscience because it was such a hybrid discipline that incorporates 30 different disciplines you want. And it’s collaborative, and it’s multifaceted, and disciplined. But actually, after my PhD, that’s also how I was perceived by recruiters and employers that they perceived me as a person who would be an ideal material for data scientists or some other specialists. 

And I didn’t really feel like doing this. And I had a dilemma that it’s either that I go to take a job that is very well paid, they want very safe, a lot of choices and good status. But it’s something that will make me quite miserable Because I knew deep in my heart, that I didn’t want to spend my days in front of computer programming, that’s not what I wanted. Or I choose another path because I always felt if I could choose any job in the world, I would write books and out boldly an author and I would interact with a lot of people, I would solve some big problems, or at least I would try to approach some of the problems and I would work as one on one with people and then close myself behind the closed door again.

I will be switching between these two modes. I have a lot of people on one hand and like silence and creativity on the other hand, and that was my dream lifestyle. But I knew that the odds of becoming successful as an author are very low and there is this distribution of income that is like a scale-free distribution. 

There is a very low number of successful people who we hear about. And there is a very long tail of all those people who might be good, but they never made us to the like public space, and they didn’t become household names, they cannot really vote from what they do, according to BookScan, only 2% of our books by themselves back. So at least 98% flop. And so this is like this is pretty much the range, right? You have a 2% chance of being successful and a 90% chance of starving. 

And that was a big dilemma for me. And in the end, I decided to go for it. Because I felt now’s the time now I don’t have a family yet. This is the time to try and I would just regret it if I didn’t. But I know that this is a very important decision. And this is a hard dilemma. And maybe if I was in a different situation right now, then I would not have the guts to try. It’s also a matter of whether or not you have the right conditions to try. Because the jobs that are the coolest jobs that are really rewarding that usually they are designed by more people than, than there are seats, or that’s my feeling.

Dr. Matthias 58:33 That’s absolutely true. I mean, that’s in different fields, like music, how many bands to really know how many bands really got to this rock star status and how many bands are just, touring or playing in local bands, and no one or local powers in Dublin can live out from it. And that’s probably the same in science as well. You have this huge, while renowned experts, but most likely, if you’re a group leader, maybe you’re sitting in a small lab, and you have to write grants the whole day and hoping that you don’t have to find your PhD and try to get good payment for them. Therefore, I mean, with books, it’s hard. It’s crazy, right? 2% It’s nothing.

And I see books not really as a stable income source, but more like becoming an authority in your field. Because if you’re an author, this guy or this girl needs to know something about it because they wrote a book about it, which is kind of bullshit because you can read three books about a topic and then just make a summary out of it. Take your name on it, make a self-published book, and you are an author. This is I think how a lot of people approach it nowadays. It’s like I’m a book author. 

Therefore, I can earn more money when I do coaching because I have this authority sign on it. I think I see this way with his books. But it’s hard. And as I said, I wouldn’t advise anyone to jump into the cold water from one day to another day. And I agree with you what you said, it’s all about which situations are you in right now? Or you’re alone yourself? And are you flexible? Or do you have already a family?

Even then a friend of a good friend of mine, he’s in difficulties as a hockey player. And he just started his own projects, and He has four kids. still, it’s working. But then you need really a different mindset and a different view of the world. And you need a lot of self-esteem to say, here I am, I love what I’m doing. And somehow I will figure it out, even though it’s really stressful because you need to get money somehow if you have to feed a family of four kids.

Natalia 1:01:05 That’s the indeed, that’s, again, like, as you said before,, it’s very individual, everyone has to make that accountancy for themselves. I was blessed also that I mean, the situation when I can try and, and that’s also one of the reasons why I developed courses for PhDs because I know that many people don’t have that luxury to have time to actually figure out what to do next, and to try for a time long enough. 

And they actually have to shrink the self-discovery parts to the minimum because they just cannot afford to do the self-discovery for two, or three years whatever that takes. That was exactly the motivation why I started the courses, indeed. and now maybe, let’s ask a more casual question. Since you are in the music industry, we know all these stars only from the covers of the magazine. who is in your like, like, among the people you met, who was the nicest person and who was the funniest person, like who you’d like to be friends with?

Dr. Matthias 1:02:17 I mean, they’re all nice. That’s the thing. When you start out, or when you’re in the audience, as a fan you see those spans, like, three meters above you on stage, it’s like, they are my gods or whatever and human, or whatever they are. At least it was for me when I was like 15 years old, and the summer first Metallica concert, it was like, that’s crazy. But once you talk to those guys, and your tour with those guys, they are humans as well, right? 

This is touring. I learned from touring that those guys have also problems. And even though they are the superstars, like The Prodigy, for example, who everyone thinks are just crazy dudes, they’re just normal guys who are talking about cooking before they go on stage. And then they have this weird and wild performance. what I have seen a lot was people also struggling with this kind of chop because they also have a family at home. They are touring a lot. I’ve seen a lot of guys who are just hanging out backstage every day before the show starts on Skype or on Zoom and just talking to their families because they miss the kids, or one famous artist, for example, I wasn’t touring in Vienna for two days. there was one concert in crowds. And then there was a day off. And then there was another concert in Salzburg.

 And he just took a flight back to the UK to bring his son to go to school and pick him up and then he went back for the second gig. And I mean this you can do it. You can afford it because he was a famous one. But normally that’s really hard and I mean just touring. I talked to a lot of guys like Portugal The man they’re really nice to get famous with one song. But they said, in the beginning, they were just eating rice the whole tour because they didn’t have any money.

And if you tour with bands, I toured with a Swedish heavy punk band and we slept in a bus nine people in a small bus and we couldn’t even shower for three days because they played and they didn’t have any shower there. And so we slept in the car. And if you go to Speedway gas station that probably they have a shower there you can shower there, but that’s the heart business and they need to have a purpose. They love the things that they’re doing. therefore it’s okay. But if you don’t have a purpose and it is just doing music or playing in a band for money, forget it, you won’t survive.

Natalia 1:05:26 It actually, that’s what you’re saying is also consistent with what I observe. actually, when I was starting these meetings, I also wondered if I should invite people who I know to have some following already. And I felt maybe they will not treat me too seriously. But then I realized that those are the nicest people, because also one of the reasons why they got where they are, is because they were just nice and good with people. That’s one factor for success that is quite universal. Exactly. Now, I’m no longer stressed before these episodes, because I know that these are just super nice people. So that changed my perception.

Dr. Matthias 1:06:03 Exactly. There is no reason why not to be friendly. I mean, either you’re an asshole or not. And if you don’t want to interview people who just have an ego problem, and all the others have no, no reason why they’re not frank.

Natalia 1:06:17 I have a question about the times when you were doing your podcast. And that’s actually my private question since I’m now also interviewing people. Since you’re a much more experienced interviewer than me, then I have a question for you. Since I feel like every interviewer has their personal style. And I didn’t have any formal training in journalism. I set up some style. And I think, one thing I know is I know a little bit about how the human brain works. I know that you either think of your left hemisphere or your right hemisphere, and one of them speaks to your like logical mind, and the other speaks to your emotions. 

So and I always feel like I want to hear the truth. Like I want to interviews to be real and to be truthful and to be genuine, which is I mean, naturally comes but actually, what I like doing is basically asking questions that speak either to the right or left hemisphere, and just so basically, change the tone, almost every question and actually disorient my guests a little bit so that they at some point completely, they just lose their posture in a sense, and they start speaking out what they really think. that’s me I think that’s my personal style.

Dr. Matthias 1:07:38 That’s a style of researcher, I guess because that’s already too technical for me, I had no clue what I was doing. I had never interviewed anyone before. And the first interview was with a cat who is the tour photographer of Guns and Roses and AC/DC. And I mean, I was nervous I had no idea about technical stuff, how to set up a podcast, nor did I have a clue how to do an interview. 

And still, after 100 interviews, this is one of the most downloaded ones. I guess, just be kind and be true, and be authentic. I don’t think you need any strategy to kind of experiment with different tones or whatever, just to get the true truth out of people. I have learned from my podcast, that I always had a couple of questions beforehand, which are always the same, like seven questions I asked every, every guest. And then I interviewed, even though they were all concert photographers, but they all had kind of a specific topic to the interview attached. One was to the photographer. One was someone who self-published a book. The other was someone who was just choosing not famous bands, in small clubs, and so on. It differed a little bit But what I found out is the best interviews out there want something like we’re doing right now, because you give me feedback, and I give you feedback.

And then it’s kind of it’s not a monologue, because sometimes people are just asking questions and as a guest, you’re answering and then there is the next question without any connection to it. And I think it’s important and I really like these interviews, like we are doing where you give feedback and you tell how you see it and what your experiences are and then I can come up with my experiences again. And also what helps probably is if they don’t know the questions beforehand. These are only a few of my interview guests who said they don’t want to hear the questions before because then you have this natural flow of conversation. 

It’s not like someone gets the question and probably writes it down beforehand, and then just reads it out, because they’re too nervous, which is also okay. Because not everyone is feeling safe in front of a microphone. And if it’s your first time doing it, I mean, you will be nervous, that’s for sure. But for me, this format works well, if I don’t know the questions, and it’s just a great conversation. And everyone tries to help the audience and to be true and authentic. I don’t think you need any technical experiments to get the truth out of someone.

Natalia 1:10:44 I hope. I mean, the good stuff about this initiative, let’s hope and I think it’s good to be like, what I feel is, it’s very important to be present. Just forget about the external world, just focus solely on the person that you’re talking to, just suppress all the other thoughts, and just be during the moment and then react to the questions and be authentically curious. And then it sorts of flows by itself. That’s my feeling.

Dr. Matthias 1:11:19 Exactly. And the podcasts that I’m listening to love are the ones from Rich Roll or Shirogane. And these are guys who are doing like two hours 30 interviews. And what they’re doing is they’re just sitting with cool guys together and talking about stuff. And probably they have kind of a narrative going through the interview. But it’s all about like, being authentic and helping the audience out, and sharing the experiences. I think that’s, that’s probably the key to having a good interview.

Natalia 1:11:57 Actually, I adore Joe Rogan.

Dr. Matthias 1:12:00 he’s crazy.

Natalia 1:12:03 In general, I think he’s the favorite one of the favorites or like, celebrities out there, I think.

Dr. Matthias 1:12:13 And he makes a lot of money with podcasting. I guess, he got several million contracts with Spotify now. His show is only showing us Spotify, I guess, definitely had a huge contract.

Natalia 1:12:28 But he didn’t really need it, I think because already in the times when he was on TV, he was the host of this fear factor stuff.

Dr. Matthias 1:12:36. He already has enough. But still, he’s doing the things that he really loves, it seems because of the podcast I mean, even though she gets money now, but probably he didn’t get any money before Episode 1000, or whatever he is now. And you have to imagine doing 1000 or more 1500 podcast episodes. I mean, that’s, that’s insane.

Natalia 1:13:00 Okay, clearly loves what he’s doing. And what I like about him also is that he is not afraid of any topic, like he can take on. You could take on the president, he could take professor in certain narrow discipline, and he doesn’t have any boundaries like this, or one of these people who, and he’s also been to ultimate fighting. Championships. Right? he’s been to so many, like, he doesn’t like, he treats through the world, like, Kin like a playground And he can do that’s amazing.

Dr. Matthias 1:13:41 he can do it because it’s his show. It doesn’t need to say something or don’t say something because he’s paid by someone. It’s like, it’s his show, he can do whatever he wants. And that’s the great thing if you have your own project, so as I said, I had this ebook for 80 bucks. PDF, which is insane. wouldn’t have gone with the publisher, which is anyhow not realistic with 770 pages, but they would have never allowed this because then you have strict guidelines, which you have to follow but if you do it by yourself and say I’m just experimenting, that’s my homepage. Maybe people are interested in and if they get value out of it awesome. And the more personal you can get this project the better it is because I’m not a one-man show.

I have my homepage. I get directly the money if someone pays me course you don’t have to pay anyone. I don’t have any employees that is not a part of a company. And I think that’s the cool thing because you can do whatever you want. And that’s me, and that’s my podcast and I can talk whatever I want to and there are no boundaries. And this is what those guys like Joe Rogan are doing as well.

Natalia 1:15:00 Some people are in trouble when no one tells them what to do. And some people are in trouble when someone tells them what to do. And we are both in the second group, right? I felt very painful in my PhD. Also, at some point, I was like, I will never ever have a boss again. It’s just not for me.

Dr. Matthias 1:15:25 you don’t understand what they are talking to you and you say, probably we can do this a little bit different because this isn’t benefits in detail, we’re doing this for the last 20 years, we’re not going to change it, because that’s how it is. And you’re just mad. That’s not working. And everyone’s just doing the same thing, like years ago, even if it’s not working. And we had a lot of these discussions. And it was really stressful for me because the relationship between my boss and myself wasn’t the best one. Because I had too many things to say. Which was not really beneficial for me.

Natalia 1:16:03 I mean, let’s not get there. But actually, I would like to still ask you a few questions about what like, that printer. Sounds really awful. First of all, what do you do? What does this Dadpreneur project look like? And for whom is this project? How does your week look like?

Dr. Matthias 1:16:30 let’s start with my week. My wife, Lynn is a medical doctor. And she just started to work again after maternity leave. what we decided on is that I will spend even more time at home with the kids, even though I’m the last seven years at home. But I will take over this part a little bit more. And yeah, be more cautious, even though in this time like COVID, it’s really unpredictable what happens because then the kindergarten writes an email and says, there is probably a positive case and all the kids have to stay at home.

And then in 210 days, you have two kids at home, you have to figure this out. But actually, what I’m doing is most likely taking care of the kids, but I’m also teaching in this dead printer project of what I want to help people is to become a better version of themselves. Because I have figured out that if you’re stressed being it from work, or from your business, or whatever it is, it totally correlates into your family life as well. If you’re stressed, your kids will be stressed, and they will push all the buttons in you that you don’t want to get pushed into, you will get angry and you will get nervous. 

And that’s really something that I was shocked sometimes. I mean, I’m not slapping my kids or whatever, God beware. But, sometimes you just lose your temper, because there is a lot going on. And if the day is stressful, and then the kids are doing their stuff and displaying anyhow. And I figured out what helps me is if I install kind of habits, or call it bio hacks or whatever they are like meditation like breathwork, I figured out a way how I can work out four to five times a week without going to the gym because I don’t have the time. But if I get a pull-up bar in my garden, I’m happy and I can do my exercises there.

Most likely, I’m taking care of the kids. And when I find the time I’m doing my personal project. Right now it’s kind of probably one hour per day, which is not much but with two kids. There’s a lot to do. And I always thought before I had kids, I can be in the living room with my laptop and the kids are playing next to me I can work Forget it. Everyone who has kids knows this. That’s not going to work. The time you start opening your laptop one of the kids will begin to computer and push around so this is not going to work, that’s family life as a stay-at-home dad, and if I find time I will work on my projects. 

Therefore, it’s a little bit slowed down with that printer. But in general, it’s like basically how to get the best out of you with these little hacks, I would say on a daily basis and this can be as I said, mental clues like breathwork meditation is can be nutrition What do you eat? kind of lifestyle tips for dads? I would say,

Natalia 1:20:05 I’m curious, what type of activity is this? do you? How do you interact with other dads?

Dr. Matthias 1:20:18 Yeah, so I have a mastermind group called the Rockstar dads and we are eight dads, all of them have kids, and all of them have their own business. This is an internal mastermind group, and we help each other out. getting jobs. For example, I just did a webinar for 500 internal employees of a big bank, or I was a speaker at an online conference about new work for the future. And that was talking about the home office and how I set up the studio here. And what I’m doing and how I reached that is with my homepage, www.matthiashombauer.com, where you can download a free PDF with the five dead printer habits, the most important ones, like how can I be more productive, and I found out, I spend a lot of time in front of my computer. 

Also, when I had already my business, but at the end of the day, I had the feeling I didn’t do anything. there are specific strategies like the Pomodoro technique, I don’t know if you know about this, very sit down like 25 minutes, and you focus on the work or 20 minutes, I guess. And then it’s five minutes break. And then you just repeat the cycles. And it’s crazy what you can do in 20 minutes or 25 minutes if you just do deep work, focus, and get all the distractions out. And that’s also a mindset thing. If you just spent the whole day on Facebook, you won’t get things done.

Natalia 1:22:03 Right, actually, one thing about Pomodoro I could share here is that there was some research to investigate what is the perfect scheme? And what is the most efficient way of switching between work and rest? In Pomodoro. And actually, surprisingly, what came out from this research was that the best rhythm is 52 minutes of work and 8 minutes of rest.

Dr. Matthias 1:22:26 And 52 minutes work and seven to rest.

Natalia 1:22:31 I tried and it works at least for me. That’s interesting. Can I ask you a few difficult questions?

Dr. Matthias 1:22:41 Coming back to Pomodoro, I think it depends on what kind of work you’re doing. If you’re kind of a creative and you need time to get into the flow, if you’re a painter, and you have to stop every 20 minutes probably, that’s not working for you. If you’re used to deep work and are concentrated, you can go with longer series. And I also have for myself the schedule of 50 minutes, and 10 minutes of rest, something that works for me.

Natalia 1:23:19 I have a feeling that deep work is also something you have to actively train because in the world we live like everything tries to just drag us out of this state of mind and the attention span in humans is constantly dropping. It already dropped below. The mean attention span dropped below 10 seconds and currently is at eight seconds and it’s like two times less than 20 years ago. For comparison, the goldfish’s attention span is nine seconds.

Dr. Matthias 1:23:52 Let’s see. We are almost at a goldfish.

Natalia 1:23:58 Okay, I would like to just ask you briefly about problems you see in today’s fatherhood. First of all, we live in times when social media often has more impact on our kids than on us as parents, so do some men in your network feel like failed fathers?

Dr. Matthias 1:24:28 I don’t know. But I guess everyone is struggling. I just did a talk to this guy who had four kids and he said he has a 10-year-old girl and everything she says it’s no, even he’s not asking anything. It’s just no and they are completely unconfrontational. At that time, my daughter is four and I get a glimpse of how it can be if they get into this age like 10, or puberty, but it’s still fine. What I have learned is don’t read all the books about being the best parents. And this is true. I guess I’m interested in nutrition.

There is, for example, one part, or one kind of people who are saying, the best is plant-based because this is what we need. This is how we add and just not a lot of meat but most likely plant-based. And there is a lot of research going on why this should be the best diet. On the contrary, some people say, the carnivore diet is the best or you just eat meat and drink water. You don’t eat any fruits. You don’t eat any vegetables. There’s a lot of research going on why this is the best. You have to choose. And it’s the same I guess, with being a parent because I am struggling, honestly seeing also a lot because I don’t know what is right and what is wrong.

There is this view that you are just there for your kids. And if something bad happens, you just take them and show them the borders, so to speak. But they should do whatever they want because they are creative beings. And whatever it is they want to do, they can do. If they don’t want to go to bed, don’t go to bed. On the other hand, you have to be strict, the hierarchy will say, okay, the parents or the father is kind of the boss of the whole family and what he says needs to be done. I think every family has to come up with its own rules.

And some people tell me that their kids are not allowed to watch TV for the whole week, just on the weekends. My kids do watch TV because this is something I’m not so strict about. I don’t find it so important. That’s a hard question. But everyone needs to find their own way to do it. And it’s important that both the father and the mother sits in the same boat and have the same conversation and the same mindset, the same views about it because otherwise, it’s just becoming stressful because if someone has different views than the other partner, the kids get easily confused. You’re saying something and your partner says something different. That’s a hard one.

Natalia 1:27:42 I feel that being a father these days is difficult for multiple reasons. One reason is that I have a feeling that fathers are often neglected. For instance, if you see an advertisement for parents, usually there is an assumption that parent means mother. Fathers are not a target. And I feel that there are also more deep problems like I’m Polish. And back in Poland, I worked on one project that was aimed at helping fathers to improve their situation. It was 12 years ago. I was still a master’s student in medical physics working in Warsaw. And I was doing a research project and the purpose was to design a new method to detect orientation based on eye-tracking experiment. 

And the reason was that in Poland, it’s often the case that women sue their husbands and accused them of being pedophilic just because they want to win over the kids during the divorce. And they often succeed because there is no way for the father to defend themselves. That’s an ugly way to do it. But that happens. And that was the reason for the project. They try to come up with a solution to give fathers a chance to defend themselves.

And in the end, I started this project. I could not finish it because the equipment was not there on time. I had to switch my life to the topic of my thesis, unfortunately, but as far as I’m concerned, I continue with the project and I’m familiar with the problem. I can tell that there are multiple problems that fathers have to struggle with. I’m not sure if this is a global problem, the one that you just described but I have a feeling that there are so many different aspects that you have to struggle with depending on where you are in the world. I’m curious also, what type of problems do you guys discuss?

Dr. Matthias 1:30:00 For us, it’s from business to personal things. For example, last week I was posting. We have a WhatsApp group as well. Either we post text messages there or we do the speech things. And what I was struggling with a lot was, for me, success was always defined as having a lot of earning a lot of money. I think that’s a common thing that how people see themselves. I’m successful if I earn a lot of money. And I always had this number in mind. And if I could reach this, this would be awesome. 

And I would be successful. And what I’ve learned is that it’s not the best way or it’s not even a good way to see it. Because everyone needs to find out what success means to him. I can say, I’m a super successful father because I’m grateful that I’m in a situation where I can be available for my kids the whole time. And others will say, Okay, I’m earning $10,000 a month, so I’m successful. And I was struggling with this. And I was posting in the WhatsApp group and I got a lot of advice from other dads who have older kids, like in their 18, the 20s. And they said, hey, the best decision that I made was to be at home for the kids because this relationship that you built, you cannot get back. 

Once it’s done and the kids are older and money is just a byproduct, and then my eyes open for it. And I thought, okay, I mean, money is important but money isn’t everything and money cannot make you happy. Switch your perception and say, what is it to be successful, for me, success is now really having this extra time with my kids and doing the things that I love working on the projects that I’m passionate about, and being honest. I’m not a millionaire with this project. But this was not the purpose at all. I mean, I’m grateful that I can make a living and I sold course, like, what was it, I think it’s like $150,000 for the last six years with the course, which might be successful for someone or might be not. 

But I think, for me, it is because this is a course that I did, I did everything by myself. I helped a lot of people worldwide. Let’s probably come back just shortly with the general problems that dads have. When I go to kindergarten and talk to the dads who bring the little kids, they all say the best time they had in life was when they were at home from work with the kids, like a month or so there was this kind of father month in Austria.

Because this is really when it connected to my kid. And you will also see that this connection also shifts your relationship if you’re just the father who is there on the weekend because you work the whole week. You might have a different relationship with your kids as compared to someone who is holding the whole day and plays with them and you know, bring them to bed or wakes them up and bringing breakfast. 

And I think the whole issue is that socially, it’s not widely accepted that men get a lot of time with the family. I guess it’s still like, as a man you need to bring the money in, or career is the most important thing. And there is nothing wrong with it. If someone says, a career is the most important thing, and now in this situation, they can get the CEO or management position. And it’s good for my family because my wife decided to stay at home with the kids. That’s also fine. Everyone needs to find his or her own way of how to deal with it. And for me, it was the way to decide. For me, it’s the most important to stay at home. But this is not an all-in-one solution. It’s like an individual solution that worked out for me but doesn’t need to work out for us.

Natalia 1:34:17 I’m curious, where do you want to bring this project? What’s the plan for Dadpreneur?

Dr. Matthias 1:34:25 That’s a good question. As I said, it’s just in the beginning. And one plan that I have in mind is to do another podcast because I love doing podcasts and interviewing dads who have their own businesses and who figured out a way to spend more time with the kids. And I’m curious because not everyone needs to have an online business. There are probably hundreds or 1000s of different approaches to how to spend more time with the kids. 

And I want to build a platform where people can listen to the podcast and also get motivation from other dads and learn from them. It’s like the same approach as how to become a rock star photographer and learn from the best in the field and adapt it for yourself. If someone is interested, just listen to it. This would be one way to do it. Another way would be not only online, but probably also offline, you know, giving mentorship or coaching to companies. Because this is a big issue right now with dads being at home. And I’ve seen already that that company is interested in these topics as well.

Natalia 1:35:49 That’s a very good niche. I can imagine that companies have a great interest in helping their employees.

Dr. Matthias 1:35:58 They shouldn’t. Nowadays, it’s even harder for them because with all these home office approaches, they don’t have so much control over it. They need to have happy employees because otherwise, it won’t work out in the long run.

Natalia 1:36:16 I have a feeling that this type of problem is probably hard to grasp in the sense that it’s hard to convert it into like one product because it’s such a growth problem. And it’s hard to just come up with one solution. It’s not how to deal with this idea that there is no one solution.

Dr. Matthias 1;36:35 I think what you can do is, show them ways how people already did it. And people can either copy the blueprint or try it by themselves. But not everyone has the same passion. It’s probably not working for you if you’re not interested in fashion. And if you’re a fashion designer, then it’s not your way. But it should be more motivational. And just learn what you can do. And in the online world or online business, there are a lot of different methods. You can start your own t-shirt business to shipping stuff on Amazon,

Natalia 1:37:20 It’s probably similar to career advisory because I can’t give anyone an algorithm. That’s only tools and then you have to work with those tools. That’s how it works. Okay, so I have one more question for you. Do you know DJ Tiesto?

Dr. Matthias 1:37:44 Yes. You know, by name.

Natalia 1:37:48 By Name? Because several years ago, my fiancee left me before the wedding. And now I have my expectation. So the next time I need to just have to play on my wedding, otherwise, I will not show up. If you know someone who knows the TGTS.

Dr. Matthias 1:38:11 I’m not into DJs so much but I will have a look. I know at least a couple of guys who were touring with the big DJs.

Natalia 1:38:23 Right. You know, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Dr. Matthias 1:38:26 Sure. Always ask. That’s also a superpower. I think people need to just ask questions. And that’s what you were doing with the podcast. You just ask questions. And you learn from answers. And if you don’t ask, you won’t get any answers. That’s rule number one. Ask and learn from the best.

Natalia 1:38:51 Okay, great. I think I could just keep on going and asking.

Dr. Matthias 1:38:57 We already reached to two hours.

Natalia 1:39:04 It was very interesting talking to you. Thank you so much for joining us. And of course, if you guys who are watching this would like to reach out to him, then find him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and other mediums and check out his projects.

Dr. Matthias 1:39:37 That website is already gone. There’s no page working but someone got the URL. And I couldn’t figure it out. I tried to figure out who it is and probably get it. There are a couple of guys who named themselves that but notice that’s not a unique thing. And I go with my personal brand, Matthias hambauer.com.

Natalia 1:40:06 Okay, I’ll link this website description. Please check it out, guys. And thank you so much, Matthias.

Dr. Matthias 1:40:14 It’s been a pleasure talking to you.

Natalia 1:40:18 It’s great talking to you. And I wish you all the best with that.
Dr. Matthias 1:40:22 Thank you. I will try to figure it out. Do you already have someone in mind who you want to marry? What’s the timeframe?

Natalia 1:40:33 You have 10 years. I didn’t even start looking. I mean, I started from the difficult part.

Dr. Matthias 1:40:42 Once you have to stay on board, everything else is easy. Let’s keep in touch. Thank you so much again for having me.

Natalia 1:40:51 Thank you so much and have a good evening.

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Please cite as:

Bielczyk, N. (2020, November 8th). E029 PhDs in Photography – How to Start? Business Development for Dads? Retrieved from https://ontologyofvalue.com/career-development-strategies-e029-phds-in-photography-how-to-start-business-development-for-dads/

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