Parents in business: Kavin of KidCoachApp

Hi, my name is Kavin and I’m married to my wonderful wife, Emma. We have two young children aged 5 and 3 years old and we live in London, UK.

Our family is passionate about Education. My grandfather grew up in a poor village in India. Legend has it that he used to study by streetlight which is how he became a doctor. This focus on education as a way of improving your life was passed on to my mum who became a teacher and eventually on to me.

Parents in business: Kavin of KidCoachApp

Hi, my name is Kavin and I’m married to my wonderful wife, Emma. We have two young children aged 5 and 3 years old and we live in London, UK.

Our family is passionate about Education. My grandfather grew up in a poor village in India. Legend has it that he used to study by streetlight which is how he became a doctor. This focus on education as a way of improving your life was passed on to my mum who became a teacher and eventually on to me.

What is your business and what does it offer?

The KidCoachApp is a parenting/education app. It helps parents have more meaningful conversations with their kids which in turn helps them build the social skills they need. It’s perfect for parents of children aged 6-12-year-old who want to be a bit more hands-on in the education of their kids, who are keen to get their kids talking and thinking more, and recognise that the next generation will need a different set of 21st-century skills not usually covered at school… but also those parents who lead busy lives and need something to do with the kids that is quick and fun with zero preparation or materials required.

It works by giving parents access to HUNDREDS of quick, fun and stimulating questions for kids. Each has deliberately been designed to build a “21st-4 skill” like creativity, critical thinking, resilience, communication or leadership.

For example:

“What are 10 things to do with a cup?” (Creativity)

 “Is there life on other planets?” (Critical Thinking)

“When is it good to fail at something?” (Resilience)

“How would you describe a car to an alien?” (Communication)

“Who is a leader you admire and why?” (Leadership)

Each conversation is a digital flashcard card and has plenty of guidance and prompts to help parents take conversations deeper. They have been designed with the support of parenting and education experts (think BBC, Disney and Cambridge)!

The KidCoachApp is super easy to use and gives parents inspiration in the palm of their hand. Conversations can be slotted into their daily routine, wherever they have five minutes with the kids. Some do theirs on the way to school, others at the dinner table, others before bed.

Personally, I do mine in the evenings when I am tired and it is tough to come up with something different to talk about or developmental to do on the fly.

When did you launch?

The current version of the app itself launched in 2021 but we have been working with parents and writing great questions for kids since 2019.

What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?

I spent 15 years in the corporate world in roles like sales, marketing and strategy. Mostly this was in the Education publishing space so I have always been super passionate about bringing learning resources to schools and families.

The transition was tough but fun. Almost overnight I was my own boss, setting my own agenda and pursuing even more directly my passion. It’s a bit scary of course when you suddenly lose that steady paycheck, but I am so motivated about what we do that it is easy to jump out of bed every morning and keep working on the KidCoachApp.

How did you get started?

One evening I was reading a bedtime story to my daughter, Mia. It was an Aesop’s Fable – the one called The Wind and the Sun.

Briefly: A man is walking along and he has a coat on. The Wind and the Sun have a bet, to see who can get the man to take his coat off first. The Wind goes up first and uses force. He blows and blows really hard, but of course, the man just gets colder and pulls his coat tighter around him. Then the Sun has a go. He shines warmly and since the man gets hot, he wants to take the coat off himself. So the Sun wins the bet because the moral of the story is that you can’t force anybody to do anything, it has to come from within.

Obvious, right? Well, turns out not so obvious to my young daughter, because she immediately asked me: “But why daddy? The wind is really strong. Can’t he just blow the coat off the man?” And this led very naturally into a discussion around leadership and persuasion, and how we need to use kindness and not force to motivate people.

Now, this discussion only lasted five minutes or so, but I knew right there and then that this is a lesson that she would remember for life. This little “coaching moment” done simply through conversation took just five minutes and required no preparation or materials.

It got me thinking of more amazing questions I could ask my daughter the next day. Questions that would get her talking and thinking about not just leadership, but also other key skills like communication, critical thinking, empathy etc.

And the idea for KidCoachApp was born!

What’s your favourite thing about running your own business?

It’s mine!!! It’s my baby, that I get to pour my heart and soul into, and I love doing it. I jump out of bed each morning with ideas and optimism, and then to see the impact of that in the real world as we help get families talking and children thinking…there’s no feeling quite like it.

Sometimes I have to pinch myself to check. Did I really just make that happen? Are people really using this thing I created? Have I really just made a little dent in the Universe that did not exist a moment ago?!

What’s the thing you least enjoy about running your own business?

Lack of security. Compared to the corporate role I came from where there was a virtually guaranteed, fairly large paycheck each month – it requires strength of mind to deal with the uncertainty of income and the volatility of revenue that any start-up will go through. I think I am slowly getting better at dealing with this though.

What has worked well about your business?

I’ve enrolled in the Kickstarter scheme in the UK. It is a government initiative to help good, young people get on the first rung of their career ladder. The government pays an intern’s salary for 6 months which gives us a way to hire them and them a way to get work experience. We’ve had some really great interns come through our scheme. It’s been fantastic to see them thriving in our flexible, remote working environment doing amazing work in marketing and content. Personally, it’s very satisfying to see them thrive and know that you have helped a young person towards their future.

What’s been your biggest business mistake?  How did you deal with it?

My biggest mistake so far was hiring an SEO agency to build the first version of our mobile app. It sounds bizarre when I put it like that I know — what does a Google search optimizer know about building eLearning Apps? But I went with this SEO company since they also did websites…and websites didn’t seem too far away from Apps…and I knew the guy in charge…and I was in a hurry etc. Needless to say, it did not work out. To their credit, they realized about a month in they were over their heads and aborted the project, also giving me my money back, and I went on to find a proper developer who then did the most amazing job with our app.

So, no harm was done apart from some time lost, and a couple of key lessons learned for me. Hire people for their strengths — make sure someone is fully competent in a topic before you hire them for it. Also — slow down for the important decisions. It is OK to go “fast-fast-slow” i.e. do lots of things fast to build momentum like posting on social media, but when it comes to something fundamental like who is building your product, then take the time to do the proper diligence.

How do you fit in work with the family?

Doing what I do – in the parenting and education space there is constant overlap with home life and work life. I’m always trying out new questions and conversation ideas with my kids and I’m living the hectic, fast paced parenting and work  life juggle, so I can intimately relate with the reality for our customers. This helps massively to build out the app in ways that are fast, fun and fit with family life.

Are you working towards a financial goal for your business?

Yes. It’s not to make millions. Rather it’s to generate enough income for my family and me so that we can lead a healthy and happy lifestyle.

Would you ever give up your business to do something else?

Right now we are really hitting our stride – wonderful feedback coming in from families, more and more hearing about the KidcoachApp and subscribing etc. It really does feel like a snowball gathering pace. So no, it’s not conceivable I would quit for something else. However, never say never. Life can change very quickly! If circumstances do suddenly alter one day I will be guided by my principles of doing the right thing in a sustainable way.

Do you have an exit strategy?

I’m not in this game to “exit.” The entrepreneurial intention here is not to make millions (although I do want a comfortable life for my family and me). The intention is to make a difference. To truly help millions of f families around the world. In a profitable way that helps me enjoy my life and keep on working hard for the business and its customers.

Have you had your ‘I’ve made it’ moment?  Or when do you think it will come?

Not yet. And in some ways, I hope I never do (as that suggests I will keep on pushing the envelope)! But of course, you need to celebrate the mini wins along the way. Certainly, we have had a few of those – the emails from parents I get on a weekly basis saying how much we are helping, getting to 1,000+ conversations completed in the app, and being featured by the BBC to name a few!

Where do you hope to be in five years time?

Still working with children in the Education and Parenting space. With any luck (and the amazing support we have from those who love the app) we hope KidCoachApp will reach millions of families around the world, helping them all have more meaningful conversations with their children while building the skills they need.

If you have a flexible working business opportunity, please explain briefly what you offer and how people find out more.

All of our team works remotely and flexibly – they work 100% from home choosing the hours that fit their  lifestyle. This works for us  since we focus on output, not input. It’s what you accomplish and not when you do it that counts.

I always love to hear from people who are passionate about the mission of KidCoach and want to work with us. I value attitude over aptitude, and so if you are super eager to join us then pop me an email at hello@kidcoach.app and we can have a chat!

Check out our website for more info www.kidcoach.app

Or to jump to the really good stuff, you can download the KidCoachApp from your usual app store and get started for free in seconds!

👉🏽Apple:  https://apps.apple.com/us/app/kidcoachapp/id1534466223
👉🏽Google:  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.kidcoach.kidcoach

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