Not the typical entrepreneur

Marieke van de Rakt

We are a-typical entrepreneurs. Probably a-typical investors too. We move quickly. We are start-up entrepreneurs with family values. We are Silicon Valley-like in our mindset and live in a small town in the Netherlands. In this blog post, I explain a little bit of our story and our values and mindset.

Why we started Yoast

Yoast started as a hobby. We wanted people to have fun while working. And while we were profitable from the very beginning, making profits was never our main driver. We wanted to make an impact, create an SEO solution for everybody to use. And we wanted to improve WordPress and make the web better.

Yoast also started as a lifestyle business. Yoast became a family-friendly organization to work for. Mainly because I needed such an organization myself. Joost and I have four children together. I needed flexibility in my hours and wanted that flexibility for our co-workers as well.

But Yoast mainly started as a dream. A way to grow, make it bigger. Not necessarily in the number of employees, but definitely in terms of users and impact. Both Joost and I are crazy ambitious.

Different from Dutch startup entrepreneurs

We were very different from other Dutch startup entrepreneurs. When we started Yoast we weren’t that profit-driven, and not interested in seeking investments. We wanted to bootstrap our business and were profitable from the very start.

Next to that, we had the open-source mindset, which is not very common in the startup world. We strongly believe in the power of open source software. That’s why we gave a lot of our profits back to the WordPress community. It was a big part of who we were at Yoast and it is still a big part of who we are as persons.

On top of that, Joost and I had four children at a rather young age. We had a family. That made us very busy with non-typical startup activities. I helped with school activities, and Joost is a football trainer in his spare time. We did not have time to attend business meetups, drinks, and fancy lunches to extend our network. We were just busy running our business and running a big family.

And then, we are not in Amsterdam. We are in a small town near the border of Germany. That makes us very different too.

Hup hup hup

We move quickly. Decide quickly. We are fast.

That’s not necessarily a-typical for startup entrepreneurs. The start-before-ready, agile mindset is very common with successful entrepreneurs.

We like to call it Hup Hup Hup. Which is Dutch for Go-Go-Go.

You don’t have to build a perfect product, it needs to be good enough for you to release it. Yoast -especially in the early days- always worked like that. We would build something that wasn’t perfect yet, but that would be really useful to our audience. If your SEO improves by our product, it will be worthwhile to use it. It doesn’t have to be perfect at all.

If you let go of the need to build things that are perfect, then things get done. 

Marieke van de Rakt

Marieke van de Rakt

Looking for investment?

Send us your deck, if we like it, we’ll be in touch for a call!