We had the good fortune of connecting with Boy Tijbosch and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Boy, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I decided I was going to be a writer, or a content creator, after one specific incident that happened while I was still in high school, sixteen years ago.
Back then, it was my ambition to become a school teacher, So I decided to join an internship at one of the local elementary schools here in the Amsterdam region of the Netherlands.
At that team, I was also writing short stories about things I went through, which was really nothing special to talk about – just trying to make people laugh. I remember writing a story about my experiences during this internships, describing one of the teachers as a grumpy old fool and calling the children smart-asses or something like that. Without thinking too much of it, I uploaded the piece on some free website (I was fifteen and dumb at the time, so forgive me).
The funny thing is – most of my clients nowadays are almost willing to do anything just to have their articles rank as high as possible within any search result. I don’t know how it happened, but that specific essay I wrote, ended up ranking higher than the official school website. So of course, it was only a matter of time before one of the parents found out. After receiving an angry letter, I went to the school board to offer my apologies. The reluctantly accepted them, but assured me that teaching just wasn’t for me. Therefore, I started studying Dutch Language instead and eventually begun my own business in writing – and I am happy that I did.
My business nowadays mainly consists of writing about traveling to the USA, which isn’t a coincidence, since the US happen to be my favorite travel destination. It has been that way since I was a child, so I would say that sentiment was always a big trigger to get me started. That – and the determination to offer content that is more in tune with what your audience expects from you. I am always inspired by one specific quote from Walt Disney, saying ‘You don’t build it for yourself. You know what the people want and you build it for them’.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I would like to believe that my biggest talent is knowing what people want to see and read. I do not make things just because they have to be done, if that makes any sense. Once again, citing Disney: you don’t build for yourself, you build it for your audience.
For example: when I started Amerika Only (www.AmerikaOnly.nl), which is a online magazine solely focused on travel to the United States, I wrote about all parts of the US in the same amounts. But after a while, I discovered my audience just didn’t want to read as much about Alaska as they did about California.
I’ve discussed this matter with some fellow journalists and writers, but they still stated I should cover each destination equally. That just didn’t make sense to me, because I just knew that this was going to throw people off. So I gave them more California – and that is where my audience started to grow.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I do not really know if it is in my place to say something about Phoenix, because I am based in The Netherlands. But if any of your readers ever decides to come here, I’d say that they should definitely visit the island of Texel. That is one of my favorite places in Holland, basically because it has towns and nature you can’t find anywhere else in the country. Besides visiting Amsterdam, I would also recommend seeing an alternative Dutch city, like Den Bosch or Den Haag for example.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
As previously mentioned, I like to name Walt Disney as one of the main inspirations for starting a creative business. I love his determination, but also the fact that he could make something commercial without giving in too much on his artistic abilities.
As for encouragement, I’ll always be grateful for both my parents and my girlfriend. My dad is a creative entrepreneur himself: as a graphic designer we often work together, with me doing the writing and him realizing the visuals. I bet he wasn’t too fond of the idea of me starting a business during the aftermath of the global financial crisis, but he overcame his fears by helping me getting started with a logo and a corporate identity instead.
My girlfriend since the age of fifteen is the one who’ve always encouraged me when times got a little harder – or when I started paying too much attention to negative responses on social media, for example. Even if it meant saying something she didn’t really wanted to say. Sometimes I tend to see things too black or white – until she helps me find a solution that sits somewhere in between. That definitely deserves a shoutout.
And my mom always made sure I wanted to stay at home in stead of wandering the streets somewhere, which isn’t something to take for granted.
Cover of San Francisco: (Méér Dan Een) Reisgids by Eric J. Coolen. Photos used on book covers are either from Anneloes Keunen via Amerika Only or used under the Unsplash License.