The Big Exit Show: Selling The Wonder weeks the sale story of Xaviera Plooij’s Strategic Exit

|

From understanding the value of pain in the growth process to embracing her competitive and intuitive edge, Xaviera’s narrative is a remarkable testimony to the entrepreneurial spirit. So, listeners, buckle up as we dive into the high-stakes game of business acquisitions, uncovering the strategies, the emotional rollercoaster, and the wisdom that comes with selling your life’s work. This is Selling The Wonder Weeks with Xaviera Plooij.

The key topics that we discussed during our talk where:

  • Leverage Market Innovations to Your Advantage
  • Articulate Your Business’s Value Confidently
  • Prioritize Self-Reflection Post-Transition
  • Reflect and Grow After Major Milestones

As always – hosted by Peak’s very own co-founder and managing partner Johan van Mil and Anke Huiskes founder & managing partner of NP-Hard Ventures 🕺🏻🕺🏼

You can find the episode on your favourite podcast platform, linked below. And, if you are really interested in listening to the big exit of specific founders – reach out to us so we can invite them for the next episode!

Spotify Podcast

Apple podcast

Youtube podcast

Podcast site


You can find the transcribed version of the episode below:

Anke (00:01.228) 

Starting a company is easy. Keep on growing a company, that’s harder. But selling your company, that’s a whole different story. In the Big Exit Show, we lift the curtains of secrecy around selling business by learning to ambitious and successful founders who’ve been in this roller coaster. Our host, venture capitalist Johan van Mil, who’s the founding partner of Peak, and me, myself, I’m Anke Huiskes and I’m the founder of NP Hard Ventures We will help you in exploring this exciting journey. 

And today in the hot seat, we have Xaviera Plooij and she’s the founder and the director of the Wonder Weeks. Her parents, which was a researcher couple, Frans and Hetty, they published a book under that title, the Wonder Weeks, back in 1992, in which they state that a baby develops in 10 predictable steps. And Xaviera took that book to a whole different level and drew it internationally. 

The book was available in 20 or is available in 29 languages and is one of the best selling apps in the world. She recently rewrote the book again with her father and last September she published the Wonder Weeks, the pregnancy handbooks. And then the next phase is that she ended up selling the company last year, which is a reason why we asked her to be today with us to tell her about the incredible story. 

that as a Dutch citizen and a mom, I’m very proud and eager to learn. So welcome to the show, Xaviera 

Xaviera (01:36.85) 

Thank you. And Grandma, which I’m very proud of. 

Anke (01:40.108) 

Oh yeah, yeah, even that. So maybe we can start off. Obviously I gave a short introduction, but there’s probably much more color to it. So can you maybe tell us a little bit about the beginning? 

Xaviera (01:56.466) 

So as a good teenager, I always said I would never, ever, ever follow my father and mother’s footsteps, which of course didn’t really end up working that way. So after I graduated, I started a company in concept development and strategic thinking and more in retail specialized. And my father kept on asking me more advice about marketing because marketing and publishing houses, that doesn’t really go together. They’re not that… 

well at doing marketing, which is very kindly put. So I took over more and more. And at one point it was just too much because it started to grow so much and I couldn’t handle my own company, advising him, doing more for the The Wonder Weeks So I decided actually it was a gradual process and I took over the company at one point. And that’s when I thought for the first time, because I started with books. Every book had a different title. So I didn’t have…

one brand. I should rename everything, word jokes I made should be different in other countries. And that was such an obstacle at one point. So I decided to not see the books as a product anymore, but see the content we were selling as a product. And if you put the content and see the book just as a means to get that content across, that changes everything. And I think that was the first step in going global actually. 

And, you know, being, if your content is pure and if it’s available in all kinds of ways, not only as a book, you’re able to reach many more people. So that was, that was the biggest step I think I made. So rebranding everything into one worldwide brand, then seeing the content central. And then I, I was inspired by a TED talk about the different ways that people learn and the different… 

forms of intelligence we have and I thought if I would have my knowledge available to everyone within the whole reach and the broad spectrum of all these intelligence types and the ways that people learn then I can reach everybody. And then Apple came with this device that was for the lucky few so they waited for four days in a row outside or something for this phone which I was very very clear about. 

Xaviera (04:21.362) 

That was only for the lucky ones and that would never happen because we all had a diary on paper. Who would ever need a smartphone, right? But I thought, you know, I’m 30 years old. My book is old, so we should do something new, you know, do something for the lucky few too. So I decided to make like a brochure online, an app store, which I think I was one of the first ones to get in that app store. And that was, oh, gee, I think it was 15 years ago or something. 

Anke (04:43.148) 

And this was when? 

Xaviera (04:50.322) 

It was with the first phones. Yeah, that took on really well because if you’re the first ones to adopt something, it’s very easy to become number one, right? And if you then try to do your best, it’s very easy to just stay number one, which I did all these years. So the app actually 

turned out to be much more than just a brochure to get my book sold. It was at the end, it was 80, 90 % of my revenue and it was… 

Anke (04:53.932) 

Yeah, probably. 

Xaviera (05:17.65) 

the best sold app in countries I didn’t even know that existed. I had to look up where in this country based. Gee, I’m getting sold there. I didn’t even know that country existed. So that was a big breakthrough. And then the whole marketing shift at social media came up and my app was big and the app made people read books. That was also very nice to see because there are so many people who don’t read books, but actually…

due to the app, they were so interested, they wanted more, so they bought their first book and they never read books. That was good too. So a lot of things changed with the app and well, like I said, it was a bit of a coincidence because I thought I was just doing something for the lucky few. And yeah, and there it ended up being, I remember the first time we had this, that was an Android award. 

Johan van Mil (06:05.102) 

Which, what? 

Anke (06:05.132) 

and let it blew up. 

Xaviera (06:13.97) 

And I was nominated and I was thinking, you know, I’m this, this girl sitting at our kitchen table in Arnhem Am I actually really getting nominated for something? Is this a small prize? And then I found out it was, you know, there was a vote from people. So there was actually people voting for my app. What? And, um, and then I saw I was competing against Nike and stuff. And I thought like, okay, you know, forget it, but you know, just being nominated. That’s nice. Although I actually have to say there’s only one number that’s number one. That doesn’t matter to me. 

And we got chosen, we were the number one. So I got t -shirts made like, whoa, you know, we’ve got the app. And I thought that was obviously, that would be my high moment there, but then it just grew, grew, grew. And it turned out to be so valuable to people that we were seen as the most valuable product, most valuable advisors to young parents globally. So that made me come into the advisory board of pampers 

That, you know, it opens up so many doors. It opens up. Although, you know, my book and my app of course, they’re just commercial products. I never thought about it as commercial products. I really was in with passion to help parents around the globe. And I think that passion was seen in the app and in the book because that’s how I always got validated by my consumers, the parents. And, well, that gave me a special. 

entrance into households, into the minds and the hearts of families, I think. And that’s also how my validation came, because I never thought about myself, you know, if you want to have a product and get it global, you need someone to help you or something to carry you, get there globally. And I was there globally. And, um, 

That was actually the biggest strategic move I made, but I never made that move because I just wanted to help our parents wherever they were. 

Johan van Mil (08:12.75) 

Hey, Xavier, and taking a step back, right, because as a parent and as a father of two kids, I

also used the book, I bought the book in Dutch, Oei, Groei, right? I still remind you, and really, especially in that phase, as a parent, very helpful to understand, let’s say, the phases that your kid is going through, right? And especially the growth steps, growth phases that they go through. How, as a parent, I mean, you worked with your parents, right? And they had a scientific background. 

Xaviera (08:22.642) 

Yeah. 

Johan van Mil (08:41.614) 

How did you, let’s say, convince your parents or how did they convince you to take, let’s say, this piece of content, what I initially wrote, to take that forward, right, in the gigantic success that you made of it? So how did that, let’s say, first decision from both of you go? Can you elaborate a little bit on that? 

Xaviera (09:00.914) 

That was very easy. My parents are, I think, like the dream parents every child can have. And they just always said, you know, if you put your mind to something, we might not understand how. They never did. But you always succeed and we can see that in your eyes. And they knew our passion was the same. We all wanted to reach parents and help them. 

So it was very much aligned. There’s not so much to say actually. They just said you can see it in your eyes so go ahead. Of course we had discussions, you know, but that’s where the gray area comes because I was making it global. They were doing their science. There’s this gray area where I would say… 

We should bring it like this because parents want to hear it like this way. For example, when we change from shifting from moms doing everything to moms and dad joining teams, that’s not something that happens overnight, right? That’s a process. While I think one of my best talents is to spot where things are going, my parents, of course, are researchers, so they first want to see that it’s already there before… 

They say it’s there. So that was a gray area, for example. So we had some real big discussions about going on that topic. It’s my parents first says, for example, it’s in the book stated, you know, you read mom, but if it’s a dad, that’s okay too. And my dad, for example, never figured out what the problem was because he said, look, you know, I took care of you for two years when my mom did her PhD in Cambridge. He was a full -time dad, which was in that time quite something. 

But he said, you know, it’s stated in the book. You can also read mama’s dad. I was a stay at home dad. I’m not offended. So why? People want to hear things differently now. But those were minor discussions. Yeah, they just always gave me freedom to do whatever I wanted, as long as I could say why I wanted it and if my eyes showed that I really needed to do this.

Johan van Mil (11:01.838) 

And what was, if you look back, what was really great to hear about your parents and seeing the enthusiasm in your eyes and then going for it. I can also understand with a scientific background and also the fact that you brought it from, let’s say, one book to, let’s say, an international company with apps, content, et cetera, with a brand above it. It’s a huge step for them also. What was, let’s say, the biggest discussion that you had with the parents, where you really had to convince them in… 

doing different than they did before. Also for me a little bit to understand because I would never work with my parents. I never did. And I think a lot of people struggle with that idea. 

Xaviera (11:35.154) 

That’s what I said too, right? That’s what I said too. The biggest discussion we had when I was rewriting Oei, ik groei or The Wonder Weeks our basic book, completely. That was their goal. They wrote every word like they wanted to write in. I think complicating things was that my mum died in that period, so everything I rewrote was almost… 

Anke (11:49.804) 

Thank you. 

Xaviera (12:03.538) 

her legacy was not there in these exact words anymore. So I think those were the biggest discussions. But that was good too, you know, you get a diamond not by really rubbing it, you have to polish something. 

As long as they’re able to look each other in the eyes, we could fight over it for a couple of hours, but that only sharpens our mind. I was raised and I still really embody that. That’s also the basic of every leap we’re talking about, the baby leaps. Pain is where the growth starts. If there’s no pain, there’s no pain. 

Johan van Mil (12:48.334) 

No growth, yeah. 

Xaviera (12:49.778) 

Yeah, and I’m raised that much that way that I, you know, I don’t think about pain or problems the way that others think. I think about it as huge opportunities, as you know, the feelings I want to feel because that’s where the magic starts to create. So, yeah. 

Anke (13:10.988) 

And when you’re saying this, is it like in hindsight that you then look back, like these were indeed the uncomfortable moments where, as the company and you maybe as the founder had to leave or in the moment you felt like, oh, this is, yeah.

Xaviera (13:25.554) 

In the moment, you know, I honestly believe that with people, with organizations, with cultures, with, you know, no matter what kind of system you have, because, you know, internally we’re one system too. And although, of course, and the one that was about, you know, the system in one baby, I think the same applies to all kinds of systems, even for companies that, you know, you grow the brain. 

of the organization or culture, whatever, or person. That’s the most lazy part we have. You need friction to get it moving, to see where you’re going. And I really like growth. So the pain is the start of the growth. So in that form, I really like pain because I don’t feel it like pain. I feel it like a great opportunity just presenting itself to me via my heart, my belly, and my head. So… 

Anke (14:22.572) 

Yeah. And that is, and it seems like you’re very competitive as well, because you just mentioned something like if you’re not number one, you’re basically no cow. That’s like pretty like masculine or it’s like very competitive. How? 

Xaviera (14:22.77) 

I think about faith. 

Xaviera (14:31.506) 

I guess so. 

Xaviera (14:36.786) 

Yeah, it is, sorry, yeah. There is only one number and there is only one color and that’s gold. Yeah. 

Anke (14:41.356) 

No, no, I love it, but – 

Anke (14:46.86) 

Yeah, but how so um Because in the beginning it felt like you made it sound like pretty easily like oh we were the first and then um Like if it happens by accident, but these things don’t happen by accident like not at this scale and I think I’m listening to you like you’re very intuitive that you knew like oh we’re gonna go on mobile like app store is gonna be important like Android’s gonna be important, but 

How did you stay ahead of the curve? Because there’s so many others trying to get you off the crown. It is still a very competitive space. 

Xaviera (15:13.01) 

Yeah, but that’s…

Xaviera (15:20.786) 

Just keep it. 

That’s one thing, don’t wear the crown, be the crown. That’s something I honestly embody it. Yeah. And the thing is, I am very intuitive and I think I’m very good at spotting chances and I just feel where things need to go. That’s the phase I’m very comfortable with is the growth path. 

Anke (15:27.82) 

Okay. 

Xaviera (15:46.898) 

You know, the leap, even things, you know, my books were about leaps and growth. My first career was as a ballet dancer. Look, my favorite pose is this leap. So leaps and poses are just, that’s my territory. And I always knew from the moment I was born, I was born at dawn and that’s actually what I do precisely at dawn, bring out the light. 

Anke (15:57.932) 

Okay. 

Anke (16:12.908) 

Mm. 

Xaviera (16:13.458) 

If you… You know what? I think for me, I never felt it as being that hard because I just know where to go. Because I know myself very much. And I know very much what I like and what I want. And I know very even better what I do not know, what I can’t do. And that’s also good talent. 

Johan van Mil (16:33.582) 

Xavier, double clicking on that, I read, I think in an early interview of you, right, what you experienced also at school, right? I think it was at, I think in the fifth of fourth or fifth grade, right, with a teacher, which didn’t treat you well. And then you let’s say, realize the big thing. Are you referring to that moment that you really, let’s say, came out also as a person when you start building, let’s say, the personality that you currently are? Is that what you’re referring to? 

Xaviera (16:43.186) 

Mm -hmm. 

Xaviera (17:01.49) 

That’s a good question actually, a really good question. But I think that’s two parts. I think at that point, I was 10 or 9, when I was 10. And my brain is, I’m born with quite a brain and that teacher didn’t really like that fact.

and I didn’t know when to shut up, so I helped her, I thought, but that was actually correcting her, which is not the thing you want to do as a child, I now realize. But I honestly thought that was helping. And so that was a very bad experience. I’ve been locked in closets, been thrown from staircases, everybody had to laugh, but my glasses, what was this nerd? And I decided that one, because I was named Xaviera Femke when I was born. 

And then my name they would call me was Femke, so not Xaviera. And I decided at one point, you know, Femke, which was the nerdy part, the girl who was locked in the closet, she’s dead. I’m going to rebuild Xaviera She’s got 10 iron spines and she’s going to rule the world. So that 

was one point. Yeah. But that did make me go, like you said, into that very masculine energy. And I think only after my exit, 

I got this almost revival again of going back to my feminine energy and finding Femke in me. So that’s that, you know, it’s a weird process, but I think also that’s the best thing that the exit gave me. That’s actually the opportunity to really, really find out who you are. And I, I always was who I am and I knew very well, but there’s always hidden parts, you know, that come up or, or. 

That was for me, and I’m still going through that process in one, I think. And that’s the biggest thing I got from the exit. That’s, you know, being so much aligned with yourself, finding yourself so much, seeing things that you already knew before about yourself, but then now we’re being able to put it into words and understand them. Yeah, that’s what I think. 

Anke (19:16.908) 

I have space. Yeah, we have more questions about that phase for sure. But I guess like having time to actually exit and think. But before that happens, so that exit, can you take us through what happened? Like what pieces came together for this to happen exactly the way you envisioned it as a little girl, I think is what we read somewhere. So yeah, can you take us through that process? 

Xaviera (19:47.122) 

I think as a little girl, I saw the struggles my parents went through, so the struggles from money, from time. Researchers don’t get so much money, so much time. I realized from an early stage on that if I wanted to go, for example, to La Rochelle, where I did some French studies, they would not go on holidays. 

And I realized that early on I always said, you know, I will never have the life where I work so much and have so little. And I started just to envision, you know, I had this magical number, which I will not say, but that was something I dreamt of when, even when I was a little girl and I will be riding, I wouldn’t be riding a car like my dad. I would be riding a Porsche 911 with an open air roof, open top and um… 

I have a lot of things I wanted and I think, you know, they call it manifestation. I don’t know if we,

if you know, if I truly believe in manifestation, I think it’s just, you know, coordinating our thoughts. But actually, yeah, it’s all check in the box. Yeah. Yeah. 

Anke (20:54.7) 

Yeah, yeah. And then so if you, yeah, the tactical maybe, like the actual like who called who, yeah, what from what you can tell us about the details, but we do love to get more into the nitty gritty details of how that process went. 

Johan van Mil (20:57.998) 

And how did you… Oh, sorry. 

Xaviera (21:15.154) 

Which process? Sorry. 

Anke (21:17.068) 

of the other company knocking on your door, basically asking to acquire the business. 

Xaviera (21:23.282) 

Oh, that was so, that was, you know, I was, I was, I think, well, I was going through a very bad time on a personal level. So that, that made my, that made it easier actually to sell, which sounds ridiculous, but it is. 

Um, there was someone who just sent me an email via LinkedIn and he said, like, look, we want to collaborate, which basically means you have to do everything for free for me. And I won’t do anything in return for you. That’s that’s, you know, um, but someone made a mistake in my company and they, they made before and it was someone in charge management. And, um, they said, you know, we’re doing this together. And I really believe in fair split, but also, you know, input output. 

But that’s, and I had to, I had to explain to him, if they don’t do the input for one third, you don’t share one third. So I was like, okay, dude, you know, I’m just getting this guy from LinkedIn to my office, explaining to you the other one. No, this is why we don’t do collaboration because we have to do everything. So I was in the mood of, you know, well, I’ll just give you my brochures and whatever, you know, you go, because that’s not a collaboration. So that was my mindset. And then it was on the table and he started. 

He said at one point, okay, those are all lovely ideas. However, I’m the international director of that, looking back, that could have been something to take into account that he wasn’t there to talk about brochures. And that we actually want to take over your company or get a majority share or at least get, and I was like, okay, okay, let me go grab some coffee. Change my mind. 

come back and so I said yeah and so I said you know so I came back with the coffee so okay okay you know my mind shifted and I’m there and you know it took me three seconds making

that coffee to actually realize this is something I need to do because 

Johan van Mil (23:05.102) 

We start over again. 

Xaviera (23:25.65) 

You know, my company didn’t sound like a sellable company because of it being a family business, the books, everything was although I really tried tying it to the Wonder Weeks brand and not to me personally as an author, you’ll always be the ones giving interviews, your name is there, you’re the author. So it was tricky and but I knew it was the best thing to do for my company and that I… 

could do it really well too without my company. But… 

Johan van Mil (23:58.702) 

And what was the size of the business? Also what you can disclose, of course, but also in terms of people, how big you were, you mentioned already the companies. If you want to. 

Xaviera (24:07.794) 

I had an ideal company. I just had eight people. Yeah, that’s ideal because I’m not a manager. I’m not a good manager. I don’t like Excel sheets. I don’t like budgeting. I don’t like paperwork. You know, we just had one big room. We were one big family and almost everything was outsourced. And I love that. I’m not that kind of person with, you know, if someone tells me I’ve got 1500 people working for you, I’m like, okay, come on. 

Johan van Mil (24:11.534) 

Yeah. 

Xaviera (24:34.322) 

come and get a cuddle from me because that money is very hard. I don’t like that kind of companies. I’m just a normal regular girl from Arnhem and I wanted to have a good company. So I had eight people and that was it. And I had almost all work at home moms because they know how to really combine stuff. And of course at the end they were getting into office, but we were very flexible in our hours and everything. And I love that. 

It was only during the due diligence that they made a calculation that 500 people were actually working for the One Weeks director, Inrik, but they were the One Weeks provided their income. So that was only the point where I realized, dude, if I make a mistake, there’s 500 families depending on me. But I never realized that before. That was only during the due diligence. Yeah. So… 

Anke (25:28.204) 

Because you outsourced the printing of the book, the whole publishing was outsourced, the app

you found on the end. Because it was a num… 

Xaviera (25:35.026) 

I had a hybrid model and everyone who wants to go international, there is not one model. If you look at it and you say, I’m doing it this way. 

You’re so not allowing culture to be there. But culture is a real fact. And the moment you embrace a culture in a different country, that’s the moment they take you in. If you want to do it your way, just stay out. Either go in or don’t go in. So sometimes I had a publishing house with a joint venture, because I would never just publish. Although in minor, that’s not correct, actually. So in minor territories, I would just publish, because it would just be like, 

Slovakia or something. You know, it sounds really diva, but if your book gets published in Slovakia, you know, it was just for me, okay, another title, just put it in the show. I shouldn’t think about it like that, but it was so big that at that moment, yeah, that was actually how I thought about it. 

I had this hybrid model, so sometimes I would use a joint venture, sometimes I would publish myself, sometimes I would have e -books, audiobooks and everything that was available via the Play Store or the Apple Store. I would do it myself and then only have the print with the publisher. Sometimes I would have print -on -demand, sometimes I would have my own warehousing and my own printing. It just depended on how much could I get my tentacles in that country. 

And I firmly believe that if you do it yourself, you do it better. That’s, you know, it’s classical, but I do. So I would always do as much as I could do myself. Only if proven that others were better at it, I would have a partner in that form. 

Johan van Mil (27:23.95) 

And you were probably approached by a lot of people, right? Who saw the success of Wonder Weeks in different countries and said, I want to do this in my country. Can I co -publish the book or can I co -write or can I do a joint venture, et cetera? Right? I assume that that’s the way how your business grew internationally, right? 

Xaviera (27:40.081) 

Yeah, but actually I always thought the moment people are interested is the moment when you hold back. The moment they can’t live without you. That’s the moment you ask for a cooperation because at that point… 

Everybody’s going to say yes. So for example, everyone who has a book wants to go to the States. That’s like a huge thing. Actually, a breakthrough in the States, it’s not that hard. You know, it’s not the hardest breakthrough I had. It’s the biggest territory. It got me the biggest amount of money. Yeah, but it’s not that hard because we’re very close. So everyone wants to

go there and you try selling your author rights to someone. 

But they would see you as a Dutch girl or a European girl. They don’t even know where Holland is. You’re just a European girl. That doesn’t work in our states, etc. So everybody keeps on fighting to get this position and asking to these publishers to get printed. Because the weird thing is, if you have a product, think about this, if you have a normal product, 

your product is sold in the States. If you have a product that is a book, it’s not your product, you are a published author. And that somehow gives everybody the feeling of feathers between their butt. There is no reason because it’s just a product. 

Johan van Mil (28:54.126) 

Indeed. 

Xaviera (29:04.594) 

You know, if you create something with your hands, or if you do this with your hands, it’s not, but it’s somehow different. So everybody wants to be in the States and wants to have their name on something. And that’s where you lose the game. That’s where the ego enters and the ego should always be exit. So I just waited. I just created my own mask. I went into print on demand, which was at that point for losers. Because if you go to print on demand, no publisher, once you write, you’re doing it yourself. You’re the biggest L of loser. 

That’s how people thought. I thought that’s where, you know, let them think like this. I don’t care. Let them think I’m a loser, but I’ll be number one. I can’t be number one with publisher, but I’ll be number one in print on demand and I’ll change print on demand. And I did. So I went from 10 books, 200 books, 500 books, getting an email from Amazon for the first time. Look, it’s so much, we can’t print it on demand anymore. Can we make a batch? So I went to 1000, went to 1500. I was thinking, okay. 

Okay, I’m the really, really good company. And at that point, that point that happened that that print on demand was seen differently because of a bestseller that did way more than publishing houses will sell print on demand. So I had Amazon on my side because, you know, I changed the game from them to it wasn’t only for me, I changed their game to. 

Anke (30:05.676) 

Hahaha. 

Xaviera (30:27.858) 

But then I was so big, then I thought that this is my point where I just go. At first I did a hybrid model. So I did a bit of distribution externally, but I’m on warehousing, a lot of shit. You know, you don’t want to be at Mallorca being on holidays and then hearing that your book is printed very bad. And there’s containers of books everywhere. Never want to go there again. You know, 

not being nice, being in your bikini next to a director making all these calls all the time.

don’t want to go there again. So I thought, okay, I’m too big for, you know, the number one loser position at the, which was at that, the gainer’s position, because we changed the whole ball game of print on the mount. And I went to publishing houses, but at those, that moment, if you go to publishing houses, it’s not a matter of, do you want to print my book? It’s a matter of who am I allowing to print my book? Now you pitch for me. 

That’s what I did. 

Anke (31:24.236) 

Incredible. There’s so much else I think to unravel, but I’m also aware of the time. So I guess the, let’s go back to the table of the acquisition where you went in, you went to get some coffee, you switched the button, I think to walk in realizing this might be like a life -changing opportunity from that conversation to you’re nodding. 

Johan van Mil (31:24.238) 

Well, yeah. 

Johan van Mil (31:34.542) 

Yeah. 

Xaviera (31:42.642) 

Yeah. 

Xaviera (31:50.322) 

No, I never thought about it like that. I never thought about it like that. I thought it’s the best thing to do for my company because I wasn’t the best manager at that point. I’m a starter, I’m a creator and it got so big and I heard myself saying no to actually being honest, quite good ideas for my team. But the only thing I was thinking is why do we need to go bigger? Why do we need to go bigger? I was done. 

I was done. And you know, that’s the point where you have to be honest. If it’s your child, you can’t treat it the best way ever. You have to give it to someone who does, who has this passion to make it bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger. I’m not that person. So that was my… 

Johan van Mil (32:35.854) 

surprising. Oh, sorry, sorry, but surprising because you’re you’re lean so forward, right? So you’re active, you’re really create your own destiny in every way, right? How you build a company, how you convince your parents, how you indeed make Amazon realize that they should keep your book on store, right? Keep your book in stock. So I think you really created your own culture. But in this respect, you say, I was done more or less, and this guy at the kitchen table suddenly made you realize.

But it’s a little bit because you’re leaning so forward and so active and taking your own destiny. And in this way, you are also, if I understand you correctly, a little bit surprised by the fact that that happened, right? 

Xaviera (33:15.474) 

I was surprised, but surprises… I don’t believe in time. Time is a stupid concept and it only makes us aware that for example I had to log in at whatever time today. 

But you know, a surprise just means that there’s new information. You’ve got to process it to find your outcome. Right. And yeah, I know for a lot of people that takes months, but for me, that’s two seconds. Yeah, I’m sorry, but that’s the way my brain works. And you know, that’s how I accepted. And so, no, the thing is I always thought about my company first, you know, as a leader, that’s, I think that’s the biggest thing, actually, that biggest, biggest thing I wrote. 

that I realized from the exit. When you’re active in a company, there is no place for your ego. You are just a part of your machine. You are a very, very important part, but it’s not you. And you can be replaceable. Every part is replaceable. And like I said, my machine was getting so big, although I might be like the motor or something. 

I wasn’t having enough strength. I wasn’t, you know, it wasn’t, I was built for a smaller car. My car got bigger. You need a new motor block, right? And so I realized that, and I realized that, you know, everything you leave in your life, it opens up room for something else. So I wasn’t afraid for that. It was better for my company. If it’s better for my company, I honestly believe it’s better for me. So. 

And there was a time where I thought, you know, I’ll just dive in, you know, no is an answer too. I want it my way or the highway. If they do it my way, I’m lucky girl, I’m free. If they don’t do it, you know, the highway, I have a good company, I don’t need to sell. You know, everything is doing really well. I still like it. So why, you know, there’s no problem. And I went in it like that. Yeah, not, not, not. 

Anke (35:19.244) 

And how long was that period of that first conversation to you signing the paperwork on behalf of the company? 

Xaviera (35:26.962) 

That was only a couple of months. That went really quick. Yeah. So it was just the first talk with the coffee that was just before the summer holidays. And I told them directly, you know, I had to shift my mind, but I’m in for it. And I knew directly, I’m not selling a minority because that would 

just mean that they’re investing in my company. I didn’t have any problem with money. So, you know, there was no reason for me to actually even think about accepting money for whatever reason.

I’m never ever ever having someone having a majority over my company because that would mean they have they they tell me what to do well to be honest you know I did serve some so you know I did do a lot of jobs when I was student but I’m not the type someone needs to tell what to do that won’t work either. 

Johan van Mil (36:08.27) 

this. 

Anke (36:19.34) 

That’s not your fight, yeah. 

Xaviera (36:21.042) 

So the only option is, you know, get out, just sell everything. And I don’t know what happened at that coffee machine, but I just came back and I’m doing it, but I’m doing it my way. A, and I told them directly, I have no experience with this. I have no one to talk to because my friends, we aren’t into business. B, I have a magical number, which are going to pay not one year or more, not one year or less, because this is what I want and it doesn’t make sense. And I know you won’t get it. 

but that’s the number I’ve always dreamt of and that’s what the number is going to be. And let me just tell you my company is not worth it, but this is what you’re going to pay. And then three, I’m a very, very bad second captain as a ship. Don’t use me like that. You know, I will upset myself, I will make myself crazy. Everybody will turn crazy. What we’ll do is this, I’ll make you a big map where my ship is going. 

you’ll send another captain with a rubber boat and a big money pot on it, right? Like, you know, this was just all this, this, this. I don’t know the word in English now, kiss. A kiss, a coffin. No, not a coffin, not a dead coffin where you put the money in like the pirates. 

Anke (37:19.66) 

Thank you. 

Johan van Mil (37:21.198) 

Go to the coffin. 

Johan van Mil (37:28.334) 

In case, sorry, yeah, big bugger. 

Anke (37:28.684) 

A big bucket. 

Xaviera (37:30.002) 

a big bucket of money and you go with your rubber boat, you put your captain on it, you give me

your rubber boat with your big bucket of money and I’ll pedal to the beach and whenever you need me, I’ll be on the beach, you can call me. And that’s exactly what we did at the end. So, you know, that was one of the biggest decisions and the best decisions because that made me take charge again, because I was playing in a game where I had no experience in… 

no knowledge of, no one to talk to about. So changing the rules and making it my game was a good thing. 

Johan van Mil (38:06.222) 

And did you get the extra? 

Anke (38:06.732) 

Yeah, and maybe, Joao, to your point where you said earlier that Xaviera she’s deciding on her own destiny, and then that moment when you just ask, but then this person comes along and asks this question. But I guess, as I interpret, we immediately took charge again, like, okay, if we’re gonna do this, this is my way, and this is how it’s gonna end. And I guess with that, yeah. 

Johan van Mil (38:29.326) 

Yeah. 

Xaviera (38:30.706) 

Yeah, but the only way I 

Anke (38:33.068) 

I do wanna be mindful, we have three more minutes before we have to wrap up. 

Johan van Mil (38:33.198) 

What? 

Johan van Mil (38:39.182) 

Oh, you’re right. Yeah. 

Anke (38:41.356) 

Scott Fier has other appointments as well. 

Johan van Mil (38:44.942) 

Shall I read what my colleague Tycho prepared? 

Xaviera (38:49.81) 

Please do so. 

Johan van Mil (38:51.182) 

Yeah, I’m reading out what he printed and it will be displayed in the video also. So, Kisha,

perhaps you can cut this out. Congratulations on your exit, Kjavira. The transparency on how you build your global Imperium from a book to a hit in the App Store is really impressive. Probably as impressive as the in transparency of your exit. My approach to reach evaluation was therefore to connect with some mutual connections and just daring to ask. 

The conversation with one of your family members did not result in a whole lot. His feeling of proudness affected my calculation at first. Therefore, thanks for getting in touch with me, Xavier, and pointing me in a better direction. Typically, exit valuations consider a broad range of sources and market dynamics. However, with the Wonder Week’s varied product lineup and the limited data available, I focused on some basics. One, mobile downloads. 

Since 2012, the estimated number of downloads is 4 million. Multiplying this by the purchasing price of 6 euros suggests a 24 million in revenue from app sales in 10 years. Other sources estimate the app’s monthly revenue at 200k MRR, monthly recurring revenue in 2022, or 2 .4 million annualized revenue. This confirms the calculation of the annual revenue. For the digital business, 

The 2 .4 million is considered with a mobile application multiple of three times the revenue, representing a fair multiple for 2022. The second part of the business is, of course, the books. Between 1992 and 2018, approximately 2 .5 million books were sold, with a sales price of average 30 US dollar per book, making the total revenue in these 26 years a staggering 75 million euros, or an average of 

2 .9 million annually. Looking at the revenue multiples of publishing licensing revenue multiples ranging between 0 .5 and 3, I would consider a one -time annual revenue of 2 .9 million for the book license. So now the question to Xavier, what’s the combined value of the total valuation of your company in 2022? 10 .1 million US dollars. 

Xaviera (41:17.81) 

no higher. He’s underestimating me. 

Johan van Mil (41:20.142) 

Okay, that’s not good. 

Anke (41:23.788) 

Never underestimate Xaviera. 

Xaviera (41:26.93) 

No, that was… Sorry? 

Johan van Mil (41:28.43) 

We will tell him.

We will tell him. 

Xaviera (41:33.01) 

Yeah, I pointed him in the right direction when he was sneaking up on my nephew. 

Johan van Mil (41:39.598) 

That’s the way how we do research with a big exit show, right? 

Anke (41:42.156) 

Mate. 

But yeah, now we do have a ballpark number. We know it’s higher. And I think with that, I want to conclude. 

Xaviera (41:53.554) 

I would never sell my company for 10 million. Never, never. It would have been, you know, get out of my door and don’t even talk to me anymore. No. 

Anke (42:03.532) 

Yeah, I told you, she knew what she wanted. Is there maybe one last piece of advice that you want to tell the listeners to the show before we wrap up? 

Xaviera (42:14.45) 

on there so much. But be sure if you want to sell your company. 

Xaviera (42:22.738) 

Take the time to really sit down and think about what you want. Don’t go into other projects too fast. Just really take the time to see who you are and what you want in life and make you a better person. Because somehow we all, we serial entrepreneurs, we think we can do it all and the thing is we can do it all, so we’re right. But… 

There is a whole part of you that you forget while chasing and chasing and you take the time to find that part. I think I love that very much. 

Anke (43:00.812) 

Amazing. 

Johan van Mil (43:00.91) 

Great advice. 

Anke (43:03.788) 

Thank you, Xaviera And we’ll soon talk again.

Xaviera (43:05.938) 

Thank you. 

Johan van Mil (43:08.75) 

Thanks a lot, Xaviera Great meeting you. Bye bye. 

Xaviera (43:11.122) 

Bye bye.