On Finding Purpose with Dad Verb
Dadditude Newsletter #32
Dadditude interviews dads (and mums) from different backgrounds, professional fields, and ethnicities to get their insights on what it means to be a parent in the current moment.
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Say Hi to Andrew Tiu of Dad Verb,
Meet Andrew. He’s a dad to three, husband to one (because monogamy) and he makes videos on a daily basis out of his home in Texas. In his own words… ‘my world revolves around five simple things: Jesus Christ. My family. Fantasy sports. Pokémon. Videography. Pretty bland and moderately offensive to some people, but it makes me happy.’
Formerly an editor for ad agencies and a freelance video producer for multiple brands, Andrew ultimately found his purpose on YouTube, where he develops parent-focused content through his channel, Dad Verb. He hopes to help new and expectant dads with their journey into fatherhood.
How old are your kids? How would you describe each of them?
Henry, 4 – Sweet, obedient, leader
Colin, 2 – Mischievous, stubborn, all trouble
How did you get started with Dad Verb?
Initially, I started my YouTube channel because I wanted to be Casey Neistat. I wanted to have a giant audience that could appreciate my background in videography and my ability to vlog. Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way that making content for sheer entertainment and trying to get popular wasn't very fulfilling for me – nor was it working.
Things started to change after we welcomed our firstborn and I started to review baby gear. The strollers and monitors that I had questions about weren’t being adequately reviewed in the depth that I wanted. Parents had long-tail explanations that were never concise or even relevant to the reason I clicked on the video in the first place. It was hard for me to sit through those videos so I decided to gradually switch away from vlogging and focus on products that I knew parents had questions about – but talk about it in a way that Marques Brownlee or Dave2D would do it. After some reviews of emerging baby tech like Owlet and Hatch, I started to feel more fulfilled about the content I was producing. I realized I could actually help expectant parents. When I discovered a purpose, it drove me to create content for a niche that I truly love.
What are your five most popular videos?
Any advice for dads that want to start their own content channel?
First, complete this sentence:
You should follow my (channel/blog/feed/etc) because ____________.
Identify the real purpose of creating content. Is it just to make money or get popular? If that’s the case you’ll burnout fast because the work of content creation needs to be grounded by a purpose bigger than yourself. If not, it’ll lead to dissatisfaction and the feeling of fruitlessness. Having a YouTube channel is essentially a second job so you need to give yourself an understanding of what you are trying to achieve and how you hope to serve the people you want following you.
Next… this was the answer that I got when I was starting my YouTube channel and it's the answer that I hear from a lot of big YouTubers to many aspiring creators regardless of niche – just start. It's such an unsexy thing to hear because it's not a magic pill answer, but it's the truth. You cannot have a bunch of ideas out in the ether just waiting to be validated and acted on. If you have a passion about creating content then you just have to start creating regardless of the results, views or subscriber count. Just create what you're passionate about and see where it leads you.
It’s also important to consider researching what your desired audience is looking for, not just what you want to create and seeing what sticks. Digging deeper into the research and understanding what questions are being asked or what trends are optimal within the niche is a tactic that may help rather than making a random video and hoping for views.
How does being a father influence your current job/activities and vice-versa?
Like many, it's everything. My world revolves around my family and my job just happens to be intertwined with the happenings of parent life. My continued struggle is finding that work-life balance though. Because I'm a video content creator for both YouTube as well as freelance clients, my job isn't a very well-defined 9–5 job. I feel like I'm always working and it's still very hard for me to draw that line between family man and working man.
What do you think is your biggest strength as a parent?
To be honest, I don't think I have many strengths. I feel like I have a lot to learn because some days I feel like I'm winning and other days I feel like I'm absolutely pathetic. But I think that's just what parenting is – a constant learning experience and evolution.
If I had to pinpoint one thing that I'm somewhat good at, it’s finding comfort in the macro rather than overthinking the micro. It's easy to get bogged down by the daily challenges of raising toddlers/babies, but I like to step back and see the larger picture of what my family will be like when they're older and what the future holds. That tends to bring me a lot of joy and it helps me to not get distressed about the hindrances of today. The daily grind is full of challenges that we think are huge, but when you look at the bigger picture and what the future could be, those things are actually really small.
What stresses you out the most as a parent these days?
For me it's the way that parenting is reflected in social media. Before I felt like the main priority was just to keep babies alive and raise them to be good, healthy people who don’t sell illegal narcotics. Pretty simple goals. But nowadays we have so many trends and influencers who are directing us to parent in particular ways lest you feel guilt-tripped into not doing it “properly.” Sleep schedules, breastfeeding, screen time – the list of worries goes on and it’s tolling to keep up with it all. There's just so much uncertainty as to whether or not you're doing things right or wrong. We've kind of lost sight of the fact that there is no right or wrong – doing your best to raise a good kid should be enough and the path isn’t linear.
What side of parenthood do you wish you had invested more time and energy into the past?
I wish I learned more about understanding children's mental development, and the patience that should go along with that. Kids' brains simply function differently than an adult’s. Toddlers can’t think rationally the way we do. I can't tell you how many times I got so frustrated because my son couldn't/wouldn’t do something that I perceived to be so simple. It’s because in his brain it wasn't so simple and he processes situations differently than me – and that's not something that I understood. Big Little Feelings is a great resource for that topic.
Can you tell us about an especially favorite/special moment with your kids recently?
So I'm a huge fan of Pokemon and it's been particularly fun getting to share that love with my son, Henry. We collect cards, watch the show, and play the video games together. I particularly have an affinity for the vintage cards that I grew up with from 1999, but sadly an original base set pack can go upwards of $500 (yes, for an old pack of Pokemon cards).
At a recent event, we got to mingle with several influencers within the Pokemon niche (Leonhart, PokeRev, Deep Pocket Monster). As Henry was excited to get a pictures with the guys we’ve watched on YouTube, one of them knelt down and told Henry that he had a variety of different Pokemon packs in his backpack – both old and new sets. He told Henry to close his eyes, dig into his bag, pull out any pack of cards to open. It could have been anything from a modern set of cards ($4) to a vintage pack ($200 – $500).
Lo and behold, Henry shyly emerges with an original pack of cards from 1999 emblazoned with the artwork of Charizard, a perennial favorite character within the community. Within seconds we were surrounded by a group of people excited to see what cards he would get. Just like we’ve done at home, he revealed each card within the pack one-by-one; this time surrounded by strangers and cameras trained on his tiny hands. Turns out that we didn’t come away with any coveted “holographic” cards that are highly sought after – but it didn’t matter. Opening that pack was a moment from my youth that I only wished to relive and share. Getting the actual opportunity to share that experience with my son was something that brought so much joy to us both. Glad to have had that moment with him.
Thank you Andrew!
We’ve enjoyed reading:
And you can find more articles on fatherhood in the Dadditude app.
The Stepparents Dilemma Who parents whom in a blended family? A popular, controversial approach to stepparenting teaches that if they’re not your kids, they’re not your responsibility.
‘I’m Calling on Men to Parent Out Loud’ Girls Who Code Founder Reshma Saujani issues a challenge to dads—and we’re here for it.
What I Learned about Fatherhood from ‘The Simpsons’ They’ve made college courses on what you can learn from this iconic animated show, so it’s interesting to see that applied to fatherhood and masculinity.
Throwback: Dadditude Newsletter #16: On Adopting Siblings with Matt Jex
Have You Checked-In With Your ‘Dad Self’ This Week?
It’s important to check-in with yourself on a regular basis. Take a moment and reflect on the good, the bad, and the blowouts.
Thanks for reading!
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