Matt Hoffman comes to his new business from personal experience.
Kim Hoffman often needles her husband Matt over his vast collection of self-improvement books. “Your bookcase is full of self-help books,” she quips. “Don’t you think you found it yet?”
Hoffman admits he’s something of a self-help junkie, long drawn to that genre of books, articles, TV shows — anything to help him be better in business or life. Now, after decades running a diverse assortment of businesses, from land development for senior living to an ice cream shop, Hoffman, in his latest venture, has turned his self-help lens outward: instead of reading a self-help book he wrote one. Not only that, his new book, with the provocative title — “Kickass Husband: Winning at Life, Marriage and Sex” — is the first chapter in what he hopes will be a viable media content business.
Through the brand Kickass Couple Nation, the venture offers varied content designed around improving your marriage. The list includes a private Facebook group; live webinars; access to counseling and monthly therapist discussions; and a podcast, sometimes with interviews of well-known Tampa area couples. (The podcast is recorded in a retrofitted 1973 Airstream Hoffman bought, which doubles as a book tour vehicle.) Kickass Couple Nation operates on the freemium model, with some parts free followed by tiers, with each offering more content and services, at $50 a month and then $100 a month.
“The title is tongue-in-cheek, it’s supposed to be a fun way to have a deep look at an important subject,” says Hoffman, 55. “It’s not a self-identifying term. It’s something I’m always working on. The rent is due every day.”
Hoffman began paying rent, in business at least, working in restaurants: he operated a 175-seat eatery, Tuscan Oven, in Tampa in the 1990s. In 1999 he got into commercial real estate, joining his dad, Al Hoffman, at senior living development firm Aston Care Systems.
Al Hoffman is something of a business legend in Florida, known partially for leading Bonita Springs-based WCI Communities, behind multiple Florida housing and population booms, to $1.6 billion in revenue. Homebuilding giant Lennar acquired WCI in 2017. Also a prolific political fundraiser, Hoffman was national co-chair for the Presidential elections and inaugurations of George W. Bush. He was later named Ambassador of Portugal, and served in that role from 2005 to 2008.
‘If I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it all the way. I’m not the kind of guy who does something half-ass.’ Matt Hoffman, Kickass Couples Nation
At 87-years-old and now living in Palm Beach County, the elder Hoffman, says his son, is “like the Tasmanian devil” always looking for another project. He’s slowed down somewhat, but maintains interest in several ventures, with the attitude, says Hoffman, that “he’s never met a pro forma he didn’t like.”
At Aston, Matt Hoffman started in land development and eventually oversaw human resources and other areas. “I would go to the banks and say ‘this is why you should give us a $35 million loan,’” he says. “‘This is how we will make this site work.’”
After five years at Aston, Hoffman moved back to hospitality, operating Old Meeting Ice Cream House in Tampa. It started as a shop and Hoffman grew it into a wholesale operation, selling several lines of premium ice cream across the Southeast. It did well over $1 million a year in revenue, Hoffman says, but competing on scale with big players was difficult. He sold that business in 2004, and got back into commercial real estate.
He worked on land acquisition entitlement and other projects, in Tampa, and later in Panama. A protracted lawsuit over a Panama project, where Hoffmann had a falling out with a business partner, led him to a reflective period, he says. That’s when he began to think about writing a book.
The idea, he says, was to write more of a journal-style book — a cheat sheet for his steps to becoming a husband on a constant improvement track. He was going to call it the Husband Quotient. Again, his wife came to the rescue. “She says, ‘you don’t want to be a quotient. You want to kick ass.’”
The book debuted Nov. 12, on the Hoffmans’ 27th anniversary. Hoffman founded a publishing company, KCN Publishing, to launch the book, and he already has ideas for a second, and even third book. Kickass Husband, co-written with licensed marriage and family therapist Chris Cambas, is 52 short chapters. In chapters such as Just Because, As You Wish and Take Out the Trash, Hoffman writes about personal experiences. Then Cambas adds an analysis perspective.
Beyond the book, Hoffman is spending some $2,000 a month on social media advertising promoting Kickass Couples Nation. He’s investing more, he adds, on building his personal brand, with a company in Charleston, South Carolina.
After one year of full-on marketing, Hoffman’s goal is to have 1,000 paying members, at either $50 or $100 a month, by the first quarter of 2023. “We want to have a killer community where people feel supported and get the tools they need to become a kickass husband,” he says.
Reaching back to a business lesson from past ventures, Hoffman is cutting back on other projects to hyper-focus on Kickass Husband. “If I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it all the way,” he says. “I’m not the kind of guy who does something half-ass.”