What I’ve learnt from running my start-up business that also applies to my dating life
It’s Sunday and I’m staring at my inbox; there’s not many messages to go through but even so I can’t be bothered; my heart’s just not in it.
Still, I tell myself if you don’t reply then you’ll never make any progress on your goal and this is important to you.
For once, I’m not talking about my work emails and my non-stop pursuit of new business for Shiageto Consulting.
Nope, the inbox I am referring to is the one on Hinge (the dating app).
Hang on a minute; are you talking about your personal life?
It’s true, I don’t blog much about my personal life let alone my dating life (I can imagine my parents’ ears perking up reading this) but that doesn’t mean that it’s not part of my life.
In case you missed it, I’m 44, a successful small business owner and I’m single!
I know, it’s a shock isn’t it!
I don’t even quite understand why that is the case but it is and it’s not a situation I thought I’d be in nor one I want to stay in.
Faced with the reality that as the owner of a small business, I am unlikely to meet someone at work and that most of my close friends no longer have any eligible ladies to introduce me to, I decided a while back that my best route to meet someone new was to use dating apps.
There are loads of apps out there
Literally there are 100s of dating apps but that doesn’t necessarily make it easy
There are mainstream ones like: Hinge, Bumble, Tinder, Facebook dating, Plenty of Fish, eHarmony, Happn, OkCupid, Coffee Meets Bagel, Inner Circle and so many more.
And there are specialist ones like: Tastebuds, Feeld, Loosid, Bristlr, Dine, Uniform Dating, Christian Mingle, Muzz, JDate, Silver Singles, etc [Can you guess the demographic of each?]
In fact there are almost too many but often you find the same people on different apps (sort of dating nomads) so it’s not a case of being on all of them.
I tend to focus my dating efforts to 3 apps: Hinge, Bumble and Inner Circle and even that feels like a fair amount of admin to curate and maintain a profile on each; not to mention all the messaging that is associated with each.
Why dating feels a bit like business development
Maybe I’m looking at it all wrong but definitely my mind sees a lot of crossover between the business development I do to win new work for my company and the pursuit of love through dating apps.
As part of developing a business or dating relationship, there are 5 key stages when it comes to connection:
- The hook — for my business this is all about our website/brand to get potential clients’ interest. In the dating world this means a profile with great photos and a fun sense
- The reach out — as in business, taking a passive approach won’t get you very far so you need to be reaching out often. In my business life I use voice notes for this. In the dating world this is the witty opening message you send
- The build up — in the business world this is the email exchange that will hopefully lead to a meeting. In the dating world this is the messaging that might lead to a date
- The first meet — be it the business world or a date, how that first meeting goes is crucial for determining whether there will be a future relationship or not
- The follow up and development of the relationship — this is where the magic happens and can mean great things for you and them, be it business or romance
There is much more beyond this point but I don’t need to elaborate on all the different outcomes of a relationship post this connection phase.
There is more than enough to unpack in these 5 stages, plenty of excitement and joy balanced out with a fair amount of frustration and rejection — trust me, I have experienced them all.
In fact, the more I think about it the more I realise that there is a lot of crossover between my experiences in business development and dating
My top 10 takeaways that apply to business development and dating
- Anyone could theoretically be the one but your biases may get in the way — in business you may dismiss an opportunity because you think they might not be interested or that it’s not your area of interest but you may be surprised. It’s the same in dating
- You won’t appeal to everyone — despite what you may think, some people are just not interested in your services
- You can easily spread yourself too thin — if you chase everything you may end up with nothing and become a bit jaded in the process
- Don’t get too excited too early — even if the initial conversation/interaction goes well this doesn’t mean that you’ll end up together long term; there are plenty of steps/hurdles to get there
- Until there is a solid foundation, you are easily cancellable — there is a moment that may be marked by a formal milestone or not (like a contract in the business world or a declaration of exclusivity in the dating world) after which you can have a lot more certainty about the relationship but until then things could disappear overnight
- The build up is reflective of the relationship you may get into — if during this phase, you find things difficult then it’s highly likely that the same behaviours will persist once you get into an actual relationship
- The clues are in the messaging — if the other party doesn’t reply, is slow or sporadic to reply, answers only in short messages, never asks questions, keeps things formal or constantly cancels meetings last minute then the odds are that this isn’t going anywhere
- Talking about the future is a great sign — it doesn’t matter if it is discussing how you will work together or simply arranging the next date, the more both parties discuss the future the better the signs. The lack of future discussion is also a sign that this isn’t going anywhere
- You can’t make someone want to be in a relationship with you — you may have some leverage or powerful tool but ultimately if you force the other party into a relationship, it won’t be built on the vital components of trust and enjoyment
- Once in a relationship don’t get complacent — a whole new dynamic begins once you settle into a relationship but it’s easy to then take it for granted whereas you should be working just as hard on the relationship
Where does this leave me?
So, that’s about it; that’s some of my wisdom on the topic.
Despite my experience, I still find myself single so I guess I better go reply to those Hinge messages.
Don’t get me wrong; if anyone out there has any other suggestions for finding love (be it an eligible friend, a funky new strategy or simply want to put themselves forward) then I am all ears.
Until then I will stick with the dating apps; hopefully the right lady is just round the corner 🙂
Success = IQ x EQ x FQ
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