Hot off the press: I quit swiping.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a quick rundown for you (all my single ladiessss, you can skip this part—you’re already caught up):
Dating culture is nothing like it used to be. The prevalence of dating applications, websites, and matchmaking services paired with an influx of humans that are never a foot away from their mobile devices has not only unstigmatized online dating, but it’s created a new normal for meeting future partners. At a bachelorette party the other weekend, the woman next to me met her boyfriend on OkCupid and the woman across the table met her husband on Tinder. We share these things proudly now!
If you’re asking “Tindawhaaa??”, let me break down the top apps/sites for you (going from least serious to get me a husband now):
- Tinder: swiping app with everybody and their [single] mom looking for a hookup… or whatever
- Bumble: Similar to Tinder but with a feminist take. Once you match, the woman must message first.
- OkCupid: A free site with a library of in-depth profiles that tells you how religious someone is and alerts you when someone is creepin’ on your photos
- Match.com/eHarmony: for very serious people who want to get married yesterday and have the money to pay for it
In a nutshell, these swiping apps gamify dating. They dumb it down to an activity comparable to Pokemon Go. Who knows whether the man of my dreams walked right by me while I was busy Bumbling the other day.
I quickly got frustrated with these swiping apps. Why wasn’t I meeting anybody serious? Why was the only decent guy I connected with on Tinder only showing up when it was convenient for him? How much time have I wasted on this and why am I developing carpal tunnel in my right thumb?
This brings me to lesson number one:
#1: Get in front of the right audience.
Just like I won’t find a long-term guy on a flighty app for short-term hookups, you can’t market your high-end corporate wellness business if you’re constantly in front of entrepreneurs and one-person companies. And just like I (probably) won’t find an established career man if my preferences are set at 23-27, your custom skater shoes won’t fly off the shelves at a Florida flea market (and I LOVE Florida flea markets).
As soon as I realized this, I reopened my three-year-dormant OkCupid account. And almost immediately, I started getting messages from men.
Purely for your entertainment, I’m going to share some of these messages:
Hi! So, when do I get to take you out for drinks and some thai food?
If you stood in front of a mirror holding 11 roses; you will see 12 of the most beautiful things in this world…
Hey you. I just made this profile, talk to me. 😛
Hey, I have the jury duty selection interview on Monday — what should I say?!
Cue a drum roll for lesson number two (drrrrrrrrrrrrrummmmmm):
#2: Make a GREAT first impression.
You have one chance and one chance only to do this. Your brand, your website, your personality needs to be on point and clearer than crystal. If your website opens with the equivalent of a cheesy pick-up line, you’re screwed. I never responded to any of the messages above. And I will not. This is why video production companies are in such high demand right now and why the market for producing and hosting video content is only getting bigger—a good video has the ability to nail that first impression.
Got it? Good. Moving on…
What happens when the first impression lands and you start a conversation? Here’s what happens 90% of the time: the conversation fizzles and shuffles to the bottom of my message list. They’re gone forever, and it becomes very hard to rekindle that spark…leading to lesson number three:
#3: Keep them engaged.
A first impression is not enough for long-lasting true love. Love at first sight is cliche and doesn’t work in online dating (*cough, cough* OR in business). You have to nurture that relationship, keep it going, put some time into learning more about them and building an authentic connection. (P.S. That last sentence can apply to EVERYTHING in life!)
Houston, we have engagement. Once that’s established, here’s where the most important lesson comes into play:
#4: Ask for what you want.
In dating, this means setting up a date (drinks, dinner, coffee, hiking, who cares). In business, this is your classic “call-to-action”. Once you’ve had a good conversation with them and nurtured that relationship, it’s an easy ask to close the deal. So just do it. Ask for the date or the client or the referral and your life will move in the direction you want it to.
I’ve been online dating for about a year now. It’s a lot of work, and I go back and forth with my commitment to it. But to close out, here’s my final piece of advice, one that I uncovered after joining OkCupid.
#5: To get results, you have to invest.
I don’t pay for OkCupid. I’m having fun with it right now and enjoying all of the corny first impressions people are making. And while it’s better than the swiping apps, it’s still not perfect and I have my frustrations with it. This is where I understand the value in paying for a site like Match.com. You get more curated matches, less creeps, more opportunity to meet “the one” (or whatever you’re looking for). And the same goes for business. You can try to write your own copy, make your own video, grow your Facebook presence organically. But the frustration will only build when you aren’t seeing results.
To get where you want to go, there comes a time when you have to put some things into the hands of the experts.
Do these lessons apply to your business? Tell me in the comments!