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We found each other online
Nowadays it’s less creepy to message a stranger through an application than it is to approach someone at a bar.
The common conventions of how you meet people…and find companies is changing wildly.
Now we help people find you.
Before it all changed and was super commonplace to find your mate online, seven years ago – Bea (my now wife), and I found each other online (through a site called PlentyOfFish.com.) Now – we help people find what they are looking for online as our job (through Google!).
Working together has been a strange – but an ultimately rewarding way of running a business.
First a bit about how internet dating brought us together
In January 2011, I was browsing on the internet and found a beautiful young woman…with the search function on a dating site called ‘Plenty of Fish’ – I guess you could say the ability to search the internet for things has played a very large role in my life.
Perhaps you have a story like this as well – how has searching changed your life?
We don’t always think of it this way, but how would this have been done previously to the internet? Perhaps you get introduced through friends or use phone dating, or further back – the personal ads. The variety of internet search options makes the possible number of connections you can make as wide as it’s ever been. To me, it’s even more personal and allows you to use more criteria to search than walking up to someone at a grocery store, church or bar – since in those cases, it’s whoever happens to be at the same place at the same time.
We can romanticize the old way – but the truth is online searching allows you to be more particular
As my wife – Bea Bonte put it – “Online dating allows you to search through a variety of people with all different interests and characteristics. Seeing such a range of people forces you to think about what you are really looking for and what type of person you would honestly be interested in pursuing. If you don’t like something about the person you are talking to or looking at, you can easily end the discussion on the spot, as opposed to in person, you have to figure out how to end the conversation without making them feel bad.”
After meeting on Plenty of Fish – we fell madly in love and got married
It may be a pretty big shift in culture and the way dating works – but we moved in together after a year or so of dating – I dragged my feet for 2-3 more years and then asked Bea to marry me – here’s a video of the proposal at a waterfall in Hawaii:
Isn’t it weird that you can meet someone online – and then get married?
From Bea – “I think there is still a stigma against online dating, or that it’s something people are ashamed to admit that they do. Obviously, it’s become much more common and accepted, but like every culture shift, it takes time. I think in the beginning people didn’t know what to think when we said we met online, especially since we were both pretty young, but now people seem to be excited and think it’s cool, and want to hear our story. When we tell people how we met, and that dating online wasn’t our “throwing in the towel” moment, I think it makes it seem more approachable, and maybe encourage people to give it a chance. Now we both know several couples who met online, whether it be tinder, match, bumble, etc. that are so happy. It’s just about meeting a larger amount of people than you’d ever be able to at a bar, or from a friend.”
I definitely think it’s somewhat revolutionary that you can sort through people online, identify the most attractive characteristics to you and reach out to that person. By no means are there guarantees – but I think Bea and I both feel like we got a great deal by dating online and marrying each other.
Starting a business, joining forces / working with your spouse
After a year of marriage – I did the unthinkable, I asked my wife to come work for me. After completing a degree in marketing, she was knee-deep in a job that she didn’t love, and frankly – I didn’t want to hear about it anymore. Although I didn’t love every moment of my work making websites and doing Search Engine Optimization for people – it felt worthwhile, and like I was building something that could be useful to so many people. But working with a spouse isn’t that a massive challenge?
Bea – on working together “People always say, “Oh I could never work with my spouse, we’d kill each other!” Well…so far, we’re both alive, and neither of us is in jail, so I’d say we’re on the right track. But seriously, I think people perceive it as being so much more difficult than it is. It’s really about knowing your dynamic and what works best for you. We have a pretty good balance of power, and a good separation of work dynamic vs. home dynamic.
We tend to talk about work a lot more than I’m sure most spouses do, but to be honest, if we didn’t work together it would be tough to be as interested in each other’s careers as we are now. We get to experience growth together and solve problems together, and ultimately, support each other in every aspect of our lives. It’s not for the faint of heart, and I’m sure it does put a strain on our relationship at times, but now that we are (almost) a year in, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”
“People don’t find us online.”
Recognition that the times are changing doesn’t come at the same speed to every person… or every industry.
But that recognition does come.
From meat subscription boxes – to debt collection licensing companies, to the company that creates the shelving units that line warehouse walls, more and more companies and niches are getting into the search engine game.
Take our dating – and marriage story as an acknowledgment search is more than skin deep
Serious industries are being shaken up – and lives are being changed by the mere fact more people can find and connect with those people and businesses that make themselves available via search.
Presenting yourself and your company warmly, creating trust – and offering your best attributes as evidence to your quality, goes beyond just online dating – and the shake-up is either going to benefit you… or your competitor. Get ready – make moves, and create a systematic strategy for presenting your self well – and helping more people find your website with regular content and a linking strategy.