One thing Tinder can offer is amazing business lessons.
I know, right? Who would have thought? I’m not talking about the business of pimping yourself out (although, I’ve heard spam accounts on Tinder are everywhere). Rather, I'm talking about your actual entrepreneurial venture or career.
I don’t even know if I could call five pictures of myself and no description on my Tinder account a dating profile.
But, as of February of last year, there it was. I was ready to try it out. Translation: I was bored, curious and a little bit lonely.
Along the way, I learned a lot about myself and dating — and why it’s not that different than business:
1. I know right away if I want to spend more time with someone.
For every single date I went on, I knew by the time I got home (and often within the first 10 minutes of the date), if I wanted to see the person again.
I’m all for giving yourself time to open up and get to know someone, but if there’s something telling you it just isn’t right, it probably isn’t.
For me, that basically means not seeing most people again after the first date. The more I started to listen to my inner voice, the less in my head I became.
I wasn’t upset if I never heard from the person again or wondered if I did something wrong. It was mutual, and trust me, the gut feeling only gets louder the longer you ignore it.
Business Translation: If something feels “off” about the client or the project, trust it. It’s a lot harder to do when income is involved, but the long-run payoff is your sanity.
2. I gave people who I knew weren't worth it a chance, simply because of their looks.
I’ll call this “OMG – this person is talking to ME?” syndrome. You know, the super hot one you show your roommate before he or she even says “Hi.” Then, he or she says something stupid, but you keep engaging because maybe, he or she will make up for it?
I tried this out a bunch of times. It never works out.
Business Translation: Sometimes, the big client with all the money or the job you’ve been fangirling over for the last six months really isn’t that awesome.
It’s clichéd, I know, but when someone shows you who he or she is, trust it. Do your research, vet him or her as much as you can and check in with yourself about whether you want this because it looks good or if it really feels like a fit.
3. Sometimes, you're just using each other.
As a small caveat to the first two: Maybe you’re just tired of being alone. Maybe you’re lonely and want someone to take you out so you have an excuse to dress up. Maybe you just want to hook up.
This happened to me once; we talked openly during our second date about how we couldn’t actually be together for various reasons.
I was okay with that and we kept seeing each other for a few months. It was super fun and even a good distraction at times. There were no hurt feelings or awkward conversations. We shared how nice it was to connect with someone and feel comfortable, and that was that.
Business Translation: You might just need a client for the money. You might hate the company that hired you, but it looks really good on your résumé.
You don’t want this to happen a lot, but sometimes, it's okay. What’s important is that you’re honest with yourself about why you’re doing it and if at all possible, upfront with the client or other people involved. Sometimes, they just want to use you, too.
4. Owning who you are upfront saves a lot of time and energy.
I stopped drinking at the beginning of January. As I transitioned into this lifestyle, I remember telling a guy who asked me out for drinks that I was up for hanging out at the bar, but I would probably only have one drink, if any at all. His response: “HAHA you mean one bottle, right?”
A little while later, I went out with a guy who didn’t give me a hard time about it, and I drank my soda and lime while he enjoyed his own drinks. It was probably the best date I’ve had in a long time.
Business Translation: If a potential business partner or client is asking you if you do X service (like VA services when you’re more of a manager, or one-off projects when you want long-term), you have a right to say no and let him or her in on what you CAN offer.
Do this from the get-go so you don’t start resenting him or her later when he or she starts asking for something outside your scope of services. You didn’t let him or her know, so he or she will likely try.
5. You could meet your future CFO.
So, don't kill the relationship before it starts.
The guy I went on my very first date with turned out to have a bunch of mutual friends with me and we went to the same university.
We got along super well and had really honest conversations about what we were looking for. We weren’t a long-term relationship match, but 10 months later, I hired him to take care of my biz finances and now, I consider him an awesome friend.
Business Translation: This kind of goes with number four, but specifically when you’re “ending” something with someone — client, partner or even a job. Stay kind and honest, even if you might be hurt at first.
This way, you can walk away with no resentment. You never know what can come of it. Someone could come back later when the timing is better, or he or she could refer you to an even better prospect.
In conclusion, it’s all about experimenting, like everything in life is.
But, when you keep an open mind and are in alignment with who you are and what you will or won’t do with someone, stress and weight is lifted off your shoulders.
And, you can meet some really awesome people along the way — in business and in life.
Have you had any online dating experiences that led to teachable or interesting moments? What tools do you use to help keep you honest in relationships — business and personal?
Let me know in the comments! I want to hear.