... featuring an essay by YourTango Expert Erika Ettin!
Welcome to Online Dating Bootcamp: Day 13! Today is all about how one online dater became an online dating coach , featuring a personal essay by YourTango Expert Erika Ettin. (Wanna brush up on Bootcamp Days 1-12? Start here.)
Ah, online dating. Some people love it. Some people hate it. I'm in the former category, and I always tell skeptics, if you meet the love of your life online, you won't care how the heck you met — you'll just be thrilled that you did!
My name is Erika, and I live in Washington, D.C. I always knew that the man of my dreams was out there, but sometimes you just need a little nudge to find him. So, I decided to join JDate. I had dabbled in the past, but this time, I was really going for it. I perfected my profile and e-mails to a point that my "hit rate," or percentage of guys who responded to my initial e-mail was over 60%, almost unheard of in the online dating world. YourTango Experts Presents ... Online Dating Bootcamp!
I found it fun to test which e-mails worked, switch my pictures occasionally to see which drove more traffic to my profile, and even signed my e-mails differently every time. Basically, I learned what worked in my own personal experiment. And then, finally, after over 120 dates, on December 4th, 2009, I did it. I walked into the bar and met Jeremy — my last JDate.
Jeremy and I always joke about the fact that I went on so many dates, yet I was only his fourth JDate ever. I was of the philosophy that you never know if you'll click with someone until you meet in person, so I erred on the side of meeting more people, which I still believe is the best way to do it.
Before I founded A Little Nudge, where I help people with all aspects of online dating, I was an economist for over seven years. While I liked my job for a while, by the last year and a half, I was itching to leave. I didn't even realize it was that long, but Jeremy reminded me that very early on in our relationship, he had asked me how my work day went, and I actually got angry with him. Over the next year, I would get frustrated every time Jeremy asked how my day went, which is, of course, not normal. And if you know me at all, you know that I'm happy 99.872% of the time. Top 10 Tips For Designing Your Online Dating Profile
I had considered different options for a career change, but when it came down to it, I always went back to online dating. It was simple — I loved what online dating could do for people, and my love of it made me want to help others with the process. Friends were already coming to me to ask for help with their pictures, profile, and e-mails. This was my calling. One fateful night at a Thai restaurant in Georgetown, as I was lamenting about life in a cubicle, Jeremy said, "Why don't you just quit your job and start the dating business? That's what will make you happy." And the rest is history.
I came full circle — from doing online dating to using the skills I learned to help others in the same endeavor. I was in the trenches, so I know what it's like to go through the trials and tribulations of online dating. And it's no easy task. When people tell me, "You're so lucky you found Jeremy," I have to laugh a little. Yes — I am extremely lucky for having found such a thoughtful, smart, and (not to mention) good-looking guy. But was it luck or persistence that led me to him?
I'd venture to say a little of both, and now I get to help other people in their effort to do the same. And it's always so rewarding, like when a client came to me recently and said, "We've decided to date exclusively and see where things go. I want to thank you for your awesome profile writing. My profile is what he said caught his attention. He said it was well-written, and he could see what I was like and what I liked." 20 Rules For Your First Online Date
So, how do you know when someone is right for you? When he buys you flowers? When he sends you a cute text? When he supports you in all your endeavors? All are nice, but I'd venture to say the last one is the most important. Jeremy helped me find the courage to turn my personal online dating success story into a business that fulfills my passion to help others find success online. Plus, I have a boyfriend who doesn't mind that I have to go to singles events all the time for work. Now, that's supportive!
Come back tomorrow for Online Dating Bootcamp: Day 14, "5 Ways To Manage Your Online Dating Despair" with YourTango Expert Heidi Lee Munson.