Singles Warehouse is an online dating site that connects singles in the USA, UK, South Africa, New Zealand, Ireland and Canada. I recently spoke to the mind behind the whole operation - Jonathan Bird.
Hi Jonathan, Thanks for doing this. How are you doing today?
I’m great – thanks for having me.
Can you give us some background information about yourself?
Sure…I’m a 32 year old entrepreneur based in the UK with a little bit of a thing for dogs (if you’d like to meet my four legged friends click here). I started my career in retail and after being headhunted several times I realised that I should be making money for myself – so I did.
When did you get the entrepreneurial bug?
I think I’ve always had it. A desire to always do the best I can and create….maybe it was when I was playing with Lego and building my first USS Enterprise? Building the real Enterprise is still on my to do list.
How did the idea for Single Warehouse come about?
Singles Warehouse was created in 2010 pretty much just after the UK recession hit. At this point in time I recruited a staff and didn’t want the hard times to affect any of them. I figured we needed to work smarter and after some research online dating seemed like the way to go.
Tell me about the early days, what was the hardest part of starting the business?
I thought it would be easy…I really did. Put up a website and that would be it. I couldn’t have been more wrong. You see at this point I’d had a very successful e-store and retail business but dating was a whole different kettle of fish. Finding people to link with, opportunities to drive traffic and figure out paid for advertising was a minefield. It was a real learning curve.
What is Single Warehouse? And what are you trying to solve with it?
We’re all about solving that first maths question you learned – 1 + 1 =? Singles Warehouse is an online dating site that connects singles in the USA, UK, South Africa, New Zealand, Ireland and Canada. I’ve never really looked at it as what we’re trying to solve before...
About the first few months, how excited were you, tell us about how those months felt, what happened?
I was a kid in a candy store. I loved it. A new venture can be quite intoxicating can’t it? You stay up making contacts, planning new marketing activities, tweeting potential customers and growing your Facebook page. There’s always lot’s to do when you set up a new business. What happened? I needed a holiday is what happened.
How did you initially get traction?
I don’t think we did initially get traction actually. It took us a solid 6 months to build traffic. We tried lots of things that really didn’t work and it was quite frustrating. Eventually our hard work on the blog took off – and soon we became industry leaders in the dating/blogging world. This really helped us.
What are the most crucial things that you have done to grow it?
I think the biggest thing I’ve done is focus on growing our blog and our social media presence. This is crucial to any business and with changes due to take place in the SEO world any company that is not growing its social presence is in trouble.
With Facebook Likes, Google Pluses and Tweets now counting to your overall SEO it demands attention. In the dating world this is easier said than done. After all who wants to press ‘like’ on an article that sends a questionable social signal to your Facebook friends?
What would you say has been the highlight of your entrepreneurial journey so far?
This may sound silly but it’s those moments that you are so tired you can barely walk. It’s at that moment your venture has a breakthrough. It makes it all worth it.
What should we be expecting from Single Warehouse in the coming months?
More of the same I hope. We’re making improvements to our site every day. We’ve just launched a new profile wizard which helps people starting out and we plan on making April 2013 a month to remember by doubling our social media numbers by producing extra content for the site.
Lastly, what three pieces of advice would you offer entrepreneurs starting out today?
1. Invest in some Pyjamas – you’ll be much more comfortable working late.
2. Realise that you can’t do it all alone – and check out my business building tips.
3. Don’t be scared of taking risks – you’ll need to if you want to succeed.