In the business world, there are only four things that can move you from startup to success: the right Decision, Event, Action or just plain Luck. The Deal Reveal® interviews today’s hottest entrepreneurs and CEOs so you’ll learn exactly how they did it.
In this post of The Deal Reveal:
Learn how internet tycoon Brandon Wade made millions playing online matchmaker to the rich and beautiful.
Regardless of your opinion of online dating or your definition of “consenting adults,” SeekingArrangement.com is bound to raise some eyebrows. You can’t help but be a little curious about a site that describes itself as “Mutually Beneficial Relationships™, The Premier Dating Website for Sugar Daddies, Mommies and Babies” (admit it…you want to at least take a peek).
And that’s exactly what CEO Brandon Wade was banking on when he launched the niche dating site. SeekingArrangement.com, which connects rich men with generosity-seeking ladies, now reports its membership at a staggering 350,000. Sugar Daddies spend from $44.95/mo. to well over a $1,000/yr. depending on the package they buy while Sugar Babies have a free ride (on the site and otherwise). Not bad for a niche market!
Entrepreneur meets Opportunity:
Wade went from a string of mainstream jobs, including executive positions with Microsoft and GE to running a cash-intensive tour business with a friend. It was the touring business that was sapping most of his time, energy and money when he started looking at putting his tech experience into building SeekingArrangement.com.
The idea for this edgy site started simmering when Wade was just a geek trying to get a date at M.I.T. and reached a full, rolling boil by the time he was a successful exec … but still experiencing the same challenges in his love life. He explains that traditional dating sites didn’t work for guys like him, because he just didn’t stand out among the throngs of men vying for that small handful of choice women. He wanted a dating site that changed the dynamics and gave guys like him (money talks) the pick of the litter.
So how do you create a dating site where there are always plenty of lovelies for big spenders to choose from? “I look for controversy,” says this 30-something entrepreneur, “It’s really difficult to compete in the world where there are so many established players, specifically in dating.” He realized that targeting an unusual niche not only gets people talking and the media buzzing (he’s had media attention from ABC’s 20/20 to the NY Times), but it also drives business.
But controversy and a higher premium for the guys weren’t the only ingredients to making the site a success. He had to have the ladies involved from day one. Actually, before day one. “People would’ve come to the website, seen that it wasn’t very widely used and they would have left,” Wade explains. Launching before there were plenty of faces to shop would’ve been suicide for the business. He chose to delay his launch until the site had 2,000 members.
These several strategic moves, along with the fact that Wade invested little more than his own sweat equity in the beginning, garnered a profit for the site within its first month.
The Deal Reveal:
What was that one Decision, Event, Action or Luck that brought SeekingArrangement.com its initial success?
Wade says that it was his decision to place Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising on Google and other search sites. Using keyword phrases like “seeking arrangement,” and even “student loan” and “help with rent,” which he researched from actual arrangement seekers on Craigslist, helped him find his Sugars and go from zero to 2,000 members almost instantaneously. Wade maintains that if he had invested more heavily in this advertising in the beginning, his success probably would’ve been even more meteoric.
Rule for Your Success:
It’s not who you know, it’s who knows about you. Targeted, well-researched advertising not only pays, but pays big.
What’s Next for Wade:
The entrepreneur is currently planning a dating site targeted to a more mainstream audience. Look for its launch by year’s end. We’re betting it will make Match.com® and eHarmony® look like a church mixer.
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Know a CEO or entrepreneur with a great success story? Leave a comment below.