Stay focused on your goals

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My ex boyfriend emailed his online personals profile to me and asked me what I thought. I thought it made him look needy and told him so. I said that if he wanted to attract someone with an independent personality he should change the profile. I wrote a few paragraphs that he ended up submitting in his final profile.

It did not surprise me that he used my wording because I am gifted when it comes to composing personal profiles. I edited my cousin's profile and he immediately met his future wife. I thought this was a fluke until I rewrote my friend Liz's profile. Now she is getting married.

My profile-writing abilities are similar to my resume-writing abilities. In both genres, you must include specific achievements that differentiate you in an interesting way but do not make you seem boastful.

I could write an entire column on this: How to leverage your resume-writing skills to get a date. Instead, I want to explain why it’s important to have a clear career focus.

I have a hard time keeping my career focused because I keep thinking about starting new businesses. I have many ideas, but this is typical of me. I launched two companies earlier in my professional life, and most entrepreneurs are serial entrepreneurs, so I'm sure there will be more coming In fact, my freelance writing career is actually a business, with my writing being the product. I perform all the normal functions of a regular business: marketing, billing, product development and staffing, to name a few.

But here’s where my focus issues emerge. As I work, I keep thinking of new ventures, the latest being, thanks to my ex boyfriend, rewriting peoples' personal profiles.

This idea occurred after my ex asked me to look at the profile of a woman he had considered contacting. (Note: Do not send me emails saying my ex shouldn’t talk to me about this love life — we broke up amicably eight years ago.) So I read the profile, and I was appalled, “Are you kidding me?” I asked. “She screams ‘relationship nightmare.'” I thought this because:
1. Her photo showed her smiling without opening her mouth. This is unnatural. Only people who are hiding something smile like this
2. She wrote mostly about her work and did not appear to have another interest (all recent reading was work related).
3. She said her best friend was her dog.
I could go on. But my next thought was that if she paid me to fix her profile, she wouldn’t have to date psychos. She could attract nice guys. (I don't know what this says about my ex, but trust me, he's a nice guy.)

By now, I had decided the world needed me to start a personality-profile-writing business. She would be my first client. I spent 10 minutes crafting an email to her about why her profile makes her look bad and how I could help her — for a fee. I provided amazing insights so she would trust me. Then I tried to send her my email using her dating-network address.

This was a mistake. As it turned out, I had to join this network to contact her. I spent the next 20 minutes trying to figure out how to sign up for this network. First, I had to create a profile of myself and then, since I’m married, figure out how to use the “hide profile” function. After all that, I was asked to pay a membership fee?

Reality set in. If I was going to invest time and money in this venture, I had to do it right. I needed a business plan — not a long one, but something that would tell me, for instance, how long each profile would take to fix, how much I’d charge and how many pitches I'd need to make to lure a customer. I also would need to advertise on personals sites. Since my success would depend on an initial, online contact, I probably needed to hire a direct mail person to write the email for me.

A career writing personals no longer seemed fun or wise. I had to level with myself. What I really wanted was simply to tell dog lady her ad was terrible on her nickel. Instead, I wrote a column. That is my business now, and for this minute, at least, I am focused.

7 replies
  1. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    I have to say, I disagree about the smiling without showing teeth observation. I agree that it does reveal the person is private, but I do not think one can assume that the person is hiding something. A fake smile with teeth is worse, in my opinion, than (a fake smile) that does not show teeth. Bearing teeth in a disingenuous way (like posing for a photo) is a subtle sign of aggression, and I avoid ‘fake smile’ pics like the plague. If it’s a real smile, then teeth are better, but for people who just can’t get comfortable in front of a camera, I’d rather not see teeth, personally.

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