It's often said that entrepreneurship is a lonely business--just how lonely is less talked about.
Dawoon Kang and her sisters, Arum and Soo, know this firsthand. As the founders of Coffee Meets Bagel, a dating app based in San Francisco, the founders have not only witnessed the struggles entrepreneurs face in finding a date, but have also had their own tough time with dating, which is in part the inspiration for the business in the first place.
In 2012, Kang was living in Hong Kong while her sisters were living in New York City. The urban settings, while fun and seemingly limitless career-wise, posed challenging for the budding entrepreneurs' dating lives. "Meeting people seemed very hard--no matter who you were, man or woman," says Kang.
It's not for a lack of eligible bachelors and bachelorettes, says Kang. It's that, as entrepreneurs, "we just don't make enough time for it." Kang adds that entrepreneurs are inherently a tricky group, as they have a more than a full-time job. "It's a lifestyle choice" that not everyone you meet will be OK with, adds Kang.
That doesn't mean you'll be alone forever, however. Here are Kang's three best dating tips for those whose time and mental energy are often spread thin:
1. Select a familiar setting.
There's a reason why so many execs choose the same restaurant and seat during business lunches. When you're comfortable in a place--and know what to expect--that gives you an upper hand. So, when you're out on a first date, resist the urge to pick a trendy (read: untested) restaurant, Kang advises. "It's already a stressful situation," she says. "Anything more is going to stop you from being able to relax and be yourself," she says.
2. Discuss support early on.
Your time is not your own. "You have to have a partner who is really understanding of the amount of work that you have to put in on the weekdays and weekends," Kang says. "I have had a number of relationships in the past where I wasn't really supported, and it's very taxing to the relationship and to yourself."
To really know how your potential partner wants to support you, just ask. When Kang asked her current boyfriend, "he said he wanted to be '[my] unwavering support in [my] quest for world domination.' And I was like, 'You're a keeper.'"
3. Don't rule out other entrepreneurs.
The only thing worse than one busy schedule is two busy schedules, right? Well, don't be so quick to rule it out, Kang advises. She mentions that her sister and her sister's husband are both entrepreneurs, and that they can be supportive and understanding of one another because they both understand the nuances of running a business.
"It is hectic, but I think that you definitely could make it work, especially if both of you are committed," she says.