Why entrepreneurship and dating are the same

By Seth Lui

After starting a business twice, and having the dating life cycle of a domestic cockroach, I have come to realize the startling similarities of both endeavors. Entrepreneurship and dating really have the same process and goal, learning and continuously improving all in hopes of finding true love.

Some of us were born God’s gift to women (you bastards), and others manage their business like Warren Buffet manages his stocks. If you can be successful in either one area, I believe you can be successful in the other.

Here, I am going to share with you some observations from experience that can be applied to both entrepreneurship and dating with the same results.

Say “I’ll Pass on that”
Not every business opportunity is suited for you, just like not every girl on the street is your soul mate. Sometimes an opportunity comes up that sounds great on paper, being able to give you something like 1000% ROI within a year.

The returns are great no doubt, but if you had to scrub toilets forever and earn $50,000 a month, would that make you fulfilled? Unless you are highly interested in the sanitary well-being of others, I would recommend you pass.

If you are willing to do it just for the money, then you are not an entrepreneur. You are a corporate banker. In my humble opinion, which many will disagree, it’s not about the money; it’s about doing what you love.

The same thing applies to dating a trophy partner. You can tell your friends I’m dating a supermodel/celebrity/porn star and see their jaws drop. But is she really the one for you or are you doing it because she just happens to be there in your life.

Like acne, it passes. Do not enter into a relationship just because you can, and wait for that one person that is going to make you happy forever. There are plenty of fish in the sea, you do not have to use a net and eat them all including the fat puffer fish.

The same goes for finding a business for you.

Confidence is sexy
Whenever I go to a business negotiation, I walk in imagining I’m the boss of Gong Cha (a multi-chain bubble tea brand in Singapore, where people fight teeth and bone for a cup. Ok maybe not, but seriously, the queue is absurd).

“Ah yes, we most certainly can help you out, but what can –you- do for my bubbl... I mean milkshake shop?”

Having confidence makes everything you say believable. This is not an excuse to lie, but say anything with enough confidence and people will buy that you are Obama’s long lost Asian son who rebelled to Singapore to ‘do his own thing’.

Confidence is crucial in negotiations, as the other side will be looking for mutual support on your end in order to seal the deal. You can tip the bargaining scales purely using confidence, even if you do not have the actual leverage.

Personally, we have negotiated killer deals, going in blind without a better alternative, just because we thought we could.

In dating, there is nothing sexier than a man/woman with confidence. I like to let my prospective date know with utmost gusto that I am employed full-time in a dessert beverage shop. That’s all the detail I divulge.

I like my job, what’s it to you? Bam, that gets them even more interested.

The reason why women go for the ‘bad boys’ is not because of the ‘bad’, but for the confidence to do whatever the hell they want (which occasionally, might be bad stuff.)

So chin up, be absolutely confident of who you are, what you do, and soon you’ll have to start a company that generates random rejection excuses for dates.

Date an Angel investor
When starting a business, there are multiple ways to get funded and one of the faster ways at the beginning is to acquire equity investors who provide capital in exchange for ownership equity.

An individual investing in the early start-up stages of an entrepreneur is called an Angel Investor. Looking for angel investors should be the same as how you look for a girl that truly loves you no matter what you are earning now. They believe in your potential and will support you in achieving your goals.

At the onset, you do not have results yet and everything will be based on faith, like your university sweet heart who believes you will be the doctor that cures cancer. Once you have achieved credible results, you can start finding venture capitals for larger investment sums.

Note that Venture capitals however, are a different creature altogether. VCs are more like meeting your future mother-in-law. They arrive late, give mixed signals and constantly ask how much you are earning while scrutinizing your income statement.

Definitely not someone you want to be having dinner with on the first date. “Check please, I have to get home and bath my pet goldfish.”

Love to Fail
You have probably heard the saying that most first businesses never succeed. Statistically, the odds are against you starting a business, with 9 out of 10 businesses failing within a year.

This is precisely why you try, try and try again. Be the master of failure. Thomas Edison figured out over 9000 ways how –not- to make a light bulb. Thank goodness he was a master of failure, or you would be reading this under a candle trying not to set this paper on fire.

The ‘secret’ is not focusing on failure or shortcomings, but to focus on the process and the eventual goal. Those who never gave up, like monsieur Donald Trump coming back from bankruptcy, are those that eventually make it to the very top.

Steve Jobs was fired from his own company, and still went back to make the MacBook you have in your hands now. As the famous Chinese idiom puts it: ‘failure is the mother of success’.

Rejection of the heart is a very common thing. I have had it, you have had it, someone somewhere is probably having his confession of love rejected right now. Instead of curling up in a ball and watching Asa Akira with a box of Kleenex all day, we move on.

So what if someone broke your heart, that just means you get to pick someone even better. If you let the fear of failure control you, never making a move, you will never gain a meaningful relationship either.

Like business, most times your first childhood crush is not going to be the woman you marry and live happily ever after. Nonetheless, we never give up searching until some day, the only other woman you can love, is the daughter you will have together. And your mother.
I love to fail. I fail every day at something, and then I start to get better. And fail a little less. In business and matters of the heart, embrace failure and let it hold your hand till the end. After failing so many times, success has to eventually reveal itself, you shy bastard you.

Here’s a pick up line someone should try at an entrepreneurs event:

“Hey, you look like you could start an excellent shipping business.”

“Why is that?”

“I’m not sure, I just feel like we could start a relationSHIP together.”

I swear this will work. Someone try it and let me know. Never give up guys!

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