The Smell Of Success

By Erika Ettin of A Little Nudge
McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

Starting a business is no easy task.

I was so excited when I quit my job at Fannie Mae after seven and a half years, having very rigid job titles like “Financial Engineer” and “Senior Financial Economist.”

Those first few days, back in 2011, as I sat down to work on my new business, the scariest part was that I didn’t even know what work was required.

Yes, I have a business degree. And yes, I know a good spreadsheet when I see one. But that doesn’t mean that I knew what the heck I was doing those first few days into my newfound freedom, aka being an entrepreneur.

I knew what I wanted to do, though, help people with online dating.

In the few years leading up to my last serious relationship, I went on about 120 dates from JDate alone. Some might call me crazy, I’ll just go ahead and call myself persistent. I knew what I was looking for, that wonderful combination of intelligent, fun, witty, and attractive to me. But then there’s chemistry, the “wild card.” As my mom used to tell me, though, “It only takes one.”

As I was going on all of these dates, that’s when friends started to notice and began asking me for help. “Will you write my profile so it will work like yours?” “How do you have time to work all day and then online date at night? It’s exhausting.” “Why aren’t my pictures with me on top of Mt. Kilimanjaro attracting anyone?”

So, I helped. I wrote some profiles, chose some pictures, and doled out all the dating advice I could muster. And a business idea was hatched. What do people need when online dating? Why, A Little Nudge, of course.

Before I could be successful, I knew I needed some practice, or Beta, clients to make sure I had my process down pat.

Enter a woman I will call Becca. Becca and I had been friends for a long time, and she was the perfect person to practice on since, as a friend, she could give me honest feedback. So we met on March 25, 2011 (I remember the exact date because I bought my first iPhone that day!) and talked for an hour. I asked her questions about herself and what she was looking for in a partner so that I could write her the best online dating profile possible. And so her dating life re-started … and then she met Steve.

On Oct. 12, 2012, I was in the car driving downtown, and I got a call from Becca. I knew she was on vacation, so getting a call from her clearly meant something special. She called from Maine to tell me the good news, she and Steve got engaged! If hearts could smile, that’s what mine did at that moment. I changed someone’s life doing something I love. Life doesn’t get much better than that.

As Becca put it, “Just when I thought I was finished with online dating, Erika was there to give me ‘a little nudge’ in the right direction. Her support and encouragement was just the help I needed to find ‘the one!'” And I loved doing the Hora at her wedding!

Since then, several of my clients have been engaged, married, or have just gained the confidence they needed online.

That’s what I’m here for. I have the best job in the world.
(Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps others navigate the often intimidating world of online dating by writing unique profiles, helping to choose the best profile pictures, writing one-of-a-kind emails to get someone’s attention, and planning dates)

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