5 Things I’ve Learnt from Working in Online Dating


You may recognise Vana Koutsomitis as a finalist from the 2015 edition of the hugely popular BBC programme The Apprentice. In the show she pitched her dating app Date Play to Lord Sugar, however her enthusiasm for online dating really does go beyond just business. She shared some of the things that she’s learnt from working in the online dating industry.


1. Be yourself

The most common concern people have is that people won’t like them. Everyone has a fear of rejection. This is completely natural. The instinct is to transform your photos, profile writeup and alter peoples’ perceptions of you. I know it seems like the best option. Long term, it’s definitely a bad choice. If you try to paint the picture that you think others want to see, you will probably attract an incompatible match. Instead, you should show your true colors. People will warm up to you much better if you show how multifaceted you really are. Don’t be afraid to show your quirks. People are smart and they will know if you’re genuine or not. So there is no point in trying to fool anyone. Just be yourself. Be honest. And it’ll take you much further than if you fabricate who you are.


2. Try to meet up in person as quickly as possible

Chatting online is comfortable. You can do it from anywhere and it feels safe. A common mistake people make is that they chat online for too long. They share intimate details about themselves and get into in depth discussions about who they are and what they are looking for. My best advice is avoid all the deep chats until you meet up. It’s unnatural to discuss deep topics before you get to know each other. Instead of having these long chat conversations, try to keep it short and just insist on meeting up in person. A chat over coffee will tell you immediately whether you get on with the person or not. Also, if you chat for too long you build the person up in your head; then they are very unlikely to meet your expectations! If you struggle to figure out where to meet and what to do on your first date, I always advise that you try to choose an “activity date” for your first meeting. If possible, go bowling, go to the zoo, or go grab a coffee to take on a walk in your local park.


3. Not having time is not an excuse

People always tell me that they really want to find a significant other. What’s stopping them? They claim that they don’t have time to get into online dating. My experience is that if you really want something, you will find time to get it. If you really want to find a boyfriend or girlfriend, you will find a way to meet people. So if you’re serious and really want to meet someone, you should just do it! You will make time. And trust me, it’s worth it. Choosing your partner is one of the most important decisions you make in your life.


4. Figure out what you want before you try to find it

It’s always a good idea to identify three ‘deal breakers’ and three ‘must haves’ before you embark on your online dating search. Knowing what you want is super important because the online dating world can be overwhelming. There are so many options and you might end up meeting the wrong people if you are not pinpointed and focused in your search. For example, if religion is important to you and you don’t consider that in your initial search, you may stumble across a really attractive date from a different religion. Deep down, you might know that it’ll never work long term between you two. So what is the point of pursuing that option? That date might be distracting you from meeting “the one”!


5. Choose photos that tell a story

A big part of online dating revolves around personal branding. You have a chance to paint a picture of who you are. To identify your personality, describe your interests and highlight your goals. It’s very important that you choose photos that align with who you are and what you’re looking for. If you are a homebody who loves cooking and hanging out with your dog, why would you post a photo of yourself at a nightclub? That just doesn’t make sense. You might look stunning in that photo but it will surely send the wrong message. And it could potentially attract the wrong person. Make sure you stay consistent with your brand when you date online. Remember, all the elements of your profile should tell a story that attracts the person you are looking for.


Vana Koutsomitis is a dating expert and entrepreneur who was the runner-up on BBC 1 ‘The Apprentice’ in 2015. Vana has extensive experience with online dating. She is a personal branding coach and advises people on how to create the best dating profiles. Vana has set up several marriages and loves helping people find love online. You can follow Vana on Twitter @vana_cristina or email vana@vanakoutsomitis.com.

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