Julie Spira: The Cyber Dating Expert
Q: In your book, “The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online” you tell readers that you were an early adopter of online dating technologies. Do you have a funny recollection from those early days?
One of my first dates actually went berserk in a restaurant as he thought I looked like his dead wife. I kept apologizing for his loss as he was showing the other patrons who were dining photos of his late-wife to see if they agreed with him.
Q: How has the internet dating landscape changed since you first clicked on?
I created my first online dating profile 16 years ago. This was during the days of the slow dial up connection, where more often than not, you ended up with a hefty monthly usage bill. The male to female ratio was about 70% men to 30% women. In 1994, Internet dating was looked upon as a resource for the dating-challenged. There certainly was a stigma associated with online dating in the early days. Now, the balance is almost an equal amount of men and women looking for love online. The technology has vastly improved with high-speed Internet, WIFI, and mobile dating. It's easier to meet someone quicker and the universe of members has grown dramatically. It's common to hear online dating stories every day. From the hairdresser to the nail salon and the dry cleaners, everyone knows someone who met their spouse online.
Q: We understand you have been engaged and received several marriage proposals but have yet to meet Mr. Right. Do you expect that you will find him online?
I can honestly say there have been several Mr. Rights that I have been fortunate to have met. Although I'm no longer engaged to my fiance, I credit him for saving my father's life (a story for another time). That's an online dating success story. It's quite likely that I will meet someone online, but I'm open to all of the possibilities.
Q: There are so many dating sites from which to choose, how can people select the right spot in which to settle down?
Online dating is a numbers game. Keep in mind, not everyone is looking to settle down. Some people just want to date. Perhaps they are going through a divorce and aren't ready for a serious relationship or are just serial daters. Fortunately, both the number of online dating sites and active members have increased dramatically. As a result, there's something for everyone. If you are truly interested in settling down, you need to find a site that focuses on singles who are looking for serious relationships. Ask other couples who have met online what site they were members of. If religion is important to you, than join a site that focuses on your faith. It's important to be very specific in your online dating profile. If you want to get married, make sure you say so on your profile. Sending away those who aren't marriage-minded is a good thing.
Q: You have been very successful at building a brand. What advice would you give to all the single bloggers, authors and entrepreneurs out there who are trying to do the same?
First of all, be authentic. I chose to share some very personal stories in a very public way. It helped me engage with my fans and clients. Second, be consistent with your marketing and branding. For Cyber-Dating Expert®, I tied my brand, book, and other media together. My logo remains consistent in all forms of media, both online and offline. Third, reach out and connect with others in your space. Remember, it's a collaborative effort that will help you maintain brand recognition.
Q: Publishing has changed dramatically in the past few years to the point when many people are taking the DIY approach. Would you recommend self-publishing to new authors?
This is a very good question, and a timely one at that. Self-publishing and e-books were big topics of discussion last week at Book Expo America. At the time I wrote my first book, it was important to me that it was traditionally published. I viewed self-publishing in the same light that I viewed online dating in the 1990s. I thought a traditionally published book would make a difference in the amount of media attention my book would receive. I believed at the time there was still a stigma associated with self-publishing. Now, with both print-on-demand so easily available and the increase in sales for e-books, there is a trend and shift towards do-it-yourself publishing. Good content will always be good content, no matter how you publish it. I work with authors on their social media strategies and help them make this decision every week. Now, more often that not, I recommend self-publishing if you have written a book and would like to see it published sooner rather than later. With self-publishing, you will make more money for each book sold. You can handle this without an agent.
Q: How do you differentiate yourself from other dating coaches?
I believe as a dating coach that your relationship with your clients is very personal. Just like there are different online dating services for different people, the same holds true for dating coaches. Someone will resonate with me as I offer 16 years of personal experience in the online dating space. I know how to create an irresistible online dating profile that will help you stand out in the crowded playing field. This includes the right amount of words both in your profile as well as in the email exchanges. My work with my private clients is usually done in person with follow up sessions via telephone. I also work with singles out-of-state via phone and email. Many of my clients are not computer savvy. They really need hand-holding throughout the process. As a dating coach, it's important to help your clients during the dating process, even if they are dating someone exclusively. I also frequently get calls from married men and women who need to put the spark back in their relationship and need some help along the way. Love never goes out of style and you always need to work on your dating skills. Often, my clients will want help on what to wear on a date, need guidance as to when to take their profile down, talk about when is the right time to have sex and even need help in ending their relationships. It's truly a personalized full-service package that I offer.