1. How did you get the idea for your startup?
As the creative director of Eros.ek21.com (an online dating website), I figured that a lot of people can’t find their boyfriend/girlfriend in the real life because they don’t know how to dress themselves properly, how to act elegantly in front of the opposite sex, and how to interact with other people. More importantly, some people don’t feel confident enough about themselves while pursuing the opposite sex. Therefore, I decided to start EROS 戀愛形象學院 not only to help our website members dress properly, but to help them build their confidence.
2. Who is your target market?
26~37 years old single males and females eager to find marriage partners.
3. What need do you fulfill in the marketplace? What does your product offer that is not currently available in the marketplace?
We fulfill the need of people dating opposite sex by holding lots of special-themed events and providing self-improvement courses.
Other dating websites provide only speed dating and outdoor activities. None of the dating websites also focus on personal styling or offer an image improvement service.
4. What is your business model?
Registering for our online membership is free. We charge for the VIP services, such as speed dating and different-themed events. Also, for the personal styling and image improvement courses, the fees are in accordance with the needs of different members.
5. How did you get clear on the specifics of your business?
Starting a new business, I never know what the right decision is. I just keep trying and revising every step I made.
Joining AppWorks also helped me a lot. There are lots of appworks alumni sharing their startup experience with us. Moreover, my parents are very experienced entrepreneurs. They give me a lot of advice about how to manage the company too.
6. Best piece of marketing advice you could give to people starting out?
Don’t be afraid to contact people. Explore yourself and expose your products by seizing every opportunity. Perhaps selling things to people is not easy, but marketing yourself is much easier than marketing a soulless item. A person is a living story of an individual, and all we need to do is to tell our own stories.
After I graduated from the University of Denver with an MBA degree in 2011, I’ve been employed in two multinational companies as a marketing planner. In 2013, I went back to E-Kingdom as a Creative Director. E-Kingdom is an internet company my parents founded 10 years ago. The most famous product of our company is called 尋夢園 (ek21.com), which was a top-10 portal website in Taiwan 10 years ago, and it is still the biggest Online Chat Room League in Taiwan now. The two other websites our company started are Shesay.com (a women’s online discussion forum), and Eros.ek21.com (an online dating website). My job is to operate and manage these three websites.
2. How did you become an entrepreneur?
While working at E-Kingdom, I had lots of opportunities to interact with different people from other internet companies and to join some entrepreneurship competitions. I got to know more about startups and the new market trends, thus I figured our company can make some improvements. Therefore I decided to be an intrapreneur, to take our company in a new direction.
3. What has been your greatest challenge since becoming an entrepreneur?
The greatest challenge I face is that I never know beforehand whether my decision is right or not. Everything is new for me, and I need to try things out and revise in order to know if it is the right way.
4. What helps you keep going every single day?
The support from my friends, family, and the classmates from AppWorks.
5. What experience has been most useful to you in your entrepreneurship journey?
Contacting people, chatting with others. Everyone can be my mentor. I can make fewer mistakes by listening to others’ startup stories.
6. What are you learning or want to learn in the near future?
Web design, including interface design and the entire visual experience of the website. I want to bring even better user experience for our online members.
[Tina will be a guest speaker at the upcoming EST event: EST Women Entrepreneurs Night: Females Making It Happen. Join us and listen to her startup stories!]
- This article is from [Interview] Tina Lin, Founder of EROS