BBC Breakfast filming booked for December 4th.
Will be screened as part of a New Year special.
BBC Breakfast filming booked for December 4th.
Will be screened as part of a New Year special.
Today’s job is to find a lovely mum/daughter duo to be featured on BBC Breakfast for their New Year special.
Let us know if you’ve signed your mum up (or if you’re a mum who has been signed up!) and would like to get involved.
A very happy day to all the granddads and grandmothers on myLovelyParent.
Hope you all get spoilt rotten today.
A couple of weeks ago my other half pointed out to me that for the past 365+ days I’ve worked every single day. Most long, long days. Some just a few hours. She suggested it might be time we took some time out and of course she was right. And so we did.
This past week we’ve been over in Portugal, in a beautiful, quiet fishing port called Sagres. Somewhere aptly nicknamed Finisterra - ‘the end of the earth’.
It was perfect: white beaches, turquoise waters and barely a word of English spoken. And alright, I’ve replied to the odd email but pretty much downed tools for a whole week.
But this week has been more than just a holiday. It has been the first time I’ve stepped away from myLovelyParent and fully entrusted the reigns to my amazing team. I’ve always known they’re incredible people but having just properly checked in, I’m amazed with what a week they’ve had.
We were shortlisted for an ISPA/Go ON UK Award for Digital Inclusion (which in the online world is a huge achievement - especially as a relatively young business) and amazingly we WON!!
Seriously huge news.
And it was made even more special as we were chosen by Martha Lane Fox who was the co-founder of lastminute.com, a huge ambassador for getting everyone in the UK online a bit of a heroin of mine.
Receiving the award was a very proud moment for me. Being on holiday whilst hearing the news somehow made it more special - there’s a certain perspective that you can only be gained when completely removed from the day to day running of something. And this holiday was the perfect space.
I makes me realise just how far we’ve come in less than a year.
We’re one of, if not the safest and easy to use online dating websites. We’re still the only site where children can start the sign up for their older single mum or dad, encouraging them online to meet new people. And what’s more with almost 4,000 people now using the site, we’re hearing from more and more couples who have met on myLovelyParent.
And sure we’ve still lots to do. But that alone is exciting. I love the fact that myLovelyParent will only get better and better and play a role in bringing together people who may otherwise never meet.
It really is a very beautiful thing.
Last night we WON our first award for the trophy cabinet!!
It was the Digital Inclusion Award chosen by Martha Lane Fox (the clever lady behind lastminute.com).
You can read more about the awards in the Telegraph’s write up.
What a stunning first 6 months of 2013.
We’ve now thousands of mums and dads signed up and we’re hearing from people who’ve met on myLovelyParent every few days. All thanks to you guys.
As always please do keep spreading the word about myLovelyParent. We couldn’t do any of this without you.
Today, 11am (ish). Mobile rings.
Stephen: “Hello, is that myLovelyParent?”
Me: “Yes. Hello. This is Matt.”
Stephen: “Matt, hello. Amazing to have reached you directly.”
Me: “Well not really. We’re just a small team and all the calls divert to my mobile. How can I help?”
Stephen: “I’m just calling to say thanks. I was recently signed up to your site by my daughter who thought it would be good for me to get out more and on Saturday I have my first date. We’re going for a coffee. I wanted to personally thank you for this opportunity.”
We’re nearly have way through 2013 and so much has happened. We have a fully working website. We’ve had a world of PR. But more than anything, we’ve changed the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of people. That is truly an incredible feeling.
myLovelyParent has already achieved more than I could have ever hoped. It has fundamentally shifted the online dating landscape, demonstrating a brand built with integrity at its core, can thrive within a marketplace renowned for a lack of ethics and ugly commercial practice.
Not only is it one of the safest, easiest to use sites out there, it is still the only website where adult children can start the profile of their older single parent. And when considering we’re talking about a generation, many of whom new and hesitant to the concept online dating, having the endorsement and encouragement from their offspring (someone who hopefully they trust and love!) really does make all the difference.
And for the next 6 months? The first thing on the list is to launch the subscription side of the site. This will be a few months away still but will allow us to get thousands more mums and dads signed up around the world. That’s got to be a good thing for everyone involved, right?
After that, we’ll get working through the ever growing list of brilliant ideas and improvements - all designed to make myLovelyParent the most exceptional online dating website and to make sure we get calls from people like Stephen every single day.
Time to buy a new (/old) poster for the myLovelyParent offices.
Happy Father’s Day to all the great dads out there.
Much of the myLovelyParent blog is mum/mom focussed. In part because I created the site to help my mum meet someone new but also because I know what it’s like to have a single mum. I’ve been able to talk from the heart about my relationship with her and how much it would mean for her to meet her Mr Right.
But what about all the dads out there?
Well, if anything myLovelyParent is even better set up for the single dads.
First of all there’s a ratio of 4 women to 1 chap on the site. That’s got to be good news for any dad signed up. Plus there are some SERIOUSLY gorgeous ladies on the site.
There’s more though. I’ve been chatting with the sons/daughters of dads on the site and there’s a common theme - their dads have softened as they get older and whilst they’d love to meet someone new, they have no idea where to start. More often than not, they have a few very good friends but struggle to meet new single people outside those circles.
And this is where myLovelyParent comes in.
We provide you the chance to gently nudge your dad into trying online dating. To invite him to step outside his comfort zone in a really safe and easy way.
We promise to look after him. To personally answer any questions he has. To do our best to help him meet someone new in his life.
If you do have a single dad and think he’d like to meet someone new then head over to myLovelyParent.com, start his profile and even recommend some lovely mums/moms to him. Oh and did we mention that it’s free?
And by ‘it’ I’m meaning online dating…of course.
It’s been an interesting journey. It was just over 12 months ago I had a conversation with my mum about how to meet a new chap- suggesting the idea of online dating.
I remember so clearly my mum’s reaction - a mix of disbelief, objection and abject horror.
Looking back on it, I’m still not sure how I ever convinced myself building myLovelyParent would be a good idea.
But the more I get involved in the online dating industry, the more I realise what a great thing we’ve done.
In the UK there are 5.8 million people over the age of 45, living alone. In the US this figure is over 20 million.
And I guess it’s therefore no surprise that it’s the over 55s who are the fastest growing audience for online dating. The second fastest being 45 - 55s.
What is surprising though is just how bad/scary/dangerous/irresponsible [delete as you chose] the other options are.
Below I thought I’d share with you a few thoughts around online dating - some good, some bad. And hopefully if you’re ever in the position where you’d love for your parent to meet someone new and don’t know where to head, you’ll at least think of us.
FINDING THE RIGHT WEBSITE
Firstly of all we’ve created something which no other site can claim.
We’ve created an online dating site that is safer, more private (i.e. your profile won’t be shared across other sites) and more responsible than any other.
I appreciate that’s a bold claim but I stand by it. And really, on the basis I created this for my own mum - one of the most precious people in my life - you’d expect nothing less.
Oh and I also know I’ve written lots about this in the past and so will try not to go on about it too much!!
Just to say I’m still horrified there’s still a market for those other sites. But sadly they’re the guys with the bigger bucks, more advertising spend and for now at least, can make a bigger noise.
All I ask is that if you are researching a dating site for your single mum or dad and you have stumbled across this post, please, please please chose carefully.
Consider the types of people on the site, how easy the site is to use and whether the site will share your parent’s profile across other sites (often showing it to people who you really won’t want your mum/dad to meet). And I guess just make sure that site has the same values as you and your parent.
At myLovelyParent we’re a small team who has poured love, money and devotion into making this a place where we hope you can be confident your mum or dad will be looked after. And somewhere we’ll help them, with all our ability, meet that special someone.
WHY ONLINE DATING WORKS
"Not a chance, son". Not quire the words my mum used, but not far off.
I often draw the parallel that for my generation - I’m 35 - if I was to walk into a bar and start chatting someone up, I’d most likely be met with a fair amount of hostility and probably thought to be a little weird. Naturally I also appreciate it might just be my more chat up technique or bad dress sense.
However if I was to join an online dating site and message a complete stranger, there’s a good chance we’d strike up a friendly conversation from the off.
Why is this? Very simply it’s because everyone on the site is also single and looking to meet someone. Plus I can search through a number of different profiles until I find someone with might share my poor dress sense and failing humour.
In many ways online can provide a more insightful, safer and controlled way to meet new people.
You can learn about the other person (by reading their profile) before you message them. You can take your time to consider what you’re going to say and how to say it. And should you decide they’re not right for you, none of your personal detail will have ever been shared and so you retain complete anonymity should you wish.
But it’s more than just the way online dating works that is so valuable for older people.
Most people on myLovelyParent have an incredibly well established group of friends. And they’re hugely sociable. It’s just they don’t find themselves in the situations where they meet other singe people any more. And that’s really tough.
And whilst, there’s still a common perception that meeting people online is just not the done thing, the numbers are telling another story. We’ve already over 3,000 mums and dads signed up. That’s a whole heap of lovely people in just 6 months and the numbers are growing every day.
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED
The thought of online dating can be a massively daunting concept for your mum or dad. It’s an easy one to forget.
And so we’ve tried to make it as easy and unscary (is that a word?) as possible.
The biggest difference with myLovelyParent, and you won’t see this on any other site, is that you - the lovely son or daughter - start your parent’s profile. What this means is you have a chance to say a few things about them and in turn we’ll email them an invitation to join.
And your endorsement provides your mum or dad with a heap of confidence - not just about the concept of online dating but also a layer of trust around the myLovelyParent brand.
Then […and warning because this is a seriously cute bit of functionality…] you’re also able to recommend people who you think might be a good match. You can search profiles and write a private note (to your parent) around any people you think your mum/dad might like.
We’ve found those people whose children have recommended profiles, are much likely to initiate a conversation with someone. Often, if anything, it works as a good ‘excuse’ to get in touch.
And finally, once your mum or dad is on the site, it’s about keeping in touch and making sure they’re enjoying the journey.
And so there you have it. Hopefully if/when you suggest online dating to your parent you won’t be met with the same abject horror as I was. And if you are, I’m quite sure we can help turn that into the most amazing life-changing journey you and your lovely parent would ever hope for.
There was a great picture of me (Matt - myLovelyParent’s founder) and my rapidly growing beard.
Part of the interview was about how to retain a work/life balance when building something like myLovelyParent from scratch. I thought I’d share some of my thinking which didn’t make the edit (which hopefully was a space issue rather than it being rubbish!):
It’s a beautiful thing to see so many of you starting your mom/mum/dad’s profiles and I’m so happy to be part of it. Please do keep them coming and if you have any questions ever just get in touch.
In the meantime I might take my own advice and head out for a run….
A couple of days ago I met with a journalist who was pulling together a guide of the ‘Best Online Dating Sites for Older People’.
She asked me what seemed like a very simple question “Other than myLovelyParent, which sites would you recommend?”.
I paused for a while. Then a while longer. I realised that there was not one single other site I would recommend. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a really open chap who would happily talk about ‘competitors’.
Having spent the past year and a half learning the ins and outs of the online dating industry, meeting the owners of some of the biggest sites and hearing firsthand experiences from people who have joined them…there’s not one site I would recommend. In fact the opposite. I’d strongly advise them to do their homework and avoid them at all costs.
I’ve written before about the serious lack of ethics involved in sites sharing profiles across others.
But I also have huge concerns about the safety of many of the sites out there.
People with ill intent is, sadly, something we see in all walks of life. Online dating is no exception - they’re given the title ‘scammers’.
They attempt to join sites and build virtual relationships with people, only to then try and exploit them at a later date. On our site is more information about what to look out for and how to avoid them.
And as you’d expect online safety is of paramount importance to me and therefore to myLovelyParent. We take exceptional steps to keep you safe on the site and to make sure scammers never even have the chance of joining.
And why do we do this?
For two reasons. Firstly because we want myLovelyParent to be one of the safest online dating sites there can be. And secondly because my own mum is on the site and she is one of the most precious people in my world.
And how do we do this?
One of the biggest differentiators of myLovelyParent (to almost any other online dating website) is the fact that each person’s profile is started by their son or daughter. Well, that and the fact a profile will only appear on the site once it has been manually checked and approved by the team (most sites will retrospectively check a profile if they’ve been reported by another member…which normally means they may have communicated with dozens of other people).
This means that we’re able to check two sets of information.
Two different email addresses.
That both IP addresses are from where they say they are.
The timings behind when each part of the profile was created.
Two different styles of writing.
And often just the fact a profile requires two steps, is enough to deter many scammers.
There’s no doubt this requires more time investment from us and it certainly reduces the amount of ‘members’ we can claim to the media.
But the exchange has to be worth it. I’m a huge believer that exceptional businesses are those that provide excellent service whilst retaining absolute integrity.
And based on the first few months at myLovelyParent, it looks like we’re well en route to becoming one of those businesses.
In the meantime stay safe and please continue telling everyone you know about us!
A few months ago we launched myLovelyParent. It had no members. Not one. Then Debbie joined. Then Anna. Then Mary. It was suddenly all beginning to get a little awkward. Three ladies and no men. Luckily then Paul joined. And then a few more chaps. And then a few more ladies. And, well, that’s how it all began.
We’re now at a point where three thousand people have signed up to myLovelyParent.
We’ve heard from people who have found love, from people who have made a new friends.
We’ve seen people signing up their mums and dads - some divorced, some widowed. Others have signed up mother-in-laws and step dads. There have been plenty of aunties and uncles too. We’ve even had best friends in their late 70s sign one another up (one using her iPad no less).
It’s been brutally hard work getting the site off the ground but so, so worth it.
If you have a single mum or dad and you think they’d like to meet someone new please head to myLovelyParent and start their profile. If you are a lovely parent then just ask a friend or relative to start it for you.
Most of all, I hope you enjoy your myLovelyParent experience.