WAUKESHA -To be a successful entrepreneur
one often has to take large risks and bare one’s soul.
That is what David Wheeler did when he created his
dating website “Settleforlove,” which encourages people
to “embrace imperfection”- as well as when he posted his
dating profile that featured a picture of his balding
What sets Settleforlove apart from other
dating websites is that it encourages singles to include
realistic photos and to list pros and cons about
themselves and what they are willing to settle for to
find love. For Wheeler, the cons include his balding
head. A pro is that he is loyal and trustworthy.
Just as with finding the right match,
Wheeler has been actively pursuing success as an
entrepreneur. The membership for Settleforlove has been
growing 3 percent to 4 percent every day and buzz about
the site continues to grow, he said.
Getting momentum going on Settleforlove
was a major obstacle for Wheeler and his business
partner, Jacob Thompson, with the first six months after
launching the site in late 2013 resulting in little
online traffic. A Kickstarter campaign that attempted to
raise $45,000 for Settleforlove failed, despite rewards
offered for small donations. It did generate some buzz
about the website, Wheeler said.
To build on that, Wheeler sent out press
releases to local news agencies, which they picked up,
and soon national outlets, such as “Good Morning
America,” took notice.
As of Tuesday, Settleforlove has 3,250
users, all of which have joined in the past few weeks,
Another hurdle for Wheeler and Thompson
is when people join the site, especially if they are out
of state or abroad, there may not be many matches in
their area yet.
“People want to join a site and have 100
people around them,” Wheeler said. “I have to believe
that every dating site goes through this.”
Financing is another area that Wheeler
and Thompson are still figuring out.
Both men have full-time jobs. Wheeler is
an IT project manager for GE Healthcare, but his job has
provided him some flexibility, such as time to do media
interviews. Thompson still lives in St. Charles, Ill.,
which is where both men are from, although they met at
Wheeler said he really wants to reach the
10,000 to 15,000 membership mark, a point where people
encourage their friends to join.
Wheeler said numbers can be a bit
baffling or unexpected. For instance, he has had 3
million hits on the Settleforlove homepage, but only had
243 likes on Facebook on Monday evening. A video he
created explaining and promoting the website also has
only a disappointing 6,000 views on YouTube, Wheeler
However, he said he has gotten a lot of
positive feedback on the video, which highlights his
poor fashion sense and his close relationship with his
mother. His goal was to strike an emotional chord with
“I’m big on creativity and music. The
video on the homepage, I put my heart into it,” he said.
Wheeler said he and Thompson know that to
make the site successful, they have to be in it for the
long haul. As a free dating website, revenue is based on
ads. In the future, Wheeler said, he wants to offer
premium memberships, which for about $8 to $10 may
remove ads and move a profile up to the top of the
Wheeler estimates about 50,000 to 100,000
members are needed for the partners to take an income
from the site. The men seek a financial backer to help
keep Settleforlove on a positive projectile.
In the future, Wheeler wants to add
profile verification. Right now his younger brothers,
Daniel and Bradley, scroll through the site looking for
pornographic material and deleting it, as well as
In the end, Wheeler believes it will be
his and Thompson’s passion in Settleforlove that will
make it a big success.
“You really have to have at least one
person driven to do it,” he said.