Sunday, August 30, 2009
As we look back over the last 2 1/2 years of getting this business up and running we often comment how it's coming together like a huge puzzle with many pieces. We have definitely seen our share of setbacks and triumphs... you know when you think you've found that piece you've been searching for and put in place only to find it doesn't fit afterall, or on the flip side when a piece fits in perfectly and the world is good again (at least for a few minutes or two).
The elusive puzzle piece for us has always been - how to market this business. Finding Christian singles is not an easy campaign. It is such a specified niche and they are hard to reach in one place. We found that Christian radio isn't all that great of outcome compared to the enormous costs, especially in the bigger cities. But, we know the one place we can pinpoint is churches. Ahhh... but how do we get the churches to embrace something so "out of the box" and risky?... especially a service that has somewhat of a stigma attached because of the crazy stuff that's going on out there with the secular sites.
Well, we might have received our answer this week. We were speaking with Keith Langland, singles pastor from First Baptist Atlanta, about how to market the next event and it came to me. Why don't we invite area Atlanta pastors for a networking luncheon, not only to connect with other singles leaders, but to tell them about the upcoming event on Oct. 2nd. Along with hearing about the event and the request to promote the Dating Game to their singles groups, they will meet us face-to-face and learn about Cache' Connections and understand how we are helping Christian singles connect under biblical principles and support.
The invitations went out the end of last week and I believe Pastor Keith has already received a few accepted replies. We would greatly appreciate your prayers that this is a successful effort and a campaign that we can use in the future.
Have a blessed Sunday!
Saturday, August 29, 2009
It's a typical day after one of our late-night Chicago area events, where we drove home until 2:00 a.m. So basically this is a dead-girl blogging, so bear with me.
Despite a few mishaps, some barely noticeable, some more "public," The Dating Game was a fun night for all who came out. Attendance was a bit low, but the smaller functions lend to an easier social time for our guests. It seemed that quite a few connections were being made over refreshments, and we've heard that the contestants and special guests received a "dizzying" amount of attention. Sorry, we should have warned you guys :)
So, back to the mishaps. It goes something like this. Pastor John Absher: "... now I'd like to introduce you to Tower from shine.fm radio. Tower? Tower can you hear me? Anyone seen Tower? Anyone know a joke?" Things got off to a late and somewhat awkward start because we were delaying for latecomers. Tower had run off to find his jacket and I was busy grabbing the registration funds, when I was supposed to be parading the previously-secluded contestants into their front row seats. Our newest employee Nick had my back and ushered them in just fine and I took my spot overseeing the special guests in the sound proof booth (a/k/a closet.) Now sure exactly where Kim was besides trying to find me, Tower, Nick, 9 contestants, etc.
Although we had 90% of the players and the emcee in for a thorough rehearsal on Thursday, live shows lend themselves to some risk when you are trying to follow a script/outline, yet keep things fresh and new. In doing so a few of us missed our cues, but I'm sure we've long been forgiven. Likewise, I baubled a bit on my lines for our little speech but managed not get get boo'd out the door. Probably because they knew I was the one who was pulling out door prize winners.
Oh! I have to mention what a great job Dan and Debby, a CC success couple, did as they shared how they "connected" through the website. Interesting story ... they had originally met at the gym and made a date. The date was missed due to a short-notice flight that Debby had to make. She did not have his contact information, so she could only hope that she'd run into him some other time. Shortly thereafter, she signed up for CC and her first connection was Dan ... aaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwweeeeeeeeee they are so cute together!
Friday, August 28, 2009
Traveling is a big part of what we do at Cache' Connections. The week of an event is planned around finalizing last minute details, contacting the volunteers, gathering all items needed for the event, taking sign ups and packing it all up. We all moan and groan (especially Linda) when we have to go through what we call "the final walk-through," which is where we all gather and talk through an event as though we were actually there. It is quite tedious and mind stretching, but helps us to focus on each aspect of the event in order to cover every little detail.
We have found when we do an Dating Game event, it all flows better the day of the event when we hold rehearsal the night before. It also helps keep the contestant's nerves in check. It was an long day for Linda and I as we had to leave home by 6:00 a.m. We had to be in Lombard by 9:00 a.m. for a pastor's wives luncheon that was coordinated by WYLL Radio. We had a sponsor's booth which provided an opportunity to share the business with those in attendance. Several women who visited the booth were very excited to hear about Cache'. We thoroughly enjoyed hearing from Jill Briscoe and a yummy fluffy cake for dessert... quite an indulgence for two healthy eaters.
We had another appointment in the afternoon unrelated to Cache' and then had to scramble to get over to Calvary Church before the rehearsal. (We only got lost a few times.) Since we have had this event a couple times before, we have worked out some kinks and streamlined the rehearsal as much as possible. The tricky part is keeping the special guests and contestants separated. We practice such items as where to go when they arrive, how to keep separated from each other, the lineup of contestants, talking into the mic, when to sit, when to stand and how to exit off stage, etc. Our sound and lights technicians are there also and we figure out the lighting and music cues. Overall, it went pretty smoothly and everyone seemed to get it. I probably drove them crazy though as I reminded several times - PLEASE DO NOT BE LATE! The evening is coordinated down to the last minute and it really messes things up when people do not show up on time. I then had one of the guy contestants tell me he is in a golf outing and probably won't arrive until the show starts. What can you do? He's so cute and nice, I just told him to make sure he's ready when his game starts.
So far the pre-registration is somewhat low, but we have found through past events, it is not a true indicator of how many will show up at the door. The tough part is figuring out how much food to order.... don't get me started. Oh well, we are hoping and praying for another great event and God's name will be glorified through it all!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Meet Mary-Kathryn, a sales rep for WYLL AM 1160 ... her bottom line is: I want my life to matter, I want to be a person of character...and I want to be a BLESSING!
Meet Jeff, a Remax realtor, but has also been known as a personal trainer, a fireman and construction project manager. He leads a very active life, including training for the Chicago Marathon, and looks forward to hearing his Lord say "Well done good and faithful servant!"
Meet Sara, a youth group and children's ministry volunteer who says ... "I'm just a girl who is passionately in love with Jesus." She loves working with and pouring into the lives of young people; encouraging them to have a closer, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
Meet these and our other fine contestants this Friday at the Cache' Connections "Dating Game" at Calvary Church in Naperville. For tickets and details, click here. See you there (and see more of Mary-Kathryn, Jeff, Sara and others)!
Monday, August 24, 2009
Is it improper to approach the men we find appealing on the site? Do most men wait to be approached, rather than to do the approaching?
I feel a little strange starting the communication.
I struggle to find the right balance as a Christian woman. I don't want to "come on" to them, yet I want to show interest.
Any good advice?
Thanks for the question. We get this one a lot. Most women prefer to be pursued. Despite the fact that most men will mark on their Questionnaire that they believe men should be deliberate in initiating relationships, we do encourage our female members to send a short note to those men they are interested in. There are a couple of reasons for this:
No. 1: Men aren't big on rejection. They generally need some sort of indication that a woman will respond positively. Imagine you run into a guy out in public. Will he not wait to receive good eye contact, a smile or some sort of flirtation before he makes a move? So, consider a short "hello" an equal to a special glance or smile.
No. 2. Ratios. The sad but harsh truth is that there are more women than men in the Christian community, and therefore at Cache' Connections. So why not set yourself apart by sending a note of introduction? We have yet to hear from a man who was disgruntled because he received a note from a lady!
What do you say, you say? We recommend that you pull something out of his profile and ask a specific question as to his interests, talents, family, etc. This will show that you took the time to learn about him/her. It's just one more way to get out of that boat ... and start walking, one step at a time. Ask the Lord to bless your efforts and show you the next step.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
We first met Allan at our debut event in Naperville last November. I don't remember him so much from that evening (amongst the 400 other people I met that night) but I specifically recall him as an honorable man. Let me tell you why.
Allan was one of a handful of guests who tried unsuccessfully to make a credit card transaction at the registration desk. The instructions were to get the contact info on these guests and we would follow up with them later. Allan was the only one who actually returned my call and paid the admission fee after the event. Gotta love a man of integrity!
When not busy parenting his three daughters, Allan can be found singing on a worship team, fishing on a lake or cheering on the White Sox. Care to dance? He's occasionally found on the dance floor, too, enjoying an Argentinian Tengo, Salsa, etc.!
Friday, August 21, 2009
Let's flip this around now for special guest #2 who is a 38 year old female... and a quite gorgeous one too! By the way - she's never been married. Lisa calls herself a "City Chick" and loves the urban life. Don't let that 9-5 business attire fool you. Lisa is quite the adventuresome gal. One of her favorite activities is riding ATV's with her family. She say she likes to try anything once and is known to be found skydiving and singing live band kaoroke. Another favorite pastime is finding hidden dining treasures - which she says is best experienced in the company of good friends. Lisa considers herself an encourager to the “underdog.” She loves God and earnestly desires to do His will and live life with obedience and passion.
As you can see, this should be quite a lively panel of contestants. Help us spread the word and invite others to come out to this fun event on the 28th. You can find more info at:http://www.cacheconnections.com/datinggame/Naperville.
Have a great weekend!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Ha! You really didn't think we were going to show his whole picture, did you? The special guest for our 20-something panel is 28-year old Steven from Freeport, Illinois, whom we met at the Ignite Chicago festival in Chicago. Steven spends a lot of time coaching jr. and sr. high football, baseball and basketball. Now he will be spending even more time with students, as he recently accepted a position as a special education teacher in a public school.
Steve enjoys a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and finds his hopes in Him. He would love to meet a special young lady who shares his beliefs, passions and morals. We just might have that, Steven! See you at The Dating Game at Calvary Church in Naperville on Friday, August 28th!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
It's been quite busy this week not only with doing the last minute detail planning for the upcoming Dating Game event in Naperville, but we've had some dilemmas come our way.
For starters, we've found ourselves in quite a quandary about a video commercial editing job. We made an agreement with a brother of an employee from one of the churches who recently hosted an event. The singles pastor hired the cameramen who turned the footage over to the editing team. We received the product and were not satisfied. When expressing our dissatisfaction to the editing person, he remarked that most of the footage was not suitable to use and he still expected to receive the full compensation for his work although he realized it was not up to par. So... needless to say, this has led to a lot of discussion between Cache' personnel on what is the right thing to do. Even though we weren't in control of the cameramen, we are stuck with the high cost of an inferior product. The editing personnel tried to do the best with what he was provided. Praying...
Another dilemma that has kept me awake at night is the frustration over lack of time to seek new markets and work the PR side. Even though we have added another employee, so much of our time is spent on all the minute details of event planning, customer service issues, website maintenance, etc. It would be great if we could have someone working the marketing full time. We did have another investor approach us about becoming a small scale investor, but we've decided the benefits would not outweigh the negatives, so onward we go!
On a positive note, we are celebrating today Linda's one year anniversary of quitting her "real" job from the law firm. This was a huge step for all of us and I think overall she has been quite happy with her decision. Although there is something to be said for punching out and not taking your job home with you! Oh well, such is the drawback of being a business owner.
Make it a great one!
Monday, August 17, 2009
Today we've been busy updating the website, finalizing flier/program details and making travel arrangements for our upcoming Chicago events. On 8/27 we will be at a first annual Pastor's Wives Luncheon sponsored by WYLL, which worked out well since it is the day prior to The Dating Game. Booked a 4-star hotel for something like $57 with Hotwire. Only thing is ... not sure if we got a king or double beds .... Hmmm.
We also learned from someone who wrote in that our payment page for The Dating Game in Naperville was not working. Sorry about that ... "please try again." It is now working.
Kind of a boring post, I know. Hey, it's Monday. Hopefully tomorrow we'll have some nice fodder from tonight's chat with Dr. Steve (Stephen W. Simpson).
Lastly, I'm not sure but I think we just received a question from a member who asks what to do when neither party is interested in the other ...
Sunday, August 16, 2009
The panels have been chosen for the upcoming Cache' Connections "The Dating Game" on 8/28 in Naperville, Illinois. However, we are seeking contestants for the 10/2 event in Atlanta, GA and 10/16 in Peoria, IL.
All adult aged Christian singles are eligible to apply. The final panelists will be chosen by a final assessment of the age, gender, stage presence, match-ability, etc. of all applicants. The game will culminate in a real date provided by area sponsors.
Stage shy? Make plans to come out and join the audience for this fun night staged exactly like the old TV show. As always, we'll provide an opportunity for you to connect with other singles in attendance.
For details on how to apply: http://www.cacheconnections.com/dgcontestants
Those panelists not chosen will each receive a promotional code good for six months at www.cacheconnections.com
Friday, August 14, 2009
I'm just going to start this with three words - we're NOT eharmony. It's funny how people just assume every system is set up the same. Here's a typical email. "Why are you sending me people who don't have the same level of education that I have? I only want to date someone who has a bachelor's degree or more." Granted, I attest that I don't always read the instruction manual either, but it would be wonderful if everyone would read our matching process and method before assuming we're like the above-mentioned site.
Don't get me wrong, the planning process behind our matching system was not a haphazard - "well, let's just throw everyone together and see what happens" like a lot of open browsing systems. In the beginning, we were all set up to match people by compatibility, but there was a wrench thrown into this plan... We had spent countless hours researching other sites, talking with psychologists, mathematicians, statisticians, and business experts across the country and here's the scoop. (By the way, you might want to sit down.) Compatibility matching systems are somewhat bogus! And this is why - the statisticians we contacted told us they can match people on the basis of their likes and dislikes and commonalities. Okay, this sounds good. We've all heard compatibility promoted on the commercials. ... Uh oh! Then we talked with the psychologists. Put on the brakes, hold the presses, stop the website production! Drs. Tom and Bev Rodgers dropped a bombshell. They said it is not necessarily a good thing to put people together with all the same common interests and behaviors. Here's their example. "Do you really want a shy person matched with another shy person?" They explained that it is sometimes best that two people have opposite strengths which promote growth in each other. For instance, if you are a so-so golfer seeking a better score, do you want to play with someone who is the same or worse ability as yourself or someone who's a little better? It's pretty obvious that we can learn and improve from someone who is a little more advanced.
So, a red flag there, but here comes part 2 of of the dilemma. The statisticians couldn't give us the algorithm we were looking for. They told us it was impossible for them to measure chemistry. Compatibility could be measured to some degree on paper, but these systems leave out one of the most important aspects of a good match - chemistry. They said there is no algorithm that could measure whether two people would actually be attracted to one another once they meet.
So, here comes the hard part. What now? The system was almost formulated and ready to be set up. But, how do we match people on compatibility and give people the "illusion" that their connections are someone we are suggesting as a possible mate? We have had some agonizing decision to make at Cache', but this one was right at the top of the heap. After dumping the emotional aspect and anguish, we got down to... what are the facts? And after a thorough examination of the research, there is one tried-and-true formula that works every time - two people connect, meet and make a decision for themselves about who "strikes their fancy."
Based on this information, we formed our system on this philosophy:
1.) bringing people together as like-minded believers, 2.) equipping singles to make good, informed, "healthy" decisions for themselves.
Sounds simple? We don't take it lightly... every aspect of Cache' Connections incorporates this philosophy by providing expert advice through the website and the events... and it's working.
Here's an example of an email to confirm this method, "Kim and Linda,
I wanted to thank you for obeying Jesus by creating Cache Connections. I enjoyed the event and meeting you at First Baptist Atlanta on July 31st. Attending the event and joining your organization was the first step and major breakthrough for the spirit of fear to be broken and removed from my life. You see, I was afraid to go or do anything by myself. I was bitter and angry with God about being single for so long and even now at the age of 51. However, as I go forth doing things alone and enjoying life,staying in His Word, God will be able to use me for His purpose and plans thatHe has for me because I’m no longer held hostage at home, bitter or angry. Thank you for being a part of this major deliverance in my life. Drs Tom and Beverly Rodgers were awesome. I’m so glad they presented the challenge about the man’s role as the leader/hunter and intentional dating. Emphasizing that it is better to obey God. I purchased both of their books. Kim and Linda thank you again. May God continue to bless and keep you. May His face shine upon you continuously as you stand boldly spreading and keeping the integrity of the Gospel of Jesus. God bless you both. I am forever grateful." Kimberly, Atlanta, GA
Hopefully this will help dispel some of those preconceived notions. We'll explain more about our expert advice later.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Okay, so, enough about flirting for a few days. Today we take a peek at what's going on behind "the veil" of Cache' Connections. Come on in ...
~ FINALLY nailed down the venue, pricing, speakers, bios, snacks for the first-ever singles conference sponsored by Cache' Connections. Together we spent about 4 hours putting the event pages on the website, and our newest employee, Nick, is busy posting the event on Chicago event calendars. Now to draft up the fodder for the flyers. Oops, need good photos of our speakers. Wish we would have asked for that weeks ago. Time is ticking away to September 26! Check it out.
~ Investor, eh? Hmmm ... we wrote our business plan about two years ago with the idea of an investor. That idea fell by the wayside when the Wall Street investors told us we'd need to have some traction before they'd take a serious look at us. Traction? Yeah, we have that. So one of our connections (a/k/a Kim's husband) spoke to a potential investor today from Chicago who wants to take a look at the CC machine. Two years ago we would have been jumping up and down and turning cartwheels with a phone call like that. Too many hard knocks and reality checks since then. But - we are excited to see if this is something God has in mind for CC. There is much more that can be done! Ewe, but does that start with another business plan ? :(
~ The Dating Game. Kim is working on the power point for our little spiel and I am avoiding making calls for prize donations. (Sssshhhh! don't tell.)
~ Quiet around here today, no customer complaints, but no good news either. I'll take that.
Say hi to Nick, Followers. Don't ya just want to pinch his cheek? He beats me arm wrestling for the big desk every time! (Sorry gals, he's married.)
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
"Also, in regards to a way that you can flirt....you don't have to throw yourself at him/her but you also shouldn't treat him like he is a brother......if you are interested, let him know. If you treat him like a brother than you are making things more confusing for yourself and him."
This is an excerpt from a recent chat at Cache' Connections led by Emily Shupert, one of our featured relationship experts at Cache' Connections. There is some confusion about how to conduct yourself when in the company of the opposite sex - especially those you are interested in getting to know! What Emily is saying is that we need to step up our game - act interested - instead of sending mixed messages that only add to the confusion and struggle.
Ladies, men's egos are very tender. They aren't too excited about putting themselves out there, approaching a girl unless she gives him some indication that she will respond. So, some basic ways of affirming your interest are good eye contact (lock eyes), listening to what he is saying and asking questions about his topic, and of course smiling. This can all be done subtly without everyone in the room aware of what's going on. There's also a study that reveals that when a woman touches her neck or plays with her necklace, this indicates interest. (Hint-hint guys!)
Emily often recommends this: have one or two of your good friends go with you to a public place and observe how you conduct yourself in the company of the opposite sex. Many times women are surprised to learn about the vibes they are sending out: crossed arms, not looking around, frowning, etc. Could this be you? Are you approachable?
Ladies, how would you like to be flirted with by a Christian man?
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Here's an email we received from an Atlanta friend yesterday. She gave us permission to quote her anonymously:
I am from australia and finding christian men here here very wishy washy and not willing to state their intentions as the good doctors advised the few stray men who fronted up to first baptist atlanta 2 weeks ago . They are the worst dilly dalliers I have come across and border on being spineless. Why is that so? Especially those above 40. Its not pretty out there but u know that I am sure. If we sit still and wait we turn old and grey. If we stand up to be noticed we are considered non proverbs 31. Finding the USA christian dating scene worse than in australia in terms of quality God inspired capable financially stable (I don't mean wealthy) men with backbone who look after themselves and know what they need (not want) from a long term relationship. Hoping when I join cache that will all change and I can write back again and refute my own words . Bless u for your attempts to minimize the alarming statistcs on christian singledom. Extra stars in your crowns for sure.
Any rebuttal from the men?
Monday, August 10, 2009
Yes, we said it. Flirting. The recent chats in The Meeting Room at Cache' Connections have revealed there is some confusion on the topic of flirting. For instance, "but I have been accused of not knowing how to flirt, and having a hard time personally sorting out when it's appropriate to treat my brothers in Christ as more ...?"
ExpertEmily: "Good clarification....you don't have to flirt...some people generally flirt more than others and some never flirt. More than flirting, guys and girls can pick up whether or not you are "available" and this is seen through your body language, what you say, etc. Sometimes, in the Christian world, "flirting" is seen negatively, but I don't think that we should call it something "bad" but some people don't have the skills to flirt or the know how and that is totally fine."
So, do you know how to flirt? Has this even been defined for Christians?
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Okay, so, one of our members was lined up to be in our first Dating Game event in February '09. At the last minute he backed out because he reconnected with an old flame. So we let him off the hook, scrambling for a replacement.
Fast forward 8 months ... we picked the same guy, this time to be a "special guest" (the coveted question-asking guy). He had broken up with the flame and promised us out of allegiance to CC and appreciation for all the great things we are doing, to BE AVAILABLE on 8/28. And so it was - not! We posted his photo in front of 7,000 people at the Ignite Chicago festival in July. On the 2nd day, a friendly looking gal happened by the booth and I encouraged her to apply to be on his panel, seeing them as a viable connection (though admittedly due mostly to the red in her hair and nice face :) She quite candidly shared with me that she was not interested because she is more of a behind-the-scenes person. Of course, I did not push the issue. She took a 50% off promotional code and off she went.
Well guess who connected behind the scene - on the website? Guess who's smitten with each other? Guess who's committed to intentionally dating? Guess who's scrambling for another guy?
Okay...we have decided to change the focus of this blog. Linda and I have been feeling there still are some pieces to this puzzle that are missing. Cache' Connections is doing great, but yet we want to reach the "tipping point" - the "flashover." In other words, Cache' Connections needs to be a household name among Christians. We believe it's our God-given destiny through the vehicle of this business/ministry to spread the message of God's plan in forming relationships - combating the message society is sending, which is "anything goes."
So, up to this point, we have been writing the blog as an informative, encouraging tool for singles. But lately, Linda and I have been feeling the spirit of restlessness, that there is something we aren't getting - but we just can't put our finger on what that missing link is. We are continually agonizing that we need to be more actively involved in internet marketing, but how to find the time and where to start? We have a good start on Twitter and Facebook, but it never seems to be enough. And then the book idea... we started writing a few chapters, but again, the time factor is a problem.
And then last night my daughter prodded me to go watch Julie/Julia with her... good movie, but intrigued by the blog concept. It really opened my eyes on how this could be a great opportunity to attract more people to this mission. But, we're going to change it up. The puzzle pieces are coming together... we can do this if we're just blogging about our everyday lives as matchmakers and business owners. We're going to "keep it real." Linda and I will be giving the inside scoop about what goes on in the day-to-day lives of this wacky world of Christian matchmaking. We'll be blogging about our frustrations and day-to-day miracles, customer service - the bizarre and encouraging, what's working in marketing and networking, what goes on in the office and at the events, and so much more!
We hope you'll subscribe to our blog and invite your friends. Also, feel free to leave us comments and let us know what you would like to hear about.
Stay tuned for the first tidbit of the "inside scoop" of Cache' Connections.