Having been diagnosed with cervical cancer 12 years ago Laura Brashier went on to found 2date4love, an online dating service for singles who can’t have sex.
Laura Brashier is the founder of 2date4love, an online dating service for singles unable to have sex. Twelve years ago, Laura, a hairstylist from California, was diagnosed with Stage IV cervical cancer. The treatment she received for this saved her life, but left her unable to function sexually as she once had. Finding this a difficult subject to broach when dating, and knowing she was not alone in her predicament, Laura decided to create the 2date4love service to help others facing similar difficulties.
1. Where did the idea for 2date4love come from?
The idea for 2date4love stemmed from my frustration with the dating scene. I was discouraged from dating at all because I felt that most men wouldn’t sign up for a long term relationship that involved intimacy without sexual intercourse! I’m a fourteen year cervical cancer survivor with extensive pelvic radiation and chemotherapy treatment. After dating a few men and having the ‘mental conversation’ of how to tell them that sexual intercourse wasn’t in the cards, I quit dating altogether. One afternoon sitting outside at a nice restaurant with a girlfriend, she proceeded to ask why I wasn’t dating. For the first time, I finally told someone the real reason why, which was that I was unable to have sexual intercourse. I then started to think that there must be others out there who are in the same situation as me, for a variety of reasons. I immediately started researching dating sites and looking for other reasons why intercourse wouldn’t be possible for other people… and 2date4love.com was born!
2. Can you describe a typical working day?
On a typical day you can find me researching about internet businesses on the computer. When I first started out, I remember being on the computer for 8-10 hours a day, writing, printing, highlighting, and just making sure I had answered everything needed for the typical business plan. Eventually, I did and I was so excited and proud.
3. How do you unwind or relax when you’re not working on 2date4love?
Gardening is my passion. There is such instant gratification from the work I put into my garden – watering, feeding and weeding – at the end, it looks so beautiful! It also makes for a great place to relax in the evening with appetizers and a nice glass of wine. I also love to read. Although, I haven’t read too many things in the last two years except internet dating and business books, articles, and webinars that pertain, somehow, to 2date4love. But I do manage to fit in ‘Sunset’ magazine monthly!
4. What’s the secret ingredient to success as an entrepreneur?
I think success as an entrepreneur is having a ‘never give up’ attitude. If you think you have a great idea, then make it happen. It can be overwhelming at times, there has been many a night where I’ve woken up with a new question or thought in my head that I just can’t shake; then I have to get up and head to the computer to type it up or research it.
5. What drove you crazy when building your business?
The most difficult part of building my internet business was finding a programmer and being able to communicate with them. I’m a right brain, artistic visionary and programmers can often be extreme left brain thinkers. It can make for some very interesting conversations. I’ve also learned that building a dating site is extremely different to anything else on the internet. There are so many interactions that take place, and so many people working on the site at the same time; it’s a huge undertaking.
6. What motivates you to keep going?
My motivation comes from what I’ve learned from having cervical cancer. I now know why cancer happened to me; from something so life threatening and physically devastating, came something that’s good for the world. I’ve always felt that everything happens for a reason and I wondered, for about eleven and a half years, why this happened to me. I wondered what I was supposed to learn and do with my experience. 2date4love.com was the answer. It’s such a moving and emotional experience to read some of the letters and notes that the members have written to me, thanking me for being so brave and courageous; thanking me for enabling them to have a chance at love again and to start living outside of isolation. Many members went so long without telling anyone their story or their challenge of wanting intimacy without intercourse. I know how that feels and I’m so excited that now they too have new life ahead of them!
7. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I have learned so much about internet-businesses. I’m not a programmer, but if I were to start this project again, knowing then what I know now, I’d probably start with a basic template for the back end of the website. If I’d have done this, I may have been able to get things up and running faster! But I’m very happy with the team I have now, so the two years of growing to this point may, again, have been part of the bigger plan.
8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
In five years I envision that 2date4love will be well on its way to being another everyday topic. I plan to work diligently for everyone out there who has to deal with this “Different Kind of Intimacy.” I plan to make sex without intercourse another commonplace term and something that’s not taboo. I plan on working with my doctors, as well as the many doctors I’ve spoken with, to help enable them to give their patients options; tangible options and not just positive outlooks and medications. I want to be one person who helps change a lot of lives.
9. If you weren’t working on 2date4love, what would you be doing?
I would be working towards my degree in Horticulture.
10. Tell Springwise a secret…
Not many people know that there are many diabetics who have a high incidence of sexual dysfunction. Mostly men, but a lot of women with diabetes are candidates for 2date4love.com. There are medications that may eventually help with this, but most people don’t know that these individuals share my challenge and are unable to have intercourse.
11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
If you think you’re an aspiring entrepreneur first ask yourself this question: Am I the twenty percent of the people who do eighty percent of the work? If you answered YES, then you have what it takes. Keep on learning and don’t stop until you get there.
11th October 2011