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Love Connection: 5 Dating Tips for Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners

My entrepreneur friends and I are constantly discussing (and complaining) about the on-going struggle that is dating. When you work for yourself, you sometimes lose sight of how important your personal life actually is.
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I spend a good amount of time scouring business blogs and magazines to find tips and tricks that will help me grow my company. I am constantly inundated with articles about keeping clients happy, upping my sales and streamlining my accounting process. But where are the articles with the insight on improving my personal life? When you are an entrepreneur, you learn quickly that if you are not careful work can take over your entire life. This can make dating very difficult.

My entrepreneur friends and I are constantly discussing (and complaining) about the on-going struggle that is dating. When you work for yourself, you sometimes lose sight of how important your personal life actually is. In order to be a happy, successful entrepreneur, you have to constantly aim for work-life balance.

Dating can be beyond painful, and when you are busy, it is easy to blow it off. However, depending on what you want in life, putting yourself out there might be something that you need to make time for.

Here are five dating tips for busy entrepreneurs:

1) Make time. As with anything else, you make time for the things that are a priority. If being in a relationship is important to you, then you must find the time to put yourself out there. When that cute guy (or girl) you met at the bar over the weekend wants to go on a date, find time to go. Schedule the date into your busy calendar like you would an important conference call or meeting. You should use one calendar for both your work and personal life; this way it is harder to blow off personal engagements. By putting everything in one place, it will be a constant reminder that both aspects of your life are important.

2) Stop talking about work. As an entrepreneur, work probably takes up the majority of your brainpower. Thus, it is challenging to not talk about work. People with a normal 9-to-5 job don't always understand how time consuming owning a business can be. Believe me, I know. It is almost impossible to turn of the work switch, but sometimes you have to force yourself. You don't want to come off as all work all the time because that is no fun. Instead, talk about your other passions and hobbies, this is what will make you more interesting to be around.

3) It is not a competition. In order to be an entrepreneur, you have to have a competitive spirit. That is what pushes us to grow our businesses, create the best products, and get to the top. However, on a personal level, being a one-upper is a major turn off. Being competitive all the time can be exhausting. The point of being in a relationship is to have a support system, so save the competition for your competitor, not your significant other.

4) Don't be a control freak. This one is definitely hard for me. With my business, I constantly want to know everything that is going on. I try to leave very little to chance. However, to be successful in dating you have to ditch the control freak nature. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable will only increase the likelihood of having a great relationship. You don't need to always know what is going to happen next. For example, if your boyfriend or girlfriend plans a surprise date, just go with it. Don't try to take the reigns.

5) Unplug. I swear to you: The world will not end if you don't answer e-mails and phone calls right away. If you are not an on-call doctor, where unplugging can actually mean life or death, then stop being connected all the time. There is nothing ruder than being on your phone when you are trying to get to know someone. It gives off a strong message that you are not interested. Most of the time, I leave my phone in the car, so I can pay full attention to the person that I am meeting with. Try it. You probably find it refreshing to turn off the phone for a few hours.

Many entrepreneurs have the mindset that not having a personal life is a sacrifice they are willing to make to get to the top. However, it doesn't have to be that way; I truly believe that you can have it all. It just takes skillful balancing acts. If you focus all of your attention on work, you are likely to get burnt out, and then you will not be effective at anything. It is as simple as this: you will be so much happier if you make time for things outside your business.

Rebekah Epstein is the founder of fifteen media, an agency that works exclusively with PR firms to streamline media relations in a digital era. She specializes in business, lifestyle, fashion and beauty. Rebekah also blogs about all things Gen Y at Neon Notebook. Follow her at @BekahEpstein