Las Vegas. Ah yes, it’s America’s playground. I mean, where else can you take a gondola ride, watch a volcano erupt, visit the Eiffel Tower, prepare for a zombie attack, get married in a Denny’s and tour a gold mine? So many wildly insane possibilities…but doing them alone? Not so much fun.
I recently caught up with Jamie Brewster, founder of The Vegas Hookup, a social networking site where singles and couples can connect with like-minded people who want to share a fabulous time in Sin City. Signing up is easy and once you become a member, you enter your itinerary and search for cohorts! And then you roll the dice!!
Jamie, how did you come up with the idea for The Vegas Hookup? How long have you been in business?
I’ve always loved connecting people in all aspects of life. Online dating has become one of the most popular ways to connect nowadays. Las Vegas is one of the busiest tourist attractions in the world! I wondered what would happen if I connected the two, so that shy people could make a meaningful connection BEFORE they arrived in Sin City. It was literally that simple. My goal is to enhance the Vegas-bound travelers’ experiences so they can have the time of their lives! We’ve been “live” since April of 2014.
In your own words, why use The Vegas Hookup? What’s the benefit to a prospective client? What sets it apart from a hotel concierge, Twitter or a Facebook group for Vegas lovers?
Our site was created to help people connect with each other before they arrive. Not everyone is brave enough or confident enough to approach someone they don’t know. We break the ice for them. What sets us apart from using a hotel concierge, for example, would be the opportunity to screen your prospective date and get to know him/her a bit before committing to meet them in Las Vegas. Not to mention that a concierge can only supply escorts. Las Vegas is a large city with many people coming and going daily. Let us introduce you to prospective connections who are traveling when you are!
What value-adds do you offer that would convert one-time users into repeat clients?
As a member of The Vegas Hookup, you have access to exclusive deals found within our site. To encourage repeat business, we will continue to offer the best entertainment deals we possibly can. Not only that, after using our services, you will see for yourself that having the ability to “pick your partner-in-crime” before arriving saves a lot of time and hassle. Hoping to meet someone while walking down the Strip is always a gamble. Pun intended.
What made you decide to delve into the world of entrepreneurship?
I’ve always had the desire to be my own boss. Coming up with an idea and bringing it to fruition is the American dream, right?
How do you define success?
In life, I define success as being happy, having a healthy family and experiencing little to no stress in paying my bills. Extreme success would mean I get to quit my day job. LOL! As an entrepreneur, I define success as creating a self-sufficient web-based business that enjoys daily growth and a establishing client base that has had a blast because of what I’ve created!
What is your favorite part about running your own business?
I embraced the opportunity to make my idea a reality and then watched it catch on with Vegas-bound travelers from literally all over the world! We have registered users in more than 35 different countries to date, and all of them have one thing in common: They want to have the time of their lives in Las Vegas and they come to us to help make that happen!
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced to date with The Vegas Hookup and how have you addressed them?
The biggest challenge is growing our site organically. We have zero advertising budget, but have still been able to grow to over 2,300 users in over 35 countries! Like most startups, we are located in the Bay Area, so we are not physically present in Las Vegas. With that being said, we know exactly what is going on in Las Vegas daily and pass that knowledge on to our users.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to become a successful entrepreneur?
Hustle, effective communication skills and a thick skin. There will always be doubters who will attempt to dissuade you. You must believe in your idea and go to any lengths to achieve your goals.
Where do you see The Vegas Hookup in 5 years, 10 years?
We have big plans for The Vegas Hookup in the coming years… An app is the next big project on deck.. The other ideas I have to keep secret so we don’t get “scooped”! Suffice to say that we will be the “Go To” app to “hookup” all aspects of your social lives!
What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
Well, I’m not sure I’d consider myself a “successful entrepreneur” yet. As far as sacrifices go, I’ve spent a lot of money on this business to date and I’m just your normal, average Joe – a social worker that lives pay check to pay check. I’m married with 2 kids living in the Bay Area where the cost of living is ridiculous, so I guess, I’d have to say cutting corners in other areas of our lives is the sacrifice that allows me to pursue this dream of self-sufficiency. I’m a firm believer that nothing worth having comes easy.
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