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Denis & Emma

Behind the Scenes at $30DN

Did you know that $30DN was never intended for the general public?
Emma and I started $30DN for our own personal use, for about 6 months we wrote the date ideas on small pieces of paper and put them in a fish bowl. We’d lucky dip into the fish bowl and head out for a $30 date chosen randomly.

I wanted a web application that would serve up date ideas randomly rather than dipping into a fish bowl. And so thirtydollardatenight.com was created.

The original $30DN design

How $30DN become popular.
A friend submitted $30DN to www.stumbleupon.com – 2 days later we had 10,000 visitors to our site. For the next 6 months traffic poured in, each day thousands would visit $30DN and I had no idea what to do with it. The website was not ready for this much traffic – I wasn’t ready for this traffic – I had no idea of website design or development! At that time (3 years ago) the website was simply a badly constructed generator and “nothings else” here’s a snapshot of my very first designs of the generator.

Of course the traffic slowed down, we knew we wouldn’t remain a hot topic on stumbleupon. In hindsight I should have jam packed the site with advertising to make some money; instead I used the traffic to see what people want on the site.

As of today $30DN averages more than 1500 visitors per day. I plan to throw a massive party when we consistently reach 100,000 visitors per day.

Why we’re so cheap.
We used to go out on dates with no cash limit and it became ridiculous. It was easy to drop $150 on an evening out, sometimes even more as we’d always try and outdo each other to see who could create a better date night. This was not sustainable!

It was Emma’s idea to cap it to $30. We knew it would be a tough task but we agreed that $30 for date night is an achievable budget that will allow us to enjoy an experience weekly. I have learnt that the cheap date ideas force you to be creative and often end up more enjoyable than splashing out $$$. Now that we have a mortgage saving is all we seem to be doing – I’m glad we’ve set the $30 limit.

Emma and Den

We find it tough spending only $30 on date.
Our aim was to be able to enjoy a weekly date night without it being a financial burden yet still keep the date fresh and interesting. YES, $30 is a small amount of money and it’s difficult to find cool date ideas for under $30. YES, there are plenty of times where I think of a new date idea only to discover it costs $150+, if I still love the idea I may choose to do it – sometimes you should break the rules if you can afford to.

It’s hard to impress someone (aka your partner, even yourself) with a $30 date idea if you analyse it before experiencing it. Often when you plan a cheap date, in your head it can sound boring or worse super cheesy which may result in embarrassment. My motto is “if you think it’s going to be cheesy, then you most definitely should try it. The date ideas that take you out of your comfort circle often turn out to be the most fun.

We have day jobs
I’ll admit that most of our time is spent working on $30DN, but it’s not our “day job” and $30DN most certainly doesn’t put any food on the table.

Emma is a professional writer; she has a weekly column in an Australian Newspaper based on relationships, appears regularly on television and radio and works with a production group within the media.

I am an acupuncturist and massage therapist. I own Merkas Health – a massage therapy business that I’ve run for the past 10 years. I’m lucky to have a great team of massage practitioners that do the work for me which provides me with enough time to work on $30DN. I also run couples massage seminar. Here are the links to my businesses.

Merkas Health Massage
Make Your Partner Melt – Couples Massage Seminars
Couples Massage Online Tutorials

Emma Playing Drums

My thoughts on Date Night?
It took a long time for me to verbalise the words “Date Night.” Each time I’d say it I swear I’d smell the faint odour of moth balls and hickory. I remember even when the website started to take off I would shy away from telling people that I run a website called $30 Date Night.

These days is a different story, I proudly tell people that I run $30 Date Night and will gladly spruik the importance of taking your partner out for Date Night – no matter what your age.

Have any fans found us out on a date night?
No. But secretly I cannot wait until someone recognises us and asks to join us – secretly I tweet and Facebook what we’re doing in hope that we will be caught out. You can follow Emma on twitter via @30dollardate, and me @mr30dollardate, or follow us on Facebook via Facebook Fan Page. We have bumped into fans while out shopping which is always a great surprise. I love interacting with people who use the site!

A typical day at $30DN
Emma playing drums. This photo was taken today. Emma walked into my office while I was strumming chords to a song; she joined in for a jam. We’re going to need to put in a few hours to make a duo work.

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Discussion

2 comments for “Behind the Scenes at $30DN”

  1. Posted by James | January 27, 2012, 2:32 pm

    your ideas are great. it’s refreshing and inspiring to know that there are couples like you and emma out there. Helen and I are soaking up the love thanks man….

  2. Posted by Massage Home Study | February 17, 2012, 5:08 am

    Good for you! Massage Therapy is a great living!

    You earn while helping others become healthy and well.

    Great deal!

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