Woman makes $104 from ‘fake date’
IT almost seems too good to be true.
A free dinner out with good - albeit unknown - company and $104 pocketed by a 23-year-old for two hours of simply making friendly conversation.
That date's monetary success made Hanisa Mohamed realise her new business idea might just be viable, and now the young Sydney woman is hoping her My Fake Relationship website takes off.
Previously studying dermal science, Ms Mohamed came to a cross roads and decided not to take her dermal science studies any further and instead become a Millennial entrepreneur.
She knew she wanted to set up a business, she just wasn't sure what.
Throwing a few ideas around with friends, it hit her - a dating service for when people need a plus one or good company without trawling the likes of Tinder unsuccessfully.
But first the Bankstown local had to figure out if her business idea was viable.
She did her research and set herself up on a competitor site in the US where anyone can make a profile to be a date or look for one.
"I wanted to see if my idea would work, so I was looking online for people who would be interested," she told news.com.au.
"It was definitely different to what I was expecting. I thought the people would be a lot older, but they were in their early 30s.
"I was snooping around just to explore, and I just felt like it could be done a lot better, and the promoters (of the US site) weren't giving it a lot of attention."
Ms Mohamed said with dates being able to set their own prices, the site "seemed a bit sketchy" because anyone could sign up and there could be those inevitable sexual expectations.
And she makes it very clear there's no funny business on her site.
"The site is very platonic. It's more just for an acquaintance," she said.
Even though it's called My Fake Relationship, the site doesn't have much to do with a real-life relationship.
"There's definitely that worry there and unfortunately a lot of those other sites do involve sex or have sexual connotations. We line out the guidelines so there's no chance of that happening at all, no kissing even," Ms Mohamed said.
Last November, her site only had her on it. She managed to set up a date she found from Sydney as a booking through her business but it wasn't long before she recruited more dates from Gumtree to sign up.
Ms Mohamed said she got a great response, with 15 profiles of attractive young men and women now available for bookings since she launched two months ago.
"A lot of people were interested, they said it was like Airtasker or Uber for dates," she said.
Ms Mohamed's date turned out to be helpful in figuring out how her business should work.
"I wanted to see what problem I could be solving, and he responded with companionship," she said.
Ms Mohamed said she liked to think of the service - which has a set price of $52 an hour - as a "shortcut to dating" and the key to getting the person you want without actually having to look.
"Because I'm young and female - a lot of the sites are run by men - I can definitely bring something a lot newer and better and a female Millennial perspective of what running a date could look like."
As for what her parents think? Well, her mum would prefer she go back to university, but Ms Mohamed is hoping they'll be supportive when her business takes off.
And as for the first date/booking? Well, while she said it was "strange and different", she also said it was entertaining and she had a lot of fun.
Her dates are even ready to be booked as a plus one for a wedding or as company for practice if you need to polish up your moves for the real thing.