It’s hard out there for an entrepreneur looking for love.
Out of the 26 men competing for JoJo Fletcher’s heart on the popular ABC show, The Bachelorette, only one was a business owner. Unfortunately, he was eliminated — along with a firefighter, a barber, and an erectile dysfunction specialist — at the end of last week’s episode.
James Fuertes, 34, co-owns two TITLE Boxing Club franchises in Nashville. His day-to-day includes overseeing a staff of trainers, greeting new members and teaching boxing classes. Even though Fuertes hadn’t heard of Fletcher before, he still decided to go look for love and leave his hectic life as an entrepreneur behind for a month.
Ahead of tonight’s episode of The Bachelorette, Fuertes spoke with Fortune to discuss the challenges of dating as a single entrepreneur, how the show helped his business and, of course, whether contestant Chad Johnson was really “that crazy.”
This Q&A has been edited for grammar and clarity.
Why did you decide to go on the show?
Most of my day is spent in the boxing club, training clients and helping trainers, so it tends to be very busy. My three co-owners and I are all young, and we’re all very passionate about our business.
I’m just not that social outside of the boxing club because I don’t have the energy by the time the day’s over. So I thought, “Look, you’re single and you’re 34, so why not try to go on this TV show and try to find a relationship that way?”
What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered in your personal life as a business owner?
Some of the challenges include knowing how to turn off that switch when the day is over. As a business owner, you don’t really work a 40-hour work week. There’s always more work to be done. You can decide to either take the work home with you or leave it alone and get back to it the next morning. That’s a big challenge for a lot of people. I have a lot of friends who are business owners as well, and they’ve had a tough time in relationships for that exact reason. They’re always moving and shaking, and it leaves little time for a social life.
Was it hard leaving your business and not working for a month?
Oh my goodness, it was so weird. I couldn’t use my phone, check social media updates, or email clients. For the first few days, it was like a whole new world. I finally accepted the fact that if there’s a problem at the club, I literally can’t solve it – so there’s no use in worrying about it. After that, it was nice and relaxing.
Were you surprised when JoJo didn’t give you a rose? What was that feeling like?
I was a little bit surprised. At that point in the show, my attitude was that if I just stayed ahead of some of the other guys in the house, I would be fine. I figured there are a few other good guys, but there were a few that I just thought were not her type. So I thought, “You know what? I haven’t had much time with JoJo yet, but that’s OK as long as I stay ahead of the other guys.” I was sure that they would leave before I did, but that just wasn’t the case.
You didn’t get to spend much time with JoJo on the show, so how did it feel to leave without really getting to know each other?
Some of the guys went on the show with the attitude of “I’m going to marry this girl.” I just said, “I’m going to be myself, and if we have a connection, then I’m open to whatever might happen after that.” I wasn’t necessarily heartbroken. I was more disappointed because I don’t think she ever saw who I really was. I think she sent home a guy that doesn’t exist. She sent home a shadow of who I am.
Has the show helped your business in any way?
Yes. People keep calling in and asking if I’m teaching classes that day. We’re getting new members, so that helps. Interestingly enough, I’m getting more love since the last episode when I was sent home. People are walking up to me at work saying, “I never saw you on the show, and then when I finally saw you, you got sent home.” Then, they ask me about the boxing club, so it’s definitely helped the business, for sure.
What has life after “The Bachelorette” been like?
It has been exciting being back in the club and teaching classes. Members walk up to me all the time, and the question is always along the lines of, “Is Chad really that crazy?”
So is Chad really that crazy?
Anytime you saw Chad explode – he wasn’t put up to that. That was just him exploding on people. Chad might very well be that crazy.
Would you recommend the show to other business owners who may be presented with the opportunity?
Absolutely. I would recommend the show to anybody. You learn a lot about yourself – how do I react in stressful situations when there’s no friends or family nearby? How do I handle being disconnected from the world? For entrepreneurs, I would say it will give you a stronger perspective of who you are in business when you come back home.
I don’t think you should go on the show to advance your business. I think that would be a bad move. You wouldn’t be genuine on the show, and that would come out.