BASED IN: NEW YORK
Since launching in 2012, I have aimed to help connect the people of New York, especially those who might be frustrated with the state of their dating lives. Initially I was exclusively matchmaking but now my little biz has grown to include other services, such as coaching and online dating optimization and management.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I have always been drawn to being my own boss and making my own money. When I was in middle school, I ran what was essentially a bodega out of my locker!
What is the hardest part about being an entrepreneur? How do you overcome failures and tough times?
It is very hard to start an honest business in NYC because the tax code for small businesses is literally insane! In addition to the fed and state taxes everyone pays (which in NY are substantial), there's self-employment tax which would normally be covered by a regular job and then NYC slaps you with a city tax just for good measure. While it is indeed disheartening at times, it's also been incredibly educational. I used to be scared of taxes and really numbers in general. I won't pretend to be an expert, but I think/hope I'm getting better!
Compared to everyone else in your field your services are affordable. Did you find that sweet spot in the beginning or was it a process?
Well, first of all, I would like to acknowledge that "affordable" is absolutely relative. Most people do not have extra income to spend on dating services. And many would probably consider matchmaking or date coaching a luxury product. This is especially true when you consider that there are no guarantees in this kind of work. My goal is always to inject new strategies and positivity into an incredibly important area of a person's life. I hope that my clients may learn something new about themselves and that they gain new tools for expanding their dating lives. I cannot guarantee that I will find them a spouse though. Anyone who does is a charlatan.
Because I like to work with a wide range of people, I have tried to keep my costs down as much as possible, for instance by working remotely instead of spending money on rent for an office. But my time is valuable and I have to charge for that.
Do you think it’s more important to perfect your product before the launch or is it better to just get it out there and perfect it as you go?
Oof- this is a good question. In hindsight, I would recommend attempting to create some sort of streamlined process before you launch, if that's possible for what you do. I absolutely jumped in, limbs flailing, and figured it out as I went. I'm still figuring it out!
Would you ever consider adding physical products to your business or would you rather stick with services? Why?
Absolutely, yes. I would love to write more, which I'm working on.
There is no school for matchmaking. What advice would you give to a woman who is trying to get into the matchmaking world?
I would recommend trying it first- perhaps intern at a larger company to see how it works at the highest levels. There are also programs and certifications you can enroll in, though they are not necessary from a legal perspective.
Are there special programs/ meet ups for matchmakers? Or any organizations that help them?
Absolutely! The Matchmaking Institute run by Lisa Clampitt offers programs and certifications. They also offer a conference every year for matchmakers with special speakers and the opportunity for networking, which is awesome. I took part in Rachel Greenwald's "Love MFA" bootcamp this year in Denver as well. Rachel is a MASTER at the business of matchmaking and I wish I'd taken her bootcamp three years ago!
Any last inspirational words?
I believe it's incredibly important for women to take risks and attempt to create their own money, even if the end result is not always wild financial success. I have a wonderful accountant who called me out on the fact that, in our consultations, I would refer to my company as "we" or "our," such as "We are trying to hit this target by the end of the year." Immediately he said, "Who is this 'we'?" It took me a while to get used to saying "MY" when referring to this little business that I had poured a lot of sweat and tears into. And why is this? I have some guesses of course but would encourage everyone to meditate on this a little bit because assertiveness is incredibly important if your goal is to make real money.