I started my career in the matchmaking industry as a tele-marketer for a dating company called Together Dating in 1992 working in their call centre. I have always considered myself a people person, and quickly realized that I had the gift of gab. I really enjoyed speaking with singles about their dating challenges, and loved the fact I could help people find love through matchmaking and give them the opportunity to meet people they would have never met on their own. I continued to work for dating agencies until 2010 when I had decided I was ready to start my own business. I had worked 18 years as a dating executive managing relationship consultants and had worked with thousands of singles at that time. I realized with the introduction of social media and online dating, I knew I could help people with my skill set and knowledge of growing up in the dating industry.
How did the idea for your business come about?
I had met my current business partner, Patrick Binetti in 2010, who realized I had something unique to offer to singles. He wanted to help me start a dating blog and share my advice with the world, instead of with the company I was working with at that time. I had heard about blogging and took the plunge to start my own blog and consulting for other matchmaking agencies, matchmakers and date coaches to teach them what I learned about helping people over the past 20 years. I have never looked back and even was chosen to be the star of my own TV show "Mom vs Matchmaker" with 4 seasons filmed. Season 4 will be released on OUTTV in the Spring of 2019. Mom vs Matchmaker is distributed in over 85 countries world wide, and has won a few TV awards as best reality TV show.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
The biggest initial hurdles to building my business was in generating an income to match or surpass my full-time, executive position at my former company. I was also someone who worked largely behind the scenes, so starting my own brand, and introducing myself as an "expert" to the world took some time. It took me about 5 years to be ranked on the 1st page of Google as the #1 "Online Dating Expert" in the world. Creating a recognizable brand in the dating industry takes time, consistency and patience.
What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
I am currently reading Attached by Amir Levine as it pertains to one's attachment style and the impact on relationships. A
There are so many books to read as an entrepreneur and one I would recommend is the Perfect Day Formula by Craig Ballantyne. I've actually attended one of his Perfect Life Workshops.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
In the beginning my family was very concerned I chose to leave an executive position earning a strong 6-figure income to starting a blog with ZERO income and teaching other matchmakers my sales and marketing secrets. I am a huge believer in collaboration and wanted everyone in my industry to succeed. After all, everyone needs, wants and deserves love. I handed it the way I handle all challenges, tackled it head on. Failed on occasion and kept getting back up and kept asking the right people questions. I'm a big believer in mentorship and coaching. I've worked and hired many coaches over the last 8 years. What I would do differently is to not try to do too many things at once. This is the typical Aries trait in me. I'd rather fail at trying than to not try at all. The key to success however is focusing on the task. Too many tasks will eventually lead to burn out ore mediocre outcomes.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
The single most influential factor was focusing on my strengths and knowing what I'm actually great at, and playing to those strengths. I am a master networker, negotiator and have a great deal of empathy for people. I have the gift of seeking the win-win in situations. I'm also not afraid to take risks.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
I wish I knew how to better allocate my resources to invest in the things that created more growth at an earlier stage.
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
I would advice any entrepreneur to have a mentor or a supportive circle of other successful business professionals in their field. I grew up in the dating industry and feel that I was taught from some of the very best people. I am also a constant student of building better relationships. Whatever industry you choose to take on, be a constant student and know how to adapt to the changes your industry will go thorough. Don't ever be too smart or too good to ask questions.