Rachel Russo is the author of two books: A Fab Job Guide To Become A Matchmaker and How To Get Over Your Ex: A Step By Step Guide To Mend A Broken Heart Italian American Style. Rachel has pretty much earned her Ph.D. in men—many thanks to a reality-date-a-thon in which she went on ninety-two dates in one year and blogged about them.
Here’s how her matchmaking journey started:
Tell us about your entrepreneurial journey.
I fell into a career as a professional matchmaker 11 years ago. As a young, recent college grad, I found a random ad for a matchmaking job on Craigslist. Prior to this, I didn’t even know the matchmaking industry existed, but I instinctively knew there was no other career that could make me happier than helping singles find love!
I later learned that helping people keep love was another passion of mine; so, as I worked for various, well-known matchmaking agencies, I started my own dating and relationships consultancy on the side. Drawing upon all the expertise that I acquired on the job, I have been publishing articles, blogs, and books, as well as doing radio, print, and TV interviews, and co-hosting events throughout my career.
In addition, I train other entrepreneurs on how to get started in a matchmaking career. I currently teach an online training course that I co-created at the Matchmaking Institute—the only matchmaking school in the world! I also work as a matchmaker for the founder's other company, Lisa Clampitt Matchmaking. In my business, Rachel Russo Relationships, I coach people on everything from dealing with breakups, to navigating the world of online dating, to getting to happily-ever-after.
Do you have any special training?
I have an undergraduate psychology degree from Rutgers University, a master's degree in Marriage & Family Therapy from Iona College, a certification as an Intentional Relationship Coach, and pretty much have a Ph.D. in men—thanks to once going on 92 NYC dates in one year and blogging about them!
What sort of individuals make good matchmakers?
The best matchmakers have warm and friendly personalities. They are social butterflies who are curious, non-judgmental, and love all types of people. They are natural connectors and empathetic beings with strong intuition. They are soft but also have thick skin. They are aggressive about building a database, getting people out on dates, and following up for feedback. They are patient and willing to listen to a client vent but are also able to be tough when a client is at fault. They can take on the expert role and “tell it like it is” when need be—in a diplomatic way. They are able to sell ideas and people to their clients because they are genuinely passionate about changing love lives. Lastly, they can separate their personal and professional life by taking nothing personally at work, and, you know … not falling in love with the clients!
How did you land your first client?
Through a referral—a friend of a friend. Word of mouth makes for a lot of business in the matchmaking industry—if you have a good reputation, that is!
What types of marketing techniques have worked best for your matchmaking business?
I've been able to build a name for myself through online marketing. I have been consistently blogging, writing weekly newsletters, and posting on various social media sites, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram, for a very long time. I have also said “yes” to just about any press opportunities including things that aren't so prestigious like internet radio, podcasts, and public access TV shows because they have allowed me to build a platform as an expert by creating shareable online content. I have collaborated with others in the dating industry and have regularly co-hosted singles events, participated in dating panels and conferences, and wrote guest blogs and columns with other experts. I've gone to networking events, BNI meetings, filmed reality TV pilots, and approached professionals in relevant industries in the name of creating referral partnerships. Oh, and, my opening line everywhere from the dentist’s chair to cocktail parties is always: “I'm a matchmaker!”
You have written an e-book, FabJob’s Guide to Becoming a Matchmaker — tell us about this and who would benefit from this guide.
This was the first book I published, and it is seriously a gem of a resource for anyone who is curious about starting a career in matchmaking. I hold the reader's hand, sharing everything that they need to do to have a successful matchmaking business. It is easy-to-follow and has tons of sample forms that any matchmaker can put to good use. It will save a matchmaker countless hours of research. It is the book I wish I had when I got into the industry. I definitely wish Matchmaking Institute’s online training program, which I currently teach, existed when I was getting started too because the opportunity to take an actual class on matchmaking and learn from interaction with other entrepreneurs on weekly live Q&As is priceless!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a matchmaker?
Find a community of like-minded professionals that you can collaborate with. Even though it is super-social, matchmaking can be a lonely profession if your business is a one-person show. My involvement with Matchmaking Institute has changed the way I think of matchmaking for the better. Other matchmakers are no longer my competition; they are people I get to know at conferences, co-hosts for events, and allies who can help me match my difficult clients! If matchmakers are willing to offer each other commissions for referrals or do trades, collaboration can be a beautiful thing for all parties involved.
What are some of the challenges you face as a matchmaker?
Clients who have unrealistic expectations and are difficult to match. Members who flake on dates. People who text each other (unappealing!) photos when I tell them not to text any photos in the first place. Getting post-date feedback, listening to the He Said, the She Said, and trying to determine the truth of what actually happened on that date!
What are some of your favorite time management tips and tools for being a matchmaker?
Great question! Don't be a slave to your inbox. Have designated times that you answer your emails throughout the day, and allow the rest of the time for recruiting, the art of matchmaking, taking care of business, etc. Use email templates for people who apply to your database, for scheduling, and follow-up date feedback. Don't schedule unnecessary meetings with people who you know you can't match. Use Skype or FaceTime to avoid lengthy in-person meetings that do not contribute to client success and your bottom line.
Also, coaching is often part of the client's matchmaking journey, but create boundaries around it. You aren't their psychotherapist. If a client is taking advantage of your time, set limits as to how often they can call or meet with you. At the end of the day, you have a business to run. No one is your only client. But, sometimes, it is nice to make them feel like they are! If you like your clients, this is easy to do! So be selective about who you work with. It is an amazing feeling to make a difference by parlaying love into peoples' lives.
Thanks, Rachel for sharing your story!
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