Over the past 3 months as an online dating coach, I’ve noticed a trend with those singles seeking to navigate the dating scene—as they call me, people are overwhelmed and confused about the many dating options—-and what’s right for them!
Being a very direct person (graciously I am told), I want success for you—and I can’t take on thousands of clients so I tend to be choosy with those I can help the most. And my answers, depending on the information I know about each individual client, varies deeply—-from none, to both, to choosing one over another.
So, after nearly 30 years of loving this business in both capacities—I started in my 20’s in 1991 when my fiancée left me at the altar in Chicago—and I started It’s Just Lunch, (itsjustlunch.com) the largest matchmaking service. I loved what I did at It’s Just Lunch—and was lucky to receive two offers and sell it at its peak, as I saw the writing on the wall—Online dating was getting its act together and I saw viable options to help people find even more love there!
Ok, I’m going to start with the priciest and go down from there with 3 Dating Options—that may be major mistakes for you—or could be a golden opportunity.
1. A Personal Matchmaker (PM)
No, this isn’t a service—that’s #2. This is one person, who through their extensive network, has built up contacts either in a specific city or can work throughout the US. At this time, there is no good PM I’d recommend who can do internationally.
Opportunity: They meet you in person. Get to know you, your lifestyle and wants and needs. They do 100% of the work—from choosing and vetting your potential dates, setting up your dates, reaching out to their large network of singles they have vetted over years. Years. Like at least 20 years or I would not even consider them. It’s NOT from a pool of people that joined their service—that’s #2 below. Be sure to ask their success rate. And what defines success rate. You are spending a good chunk of money here and you want your investment to deliver results.
In my experience, there are 3 matchmakers in the US and one covering Asia and Indonesia that I personally know and have heard very good results and comments about from singles/clients. In fact, a few clients have used them in tandem with me with online dating help. All 4 of these matchmakers I have known for over 20 years as well.
Mistake: Costly. The lowest I’ve ever seen anyone start is $25,000. Remember they are doing 100% of the work! On average I’d say you are looking at $75,000. So, know what you are getting, have someone look at your contract and if this is in your budget, it may be a way to go. I can’t really quote exact prices—I think much depends on you and time frame and level of service.
2. Matchmaking Service
This is very different from #1 above. They range from $2500-10,000 approximately. This is a pool of people that have joined a matchmaking service—it may be a national service such as It’s Just Lunch (yes, the company I founded and sold), Tawkify or it could be a local service which almost every mid-to-large size city has.
Opportunity: They have a dedicated pool of people who have signed up for their service and 100% of the matchmaking comes from within those 4 walls. When people spend this kind of money, they tend to be interested in a long-term relationship. So, the timing could be right for you and a potential partner. They do most of the work for you as well.
Mistake: They may not have your age group or they may have an unbalanced number of men versus women. Their pool may be small. All good questions to ask. From what I hear from my clients, prices are negotiable.
3. Online Dating Service/Online Dating Apps
Woah, what a mess these were when they made their debut in the mid-90’s. Scams, horror stories, early adopters were thought of as crazy!
Then, around 2010—the explosion! Technology had exponentially improved, thus the online dating did as well. Top-notch filters were added, algorithms and search engines to find what you were looking for!
Opportunity: Largest pools of singles in the world are online. Many looking for long-term relationships. Sites now adept at recognizing scammers through tech and getting rid of the “problem people”. And over 20% of Americans in 2021/2022 were married via online dating according to Pew Research. Inexpensive entry to dating. Embarrassment level of doing online dating is almost totally eradicated. There are so many sites/apps—one is sure to fit your style!
Potential Mistakes: Singles don’t know how to pick the right site—after all, there are over 1400 of them. They listen to their friends—almost a sure-fire way to NOT succeed as we are not our friends. Very visual medium—great photos needed. Uniquely written profiles are key and your response must be unusual and engaging. (My very strong suggestion here is if you decide on online dating, hire a dating coach—it will rid you of much frustration and someone will help you with all navigation steps and simplify the process).
As I’ve been both a matchmaker and an online dating profile expert, I tried to give an unbiased look into 3 ways to date. None are all good, or all bad. The most important issue: Be comfortable and confident with the person you work with. If it feels like a sales pitch, it most likely is. Go with you gut!
Happy Dating and I’m always here to help as I love what I do!
Founder, It’s Just Lunch (Sold)
I help with online dating, write dating profiles, dating strategist, relationship counselor and online dating coach.
Featured on Oprah, Today Show, Forbes, People, NYT, WSJ, CNN and more