How to become a professional matchmaker
Ever seen someone with the sickest job and wondered how the heck they got there? Same.
Whether they’re an art curator, an influencer, or a lawyer that fights for girls whose sexts are leaked, it all seems so much cooler than your 9-5. But, many of them had a boring 9-5 at some point too. We talked to another woman with a envy-worthy job – a matchmaker.
Carmelia Ray of Mom vs. Matchmaker on Myx TV has been in the matchmaking industry for 25 years, but we went all the way back to talk to her about how she got started and what being a matchmaker is really like.
How did you get started in the matchmaking industry?
In 1992, I had applied for a then dating/matchmaking service in Toronto. I had never worked with a matchmaking company before. I started in their call center and basically talked with singles about matchmaking and introducing them to what it was all about.
I hadn’t decided at that point that that was going to be my career, I was in my early 20’s at the time, and I never left the business afterwards – I just loved it so much. I loved the concept of helping people. I worked my way up the matchmaking corporate ladder, and then I started my own business about seven years ago.
When you got that first job in the call center, was it just to pay the bills or were you just interested in learning more about the industry?
I worked there because I was intrigued by the idea of working for a dating company. I had relationship experience, but what did I know as a young person?
At that time, my plan was to take this summer job, this opportunity, and didn’t have anything concrete in mind other than the fact that it was gonna be fun. I took on the role because it sounded fun and I was gonna get paid to talk to people about relationships and it was a dream job then, and it’s a dream job now. That’s the story.
How did your expectations measure up to the reality of the job?
I didn’t really have expectations. I just knew that I would be helping people with their love life, and I would talk about matchmaking and the opportunity to have them work with a professional rather than having to meet somebody on their own.
The only thing I can tell you is that I didn’t expect to learn as much as I did, and I didn’t expect to learn and develop as an entrepreneur. The companies I have worked with have been extremely supportive in educating their staff to help people in their relationships. It surpassed any idea of what I thought it would be. Whatever expectations I did have, it blew that over.
Is that entrepreneurial spirit because as a match maker you have to find your own clients?
I had great mentorship as a young person growing up in the industry. I worked with very successful business owners and the company that I worked with was a national franchise back then, so I got the opportunity at an early age to travel to various parts of North America, across Canada and the United States.
I worked in New York and in California where there was a dense population of singles. I worked with business owners who had matchmaking companies. Because I was able to work with these successful business owners, it gave me the idea that one day I was going to run my own agency. Or at some point, I was going to help a large number of people, and I think that grew the work ethic of people that I knew in the matchmaking business.
Traveling is cool. I would never expect that. What was your day to day work wise? And what is it like now that you own your own business?
My day to day work life back then was customer service. I was the director for a national matchmaking service, so you were in conversation with people who had trouble meeting people. The actual matchmakers talked about the struggles that people had.
My day to day then was very much learning as much as coaching. I was hired in training people in the business to work in matchmaking, and this is not something people know about. Even today when I introduce myself, and we got the show, it still surprises me that people don’t know what matchmaking is. A lot of people don’t really know that there are matchmakers out there. They know online dating, but they’ve heard about match making probably through “Millionaire Matchmaker” and all these television shows that come out.
“Mom vs. Matchmaker” has an audience that has people like, “Wow, I can actually work with someone who can get to know me and help me find a suitable match. My life is different because I’ve got the show, the clients, I do online dating clients, I speak at events, I’m going to Los Angeles tomorrow to the International Mobile Dating Conference. There’s a lot of parts in my day to day life where back then, it was all about going through the process of each different part.
So you’ve seen the rise of online dating, how does that change what you do?
I never had to deal with online dating in the past. It wasn’t a thing. Online dating coaching and advice and tips and conversation is everywhere. Everyone’s talking about online dating and how to meet on Tinder and Facebook and all these ways single people are trying to meet people digitally and mobile-y. Year after year, more people, sixty million americans, are online dating. Match.com has said 1 in 4 relationships start in an online flirtation or introduction. Part of it is navigating millennials how to do it properly and teaching baby boomers introduced to it how to be successful online.
For your first matchmaking job, you didn’t have any experience, what are some skills they looked for? What are some skills to have as a match maker?
It’s very challenging to identify who would make a great matchmaker. In my experience as training match makers, I had to look for individuals to recruit. There are some key things to look for:
Be good with people – that’s a given. Communication skills, empathy, understanding, a good listener, a special communicator, open-minded. You need a strong work ethic and a great degree of patience. It can be very stressful when you’re matching people. They change their mind, they’re emotional, they’re attached to certain results. You need to be very open minded and non-judgmental. you need a genuine desire to help people.
This business can be very lucrative and you can get billions of dollars of revenue per year since it’s a paid service to work as a matchmaker. You want to work with somebody who is not driven by the financial reward. There are so many scammers online. You wanna work with someone who doesn’t wanna take advantage of someone.
You were saying earlier that people don’t really understand the matchmaking industry or see it as a business, how do people react when you tell them what you do for a living?
There are people who are curious and have a great attitude towards it, but then there’s the other side of the coin where people are like, “who would ever pay for a date? I don’t need that. They can go to a bar and meet someone. you can just swipe left and right and meet someone.”
I think there’s a stigma attached to the type of people who would use this service. It’s kind of a thought that these people cant find someone or meet someone. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I work with extremely marketable, intelligent, attractive people that really don’t have time to wait. They see the value in time and energy and effort and understand the importance of meeting someone with great compatibility. Some people might not see value in that. To each their own.
Those negative reactions are similar to what people said about dating apps and online dating, but that’s changed. Do you think that might change about matchmaking as well?
That’s the intention. The show itself, “Mom vs. Matchmaker,” allows people to get a peek behind what it’s like to work with a matchmaker. A lot of people might not think moms would make good matchmakers and get a good match for a child, but some kids think she does a good job.
Today’s singles will definitely change their views about matchmaking. I’m confident that they’ll get a different insight. There’s this notion that matchmakers are old school and traditional and old-fashioned. There are loads of matchmaking industries in New York, and that’s my job. Matchmaking is a thing and it’s definitely something mainstream. Dating sites now are all focused on compatibility. Dating sites and apps are really what matchmaking is, but digital. Where matchmaking takes place is a much more personal approach. We want to make sure everyone is who they say they are. It’s more trusted and people like us got your back.
The match making industry feels like it’s more female dominated, why do you think that is?
I do have a male assistant and he is a matchmaker in training. I know a number of great male matchmakers, but you’re right, there are far more women in the industry.
For women when it comes to relationships and emotions, they tend to gravitate more towards that. It’s not a gender thing, though. I’m not a better matchmaker because I’m a woman, and he’s not better because he’s a man. It’s really based on your experience and knowledge and your ability to help people. Women just gravitate towards these types of professions.
If you want to learn more about matchmaking, the second season of “Mom vs. Matchmaker” is coming out July 25th and airing on myxtv.com. And if it sounds like the career path for you, Carmelia is planning on creating a matchmaker training program – so stay tuned!