Dating Breeds New Job Opportunities – FT

Matchmaking is a great career within the dating industry, but don’t just listen to us, listen to the Financial Times!

Last week we contributed to an article for the FT about the Dating Industry and what big business it is. Matchmaking was featured alongside other work opportunities in the industry including the awesome Saskia from dating photography business Hey Saturday and the founder of the Dating Awards Charly Lester – both guest speakers at the Matchmaker Academy live bootcamps!

Read a summary of the article below or click here to read the full article.

Love is no longer a case of serendipity — it is big business.

From the success of the online dating industry, dominated by the likes of Tinder and Match.com, has sprung an array of new jobs: from software engineers to virtual dating assistants. Here is a look at some of those who make a living helping Cupid.

The dating photographer

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While working at a charity in the City of London, Saskia Nelson realised she wanted to turn her hobby into a career. Largely self-taught, she would get praised for her photographs on social media and from models she practised snapping. “It gave me the confidence to charge for my work.”

So three years ago, at the age of 44, she quit without a clear plan. “People kept asking me: ‘Are you going to do wedding photography?’ I like going to weddings but I’m not particularly interested in them,” she says. The business books she was reading at the time advised her to work on something she was interested in. “I knew about online dating: I did it for eight years. I learnt to ride the rollercoaster and not take it too seriously.” She met her partner online seven years ago, after all. “I live the brand,” she says.

That experience had taught her how important photographs are when potential matches choose profiles online. “I felt a lot of people were missing a trick.”

So she set herself up as a dating photographer, a job she claims to have created, puzzled that no one else seemed to be doing it. Today, five other photographers have joined the Hey Saturday business, working across the UK. Recently, the reportage photographer Martin Parr spent time with her documenting the work.

In her studio, she hears all kinds of tales of sadness, frustration and hope.

“A lot of my clients are at the end of the line. I feel frustrated and want them to lighten up. All people can find love.”

Tinder, she says, has destigmatised online dating. More recently, younger people — students and twenty-somethings — have approached her. “They have grown up in a social media world and appreciate the power of the image.”

She insists that it is not false advertising. “I tell people to treat the photo shoot like your first date.”

She has ambitions for her work: “I want to make it bigger than wedding photography.”

The matchmaker

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After working in the voluntary sector, Caroline Brealey, a London-based 32-year-old, was ready for a change. “I was always on very short contracts. I really felt I wanted something on my own.” She also admits to a somewhat idealistic view that she would be able to take holidays whenever she wanted to. “I work harder now than I did then,” she reflects.

In 2011, she made the leap with “zero experience”, relying on £20,000 of savings, realising that there was a dearth of matchmakers catering to younger clientele. She now offers a personal introductions service. “You need very little money to get going,” she says. Today she is earning three times her former voluntary sector salary. She also offers two-day courses for aspiring matchmakers.

Online dating and apps, she says, have fuelled demand by creating disappointed daters and also made the job harder. “Matchmakers meet very challenging clients with very high expectations — that might be the reason they are single,” she notes. “Some clients think you pay money, you get Bradley Cooper.”

The industry consultant

Charly

After working in banking compliance at Lloyds group, and blogging about her experiences, Charly Lester decided to make a career out of dating.

In 2014, she established the Dating Awards and acts as a consultant for apps and websites, testing the user experience and advising on improvements.s

“There is still money to be made from online dating,” she says, “but you have to be clever about it. There is space within the industry for innovation but it is about discovering niches.”

Read the full article in the Financial Times here.

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