Online dating companies and matchmakers are making bank. According to a 2016 report by MarketData Enterprises, dating services in the United States alone are worth approximately $2.5 billion.
Patti Stanger, matchmaker, businesswoman and reality TV star says, “The next trend will be niche sites. I’m a dog lover, you’re a dog lover. I like to dance, you like to dance. And then you’ll have, ‘It’s free [but] you’re going to have to pay extra to get to the top of the list.’ ”
Ten months ago, dating app Tinder hired Kelsey Blodget as director of content to essentially launch and run Swipe Life, its lifestyle Web site. “People may think, ‘Well, I’m not an engineer, can’t work on a dating app,’ but the industry is exploding,” she says.
Previously a senior executive editor at TripAdvisor, she joins five others with media backgrounds as part of Tinder’s marketing team in Chelsea, where Blodget focuses on dating and relationship content to “cover the ups and downs of the dating journey and tell stories of people whether they are on or off Tinder.”
Considering many traditional media companies are struggling, this area is ripe for growth. “There’s a lot of innovation in the content space for brands. We’re always looking for people with fresh voices,” she says.
In addition to feeling passionate about your work, there are perks to consider at Cupid-tech companies. For instance, dating app Hinge, known for its in-depth prompts to engage users instead of the swipe-left-or-right model, provides its 35 employees in Greenwich Village with free, catered meals several times each week, unlimited annual vacation days, a $50 monthly stipend to spend at a gym or fitness class, free monthly MetroCards and a date stipend — namely a $200 monthly allowance to explore the city’s latest date spots.
“Some coaching sessions take place at a lounge, rooftop or a bookstore where I can give instruction and feedback,” he says. Other times, he shadows clients incognito on real dates or on a mock date, teaching body language and conversation skills along with flirting.
Irenshtain’s clients spend between $3,500 and $5,000. “Some people view dating coaching as a luxury and spend it only if they can easily afford it, while others see it as a necessity and are making the budget for it,” he says.
Irenshtain says results are rewarding. “I’ve been flown to many weddings. Those feel great.”
Amy Van Doran, matchmaker and CEO of the Modern Love Club in the East Village, agrees. “Nothing makes me happier than getting that ‘a-ha!’ moment of inspiration and seeing wedding photos a year later.”
Matchmakers are often sought when online-dating fatigue hits.
“People don’t want thousands of matches. They want a couple of extremely well-curated experiences with incredible humans that have similar values,” she says. The Modern Love matchmaking starts at $25,000, although it’s free to sign up as a possible match for clients.
Van Doran says the key to becoming a successful matchmaker is empathy, and the ability to wear multiple hats. “We do it all. We are our clients’ stylist, psychologist, cheerleader, scout.”
Additional growing fields in the dating market, specifically for freelance opportunities, include ghostwriting online profiles, life coaching and photography. Side-hustles can grow by helping friends and building a business through word of mouth, social media and a Web site.
For instance, Joshua Pompey in Midtown (JPompey.com) charges $199.99 for his dating package for women. That gets you a custom-made profile, photo analysis and review, plus a lifetime pass for photo analysis and review, free revisions and rewrites, a week’s worth of coaching, a dating book and a full refund guarantee.
According to the International Global Coaching study, in 2016, the average annual income of a life coach in North America was $61,900; the average hourly rate was $231. Coaching certification can be obtained through the International Coach Federation. With the growing need for friendly profile photos, the Occupational Outlook Handbook indicates that in 2017, photographers earned a median hourly wage of $15.62, although photo sessions in New York may vary in price. For instance, Midtown-based City Headshots’ $349 package includes two retouched photos, so you can wear two different outfits and have two different backdrops.
“You need to go to the Matchmaking Institute and get certified,” she says. “It’s like going to college for matchmaking. You can’t just open your door and say, ‘Poof! I’m a matchmaker.’ You really have to have training.”
People toggling from positions that require similar skill sets are ideal fits, too.
“Casting agents are fabulous matchmakers [as are] headhunters and real-estate agents,” says Stanger. “Stylists are great. Hairdressers, makeup artists — they’re listening and understanding clients’ ne.”
Amanda Augustine, career advice expert, says, “Research the industry to see if there’s any ‘Cupid-career’ specific terms that should be woven into your cover letter and resume. Make sure your cover letter explains why you’re passionate about moving into this space and how you’ve developed the right skills.”
Terri Wein, co-CEO of Weil Wein, a career and executive coaching firm in Midtown, says, “Go in with optimism. Identify opportunities: jobs, companies, people you need to network with. Then kick into action and hit send.”