#SWAAYthenarrative

How To Make A Living From Making Matches

Business

I am Susan Trombetti, celebrity matchmaker, relationship expert and investigator. Although, it may not seem like a serious career to many of you, I have actually been matchmaking for about six years now. People always wonder how I wound up in this business.


It is important to remember making matches can be difficult, exhausting, frustrating and costly. Just look at your picky friend and why you really know she is single compared to why she thinks she is single and you will immediately see the dilemma so many matchmakers face.

Sure, there is a real art to matchmaking but there is also an even more real business aspect. First of all, it is important to take note of the fact that most people you would love to fix up can’t or won’t pay you. They may have seen Patti Stanger on TV and therefore have a preconceived notion of how it works. Professional matchmakers know this field doesn't typically involve charity, and that turning a profit is ultimately the goal. Successful matchmakers have plenty of practical knowledge and know-how about running a business.

Then there are others who think having a business means getting business cards and an office space. For me, however, it is all about thinking like a business owner, which means getting matches for clients, and turning a profit.

I also think a lot about what sets me apart from my competition, and spend much time reflecting on my strengths and weaknesses. It’s a personally challenging business that has helped me grow professionally in too many ways to even state. In short, it kicks my ass everyday. The institute that governs us is very collaborative and willing to help, but one has to have a knack for business, which no third party can impart to you.

While I may not have set out to become an entrepreneur, it’s been good for my daughters and friends to see what becoming self-made looks like. Through this process I have learned that I am a fast learner, with the ability to acquire whatever skillset I am lacking. I've also learned that trusting my gut instincts is key; both for the business and the matching.

My first business, which I personally operated, was an investigations/skip tracing company that I still have but now only use in conjunction with my matchmaking service, which had a unique starting point.

As is usually the case for great women entrepreneurs, the business didn't come from a traditional place. One day, I was relaxing on a beach with my Cosmopolitan Magazine. I read an empowering women’s article about starting a business and how to do it. It was so basic, but also brilliant and I realized that most people don’t think like this. The article said “what is the thing that comes to mind that is easy for you that everyone says you are good at and is difficult for them”? I immediately knew what that was – finding people.

I've always had great investigation skills and could find people anywhere. So, I decided it was time to turn it into a full-time lucrative business. I was so good at this business, in fact, that I never lacked for work. So, again I thought, 'what do I want to do that I am good at it that comes easy to me and hard for everyone else'? Again, I thought people. I then remembered when I found a little old lady the love of her life (a gentle chap from WWII).

From then on out, I knew my career would be centered around people and love. In short, if I could find people, I could find matches for people.

As a woman in matchmaking, I have to tell you it’s even more challenging than the other businesses. Making someone happy, and seeing babies born as a result of your work puts a smile on my face everyday.

How do I do it exactly? To be honest, it’s part secret magic potion and it's part basic people skills. You have to know how to market yourself, network with everyone, manage a team, handle social media, and put yourself out there and go for it.

3 Min Read
Business

Five Essential Lessons to Keep in Mind When You're Starting Your Own Business

"How did you ever get into a business like that?" people ask me. They're confounded to hear that my product is industrial baler wire—a very unfeminine pursuit, especially in 1975 when I founded my company in the midst of a machismo man's world. It's a long story, but I'll try to shorten it.

I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up—even if it involved a non-glamorous product. I'd been fired from my previous job working to become a ladies' clothing buyer and was told at my dismissal, "You just aren't management or corporate material." My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.

Over the years, I've learned quite a few tough lessons about how to successfully run a business. Below are five essential elements to keep in mind, as well as my story on how I learned them.

Find A Need And Fill It

I gradually became successful at selling various products, which unfortunately weren't profitable enough to get me off the ground, so I asked people what they needed that they couldn't seem to get. One man said, "Honey, I need baler wire. Even the farmers can't get it." I saw happy dollar signs as he talked on and dedicated myself to figuring out the baler wire industry.

I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up.

Now forty-five years later, I'm proud to be the founder of Vulcan Wire, Inc., an industrial baler wire company with $10 million of annual sales.

Have Working Capital And Credit

There were many pitfalls along the way to my eventual success. My daughters and I were subsisting from my unemployment checks, erratic alimony and child-support payments, and food stamps. I had no money stashed up to start up a business.

I paid for the first wire with a check for which I had no funds, an illegal act, but I thought it wouldn't matter as long as I made a deposit to cover the deficit before the bank received the check. My expectation was that I'd receive payment immediately upon delivery, for which I used a rented truck.

Little did I know that this Fortune 500 company's modus operandi was to pay all bills thirty or more days after receipts. My customer initially refused to pay on the spot. I told him I would consequently have to return the wire, so he reluctantly decided to call corporate headquarters for this unusual request.

My stomach was in knots the whole time he was gone, because he said it was iffy that corporate would come through. Fifty minutes later, however, he emerged with a check in hand, resentful of the time away from his busy schedule. Stressed, he told me to never again expect another C.O.D. and that any future sale must be on credit. Luckily, I made it to the bank with a few minutes to spare.

Know Your Product Thoroughly

I received a disheartening phone call shortly thereafter: my wire was breaking. This horrible news fueled the fire of my fears. Would I have to reimburse my customer? Would my vendor refuse to reimburse me?

My customer told me to come over and take samples of his good wire to see if I might duplicate it. I did that and educated myself on the necessary qualities.

My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.

Voila! I found another wire supplier that had the right specifications. By then, I was savvy enough to act as though they would naturally give me thirty-day terms. They did!

More good news: My customer merely threw away all the bad wire I'd sold him, and the new wire worked perfectly; he then gave me leads and a good endorsement. I rapidly gained more wire customers.

Anticipate The Dangers Of Exponential Growth

I had made a depressing discovery. My working capital was inadequate. After I purchased the wire, I had to wait ten to thirty days for a fabricator to get it reconfigured, which became a looming problem. It meant that to maintain a good credit standing, I had to pay for the wire ten to thirty days before my customers paid me.

I was successful on paper but was incredibly cash deprived. In other words, my exponentially growing business was about to implode due to too many sales. Eventually, my increasing sales grew at a slower rate, solving my cash flow problem.

Delegate From The Bottom Up

I learned how to delegate and eventually delegated myself out of the top jobs of CEO, President, CFO, and Vice President of Finance. Now, at seventy-eight years old, I've sold all but a third of Vulcan's stock and am semi-retired with my only job currently serving as Vice President of Stock and Consultant.

In the interim, I survived many obstacles and learned many other lessons, but hopefully these five will get you started and help prevent some of you from having the same struggles that I did. And in the end, I figured it all out, just like you will.