Rachel MacLynn was interviewed by The Guardian newspaper this weekend! Spreading the word of Vida – Exclusive Matchmaking: Love. Life. People.
Small business in the spotlight… The Vida Consultancy
By Kitty Dann, Guardian Professional,
Rachel MacLynn, founder of a professional matchmaking service, tells us how she got started in the industry and what her plans are for the future
How did you end up in the matchmaking industry?
I started my career as a psychologist, initially helping to rehabilitate adults with brain injuries, then working my way up to becoming a consultant business psychologist. By my mid-twenties my career was on a distinct and structured path. I was in a very fortunate position, but something inside me wanted to follow a more entrepreneurial route.
By complete serendipity, I spotted a job advertisement for a matchmaker – I had no idea matchmaking was a real job. I researched the profession and discovered that matchmaking was starting to boom in the United States, but in the UK there were only a handful of matchmakers and the industry was not regulated. I felt excited, inspired and nervous all at the same time. It was then that I made the decision to change career – it was a huge risk.
What was your lightbulb moment?
When I started The Vida Consultancy in 2011, my first mammoth challenge was to build from scratch a network of top quality single men and women. I attended many high level networking events and within the first month I met around 20 single people, whom I felt represented a good cross section of my ideal client group. The thought of having to network for another month, to meet just another 20 people felt time intensive so I developed a referral system which encouraged people I knew, and trusted, to refer their single friends to me. Within a few months, my network of single people had grown to 500.
What’s your approach to marketing your business?
Good people know good people, so our main focus is growing the business by word of mouth. When a client joins Vida and is associated with someone else we know, it really helps us develop a three-dimensional view of that person and maintain high quality.
How are you different to other matchmaking services?
We have a team of consultants who represent The Vida Consultancy in cities throughout Europe, the US, the Middle East and Asia. This allows us to grow our networks remotely and develop a deep understanding of local culture.
I have integrated some of my expertise as a chartered psychologist into the business model, so for example I use a consultative approach. We share detailed information about potential matches, including photographs, and encourage a two-way conversation with our clients about a match’s compatibility.
Who does your service cater to?
We find life partners for the world’s most exceptional people. Our clients are successful, professional, cosmopolitan men and women who seek a like-minded, compatible partner. They are generally attractive, healthy, dynamic, respectable individuals who simply do not have either the time or the opportunity to meet people using their own channels.
How have you handled your international expansion?
Our international service is full of challenges. We are very discerning about who we will accept as clients. We meet all of our London-based clients face to face and always meet their matches, so we can assess mutual compatibility. However with our international clients this is not always possible and therefore we often have to rely on Skype or feedback from face to face meetings held between the client and our local consultant. We also have to navigate our way around our clients’ busy schedules.
The great advantage is that our international clients are usually happy to meet a partner who is based anywhere in Europe, or the US. It is so exciting when a client flies from Zurich to Paris for a date, but logistically it can be quite tricky.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
Matchmaking is an emotional rollercoaster, full of uncertainties. When two people enjoy a good date or fall in love, it is the best feeling in the world. However, when a couple breaks up all our matchmakers feel the disappointment.
What inspires you?
The industry. Matchmaking is a booming industry and in comparison to other professional services it is still very small. I am passionate about helping to shape the industry and raise its ethical and professional standards.
In June I was invited to sit on the board of advisers for the Matchmaking Institute in New York. Their work is dynamic and ever evolving. I look forward to importing their ethos across to Europe, which in turn will greatly enhance and improve the experience of those who employ the services of a top-notch matchmaking professional.
What’s next for the business?
The dating world is ever changing. I intend to continue listening to our clients and letting them influence how the business develops in the future. A few years ago I was completely opposed to the idea of organising events. However, due to popular demand we have started running them. I am now also working closely with The International Dating Academy, and expanding the portfolio of services offered to our clients to include trained dating coaches.
Rachel MacLynn is the founder of The Vida Consultancy
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