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Millions of single people across North America know it's not always easy to find that someone special. Professional matchmakers are happy to help out.

Helping people find their match is big business. According to the Matchmaking Institute, the industry is growing. People are having a hard time meeting others on their own because of busy schedules.

In September 2003, the Matchmaking Institute opened. It's the first school of relationship sciences. Students learn about pre-screening techniques, psychology, non-verbal communication, relationship coaching, public relations and marketing.

According to the latest census figures, there are about 124.6 million single people 18 and older in North America. That's a huge potential market.

Matchmakers use a personal approach. It's about quality, not quantity. Clients expect personal attention and want to trust their matchmaker. People with team building skills do well.

"Being comfortable in a variety of situations is important," says matchmaker Gloria Macdonald. "And being able to interact with your clients is key."

Macdonald also says a matchmaker must be outgoing. Be aware of opportunities to introduce yourself and your services. Be able to provide feedback in a positive way.

Her own work has resulted in one engaged couple and several long-term relationships. "That is how you measure your success," she says.

Asking for referrals from clients, friends and acquaintances is a large part of the job.

Using a computer is helpful to organize client files. Having good organizational skills is important for managing information, time and client data.

Matchmakers can work anywhere. But an office will provide privacy for interviews. Access to a telephone and the Internet will allow you to expand your research and communicate with the public.

Being on the lookout for hopeful matches and prospective clients means matchmakers must attend a lot of events. Macdonald attends many business networking events. Her goal? To find professional singles.

She hands out many business cards. "Be a good listener and have no barriers," she says.

Working to create potential couples is good for people who enjoy being social, getting personal and asking a lot of questions. It can be very rewarding to see your matches result in marriages or long-term relationships.

You'll need good money management skills, since earnings can vary and there are no employment benefits.

According to the Matchmakers Institute, earnings for a full-time matchmaker can range from $20,000 to $100,000 per year. Income depends on the number of clients, advertising costs and other expenses. Clients with more specific needs will pay a higher price to find the perfect mate.

Convincing clients to pay a fee for matchmaking services may be tough. That's because of the large number of free personal ads and Internet dating services available.

Most services have more female clients than male clients, at a ratio of 5:1.

Graham McAden is a matchmaker from New York. He says 40 percent of his new customers come from word of mouth. His advice: do research and write a business plan.

Part of being successful is being able to relate to your clients and their needs. Being able to read people will help.

Lisa Clampitt works with the Matchmaking Institute. She explains that the love industry is unique. "You have to be sensitive. You are dealing with people's emotions. Learning how to handle clients and their feelings of insecurity is really important."


Matchmaking Institute
Read more about the first school devoted to this field

The Art of Matchmaking
Fifty things to know about being a matchmaker

Matchmaking Trends
See how matchmaking skills can help businesses

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OCAP believes that financial literacy and understanding the financial aid process are critical aspects of college planning and student success. OCAP staff who work with students, parents, educators and community partners in the areas of personal finance education, state and federal financial aid, and student loan management do not provide financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice. This website and all information provided is for general educational purposes only, and is not intended to be construed as financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice.