What makes a relationship last? What makes a business successful? Both questions plagued me for years…
As a child, I spent hours writing rhyming love poems, despite growing up in a country where people rarely kissed in public. This passion for poetry morphed from my spiral-bound notebook into years of study into the psychology of relationship success, and launching a business as an Indian Matchmaker in Paris. Through 3000+ in-person interviews and long years at the library understanding human psychology and behaviour at NYU, I studied what makes relationships go the distance – and how to find someone with whom you can last.
Two years ago, I started working with ambitious professionals who wanted to find a long-term partner, but were struggling with where, when, and how to meet the right person.
And while there’s still so much to learn, a few things became clear early on: Communication, listening skills, empathy, and the counsel of a trusted advisor are all essential aspects to success in both business and relationships.
Through my smart, successful students building a career in a new country, helping them find a partner who can match a global life, I’ve learnt the following. Here are five business tips from an Indian Matchmaker based in Paris:
1. Talk to Actual People.
Surveys aren’t enough, to truly understand the problems and issues facing a smart but single person who had left Ahmedabad or Vijayawada or Gurgaon to come and live and study and work here in the land of croissants and pain chocolat. I spent 150 hours on Zoom speaking with single, married, and divorced people from over 50 countries. The conversations about spousal struggles, the endless search for Mr. or Ms. Right, and the hopes for a safe, happy home somewhere near the ocean sometimes drove me mad. But throughout those stories, I heard the stirrings of truth. Often, it was artfully buried behind the lies we tell ourselves when we feel like excrement for days, months, years. Proper customer research takes more time up front, but saves you YEARS and $$$ down the road.
2. Practise Empathy.
Asking for help is so, so hard. We have all struggled with some aspect of life, and, rather than reaching out to a professional, have all lain awake in bed wondering when the trauma would end. I dealt with my own set of issues: skin covered by acne because I didn’t understand the link between diet and skin; my own search for a partner, which ended when I made peace with who I am and surrounded myself with people who adored me for it; looking for a place to call home all over the world, and finding it in a country full of people who eat their weight in baguettes. And all of these issues remained taboo topics I wanted to avoid. I was stubborn, I was ignorant, I wanted to stay in my comfort zone. Eventually, the vagaries of time or a phone call from a loved one forced me to seek professional help. These experts helped me resolve the problem once and for all (through a diet customised to my food allergies, learning to listen well, and getting out my travel itch).
As an Indian matchmaker in Paris, empathy is a core business requirement. Understand and reiterate the issues the customer is facing. It might be not having enough time to meet people, despising dating apps, or simply feeling overwhelmed by the pressure to settle down. It will win you points with people who will happily pay you, the expert, to solve their problems. This should be at least 60% of your marketing.
3. Focus on the Long-Term.
There are approximately 1.542 million “miracles” available on the internet. But a great business, like a great marriage, is not an overnight solution. Most people you meet, here in France, or back in Bangalore, or even in a start-up hub like San Francisco, have an idea for a business running around their heads. Of them, 10-20% will take the first step to launching. Of that 10%, 80% will fail (“quit”) in Year 1. And of the 20% who make it to Year 2, 80% will never earn more than $10k from their businesses. These figures are official statistics via US and EU government websites. Given all of the above, what can you do to succeed?
Focus on what your customers REALLY want. At Advanced Relationship Skills, that’s a long-term relationship built on true emotional connection. It’s one that gives you the stability and security you need to build a life of travel and adventure. It’s finding fulfillment in your career and at home with someone who accepts you exactly as you are. We don’t just talk about the right pick-up lines to use on a cute stranger. We focus on how to attract the kinds of people with whom you will experience true synergy.
4. It’s always about love or money.
This is a tip from the late great Napoleon Hill, author of the bestseller Think and Grow Rich. Anything most people want is linked back to love or money. In the book, he called ‘love’ ‘sex’. By this, he meant secure, loving relationships (partner, friendships, in-laws, children, neighbours), and a job that is financially secure and something you’re truly passionate about. As an Indian matchmaker in Paris, I remember this every single day. It’s the baseline of my conversations with ambitious professionals who want to find a partner – but also want a career that lets you thrive.
5. Get a mentor.
Growing up, I watched a U.S. TV show in which the characters ran a lemonade stand in front of their house. In India, selling lemonade is a full-time profession; we call it a nimbupaniwalla in my hometown of Mumbai. This did not deter 10-year-old Malaika, who promptly took a jug of saccharine lemon-infused, filtered water to the side street near our building. There, she began selling lemonade, for 5 rupees a glass, at 3pm on a Thursday afternoon when we had a day off school. I sold a grand total of two glasses: one to a neighbour walking her dog, and one to my father who took pity on my negative balance. That afternoon, I realised that you can’t learn entrepreneurship from Sesame Street. But my business failures continued, well into my early 20’s. I spent a year working on launching an ethanol production company in Madagascar. The experience left me burnt out and boyfriend-less. I was desperate for a better way to serve the needs of real people.
When email lists became part of our inboxes, I signed up to the websites of several entrepreneurs from around the world – most of whom had Indian roots – and invested money in their courses. I spent hours in front of my computer, taking notes, listening to their lessons, playing the videos over and over. Then, I launched. This has since led to sales ranging from $50 to $5000. Yes, I had the root of a good idea – helping smart, successful people living abroad find partners with whom they could truly connect.
No matter your industry – whether as an Indian matchmaker in Paris, or selling ice to the Inuits – mentorship made the difference between that dead-end lemonade stand and launching a company able to scale. My mentors taught me everything I know about customer research, pricing, packaging and positioning, from dreaming the dream, as a ten-year-old with a lemonade stand, to making that first sale. It pays to learn from the best.
If you, too, have entrepreneurial dreams, and would love to meet someone who’s equally passionate about your ideas, sign up for a free Dating Breakthrough Call.
We will develop a customised plan to help you meet the person who matches your future goals and has a compatible background.