When you think about high-paying jobs, you may imagine doctors, lawyers, bankers, and executives making $100K or more a year. Or you envision managers: finance managers, risk managers, IT managers. In this series, we’re spotlighting people who earn a handsome income in unusual, entertaining ways — and getting their behind-the-scenes tips on everything from how they started to how much they charge.
Name: Amber Artis
Company: Select Date Society
Title: Matchmaker and Relationship Expert
Location: Richmond, Virginia, but moving to Puerto Rico
Amber Artis has been a boutique matchmaker and relationship expert for 23 years. She’s remained passionate about playing Cupid for over two decades because she loves helping people find the love of their life. Here, the 41-year old offers insights into how she got into this unusual field and how the business works.
How I got into the biz
In 1998, I answered an ad in the newspaper — [The] Grand Rapids Press in Grand Rapids, Michigan — for a receptionist at a matchmaking company. At the time, I was on summer break from college. I got the job and became fascinated by the business of helping people find love!
On June 1, 2020, I merged with another matchmaker, Sandra Myers, who has 26 years of experience. We then opened Select Date Society and have been profitable from Day One despite opening in the middle of the pandemic.
First thing in the morning, I walk my dog, a miniature schnauzer, a mile or two to get fresh air and get my body moving. While I walk, I typically listen to an audiobook about business, dating, or relationships such as “Attached” and “The School of Greatness.” Once I get home, I have a cup of coffee while I answer emails before I take a shower and get ready for the day.
I usually work with the media in some way — I might be submitting an article or quote to Cosmopolitan or the New York Post or filming a local television news segment. The rest of my day is filled with client interviews and meetings with potential matches for my clients. I meet with everyone face-to-face to find out more about them and who they are looking to meet.
We have Zoom meetings with our clients weekly or monthly. But we were always on Zoom. COVID hasn’t changed the way we do business.
I’m very selective about who I choose to work with, so I don’t take everyone as a client. I only work with high-caliber singles who are serious about finding “the one.”
After that, I meet with my six-person team to discuss existing matches and collaborate on making new ones.
How sessions work
We talk to clients about how they grew up, their family dynamic, siblings, country [or] city, background, their parents’ relationship, did they grow up in a home with two parents or did they experienced a divorce, their view of marriage [and] relationships, what shaped their view around love — all so we can uncover issues or roadblocks [or] patterns.
Once they become a client we do an Enneagram personality assessment to understand them and their blindspots around dating. We also do what we call “Your Love Path,” where we walk through all of their relationships up until now, [following] what they have been through.
The first meeting is about an hour to an hour and a half to decide if we are going to work together. If we work together, we schedule the next one and take it from there.
Typically someone on my team vets the client on the phone to make sure he or she is serious about hiring us. We explain that our programs start at $10K. By the time they’ve gotten to us, a lot of people have done their research and they know that every matchmaker charges over $10K. They can be floored by the charge, however, if they haven’t done the research.
What I love and don’t love about the job
I love all of the amazing people I get to work with. My clients are celebrities, politicians, athletes, and executives — and Grammy Award winners. They lead fascinating lives, and I’m truly passionate about finding them the right person to share life with. I don’t hate anything about my job, but it can definitely be stressful.
How so? Clients with unreasonable expectations, men with superficial stuff (he wants a woman with a perfect body when he has a belly). There’s so much emotion involved. I’m so emotionally invested. If I know two clients are going out on Friday night, I’m anxiously waiting to hear how it went. We match clients to clients and collaborate with other matchmakers. We have recruiters to help as well. Making love happen is not always easy!
Money and career tips
Invest in your business and your clients. When you don’t cut corners and do things the right way, it will cost you more, but it will pay off in the end.
If you want to be a matchmaker, I suggest getting certified through The Global Love Institute (formerly The Matchmaking Institute.) Study your craft. Read books about human behavior, dating, and relationships.
I [completed the courses] in 2005. I don’t know how long it takes to get certified [these days], but I know they have a home-study course and a two- to three-day course. They also have a yearly global love conference in New York in March.
“Never Split the Difference,” by Chris Voss, a former hostage negotiator.
It’s important to read any books that have to do with dating, relationships, and human behavior.
One surprising thing
Clients often think they know what they need in a partner, but they are rarely right. Almost all of my success stories are couples who were originally not excited about the match but they trusted me and met, and ended up falling in love!
On finding her own match
I met my fiance in a grocery store. We’ve been together 11 years, and I used my advice to trust my gut instinct when I saw him in the store. I tell women: If you see a man you’re interested in, don’t wait for him to make the first move. Women leave it all in a guy’s hands, but when I saw him, I went up to him and introduced myself. We talked and exchanged numbers! We’re getting married on Dec 31.