May Bugenhagen has been a boutique matchmaker and relationship expert since 2009. She’s passionate about setting up friends, family, and clients and loves playing Cupid. She’s always been nosy about people’s love lives and becoming a Professional Matchmaker was an easy transition because she loves helping people find the love of their life. Being a professional Cupid is an unusual job but May’s always had an interesting life.
In 2007, May got tired of the corporate world and decided to move to New Orleans to help her brother with his own business of selling kitchen cabinets and countertops after Hurricane Katrina. She saw how he was self-motivated at being his own boss and May decided that she can be her own boss, too. But, what field should she get into? Sales and interpersonal relationships were always her strong suit.
May started doing research online and found a place to get started as a Professional Matchmaker (The Matchmaking Institute, now called The Global Love Institute). After two years of reading tons of relationship and dating books, finding some mentors in the industry, connecting with other matchmakers, working on her website, and attending conferences, May was ready to get started.
May’s typical day, in her words:
“I usually get up in the morning, eat breakfast, go for a walk with my dog, meditate, and get ready for work. Because I only search for 8-12 clients at a time, I really have time to focus on their matches. I go through the list, see who needs a match, see who I need to get date feedback from, and follow up on anything that is important. I look for new profiles that were submitted by women. Contact them to meet them if there is a good match for them. Check to see if I got any new male leads. Contact them if they are interested in working with a matchmaker.
The rest of my day is filled with client interviews and meetings with potential matches for my clients. I meet with everyone via phone or zoom to find out more about them and who they are looking to meet. I touch base with the clients via text, email, or a phone call. I’ve been working virtually since 2009 so COVID hasn’t changed the way I do business.
I’m very selective about who I extend a membership to and become a client. I don’t take everyone as a client because I do not want to stress out if I cannot find them great matches. When I interview someone, if I cannot think of at least 3-4 women for them off the top of my head, I will not sign them up. When I started my business, I vowed to not get stressed out. I only work with high-caliber singles who are serious about finding a partner. I do not take on clients who want to date around.
My favorite part of finding someone a partner is to look into my own database and also collaborating with matchmakers across the U.S. and Asia. I meet with other matchmakers via Zoom or phone to connect with them, talk about my clients I’m searching for, and connect with someone who might be a good match for my client. I interview matches suggested by other matchmakers, recruit women on LinkedIn, social media, and all over, leaving no stone unturned for my clients.
When I talk to clients, we get into the nitty gritty. How they grew up, their family dynamic, relationships with their siblings, their background, their parents’ relationship, what they are looking for now, their view of marriage and previous relationships, what shaped their view around love, dealbreakers and must haves. We talk about everything.
I explain that the programs start at $10K. If they are serious about hiring a matchmaker, they should know it is for someone who values time more than money. If they are doing their research and vetting other matchmakers, they know that quality matchmakers charges anywhere from $10K-$25k, with some even more. Most of our clients are in the $15,599 range.
Once they become a client, I schedule a session with a photographer. I get more detailed info about them and put together their dating profile. Once I receive the photos, I put their profile together and do a search.
The rest is all about my strong work ethic, my ability to connect with others to find them matches, and a little luck!
I love all of the amazing people I get to work with. My clients are executives, business owners, partners of a law firm, doctors, dentists, and the like. They lead fascinating lives and are often too busy to find love on their own. That’s when they enlist the help of a Professional Matchmaker. I’m truly passionate about finding them the right person to share life with.
Clients with unreasonable expectations or who focus on the superficial stuff usually will not find a partner through me. If they are truly into finding someone great and realistic about who they are seeking, then I can help them. Clients often think they know what they want in a partner, but I find them the person they need. Almost all of my success stories are clients who are open-minded and try to meet 100% of the matches I suggest to them.
Finding your partner also has to do with timing. I met my husband at my previous job. We’ve been together since 2007. I was a late bloomer. I got married in my mid 40s. It’s never too late to find love. I tell men and women who want kids to not be so picky. The attributes you’re looking for in a partner when you are in your 20s and 30s are so different than what is truly important when you’re in your 40s.
Give love a chance. Say YES to everyone who is excited to meet you!”