You can’t put a price on love.
At least that’s how the saying goes. And while that may be true, you can still put a price on services that help others find love.
Many have tried it — from matchmakers to dating coaches. After all, as long as people have beating hearts and yearning souls, there’s a market for these products.
So before you get too frustrated trying to find your big business idea, consider this: You can take something as mysterious, intangible, and elusive as love and turn it into a six-figure business.
Here’s how four people did it, and what you can learn from them.
1. The Professional Wingman
The Professional Wingman provides one-on-one coaching to help singles build long-lasting relationships. And it all started at a bar in Austin, Texas.
One night at South by Southwest, Thomas Edwards’s friend asked him to be his wingman. In exchange, the friend offered to pay for his drinks for the rest of the weekend. Edwards accepted the challenge and helped him land a lunch date.
That’s the first time Edwards realized people would pay for a wingman. And he knew he was onto something.
Still, before turning his skills into a business, he needed to test the market. He was able to find three potential clients, and he offered to work with them for free. Once he saw that they were satisfied with his service, he turned them into paying customers.
“With that information and no experience in business, I ended up doing what most would do starting a service-based business — charge hourly,” Edwards told me.
This early strategy wasn’t sustainable, however, because it ate up his calendar. It also didn’t match his customers’ needs because they cared more about paying for the end results than the time Edwards invested. That’s when he landed on the business model that was most valuable for his clients and profitable for his company.
Results: Launching new programs to double their revenue
The Professional Wingman now offers custom, long-term coaching packages ranging from $2,000 to over $10,000. These programs help both men and women develop the social skills and confidence they need to make lasting connections.
“Revenue-wise, we eclipsed six-figures last year,” Edwards said, “and we expect to exceed well beyond that this year.”
To scale this service even further, Edwards launched an eight-week group coaching program called Fearless Dating, which he anticipates will double his revenue by the end of 2017.
The takeaway: Three clients make a business
“The best advice I got was from a friend who said, ‘One sale is luck, two create an opportunity, and three make a business,’” Edwards said. “Converting those three free clients into paying ones convinced me I was onto something big and to never look back.”
This is a catchy way of saying that you need to test the market before investing too much time and money into your business. Once you realize there’s demand, you can fully build out your company and products.
You don’t necessarily have to work for free. But you should pitch your business idea to your target audience and gather feedback. Here’s an easy and quick way to do it:
- Find one person who might be interested in your idea. Send them an email, make a phone call, or meet them face-to-face.
- Tell them you’re thinking of starting a website, business, or service around this idea. Ask them what kind of solution they’re looking for.
- Write down their response.
You should do this at least a few times. But even doing this just once can help you begin to better understand your future customers.
2. Radical Self Love Bootcamp
On Valentine’s Day 2011, style blogger Gala Darling coined the term “radical self love” in one of her posts. And, as she put it, “it spread like wildfire.”
“Women were really hungry to learn how to love themselves and not feel embarrassed about the fact that they were working on their self-esteem,” Darling told me. “I was able to marry an alternative and stylish sensibility with the world of self-help, and not a moment too soon!”
Her first digital product was her book, Radical Self-Love: A Guide to Loving Yourself and Living Your Dreams. Pulling from her own history overcoming depression and an eating disorder, Darling shared her advice for helping women transform their lives. She published it on her website and then on Amazon, where it quickly became a #1 bestseller.
Now the Radical Self Love brand includes workshops, online courses, and international retreats — all aimed at helping women embrace their flaws, flaunt their strengths, and find their passions.
Results: Earning six figures from a self-published book
After her self-published book grossed six-figures, Darling knew there was a lot of room for Radical Self Love to grow.
“I realized that if your audience loves what you make,” she said, “they will always be happy to pay for more.”
Now she’s working on her second book, traveling the world to speak at events, and changing lives in the process.
The takeaway: Listen to what your audience wants
Darling wouldn’t have known there was demand for her product if she hadn’t listened to the feedback from her readers. With their input, she was able to deliver something that met their needs but also incorporated her passion.
“The key is in listening to your audience and what they want, but also knowing that your job as an entrepreneur is to give them what they never knew they wanted,” she said. “You have to have vision, faith in what you’re doing, and above all, immense passion.”
For instance, they wanted help building confidence and self-esteem. She gave them what they never knew they wanted but were willing to pay for: books, courses, and workshops to start this process and transform their lives.
3. Linx Dating
Known as “Silicon Valley’s Cupid,” Amy Andersen founded Linx Dating in 2003 to help Bay Area professionals find love.
She first developed the idea in 2000 when she was working for a tech company, and she noticed a problem: There were plenty of eligible bachelors in Silicon Valley, but many of their bachelorette counterparts were in San Francisco.
“That was my ‘aha moment’ where I thought ‘What if I were to bridge this gap and create these opportunities for these great women in San Francisco and these great men in Silicon Valley?’” she told DatingAdvice.com.
From there, she embarked on three years of market research to make sure there was demand for such a boutique service. Once she realized there was a clientbase, she quit her job and launched her company.
For over 10 years, Linx Dating has offered matchmaking packages ranging from $25,000 to $50,000, each promising a certain number of matches within a two-year timeframe. Customers pay a high price for the personal experience and access to an elite dating network; Andersen arranges all of the matches herself, and they are always made exclusively between clients.
She also offers pre-dating coaching as well as concierge services, such as styling, makeovers, travel arrangements, gift shopping, and proposal planning.
Results: Bringing in six-figure bonuses
Given the cost of Andersen’s services, it’s safe to presume that Linx Dating has generated much more than six-figures. It’s even safer to presume this since Andersen’s bonuses often reach the six-figure mark. These bonuses are awarded when two people start dating exclusively, get engaged, or get married.
Andersen also charges more to clients who want more matches, intensive dating coaching, and VIP membership options, which include making matches outside of the network and launching private events.
The takeaway: Create a luxury product
One of the best ways to build a six-figure business is to create luxury products that your customers truly desire. And that’s exactly what Andersen did.
She didn’t just launch a dating service or standard matchmaking company. She identified an elite, high-paying, niche audience of professionals who were willing — and able — to shell out a lot of money to find love.
“Money typically is not an object — time is,” Andersen told The Guardian. “The timing is right in their life, but it’s really hard for them to find somebody, so it’s worth it to pay for that. They have achieved so much success professionally, and they want the same results in their personal life.”
To find this audience for yourself, start by asking yourself, “Who’s my luxury customer? What is it that they really need and want?”
People usually think that limiting your consumer base means limiting your potential revenue. But as a company like Linx Dating proves, that exclusivity can let you deliver custom, personalized experiences, and charge more for that service.
4. Introverted Alpha
The dating world is made for extroverts — people who flaunt their strengths, enjoy being social, and start conversations with ease. But introverts deserve to find love, too, of course. That’s why Sarah Jones created Introverted Alpha, a high-end coaching service for introverted men.
She landed on the idea while working as Head Coach for another company. After helping many different men build their confidence, she quickly realized that her best clients were introverts. And she knew there was a shortage of resources for them — a gap in the market that she could fill.
“There was plenty of advice encouraging them to be extroverts, which doesn’t work and isn’t respectful,” she wrote on her website. “There was ZERO advice encouraging them to understand and bring out their own natural introverted charm.”
To get started, she took GrowthLab’s Zero to Launch course in spring 2014 and launched her business a couple of months later.
Her main product is now Launch Your Dating Life, an eight-week program that includes one-on-one coaching, Q&A sessions, and step-by-step guides to help men attract women naturally.
Results: $150,000 in 18 months
After a year and half, Jones earned over $150,000 in revenue and an audience of almost 4,000 email subscribers. And $10,000 of that was earned just in her first month.
Before launching Introverted Alpha, Jones had trouble deciding on a career path. She’d gone to art school but was still dependent on her boyfriend after graduating, and was determined to start supporting herself.
With Introverted Alpha, she has been able to do that with flying colors, while also helping people improve their lives.
The takeaway: Build the business model that works for you
Jones changed her business model a few times before landing on the one that really worked for herself and her customers.
She used to let customers buy her pre-packaged course and complete it on their own time. She was making a lot of passive income, but she still wasn’t happy. There were two reasons for this:
- She wasn’t able to walk clients through the process and ensure their success,
- People lost motivation and failed to finish the course.
That’s when she decided to take her products off the market and devote herself to personally coaching selected groups of customers.
After making this switch, she had her best months ever, earning $32,000 in May and $42,000 in July.
If you want to drive similar growth, Jones recommends crafting a business model that lets you:
- Express yourself
- Help others
- Be smart and strategic
- Build something that outlasts you
“My intention is to have my business be such a beautiful system that’s so fine-tuned that it can continue to grow after I’m gone,” she said. “It’s not, ‘I want a little bit of extra cash.’ I want to devote myself to this.”
A business idea you can fall in love with
Whether you’re in the business of love, finance, health, or art, there are proven methods you can use to find that great idea and drive success. Just take the lessons from these six-figure companies.
Test the market before launching. Create luxury products your customers will desire. Listen to your audience, and use their feedback to optimize your business model.
With these strategies, you’ll be well-prepared to find that big idea that you, your audience, and even your bank account can fall in love with.