- Meredith Golden, 45, is a dating app profile ghostwriter who spends 12 to 14 hours a day helping clients put their best foot forward on Bumble, Hinge, Match, Coffee Meets Bagel, OK Cupid, and more.
- People pay Golden anywhere from $300 to create their perfect dating profile to $2,500 for a month of her pretending to be them online and liking, swiping, and chatting with potential matches.
- Golden says getting a match usually comes down to a great first photo and recommends online daters avoid using apps after 5 p.m. on weekends if they’re looking for a genuine connection.
- This is what her job is like, as told to freelance writer Jenny Powers.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
From professional hair blowouts to chef-prepared cuisine delivered to your door to enlisting dog walkers, people outsource everything these days. Why should finding a match on a dating app be any different?
Since I launched Spoon Meet Spoon in 2015, interest in my dating app ghostwriting and coaching services has steadily grown. It makes sense if you think about it. Not everyone has the time, patience, or even the know-how needed in today’s fast-paced digital world to do the legwork it takes to make an authentic connection.
Let’s say you’re in your 20s, your dating profile is getting lost in the sea of profiles, and you need a little something to make yours stand out.
Maybe you find yourself getting ghosted a lot and don’t know why. Perhaps you’re a working parent, and the last thing you want to dedicate your precious downtime to is swiping. You may be newly divorced and upon reentering the dating scene, you’re finding that a lot has changed. You might even be a concerned parent looking to give your adult son or daughter a helpful nudge into the world of online dating.
That’s where I come in.
I’ve always been a ‘connector,’ whether it’s suggesting a terrific restaurant, vouching for a great babysitter, recommending a job, or setting two people up on a date. Up until five years ago, I did this type of thing for sport, and never thought it could lead to a career path.
In 2015, I sent a group text to about ten friends asking them what type of work they could see me doing.
After referencing a bunch of instances where I had connected them or someone they knew with friends, jobs, and even partners, the general consensus was I should be a matchmaker. Initially, I thought of how old-fashioned the job of matchmaker seemed, then I recalled how I always enjoyed taking over the digital reins on my friends online dating profiles. For the first time, I thought ‘maybe there is something more here.’
In an effort to test drive the dating app market and determine if I wanted to commit to moving ahead with this as a business, I connected with five people, all friends of friends, and offered my services for three months at no charge.
It didn’t take long before I was convinced this was the right move for me, so after having a website created, I posted a link on Facebook announcing Spoon Meet Spoon to my network. Word got out and within days my site had thousands of hits.
I soon realized that while most people have the best intentions, even really smart people can make poor choices when it comes to dating.
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Since starting my business, I’ve learned that your first photo is what gets you a match.
Not everyone seems to be aware of this, as I’ve seen plenty of photos that would all fall under the “Don’t” category — pictures featuring exes, photos of a parent dying in a hospital bed, even an image of someone’s garden. No one is swiping right on your tomatoes, sorry. Often, I help clients select the best photo to represent them, sometimes even suggesting a professional photographer.
Beyond the photo, bios should be used to provide information on what makes you tick, not what you’re looking for in a match. Think of the bio as a cheat sheet for the reader to entice a conversation, ideally advancing a connection to a message, then a video chat, and eventually, a coffee date.
The beauty of dating apps is in the high volume of introductions they can produce.
Dating apps are about connecting, but going on dates is time-consuming. I tell my clients to consider the video chat a new step in the dating app process. It doesn’t replace a date, it’s a screening tool before meeting and answers the question ‘Is it worth leaving my home to meet this person?’
A video chat can give you more data on someone in ten minutes than messaging with them for three months — which I don’t ever recommend by the way, 10 days is the absolute maximum before moving on.
While video chats can be awkward initially, so can meeting in person for the first time. Plus, a virtual chat can save you a lot of time and travel. I suggest reserving 30 minutes for a chat but after 10 minutes you’ll know if you want to stick around or politely end the conversation. I always tell clients a great way to excuse themselves is to say they’ve got to walk their dog… even if they don’t have a dog.
A lot of people think online dating is nothing more than endless swiping, but deep down there is a method to the madness.
Between a combination of hunches, hypotheses, and tests, I’ve figured it out — at least for other people. And although I’m a 45-year-old married mother of two boys, I spend between 12 and 14 hours a day, on Bumble, Hinge, Match, Coffee Meets Bagel, OK Cupid, The League, and Tinder, on behalf of my clients.
My packages range in price from $300 to $2,500.
For The Perfect Profile, I create your dating profile for $300. Dating Diagnosis costs $600 and includes a dating profile plus analysis to determine if you’re on the correct apps, as well as a deep dive into your chat history to determine how we can improve your dating game to yield better results.
Dating Diagnosis Plus includes dating coaching on a monthly basis ($1,500 for the first month, $1,000 each additional month). Finally, I offer a limited number of The Whole Shebang packages ($2,500 for the first month, $2,000 each additional month) where I do it all — swiping, messaging, and responding until it’s actually time for you to show up for the date. In all the years I’ve been doing this no one has ever suspected it’s me on the other end and not my client. I only take five or six clients at this level a month, because it’s a lot of work.
Currently, I have five Whole Shebang clients. At the end of the day, no matter which package people purchase, they are hiring me for the same reason — because I know when to nudge, convert, and abort the mission.
To begin, clients are required to complete a comprehensive intake form so I can really get to know them. Besides the standard questions you’d expect, my questions delve deeper from the logistical (What’s the distance you’ll travel to date?) to the emotional (Do you struggle with your weight? Have you frozen your eggs?), to quirky (What’s your most embarrassing yet comical moment? What four emojis do you use most?)
I always suggest using one app at a time until you’ve exhausted it before moving onto the next one.
Otherwise, it can be overwhelming. To ensure my coaching clients get their best return on investment, I provide a detailed step-by-step list outlining specific days and times to log on, swipe, heart, initiate messages, and respond.
Overall, I recommend logging on twice daily Monday through Thursday, and once on Friday if you have to wrap anything up. Stay off the app on weekends unless you are in the process of scheduling, and do it before 5 p.m. No one likes an eager beaver.
Another tip is to avoid volleys at all costs and save them for in-person. Dating apps are not actually for dating, they are for connecting; real dating happens offline.
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The most important advice I can give is to be open and give people a chance.
Don’t be so rigid that you’re walking around with a checklist of criteria you’re looking for in a partner. Alternatively, don’t ask people what they are looking for in a partner. Every app has a filter where you can determine whether they are looking for a casual relationship, or are marriage-minded, or anything in between. Also, just because someone says they are marriage-minded doesn’t necessarily mean they want to marry you, so be sure to temper your own expectations.
It’s also never a good idea to ask someone about their experience with dating apps, like ‘So, how’s Bumble treating you?’ That’s the equivalent of showing up for a job interview and asking how the other interviewees did before you arrived on the scene.
Once you schedule a date, show up at the agreed upon time. It’s a meeting, not a frat party. Never ghost people. End the process with kindness and manners. You never know where life will take you, and people don’t forget being ghosted.
Sometimes even the most obvious things need to be stated because I’ve seen or heard about them happening.
For example, don’t be racist. I had a client excuse herself when the man she was meeting with made off-color remarks. Another reminder is to give people your undivided attention. A client of mine had a video chat with a man who was fidgeting and playing with his socks the whole time.
Once while swiping, I once encountered a profile that read ‘I don’t talk during sex because my mother told me not to talk to strangers.’ Maybe that’s amusing to some people, but I was genuinely scared for that woman.
Despite COVID-19, my business is back in full swing now. I shut down for two months in the beginning of the pandemic, but then The Today Show ran a repeat of an episode I was on, and people started reaching out again.
I’ve always worked from home, so not too much has changed. I start off the work day by messaging/responding to prospects on behalf of my Whole Shebang clients, send friendly clients reminders to respond to matches and schedule dates, create profiles, review photos, and do a lot of swiping.
From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. I have family time and then I’m back working from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. ghostwriting and editing.
The pandemic has been an isolating period for a lot of people and now they are starting to gear up to get back out there. Sometimes it’s just easier to get in the passenger seat and let someone else drive in the beginning — and I’m always ready to take the wheel.