Finding that perfect match in your work life is just as important as your love life, and no one understands that more than our NJMOMprenuer of the week, Michelle Frankel. As an attorney, Michelle just knew her heart wasn’t into the law—she was more interested in setting up her colleagues on dates than writing briefs. But when those set-ups turned into successes (her boss met his wife through her), Michelle made a life-changing decision—quit law and get into the business of love. Now Michelle has found her match, having turned a passion for connecting people into a career at New Jersey Matchmaking, a premier boutique matchmaking and dating coach service where she’s known as the CLO (Chief Love Officer). Here she tells us how taking a risk is so worth the reward, the one thing single moms should do to get back in the dating game and the Bergen County park that’s a must-see in every season.
Featured image via Julie Flemming
Chief Love Officer & Certified Matchmaker of New Jersey Matchmaking & NJMOMpreneur Michelle Frankel
NJMOM: Where do you reside with your family in New Jersey, and where is New Jersey Matchmaking located?
Michelle: We live in Upper Saddle River, and the New Jersey Matchmaking office is in Ridgewood—right on East Ridgewood Avenue.
NJMOM: You’re a certified matchmaker for women and men in New Jersey. How did you start your job as a matchmaker?
Michelle: So, I’m an attorney by trade. And I like to joke that I traded in the law for love. I lived and worked in Washington, D.C. as a lawyer, and I had just broken off an engagement. I was single and decided to make this my Sex and the City moment, so I moved to New York City. Once I got to the city, one of the partners I worked with at the law firm was single and 40 and fabulous, and I couldn’t wait to set him up—I introduced him to the woman who would be his future wife. After that, everyone in the office would ask me for help and I was more interested in that than law. It was much more exciting and satisfying to receive emails from people I set up who were thanking me for changing their lives. As time went on, I realized that I was much more passionate about matchmaking than practicing law, and so I took a risk and gave up my career after 10 years of practicing.
NJMOM: How do you go about finding the perfect match for singles in New Jersey?
Michelle: That’s the question that everyone is dying to know, right? At New Jersey Matchmaking it’s not paint-by-color, and we don’t have a menu. When clients come to me, we really take a deep dive into who they are and what experiences have led them to where they are today. The process for men and women is totally different. With men, there typically has to be physical attraction off the bat. A client can tell us who they are attracted to but finding qualities to fulfill long-term compatibility is much more complicated. We really take the time to ask and answer the question, “What makes you happy?” for each client. We learn what the client wants and what they are truly seeking as their end goal. We put a lot of thought and time into hand-picking their matches and then coordinating all the logistics for the date. After, we’ll sit down with the client and offer objective feedback, giving them valuable insight that they normally wouldn’t have.
Whether it’s finding your perfect mate or anything else in life, if you keep an open mind and have an open approach, something good is bound to happen, ” Michelle Frankel, New Jersey Matchmaking
NJMOM: Do you have any advice for single moms trying to find their match?
Michelle: I believe if you’re single and seeking, you should be online. It’s funny because our main matchmaking service at New Jersey Matchmaking is a very personalized, curated and vetted screening approach to matchmaking. We get to know our clients extraordinarily well. But we also help our clients create and manage their online dating profiles if that’s something that could benefit the search. We offer tips for online dating, recommendations about sites and photo sessions. You might not meet your partner that way, but if you don’t do it, it puts you at a disadvantage. A lot of single moms are reluctant to go online, but I say to go for it and market yourself. And don’t be embarrassed to network with friends and say “hook me up” with someone amazing—you never know where it could lead.
NJMOM: Aside from matchmaking, you’re also a mom—do you have any tips for achieving a work-life balance for other NJMOMpreneurs?
Michelle: My husband is teaching me to achieve a better work-life balance. When we get home from work, we both stop right then and there and enjoy our time together as a family with no interruptions. If there’s work to do, we can do it at the end of the day after we’ve seen each other a little bit more. I also believe in taking time by yourself to just focus on something that you want to do—it can be an hour at Orange Theory or just running to Dunkin’ Donuts and getting a cup of coffee.
NJMOM: What’s the most challenging part about being a matchmaker?
Michelle: The most challenging part for us is convincing the clients that they need to let us control the process. A lot of our clients are successful men and women who’ve achieved a lot but haven’t been successful at love. It’s hard for them to let go of the reigns completely. We have to remind them that they’re here because what they are doing isn’t exactly working and that we genuinely want to help them. I manage expectations by getting people to let go of their criteria and persuade them into keeping an open mind. Whether it’s finding your perfect mate or anything else in life, if you keep an open mind and have an open approach, something good is bound to happen.
NJMOM: Name your favorite spots in New Jersey.
Michelle: My husband, myself and my daughter love Demarest Farms in Hillsdale—or any farm, for that matter. I’m also a huge fan of Van Saun County Park in Paramus. We’ve been going there forever, from their “Zoo Boo” at Halloween to their “Winter Wonderland” festival. They have a carousel, a huge playground, a train, pony rides and animals, as well as seasonal activities like sledding—it’s so wonderful.
NJMOM: Do you have any advice for other NJMOMpreneurs who are just starting out?
Michelle: Recognize what you want, your strengths and how much time you have to commit. I got a call recently from a matchmaking competitor who admitted to me that she is better working for someone else, and asking if she could work for my matchmaking company instead. That was a big compliment to me, but it was also good for her to realize that she wanted more balance in her life. You should learn your strengths and weaknesses and surround yourself with smart people. There are only 24 hours in a day and when you get to the end, no one ever wishes they worked more—so savor it and work on that balance.
To learn more about New Jersey Matchmaking, visit their website.