I became a matchmaker while working at Wells Fargo as a product manager. I loved it so much I quit my 16-year career to make it my full-time job.

headshot of Shannon Lundgren in black dress

This as-told-to essay is based on a transcribed conversation with Shannon Lundgren, a matchmaker from San Francisco, California, about what her job is like. It has been edited for length and clarity.

I’m the CEO and founder of Shannon’s Circle Matchmaking based in San Francisco, California.

During my 16-year tenure at Wells Fargo from 2005 to 2021, I was responsible for the WellsFargo.com digital experience.

The public site sees billions of visitors every year. As a product manager leader, my team and I managed the homepage, site navigation, site search experience, and financial education area for both the desktop and mobile app experiences.

I discovered my career pivot fortuitously at the peak of burnout in my corporate life

It all started in July 2012 with an issue of Harvard Business School’s alumni magazine — my business school alma mater (I went to UC Berkeley for undergrad). A fellow alumna was featured in the magazine, telling the story of her matchmaking business and bootcamp to teach others how to become matchmakers.

As a super connector, I loved connecting people for business and pleasure. It also was great timing, after 10 years at a large company I was burned out from meeting mania, endless PowerPoint decks, and spinning my wheels with bureaucracy.

After the bootcamp, which cost $5,000 for three days in Denver, I knew this was something I wanted to pursue in the long run — but wanted to minimize the risks of starting a business from scratch — so I started my business on the side.

I received my first few leads from my matchmaking mentor, Rachel

One of these became a client and I introduced her to her future husband on the third introduction.

Over time, the word spread in my Harvard alumni community and I received a lot of interest in my services. Now, my clients come from the Harvard network, Google search, and word-of-mouth referrals.

After years of successfully matching clients and working out the business plan, I made the leap to run my matchmaking business full time in June 2021. In fact, I’d grown my business to the point that I’d be making less if I stayed on with my corporate role. This made it a no-brainer to make the leap.

My day is packed with interesting conversations with singles  

I connect regularly with my clients (they pay a flat fee for an engagement time period of six or 12 months), and meet with singles I’m vetting for their search — I speak to dozens of singles for the first time every week, which gives me a good pulse on trends.

I do consultations with prospective clients for matchmaking and date coaching. Additionally, I connect with other matchmakers and my own network for my searches to find the right matches for my clients.

I also work as The League’s dating app matchmaker

The League is a great fit with my network, so I approached the founder to create a program to offer boutique matchmaking for its members. It’s been a great success.

Currently, I’m writing a book proposal that’ll be the foundation for my digital course "The Love MBA." Many times singles feel disenchanted with dating — my work here is to show them how to turn it around in their favor.

For example, part of my job is to help my clients ace the first date. I can’t tell you how many times first dates go south when they’re asked about their relationship status and delve into failed marriages, what went wrong, etc.

I remind my clients that a first date is like an interview: You want to put your best foot forward. You wouldn’t tell a prospective employer that you hated your boss or got fired at your last job, so you want to have a brief talking point ready to share your history in a positive light.

I relish the opportunity my profession provides for endless innovation and creativity  

I’ve created a Love Funnel analysis that allows singles to identify where they’re getting stuck in their dating life so they can course correct.

A top-of-funnel problem indicates you aren’t meeting enough singles, whereas if you’re stuck mid-funnel, you likely are going on a lot of first dates that aren’t progressing. A lower funnel problem indicates you’re getting into relationships for a short time yet either lack relationship skills or are selecting a person who isn’t compatible for you.

It’s always a challenge to find the right love match

It requires perseverance, hard work, belief — and a little magic.

I don’t consider my clients "tough," yet I do take on tough searches. The key is to know what searches are in your wheelhouse and which ones you shouldn’t take on.

I avoid searches that have religious-specific preferences as my circle doesn’t skew religious, so I don’t have the network to fulfill that search criteria.

My current business challenge is finding the right talent to bring on board to help me scale my business. My top need is a super-connector recruiter to help me expand my database of singles, thereby making matchmaking my clients easier.

A Harvard alumnus once heard about me and told his 30-something son to hire me 

This is my favorite success story: The pandemic lockdown had just started, so I could only meet his son via Zoom. When we started working together, his dad sent me a handwritten note that said, "Find him someone wonderful, Shannon."

I remembered that note and  didn’t give up. After dozens of introductions and months of working together virtually, I introduced him to "the one" for him, and they’ve been together ever since. Due to the pandemic, I haven’t met this couple in person yet. They’re still together and are talking about wedding plans, so I expect to meet them soon.

Like it or not, your online dating profile is a billboard for your dating prospects to get a 15-second read on you 

Invest in great quality, recent photos of yourself. I recommend a clear headshot and full body shot professional photos, but good candid shots work, too.

In a sea of profiles, share something about yourself that’s different and creates interest. Instead of "I love cooking," say "I make a mean Osso Bucco." Instead of saying I love to travel and hike, say, "My next adventure is to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu." Instead of saying I like music, say, "I’m a die-hard fan of 80s music, in spite of the riffing my friends give me."

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: What happens when you drink too much water

Perri Ormont Blumberg August 23, 2021 at 07:54PM

  • Share this post

Leave a Comment