Patti Stanger: The key to success is 'go with your gut'

The TV reality star from 'The Millionaire Matchmaker', Patti Stanger, has struck gold with her own exclusive dating agency, Millionaire’s Club.


Patti Stanger: Use meditation to clear your mind

If you're an avid fan of reality TV, you might already be familiar with Patti Stanger, the star of The Millionaire Matchmaker. Most matchmakers are aimed at the wealthy but Stanger is by far the most focused. Her most expensive packages cost up to $100,000. Stanger came up for the idea for the niche service in 1999, while working for dating services company Great Expectations.

Her role was in marketing, but she ended up helping some of the most demanding customers which gave her the idea of setting up her own bespoke service.

So in 2000 she decided to go it alone, launching the Millionaire's Club in Los Angeles. She knew that she would need a high profile to attract the sorts of clients she was after. Her big breakthrough came a year later, she says, when an article in glossy women's magazine Marie Claire "put us on the map".

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE

Get 6 issues free

Sign up to Money Morning

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Sign up

She continued to publicise the agency by making regular appearances as a relationship expert on late-night shows. It paid off when several TV companies approached her to do a show on matchmaking. After lengthy talks, at one point involving X Factor impresario Simon Cowell, The Millionaire Matchmaker finally aired on the Bravo channel, in January 2008.

She admits that the show, currently in its eighth season, was initially a mixed blessing for the business itself her "feisty" on-screen persona actually put some customers off. However, word of mouth from satisfied clients helped her to regain lost ground, while many of those who had taken part in the show chose to extend their free week-long membership (given in return for taking part) and sign up as full clients.

She now employs 20 staff to help her deal with 150 paying clients a year, producing a turnover "in the millions". It's demanding work her millionaires (of both sexes) get advice on everything from dating tips to the right car to buy, and she is constantly on call, "like a doctor". The number of Silicon Valley tycoons in her club also means she needs to be "tech-savvy".

Patti emphasises she runs her club on traditional principles: "no sex before monogamy" is one of her rules. She claims a 99% success rate, and has matched everyone from college students to 80-year-olds. She also works withthe Matchmaking Institute, run by former assistant Lisa Clampitt, to promote the industry and encourage people to become formally trained. She is currently in talks with a British TV company about doing a show on this topic in the near future.

As much she loves the job, she set up her company to make money, and is open to offers for the Millionaire's Club though she says she would still want to be involved as a company ambassador even if she did sell.

Meanwhile, she is pursuing her dream of getting involved with the wine industry, launching her own "PS Match" wine in conjunction with Prairie Creek Beverages. Her advice to entrepreneurs is to "go with your gut" and use meditation to clear your mind for big decisions.

Dr Matthew Partridge

Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.

He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.

Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.

As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.

Follow Matthew on Twitter: @DrMatthewPartri