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Matchmaking Success: A Love Entrepreneur’s Journey

By Arthur Lee The Entrepreneur Hub Arthur

Today’s article introduces Andrea McGinty, an entrepreneur with a unique journey starting in the early ’90s, before the era of Google and online dating. After a personal setback, she spotted a gap in the dating market, leading to the creation of It’s Just Lunch, a pioneering matchmaking service, and later,, an online dating consultancy.

You will gain insights into overcoming stigma, embracing new ideas, and the power of persistence. The interview covers the journey from an idea sparked by personal need to global success, including the challenge of overcoming dating service stigmas and the joy of contributing to over 7,000 marriages.

Here is what Andrea had to say in our interview:

It was 1990. I don’t even think I knew what the word “Entrepreneur” meant. I’m in my early 20’s in Chicago and 5 weeks before the wedding my fiancée…dumps me. Welcome to the world of dating again — -after initial heartbreak my friends began fixing me up — -with the sole criteria being we were both single, that’s it in common! Ugh. Plus, I’m tall and I swear they sent me on dates with every short man which made me feel like an Amazon or a giraffe.

Remember this is pre-google, pre-online dating………I’m busy with my career. Then I have my Ahha moment. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a place to go to that was like a headhunter, an exec recruiter…but for your love life? And they’d set up short meetings with you and him? And It’s Just Lunch was born. People (my brother a financial guy) looked over my business plan and told me I was crazy. But I was convinced if this existed, I would do join it.

Ok, there’s a lot in between and I won’t bore you…. but fast forward 15 years and I have 110 locations globally with $90 million in sales. And sell out to private equity.

Another Ahha moment I had a few months before I sold — — I realized online dating was finally getting its act together…. but intelligent singles were so clueless on how to navigate it and find success — — after two weeks most people give up. I knew the answer — -I could help! was born (that’s how many dates I’d set up so far in my career). So, I take it over from them navigating all aspects of online dating from choosing the right app/site (there’s over 1400 of them in the US), writing their dating profiles so they are not bland and boring, vetting their photos then helping them craft unique, fun messages that lead to real dates.

I love my clients and it’s a blast. My clients vary…which keeps it interesting from a best-selling author to a new widow to a fireman to an NFL player….to everything in between. I’m happy when people meet someone and fall in love!

What has been a major challenge you have overcome?

Hands down, the initial stigma of dating services and online dating. When I was trying to open my second location in NYC, no one would rent to me as they thought I ran an illegal business (escorts!!!!!). I tried so hard to “normalize” a new way of dating….and it took a few years but I believe even the online dating stigma is about 80–90% eradicated which makes me so happy — -even the 50–70-year-old crowd is embracing online dating and having 2nd acts in their love life

What has been your greatest achievement in your entrepreneurial journey?

Over 7,000 marriages. You know, I’m the oldest of 7 children and I think something in me always wanted to take care of others and make them happy. Of course, I’m a business person too! When my daughter was in kindergarten, and we had our first parent get together, 4 Moms came up to me and told me they’d met their spouse because of me. I called my daughter’s new friends (to myself) my little dating babies!

Can you give a word of wisdom to a fellow entrepreneur?

Don’t listen to others — -the naysayers. If you feel strongly, go for it. Don’t look back. If you have an idea, think of it this way (I have told my kids this since they were 5 or 6 years old when they’d come up with business ideas): If you have what you think is a great business idea, so do 100 other people. 10 are seriously thinking about it. 5 are writing business plans. 1–2 will launch it. Sense of urgency is important. Hire people who are way smarter than you. This will help you succeed — -do the part only you can do and hire the strong talent.

For entrepreneurs feeling doubtful or facing skepticism, remember Andrea’s advice: trust your instincts and act with urgency. If you strongly believe in your idea, pursue it without looking back, surround yourself with talented people, and focus on what only you can do. Let this story inspire you to transform your challenges into your next big opportunity.

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