Interview with Laura Smyth, founder of Match Made in Scotland
Read our interview with Laura Smyth, founder of Match Made in Scotland, Scotland’s only matchmaking service.
What’s your career background?
I worked in recruitment for 10 years predominantly in oil and gas, engineering and finance.
Also, in my spare time I volunteered for Girl Gone International, a not-for-profit organisation for helping ex-pat women find friends when they move to a different city. I set up their Aberdeen chapter and I was community manager of their Edinburgh Chapter.
Where did the idea for Match Made in Scotland come from?
The idea came from a conversation with my friends during the first lockdown.
They were all successful women in their 30s who were becoming demoralised with their dating lives. They were living alone, working in front of screens all day then moving over to their phones and spending all evening swiping left and right. One had just come across her boss and another had gone on a socially-distanced date with someone who had lied about who he was.
The third couldn’t use apps because of her job. I suggested they use a matchmaker and, when we looked it up, there was no one offering this service in Scotland. I felt there was a real need for the service.
How did you move from idea to actual business?
I had never run a business before so I attended a lot of business courses through Business Enterprise on everything from bookkeeping, marketing through to social media management and data analytics. I did everything on a shoe string, from building my own website, designing my own logo to doing my own market research.
I carried out a survey on a sample of 500 single people across Scotland to find out what their issues were with online dating, so I could see how to provide a solution. I started networking and speaking to other business owners and then took the leap to launch on National Singles Day in 2020.
What’s your USP?
We offer the only 100% offline, personal introductions, matchmaking service in Scotland. We also vet people to ensure they are who they say they are and ensure that their photographs portray an accurate image.
When I surveyed single people in Scotland the biggest issue with online dating was ghosting – cutting off all communication without explanation. This isn’t an issue when you have an intermediary like a matchmaker. The very nature of the business means that it attracts serious people looking for serious relationships.
What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
I knew that I wanted to do this – and that I could do it – but my personality and self-doubt had the potential to hold me back. I don’t like being centre of attention and I naturally hate photos and videos of me but I knew that, if I was going to embark on this business, I had to put myself out there. People had to get to know me and to trust me.
I said yes to every opportunity that arose. I was invited onto dating podcasts, BBC Radio Scotland, to do news articles and I would do Instagram lives on a weekly basis with other experts. I speak openly and honestly about the issues people are experiencing with dating and my personal struggles with imposter syndrome.
I realised that my scarcity mindset was holding me back and that I need to let go to let the business grow.
And your proudest moment so far?
I have just recently been nominated for Young Entrepreneur of the Year – something, which if you had have told me two years ago would happen, I would have laughed at the idea. Even being called an entrepreneur didn’t sound like something that applied to me but I’ve now grown to love and embrace the fact that what I am doing is entrepreneurship.
I’ve also been accepted onto the RBS Accelerator scheme which helps entrepreneurs take their business to the next level and I’ve been recruiting for another matchmaker to keep up with demand for our services.
Why is work so important to you?
I just love helping people. What is more satisfying than helping people to find love? I love seeing how my clients’ confidence grows with every match and every date. I get to live and contribute to every love story.
Who inspires you?
All the entrepreneurs who I have met along the way. Those who have had an idea and taken the risk to leave the stability of their permanent job to bring their little stroke of genius to the world.
I love hearing others’ stories and journeys of how they got to where they are. I have surrounded my self with other positive, first-time business owners with whom we celebrate each other’s little wins and show support in any way we can, whether it be a sounding board to bounce ideas off of or to engage in their social media to help boost their profile.
I am a true believer that you get back from the world what you put out.
Find out more about Match Made in Scotland.