Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Radha Patel, Founder of Single to Shaadi, located in Coppell, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Single to Shaadi is a community of marriage-minded daters looking for an alternative to the app scene when it comes to finding a true life partner. We cater specifically to people who identify as having South Asian origin but either grew up in or lived and worked in the United States/Canada. Core product offerings include matchmaking, online dating profile consultation, astrology, photos/stylists, live events, and coaching. Our approachable price point and relatability to our core clientele are what make us different from some of the more traditional Indian matchmakers in this space. Our entry-level pricing sets us apart from most matchmakers in general. Hands-on, curated referrals and a level of follow and accountability are what make us more reliable at optimizing the search process than the online dating app scene.
Tell us about yourself
Over the course of one summer, back in 2018, I had a series of single friends and family reach out to me, stating they were looking to date within the Indian community in the US, and since I seemed to be so well connected, to introduce them to potential singles as I saw fit. I even had 2 "aunties" reach out to me about various single people in their own networks, with the same thought that "Hey, Radha knows lots of Indian people; maybe she can help these kids find partners." I began to wonder what it was about me and why, now, did my network suddenly start thinking about me in terms of helping them in dating.
You see, over the years, I've shown my aptitude for networking, and my interests/hobbies have always aligned around the Indian American experience. Being a connector/influence in the Indian American community, introducing like-minded, single South Asians with the purpose of marriage was a natural extension of my skills.
So I took all of these "inquiries" and decided just to write it all down. I created a Google spreadsheet and started listing some basic components that I thought I needed in order to start setting people up within my own network, and I quickly realized that there were so many variables when it came to matching! It's not just age/sex/location but important preferences like diet and educational history, and in the Indian Community, even demographics such as religion or origin of India mattered to those who were looking to be set up. I quickly realized I needed to expand my pool of eligible singles in order to effectively match people with what they were looking for. This was essentially the brainchild on why I decided to create Single to Shaadi and my version of matchmaking, which revolves around the community approach of dating for marriage-minded people.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I am the proudest when I hear from a client that something I said to them or posted about on social media truly resonated with their experience or circumstances and helped them make a decision to move forward. Dating is hard, and technology has taken all the personality out of it. COVID made dating less social and more in your head, so actually, the biggest issue with modern dating has a friend to talk to about the process!! Single people feel lonely not only because they aren't in a relationship but because they've lost their traditional social connections to help them interact socially in other parts of their life.
When I'm able to connect with a single person and help them out of a funk or rut with their dating life, it is the most rewarding experience. Of course, when you match two clients, and you hear that they had an amazing experience on their first date is the most rewarding/validating experience of all!
I'm also proud of the fact that I've built something that is truly unique and one of a kind. We are the largest South Asian matchmaking service in North America and work with South Asians from all ethnicities, religions, gender identities, sexual orientations, or economic statuses. This has allowed us to partner with brands and companies from all over the world to bring different perspectives to our community in an effort to connect with people no matter where they are in their lives or journey. We've also attracted & cultivated an amazing staff/team that not only believes in the vision of Single to Shaadi but is passionate about working with singles and helping them find their forever love.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Imposter syndrome! You think you have a great idea and are so excited to get it out into the world, but the initial stumbling blocks of rejection really hit hard when you're still trying to validate your idea. I found myself constantly thinking: "Am I the right person to do this?" Or "Why would anybody trust me? I've never used a dating app?". I had to take the advice of "fake it until you make it" to heart which boosted my confidence and allowed me to prioritize working with clients that validated what I was doing and made me feel good about the way I was helping them. I had to come to terms with that, meaning I can't help everyone all the time. Every time we expand our services, create new products, partner with collaborators, or bring on new team members, Imposter Syndrome creeps back into my subconscious all over again. I practice gratitude and meditation to self-validate my work and vision and give myself the boost to continue working on the business I know is doing great work.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Don't be afraid to ask for help. There's always so much moving and changing in the world of Business and Technology that asking the right questions to the right people will end up saving you so much time in the long run. I know I'm a networker at heart, but I utilized these skills when I was starting off by surrounding myself with successful South Asian women who weren't just in the matchmaking space like I was but were doing amazing entrepreneurial endeavors such as coaching, starting their own media companies, designers, and so much more! Having a tribe or a village just to bounce ideas off of or get recommendations from will save you so much time in the long run versus just going it on your own and learning through trial and error.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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