Molly Ann Quigley is founder of Online Dating Cheerleader, a writing & coaching service dedicated to helping online daters write authentic dating profiles that reveal more about themselves than the standard schlock.
Through constant research, she teaches classes on how to use dating sites to your advantage and helps people understand the science behind the sites’ algorithms. Every day that she does this is like eating cupcakes barefoot while drinking mint flavored tea with a chevron striped straw. To learn more, please visit her website.
Your business is so unique — how did you come up with the idea of writing online dating profiles?
It was an idea which had been nagging me for a long time. Since I met two husbands online (not at the same time, mind you), I read a lot of dating profiles. Not only did I read a thousand bad ones, I also received many compliments on the one I wrote for myself. As a former sales representative for artists, I had written a lot of artist bios and had learned what a hard time people have writing about themselves. I wanted to help the online dating market since, I promise you, they need it the most.
Online dating is something people are still a bit shy and private about. How did you go about finding your first clients?
I find my clients using two avenues, since I don’t really have the budget to advertise (yet). The first is Facebook. I just put it out there that I was doing this, and people contacted me. Second, I teach an evening class that I wrote at Leisure Learning in Houston. The class is called “Online Dating – How to Love It.” Even though I explain how to write a dating profile yourself, what the best sites are, and how the algorithms work, people still hire me from the class. Between 50-70% of each class hires me to either write their dating profile, coach them through some issues or critique their dating profile and pictures. I never expected this. I was using the class as a credential tool and it ended up giving me so much more.
How do you learn enough about a client in a short period of time to really describe them and target what they would be looking for in a partner?
This is an excellent question! I send them 40 questions they must fill out and send back to me before we meet. At our meeting, we spend 45 minutes together, where I ask more questions or have them elaborate on their answers. One comment I consistently get is “I don’t know how you got this description from what we talked about, but even my friends agree, it is me.” Which always makes me happy.
I imagine a lot of people start dating online with pretty unrealistic expectations. How do you deal with that?
In the questionnaire, I ask things like, “How many dates are you willing to go on?” or “How long do you think this process should take?” This gives me a screening point to manage expectations.
It is hard for me when clients have no luck, and I am not afraid to say, there are more than a few. I wish I had a guaranteed success rate, I truly do!
Based on your experience, what are things most people are looking for in a mate?
1. Everybody that has hired me wants a committed relationship. I was surprised to see this. But on my questionnaire, I ask clients what their goals or motivations are to online date (i.e. meet people, casually date, committed relationship, marriage). Every person, regardless of age, put committed relationship possibly leading to marriage.
2. Almost every client brought up that they want to meet someone who is socially liberal (wanting equality in all things, i.e. pro-gay marriage as one example), regardless of their political or religious preferences. I found this more and more astonishing as I heard people from completely different backgrounds bring this up, as it is not mentioned on the questionnaire.
3. Every single client wanted a non-smoker and listed it as one of the deal breakers they could not live with.
4. Adjectives highest on people’s lists? Honest, Considerate & Intelligent (NOTE: not hot, young and fit)
5. Traits People Mentioned the Most? Makes me laugh & Wants to Try New Things
6. Passion everyone has in common: travel. Note: If this becomes your priority in meeting someone, I have something to say about it.
What does a day in your life look like? What are the challenges you face juggling your own business and family life?
My days change. I have strict days set for office work, days set aside for blog writing, days of the week where I meet with clients, etc. I even decided to take Friday afternoons just for myself. My hardest challenge at the beginning was learning how to work in my house full-time with two young kids, 3 dogs, a cat and 1600 square feet. There was no room for a separate office, but I designed a very workable space that suits me and our home. I have learned to write during pillow fights, while waiting at the doctor’s office or in the bathtub.
I just have a hard time switching gears from writer to household manager. In a perfect world, I would love to be a writer on one solid day, and then switch the next day to the cook, cleaner, etc. Learning to juggle and manage your time gets quite intensified when you are freelancing.
Along with writing, I work 10 hours a week for an interior designer, and I love every minute of pulling fabrics, finding tile and researching sources. In a way, this job has helped me psychologically with my work. As a sole practitioner, we can get very immersed in ourselves and worried about when the next client is going to walk in the door. Having two short days a week to focus on something else makes me a more well-rounded individual.
What is your dream for Online Dating Cheerleader in say 5-10 years?
My dream for my business in 5-10 years is to have several online guides written and offered for sale on my website, so that people who cannot come to a class, can use them. I would like to be able to teach a class with CreativeLive that could be used by 1,000s. And I’d like to write a book, because there is one in all of this, of that much I am sure.
How has becoming a mom changed the way you work? Do you think motherhood has changed your goals or approach to creativity?
Becoming a mother has increased my compassion for others, and I believe made me a more empathic listener. My daughter, Lucy, is a hopeful romantic (Note – never say hopeless) and her take on what I do is not only important to me, but it sustains me. Having this business has enabled me to be able to stay home with her when she is sick, and pick her up at reasonable times from school, which I could never do in my previous soul sucking retail life.
I credit my daughter and my husband to helping me define what was important to us as a family and for realigning my work life to compliment those priorities.
My approach to creativity as a mother is that I can create quickly. I used to think I could only create when it was quiet, or I had my own studio.
Do you have other writing projects you’re working on? I read that you used to do journalling — how do you think that experience has helped you develop creatively?
I journal every.single.day. Without fail. I have two blogs, one for this job, and another one called Little Lucy and Scooter, that focuses on creatives and promoting their work. I think always having something to write, whether it is a dating profile, a blog post or my own random personal thoughts helps me hone my skills and keeps me from experiencing writer’s block!
Fill in the blanks:
If I could meet any writer (contemporary or historical), it would be Harper Lee.
The best ideas come to me when I’m driving.
I never leave home without my journal.
If I was a superpower, my super power would be helping others tell their stories by using my writing skills.
If I weren’t a writer, I’d be a vet.