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ulie Wadley says she’s not the next “millionaire matchmaker or a ‘Black’ Patti Stanger.” Instead, the founder of Eli Simone, said she’s a “love coach” who helps people “find and receive lasting love.”
The love liaison said she found her new career by following her heart, making room for both work in Corporate America and her new business. While she admits she’s risking it all, Wadley said she’s never felt more alive. And with seven years of marriage under her belt, the wife and mother said she is on a mission to fulfill her “own ability to love,” and to show others that “love is not just a dream – it can be a reality.”
MadameNoire: What is the most important thing about your business?
Julie Wadley: The most important thing that my matchmaking and coaching firm does is empower people to build solid relationships. It’s more than just helping people find a match. Most people don’t have a problem finding someone they are attracted to, but finding a good partner and a person that is ready and willing to maintain a successful relationship is more challenging. There are a lot of people that really want to be in healthy relationships and either can’t, or won’t, or don’t know how. What I want to do is take someone and say what are your goals? What do you want out of life? What is your life vision? What are your requirements? And what are your needs versus your wants? Once I get that I can talk what type of person would be the best fit for that relationship and that lifestyle.
MN: How long have you been in business?
JW: I founded Eli Simone in November 2013 and I officially opened this past January. I think the biggest challenge thus far is that people – men especially – don’t allow themselves to be vulnerable enough to say, ‘yes, I need help with love.’ When I tell people I am a matchmaker, they are intrigued but many people say they don’t need help. I think people just need to let their guard down a bit and allow someone to make them the best person they can be in order to find a partner.
MN: What did you do before? Or are you juggling multiple careers?
JW: I graduated from the University of Virginia in 2002 with a Bachelor’s of Science in commerce. I also concentrated in marketing, so I graduated thinking I was going to be a hot shot business person and then in 2001, the economy crashed. When the market burst, it wasn’t as sweet as I thought it was going to be and it became really hard to do something I both enjoyed and could get paid well for. I was becoming burnt out and bored to tears. I started to think that maybe there was something else out there meant for me to do. So, I put my degree to use in a different way and created Eli Simone which is something I am very passionate about.
MN: How big is your staff?
JW: There is just Julie right now. But I think the next few years will be interesting. I want to hire more coaches – people who are adept at helping others achieve the goals that they want in life. I want my coaches to help clients in all aspects of life and embrace my tag line which is ‘bringing love to life.’ And I think if my staff and I can follow that motto, it will bring health and love to my business.
MN: What are your plans for your business’ future?
JW: Eventually I hope to grow internationally. Right now I’m handling the Carolinas and I can’t wait to branch out into different states. In order to spread the word about Eli Simone, I have been embracing social media marketing and using Twitter, Facebook, MeetUp.com, and I built my website. I’ve also been doing radio spots and I may even do a regular segment on radio that fits my market. I have two TV spots coming up as well on WCCB TV – one on March 21st and another April 7th.
MN: Does being a business owner of color affect how you run your business?
JW: I am a Black female and it’s true that you don’t see a lot of African American women doing this. You really see just what is on reality television – and that is Patti Stanger, and then you have author Rachel Greenwald as well. A lot of Black folks know Paul C. Brunson but I want to distinguish myself from all of that and show people what I can really do to help them. It’s funny because a lot of people that meet me for the first time think that I only service African American’s. Don’t get me wrong. I always have a special place in my heart for my people. But just because I am Black, doesn’t mean that I’m only serving Black clients. This is not a gimmick and I don’t want to be the ‘Black’ Patti Stanger. I’m going to be Julie who happens to be a matchmaker.
MN: Why start Eli Simone in the Carolinas? What makes this region unique?
JW: Well first off I live here and my family is here and I know the area really well. But, I think also, the South is a little more traditional than New York or L.A. There is a lot happening in those cities and but when you are in the South things are more routine, traditional and there are a lot more men and women that hold similar concepts of courting and see that there is value in talking about relationships.
MN: What advice do you have for someone starting out in business?
JW: First off you make sure you have a strong team around you. I couldn’t do this without the support of my husband, my family and my friends. The second thing is — don’t give up. It’s true that most small businesses don’t make it past five years, but don’t start out with a negative tone. Paul C. Brunson said it best, ‘Fail fast so you can succeed faster.’ Also, don’t limit yourself or your potential. You can be practical by saving money and sticking to a budget, but be your own visionary as well. I’m a dreamer but I make sure my business is tight. I’m the only one that can make sure I know my business inside and out. So that’s what I do.
MN: Do you have any regrets about cutting back on the 9-to-5?
JW: Absolutely not. I have never been this alive in my life and even though I’m stressed as hell, I’m also excited. You only live once and I take that so seriously. Why not go out there and do something that’s going to make you happy. I don’t want to be 80 years old and say I worked the hell outta that 9 to 5. Instead, I can be proud that I helped somebody with their life. I helped someone find the person of their dreams and someone else come out of a tough situation. That to me is amazing and is something I can be proud of. No amount of money in the world can give me that feeling.