Last year I spent over $25,000 getting my first book published, edited, and marketed. I made $10.51 in sales. That could be a failure, or that could be the beginning of something extraordinary. It all depends how you look at it.
Toni Rae is the third of four daughters, and has grown up doing the opposite of what everyone expected her to do. She is from Kansas City, MO and currently residing in NYC with her boyfriend, professional squash champion, Damien Mudge. When keeping her unreliable, successful career was an option in 2008, she chose against it. When debating whether or not to keep her boyfriend who was madly in love with her in 2010, which she knew wasn’t the one, she chose to be alone again. She doesn’t settle. In fact Toni thinks the worst thing you can do in a relationship is get “too comfortable” – it’s actually not good to be too comfortable. She believes that people whom are too comfortable stop exercising, stop trying to impress each other, stop dating, start gaining weight, stop surprising one another, stop chasing each other, basically stop doing the things that mattered when the two found one another. In a perfect world, Toni would tell everyone to be uncomfortable for a little bit. She is not only an author, but a real estate investor, a retired model, a realtor, a retired English teacher in South Korea, and a Romantics Mentor. She chooses clients that need help with a plethora of issues, and her degrees in Social Psychology, with a Master’s emphasis in Marriage, Couple and Family counseling, help with that. Her assertive approach has given her recognition with the NY Times, Last First Date, LA Talk Radio, The Love Channel, Erika Finn, and even becoming a blogger for the Huffington Post out of the UK. There is more yet to come for this young dating expert.
Her second book “The Wo Code” is coming out July 2014.
Where did the idea for becoming a dating and matchmaking coach come from? What does your typical day look like?
Actually this idea came from the lack of knowledge when entering the dating world myself, and a friend of mine, Anthony Recenello of Wolf and Garden. He is the “Hitch” of NYC for men, and I am well on my way to be the “Hitch” of NYC for women. My typical day is spent working from my MacBook, sipping organic carrot juice, writing, interviewing candidates at a private artists’ club, and basically just finding people to fall in love with each other, in a nutshell.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Bringing ideas to life is like a sparking a match on fire. The idea only lasts so long, and before you know it, the fire burns out and someone else has already brought it to life. I bring ideas to life by making things happen, not waiting for the idea to make sense or become possible. Sometimes you have to use your vision, with other people’s resources. But where there’s a will, there’s a way.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The most exciting trend in my opinion is that there are no trends anymore. Most people are going their own ways, breaking out of the mold that society tries so hard to press upon us. A college degree no longer equals success, people without degrees are millionaires, whilst juris doctorates are bartending. Trends used to be cool because everyone was doing it, now doing your own thing and finding your own perfect niche is way more admirable, and some might even say, cooler.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Discipline. A lot of people talk about what they’re going to do, just to wake up every day and never actually do it. I have managed to discipline myself to accomplish more than the average person. Whether that’s a 10-2 shift of writing, or a 6-10 shift of networking, I just do it.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
To be honest, I have never had a bad job. My first job was a grocery sacker, and I loved it. Then as a cashier, then as a retail sales associate, and then into a marketing director role of a large tech firm. I have been an English teacher in South Korea, a horse guide in Palos Verdes, California, a dental assistant in Kansas City, MO, a hotel director in North Dakota, and currently an author and dating/matchmaker coach in New York City. I am thankful when there’s work, and I love to get my hands dirty. I actually quit my marketing job in LA making $80,000 a year to ride horses and shovel horse manure for a couple hundred dollars a week. That’s insane right? But I was happier.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
That’s almost like asking, what do you regret? And the answer to that is nothing. Look, we all make mistakes, but that’s the way we learn. I’m not saying that an easier path to becoming a Romantics Mentor doesn’t exist, I’m sure it does, but I love what I do, and I love my clients, and for right now, that’s enough.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I recommend everyone makes a vision board and a list of goals. I have done this over and over again all throughout my life and you would not believe the things that have happened, nearly overnight. Making a vision board gives you the imagination of a young child, you are literally creating what you want your life to look like. And if you believe you are worthy and believe that the universe will unfold before you in a positive and gracious way, it will. Your thoughts become your reality, and I recommend everyone monitor their thoughts.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
The best strategy to growing a business is word of mouth. People that have a good experience with you, will tell other people about you. So I have always gone above and beyond for my clients, where others tend to fall short, I fill in that gap with more challenges, more inspiration, more guidance and more love. People want to love and be loved, and if someone is telling you they don’t, they’re lying.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
As the great Micheal Jordan once said, “I have failed over and over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed.” Last year I spent over $25,000 getting my first book published, edited, and marketed. I made $10.51 in sales. That could be a failure, or that could be the beginning of something extraordinary. It all depends how you look at it. Michael Jordan could have given up basketball every time someone turned him down, but instead, he chose to persevere, and succeed.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Open up an organic juice shop lounge, with chic vintage sofas, mason jar candles, chandeliers and a wooden bar. Call it, “Vintage Skinny Juice” – people are into vintage, into juice and into skinny. Serve everything in glass jars, keeping costs down, and offer protein shakes in fancy glasses at the bar. Make it a relaxing, warm, welcoming environment. People pay $10-11 per organic juice here in NYC. This place would make a killing. And let me know because I’d love to be a regular.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I claim to hate things I secretly love. I claim to hate coffee, but an iced white raspberry mocha is like having a mouthgasm to me. I also claim to hate chocolate, and for the most part I don’t like chocolate, but those Brookside Dark Chocolate Acai Berries, forget about it. I’m obsessed.
What software and web services do you use?
I am all Apple, turns out it really is the best. So I use Microsoft applications for MAC and I use GoDaddy for domain hosting. I also use Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest on occasion.
PS. Have you heard of the Apple TV? It is simply the best, you can cancel your cable now, and use Netflix and Hulu. You’re welcome.
What do you love about them?
I love GoDaddy because it’s easy and renews annually, and it’s not expensive at all. You can purchase your domain and host it annually for $12, cheap right? I love the social media sites for what they offer, and because they keep me in touch with fans and clients on a social level that is easy to navigate regardless of age.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
You should read my book, “I dated this guy once…” because I was young, sexy and immature, and it’s basically like reading my diary, which means its happy, sad and entertaining. Yes that’s why.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Albert Einstein and his theory of relativity. “The special theory of relativity was based on two main postulates: first, that the speed of light is constant for all observers; and second, that observers moving at constant speeds should be subject to the same physical laws. Following this logic, Einstein theorized that time must change according to the speed of a moving object relative to the frame of reference of an observer.” This theory then equates that there is no time, time is only an illusion, a made up concept that humans use in order to create consistency in our modern world. Therefore, millions of years in space, could be only a few hours here on Earth, it is all relative to the observer. That’s something to think about.