Karen Mooney 40, lives with her family in Surrey. She runs a dating agency.
There aren’t many jobs where you can go into work in the morning and feel that, by the afternoon, you’ve changed someone’s life for the better. But I like to think that’s what I do on a regular basis.
I was while I was nursing a broken shoulder at home in 1988 that the idea came to me. The friends who visited – all attractive 20-something women – would all talk about the same topic: that they found it difficult to meet a man.
I hatched my plan to start my own matchmaking business. I drew up a business plan, left my job in the Royalty and Diplomatic Protection Department at Buckingham Palace, and with £2,500 savings started Sara Eden Introductions (it means royal princess in the garden of love and paradise!). I had 50 people on my books at first – all friends and friends of friends – and charged them £50 each.
Then I asked the bank for help to expand. The manager took a chance and loaned me £16,000 to set up an office in Windsor. Luckily, the agency went from strength to strength. I now have a second office in London, 14 employees and about 2,500 clients on my books.
Within a year of starting up I’d paired up my best friend and married her off. The next year, five other friends tied the knot thanks to my matchmaking skills. To date my agency has brought about over 1,500 weddings, that we know of as not everyone tells us.
At one wedding I was invited to, the bride’s father got down on one knee and thanked me for finding someone who’d put up with his daughter! But I don’t get it right every time. Once, when I recommended a guy to a woman I felt sure she’d get along with, he turned out to be her ex-husband.
My job is so rewarding. One day, I’ll see a woman who’s sure she’ll never meet Mr Right; the next, someone walks into my office – and I just know he’ll turn her life around.