Indiana University in Bloomington - B.A. in Psychology + Minor in Gender Studies
University of Massachusetts Boston - Master of Science in Family Therapy
Everyone's been there: Stuck with a relationship question — to call or not to call? — and unsure of what to do next or where to turn for help.
That's where Sara Sharnoff comes in.
Sara is a dating and relationship consultant. While working on her graduate degree in family therapy, Sara also worked for a matchmaking company and, as fate would have it, found her ideal career mate. While there are many one-size-fits-all dating programs, Sara recognized a need for individually-tailored curriculum to help both men and women navigate relationship obstacles with encouragement, support and compassion. She launched her own dating and relationship consulting business and now spends her days helping her clients find fulfilling relationships — with themselves and others.
Once you connect with someone on a personal level, you can accomplish anything.
How did you discover your current job?
I've always been passionate about helping deserving people find love and fulfilling relationships. I worked for a matchmaking company while receiving a graduate degree in family therapy, then I decided to start out on a new adventure and create my own dating and relationship consulting business.
What is your typical day like, and what types of things do you do in your job?
The best part of my job is that there's never a typical day! After I inhale my morning cup of coffee, I check client emails and receive their updates and answer their questions. In the afternoon and evening, I spend time meeting with clients or writing for my blog. I also engage in conversations via Twitter and Facebook to keep up with potential clients and markets. Some nights I attend networking events in order to promote my brand and make local connections.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Nothing compares to the high I feel after hearing that a client's in love, or feels better about himself or expresses optimism about his future. I feel that there's a true purpose to my work and that I'm helping men find themselves. It's thrilling to see men transform into the people they were always meant to be.
What challenges keep you awake at night?
Nothing keeps me up at night; I’m running around so much that I usually sleep like a baby!
What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?
Anyone who starts a new business during an economic recession worries about finances. It's always a risk, but in the end, not following my dreams to create my company would have been an even bigger risk. It was one that I wasn't willing to take.
What is one lesson you've learned in your job that sticks with you?
I've learned that validating your clients’ thoughts and feelings is paramount. Clients want to be heard, understood and treated compassionately. Once you connect with someone on a personal level, you can accomplish anything.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly those in your industry?
The biggest challenge is convincing clients that being a female is an advantage when it comes to dating and relationship consulting. There are many male coaches in my field, but it's equally important for women to provide their perspectives about relationships, sex and dating.
Who are your role models?
I admire Dr. Logan Levkoff, a sexologist and sex educator in New York. She always presents her point of view while showing respect for others. Her career is multifaceted and she utilizes social media as an engaging forum for relevant discussions.
What are some of the rules you live by?
Never wait for someone to give you permission to be the woman you want to be. You make the rules for your own life.
What advice do you have for women who want to be in your industry?
Women who work in my field need to feel it in their blood. Passion is essential for starting your own business and you can’t let the inevitable setbacks discourage you from trucking along. If you're interested in dating coaching or consulting, it helps to have an interest and background in psychology, family sciences, communication, writing and marketing.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I see myself hosting dating and relationship seminars around the country and I'd also like to publish a book. Or two!
What are three things you love aside from your job?
I love dachshunds, vanilla chai tea lattes and staying up very late.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I believe that moderation is overrated. Some days I stay in pajamas and work on the couch all day to recharge my batteries. Other days I’m running around Boston from place to place from morning until midnight. I’m not a 9-to-5 woman and that’s okay. Do what works for you!