Thomas Edwards Jr. is the founder of The Professional Wingman, a social strategy consultancy helping singles develop better social skills to improve their professional, social, and romantic relationships. An leading expert in dating and lifestyle strategy, peers, colleagues and media have deemed him, the “real-life Hitch.” Thomas has been a FoundersCard Member since 2012.
1.) What was your inspiration to create a company that helps people succeed in the dating world?
Growing up, I was always the nerdy romantic. Through that process, I was always heartbroken in any relationship or crush I had. The final straw dropped a week after I got my girlfriend’s parents’ blessing to propose and found out she cheated on me. At that point, I had enough of disappointment and started a journey of discovering my identity, my true confidence, and making sure I lived a life full of emotional wealth and stability. I wrote a blog, chronicling my journey each step of the way, slowly growing a readership that began asking for advice. Then, one day at a bar in Austin, Texas during South by Southwest, I helped a buddy score a date at the bar and that’s when it clicked. The process I went through to become this version of myself was dramatic but because of these experiences, I could help others avoid the pitfalls and spend more time enjoying their lives.
2.) What does it mean to be a Professional Wingman?
At The Professional Wingman, we help people develop better social skills by going out with them, acting as their wingman, and giving real-time feedback on how they can make their interactions consistently better. We typically use dating as the driving force for their development because most people equate a large part of their overall success to a healthy, romantic, long-term relationship.
3.) You and your team help people become more comfortable in social situations, focused in the dating realm. Could someone use your services that is happily hitched, but still needs help with their confidence and communication skills?
We work with people in varying situations. Some of my clients want to advance their career, recover from a bad breakup or divorce, keep their current relationship growing strong or have even just moved to a new city and need to build a social life. Your quality of life is directly related to the relationships you have in it. Creating, growing, and maintaining these relationships require a variety of social skills, so it’s easy to see how mastering these skills can benefit you in multiple aspects of your life.
4.) What is the best piece of advice you give your clients?
It’s always better to push yourself and fail than to play it safe. Similar to business, when you play it safe, you could still fail. Ultimately, if getting what you want were that easy, everyone would have it. In the end, the more you fail, the more likely you are to succeed, and it starts with consistent actions.
5.) What is the biggest challenge that most people have to face when entering into an uncomfortable situation?
The biggest challenge most people face is getting out of their own head. They allow their imaginations to create thoughts and ideas for why something won’t work out in their favor. It’s important to realize that our imagination runs wild when it is afraid of the unknown. We help our clients ignore those thoughts and push through so the unknown slowly becomes part of their comfort zone and their mind slowly fades out that “psyching out” process.
6.) What is your application process like? How do you know if someone is a good fit for your program?
If you’re not willing to grow, you’re not a good fit for our services. For example, if you are just looking to get laid, not willing to push yourself when things get difficult, or are looking for a quick, magic solution, we won’t work with you. So while anyone can apply for coaching, I do a complimentary consult with each person before they join one of our programs. Typically, we accept about 50% of clients and that number has been dropping steadily. We really push to ensure the quality of our clientele is as high as the service and coaching we provide.
7.) What is the most fun part about your job?
Experiencing results happening in real-time for my clients is powerful. It’s a thrill when someone goes from a shy guy who is unsure of himself to an energetic and engaging gentleman within a couple hours. Seeing the look on a client’s face after he or she is able to secure a date’s number is priceless.
8.) Apart from the success with your company, what are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of being a product of my own service. It wasn’t that long ago that I needed someone to help change my life for the better. Fortunately I was that person and pushed myself to be who I am today. Maintaining my own identity and not taking it for granted has always been a priority and I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to do the same for those who have gone down a similar path.
9.) Does your story have a ‘happily ever after?’
Shortly, after starting my company, I ended up meeting a woman on Twitter (Laurie Davis) who was an online dating coach . I liked what she was working on and figured there was potential to collaborate and share clients since we complimented each other so well. When we finally met, we hit it off right away. The courtship process lasted a month before I finally decided her and I should date. Now, we’re engaged to be married next year.
10.) Give us your best plug about as to what you’re working on now.
Look out for my fiancée’s piece about our relationship in Glamour UK coming out in the fall. I’ll also be making my cable network debut on MTV’s Jobs That Don’t Suck, which begins airing this fall. In the meantime, I’ll be working on a book, spilling all of the things guys don’t want women to know about when dating in today’s world.
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