What It's About
Following a somewhat underwhelming proposal, a government employee helps others plan marriage proposals that are bound to yield a "yes!"
Words of Wisdom
This is definitely a service with a clear market! Some of our most successful side hustles have been wedding-related, and this is certainly money to be made in the wedding industry.
Also, Michele has a great website—it's very clear what they do, they have nice visuals, and it's easy to sign up. No wonder business is booming!
Since starting 5 years ago, Michele has done thousands—yes, thousands—of proposals. Some of her favorites:
- They turned a major nightclub in Las Vegas into a Flash Mob with a singing choir complete with slideshow, Led gloves, and CO2 cannons.
- They recreated Paris by building a 9 foot Eiffel Tower made of moss, hired an accordion player, had a macaron tower, and a Parisian cafe set up.
She makes this happen by coordinating all of the logistics so that the proposer—which is not always a man, by the way—can focus on, well, proposing.
Notes from Chris
For Michele Velazquez, her career and life turned into something she never imagined. This former government contractor started a side hustle helping people create over-the-top marriage proposals. This turned into a business operating in a dozen cities and earning multiple six-figures a year. It’s also spawned two related side businesses that are also profitable. It’s been quite a journey, but it all started with her own wedding proposal—one that Michele describes as “lame.” Her aspiring fiancee thought she would like going on a cruise at Niagra falls. She hated it. He thought they’d fit right in with the other passengers … but it turned out they were all at least 40 years older than them. She liked the guy, but thought, “Surely there’s a better way.” With so much riding on the right marriage proposal, Michele sensed there might be an opportunity. So what does she actually do? The side hustle is called The Heart Bandits. The Heart Bandits provides proposal packages—templates, effectively—and complete custom proposals that range from $1,100 on up to the tens of thousands of dollars. The packages are more affordable and begin at a few hundred dollars (although they can go up to $70,000!). Whether you choose a package or a custom proposal, Michelle will arrange unforgettable experiences that can include a helicopter tour, a picnic in Central Park where a street musician approaches and sings a song just for the two of you, an improv troupe that acts out a scene which ends in your proposal, and much more. Since starting 5 years ago, Michele has done thousands—yes, thousands—of proposals. At the end of year 2, she had made $50,000. At the end of year 3, it was $120,000, and she quit her job. Year 4 was $240,000, and last year was $450,000. This is no longer a side hustle, it’s a booming business, and she handles most of it herself with just one employee—I’ll tell you about that person in a moment—and local vendors in all the different cities where The Heart Bandits operates.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- The Heart Bandits: Follow your heart on over to Michele's website to learn more about her proposal planning side hustle!
- Writing Duo Makes a Vow To Improve Wedding Speeches: Two freelance writers use their wit with words to write wedding vows for tongue-tied brides, grooms, and sometimes even the best man
- Wedding Bells Ring Brighter if the Bride’s Not Broke: A New York professional rents high-end accessories to brides who want the glam without the buck
- Chicago Psychotherapist Becomes Ceremonial Wedding Officiant: After being featured on TLC, a Chicago psychotherapist and marriage counselor becomes a ceremonial wedding officiant
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