Rich Smith/Romance Jumpstarters
Rich Smith founded his letter-writing business last summer.Rich Smith/Romance Jumpstarters
  • Rich Smith, 67, is the owner of letter-writing company Romance Jumpstarters.
  • He writes personalized love letters for Valentine's Day, anniversaries, and special occasions.
  • This is what his job is like, as told to writer Claire Turrell.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Rich Smith, the owner of a personalized letter-writing service who lives in Sacramento. It has been edited for length and clarity.

Two years ago, my wife Mireille died of cancer. During the 40 years we were together, I would regularly write love letters to her. 

After Mireille passed away, I didn't have anybody to write love letters to and I missed being able to do that.

In summer 2020, I watched the '80s romcom "Roxanne," where Steve Martin writes love letters on behalf of his inarticulate pal, and I thought to myself, "I could do that."

As I'd been a copywriter for more than 45 years, I came up with the idea of launching Romance Jumpstarters to write letters on behalf of the lovelorn

I also decided to offer a coaching service for people who wanted to learn the art of letter writing and compose a love letter themselves. 

Over the next 12 months, I started cranking out all kinds of love letters to help guys jumpstart or revive a romance. I wrote letters for birthdays, anniversaries, first dates, and more.

I now have 40 letters to choose from on my website, which are all like mini romance novels. The only letters that I won't write are breakup letters because I want to focus on bringing people together. 

Red roses can be nice, but with a love letter you're communicating on a deeper level 

In July 2021, I booked my first client to teach them to write their own love letter. Word spread through social media, people began downloading my email-ready letters, and soon I was booked to write personalized letters for about 10 clients each month.

My first letters included one on behalf of a young, single guy who wasn't very confident around women. He didn't picture himself as a high-value man, so we chatted about the attributes he had that women would find attractive. The last time I heard from him, he was dating successfully. 

I wrote another letter for a guy who realized he wasn't helping his marriage and wanted to pledge to his spouse that he'd make himself a better man.

Some clients want their letters to be more erotic than others, so I also created a rating scheme so my clients know what they're buying, from "G" for good, clean, and polite to "E" for mildly erotic. 

The key to writing a good love letter is you shouldn't be needy. No one wants to read that.

But also don't hold back — you need to say what you're thinking and feeling. 

For a personalized letter, I meet with the client over a Zoom call to learn what they love about their partner. Then I take their words and put them into a beautifully crafted romantic letter.

The final copy is sent to the client over email, but I always recommend they copy it by hand onto elegant stationery. You don't get the same effect looking at pixels on a display screen.  

I charge $99 to write a 600-word, personalized letter, while the ready-made, downloadable e-letters range from $5.95 to $19.95, about the same as you'd pay for a nice greeting card. 

I like to do the bulk of my writing early in the morning. I'm usually at peak creativity between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. After that, I answer phone calls and emails, do administrative tasks, and have Zoom calls with clients. 

I started this business late in life, but I'm pleased that I've done it

I know that a lot of people my age are on the golf course, taking cruises, or sitting in rocking chairs on their porches, but personally I feel like I'm just getting started. It's extremely satisfying to know that my letter-writing can make people happy and bring partners closer together. 

This year, I'm scheduled to write a Valentine's Day letter for the woman I'm currently dating. I've got to bring my A-game for that. 

Read the original article on Business Insider