This week’s Work-At-Home Success story comes from Barbara Werner of Musical Pairing LLC. Barbara’s story is a true example of how you can turn just about any interest or experience into income!
Barbara Werner is a Chef, Author, and owner of Musical Pairing Inc. Musical Pairing® is a patented technique of properly pairing music with food and beverages – using a simple mathematical formula. It is a process that is science based, but it is the math that makes it work over and over again.
Basically, Musical Pairing Inc dinners teach guests how to elevate their dining experience either in a restaurant, at home when entertaining, or when they are dining alone. She also collects odd certifications in things. She is a licensed NJ Manicurist, has her NY State Tattoo license, has a certification in reflexology, studied massage for dogs and racehorses, and although hasn’t taken the tests yet, for this first book, she’s studied thetextbooks to be a beverage specialist. Her mind is constantly going.
1) How did you get started (basic initial steps)?
My company simply began after my second divorce, when match.com was no longer an enjoyable option. I began dining out alone, but because of the stigma that goes with that, I began to wear headphones to drown out the clanging of the plates when the waiter would invariably sweep the other place settings away. One day I was eating something I’d had a million times in my life; steak and mashed potatoes (my family comes from a long line of butchers so I know a good steak). I realized that my entire body was hovered over this filet and my mouth was drooling. It was the best thing I’d ever tasted. . . and then the track changed. Suddenly I was just eating a boring piece of beef. It had lost it’s pizzazz. But the only thing that had actually changed was the music. That set me on a 2 year search to find the answer.
Finding that answer led me to the math, which led to the patent, which led to the dinners, which led to the trademark, which led to the app and eventually the company.
2) How did you get your first client or customer or job?
My first customer was my daughter and her friends. Tasting and trying things out. When I realized I wanted to include beverages in the experience, I called her one day and asked her to go and get her bartending license, because I was studying beverages and didn’t have time to study both. She didn’t bat an eye, just said, “ok mom. But it would have to be on weekends because I work 9-5 during the week” That led to our breaking the math on beverages and really being able to elevate the entire dining experience. It also led to us being able to work and travel together.
3) How do you market your business?
We market the dinners on our website, social media venues, and a LOT of word of mouth. We also have an app and a book that we also market the same way. Having multiple arms of this project really allows us to reach a large demographic.
4) What does your usual day look like?
The funny thing is, I still have my job as a practice manager for Bernstein Medical (It’s a hair restoration office in Manhattan) in addition to being owner of Musical Pairing Inc. But we have set it up so that when I am on the road I can telecommunicate. My days are always different and exciting that way.
This past week I flew out to California on Friday for a robotic hair transplant conference, taking notes and transmitting those notes to Bernstein Medical for 3 days, while my daughter answered Musical Pairing emails, coordinated things with local restaurants where we will be having events this week, setting up social media, etc. Then we drove to Los Angeles where we are having a Musical Pairing promotional dinner at Ruth’s Chris in Pasadena.
This morning I will send you my notes for this interview, and then transmit payroll for Bernstein Medical electronically. Then we will go to the beach for an hour to go over things for the dinner tonight. We have had our business meetings in swimming pools, airplanes, walking along beaches, etc. Some really fun and unusual places.
After that we drive to San Diego and have another larger dinner for some beverage sponsors on our app, then we fly back to NYC to work our regular jobs and do the dinners on some nights and weekends.
It’s a helluva pace, but having a job where I elevate the dining experience with food, music and booze AND I get to travel around the country with my daughter? It’s the ultimate mom-daughter bonding trip.
5) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
I wish I had prepared my daughter for the amount of rejection that you are invariably going to face with a new business. You have to be ready and brace yourself for the “No” until you start to hear the “Yes”. Victoria-Lyn still takes No personally. You just have to believe in the process and what you’re doing. Ignore the negative and embrace the positive. You also have to have a strong work ethic.
6) Do you have a product/ program/ service you want to promote and what are the details
We have an App on both iPhone and Android format. We encourage people to download it, do the selections when you are going to eat lunch or dinner, or even when you are sitting at a bar snacking and share those photos of your meal with us on social media (especially when you send it through the app so we might send back other music recommendations). And we post our Musical Pairing tour on our website www.musicalpairing.com We love it when people come to our dinners. We get to answer questions one on one and they really are set up as more dinner theater than dinner, so no one should feel uncomfortable dining alone.
7) What advice would you give someone who wants to be successful like you?
Be realistic about what you can and cannot do. Look at your product/company realistically. Be ready to work a lot.
And most importantly. If you believe in your product you cannot allow the naysayers to affect you. My book, Musical Pairing: The Art of Harmonizing Music and Beverages with your Meal was rejected 17 times by literary agents, publishers, etc. Then I found Butler Books and it has been a wonderful experience so far.
8) Why did you put math to something like food?
I’ve been a geek from before that was cool. I see life in patterns and when this first started, whenever I would eat I would write down everything I knew about that dish. Then I would listen to at least 15 tracks of music until I found one that triggered me to want that dish and then wrote everything that I knew about that dish. After the course of 2 years – 2 YEARS lol. I finally found the pattern.
9) What’s next for Musical pairing and you?
Actually, we have a plan for releasing 5 books and 5 apps in 5 years. Each book and app will cover another aspect of elevating the dining experience/
To connect further with Barbara, visit
Website URL: MusicalPairing.com
Twitter Handle: @MusicalPairing #MusicalPairing
Facebook Page: Musical Pairing
Other social media
Instagram is also Musical Pairing
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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