Brock Olsen: A dating coach for the modern world

Staff photo by Olivia Ross / Brock Olsen, dating coach, poses for a photo at The Westin.
Staff photo by Olivia Ross / Brock Olsen, dating coach, poses for a photo at The Westin.

For most of his life, 38-year-old Brock Olsen says people have told him that he has a keen understanding of human relationships.

Nowadays, some are paying Olsen several thousand dollars a month to help them navigate the ins and outs of modern dating. Olsen, who calls himself a professional dating coach, combines social media savvy with self-reflection strategies and real-time advice to help singles who are struggling with making connections.

Formerly a landscaping company owner, Olsen says he began his new career in 2016 after a divorce left him looking for a way to restart his own social life. (He has since remarried.) He has a small group of clients — 18 at the moment — who pay him to monitor and improve their dating lives. Although most of his clients are in Chattanooga, he has customers worldwide.

"The majority of people who reach out to me have tried and tried and are not getting the result they want," Olsen says. "They feel that they have a lot to offer, which compounds the frustration. When you think you have a lot to offer and nobody seems to want it, it's either a product issue or a marketing issue. Most of the time, it's a marketing issue."

Chatter caught up with Olsen recently to ask him about his enterprise.

Chatter: How does your personal life influence your current career?

Olsen: I realized after (a divorce) that I didn't know who I was. I really hadn't formed an identity outside of my marriage, which I think a lot of people (experience), especially young people. They are so wrapped up being a husband or a father or a business owner.

So I said, "OK, I'm no longer a husband. At least I'm a business owner. That's where my identity lies. But what if I sold my company? Then who am I?" I remember being terrified and not having an answer. I truly didn't know who I was. I dedicated myself for the next six months ... to rediscovering who I am.

I sought other coaches to help me understand my identity — life coaches, recovery coaches, other types of mentors, people who had gone through what I went through. ... One of my coaches said, "You really understand the inner-workings of human nature quite well ... Have you ever thought about coaching?"

I thought, "I think I would enjoy that." I've always been approached for advice, whether it's helpful or not.

Chatter: How does your work with your clients start?

Olsen: A lot of my work work happens before you ever go on a first date. A lot focuses on understanding yourself.

If you approached me and said, "I'm not having any luck in dating," I would ask you what your background in relationships has been like. I'm going to go all the way back to your childhood, because those relationships are going to ripple through your relationship and dating life. I'm going to pinpoint ways for you to conquer (any problems), so they are best managed when you are trying to form a really good connection with somebody.

Chatter: Why is social media important?

Olsen: A lot of people don't understand how social media plays a role in modern dating. A lot of women are able to do soft, social-media background checks to make sure somebody has mutual friends, to make sure that their content is consistent and matches what they say on dating apps. Women have a lot of risk, and they are trying to find the most suitable partner as fast as possible.

Chatter: What are some red flags women clients look for in social media?

Olsen: Men are always constantly sending direct messages to women. The first thing (women) do is see if they are in a relationship. Are they single? They're going to look at mutual friends and the type of content that you post.

They are going to look at the types of people who comment on your post. If you are a player. If you are on your business. If you are about your purpose. If any of those things don't check out, women, most of the time, won't even respond to a guy.

Chatter: How do you help men present themselves better on social media?

Olsen: Before they even go on a first date, I have helped them curate their social media so it's as attractive as possible. That doesn't mean make it inauthentic. It means showing off who that person actually is. That's something that men neglect but women really value — the story you tell on social media.

Chatter: How do you approach photos on dating apps and social media?

Olsen: I'll tell (clients) if any of their photos are doing them favors or not. If they don't have photos that are doing them justice, I will set up a photo shoot. We do setups of what their actual (typical) day looks like. Do you work on motorcycles? Well, OK, we are going to get a photo of you actually doing that. Often, for guys, our photos are really bad. ... The only time we usually get a photo is if we are at a wedding or holding a fish. That's about it.

Chatter: What are your rates?

Olsen: If you just wanted to set up a one-on-one session, it's $225 an hour. I do have custom packages, and they range from $800 to $4,500 a month. Most of my customers are at the $4,500 range.

When people reach out to me, they are wanting to have a change in their life. They have a track record that has not been successful, and they want to break that cycle. I tell them, "That's what it's going to take; that's what it's going to cost."

Chatter: At those rates, do people get real-time advice from you?

Olsen: I'm a very hands-on coach. My clients are able to reach out to me pretty much 24/7. Unless I'm sleeping, I'm going to respond. Being able to ask me real-time questions and getting real-time advice is incredibly valuable to my clients.

Chatter: Can you give me an example of something someone might ask you while they're on a date?

Olsen: People will not necessarily send me a question (while) on a date; it will be before and after — questions like "What should I text them? The date went great; should I tell them good night? Should I wait until tomorrow morning? Or should I wait a couple of days?"

Chatter: What gives you confidence that you are giving clients the right advice?

Olsen: I just have a very, very positive track record. A lot of people have gotten engaged. A lot of people are married. A lot of people are in very, very healthy relationships now.

Chatter: Without giving away too many trade secrets, what are a couple of things people can do on their own to have better success with dating?

Olsen: You need to know yourself. You need to know what your boundaries are. You need to know if you are a people-pleaser. You need to know if you have unhealed trauma. Those types of things are going to rear their ugly heads in all the relationships you are trying to have. Once you know yourself, you'll be confident enough to express your boundaries.

Journaling is one of the most powerful things you can do on your own (to know yourself). I provide the prompts to help people go through their recalibration process. Journaling is very similar to prayer.

(Brock Olsen has presence on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. His website is

  photo  Staff photo by Olivia Ross / Brock Olsen says most of his work happens before the first date, helping clients understand themselves before approaching someone else.

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