I found my niche...now how do I market it?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Mommylisa, Feb 4, 2005.

  1. Mommylisa

    Mommylisa Well-Known Member

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    Hi All

    I love doing research work...especially genealogy. Something about those musty old hugh courthouse books speaks to me. Anyway, I have been working on a small project for a gentlemen from NC. We where at the point of, "What to do next?" He calls me on Monday evening - he would like to get in touch with his (three) first cousins. He has their mother's name, the married names of two of the cousins (from way long ago - the 1970's or before!) I am thinking I will try! I did it! By Wednesday night, I was talking with the daughter of one cousin, and getting the contact information for her two aunts! Everyone was thrilled, including me! I was telling my aunt about it tonight and she said, "That's it! That is your niche!"

    I would love to do this full time from home and/or taking the boys with me and letting them help me (with searches). How do I market this to make enough money to stay home and make a decent contribution to household expenses! DH would like to start his own business in the near future (but that is another post!)

    Thanks
     
  2. Ole Man Legrand

    Ole Man Legrand Well-Known Member

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    It would help if your customers knew what state you were located in.
     

  3. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    And how far your reach extended. Like can you find people anywhere in the country, or your state, or your region?
     
  4. Mommylisa

    Mommylisa Well-Known Member

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    As for my genealogy work, I mostly concentrate in West Virginia, as I have access to records from all over the state. But with the right information I could do searches from people anywhere in the country, unless somebody didn't want to be found.

    Right now, I only advertise through a list at the archieves, and in one national genealogy magazine.

    Thanks for any ideas!
     
  5. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have been a full time professional genealogist for about 10 years now, I had 13 year of experience before turning professional. The two most important things in this field are experience and location. People who do online searches are a dime a dozen and cannot really be called professional genealogists, consequently they are not well paid. Obviously you plan to research at your local courthouse and that is a much better idea IF there are people who need research performed at your courthouse. People often wonder why we do not live further from Washington, DC and this is the reason. I specialize in the records, particularly the military records, held at the National Archives in DC and at Archives II in College Park. I also research at the Library of Congress, the DAR Library, the Maryland State Archives and the Virginia State Archives, as well as local courthouses and universities.
    So, first you need to identify which records you have access to that other people might need. Then you need to become an expert in searching those records, learn the laws that created the records, the filing system used, any gaps in the records etc. Now identify which groups of people might have a need for those records.
    You should join APG, their newsletter has lots of advice about the business end of things. The BCG has a wonderful book "Professional Genealogy: A Manual" by Elizabeth Shown Mills, that is a must have for anyone considering this profession. Other important books for your bookshelf include "BCG Genealogical Standards Manual" and "Evidence" by Elizabeth Shown Mills.
    Local genealogical and historical societies are a good place to meet others and spread the word about your services, most offer modest advertising rates for their newsletters. Some courthouses and libraries keep a list of professional researchers, see about adding our name to those. Word of mouth is the best advertisement, I turn away far more clients than I accept and can afford to be very picky about what I will and will not do. Depending upon our location you may not be able to be so picky, but if you are professional and offer a good service you should have no problem finding clients via word of mouth.
     
  6. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We must have been typing at the same time :)
    Some states require a private investigators license if you are searching for living people, you might want to check that out before you advertise too widely. If living people is your area of expertise you might want to advertise as a heir tracer. I have done some of these for lawyers around the country and it pays very well. Again, a PI license might be required and you may be required to testify in court about your findings, so precision is very important.
    Another way to get started is to sub-contract for a more established researcher. I often hire sub contractors for records and maintain a list of available contractors. If you would be interested in sub contracting work drop me a PM (same goes for anyone here) - I can't guarantee how much work I can offer as that really depends on the demand for records at each locality. For example, I never sub-contract federal census work, I do that personally at the Archives where I can see the original if need be. Mostly I am looking for people with access to records that have not been microfilmed.
     
  7. BetwixNBetween

    BetwixNBetween Member

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    See if if the genealogy websites (I think its called Ancestry.com) will let you post a notice about your service.

    Do a websearch of genealogy magazines and take out an ad. Place ads in your local newspapers - I'll bet many in your area would be interested in your service.

    Good luck.
     
  8. miclew

    miclew Well-Known Member

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    Rural Georgia
    Take a look at my homepage at http://home.earthlink.net/~lewisresearch to get an idea of the things I do.

    I agree with joining the APG. I am also currently working my way through certification through the BCG and their publications are really good. If you want to see what QUALITY research entails, then read these things. You can also subscribe to genealogical magazines and societies (take a look at my homepage and there is a list of the societies I belong to and the magazines I subscribe to)

    My area of expertise is the greater Augusta, GA which includes about 10 GA and SC counties. All of these counties are within driving distance for me. You also need a repository or two within driving distance one of which should be a Family History Center (I have a FHC and I have the Augusta Genealogical Library). If you happen to be within driving distance of either a state or one of the federal archives, even better :) It is an 1 1/2 hour drive for me which isn't bad. At least it is there if I need it.

    I too have more clients than I can handle. I am working on 3 cases now, two of which are fairly extensive.

    If you want more info, PM or email me :)

    michele lewis
     
  9. Mommylisa

    Mommylisa Well-Known Member

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    Thanks to all who have responsed to my post. You have given me some good informaiton to persue.

    I wanted to tell you that I normally don't do searches for living people. That was an exception. I have worked with this gentlemen for several months and I was pretty sure he was looking for additional genealogy information and family contacts. I contacted the lady I found in my search, and she knew the gentlemen, and was very happy to consent to exchanging contact information.

    I am currently in a paralegal program. I would like to persue working with a licensed PI. So if there are any out there in WV, or OH or Ky that needs an assistant, please contact me.

    But I really like doing the genealogy work, the best. Something about tracing the lifes of people that lived here before us. I like tputting the pieces of th puzzle together.

    Thanks again to everyone.