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Archiver > APG > 2006-09 > 1159299531

From: "Kory L. Meyerink, MLS, AG, FUGA" <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Working capital and making a living...or not
Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2006 13:38:51 -0600
In-Reply-To: <BAY104-F300507E93AAA9667442D7DA5250@phx.gbl>

Heather, Ken, Chad, Gini, et. al.

This thread, under its various titles, may be the most important thread on
this list in over a year. It IS exactly what the P in APG is all about.
Excellent points have been made, and important questions raised. Natalie and
I have been having this discussion for years, and I am glad she migrated at
least a portion of it to the list.

Heather, welcome to the profession. I'm glad we have not dissuaded you. We
need more in the profession with your commitment to doing a fully
professional job, and understanding what the pitfalls may be, so you can
overcome them in your corner of this growing and, in my opinion, important
field of the profession (not trade, thank you Mary for posing the question).

It is precisely for the issues identified in the past few days on this list
that the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy decided to offer the course
"Operating a Successful Business." As one of the instructors, I wanted to
expand briefly on Gini's mention of it in her post.

The course was designed for current and future practitioners of all aspects
of professional genealogy (everyone under the APG umbrella). It is NOT
focused solely on client-based genealogical research. Rather, it seeks to
teach and apply good business practices to the unique aspects of work as a
professional genealogist.

Classes and roundtable discussions will explore a wide range of genealogical
business issues, including such topics as billable time management,
establishing rates, finding clients, support tasks, client relations, the
nature of self-employment, etc.

The eight instructors bring more than 180 years of experience as
professional genealogists, in a significant variety of settings. They
include frequent contributors to this list, specifically Elissa Powell,
Natalie Cottrill and Paula Stuart-Warren, among others.

January is a great time to come to Salt Lake City. The weather is milder
than you'd expect and the Family History Library is sparsely attended. But,
now is the time to seriously consider signing up, rather than waiting for
the rates to go up. This course is only offered every three or four years,
so don't wait. Besides, it's a legitimate business deduction! And, for those
who need them, you can get college and/or continuing education credits.

The link Gini gave is a good place to start: www.infouga.org/site/. If you
have specific questions, I invite you to contact me off list.

[And, thanks, Peggy, for your kind comments about my presentation on fees at
the recent PMC.]

Kory L. Meyerink, AG, FUGA

ProGenealogists, Inc.
PO Box 900188
Sandy, UT 84090-0188
(801) 596-3230
(801) 596-3380 Fax 24 hours

AG is a registered certification mark of the International Commission for
the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists.

-----Original Message-----
From: [mailto:] On Behalf
Of Heather Henderson
Sent: Tuesday, September 26, 2006 3:03 AM
Subject: Re: [APG] Working capital and making a living...or not

If you guys are trying to scare me out of my decision to become a
professional genealogist, it's not working. :) As of next Monday I will be
one of those nefarious, self-proclaimed Salt Lake Genealogists full time,
and proud of it. I've been watching you guys for six years, learning from
you and working to become one of you, and this is what I've seen:

1. The industry is fragmented.
2. The market/consumer base is uneducated.
3. The APG is full of amazing, talented people who have a product and
skills their market wants, but our industry lacks one unified voice. (As a
consumer do I want an AG? A CG? A CGLS? Who's better? Why do I have to read
6 web pages to find out who's what?) If a customer has to educate
themselves, they probably won't do it. So $10/hour sounds great because who
has time to find out why not?

I believe that by fixing #2, #1 will fall in line, including those poor
misguided souls who undervalue their services and skew the price range. Our
APG Leadership is addressing #3, and has made some phenomenal strides this
year with the "Under the Umbrella" message and the forthcoming website which
will really help boost our image and educate our customers.

With an emphasis on features and benefits in our own collateral materials, I
believe that the market will respond. I once heard someone say "if price
were the only thing that mattered, we'd all be driving Hyundai's." As we
educate our customers about why we are worth what we ask, they will believe
anyone who charges less does so because they are unequal to what we offer.

I took out a home equity line of credit to provide working capital, and put
my accountant and legal counsel on speed dial. I sleep with my copy of
"Professional Genealogy," and I am wading into the market with
determination. In 2010 the technologically savvy baby boom workforce will
retire in droves. They're going to want to preserve their history, and I,
for one, want to be ready to tell them exactly why I'm worth way, way more
than a penny a minute! I think I'll start warning them to have their
checkbooks ready right now...

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