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Archiver > APG > 2009-04 > 1238902751

From: <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Ancestry and professional genealogist project
Date: Sat, 4 Apr 2009 22:39:11 -0500
References: <2dd401740904041027g60fd076by3db5d8de130fc439@mail.gmail.com><25274889.832951238868191780.JavaMail.root@mbs7.homesteadmail.com>
In-Reply-To: <25274889.832951238868191780.JavaMail.root@mbs7.homesteadmail.com>

>bottom line:
>To use simple numbers in an example:
>If a genealogist charges $20 per hour for a 10 hour project = $200
>If that project generates $20 in docs
>If that project generates $30 in mileage
>If that project generates $5.00 in postage
>we have a $255 project with all proceeds going to the genealogist.
>*If* the genealogist does the same professional project thru Expert.Ancestry, *and* Ancestry takes 25% off the project *total* - genealogist now gets $191.25 instead of $255 and Ancestry gets $63.75. That's now $15 an hour and a 25% loss on the out-of-pocket.

Every self-employed professional has to consider that bottom line.

Several who have addressed this issue today point out that they have all the business they can handle. It seems to me *that* point is a critical issue in this discussion--i.e., whether we have already built a business that meets our needs or whether we are still in the process of generating adequate clientele to make research a viable full-time profession for us.

Over the years that I have been a professional genealogists, one set of circumstances has remained constant:

-- Many genealogists who have gathered a great deal of experience while employed in another field want badly to "transition" into a full-time career as a genealogist.
-- They worry about whether they will find the clients to sustain a full-time profession.
-- Many people tell them the odds are against their being able to support themselves and/or a family from client work.
-- Some bravely make the career switch, after devising a business plan that will carry them through the transition until they do build a thriving client base.
-- Others make the switch and then struggle to find enough clients to replace the steady income they forfeited when they gave up their other field.
-- Some drop out, despite their skill as genealogists, simply because it *does* take time to build a business and they may not have had the savings or other support to sustain them until they create that full-time client base.

For those who are already "well established," using a "broker" or "client-finding" service of this type is likely not something they need. On the other hand, those who are in the "transitional" stage and are still seeking to build a full-time service might find this to be a wonderful boon.

For the record, I am not one of the "100 APG members" whom APG approached about the concept. However, if I were an APG member still striving to build a business, I would appreciate the fact that APG has tried to facilitate a way to help me generate client work. And I would likely appreciate the fact that Ancestry, whose outreach extends to millions, could offer me assignments in the lulls between those clients that I would generate for myself.

In the Salt Lake City area, I understand, this is already an established practice--i.e., research companies subcontract with "independent professionals" who have those lulls between assignments from their own clients. In those cases, the rate charged by the firm, typically, is substantially more than the rate that the firm pays to the subcontractors. That is appropriate because they have their own overhead. Similarly, the rate the subcontractors get from the company, typically, is significantly less than the rate those independent professionals charge for clients they generate on their own through costly advertising or other means.

It seems to me this is simply one way the marketplace works. Thus, the issue would be whether or not each of us, as a professional, could benefit from this service. For some of us, the answer is clearly "no." For others, it could be "yes."

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
APG member, Tennessee

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