All posts by Marian Pierre-Louis

FREE Social Media Webinar Series

Part 2 - Facebook Pages

Are you frustrated by social media? Not sure that it’s worth all the effort? Confused by how it works? Then this webinar series is for you!

In this Starting from Scratch series we’ll cover Twitter, Facebook Pages and Google+. And We’ll start right from the very beginning and answer all your questions.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Time zones: 12PM Eastern, 11AM Central, 10AM Mountain, 9AM Pacific, 4PM GMT.

“Starting from Scratch: Twitter for Small Businesses”

Are you frustrated by Twitter? You can’t figure out what all the fuss is about? Why do so many people think it’s great?

In this webinar Marian Pierre-Louis will introduce you to the world of Twitter starting from scratch! You won’t have to be embarrassed about any questions you might ask. We will begin with creating an account then move on to sending the first tweet, reweeting, following other people and much more! Come figure out Twitter once and for all!

Webinar Replay

Facebook Pages

Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Time zones: 12PM Eastern, 11AM Central, 10AM Mountain, 9AM Pacific, 4PM GMT.

“Starting from Scratch: Facebook Pages for Small Businesses”

Are you wondering if Facebook Pages are worth the time and effort? Have you heard that you have to pay for ads to get seen? Not sure what to post and when?

In this webinar Marian Pierre-Louis will introduce you to the world of Facebook Pages starting from scratch!  We will begin with creating an account then move on to what to post, how to attract new followers and a frank discussion about whether it’s worth it.

Register for the Webinar



Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Time zones: 12PM Eastern, 11AM Central, 10AM Mountain, 9AM Pacific, 4PM GMT.

“Starting from Scratch: Google+ for Small Businesses”

Not sure what Google+ is? Have you heard that no one is on
the site? Afraid of yet one more social media platform to take up your time?

In this webinar Marian Pierre-Louis will introduce you to the world of Google+ starting from scratch!  We will begin with creating an account then move on to how to post, why you used use collections and why Google+ is worth the effort.

Register for the Webinar

Use the Tagging Feature on LinkedIn to Organize Your Contacts

Do you have a LinkedIn account? I bet there are a lot of LinkedIn features that you aren’t using yet.

One of the best features that few people know about is the tagging feature. Tagging lets you organize your contacts. Forgotten the name of a colleague that you met at a conference two years ago? Not a problem! With tagging you can categorize clients, colleagues, partners, subcontractors, local contacts and more with tags that you’ll remember.

Let me show you how it works in this 3 minute video.

Direct link to video:

Tech Tip: 5 Things You need to know about Periscope

Periscope is a new live streaming tool that has enabled anyone in the world with a smart phone  to broadcast live. Not only that, viewers can watch in real time and interact with the broadcaster.

Periscope App

(left) Periscope world view showing live broadcasts, (right) Displays your Twitter followers and shows how many Periscope followers they have.

Here are 5 things you need to know about Periscope:

  1. Periscope is owned by Twitter so the usernames that start with @ are the same on both platforms. If you have the app installed on your phone and one of your Twitter followers starts a Periscope session, you will be notified (if you have opted for push notifications). Otherwise you can see the live stream notifications in the twitter stream (but by the time you do the live stream might be over).
  2. You don’t have to have the app installed on your phone to watch a Periscope live streaming session. Search Twitter for the word Periscope and you will find live session where you can click on the link and view through your browser. Viewers on the web are anonymous (nice if you’re just trying to figure how it all works) but they can’t  leave comments.
  3. If you tap the screen while watching Periscope live streaming, hearts will fly up. That let’s the broadcaster know you like them without typing a comment. Broadcasters get ranked by the number of hearts they receive.
  4. You can comment on live streaming sessions and the people broadcasting can respond in real time to your questions or comments. The comment function is only available on the apps found in mobile devices so there is no chance that you will get too wordy with your text unless you are a master of typing with your thumbs.
  5. Periscope works best when broadcasting from wifi. Users broadcasting from their smart phones while “on the go” tend to have pixelated, shaky video.

In an upcoming post, we’ll get into potential business applications and best practices for Periscope.

Get Your Feet Moving!

Feet Walking by Pedro Ribeiro Simoes

Steve Jobs did it. Maybe you should too.

Achieving success as a genealogy professional is more than just being an expert genealogist. Being a successful professional of any sort means taking accountability and responsibility for all aspects of your life including achieving life balance, wellness and health.

There’s more of an irony, I think, in the field of genealogy. Our calling is to connect with generations past and to pass on the bonds developed in the present. If we don’t spend time with our family because we work too much, we are undermining the very core of what we are doing. And if we don’t exercise or eat properly, we may  be robbed of the time to spend with family or to work for clients.

One of the ideas I mention often in my professional topic presentations is the practice of stopping what you are doing, leaving your phone in the car (unless you are truly disciplined enough not to check it) and go for a walk.

I always feel a bit crazy for suggesting this to people in business talks. At the same time, I think it’s absolutely a critical part of the productivity cycle. Even if you’re not a creative professional by trade (artist, writer, etc) we are all creative in how we work. Analyzing a genealogical problem to find a solution can be a very cerebral, creative process. Dreaming up the title of your next talk or article demands some creative brainstorming. And sometimes figuring out how to tactfully reply to a client email would benefit from a 10 minute walk down the road.

I try to walk every morning for 30 minutes. If I can’t walk outside (which is not possible in Eastern Massachusetts this winter!) then I walk inside on a treadmill. But I frequently take a few quick loops around my cul-de-sac after lunch just to get the blood flowing and to take stock of my morning productivity.

Well, it turns out I am not so crazy after all. Today the Canva blog posted an article by Andrew Tate called “Why Steve Jobs Took Long Walks and Why You Should Too.” This article cites evidence for the beneficial properties of talking walks during the business day.

The one thing this article mentions that I haven’t done is holding meetings during walks.  I think I might like to try that during the Spring.  Of course, it can be a bit harder to get together with other genealogy professionals as we are so spread apart. Perhaps if we can’t physically be in the same location, we can get together via phone while both walking!

As Spring is starting to approach think about incorporating walks into your work day as part of your business success! Try it and see what results you get. Then stop back here and share your success.

If you have other ideas for encouraging productivity and creativity I would love to hear them!


Photo by: Pedro Ribeiro Simões

Grab an Hour of Momentum Every Month

Reaching Hands by Cyron

Want to know how to use social media to market your business? Ever wished you knew how to handle client communications? Ever needed some advice on getting more speaking engagements? Wished you could create a good query to send to publishers?

Wouldn’t it be nice to have your own private group of genealogy professionals, each with a different skill set, to bounce ideas off of?

Guide Your Business in the Right        Direction

If you want to stop waiting for clients and opportunities to find you, this is your chance to take a hold of your genealogy business and guide it in the direction you want to go.

Join a TGP Mastermind Group for a monthly dose of motivation, brainstorming and expertise which will energize you and give you the momentum to push your business forward.

The two groups are lead by Marian Pierre-Louis, the host of the Genealogy Professional podcast. Each group facilitates a maximum of 10 genealogy professionals, each with their own expertise and area of focus.

We will gather each month online to discuss timely situations and to prepare for tackling the challenges that come with running a small independent business.

The groups were first opened to the attendees for the Business and Marketing Goal Setting Workshops held in December and January.  Registration is being up to the larger TGP community.

There is a Friday group and a Saturday group.  Each group is limited to 10 participants. Groups will start the first week of March 2015.

Registration and further information:

Friday TGP Mastermind Group

Saturday TGP Mastermind Group



Photo by: Cyron

Discipline and the Genealogy Professional


Discipline is critical for all professionals, genealogy or other. Achieving discipline can be a real struggle. While I talk about discipline a lot I still consider myself to be a work in progress. Some things are very easy to do while with others I find I really need to push, even force, myself to get moving.

Here’s a case in point. Recently I was invited to write an article for the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly (APGQ). I accepted the opportunity and was excited about my topic.

Unfortunately, I have a bit of a quirky side when it comes to writing. I prefer to “feel” what I am writing while I am writing it. I guess that makes me a “passion writer.” Sometimes when writing for publications (rather than for myself in my blogs) I get excited about the idea of writing but then when I sit down to do it my passion seems to be gone.

Not surprisingly, that happened this time as well. I loved my topic and I pushed myself to write but it seemed so forced. I was frustrated.

When it comes to writing for publications, deadlines loom and there is nothing that will make them go away. These days there is nothing more that I would rather be doing than transcribing my great great grandfather’s diary. That can’t be considered regular work by any means. I had to push it out of my mind and save it for non-working hours. I gave myself one last shot at discipline.

After getting the family out of the house, I sat down with a blank sheet of paper. For a 2,500 word article I predicted that ten subheads would be reasonable. I sketched out two main sections and then added a total of ten sub-topics between the two.

Surprising myself, I also wrote out the final paragraph.

Next, I headed to my computer with paper in hand. I refused to open any programs except for MS Word (yes, avoidance of the internet is critical). I even left my cell phone on another floor so that I wouldn’t be tempted to look at it.

First I re-read what I had already written, making some minor edits. Then I wrote to the key points on the paper positioned directly in front of me. Thankfully, some of the key points had already been completed. You may consider it cheating by including parts that I had already finished but I consider that a motivational saving grace. Small victories matter!

I sat there until it was completely done. I think I did give myself a quick tea and water break but otherwise I held fast to the task at hand.

This was a victory for discipline. I admit I am not always so successful. Sometimes it takes two attempts or more to get a task done.

How do you feel about your own professional discipline? Can you stay on task or do certain subjects distract you away from what needs to get done? Do you have any tricks to keep you focused and productive on a daily basis? I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic that effects every genealogy professional.



Photo by: Rainer Stropek

Revenue and the many hats of a genealogy professional

hats by Beverley Goodwin/creative commons

Recently I wrote about how to project your revenue for 2015. The example I used was a bit simplistic. It only included one source of revenue – client research. In reality most genealogy professional wear many hats. We are client researchers, speakers, writers, editors, authors, bloggers and much more.

How do we project our revenue when we have multiple income streams? Let’s walk through it. Let’s say you made $18,000 from genealogy income in 2014. Here’s how it might have broken down:

2014 revenue: $18,000
Client Research $14,400
Speaking $   1,800
Writing $   1,260
Affiliate income $     540

This is a good break down but to help us make it useful for 2015 we need the percentages. That way we can use the percentages to determine projected income in each category for 2015.

For instance, if we divide $14,400 by $18,000 (yes, use your calculator!) we get a result of 0.8 which is the equivalent of 80%. That means 80% of all revenue earned in 2014 came from client research.

If we divide all the other numbers also by $18,000 we learn that speaking was 10% of the total income, writing was 7%  and affiliate income was 3%.

Our chart now looks like this:

2014 revenue: $18,000 Percentage of total income
Client Research $14,400 80%
Speaking $   1,800 10%
Writing $   1,260 7%
Affiliate income $     540 3%

Let’s say in 2015 you’d like to make $22,000. Keep your percentages the same. Here’s your new chart:

2015 revenue: $22,000
Client Research 80%
Speaking 10%
Writing 7%
Affiliate income 3%

To find your new target revenue take $22,000 and times it by the percentage (.80, .10, .07 and .03). So in the case of client research $22,000 times .80 will equal $17,600. That’s a $3,200 increase from 2014. Work your way through the chart to determine your projected revenue for the other revenue streams. The chart will look like this in the end:

2015 revenue: $22,000
Client Research $17,600 80%
Speaking $   2,200 10%
Writing $   1,540 7%
Affiliate income $     660 3%

This is great because you now have a concrete dollar figure to work toward. These are your revenue goals for 2015. But it’s not as simple as that, is it? In order to achieve the new revenue target for 2015 we’ll have to have a plan to help you achieve this goal. We’ll work on that in the next blog post!


Photo: by Beverley Goodwin/creative commons

TGP 36 – Harold Henderson on Writing

Featured Guest

Harold Henderson, CG

Harold Henderson,CG(sm) has been a professional writer since 1979, a professional genealogist since 2009, and a board-certified genealogist since June 2012. He lives and works in northwest Indiana and at, with a focus on northern Indiana, southwestern Michigan, and northeastern Illinois (plus feeder states including Ohio, Harold Henderson on the Genealogy Professional podcastPennsylvania, and New York).

He serves as a board member of the Association of Professional Genealogists where he chairs the APG Quarterly advisory committee. He moderates the on-line Transitional Genealogists Forum.

He is the author of Finding Ancestors in Fort Wayne and In Court In LaPorte, an every-name index to the earliest (1830s) court records of La Porte County, Indiana. He has published articles in American Ancestors Journal (annual supplement to the New England Historical and Genealogical Register), the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, the APG Quarterly,’s late lamented expert series, and state publications in Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. He blogs at At any given time he would probably rather be reading a grantor index.

Contact Links

Harold Henderson on Twitter – @Midwest Roots

Harold Henderson on Google+

Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog

Midwest Roots website

Other Links

Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog article: “What I would have liked to know as a newbie

One Action Genealogists Can Take Right Now

Join APG, do the Pro-Gen Study Group, and do a gut check to see how much you love doing genealogy for other people

Recommended Book

Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 by Eric Foner

American Colonies: The Settling of North America, Vol. 1 by Alan Taylor

The Birth of the Republic, 1763-89, Fourth Edition by Edmund Morgan

Applied Genealogy by Eugene Aubrey Stratton

North Carolina Research: Genealogy and Local History by Helen Leary

Mastering Genealogical Proof by Dr. Thomas W. Jones

Productivity Tool

“The important application is the application of  the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair”


When you write, either write in the creative mode and just do it and get it on paper and then write in the editorial mode where you are thinking about grammar and sentence structure. Do them both but do them separately. Don’t give yourself writer’s block.

Action Item

We need to get better as genealogists at giving and receiving feedback. This will make us better genealogists because it will teach us to correct our mistakes and to strive to do better work.


Pair off with another genealogist – whether it is someone from Facebook, your local genealogical society or local library. Write up some up your genealogy according to the BCG Genealogical Standards Manual. Share your genealogy with the other person. Review what your partner has given you and then provide feedback. First, let your partner know what they have done right and then give them suggestions for how they can improve. Just going through this exercise will make you a better genealogist because you will be more comfortable sharing your work with another person. Good luck!

Direct link to this post:

Last chance to sign up this January Workshop! Two dates available.

Click the images for more details.

iSetting Business & Marketing Goals 2015 Workshop Setting Business & Marketing Goals 2015 Workshop
Friday, January 23, 2015 Saturday, January 23, 2015



Harold Henderson on the Genealogy Professional podcast /



Will You Make Enough Money in 2015?

dollars and cents

Genealogy professionals can be a little squeamish about money. We would prefer to think about research and clients. But we need to think about money if we are going to accomplish our goals. So you want to go to that national conference in the spring? You won’t be able to do it unless you have the funds to pay for all the expenses.

Let’s take a moment to think about what we are going to earn this year. You know what you earned last year. What would you like to earn in 2015?

If you have a set hourly rate then take that annual figure and divide it by your hourly rate. So if you’d like to earn $20,000 and your hourly rate is $35 then the number of project hours you need to work to achieve that in 2015 is 572 hours. That seems like a scary number doesn’t it?!!

Let’s make it more manageable. Take that 572 hours and divide by 12 months.  Rounded up that comes out to 48 hours per month.  That seems a lot more manageable, doesn’t it?

Let’s break it down even further. Take the same 572 hours and divide by 50 for the number of weeks  you will work (We’ll give you two weeks vacation. You’ll need to adjust the number if you’re taking more time off). That comes out to 12 hours per week. Is this a realistic number to strive for? This is realistic even for part-time genealogy professionals.  Keep in mind that everything you do is not covered by your billable hourly rate. There are still many tasks that you do that are not billable such as marketing, accounting, networking, business development and educational development.

Try this activity for your own business. Project the annual revenue that you would like to earn. Try to make it a bit more than you earned last year so that you can push yourself. Then calculate it out as shown above. When you get the billable hours you need to work, ask yourself if it is reasonable and manageable for you. If not, adjust up or down as needed.