Category Archives: Blog Post

APG PMC 2016 Recordings Now Available

If you weren’t able to attend the APG Professional Management Conference (PMC), you have a second chance to enjoy the classes!

*** Please note: the recordings are only available to APG members. If you wish to purchase them you will have to become a member. ***

Thirteen sessions were recorded and are available along with the handouts.  You can purchase all 13 For $160 or you can purchase individual recordings for $20 each. The syllabus can also be purchased separately for $13. Click here for more details.

Creating a Social Media Marketing Strategy with Marian Pierre-Louis

Creating a Social Media Marketing Strategy

One of my three sessions was recorded and is included in both the full download and individually.  Here are the details:

Title: Creating a Social Media Marketing Strategy
Speaker: Marian Pierre-Louis

Description: You may have a good handle on social media but are you really maximizing the benefit to your business? Every business-from solo practitioner to small firm to non-profit organization-should have a social media strategy. You should have specific goals and a plan so that your social media efforts will be targeted and help you see results that will reinforce your business. We’ll walk you through the steps to get you there.

More details here.

Here’s the official press release:

PMC Syllabus & Recordings for Sale

Did you miss the 2016 Professional Management Conference in Fort Wayne? Thirteen presentations were recorded and are now available, plus a PDF download of the full conference syllabus. Go to to access the order form. The video recordings are $20 each, or you can order all 13 recordings for $160. The syllabus can be purchased for $13.

Recordings will be available online October 3 and will remain available for 90 days. A link to each recording will be sent to you via a separate email after purchase.

The following presentations are available:

* Ancestral Social Network Analysis – Michael Hait, CG

* Creating a Social Media Marketing Strategy – Marian Pierre-Louis

* Designing Effective Websites: Connecting with Your Intended Audience – Carla S. Cegielski

* Genealogy for Love and Money – Mary Tedesco

* Getting the Most Out of Y-DNA – Blaine T. Bettinger, J.D., Ph.D.

* Goal Setting for Genealogists – Janice Lovelace, Ph.D.

* Setting Rates as a Professional Genealogist – Billie Stone Fogarty, MEd

* State of the Profession [Opening Session]- Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL

* Succession Planning for Your Genealogical Business – Kellie Jo Bergheimer, M.Ed., MSM

* Traveling for Clients: Unique Challenges and Opportunities – Mary Penner

* Working With a Client’s DNA – Blaine T. Bettinger, J.D., Ph.D.

* Working With an Editor: Get Published! – Christy Fillerup

* Writing About and Citing DNA Test Results – Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL





Post APG PMC Participation Wanted for Podcast

The APG PMC 2016

I’m just back from the APG Professional Management Conference (PMC) and what a great time it was!

As the only conference specifically geared toward genealogy professionals I would like to do a post-PMC episode that focuses on the benefit people got out of specific sessions or just the conference in general.

I would love to hear from attendees, speakers, committee members and board members. This would involve a (up to) 15 minute recording of you for the episode.

If you have time to record on Tuesday or Friday and you’re willing to share your thoughts, please send me an email at and please include your preference for day (Tuesday or Friday) and time of day.





The Secret of Success

The Lightbulb of Inspiration and Success by Ramunas Geciauskas
photo by Ramunas Geciauskas

The Secret of Success is in how you learn.

It’s the ability to take something seemingly unrelated to you and then turn it around into a benefit for your genealogy research or your business.

How many times have you attended a conference methodology talk? The speaker uses examples from one state, let’s say Texas. While exiting you hear one of the attendees say, “I didn’t get anything out of that talk. All the examples were from Texas and I don’t have any Texas ancestors!”

I can learn from absolutely every speaker. Sometimes I learn methodology tricks, sometimes I learn about new record groups and sometimes I learn how to become a better speaker. On occasion I learn what not to do while speaking. For me, every talk is a learning opportunity.

Yesterday I presented a webinar on using Facebook Pages for small business. In the webinar I very briefly mentioned a podcast episode that I listened to that really changed the way I approach Facebook Pages. It was an interview on the Social Media Marketing podcast where the host, Michael Stelzner, interviewed two women who run the Facebook page Quirky Momma.

The Quirky Momma page provides tips and inspiration to Moms in regards to kids activities. While it’s a nice page, it’s not really my thing and I don’t follow it.  The Quirky Momma ladies, however, have built their following to 1.5 million people on Facebook. The interview discusses their strategies for taking their page from less than 13,000 to over 50,000. As you can see they’ve gone way beyond that!

Many of the strategies in the interview don’t necessarily apply to me. I’m not willing to post to my page 200 or more times per week. Nor can I write multiple blog posts in one day. It worked for them but it won’t work for my lifestyle or work obligations. However, I still got lots out of the interview. I adapted many of their tricks by scaling them down. Or I just used the tricks that applied to me.

Success, inspiration and opportunity are right there in front of you every day. You just need change how you look at them.

Grab the ideas and make them work for you!

If you’ve adapted something you’ve seen or heard with success let us know in the comments. We could all use a little inspiration!

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

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

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.