Jamboree: Getting Paid for Your Passion: Should You Go Pro?

I was excited when I saw this topic being offered at Jamboree. And I was even more excited when I saw who was giving the talk – Jean Wilcox Hibben. I’ve seen Jean give other talks before.  She is engaging, straightforward and a wealth of knowledge.

I’m pretty interested in this topic, which probably doesn’t surprise most of you. I’m at a little bit of a crossroads in my life. I’m not quite old enough to retire from my “real job,” but I’m still young enough to transition into a new chapter in my career. People ask me all the time, “Why do you go to so many genealogy conferences?” The easy answer is, because I love them. The next answer is that I’ve been observing the genealogy world for a few years now to see if there may be a niche for me professionally. Going to conferences not only keeps me learning and on top of the latest news, but it also allows me to network with the folks that already ARE making a living at genealogy. And it allows me to see the world of genealogy from a lot of different angels. Presenters, researchers, writers, videographers, vendors, conference organizers –there are many sides to genealogy. Genealogy is not just taking on clients and getting paid to do research for them.

Jean’s presentation was incredibly helpful in breaking it all down into bite-size pieces for me. Things that really resonated with me were:

  • The Whys and Hows of Going Pro: Should you go pro and business things to keep in mind like taxes.
  • Writing a mission statement for your business: What do you want to accomplish? This can keep you focused.
  • What’s your niche? Find something that you are passionate about and know a lot about. Its even better if no one else is doing it. If other people are doing it…put a different spin on it to make yourself stand out.
  • Marketing: You can’t be humble when you market yourself. Get your name out there.
  • Volunteering: Volunteering leads to business opportunities because you are networking and getting known in the circle you want to be in.

For a while now, I’ve been dipping my toe into professional genealogy by doing research look-ups for people, writing some upcoming articles and doing some informal presentations. I’m still finding my niche. But I can see myself making the transition and taking on more and more in the coming months.

I am an official Blogger for Jamboree 2019. I receive no compensation or perks in exchange for blogging about the conference. The opinions written are my own. 


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