28 June 2012

Genealogy for Fun and Profit- Networking and Finding Your Niche

Afternoon! Today's video is about networking and creating a niche. I don't dive too deep, so I wanted to make a few points:

On networking: Everything you do is a networking opportunity. Know what kind of image you want for your professional endeavor. Write it down. Practice it. Everytime you are in public, be it. You never know when you'll meet the next big breakthrough for your company, so always represent your company properly. If you don't believe this is important just look at celebrities. Or any number of professionals who've been fired from their lucrative career for having made a personal blunder. It's a learning curve, so you'll still have slipups. But being self-employed means that you have to handle all the damage control yourself. So make the damage small from the start. There are privacy settings for a reason, use them.

On specialties: I can't tell you what your specialty will be. You may have more than one. Find out what you are good at by taking on those freebie friends and family style clients. Find out what you want to be good at by practicing with friends first. Don't let your first paying client suffer through your growth spurts. You may not get another one. Market according to your specialty. Advertise where people are most likely to search for someone with your skills. Do something that is going to make you stand out from the crowd, but don't give up substance for sparkle. No genealogist knows it all, so make a point of clearly stating what it is that you can do, what memberships you have, what degrees and certifications you earned, and what your prices are. Don't hide that information and don't play games with your clients to get that information to them. If you do, your best case is that they'll just not hire you. Your worst case is that they'll make a complaint or report your business as unethical.

On customers: You will get complaints. If they leave them on your public profile or website, don't delete them. That is a bad practice to get into. Address their complaints (hopefully before they make them public) and allow them the opportunity of changing their mind or letting the complaint stick. Kill them with kindness so that their public call-out becomes your greatest marketing tool. If you are truly good at what you do, your happy clients will outnumber the upset ones (and many will come to your defense when someone is unfairly harsh of you). Don't tell them what you don't want to hear from them or that they are wrong or "unprofessional" in their dealings with you. This has the opposite effect than what you intend. Any potential clients that see your page will consider you the unprofessional one.

And as always, remember this is about helping people find their roots, not your pride.

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