How should you start your new business? I know this is going to sound heretical but forget the business plans, brochures, business cards, and website. All that stuff can come later. Believe me. Here’s what you need to do right now.
- Talk to some professional personal historians. When I started out, I found a personal historian in my community who had been doing this work for fifteen years. I spent an afternoon picking her brain. She was gracious with her time and advice. Talking to experienced personal historians will provide you with invaluable start-up help. To find a personal historian go the Association of Personal Historians website and click on the Find a Personal Historian tab.
- Produce a life story book or video. Start with a friend or relative. Even if you’ve already done this for a family member, don’t miss this step. It’s crucial. You need a portfolio you can show prospective clients and you need experience. What you’ll want to do is keep a very detailed record of the time you spend on each and every phase of the project. This will be useful information in determining the fees you’ll need to charge. Also keep a journal of the things that are working, not working, surprises, and questions you need answered.
- Reflect on your experience. After you’ve completed your personal history project, go back and read through the journal you wrote. Reflect on your experience and ask yourself these three questions: Was this a good experience for me? Am I excited about starting work on another life story? Am I prepared to put in the hard work to make a success of this new endeavor? If you can enthusiastically answer Yes to these three questions, you’re well on your way. Congratulations!
Photo by iStockphoto
If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email.