The National Institute for Genealogical Studies

LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

The National Institute for Genealogical Studies - LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

The Business of Genealogy: Lecture Course Modules 3 and 4

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Lecturing Skills
Image courtesy of Jeroen van Oostrom. FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Jeroen van Oostrom. FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Shannon Bennett, Student

These last two modules of Lecturing Skills Including Preparation were pretty intense for me. There was a lot of information given on speaking, venues, and building your business. That word, “business,” gave me pause. Sometimes it still amazes me that people can make a living at “doing genealogy” as a few of my relatives put it. Of course, being able to have a career doing something that I love would be beyond wonderful.

I was very happy to find a section on contracts. The idea of writing a contract is intimidating to me. For a while I hoped that other people would provide me with one, or that I really wouldn’t need a contract for speaking. Well, I now know I was wrong! Boy, I will never, ever, do a presentation without one again.

The following paragraph really made me think about what a contract is for:

(c) 2013 National Institute for Genealogical Studies

(c) 2013 National Institute for Genealogical Studies

After reading the very first sentence I paused. Why would I need a contract if I am not going to receive payment for it? What purpose could it possibly serve?  Well, by the end of the section I knew. Contracts protect you and the group that booked you. Really, it’s not scary at all. It is a win-win situation and should be standard procedure for all speakers.

Legalese makes my head spin, so I was very happy to be provided with a guide on how to create my contract for future presentations. There are a lot of factors to think about from expenses to facilities. What will be provided? What will you provide? Who is printing the materials? Where are you staying if you have to travel there? Some of the items addressed I would never have thought of on my own.

I learned how important it could be to have all these items spelled out clearly before you begin. Like the above suggests, a good contract will prevent virtual heartburn if something goes wrong in the end. No one wants to think a gig can go south. Everyone likes to think that it will be all sunshine and butterflies right? Well, I am sure you can think of a time or two where everything that could go wrong actually did in a situation. From now on, I will think of contracts as my security for a presentation ending up with those rainbows even if the butterflies’ wings get crumpled.

Wrapped up in the contract discussion is also the thought: if you charge a fee and how much  should it be? Talking about money can make a lot of people uncomfortable. I know I am one of them. In fact I have been told that I undersell myself frequently and undervalue my time. Unfortunately, most of the time I am willing to do things for free because I am happy helping out a group doing what I love. Well, that can’t go on forever can it?

I really have a lot to think about in regards to my future as a genealogy speaker. So far on my to-do list  I have to perfect my  lecture description and now I need to work on creating a good contract. I wonder what the last two modules of this course have in store  for me?

See you online!

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