Creating Multiple Income Streams

Professional genealogist Claire V. Brisson-Banks discusses how to create various income streams to supplement the research side of your genealogy business.

Creating Multiple Income Streams

[Editor’s Note: Claire V. Brisson-Banks, BS,  MLIS,  AG® is a professional genealogist and owner of Timeless Genealogies.]

As a professional genealogist, there are times when there are too many clients and times when there aren’t enough clients. So what does one do to keep the income coming in? We need to link up with other businesses, be affiliates, support one another and help each other out by supporting other products connected with our business, etc. Use social media to the max and I believe in giving back to the community you work in; often this opens up opportunities to get work that is paid.

Genealogists love to research; they enjoy the “hunt” for those elusive family members of their clients as well as their own. One of the biggest hurdles is “knowing when to stop” and being honest with a client. If they hire you to do 10 hours of work, you need to do 10 hours and that includes your research, report, documents, etc. When you do more time than what you are being paid for you are (1) reducing your own income, (2) increasing the expectations of the client and (3) creating false expectations for genealogists in general. Learning to structure your time properly with your clients will be beneficial to both you and your clients.

Here are some ways that you can develop other income streams as part of your genealogy business

  • Consider conducting classes online either through “Google Hang-outs,” using Adobe Connect or You Tube or checking out other groups that provide online instruction and seeing what is needed to get involved.
  • Consider being an in person instructor at a conference, a school that offers genealogical subjects either in person or online, your local library, a 50+ community, a local community center and/or a local community college. Each of these groups pays their instructors for the class or classes use your research skills to locate these kinds of facilities in your area. Make sure your business cards and your expertise is known at your local library, someone is always catching the genealogy bug and often they go to the local library to get started after they get lost online, it is very easy for the newbie to be overwhelmed with all that is available for them to try and do this on their own.
  • Check with other genealogical/family history publications to see if there is a need for an article for their publication. Often local societies are looking for articles to fill their quarterly subscriptions, most provide some sort of payment for that article; be sure to check all the fine print before you write the article to make sure you follow all their requirements and monetary payment is worth your time to do the article.
  • Partner with another company that provides services connected with your services. By checking out how to be an affiliate, you can usually sign up and add their logo to your own site. Depending on the terms and the affiliate agreement, the money you earn through this links can vary. However, a variety of different things usually bring in something which all adds up in the end. Sometimes you can exchange logos and help each other. With all the resources available it should be easy to locate companies you can work with in this field. Using as your search engine, type in “Genealogy Affiliate Programs” and don’t forget to also do “Family History Affiliate Programs”. You’ll be surprised at what comes up, pick and choose wisely, and always read the affiliate materials; each affiliate pays a different percentage of sales made through your site and your links.
  • Consider adding other genealogical/family history products on your own website. When you least expect it, those items do sell and add much needed funds to your income. In 2004 I teamed up with Quintin Publications selling their out of print Family History and Genealogy books on CD. It is amazing how much is sold in a year bringing in something with each sale.

This blog article is barely scratching the surface of this topic. I highly recommend the e-book by Thomas MacEntee entitled: Genealogy Opportunities 2015: How to Make Money in the Genealogy Business available on

Regardless of all the above, you must keep your skills up, attend conferences, get your name out there, keep an eye on social media, keep up a blog and let others know about your talents. This author has multiple blogs; you can see my contributions here.

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Claire V. Brisson-Banks, B.S., AG® is an Educator, Leader, Librarian, Genealogist, Forensics, Family Historian, Writer, Avid Blogger, Technology Expert, Marketing, Mentor, Lecturer, and Business Owner.

About Claire V. Brisson-Banks

Claire V. Brisson-Banks, B.S., AG® is an Educator, Leader, Librarian, Genealogist, Forensics, Family Historian, Writer, Avid Blogger, Technology Expert, Marketing, Mentor, Lecturer, and Business Owner.

She is the owner of Timeless Genealogies, a provider of ancestral research services. Her personal areas of expertise in connection with genealogy and family history are Technology Advances, Social Media, US, Canadian, England, Scotland, Brick Walls and Working with and Involving Youth in Family History and Genealogy.