Where To Go From Here

So, I’m moving right along in the Boston University Online Genealogical Studies Certificate Program. It is far more time-consuming than I realized it would be (see: lack of blog posts and social life…well, okay, the lack of a social life was a preexisting condition), but I seem to be doing pretty well so far, and I’m feeling good about being able to do professional client work someday. But that day is not yet here, and I’m not sure when it will be, though the extra income would be extremely welcome right now. So I’m trying to figure out what steps to take next, and hoping some professional genealogists out there might be willing to provide a little insight.

I am definitely planning to participate in ProGen at some point, but I’m trying to figure out when I should get myself on the waiting list, since I have no idea how long it takes from the time you sign up until you actually get assigned to a group. If it’s six months or a year, I should probably get on the list now, but of the suggested criteria, I’m still short in one major area, visiting and utilizing at least four brick-and-mortar repositories. I’m working on plans for that, and should have at least a couple visited before the BU program is over, and with any luck I’ll identify and visit more.

I’m wondering if it would be beneficial to take the NGS Home Study Course. Well, I’m sure it would be beneficial, but should I plan on taking it ASAP, or just someday?

I am planning to go through BCG certification, but I’m not sure how soon I should start the clock. After the BU program ends mid-December, I’m hoping to be able to spend some time assessing what projects I might be able to tackle for the items needed for my portfolio, start determining what information I need, and maybe even begin some preliminary writing. I have a couple of half-baked ideas already, but mostly I just want to make sure I don’t start the clock too soon.

Though I’m not sure when I’ll be ready to take on clients (and how will I know, exactly?), I’d love to be able to at least help other researchers by doing document searches or perhaps other things of that level to gain some experience. The problem is I can’t necessarily do it all for free, because as it is I really need to get a part-time job to make ends meet, and wouldn’t it be great if I could work part-time toward what I eventually want to do full-time?

But how do I get my name out there? I joined APG a while back, but didn’t have myself listed in the directory, thinking I should wait until I’m actually doing professional work. I saw that I could indicate whether I was interested in taking clients or not, but I wasn’t sure if I could specify the kind of work I can actually do at this point. Someone at the APG booth at the FGS conference last month indicated I should be listed regardless, and gave me the example that if he were looking for someone who could help him with finding information in Minnesota, he can’t ask me if I might be able to help if I’m not listed. Excellent point, but I’m just not sure what the expectations are if you’re listed.

So many things to think about!