Small Business Start-Up Idea – Genealogy Research

If you are interested in human history or even just the history of a particular area then online genealogy research could be a good part-time business for you. You will receive a fee for undertaking the research on someone else’s behalf.  

Skills needed: You will need very good (dissertation level) research skills and a keen interest in genealogy. It would be helpful if you also had basic web publishing skills so you can easily maintain your website. If you have specialised knowledge about an area or community it will help differentiate you from the competition.  

Business environment and set-up cost:  There are no barriers to this business trading internationally. It is extremely likely that you will receive many international research requests from people who want to trace their roots to your local area. If you already own a computer, printer and scanner then your only start-up cost will be website design and maintenance. The overall start-up cost will range from £1,500 to £2,500 (2,000 – 3,500 EUR, 3,000-5,000 AUD/USD).  

Marketing Techniques:  

  • Make your website easy to find via the major search engines by optimising it with keywords
  • Participate in the pay-per-click schemes of the popular search engines
  • Use viral marketing to encourage your clients to recommend your service to their friends
  • Get your website listed in link directories and web-rings related to family tree research
  • Pay for banner advertising on websites your target market may visit e.g. historical landmarks in your local area
  • Become involved in online discussions on mailing lists and forums related to genealogy to demonstrate your expertise, using a clickable banner as a signature that links to your website
  • Run a mailing list to keep subscribers informed about new discoveries you make and wish to share
  • Use OnlineOffice to set up web-site, blog and online shop to promote your business online

Complimentary business ideas: You could become a re-seller of family history research software or provide consulting services to teach people techniques on how to research.  

Notes:  Clients will need to see documentation that proves your findings – if this is not available online then you may have to track some down in person and make copies. You will most likely charge per hour of your time spent researching – make sure you are upfront about your fees beforehand by making them easily available on your website.  

Online examples & resources:  

For previous SME start-up ideas, look through the archive here  

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