Monday, January 30, 2017

RootsTech 2017: Conference Specials including New Look Books

We have 3 helpful and fun new products we are introducing at RootsTech 2017.  Here is your sneak preview so that you can plan accordingly.  You're definitely going to want to spend some time at the Family ChartMasters/Zap The Grandma Gap Booth, #1041, our regular spot. 

First, we've been working on a helpful resource for you if you are wanting to print a Family ChartMasters genealogy chart but don't know where to start.  Sometimes it can be overwhelming with all the choices we offer, and this new tutorial book is going to help.  We have a new 48 page Step by Step Tutorial for creating a family history chart through Family ChartMasters. It shares all of the ways you can display your family history on a chart including: how to get the information to Family ChartMasters, what you can include on your genealogy chart, different design elements and styles, how to work with your personal Family ChartMasters Designer, and how to place your order.

And best of all the book is FREE!
Come see us at RootsTech, Booth 1041, purchase a $30 gift certificate for ONLY $10 (the best sale we've ever offered on gift certificates), and receive the tutorial book for FREE.  Then when you are ready to create a chart, you have a step-by-step tutorial at your side and you are good to go.  (Only one gift certificate can be used per order with this conference special.)

At RootsTech 2017, Family ChartMasters will also have a 24" x 75" Fill-In-The-Blank Chart, with lots of space for data including birth, marriage, and death dates and places.  This chart, regularly priced $19.95, will be available at RootsTech for 50%, for only $10 tax included! It comes packaged in a nice sturdy box that will keep your chart safe. Quantity is limited, so hurry to our booth before we sell out!

And finally, announcing our newest products just in time for RootsTech 2017:
A super-cute line of  Zap the Grandma Gap Look Books. These 4x6 photo books are super easy to insert photos into and write brief captions on the included coordinating pages.  And look at the 7 great topics...

Each Look Book comes with coordinating insert pages to fill out so that you can write about the significance of the photos (or recipes) that you add.  These 7 Look Books are packaged in cello bags with a fun bow, ready to give as gifts to your family members who could fill them out, or to complete yourself and give to the youth in your family.  A super simple, easy way to share your family history in a cute format! Plan now for Mother's Day, birthdays, or even stocking stuffers for Christmas!

They are priced $10 each, but our RootsTech Special makes them Buy 2 Get 1 FREE, PLUS a FREE Zap the Grandma Gap Power Up E-book with tons of printables!

These Zap the Grandma Gap Look books are limited edition and will only be available at RootsTech 2017.  Let us know what you think in the comments below. 

RootsTech 2017: Speaking Schedule and Breaking New Ground

Ok.  I just have to brag on my family a little bit here.  As you know, my son Matthew was the first RootsTech youth speaker, and as far as I know, still the youngest speaker that has ever presented at RootsTech.  That was truly the highlight of my career and a big payday for this mom.

Well now we're breaking new ground at RootsTech again.  February 2017 I'll be giving one presentation with my father, and two more with my sister. (as well as two by myself.) We're truly making RootsTech a family affair.  As it should be.  I'm pretty sure I hold the record as the person who has spoken with the most family members at the conference.  It has been delightful to spend more time with my sister Amy and her two little sons and to spend time with my Dad while we've been putting these presentations together.  And they are going to be great presentations.  I'm super excited to share them with you.

Here's the schedule:
  • 3:00 pm Wednesday Feb 8th  Nature and Nurture: Family History for Adoptees with Amy Slade: 251A
  • 4:30 pm Wednesday Feb 8th  Skinny Genes: Successful Lean Startup for Genealogists: Ballroom A
(I'm also excited to be speaking at the Innovator's Summit this year about Lean Startup business practices.  Hopefully that will help new businesses in this market.)
  • 3:00 pm Thursday Feb 9th   What's in Your Attic and What to Do About It with Don Carpenter: Ballroom A
  • 3:00 pm Friday Feb 10th  18 Genealogy Contests to Play With Your Family Online: Room 151
  • 3:00 pm Saturday Feb 11th Helping Your Grandparents Share Their Story with Amy Slade: Room 255B
You can see more details about each presentation on the RootsTech Website

I'm also giving a few demos in the demo hall.  I'll be speaking about our Zap The Grandma Gap Books at the Family Tree Maker booth.  And I'll be speaking for genealogyDOTcoach in the main demo theater at 11:20 on Saturday. The genealogyDOT coach booth is holding free demo lectures (we're calling them "Pep Talks"!) throughout every day of RootsTech. Even though I'm a coach, I won't be giving any Pep Talks in the genealogyDOTcoach booth this time.  There were so many great speakers there that I knew they were covered.  Check out the pep talk schedule here...So many important and knowledgeable speakers. 

So, really, you're covered for RootsTech 2017.  You don't even need to look at the rest of the schedule.  We have lots of great ideas for you and lots of help for your family history.  Looking forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Free Pep Talks at RootsTech 2017 by genealogyDOTcoach

We are excited to see everyone at RootsTech 2017 in Salt Lake City, February 8-11!  Our newest company, genealogyDOTcoach will make its debut appearance with a booth in the Expo Hall, Booth 113. 

Sometimes you just need a little help getting over your current genealogy challenge.  GenealogyDOTcoach provides personalized help to anyone who is searching for their family history.  Our hand-picked, professional coaches can help you pinpoint the information you need from the massive amounts of genealogy resources available online.  Save time and money by putting our experience to work for you.

The genealogyDOTcoach booth is holding 31 free demo lectures (we're calling them "Pep Talks"!) throughout every day of RootsTech. See below for the Pep Talk speaking schedule for 12 of 26 coaches from genealogyDOTcoach. Stop by, say hi, listen to some free tips, and meet a coach!


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

GBA happenings: SLIG Colloquium and the Genealogy Business Alliance Giveaway

So great things have been happening with the Genealogy Business Alliance and I'm delighted about what is coming down the pike.

We've met at the major conferences and had some great networking and discussions between the companies.  I think it has helped to make connections and spread good business practices.  We've put together a steering committee with representatives from NGS, Ancestry, FamilySearch, RootsMagic and Legacy Tree Genealogists and we've finalized a Best Practices for Conferences document that has been a great collaboration between all of the businesses.  (More on that later).  If you are a genealogy business owner and haven't been watching the Facebook Group, join us over there.  We'd love to have your input.

So I've been asked to participate with several genealogy leaders on a panel for the SLIG Colloquium this coming Saturday and I'm so passionate about this topic--I hope I can keep from monopolizing.  The panel is discussing Tom Jones' talk at the Professional Management Conference for the Association of Professional Genealogists last year about the state of the genealogy profession.   The funny thing is, many of the issues he discusses are being solved by genealogyDOTcoach and I've just spend last week talking to each of the coaches about how to deal with the challenges we are facing--which are similar to those the profession faces.  I've got alot of ideas about what needs to be done and how to do it.  The panelists include David E. Rencher, Billie Fogarty, Tom Jones, Russell Lynch and Jean Hibben.  It is going to be a great discussion.  I'm sure I'll have more to say about it here afterward. 

And then Jessica Taylor has come up with a brilliant idea for the GBA at RootsTech.   We are going to do a Colossal Giveaway, with signups at each of the participating booths for a huge giveaway of many genealogy prizes.  Not only will it help with excitement for the attendees, it is a great way for each of the companies to have a greater marketing reach.  We'll be doing signs for each booth that shows off the companies that are participating.  You can see details about the contest at

With the social planned at Finca Resturaunt for Thursday night (Thanks to Thomas McEntee for sponsoring appetizers!) it is going to be a great conference for networking. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Family ChartMasters Goals for 2017

I've been evaluating things and working on personal and company goals for 2017 this week and I'm really excited about the coming year.  We have big things ahead of us.  Here are a couple of things we're going to be working on:

1. We are going to work on taking even better care of our customers.  
Family ChartMasters has been super intentional about the great customer service we give each client as we create our custom charts.  We are happy to answer questions and work back and forth until we find perfection.  That's a rare thing now, with so many modern companies doing away with customer service departments.  We are always interested in getting feedback on how we are doing and we are committed to always finding new ways to make our clients delighted.  In 2017 we are going to roll out a new streamlined Family ChartMasters website with easier navigation and better communication so that everyone can find what they need quickly and easily.  And we are going to double down on making sure our policies and practices foster the best customer service we can provide.

2. We are going to take even better care of our Family ChartMasters employees.  
I've been doing alot of reading about customer service and one of the biggest parts of taking good care of customers is taking good care of your employees.  I'm really proud of the comfortable jobs Family ChartMasters has created, working to emphasize each person's strengths for a good fit and making sure each person has the flexibility to create a healthy work/life balance.  In 2017 we are going to focus on more training, and empowering each person to perform at their very best.  We're going to focus more on employee appreciation and fostering a positive work environment.  I love the people I get to work with--we're really great friends and I'm so thankful for that.  So appreciation is really easy around here.  We're also going to be revising our employee handbook so that all of our business systems are clear and we can step in to help each other more.

3. I am going to continue learning more about effective management.
Like so many small business owners, I started out doing something I love and now spend most of my days doing more management than the actual work of the company.  With this transition comes the need for new skills and new focus.  While the key players in our company talked me out of going back to school for an MBA last year, I've been working on a self styled MBA of sorts, focusing on specifics I felt I needed to learn rather than going through a whole program.  I've been devouring business books and implementing the ideas I've learned has really helped.  I'm about 1/4 way through a list of books that I"m sure will continue to grow, so I'll be working hard on that.  If we continue to see the benefits from the next principles I learn at the rate we have been going, we'll make great strides in 2017.

4. I'm going to continue to pay it forward.
We have been blessed with so many great mentors in this market, I feel a deep desire to help others with what we have learned.  In 2016 I began working on the Genealogy Business Alliance and I think we've already seen benefits from that.  I love teaching the "Intro to Genealogy Technology" and "Genealogy Business" classes at Salt Lake Community College.  They keep me grounded in the issues people face in this market.  I'm going to continue working with the Mastermind groups I meet with.  And the business column I began writing in 2016 for the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly has given me a good stretch.  It has been good to be able to share some of what I have learned from our successes.

5. I am going to strive to expand our vision of what the genealogy market needs. 
I'm really proud of the new solution we brought to the market in genealogyDOTcoach last year and I'm excited to see where it will go in this coming year.  I think we've found a critical need and I hope it will continue to serve genealogists who need a bit of help from a professional.  Along with that, I'm going to continue to seek out the truth about what this market really needs and what we can do to make genealogy research easier and more attractive to newcomers.  More people need to understand the power in Family History. 

And, even with all of the planning, I'm sure the year will be full of surprises too.  I can't wait to see what is around the bend.  2017 is going to be a stand out year for Family ChartMasters.  I just know it.