Guest Blog: Carolyn Murphy, founder of Family Tree Quest (www.familytreequest.com)
Working as a professional calligrapher for over 20 years, I thoroughly enjoyed providing a variety of services to valued customers. This included writing names in beautiful penmanship on family tree charts. It was a fantastic way to work from home while raising my five children. Beginning in 1993, however, effects from a series of three car accidents compromised my ability to keep up that work. My usual “pop-right-back-from-any-difficulty” attitude was not enough to overrule the verdict that there would be lingering physical effects. Incredible adjustments to living with daily pain and acceptance of what seemed to be a new life with dramatically-reduced physical activities began to take its course.
No longer was I able to sit, stand or walk for very long, therefore, it was obvious that I could not commit to a traditional job. I sorrowed over not being able to help with supplementing the family income, and I battled with my intense desire to keep up with the myriad of tasks of family life–especially motherhood.
Not being one to give in easily to despair, I welcomed the suggestion of my husband (several years later) to consider establishing a business on the Internet. He promised and delivered his full support. Even though, at the time, I could only type on the computer for about half an hour, I decided to explore the thought. Part of me felt it was impossible, and part of me wouldn’t give up. A commitment to home and family had continued to burn deep in my heart and a commitment to help and serve others would never die. So, instead of doing nothing about my income-earning circumstances, I decided to trust my heart.
Fast forward to the result. I am now the founder of the Family Tree Quest website (www.familytreequest.com) which is the perfect blend of those things I value most—principle-centered living, home and family (past, present and future) and serving others.
How was such a feat possible when it seemed so daunting? I let the warm glow of the idea in my heart fan the flame of my belief that a positive outcome was possible. Because I lacked the understanding of how to build an Internet business from the ground up, I realized I must seek knowledge and establish mutually beneficial relationships
One day the thought of “eBay” came into my mind. I wondered what to do about it. Then, I received an invitation in the mail to a dinner where eBay marketing would be discussed. Accepting the invitation led me to finding Stores Online—a company who has since helped me set up my storefront and which provided all the technical support I needed while I learned how to build my own website.
I had in my mind an overall vision for what I wanted to do on the Internet and who I wanted to reach. I wanted to use a family tree focus to help inspire positive change in family lines. I wanted to reach people whom I called “Generational ChangeMakers” who are wonderfully unique individuals who, in spite of all obstacles, still feel compelled, even driven to find out what to do to heal and to create a happy, functional life. In spite of my concepts not being fully developed, I decided I would follow my heart without delaying and simply begin with affiliate marketing until new ideas on the horizon of my company’s future became clearer to my view.
In affiliate marketing, already-established merchants offer a share of any revenue to the website owner from any purchases originating from the website. Thus, I began learning about affiliate networks and scavenged for affiliates that fit either the genealogy or self-improvement markets. I did not give up when discouraged about how little I knew and how much I had to learn. I kept the desire of helping others burning in my heart.
As I established relationships with vendors, I also obtained a position as a journalist. I became the Phoenix Genealogy Examiner for Examiner.com. My vendors and affiliates also became a source for my product knowledge which prepared the way for me to write reviews on Examiner. My connections with my writing group, American Night Writers Association (ANWA), helped strengthen my writing skills and opened the doors to further opportunities when I was asked to be a presenter at their upcoming Writer’s Conference.
While attending the faculty dinner, I became acquainted with other talented authors, editors and agents from many parts of the United States. Not only were my relationships expanding, my circle of influence was expanding too.
As a result of my developing inroads into the social media world and because of relationships established the year before, I accepted further writing and speaking opportunities which helped me connect with even more people .
I became a GeneaBlogger and met Thomas MacEntee (www.geneabloggers.com), whose website lists almost 2,000 genealogy bloggers (and growing). Thomas has provided many genealogy connections I would not have had otherwise. His blogs and radio show help me stay connected and informed about the Genealogy world which, in turn, helps me to help others. I’ve learned that simple connections can produce expansive results.
As my business grew, I also learned the value of information gleaned from free telecalls and investing in marketing programs. Attending conferences also produced networking connections through the relationships which were consciously created there.
Relationships in business have come to me in many different ways. Through establishing affiliates, accepting writing and speaking opportunities, using social media effectively, participating in telecalls, investing in programs and attending conferences for education and networking, the stages of business growth unfolded before my view. I was told that if I took one step toward sharing my gifts or talents, there were others taking one step toward me. I believe when that magical connection finally occurs, it’s called a relationship. To me, when I can provide something of value to someone who’s in a relationship with me, that’s called joy—a joy that begins with trusting my heart.
Carolyn Murphy, founder of Family Tree Quest (www.familytreequest.com), is also a journalist who writes as the Phoenix Genealogy Examiner for Examiner.com. Carolyn is committed to igniting a sense of extraordinary family purpose in individuals as they glean wisdom from the past, live mindfully in the present and prepare confidently for the future. Using a family tree focus, Carolyn helps people live beyond their history as they embrace a fully authentic, empowered life.
What’s your story? Share it with us and you could be featured in the next Trust your Heart Series book!