Business of family history.
As a solopreneur, I wear many hats. Who am I kidding: I wear all the hats! Like many solopreneurs, I excel in some areas and struggle in others, but I am always learning and willing to adjust my behaviors and try new strategies around meeting new people who need my services. My goal is to be introduced to new people every day, to get them excited about my business, and to persuade them to work with me. In order for me to do that, I must know exactly what my clients need. What is the void that I can fill?

Most businesses fall under one of two different models: retail or service. But what if your business is a mixture of these two models—a hybrid of some sort? What if you were selling an experience that will turn into something tangible but, presently, is just an idea? How do you get people interested in that unique, one-of-a-kind, personalized gift of their lifetime?

Retail stores have something readily available for you to buy; customers can be instantly gratified. If they are looking for a scarf, your store may have many to choose from. If they are hungry, your restaurant can make them a taco. Service-related business can clean your house every week so you can spend more time with your family; if the oil in your car needs to be changed, the service station on the corner can do it for you in 15 minutes and let you mess.


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Turing your passion for family history into a business. Lori Gillespie at Red Artichoke StoriesLori Farkas Gillespie is the owner of Red Artichoke Stories. After a spending most of her career in the financial industry, she started Red Artichoke to help families capture their stories. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Lori lives in Sugar House, is married, and has two boys that constantly provide the stories of her lifetime. She can be found at:


I don’t provide a ready-made item or a quick service as my product. So how do I get people to say,” Yes! I need that!” My approach is all about personal relationships—the relationship that clients and I have, as well as the relationships they have with who they are. As the founder and principal of Red Artichoke Stories, my goal is to provide a solution to personal emotions around loss. And as we all know, emotions drive many of our decisions. My passion is to collect and preserve my clients’ stories before they are lost or forgotten. In this way, my customers can share themselves and their beliefs with those they care about now and to help introduce themselves to future generations.

Think about family members who have passed or maybe even those you never knew. What do you wish you could ask them? I can think of thousands of questions that I would love to ask my grandparents but never got the chance.

Both my mom’s mother and father served in WWII. My grandfather stormed the beach at Normandy and was wounded, and my grandmother served as a WAC. I never thought to ask my grandparents about those experiences during their lifetimes, and it’s not because I didn’t care—it was because I was young when they died. I’m sad that I will never know that history and learn how it shaped my family. Oh, I have put pieces together from my mom and her siblings, and military records tell me some things, but to have a first-hand account of those experiences would be priceless. To have their words and pictures in a book that I could share with my kids and grandkids, and they with theirs, would add heart and soul to my family tree.
Bring your family story to life with geneology books
It’s important to know what is causing your client’s emotion, truly listen, and then solve their problem. Spending the time to learn what is important to them and understanding what their expectations for the experience will solidify your relationship.

I spend time with my clients before we start working together so I can help them figure out what they want from the experience. They need to feel comfortable with me so they can get the most out of their storytelling and leave the legacy they want.

Everyone has a story, and everyone’s story is interesting. Now, many of you just said, “Who would want to hear my story?” I do! And so does your family, and your customers, and people you haven’t even met or haven’t even been born yet. My clients have emotions that are driving them to act and get the stories recorded. I know that if I spend time to truly listen to them and understand their emotions, our relationships expand in scope and quantity. You can do the same with your clients. You just have to listen to them.