PDA

View Full Version : Advice? I've decided to become a Paranormal Consultant



Diana Hignutt
07-19-2011, 03:33 PM
Sounds crazy, I know.

I have given my letter of resignation at my position at the family business, to take effect in three months. After 30 years...I just can't do it anymore.

So, I'll be writing like a fiend, but I also want to go into a profession that has come after me, so to speak. I'm actually working on my second case as a paranormal consultant. My first case was a complete success, and I feel confident about this demon business case I have now. I have been studying metaphysics, mysticism, and the occult my entire life. I am an initiated adept into the Western Occult Tradition. I'm fearless and clever. And a terrific amateur detective.

So, I need, I'm thinking, some kind of website, or facebook page or or something so people can find me. After this case, I should (if my client and I survive) have some references. It doesn't need to be very elaborate. What's a inexpensive way to go? Will Facebook serve my needs?

I would take clients from the general public (mostly), government agencies, industry, police departments, private investigators, publishers, movie industries, anything really.

I am prepared to help people (payment only upon success) with problems which may or may not include: demons, entities, spirits, aliens, obesessions, possessions, information review, hauntings, hinky feelings, cults, vampires, evil witches, etc..

I am not psychic, but I have my tricks.

Yes, I know I'm crazy, but all the best people are. If anyone has any decent advice on the web/facebook side, I'd appreciate it. Know of someone who could use the services of a qualified paranormal consultant (which sounds better than "sorceress for hire")?

I appreciate your input.

backslashbaby
07-19-2011, 04:05 PM
I always wonder how folks go about getting that kind of gig. I could tell you whether your place was 'haunted' or not when you bought it. Some folks would pay for that service, no? I'm really good at it, as far as matching well with other people's experiences.

The only people I'd know to ask, I was told as a kid to avoid! One of these days, I'm knocking on that witch-lady's door, you just watch ;) :)

thothguard51
07-19-2011, 04:24 PM
Is this like a weight loss plan. No offense, but the pay checks are going to be far and few between. Stock up on the Ramen Noodles now while you can...

Diana Hignutt
07-19-2011, 04:46 PM
Is this like a weight loss plan. No offense, but the pay checks are going to be far and few between. Stock up on the Ramen Noodles now while you can...

I have other sources of income. But, we shall see. I always try and maintain as many income streams as possible...

Williebee
07-19-2011, 05:28 PM
Go for it. Seriously.
:)

Wayne K
07-19-2011, 05:35 PM
Universities are interested in this. They might hire you or give you a grant

CACTUSWENDY
07-19-2011, 05:47 PM
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<wanders away....Hinky feeling?

<<<talks to self.....what are hinky feelings? :Shrug:

OH...best wishes with this.

LynB
07-19-2011, 05:52 PM
Good luck with your new life

cray
07-19-2011, 05:53 PM
*cough*


What's a inexpensive way to go? Will Facebook serve my needs?

Diana Hignutt
07-19-2011, 06:01 PM
*cough*


I know nothing about facebook. Yeah, I know. It's a flaw.

stormie
07-19-2011, 06:03 PM
Here's your second case (since I believe you live in southern NJ): Outing the Jersey Devil. I always wondered about it.

If you're serious, go in person to the police departments but be prepared to back up your qualifications. And also be prepared to get a lot of eye rolls. But you know that already. Then there's pounding the pavement and visiting detective agencies.

In this case, I don't see cold calling as getting you anywhere, but if they see you in person (and realize you're not deranged ;) ) you'll probably have a better chance.

Sheryl Nantus
07-19-2011, 06:11 PM
Whatever you set up, be it a Facebook page or straight web page, you'll need to document your successes and your qualfications - people aren't going to just take your word for it that you know what you're talking about.

If you can discuss your cases and lay out your successes online it'll go a long way to establish your credibility and keep you out of the "crackpot" crowd.

imo, of course.

Diana Hignutt
07-19-2011, 06:17 PM
Here's your second case (since I believe you live in southern NJ): Outing the Jersey Devil. I always wondered about it.

If you're serious, go in person to the police departments but be prepared to back up your qualifications. And also be prepared to get a lot of eye rolls. But you know that already. Then there's pounding the pavement and visiting detective agencies.

In this case, I don't see cold calling as getting you anywhere, but if they see you in person (and realize you're not deranged ;) ) you'll probably have a better chance.

Technically, that would be my third case. My first case involved guiding a young woman from the clutches of vampiric witches (they could very likely have just been crazy people--but I have an open mind). Successfully.

My current case involves helping my new client protect themselves from someone they believe is demonically possessed.

Who would pay me to out the Jersey Devil? I'll probably put together a tour through a local travel agency for enthusiasts wanting to stalk our state's mythic beastie...

Diana Hignutt
07-19-2011, 06:19 PM
Whatever you set up, be it a Facebook page or straight web page, you'll need to document your successes and your qualfications - people aren't going to just take your word for it that you know what you're talking about.

If you can discuss your cases and lay out your successes online it'll go a long way to establish your credibility and keep you out of the "crackpot" crowd.

imo, of course.

"References available upon request." I deal with confidential things. Serious potential clients can ask generic questions of my references, that that's about all I can do.

Good idea though. Thanks.

tiny
07-19-2011, 06:38 PM
If you do your own website don't forget Facebook, Diana. Right now it's where people often take their first look at companies but more than not the place where they keep an eye on things that interest them. It's also a great place to 'spread the word'. I manage a facebook page for a jeep company and it's pretty amazing how quickly it can grow.

shelleyo
07-19-2011, 07:39 PM
You need a Facebook and a few other things for the best exposure.

1. Get Facebook in the business name and/or with important terms.
2. Twitter, same thing.
3. Get a real website, with a .com address. Try to get it with an important keyword(s) in the address if you can. If you prefer to have it as your business name, that's fine, but a keyword in the name can give it a boost. Think about what people who might want to talk to you will be typing in the search box to find services like yours. Use the Google Adsense tool to find how often these types of words are searched, and then look up the sites that come up with those words to see how competitive they are so you can choose something that's more likely to be found. Even if you went with something (which you wouldn't) ike Dianasdemonorama.com (with Diana's demonoarma not something anyone would search for) knowing the popular keywords will be helpful when you write on your site, to help more people find it.
4. Write articles for other people's blogs, similar sites and even places like ezinearticles.com to backlink to your site using appropriate keyword phrases as the link.


You can get a .com for a year for about $10. $20 or so if you want your registration details to be kept private, through domains by proxy or a similar service.

Consider Hostgator to host the site. $9.95 a month for the smallest plan. If you pay a couple of years in advance, the average can be closer to $6 monthly.

Use wordpress to create the site. It's free, super easy to set up with Hostgator and you've got a built-in blog that's easy to update whenever you want. You don't have to know anything about html or websites this way, and you can dicker it around to make it look like a website with a main page and attached blog, if you prefer. You can also find some nice free templates for the site, or pay a little bit to get something more professional. Some make custom stuff that's pricey but fantastic-looking. All depends on your budget.

If you'll be depending on local business, then you want to make sure to use local keywords. seances, ghost hunting, spirit contact or whatever are keywords, but if you're in Booville, then you'll want to make sure you use phrases like Booville ghost hunting, Booville haunting, ghost hunter in Booville, things like that, throughout your website text. Not crazily, but you'll want it there in prominent places. No need to keyword stuff, like some do. Keywords in post titles, headings, that sort of thing. (You may already be aware of this, I'm just trying to be complete.)

If you need help with setting up a website, finding keywords, meta tag stuff, PM me. I work fairly cheap. ;)

However you choose to go about it, good luck! I think it sounds interesting and like you'll be doing something you love.

Shelley

DL Hegel
07-19-2011, 07:52 PM
meetup.com is local and have groups with different interests. Join as many as you can that are haunt related. You can put a link to your main page in your meet up profile, whether it is facebook or myspace or whatever.

Albedo
07-19-2011, 07:55 PM
Make sure you get all the right EPA permits. You've seen Ghostbusters, right??

shelleyo
07-19-2011, 07:58 PM
NEVER CROSS THE STREAMS.

You'll want to make available any articles or books you've written on the topic right on your website/kindle/POD or commercial publishing, whichever you have or want to do. That could bring in a separate income from what you're actually doing when you go to locations.

Shelley

Diana Hignutt
07-19-2011, 08:00 PM
Thank you all so much for your kindness and input.

I really appreciate it!

L. Grumbling
07-19-2011, 08:29 PM
You might get in touch with those psuedo ghost busters on TV. I'm certain they could use someone with a bit of an...educated(?) background.

veinglory
07-19-2011, 08:29 PM
Have you already been doing this for some time? Because most people, when choosing to change horses in mid-stream, like to get one foot in the stirrup of the saddle on the horse they are moving too, before jumping off the horse they are already on.

Medievalist
07-19-2011, 09:19 PM
Diana I wish you'd waited at least until next year to resign; starting a new business in this economy is hazardous.

I'd go with a free Blogger or WordPress site for now; see which works better for you.

I'd be very careful with FB; I'd mostly use it to promote your blog. FB is a troll haven, and you're going to be attacked as badly as you've ever been (I know you know what hostile and malicious trolls are like from previous experiences). You'll need to control access and posting. I'd use FB only for reposts, and not for interaction. Think of your blog as your hub; every thing flows from it. You can create static pages on both Blogger and WordPress; use those for the c.v. and other background data. Provide bibliographies with annotations; you're presenting yourself as an authority.

Try to keep cash outlay to a minimum.

shelleyo
07-19-2011, 09:23 PM
You might get in touch with those psuedo ghost busters on TV. I'm certain they could use someone with a bit of an...educated(?) background.

Ghost Hunters? Nah. They wouldn't actually want someone who might notice the fishing line and the creative editing.

Shelley

Old Hack
07-19-2011, 10:50 PM
You need more than one successful case to build a business on. Perhaps a hundred or three. At the very least.

Diana, if this is what you want to do then retract your resignation and use the next few years to build your reputation in the field so that you have estabilished yourself in it before you have to rely on it for frivolities like food and rent.

Honestly. I'm really worried about you now.

Medievalist
07-19-2011, 10:51 PM
You need more than one successful case to build a business on. Perhaps a hundred or three. At the very least.

Diana, if this is what you want to do then retract your resignation and use the next few years to build your reputation in the field so that you have estabilished yourself in it before you have to rely on it for frivolities like food and rent.

Honestly. I'm really worried about you now.

Me too. This is not a good time to start out as a freelancer. It's a terrible time.

Jean Marie
07-19-2011, 11:29 PM
Diana I wish you'd waited at least until next year to resign; starting a new business in this economy is hazardous.

I'd go with a free Blogger or WordPress site for now; see which works better for you.

I'd be very careful with FB; I'd mostly use it to promote your blog.

Try to keep cash outlay to a minimum.
What Medi said, w/ some commentary on why.

You practically need a Hazmat suit in this economy. Wait at least until this insane debate is over to see what occurs and what direction the economy takes. At this point, even the best of the best are guessing.

FB is most definitely not the safest tack to take. It's an open book-sorry-for virus'. No firewall protection. Nada.


You need more than one successful case to build a business on. Perhaps a hundred or three. At the very least.

Diana, if this is what you want to do then retract your resignation and use the next few years to build your reputation in the field so that you have estabilished yourself in it before you have to rely on it for frivolities like food and rent.

Honestly. I'm really worried about you now.
I bolded what OH said, b/c it's so crucial to establishing your credibility. 2 or 3 cases would be considered luck and to tell the truth, do not build a resume.

I agree in totality w/ the rest of what OH said as well. Walking out on a limb, knowingly, is not...


Me too. This is not a good time to start out as a freelancer. It's a terrible time.
This.

Diana Hignutt
07-19-2011, 11:50 PM
You guys are sweet.

I have other irons in the fire as well, fear not.

I'm burned out at the family business, completely, but I'll be there for a few months, and the severance package, and I'm far more resourceful than most think me.

I'm looking forward to making my way on my wits and talents.

Besides, why do any of you believe the economy is going to turn around? It isn't going to be any better for a while. If I'm going to be poor and unemployed, better to do it in my forties than my fifties.

I don't know, maybe i just saw Inception too many times...

veinglory
07-19-2011, 11:53 PM
The thing about having a salaried position is that what the economy does becomes less important. There are subjects I could consult on (have written a book about and given paid addresses) but I, personally, prefer a more reliable salary less dependent on my ability to schmooze people (a skill I conspicuously lack). Consulting is the the most fragile kind of income because it is the first thing most companies choose to do without.

firedrake
07-20-2011, 12:00 AM
Another avenue you may want to pursue, although it probably wouldn't bring in the big bucks, is to contact local paranormal groups. A lot of them seem to have sprung up all over the place because of the success of programmes like 'Ghosthunters' and 'Most Haunted'. These people are mainly enthusiastic amateurs and I'm sure that (a) they'd benefit from having someone like you on the team for investigations. (b)you could get potential clients this way.

It's a bit out there, but it's a thought.

I also echo other posters' advice. This is a dodgy time to be venturing out on your own, business-wise. Good luck!

Christine N.
07-20-2011, 12:20 AM
If you're looking for a website, I use google sites, which is free if you have a google account. No, really. What I buy is my domain, and that's about $10/year.

It's so good, my local school district uses google sites for their website. I have also built my Grad School profile with it. Very simple to use and you can do almost anything with it and it LOOKS good, not like a freewebs site or anything.

lndsymllr
07-20-2011, 12:23 AM
Another avenue you may want to pursue, although it probably wouldn't bring in the big bucks, is to contact local paranormal groups. A lot of them seem to have sprung up all over the place because of the success of programmes like 'Ghosthunters' and 'Most Haunted'. These people are mainly enthusiastic amateurs and I'm sure that (a) they'd benefit from having someone like you on the team for investigations. (b)you could get potential clients this way.

It's a bit out there, but it's a thought.

I also echo other posters' advice. This is a dodgy time to be venturing out on your own, business-wise. Good luck!


I have to agree with Firedrake on this one. Seeking out the local paranormal groups in the area could be really beneficial.

And if you have the resources to do this kind of thing and live off it, then by all means go for it. There doesn't seem to be enough people in this world who do things because they want to rather than do them because they have too. Myself included http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon9.gif

Leah J. Utas
07-20-2011, 01:06 AM
Excellent. I am so happy for you. I have no real advice beyond cultivating professional friendships with hypnotherapists trained to clinical depossessions and the like. Or is that part and parcel of what you are? In which case, I got nuthin.'

gadget
07-20-2011, 01:59 AM
I'm going to trust that you've thought long and hard about this decision and am just going to jump to offering other bits and thoughts that I haven't seen on here (and repeat a few that have been).

Domain Name: Were it me, I'd definitely get one - it makes you look like a professional and you're definitely going to need all the image help you can get with this field :) Even more important but in the same bed: a truly professional looking website. Something that naysayers will look at and say, "Well...I guess at least she's serious about it and not just some hippy-turned-vampire-slayer" ya know? :) A good website is worth the money (because a professional will make sure all the basckstage stuff is taken care of that can make your job of promotion way easier) but if you have a friend who has put together a couple of websites and does a decent job, it’s a place to start. The important part at this stage is that it look 100% professional – no flower borders, no background music, no pictures of puppies, no difficult to read fonts, etc. Elegant and professional: No more than three different fonts used (that match each other, for the love of all things holy!), a clean, easy to maneuver layout, your contact information easy to find and prominent, links to your FB and blog, etc.

Your website need not have a whole lot to it – it should incorporate your blog (more on that in a moment), and have the basic pages of information about you and what you do and how to get a hold of you.

Especially in this economy, you’re going to want to be promoting yourself constantly and in the most cost-effective ways possible. Enter Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Facebook: Yes, you want a Facebook (FB). Security should not be an issue you’re not clicking things that say, "OMG!!!!!! Look what this girl's father's brother's dog made her DO!!!!VERY GRAPHIC!!!!!" or anything else that looks even a little bit, well, phishy. ;)

Not sure if you know what phishing is, so just in case: Phishing is when you go to a site, someone posts a link, that link takes you to a login page that looks just like the login page of the site you were one. You plug in your login info, thinking nothing of it, and BAM you’ve given your login info to a third party and may have gained you a virus. That third party then uses your login info to proliferate their little virus/scam/offensivething by posting it as though it’s you :( Yay, huh? :p

Phishing in one form or another is the only thing I’ve seen on FB. Don’t click dumb stuff without thinking long and hard about it and don’t trust things that look like login pages to things you’re already logged in to and you’re safe ;)

If you can avoid that, then the benefits of having a FB can be incredible…it’s free advertising if you do it right you’re not even doing a lot of the advertising ;) It’s a ripple effect. It –is- completely useless to have a FB if you don’t make use of it, however – it’s not a passive form of advertising (trade off for being free, I suppose). Because of the way the news feed is set up, every post only gets out to X number of your "friends"/those who have "Liked" you, and of those, most to none are going to pass on your post beyond that.

Sooooo...I would recommend doing it this way: I presume you have a variety of blogs or sites you visit regularly associated with this field or just generally dealing with the occult and science involved, right? If not, get on that - gives you credibility annnnnnd... (probably not –more- important, but very important nonetheless) these give you things to post to facebook :)

People get very very very sick of seeing just straight self-promotion and if you post too much of the stuff people don’t want to see, they’ll just block the content. On the other hand, they “liked” your business because they like the concepts behind the business - in your case, they are probably interested to one degree or another in the occult and in supporting occult-oriented things, even if they don’t need your business itself, and that's your "in."

Your FB name should be your business name (which hopefully indicates something about what you do? :) ) and you should "share" articles, images, and status updates to your FB feed that you think those interested in your work would be interested in reading about and seeing - and humor is one of your best friends on this) with a ferocity: 3-5 articles, pictures, whatever, a day should suffice without being overwhelming to your “friends.” You can take weekends off if you want ;) Make sure that what you're "sharing" is quality, however, and if it's an article, give a short blurb about your opinion on it (especially if it's a more serious article)!

It’s important to not discredit yourself by getting –too- personal on these posts. You want a little bit of personality to shine through, but that will come with the sorts of posts you do…so avoid polarizing things and mostly just stick with your-field-oriented posts. If you find you enjoy facebook and want to get more personal, start a regular FB as yourself :)

Oh…and I wouldn’t play the games as a business…they can fill your feed with garbage people don’t want to see and get you blocked by more people than is worth it to play the game :p (for this business purpose anyway).

Having something like pictures of local places thought to be haunted wouldn't be a bad idea...just gives visitors something to look at on your page and gets them thinking about the paranormal. And of course, refer people to your blog in multiple locations on your FB page...your average person isn't likely to go looking for a separate website but will visit one laid out conveniently for them ;) Ah psychology!

Oh! And every time you post a new blog on your site, share it to FB!!! I have several blogs I've started keeping track of because they posted links to their FB pages and I eventually remembered to bookmark 'em. Really this goes for any new content on your site – people are not going to fault you for posting a link to a blog every couple of days :)

Logo: Something else worth giving up some money for, though it's much harder to discern a good logo from a bad one :S Three points of note: 1 - simple is almost always better. 2 - it *must* be able to be shrunk to the size of a stamp w/out losing shape. 3 - if whoever does it for you doesn't give you an eps or something to that effect, ask for it...you want your logo to *be able* to blow up to billboard size and a jpg's just not made to do that.


Blog: Critical. I was specific about the FB stuff because I noted you're not very familiar with it. I doubt I have to mention how important having and maintaining a regular blog is, except to note that it gives you something of your own business to share to FB or other places – keeps you interactive :) Make sure you have -at least- a Facebook Like button and a Google+ +1 button...and get set up on G+ once they have business pages available (may be invite only still…I can get you an invite if you’d like). Probably need a Twitter button as well.

In any case, these provide a ridiculously easy way to let people share you on these networks with hardly any effort. Personally I am very likely to "like" something I only sort of like or find interesting, but it posts right to my feed which means my friends see it as well. Get "liked" by people who have a bit of a following among their friends and your blog suddenly gets seen by quite a few people, without you having to do much at all :)

As to where to get the blog…I think eblogger (Google’s service) allows you to incorporate it into your website and gives you access to another community – you can follow other blogs there and they can follow you. With G+ getting more and more popular, this is the route I’d go, were I you.

Twitter?: Personally, I'm skeptical about Twitter...like Facebook, it's probably really useful so long as you -use- it and use it often, but I never have been able to get into it. I don't think you need one, but you might want to get someone else's opinion on this one :s

Other Stuff: Join your local Chamber of Commerce, too! They can be a chunk of change, but because most are so active, it's a great way to make connections and to network locally...so much of your work is going to be just getting your name out there in the most cost effective ways you can!

Also get a hold of local radio stations and newspapers and see if you can get an interview in - have an angle ready to pitch to them, though! Program directors and writers are more likely to say yes to someone who can not just give them a topic, but an appropriate and interesting angle :) Again…give people an easy way to do anything and they’re more likely to do it :)

Investing in well-designed business cards is another important thing you can do because they’re really very cheap to print off, and those things can be left -everywhere-...leave one every time you leave a tip somewhere (Assuming you tip pretty well, anyway...), always have some on you, offer to do some kind of trade with car dealerships to have them keep your cards on the dash, likewise, see if you can do a trade of some kind with business owners of physical shops that relate -at all- to your field or appeal to people who might need or want your services and have those shops not just keep your business cards on a counter somewhere (many businesses will do this without anything in return!!!) but to put on in their front window, or on the wall alongside the door where they'll be seen by customers.

Sorry this is so long…I actually had more but figured I should chop it down…you’re a creative sort, after all :D

Good luck!!!

thothguard51
07-20-2011, 03:13 AM
Maybe you could do like Houdini and bust frauds...

Diana Hignutt
07-20-2011, 07:32 PM
Thanks all, again.

So..

Diana Hignutt
Paranormal Consultant

Cathy C
07-20-2011, 07:53 PM
If you have a particular skill, you should really consider writing a book and pushing it to Llewellyn (http://www.llewellyn.com/about/author_submissions.php). They are pretty much the gold standard for paranormal topics. If you're a pubbed author there, you will gain immediate credibility in the industry. But be warned--because of that, they are very picky about what they publish. They have a reputation for only pubbing the best of the best on a topic (I have a few friends who are pubbed with them).

Still, it would be a very good way to meet the people you'll want to work with in the process of signings and such.

Good luck!

veinglory
07-20-2011, 09:17 PM
A Llewelyn book would be a huge platform starter. They are well known for separating the real experts in traditions from the 'invent your own religion' crowd.

bettielee
07-21-2011, 12:13 AM
Best of luck, Diana. I have no advice.... just good wishes. And try not to bring anything home with you.

Diana Hignutt
07-21-2011, 03:02 PM
If you have a particular skill, you should really consider writing a book and pushing it to Llewellyn (http://www.llewellyn.com/about/author_submissions.php). They are pretty much the gold standard for paranormal topics. If you're a pubbed author there, you will gain immediate credibility in the industry. But be warned--because of that, they are very picky about what they publish. They have a reputation for only pubbing the best of the best on a topic (I have a few friends who are pubbed with them).

Still, it would be a very good way to meet the people you'll want to work with in the process of signings and such.

Good luck!

Thanks, yes, I intend to submit my WIP in my sigline to Llewellyn. Though, there are other pubs that have some cache in the field, Weiser, etc. too.

Diana Hignutt
07-21-2011, 03:03 PM
Best of luck, Diana. I have no advice.... just good wishes. And try not to bring anything home with you.

Yeah, that's my wife's principle commandment. Thank you.

Diana Hignutt
07-21-2011, 03:07 PM
I really do appreciate the kind words and especially the dire warnings of financial concerns. I wish I could explain here, the problems involved in my staying where I am. Let's say my current workplace aggrevates my COPD with great intensity...and that's it's come down to staying and dying or leaving and living.

And if I'm starting over, I'm doing it on my terms.

But your thoughts do mean a great deal to me, they show you care.

I love you all. (yes--even the ones who think I've lost it completely).

Ambrosia
07-21-2011, 06:46 PM
Oh, we all know you've lost it completely. That doesn't mean we don't love you and wish you the best of success in your new venture. ;)

I haven't got a lot to add. Just wanted to let you know you have my support, as always. Good luck and let me know how you are doing.

And, what Bettielee said. ;)

MariePinkerton
07-21-2011, 11:22 PM
Someone said you're in New Jersey?

This is out of the box, but what about contacting Historical Societies? Jersey has some ancient (in American standards) buildings, and they are ripe for paranormal activity. If I thought my 200 year old house was haunted, I'd first be contacting the local historical society to find out if there was anything weird that happened there.