Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Throwing Away Money.

Many investigators out there are throwing away money, are you one of them?

I have grown up in this business literally. I started working for my step father Ralph Thomas, owner of Thomas Investigative Publications, Inc., when I was 13. I am now 37. I have seen a whole lot of changes in the investigative industry. Equipment getting smaller, and less expensive. Pagers, cell phones, satellite phones, and computers have all changed the business. There are so many different things out there to help the investigator grow their business, and make money. But to me one of the biggest changes has been conventions for private investigators. With the advent of the internet, advertising and being able to reach people easier and faster, conventions have grown enormously. Years ago, getting 50 to 100 investigators together at a convention was great. Now with super conferences just about every year in Las Vegas, New Orleans, San Antonio, and other places, it is not uncommon to find 500-1000 investigators together networking, learning, and making money.

I said this at the beginning of the article, and I will say it again now. Many investigators are throwing away money. If you are an active investigator, and are not attending seminars, conventions, luncheons, and other investigative functions, you are throwing away money!

I can not count how many seminars, luncheons, and conventions that I have been to over the past 20 plus years. In all of the events that I have attended, I have yet to leave without something that helped me make more money.

Conventions and seminars are great things to attend for many reasons.

1. Vendors: There are usually many vendors at these conventions and seminars. You can find information brokers, Insurance companies, and my favourite, Equipment vendors. Many times these vendors will offer show specials, and discounts for those in attendance.

2. Networking. I shouldn’t need to say more about this, but I will. Networking is one of the best tools an investigator can have. None of us are experts in every field of investigation. We need help from time to time. This is where networking comes in. We need to know other people we can go to for advice, or help with certain cases. Conventions are the best place to make these contacts. I do not know about you, but I would rather do business with someone that I have met face to face if given the opportunity. I recently attended an area TALI luncheon, and in the course of 1 hour, there were at least 2 cases that were transferred and future ones to be handled. This was in a meeting of 20 local investigators. Just imagine how many cases are handled, and transferred from 1 investigator to another at a national convention with over 500 plus investigators. One investigator that I met at a NAIS convention about 15 years ago, I have personally given over 20 cases to. I did this, because I met him face to face, and I knew what he specialized in. In return, he has given me lots of business, and recommended countless others, resulting in 100’s of thousands of dollars worth of business that I would not have had, had I not been in attendance in attendance at the NAIS convention in Austin those many years ago. This is just one example of the 100’s and 1000’s of contacts that I have made just like this over the years.

3. Education. At just about every seminar/convention that I have been to, there have been great speakers. I have learned countless techniques, tools, and tricks of the trade that have become invaluable to me. To me, learning from someone in person, is a whole lot better than trying to learn from a book. Being able to ask questions, and pick someone’s brain to me is one of the best learning tools there is.

I talk to many investigators daily. I here a lot of different reasons why they do not attend PI functions.

I didn’t know about it.

I am to busy.

I do not have the money to attend.

If you do not know about the events that are going on in your industry, maybe you need to become a little more aware of what’s out there for you. Here are some suggestions.

  1. Join your state association.
    1. TALI (TX) http://www.tali.org
    2. CALI (CA) http://www.cali-pi.org/
    3. FALI (FL) http://www.fali.com/
    4. Other state associations http://www.pimall.com/nais/pi.assoc.list.html

These are some of the biggest state associations. Almost every state has one, if not more than one. These are invaluable to investigators.

  1. Join a national association.
    1. NAIS http://www.pimall.com/nais/nais.j.html
    2. NALI http://www.nalionline.org/
    3. NCISS http://www.nciss.org/
    4. Other national associations http://www.pimall.com/nais/links.c.html
  2. Join a local association.

If you are not a member of these associations, you are missing out on valuable resources.

If you are too busy, and do not need to make any more money, good for you. Most of us however always need to make more money, and learn more to help us grow.

If you do not have the money to attend, you might not ever. I suggest you invest in yourself. To me that is the biggest and best investment you can ever make. You do not have to travel all over the world or even the country to attend conventions and seminars. Just about every state or neighbouring state will have a yearly convention. Many have quarterly seminars. There are also local meetings and luncheons that you can attend.

In addition to seminars/conventions, there are other networking tools out there for you.

Networking online for free with. Join some of these forums

I encourage all of you to get out there and network. It works, and will bring you more business and money, and who among us does not wish to make more money.

Hope to see all of you soon at a luncheon, seminar, state, national, or world convention soon.

Cody Woods

Thomas Investigative Publications, Inc.

The Spy Exchange & Security Center

Spytek Wholesale

Phone: 512-719-3595

Fax: 512-719-3594



9513 Burnet Rd #101

Austin, TX 78758