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The career of a private eye is often a strange one. Blighted by a slightly off public perception. They’re used throughout all sorts of media. Films, books, TV shows etc. They’re usually depicted as some kind of whisky chugging genius. Starting with Sherlock Holmes the trend has certainly been a popular one.

The truth is, unfortunately, a lot less glamorous. Time spent in a car, following someone suspected of an affair. Or taking pictures from afar. The life of a P.I. isn’t for everyone, but it certainly has its pull. A life where, for a lot of the job, you are your own boss. You go your own way. It’s a career like none other, yet also one in which you need to be sure you want to pursue before you take your first steps. It can be a tough road but also an ultimately rewarding one. These tips can help you out. Some might be a little difficult to accept, you might have even thought about some of them. Either way they may help you begin to think about your new career in a new light. Whatever the case, good luck.


Have The Right Tools

One of the first things a lot of people don’t understand is that to be successful in the field is that you need to have the right tools. Not just in a physical sense, but the right tradecraft mentality to see you succeed in the area you’ve chosen. The initial outlay can be prohibitive. You don’t want to start out unless you’ve got the right gear, otherwise your reputation will take an instant hit. You’re looking at items like high powered lenses for cameras, or good voice recording equipment and the software that goes with it. These are usually quite expensive. Each job might require something different too. It’s why you need to purchase the needed items right off the bat instead of as you need. You’ll certainly need a car, too. These add up. Especially if you’re going to buy them in bulk. Think ahead and start investing early.


It’s a Business

Remember, unless you’re starting out by working for another P.I. firm, then you’re in it for yourself. It’s your business. You might not be setting up your own agency, but just working for yourself. Almost like a sole trader. This means filing your own taxes, advertising, etc. It all costs time and money. No one is going to hire you if they don’t know who you are. Plus, why are they going to hire you instead of anyone else? What edge do you have? Have you spent years as a police detective? Are you familiar with the detective principles? You might have gone on a few courses to help you start out. Whatever the edge, make sure you use it for a marketing angle. Don’t forget your business commitments either. Keep good records and ensure you’re operating within the law. You might want results, but if you get them by illegal means you could find yourself in hot water with your whole business at risk.


Make Good Contacts

Making good contacts is paramount. It means you get to share good practice with other private investigators. Or that you have people to bounce ideas off or go to with problems. You need to make contacts in the circles that usually hire investigators. Do a good job and cultivate your reputation as best you can. This doesn’t just have to be in person, but online too. You can do this through your website or advertisements. Remember, no one is going to hire you if they can’t find you. Ensure your website is well designed and easily located on the web. You might have to pay for this, but if it starts your business off well then surely it is worth it.


Think About Your Family

Becoming a P.I. can take its toll. It might mean working erratic hours. As well as traveling over the country and maybe the world. Think about this before going ahead. It might mean being away from your family for a certain amount of time. It can also involve an element of danger. You need to keep work and family distinctly separate. It’s important to ensure your office isn’t your home address. You could have people taking things out on you. Be careful in what information you share with others to shield you and your family from any blowback after a job has been completed. You can do this by vetting people before accepting a job.

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