By Phyllis Smith
Every Information Professional I have met has their own, unique story of how they got started. There is no well-defined formula of education or experience required. There is no single accepted method of getting clients or to get the business started. All that is really required is a desire, a deep interest in information and a commitment to offer excellent services.
In my case, once I had my two sons, I found working full time and raising a family creating high stress levels I wanted to continue working, but would have liked to work part time. The idea of building my own business was put away while I worked toward a shorter work week in my then current position.
All at once the whole notion of a business became a real possibility. We had wanted to move closer to our families so our kids could grow up knowing their grandparents. My husband was offered an opportunity that made the move a reality, but it meant I had little choice but to leave my Library position, now of five years. It was not a trivial decision, but it was not difficult either. I started developing my business since I to work from home and maintain part-time hours until my kids were in school.
Fortunately for me, my employers were not happy to see me go and wanted to retain some connection with me and my skills. They became my primary source of business income which has made the transition so much easier. I'm sure those first few months would have been depressing and frustrating trying to get the business off the ground without their interest.
I have been asked on numerous occasions to provide information to people wanting to start their own information business. My main advice to them to hire themselves as their first client. Do the research, in other words. And be realistic about what you will be doing. The information profession is not one that will make you rich over night. Most of us do it for the love of what we do. Finding current, relevant data is more than being able to plug a word or two into a search engine. Qualified professionals constantly maintain their skills and stay up to date in the latest innovations in technology and information resources. They are more than just "Net Surfers"; They work with a wide variety of resources including those that are not found on the Internet. They work closely with their clients make more productive, more profitable use of their time.
I have a series of pages intended to answer some of the common questions and to provide resources to get the initial research off the ground:
In the Know
Research and Information Support Services