The Independent Information Entrepreneur

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Recently I encountered a professional seminar speaker who called himself an “independent information entrepreneur”. So I Googled the term. What intrigued me was the fact this speaker was not trained in library and information sciences. In the library world the term refers to librarians who contract to do research. Although few librarians are interested and success may be dificult, those with strong reference and research experience and skills may become an independent information entrepreneur.

The most common examples would be in searching and records management where there are opportunities for the individual to create a business plan and move forward From a professional genealogists perspective this seems fairly normal, though the librarian may need furtherv traing in what to look for and how to intepret results to pull this off. . The key is to begin with considerable experience, ability, and contacts. Visibility gained via professional activities, conference networking, and publication make quite a difference. You should have some clients before you begin. Two helpful books:

  • Building and Running a Successful Research Business: a guide for the independent information professional by Mary Ellen Bates and
  • Super Searchers Make It On Their Own: top independent information professionals share their secrets for starting and running a research business by Suzanne Sabroski.

The professional seminar speaker was thinking of a different angle. He was trying to develop ways to diversify his speaking business. He was not just talking about taking on research lients, or consulting with clients to help them plan their own research. He was, howver, thinking in terms of diversifying products: creating books, pamphlets, audio lectures, etc,– products that can deliver his message while he sleep. And he was interested in marketing and selling these products on-line while he sleeps.

So who is the independent information entrepreneur, the freelance librarian turned genealogy researcher, or the genealogy speaker who’s diversified his products and services and earns money while asleep? What do you think?

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