Monday, June 15, 2015

SLA2015 : Let Freedom Ring

In case you wonder, yes, I've gone to a couple of sessions that are very much related to the consulting work that I used to do.  The sessions have been good reminders of the wisdom that I need to pass along to my students.

Quick take session by Jennifer Burke on being an independent information professional (IIP). Her web site is

Being a librarian was a second career for her.  She came from a marketing background.  She then combined libraries + marketing consulting into being a independent Infomation consultant.  This allowed her a sense of freedom.

Her question to us is "what will your trail be?"

Top tips for being an IIP:

  • Think like a business person.  It's not just about the research.  Don't under value yourself.  You'll spend more time on administration and marketing, then on research.
  • Don't under estimate the amount of time that you will need to spend on marketing.  From the very beginning, focus on this.  Learn how to talk about what you do.  Marketing is a constant.  You need to network with your potential clients.  Create a target market or niche. Being a generalist is too hard to sell.  Do test your target market.  Recognize that your target market will evolve over time.
  • Time management is critical.  Your clients are your boss and you need to work their hours.  You need to work out the time management balance.
  • Recognize that you can select the projects you want to work on and the clients you want to work with.
  • Recognize that you need support. You may need a supportive partner.  You'll need a cash reserve. You need clients that will rave about your services.
  • And you'll need more support because you cannot do it all.  You may need to outsource some of what you do or find subcontractors.  Remember that you can barter.
  • Remember that you are part of a community that can help to support you, perhaps just moral support.  Yes, there are other consultants and information professionals that can be part of your community.  

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