Last week I had the opportunity to share some cocoa and conversation with a fellow librarian who is working on her MBA.  She asked to interview me for a project she was working on related to Independent Information Professionals.

The conversation ranged from how I got started to how I plan to continue building my clientele.  I spent a lot of time talking about the mentors and others who supported me in making the switch from employee to self-employed.  I iterated the fact that I had a client to begin with who also became a mentor and another mentor in the business who has helped me learn lots of the ins and outs of being and Independent Information Professional.

Independent Information Professionals benefit from Flexibility

In addition to the people behind me, I also have been given some unusual opportunities early in my IIP career.  For instance, being approached late last summer to write a book.  I don’t think that happens to many IIPs early on but it was an opportunity I could not refuse.

My interviewer seemed surprised by my adamant statement, that I did not plan for this change in career and that I was not good at setting out long-term career goals for myself.  Every thing I have done in my career path has been time and opportunity based.

My first full-time professional library job came from meeting the hiring librarian at a conference and pressing my resume into her hand at that initial meeting.  Starting Answer Maven was a result of assessing opportunities and hurdles in changing jobs in my then current setting.  Having people in my corner saying “You can do this” gave me some courage that I didn’t have myself.  And that courage was a necessary component for the switch.

Now, although I don’t plan for my own career moves you must understand that once a path has been chosen, I dedicate myself to succeeding.  So I do plan for things within my IIP career.  I set marketing goals, I continuously strive forward and I have realistic milestones set that ensure that I do not remain stagnant.

The funny thing is that the goals I set often transform into something larger.

  • Attend 1 networking event per month

has become

  • Assist in the planning and execution of one networking event per month.
  • Write for 1 article publication per quarter

transformed into writing a book as opposed to an article.  Trust me writing a full length book/report is way harder than writing a 500 word article.

So if I have one piece of advice to offer up to anyone in the independent information profession it is to take opportunities where they present and be flexible in how you execute the actions necessary to meet your goals.

Constance Ard February 15, 2010