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Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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The Biz Question

I'll be retiring in two years and have decided that a home-based business will be my next endeavor. I'm interested in information-gathering as a service, but am not sure how to develop this skill. Can anyone suggest any good books in this field? Are there any organizations or groups that might utilize my skills? What are the prospects for this type of vocation? Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks.


Answer from our Guest Expert Allison Gaea Jucha of Yes!Coaching

Being that we've moved from to the Information Age to the Access Age in a short 20-30 years, your idea to offer information services is timely. After all, information brokers are the people paid to sift through mountains of information available through reference books, periodicals, books, and on-line services to find out exactly what their clients need to know. What sets you apart, however, from the local library and a minimum wage company worker is either background or a degree in library science or expertise in the field of business you want to serve. But really anyone with strong research skills can succeed as an information broker.

There are some excellent resources available to you for support and research.


American Library Association
50 E. Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60611

These folks will help you stay up-to-date with the information services field and enable you to network with other librarians and researchers. Members can also attend their conferences and receive their publications.

Association of Independent Information Professionals
245 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2103
New York, NY 10016

This association is for you if you're not a librarian and it offers special member rates to on-line services.


The Information Broker's Handbook by Sue Rugge and Alfred Glossbrenner (TAB Books, 1992)

Encyclopedia of Business Info Sources by James B. Woy (Gale Research, Inc., 1994)

Finding Facts Fast by Alden Todd (Ten Speed Press, 1992)

Trade Journals

Information Today
143 Old Marlton Pike
Medford, NJ 08055
462 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT 06897

Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Begin

Do I have the self-discipline to run a business from home?

Do I have the right skills and equipment?

Do I feel comfortable marketing myself and services?

What is my area of expertise? What are my other burning interests?

Most businesses get their start from referrals from former business colleagues, friends, and family. As an information broker, you'll also want your local librarians to know who you are as they often receive too many time-consuming search requests. If you're a natural teacher, you may even find yourself contracting to companies to train their employees how to do information gathering.

Although any new business can take a year or two to begin panning out financially, if you have the resources to give it a try, and you feel your skills are a match, information brokering can be a very fascinating business arena.

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