Bates Information Services Releases Results of 2013 Info-Entrepreneurship Industry Survey

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A new industry survey finds that independent information professionals are bullish on the economy, with more than half expecting revenues to increase in 2013.

“One of my passions is showing entrepreneurs how to develop effective marketing plans that are actually fun to put into practice," says Mary Ellen Bates, owner of Bates Information Services, who has surveyed the independent info pro sector.

Mary Ellen Bates, owner of Bates Information Services, can tell you what independent information professionals look like, how hard they work, and how much they earn. The 2013 Info-Entrepreneur Report: Insights on Information Businesses, is the third survey Bates has conducted of the independent info pro sector (earlier surveys were done in 2001 and 2004).

In spring 2013, surveys were distributed to full members of the Association of Independent Information Professionals (http://www.aiip.org), with a 37% response rate.

Respondents were asked to identify themselves as full-time (60%) or part-time (40%) independent info-entrepreneurs. The majority (56%) of these businesses are sole proprietorships, while 25% are set up as LLCs. The vast majority (95%) of respondents work from home.

What do these professionals look like?
In a word, they’re experienced. Bates found that 80% are in their 50s (40%) or 60s (40%), 94% hold graduate degrees—in particular an MLS (50%) or MBA (15%)—and have worked 15+ years before launching their solo businesses. Bates herself is an experienced independent info-entrepreneur, having started her business in 1991.

How hard do info pros work?
The survey found that full-time info-entrepreneurs work an average of 42 hours per week; part-time info pros work an average of 18 hours per week (usually on top of a full-time job in an organization).

How much do info-entrepreneurs make?
According to the 2013 survey, info pros in business for three years or less report annual revenues of under $20K. The payoff seems to kick in around the five-year mark, after which more than 40% of established info pros report annual revenue of at least $90K and 65% of respondents saying that they bring in at least $60K per year.

How confident are info-entrepreneurs about revenue?
Bates asked respondents to indicate whether their 2013 revenue would increase, decrease, or stay the same. “Info-entrepreneurs are bullish on the economy,” says Bates, “with over half expecting their revenue to increase in 2013 and under 10% expecting to see a drop in revenue.” Another sign of optimism: among respondents who said their revenues would increase, 40% anticipated an increase of 40% or more. As Bates observes, “almost two-thirds of info-entrepreneurs surveyed have revenues of $60K or more, so we’re talking about some financially healthy companies.”

What do info-entrepreneurs need most to grow their businesses?
The survey asked info-entrepreneurs what would help their businesses the most right now. According to Bates, “A surprisingly high number of them said some version of ‘I wish I knew how to market.’ One of the benefits of AIIP membership is having access to so many resources on how to market a business, such as members-only webinars and the private discussion forum.” Susan Wald Berkman, Director, AIIP Marketing-Content, concurs: “As Mary Ellen’s survey results demonstrate, info-entrepreneurs need to be savvy marketers of themselves and their businesses. In addition to the webinars and discussion list, Mary Ellen mentioned, AIIP supports its members’ marketing efforts in several key ways, such as an active mentoring program, an AIIP Member Directory that highlights members’ skills and expertise, and an annual conference that emphasizes strategies and techniques for effective marketing and branding.”

Mary Ellen Bates has leveraged what she’s learned from these surveys into a service that she now offers to new and established info pros. As Bates explains, “One of my passions is showing entrepreneurs how to develop effective marketing plans that are actually fun to put into practice. I feel really fortunate that I have created a business that lets me actually enjoy the marketing aspects, and I feel sad that it is such a burden for so many entrepreneurs.”

Read the full 2013 Info-Entrepreneur Report at: http://www.batesinfo.com/2013survey/.

About the Researcher

Mary Ellen Bates is a long-time info-entrepreneur and owner of Bates Information Services. She provides business analysis to support smart decisions, and coaching services to both new and long-time entrepreneurs. She served as president of AIIP in 1996-1997 and 2004-2005, and is the author of six books, including Building & Running a Successful Research Business: A Guide for the Independent Info Pro as well as the forthcoming The Reluctant Entrepreneur: Turning Your Passion Into Profit. She is a frequent international speaker and has written innumerable articles on the information industry. For more information, see her website (BatesInfo.com), blog (LibrarianOfFortune.com), and Twitter feed (twitter.com/mebs).

About AIIP

The Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP, http://www.AIIP.org) is the premier industry association for independent information professionals. The membership consists of more than 500 business owners from around the world whose firms provide research and consulting services across a wide variety of industries. Business research, competitive intelligence, market analysis, database development, training, and information management consulting are just a few of the areas in which AIIP members specialize. Some of the vertical industries AIIP members serve include scientific, medical, pharmaceutical, regulatory, information technology, education, financial services, manufacturing, nonprofits, and life sciences. A directory of members is available at: http://www.aiip.org/content/hire-info-pro.

Media Relations/Public Relations Contact: Jeff Mustard – cell: +1 954-801-8263; email: Jeff(at)TheBambooAgency(dot)com

For more information about the Association of Independent Information Professionals, contact AIIP Headquarters, Baton Rouge, LA, USA; +1 (225)408-4400, email: office(at)aiip(dot)org.

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