Recently I attended the AIIP annual conference in Pittsburgh, PA. It was my first time at this conference but it won’t be my last. The Association of Independent Information Professionals support people like me who provide information services to businesses.
I went solo, not knowing anyone at the conference, packing all my introverted anxieties into a single carry on that barely fit in the overhead bin. At the airport, I met another conference goer and we shared an UberX to the hotel. She was a well seasoned independent infopro and immediately made me feel at ease, welcome, and included. She set the tone for the weekend for me.
My five takeaways from the conference:
- Support. The level of support from AIIP is amazing, if you want to take advantage of it. They provide partnerships with information vendors and database providers so I can provide better research to my clients. They answer questions for solopreneurs and provide an outlet for figuring out what’s next for my business.
- Networking. Associating with like minded people gathered for a weekend to discuss the ups and downs, ins and outs of the information business was worth the price of admission. I met first timers like me, long time professionals with experience and a history of running successful information businesses. My LinkedIn account hasn’t seen this much new traffic in a long time!
- Education. The programming of the conference was geared to both first timers like me, as well as seasoned business owners looking for a new edge. Discussions were about partnerships, collaboration, client management, new tools, and finances for consultants. I learned a lot about the process of being an independent information professional.
- Community. Friendships were forged during the down-time at lunches and dinners and social events. Opportunities to relate to each other as regular people were outstanding. I’ve never felt so comfortable talking to so many new people than I did at this meeting.
- Confidence. Individuals offering their stories and business tales of successes and lessons learned instilled in me a new level of confidence that I hope to translate into a better and more confident Information Out Loud.
All in all, it was a wonderful conference and I look forward to sharing my successes at next year’s AIIP conference in New Orleans!