Getting Off the Muddy Path

I recently had a dream where I was running a race. The course was muddy, and we were running uphill. There was a pack of runners ahead of me and I was in the middle of the second pack, eating the dirt kicked back at me. A car was driving up the course to the left of us and spitting mud all over the runners. I remember thinking to myself, in this dream, that I needed to get off this muddy race track and take that other path up the hill where the cars won’t be. So I did and it was a much more pleasant run. The hill and the race were still hard, but I knew I had made the right choice.

Today I am excited to move forward with Information Out Loud as a fully independent information professional venture. I have flirted with this idea off and on for a decade. I’ve worked at it part time and no time. I’ve been running in the mud long enough and ready to break from the pack and take my own path to success.

Why now? I have lots of reasons – some personal, some professional, some based on careful consideration and some on my gut. The summer is beautiful here in Virginia and I have a lovely view from my home office. I’m off the hamster wheel of commuting and the daily grind of a 9-5. I need the challenge to my brain and my psyche.

In any event, I know I want to take this shot. I have the skills, experience, and drive to turn a professional career of research, information management, and knowledge into a successful and rewarding life.

Please reach out to me if you have questions or needs and you think I can help. See the About and Services pages on this site to get a sense of what I do. Then let’s connect so we can chat about how my skills can bring value to your business and make your clients happy, impressed, and successful.

The AIIP Conference Experience

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!



Background Check


One of the most frequent requests that I am asked is to do a background check to track down people and addresses.  Over the years, I’ve come to rely on a few good sources, but I recently decided to branch out and take a look at other services.

One that I have found and like is KnowX, a LexisNexis company.

KnowX is the place to start for finding information about businesses, people and assets, and can help you discover any critical relationships between them. Run a background check on a business, locate assets, investigate property value and more using public records from across the nation compiled from official data sources.

KnowX provides some searches for free, some for a fee, and offers subscription models as well.  I recently had a list of people who my client needed to locate current addresses for.  Searches on KnowX found probable hits, but the cost to view the full records was $2.95 per name.  To be more cost effective, I purchased a 24 hour unlimited pass for the ultimate people finder at $19.95.  I was able to look at almost 100 addresses in my research.  The option to follow leads that might not look promising at the first level without having to think about the cost per address was great for my research and a bargain for my client.

Public records research can be time consuming and tedious.  A service like KnowX that collects and organizes documents from all over the country including real estate records, professional licenses, court documents, and more is a valuable tool for any background check research.

If you have any research needs that involve background checks, contact me and I can help you find accurate information at a cost effective rate.