Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Starting Up Ain't Easy!

Being in the information fields (university, library, archives, research, and information technology) for nearly 15 years, and seeing the difficulties associated with those fields, in terms of job prospects and security, one thing is clear -- the need for freedom.

I was able to secure an archivist position prior to the 2009 economic crisis, but that didn't spare me from the economic hardships of the recession. I learned during this time that there is a real need for information professionals to be independent, or at the very least retain a independence that allows them degrees of freedom. Specifically, information professionals need to be able to pursuit other opportunities outside of a "day job." And, in some cases, this could very well save their day job!

The ability to act as a consultant, and therefore, to contract for different work hours, establish project duration, benefit packages, pay structures, all have the potential to convince stakeholders of the importance of providing access to their information. This is by-far not a perfect solution, but faced with potential layoffs, indefinite part-time status, less than professional working conditions or respect; being a contracted consultant can be an appealing and potentially optimal option.

In the fall of 2014, I had the fortune to be able to relocate to Prescott, Arizona from Madison, Wisconsin (at the onset of winter no less). Seeing this opportunity to invest in change, I finally decided to follow the American Dream and become my own boss. The problem with being the boss of a start-up is ... starting-up!

Crazy as it sounds, there is a lot of work to be done -- deciding your scope and mission, creating a catchy name, filing legal papers, reserving domain names, reserving social media names, creating business cards, setting-up financial arrangement, and so much more. There was also the consideration of launching before the Arizona Archives Summit, on January 22nd and 23rd.

While I'd like everything to be perfect out of the box, I was fortunate enough to work for a trade association that grew from an idea over the last 100 years. Chances are, if you are reading this, you are a friend, a family member, or potential client with their own start-up problem. And, nothing will every be as perfect as you would like.

The point is to get started! 

Make a commitment to getting your information house in-order! 

We are not alone. Lao-tzu, the ancient Chinese philosopher tell us, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." But, we all know Andy Dufresne from Shawshank Redemption said it best, "Get busy living or get busy dying."

You have information that is dying or at least wilting on the vine! (Thanks to Lora Bray for this gem of an idea!)

History. Records. Archives. Artifacts. Photographs. Web Sites. Social Media. Whatever it is you need help with, we are here to help get you started!

It's time to let your information live! It's time to let your information be useful!

Over the coming days, weeks, months, and hopefully, years, I'll be using this platform to inform and educate. I hope you will follow me on this journey! And, if you find you need more concentrated help, I'll be here...we'll be here!

History Edge is about taking the next step! 

It's about growing from where you are to where you want to be. I look forward to hearing from you and working with you!

Shawn San Roman, CA - Founder/Consultant

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