This is the "Information Age" and there more publications and
media markets available than ever before. We now have access to
more magazines, newspapers, books, articles, online databases,
and other information sources than ever. Facts, figures,
statistics, anything and everything is available today and all
We need information. Many people are constantly searching for
information, whether it for business or pleasure. The problem
is that information is not the easiest thing to find. At least
not really specific types of information. But where is someone
to turn when trying to hunt down hard-to-find information?
Enter the "Information Broker."
An Information Broker is someone who has access to many
databases of information and is very familiar with how to search
for data. This broker markets his service, and then gets paid a
nice hourly rate when he finds the sought after information for
It is not hard to become an information broker. Look around
while your online with the Internet or one of the major online
services. Notice the resources they have available. Did you
know there are already some 7,000 newsgroups on the Internet!?
You can use these resources to find information that people are
looking for, and they will pay you nicely to do so!
Get to know the service that you use. Find out what resources
it has to offer. Learn a specific area of information. Learn
an area that you feel comfortable with. Your best bet is to
learn an information area that has a lot of available data to
give you a broad range to search.
For example, Compuserve has phone databases online. The are
thousands of people that would pay you money to track down an
old friend, relative, or business debt skipper. You can use
these phone directories to do searches for only about $10/hour.
They also have business listing phone databases as well.
You could also concentrate on a specific subject such as
business. You could familiarize yourself with most of the
newsgroups on Internet by doing searches for business topics in
a Newsgroups Search. Then when someone hires you to find them
more information about a certain type of business you would have
a good chance of finding on the Internet.
Your keys to success are MARKETING, COMMUNICATION, AND
You need to market you brokering business. You need to find
your target market based on your subject. Then concentrate on
reaching those targeted prospects. Place ads online in
groups that they might read or other interests they have. Place
ads explaining your service. Tell them that you will help
someone find extensive research on what they are looking for
(based upon your area of information expertise.)
When your client calls you will need to know how to
communicate in a professional manner. No one wants to talk
with, or pay money to, someone who doesn't sound professional.
Always make sure you CLEARLY understand your client's needs and
expectations of you.
When you gather all of your information on the project you were
researching, you need to put it all together in a presentable
manner. Structure your data into a chronological, or other easy
to follow, way that the client will have an easy time reading it
with. Your researched data will do a client little good if
he/she can't understand it.
When charging someone a fee you should usually charge between
$20 - $40 an hour based upon two things. What your labor is
worth to you, and considering the costs it took to obtain the
information (some databases charge in excess of $200/hour).
Make good use of a "capture text" feature in your terminal
communications software. You can never have too much
information saved on your system. When you are cruising around
looking for usable data, collect as much as you can. Even if
you don't intend to use it all, you can always eliminate the
extra information later.
Directory of On-Line Databases, published by Cuadra/Elservier,
New York, New York
How To Look It Up On-Line, by A. Glossbrenner, published by St.
Martin's Press, New York, New York