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Establishing a career

Once you have qualified you will want to establish your business.

How long does it take to get established?

Indexing offers the flexibility of working from home. For many it is part of a portfolio career encompassing other paid employment or freelance activities such as editorial work, or provides a means of income which fits round other commitments. A degree of entrepreneurial skill will, over time, enable you to build up a solid client-base, and for some this may provide the potential to develop a more full-time career in indexing.

Success breeds success and your first indexing commission may well lead to further work from the same client. But you should be prepared for an uneven work flow and you will need to keep working to expand your client base.  It may take some time and perseverance before you can be sure of getting enough work to rely on indexing as a full-time career; initially, you may need to combine it with other occupations. It is advisable to allow about two years to establish an indexing business, although you may find that you are getting plenty of work well before this. Remember, what a publisher requires is a good index delivered on time and within budget. Fulfil these criteria and you’re likely to get repeat commissions.

In a recent survey of new indexers it was found that two-thirds of respondents currently work part-time. Typically, it can take up to two years to get established, although half had received their first job within three months; work flow can be variable. Indexers combining indexing with other jobs felt this offered security whilst exploring indexing as a career, although urgent deadlines can be difficult to fit round other commitments during this development stage. Most new indexers develop subject specialist areas, although many initially index generalist works as well. Marketing is essential: combining direct approaches to publishers, networking with other  members, and having an entry in the Society’s online directory could all lead to success; patience, persistence and professionalism were all considered essential.

See also a Career in indexing