Prior to now, you could get away with it because switching from profile to page meant losing all your followers and starting from scratch. To quote Inspector Clouseau, “not anymore!” You can now use the fancy dancy migration tool to automatically convert.
Once you complete the process, your friends will become fans (I like the sound of that) and you’ll have access to a larger number of tools and stats. It also means that you’ll be able to cross the 5000 friend threshold because there’s no such limit on fans.
The downside is you will lose some of your content. It appears that only your friends and profile pic will carry over. I’ve also seen people complain that there are no “are you sure” reminders during the process, so go through the steps carefully. There’s no going back.
For most people, making the decision as to whether they need a profile or a page is a pretty simple. Companies, brands, non-profits, organizations — those are all obvious. But what about the the person who is a business unto themselves? Singers, authors, famous bloggers? Lady Gaga is a person (profile) but she’s also a business (page). If that’s where you are, then you probably should have both — one public persona and one private. You can’t have two profiles on Facebook but you can have a profile and multiple pages, so if your current profile is already full of business connections, convert that to a page then open (I’m assuming this is doable, haven’t tried it) a personal account that you keep for friends and family only.
I think that a lot of creative people tend not to think of themselves as a business even though they’re selling a product or can be hired to do a job. To make matters worse, the Facebook concept of “fans” over “friends” feels egotistical when you don’t have a large brand name to hide behind. Though people may enjoy reading my work, I never think of them as “fans” and so converting to a Facebook Fan Page feels weird.
But by putting a page out there, you’re telling people that you’re a pro and they should buy, work with or hire you, so it is the right thing to do. Hmmm. . .maybe I need to go practice what I preach and turn my personal Cynthia Boris Facebook profile into Cynthia Boris the Writer page. (Or not. . . keep reading)
ETA: As of this morning, I see that several people have tried this and it’s a nightmare. So though it’s a good idea to have a page for your biz, looks like you should hold off the migration until the issues are fixed. Mashable has an account of how it went (badly) when one of their writers tried to make the switch.