I love hearing your personal branding success stories, so if you have one, please email me ([email protected]) and I’ll post it on this blog. I’ve blogged about seven success stories on this blog and look forward to hearing each one. I like inspiring others with personal branding success stories.
Here are a few from the past
I had the pleasure of speaking to another ambitious millennial recently, by the name of Lewis Howes. I would personally say that I dedicate most of my time to Twitter and this blog. I haven’t been using Facebook or other social media sites as much as I have in the past. Lewis and I spoke on the phone and he’s a good friend of Connie Bensen, who is the coeditor of Personal Branding Magazine and one of my close contacts. Lewis told me that he’s had crazy success with LinkedIn and I thought that was unheard of. Today, he tells his story!
Over the last year I would say that 90% of my business opportunities have come from building my network on LinkedIn. At first, I was a little confused with the networking platform because it was different than Facebook and Myspace, but I shortly began to realize the potential it had.
What I did to make me successful
Initially, I completed my profile as it suggests you to do, then I started to reach out to other professional athletes and individuals who worked in the professional sports industry. Since I had played one year of Arena Football already, my initial goal was to build relationships with other football players, agents, and scouts, and network my way onto another team.
I wanted to separate athletes from everyone else in the industry so I created groups like the Professional Athlete Network and the Sports Industry Network to build my database and differentiate the two. I then asked my network compelling questions, provided useful feedback, made key introductions, started a newsletter including unique industry information, and built a site with additional resources to help people in my database achieve their professional goals.
Since I was willing to make those important introductions, offer unconditional advice, and help others land jobs or build their business, people started seeing me as a valuable connector.
Because I worked on building my personal brand on LinkedIn, I now:
- give speeches to various associations and businesses
- write for a sports industry magazine
- receive sports sponsorship and marketing opportunities
- host live networking events to LinkedIn members
I also get free products to test and review, and receive free trips around the country to attend events. Various inventors bring me their products and ideas for my day job where I work as an inventor and intellectual property broker. I have close to 1,500 direct connections, and 20,000 other connections from the various niche groups I created.
Without the LinkedIn platform I would have to say most of this would not be possible. Take into consideration that this did not happen over night, but these results are possible for anyone who is willing to put in the effort.
What I recommend that you do
For those who do not have the time to build their network, I suggest focusing on three things:
- Complete Your Profile — What you write on your profile is the most important thing because your LinkedIn page shows up towards the top of the Google search results. Think of it as a resume on steroids; add all of your important key words and achievements and leave out the roids J
- Answer Questions — I know a guy with 12 connections and a half-completed profile, and he answers a question a day. In the last 30 days he landed three new freelance jobs because of his helpful answers. This takes 30 seconds a day, but if done right, it could identify you as a leader in your industry and land you more business.
- Recommend Others — “But, Lewis, isn’t the goal to get recommendations on my profile?” This is true because the more others vouch for you, the more potential clients are willing to hire you because they trust in your experience and services. However, I say make recommendations first because this does two things: your name and a thoughtful recommendation show up on another person’s profile, and eight out of ten people you recommend will return the favor. It takes a few minutes, but leaves twice the impact.
Lewis Howes is the founder of SportsNetworker.com, a business-networking portal for the sports industry. He is an inventor at trident-design.com, and has worked with numerous products from the initial ideas to manufacturing and licensing. Howes speaks to groups and associations on the power of using LinkedIn, and provides LinkedIn consulting sessions for individuals and companies. His book entitled LinkedWorking teaches how to achieve your professional goals while on LinkedIn and will be released in January, 2009. Feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn or contact him at [email protected] with any questions.