Kickstarting your entrepreneurial journey with LinkedIn
2024/01/24 | By Petra Fisher | Photo by Nathana Reboucas
When you’re new(ish) to the Netherlands, starting your own service-based business can be fun. The advantage of your own business—over finding employment—is that speaking Dutch isn’t a requirement.
Entrepreneurship offers language independence
Your own business gives you the flexibility to play around until you’ve found your sweet spot; your global perspective as an expat helps you to serve a diverse group of clients.
Being an entrepreneur allows you to use your expertise without the need of finding a job. This also gives you the opportunity to fast-track your personal happiness while navigating life in the Netherlands.
LinkedIn is the Tool to kickstarting your journey
LinkedIn offers many dynamic advantages over other social media platforms and paid advertising. Let’s look at the top three reasons for embracing LinkedIn as your go-to resource:
LinkedIn is purpose-built for professional networking. You can connect with other professionals, share industry insights, and build meaningful relationships. LinkedIn users (present company included) eventually end up mixing personal and professional content, though LinkedIn’s main focus is still business-related.
LinkedIn has 950M+ users (and counting) so you can be confident that your potential clients or next employer is going to be there. And if they are not, certainly their partner, adult children, neighbours and closest friends are! All you have to do is become well-known for your expertise! People will start to refer to you on LinkedIn (and offline) as an expert in your field.
One of LinkedIn’s greatest features is that it is a 3-in-1 platform that features your work experience (where you describe your skills, experience and expertise); a built-in contact list where you can keep all your contacts in one convenient place; and, last but not least, there is the active use of the platform where you share your insights through posts, comments and private messages.
Ready to Dive In?
It’s always best to rewrite your profile and keep things current and up-to-date so that all entries are relevant to what you’re offering potential (and active) clients. For example, if you used to be an account manager and are now a life coach, you can focus on your people skills.
To really fine-tune things, think about the first step people need to take to become your client. Do you want them to download something so they end up on your mailing list? Do you want them to book a call with you or go straight to a sales page on your website?
Make sure to set up a custom link on your profile (by turning on creator mode), to get people to take that specific action and set up your first featured item to do the same. Ideally, also invite people to direct message you in your headline.
Getting people to take action
Craft a clear headline. Start with what you do and for whom (the first part is visible every time you post or comment) then it’s time to start having fun with the platform!
Use the search box to find posts in your area of expertise and comment on at least five each day. This means you become visible to the audience of those writing these posts (you don’t have to be connected to like and comment). It also means that your network might see that you commented on a particular post. This way they’ll soon start to associate you with your topic.
And finally…share your knowledge freely
People don’t hire you solely for your knowledge, per se (it’s all out there, we know how to use search engines!). People hire you when they want someone to guide them step by step through a process. The ultimate buying decision is made based on gut feeling, so make sure to add your personality and values to your LinkedIn identity. When you take these steps, your profile, content and comments make it much easier for your dream clients to relate to you.
LinkedIn is an amazing platform if you want high visibility, no matter what you do. The most important thing is to not try too hard to fit in, but to show up exactly as you do when working with clients. That way, you’ll only attract those potential clients who will be excited and eager to work with you.
About the author
Petra Fisher is an independent LinkedIn trainer and business coach who focuses on aligning marketing and business strategies with her clients’ values. Having lived on three continents, Petra has worked in a diverse range of training, communication, and social work roles. The multidisciplinary and international aspects of her career complement skills which are both sought after and relevant to her global portfolio of clients. Petra was an ACCESS Training Network Partner from 2017 until 2019.