1 year ago I wrote a post on LinkedIN that literally changed the course of my life forever.
This is no exaggeration.
I had no content plan or knowledge around 'the perfect post', zero expectation of any traction - I just had a thought, typed it out and posted it.
Comments came rolling in, my inbox became quickly overloaded and my modest network were sharing the post time and time again. I was overwhelmed with managing all of this yet felt relieved to be of service again.
What no-body knew was the pain behind the scenes of what seemed to be a 'normal person just helping out'.
You see, a few weeks prior, my corporate role was made redundant and I was in a period of 'garden leave' - if you're not sure about that term, in my case, I was still employed but not active in duty - it's like a courtesy departure.
To add some context; I had been with the company more than 4 years, had grown the retail footprint from 7 stores to 42 alongside the other Regional Manager and then I was promoted into a role that saw me leave the direct to consumer retail part of the business based in UK to move with my Husband and 1 year old Son to set-up retail franchise which was a new role based in Amsterdam, I had bought a home 12 months into the role, then the pandemic came and boom!
I was devastated
For the loss of my role
The loss of my boss and some great colleagues
The loss of my ambitions
The loss of my love - my career
I was questioning the whole journey. I was vulnerable, deeply upset and deflated.
I came to remember the topic I had coached some of my direct reports on throughout the years - whenever you feel unmotivated and 'down in the dumps' go and mentor someone else.
Teach someone, go and give value and in that act, you will also find fulfilment.
So, I did just that.
I offered to help people with their CV's and applications.
No charge, no costs...no 'list building' ! I was finally busy, in service and helping others succeed again.
From that day my life changed.
My working days started at 7am and I'd be working weekends - and loving it!
I was replying to total strangers (outside of my immediate network) with lengthy e-mail feedback, some people I left 5-10 minute voice notes, some people I jumped on the phone with and gave specific actions. Some people sent back their revised versions for a second check. It was wild!
I got into a routine of letting people know my personal e-mail address and asking them to bare with me, feedback will take 3-4 days (the volume was immense).
Then they told their friends to get in touch with me...and so on...until a few days later a few people replied asking if they could pay me to write it for them. Then a few more asked.
This was the spark that started my business!
Internally though, I still felt a sense of loss and didn't value myself enough to charge an appropriate rate.
My first 20 CV's or so were only £50 each.
£50 to secure interviews at dream companies and go on to get hired! People spend more on a weekend takeaway with drinks.
Some time passed and I started to believe in myself again and knew that I wasn't starting from scratch - I was starting a business with 20 years experience under my belt.
That amount of intellectual property is valuable.
I came to appreciate these assets I had accumulated in my career.
My LinkedIN profile was boosted with recommendations and a steady flow of connection requests. Almost daily CV's would land into my inbox and I've been asked to help people with salary negotiations, job searches and tips on getting leadership roles in the Middle East.
I would always reply and help as much as possible.
Today I still give free feedback, I send voice-notes too - time saver right there!
The launch of my business was November 2020, I started to post more frequently about the things that I'm passionate about. This was rather strange at first, I was initially concerned about backlash or being judged. Discovering my own confidence and strength of mindset really mattered in those early days - it still does today.
Thankfully the trolls are few and far between and when it happens, the report and block buttons are very useful. LinkedIN are fairly good at monitoring accounts that have repeated cases raised against them.
One of my posts had almost 700K views, 12,000 interactions and almost 600 comments.
I couldn't quite believe it.
Who achieves that kind of reach with only 5,000 connections?
Perhaps you could say this was the launch of my personal brand.
Stay with me - I know some of you will roll-eyes at that phrase - I certainly did when I first started hearing and seeing this. However, the results of my business were tied to peoples experience and results of the service I was (and am) providing.
I was no longer operating under a global brand...but under me, myself and I.
Holy cow this is mental, my mind was blown (yes, I still think that daily)!
If you are a founder, a coach or consultant. If you have a health business or you teach freelance, or you have established yourself as self-employed with a valuable skillset, you simply need to have presence on LinkedIN.
Being a lurker profile won't blast off your business.
Everyone knows that visibility is critical to any business owner and with LinkedIN you can achieve just that.
With less than 3% of members posting content, you can stand out fairly quickly.
Imagine if you continued to do that, every week, connecting with peers in your industry and networking with potential clients - how could your business look 6/12 months from now?
It is exciting! But this comes with a warning - you must act now.
The LinkedIN functions, algorithm and general rules of play will be rapidly changing over the coming 12 months. For example, earlier this year we saw the roll-out of the stories function - this will be taken down in the coming weeks.
Company pages are starting to have more authority and reach and there is even talk around a creators pay-out function. Creators will start to be paid.
Time to stop thinking and slowly dancing around the parameters of your potential and jump right in - today
The opportunities are limitless.
Set yourself up for success and get visible - I know it's scary, but no 'success' is found in playing small.
Everything is available - on the other side of action.
So go on, give it a go!