Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pugs Aren't Using LinkedIn To Make Money, But You Can

Unfortunately for pugs, they can't type very well, so haven't been able to join LinkedIn and make some money, find new clients, or land a job. But that's cool -- it's less competition for you to get in there and snap up some of that new business just going begging.

Here's how:

That sounds too obvious, right? It's been around for around six years now, I believe, and when I chat to friends and business acquaintances -- especially those who know about it and meet interesting contacts every day, but feel they shouldn't add them to their profile -- it amazes me the opportunities they are missing to expand their professional network. For free.

Set Up A Group
I have a zero marketing budget. Actually, that's not entirely true. My marketing budget is around $48 a month for my Internet connection. That's all I need. Heard that Seth Godin was setting up a Triiibes network, e-mailed him to ask if he was OK with me setting up a LinkedIn Triiibes Group, and voila! A nice, growing sub-network of interesting people (166 so far) who are smart, looking for new business opportunities, or just to bounce ideas off each other via the LinkedIn setup.

Answer A Question
Everyone is curious. There is a GOLDMINE of top professionals asking questions on LinkedIn = needing YOUR help = maybe looking to be YOUR future client. Pick a few questions that you know the answer to and don't waste people's time, and then offer some of your hard-earned knowledge. For free. If the recipient likes what they hear, they will follow up. Happened to me once or twice.

Check Out Who Is Checking You Out
You can see who has viewed your profile recently. I love this. Sometimes it's a specific name, or you can narrow it done pretty accurately. Just fire up the old e-mail, contact them: "Hey Mr. Jobs, I noticed you checked out my profile today. Is there anything about my services I can help you with? If not, have a great day and maybe we can connect in the future."

Jobs Are Also Contract Opportunities
Read the jobs section. See a job that fits your skills, but it is in the wrong location, salary range, area of expertise? No problem! Contact the company and see if they are open to outsourcing the job to you as a telecommute position. They save costs, and you obtain a new client. Or, ask if there's a finder's fee for getting the right candidate, and then consult your network to find the perfect fit. Headhunters use LinkedIn all the time ... why shouldn't you get a slice of the action?

Get Referrals
I'm sorry, but people, me included, DO have egos. I like to do great work for people, and them to be appreciative of it. So, ask for a referral or testimonial. If the client is happy with the work you've done for them, they should have no problem with taking 10 minutes to write a paragraph to that effect. It's gold. It's credibility. It's currency.

Connect To Strangers
You go to a business networking event, you see interesting people, you just stand there in the corner and ignore them. NO! You walk up, introduce yourself, chat and see if there's a possible working relationship. Same for LinkedIn. Source those superstars, the people you want to do business with. Add them as a contact. But, don't be lazy and use the LinkedIn default introduction e-mail. Shows a lack of respect. Take 10 minutes to write a personal note about why you want to contact them. It's not spam. You have something to offer that you take pride in, right? They might need it, they might not. 50/50. A polite "no thanks" or a "hey, tell me more." Not sending that connection request is a definite 100% failure to get new business.

So, there you have it. Get in there, use LinkedIn to make some money before the pugs catch on.

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