What is Keeping You from Succeeding in Your Business? (And on LinkedIn?)
You are smart, savvy, focused and talented. So why the heck have you not yet achieved the business success you expected? I work a lot with female businesswomen and entrepreneurs, and there are three common limiting beliefs that show up over and over again. No matter how successful, rich or famous some of my clients are, it’s always the same three issues. So lets take a look at them and hopefully squash them forever.
I counsel my clients to create a LinkedIn profile that reflects the highest ideal of themselves and their business. Not only do I recommend that they claim their excellence – I encourage them to share their highest and best wins in business in their summary section, in the awards section, and through recommendations. “But that sounds so ‘Braggy’” my clients often say. “Isn’t it conceited to list all my awards or tell people how good I am?” No. No it isn’t. Its good business. It lets people know they are working with the best: YOU!
I will also often counsel my new entrepreneurs to “fake it till they make it,” and this does not always sit well with them. (It also doesn’t sit well with folks from Canada, Denmark and New Zealand I have found). I am not telling you to lie, but rather to visualize what your business will look like when you take it to the highest level you can imagine right now (in time you may far exceed your current expectations – just sayin’!) Then write your profile “as if” the outcome was already – if not a fact – then in process of becoming. Because actually, it is! If you just graduated school with a BA in English, you don’t want to say you have your Ph.D yet, but you could let people know you are working towards your Ph.D. and beginning to work with other award winning novelists. (PS- you can indeed find them and work with them on LinkedIn) When I first created my LinkedIn profile and stated that I was a LinkedIn Expert, I wasn’t yet – nobody was! But by claiming it, I had to prove it was true. And over the years I’ve done just that. And my career has far exceeded my expectation from 10 years ago. But if I had played small, not claimed my space and place in the world, (and on LinkedIn) I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be where I am today.
If you just can’t get past “bragging” about yourself, then at the very least let other people do it for you! Get testimonials and put them into your Summary and Experience sections. Get LinkedIn Recommendations. Let people to talk about how awesome you are. Accept their Endorsements.
Sometimes we have to stake the claim of our excellence first and then let others jump on the bandwagon.
I’ve talked to exactly one man who was concerned about looking fat on his LinkedIn profile. However, when it comes to self-image, some statistics show that up to 80% of women are unhappy with the way they appear in photographs.
Here’s the good news – at the very least, you can do a close up (and yes, maybe touch it up with a little photoshopping if you must) on your LinkedIn picture. It should be a headshot from the shoulders up, and I know that can hide a multitude of insecurities.
Here’s the bad news – you have to upload a recognizable photo. So when you go to that conference or trade show people will actually be able to identify who you are. No pictures of babies or dogs or husbands or company logos. Its gotta be you!
And now for the part that makes even me uncomfortable… anyone in the speaking or entertainment bracket, authors, consultants, coaches, even some business owners, should all be uploading video of you doing your work.
I’m going to be honest with you here. I absolutely hate the way I look on video. And because of that, I did not upload my Sizzle Reel until a couple years ago. How many speaking gigs, and how much money did that cost me?
We simply need to get over it! People are more interested in seeing who they’re talking to, and seeing you at work, than they are in criticizing you for being 5 or10 or even 50 pounds overweight!
Upload your media by clicking on the media icon in your summary, experience and education sections. You can upload pictures, YouTube video, portfolios, etc.
Contacting People You Don’t Know
Most people are not super comfortable reaching out to people they don’t know. AND I promise you right now, that LinkedIn has all the prospects you need to create a seven-figure business! If you would only find and reach out to them. I’m with you in that I am not a huge fan of cold calling – or even cold emailing – people I don’t know! (And LinkedIn even tells you not to connect with people you don’t know.) So warm up the relationship by finding and then engaging with people through their updates, posts, and their group involvement.
Updates, Inmail and Introductions allow you to communicate with people who you are not yet connected with on LinkedIn. And when you use these tools, not only do you have a chance to initiate contact, but in most cases, the person you reach out to can see your picture, your name, and your professional headline when you interact with them. And that increases top of mind awareness.
Top of mind awareness is not only about making your prospect feel more comfortable with you, but on a psychological level, making you feel like you know your prospect better and therefore you are more comfortable reaching out to them!” That certainly comes across in the tone of your emails, but also in your voice if you manage to get a call with them, or meet them F2F at an event. I know when I finally meet the people I’ve been communicating with on social media, they feel like old friends even though we might never have met before.
Some of my best business and personal relationships were born just through quick communications on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook!
So to wrap up:
- It’s okay to brag! And if you’re uncomfortable bragging, allow other people to brag about you 🙂
- You’re not fat – and even if you are, get over it! If it makes you feel any better, this is been one of the fears that has held me back the most in my career. Upload that media – don’t handcuff your business because you’re afraid of what other people think of you.
- Find and start communicating with the people on LinkedIn who would make good prospects, partners, employees, and clients. They won’t bite!I think the one thing that keeps us from experiencing our greatest success in our businesses and our lives are our often unfounded, but very real fears. Use LinkedIn to get over your fears, and get on with your business!