I used to be a big fan of LinkedIn. It found me some pretty good jobs, I connected with some big bosses at companies I worked with, and it doubled as a lovely little CV. Hell, I even had LinkedIn Premium.
Naturally, when I started freelancing, I turned straight to LinkedIn. If it worked for me when I was employed, it sure as dammit would do nicely for a newly-turned sole trader.
What went wrong?
I was, fairly constantly, messaged by recruiters. ‘I know you’ve gone freelance now. But have you considered coming back to employment? I’ve got this great role at *insert top agency here*.’
These were lovely people, doing their jobs well. But I’d just settled myself with the feeling that I’d made the right call leaving employment behind. Messages reminding me what I could be earning instead made me wobble.
I’ll leave it a bit, I thought. Come back when I’m a bit more settled.
I built a good client base, and felt confident in my work. I popped back into the social media sphere, banked some great content to post, and enrolled on a techy LinkedIn course.
Then I discovered I was pregnant. (Which was a brilliant thing, and outshone everything else.) But I needed to keep my current clients happy, and work out how to run a business with some time away and a tiny baby. Building my profile and finding new clients? Not really the right time.
My son was born, and an unpleasant – albeit temporary – complication followed. My return back to work was delayed, and then slower than expected. Most clients (wonderfully) stuck with me. So I went back to my safe space of clients I knew and networking I trusted. I didn’t go back to LinkedIn: in short, I had enough work for the (reduced) time I had.
OK, that’s fair enough. But why now?
Fast forward another year and people ask me what the hell I’m doing. And rightly so.
‘Why aren’t you doing anything on LinkedIn? You know it’s free, right? Your son’s in childcare; you’re a fully-functioning human again. And you’d quite like people to know about you.’
Honestly? It’s a confidence issue. It’s out of my comfort zone. Shouting out my thoughts and feelings (and an occasional #humblebrag) is an unpleasant concept for someone who is happiest behind a laptop screen and hasn’t updated their Facebook status in five years.
True? Yes. Helpful? Nope.
But I’ve done it once. I can do it again, right? I’m not short of things to say (thankfully, else I’d be in real trouble). And it can’t be scarier than the first post I wrote on my first day as a sole trader, when I told the world they need to hire me as their copywriter so I wouldn’t be eating Pot Noodle for the second week running.
And with great clients, who seem to like my work and ask me to come back and write some more, I must be on to something good.
So, LinkedIn, let’s be friends again. Maybe we can stick it out together this time.
(Fancy giving me a helping hand outside my comfort zone? Some comments, shares and the like would be lovely. I’m told that’s a good way to start.)