• Learn How to Build a Powerful Personal Brand That Will Differentiate You and Allow You To Compete in the Global Marketplace.
  • Success Story: Build Your Dream One LinkedIn Contact at a Time

    I love hearing your personal branding success stories, so if you have one, please email me (dan.schawbel@gmail.com) and I’ll post it on this blog. I’ve blogged about seven success stories on this blog and look forward to hearing each one. I like inspiring others with personal branding success stories.

    Here are a few from the past

    I had the pleasure of speaking to another ambitious millennial recently, by the name of Lewis Howes. I would personally say that I dedicate most of my time to Twitter and this blog. I haven’t been using Facebook or other social media sites as much as I have in the past. Lewis and I spoke on the phone and he’s a good friend of Connie Bensen, who is the coeditor of Personal Branding Magazine and one of my close contacts. Lewis told me that he’s had crazy success with LinkedIn and I thought that was unheard of. Today, he tells his story!

    In the beginning…

    Over the last year I would say that 90% of my business opportunities have come from building my network on LinkedIn. At first, I was a little confused with the networking platform because it was different than Facebook and Myspace, but I shortly began to realize the potential it had.

    What I did to make me successful

    Initially, I completed my profile as it suggests you to do, then I started to reach out to other professional athletes and individuals who worked in the professional sports industry. Since I had played one year of Arena Football already, my initial goal was to build relationships with other football players, agents, and scouts, and network my way onto another team.

    I wanted to separate athletes from everyone else in the industry so I created groups like the Professional Athlete Network and the Sports Industry Network to build my database and differentiate the two. I then asked my network compelling questions, provided useful feedback, made key introductions, started a newsletter including unique industry information, and built a site with additional resources to help people in my database achieve their professional goals.

    My achievements

    Since I was willing to make those important introductions, offer unconditional advice, and help others land jobs or build their business, people started seeing me as a valuable connector.

    Because I worked on building my personal brand on LinkedIn, I now:

    • give speeches to various associations and businesses
    • write for a sports industry magazine
    • receive sports sponsorship and marketing opportunities
    • host live networking events to LinkedIn members

    I also get free products to test and review, and receive free trips around the country to attend events. Various inventors bring me their products and ideas for my day job where I work as an inventor and intellectual property broker. I have close to 1,500 direct connections, and 20,000 other connections from the various niche groups I created.

    Without the LinkedIn platform I would have to say most of this would not be possible. Take into consideration that this did not happen over night, but these results are possible for anyone who is willing to put in the effort.

    What I recommend that you do

    For those who do not have the time to build their network, I suggest focusing on three things:

    • Complete Your Profile — What you write on your profile is the most important thing because your LinkedIn page shows up towards the top of the Google search results. Think of it as a resume on steroids; add all of your important key words and achievements and leave out the roids J
    • Answer Questions — I know a guy with 12 connections and a half-completed profile, and he answers a question a day. In the last 30 days he landed three new freelance jobs because of his helpful answers. This takes 30 seconds a day, but if done right, it could identify you as a leader in your industry and land you more business.
    • Recommend Others — “But, Lewis, isn’t the goal to get recommendations on my profile?” This is true because the more others vouch for you, the more potential clients are willing to hire you because they trust in your experience and services. However, I say make recommendations first because this does two things: your name and a thoughtful recommendation show up on another person’s profile, and eight out of ten people you recommend will return the favor. It takes a few minutes, but leaves twice the impact.

    Lewis Howes is the founder of SportsNetworker.com, a business-networking portal for the sports industry. He is an inventor at trident-design.com, and has worked with numerous products from the initial ideas to manufacturing and licensing. Howes speaks to groups and associations on the power of using LinkedIn, and provides LinkedIn consulting sessions for individuals and companies. His book entitled LinkedWorking teaches how to achieve your professional goals while on LinkedIn and will be released in January, 2009. Feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn or contact him at lewis@sportsnetworker.com with any questions.


    Dan Schawbel is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. He is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success (St. Martin’s Press) and the #1 international bestselling book, Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future (Kaplan Publishing), which combined have been translated into 15 languages.

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    Posted in Networking, People, Personal Branding, Social Media, Success Story, Success Strategies
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    6 comments on “Success Story: Build Your Dream One LinkedIn Contact at a Time
    1. avatar
      ostinsfriend says:

      Amazing success story. Being one that maintains a blog and a multitude to profiles on social sites – I do have a small following so to speak. The more I post and share my information with the masses, the snowball effect begins.

      I work as a project manager for a software company and have influence among the largest hotel systems in the world. I often run across small vendors needing direction. I have been successful in offering my vision of their service as it relates to the industry and seen a shift in their business decisions based on this.

      Social Networks are powerful, but the user themselves must participate to make ME a success.

    2. avatar
      Chad Levitt says:

      I developed a “Linkedin power technique” to bypass the “virtual gatekeeper” of any company. This technique lead to me getting hired by EMC and resulted in my first interview 4 times in a row with 4 different companies.

      The other day I put up a post on my blog with screen shots that details the exact steps to follow so others can do the exact same as I did.


      Go connect!

    3. avatar
      Jason ALba says:

      Wow Dan, when I saw this on my google alerts I thought YOU were saying “90% of my business opportunities have come from building my network on LinkedIn” (about yourself). I guessed that you got a lot of value from your blog, Twitter, and other networking strategies, as I know how well connected you are outside of LinkedIn!

      Now it makes sense… and I’m looking forward to Lewis’ book.

      Jason Alba
      CEO – JibberJobber – personal career management
      Author – I’m on LinkedIn — Now What???

    4. avatar
      Nate Riggs says:

      Great success story Lewis! Social media has provided young bucks like you and I with tools that create the opportunity to build and maintain relationships at light speed.

      Niche professionals can now reach volumes of people without the initial overhead of travel expenses and the time it take to get there. You’re dead on in that at some point in the interaction, the relationships need to transition offline and tun into eye contact and hand shakes.

      Professionals who invest in leveraging the platforms out there will leave those who don’t in the dust. Period.

    5. avatar

      Lewis has a lot of great advice. He’s already a successful entrepreneur. I’ve enjoyed sharing ideas with him.

      I look forward to all these new books!

    6. avatar
      Kevin Gowins says:

      Lewis, the successes of Linkedin networking are well documented. During my search, I have connected with people I never imagined would want to help. I have had several connections ask if I knew of someone who might be a good fit for an opportunity. I have made connections for them and they have returned the favor. I myself spend a great deal of time online searching and to date, Linkedin has made the doors open at three companies. I am on my third set of interviews, three different opportunities, with one of those organizations and it just happens to be the best pharma-advertising agency in the country. Thought you might like to know.

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