10 ways to use LinkedIn to find work for your business

When it comes to finding work for your small business, LinkedIn is one of the best hunting grounds out there. And, employers are increasingly turning to LinkedIn too – since 2015 there’s been a 40% increase in recruiters using InMail to contact potential candidates. The platform is hugely popular among contractors, freelancers and small business owners as a way of finding work. So, if you just think of your LinkedIn profile as an online CV, you’re probably missing out on some huge opportunities to grow your business. Let’s look at 10 methods to use LinkedIn to find work for your business.

10 ways to find freelance and contracting work on LinkedIn

There are two ways of winning freelance or contracting work through LinkedIn:

  • Active: this is where you put yourself out there, make connections and hunt for job listings
  • Passive: this is where you optimize your profile to make it more likely that recruiters or other job posters find you10 ways to find freelance and contracting work on LinkedIn

In effect there’s a lot of crossover between active and passive freelance work hunting; by being active in the right LinkedIn groups, it makes it more likely that a recruiter comes across your profile later on while you’re not actually doing anything to find work.

So, here are 10 ways freelancers and contractors can use LinkedIn to find work:

1. Make a good first impression

Your LinkedIn profile can say a lot about you to potential recruiters. Make sure the first things they see appear professional and smart. Your profile photo should be up to date and smart, you should have a relevant background image and you should use your real name (as opposed to a nickname or your company name). If you haven’t already, you should also aim to complete your entire profile – LinkedIn makes this easy for you by giving you pointers as to where you need to add more detail as you’re editing your page.

2. Headline and summary

Just like any search engine, LinkedIn uses keywords. So, whenever someone searches for, say, a freelance web designer on LinkedIn, those profiles that contain that keyword will come top of the search. Make sure your headline and LinkedIn summary include keywords related to what you do. This makes it way more likely that recruiters will find your profile and get in touch about jobs.

3. Ask for endorsements

Request that existing contacts provide endorsements for your skills and expertise, especially if these come from previous freelance or contracting employers. If you can get a positive review of your work on a project, this will give any potential recruiters that extra bit of confidence that you’re worth taking a chance on.

4. Use your profile as a portfolio

There are a number of ways you can use your profile as a portfolio. Most obviously, you should bunch small jobs and projects together in your experience section, detailing the kinds of work you do and the clients you work with. For larger projects you’ve completed, list these separately, perhaps with a link to information about the final piece. Finally, you should include links to your website and online portfolio in your LinkedIn summary section.

5. Post updates and articles

Put your name out there by posting updates, sharing articles and other links. LinkedIn allows you to publish your own thoughts on LinkedIn Pulse too, so a well written article about a subject you know a lot about can be read and shared by hundreds of people. And, LinkedIn Pulse posts appear in Google search results too. One of your readers may well be impressed by your knowledge and offer you some work.

6. Join groups

LinkedIn has countless groups related to different professions. Whether you’re an independent accountant, a freelance journalist or a management consultant, there’s almost certainly groups aimed at your niche. By joining these groups and asking and answering questions, you boost your profile in the community. And, if you’re active in LinkedIn groups, you boost your chance of winning work. Recruiters who join the group will see you as an expert and may get in touch. At the same time, friendships you make with other group members could lead to referral work in future.
Read more about the power of networking in this article.

7. Connect with potential employers

LinkedIn is a website designed specifically for facilitating business connections. So, don’t be shy about connecting with potential employers! If you’re a freelance web developer, and you’ve mainly worked with IT managers at public sector organizations in the past, there is no reason not to simply search LinkedIn for people with this kind of profile and requesting to follow them. Sure, not everyone will accept, but those that do might just pay off.

8. Send personalized InMails

To be able to send an InMail, you need to have a premium profile. However, for a few dollars per month, this could be a worthwhile investment if you do it right. Personalized InMails allow you to connect to anyone on LinkedIn and send them a message. However, for any success here, you need to make sure your message is personally directed at the person you’re trying to speak to – don’t just send a spammy message you’ve sent to a hundred other people, or your connections will just ignore you.
Read our guide on striking deals over email.

9. Connect with old employers

Old employers, managers and even colleagues who’ve changed jobs and risen in seniority are often a great source of work for freelancers and contractors. Add these people to your network and send them a message to let them know what you’re doing nowadays. They just might have some work you can help out with.

10. View ads!

One of the easiest ways to find freelance and contracting work on LinkedIn is to set up notifications for job ads which contain your keywords – be that freelance writer, graphic designer or IT consultant. LinkedIn can email you daily, weekly or monthly summaries of jobs in your sector – let LinkedIn do the hard work for you!

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Len is a tech and business writer who covers small business and startup advice and has appeared in many print and digital publications. He lives in London, UK, where he's also a sub editor on a national newspaper. He loves to travel and has lived in France, Spain, Senegal and Rwanda.

Guide to striking deals via email

When an email from a new lead lands in your inbox, the way you respond can be critical. The initial negotiations with a potential client, where you find out what they want and what they’re willing to pay can be complicated – especially when the entire conversation happens over email.


Psychological research has found that up to 90% of face-to-face communication is non-verbal, meaning that it’s a lot harder to gauge what a client wants when the only interaction you have with them is written in the body of an email.

Nonetheless, people are increasingly reaching business deals with people and businesses they’ve only spoken to via email messages – and millennials in particular say they prefer contacting clients over emails than phone calls.

If you find email a complicated medium, let’s look at some useful ways you can build rapport over email, which will make more of those promising leads turn into profitable customers.

Striking Deals Over Email

Let’s take a look at some simple steps you can follow to boost the chances that the email conversation will turn into real business:

1. Avoid hitting people with quotes and brochures up front
Unless the lead asks to receive price listings or other material immediately, you should not overwhelm them with this kind of content. Rather, aim to build a conversation and find out what their problems are and what they want you to help them with.

2. Meaningful subject lines will help everyone
An clear email subject line makes it easier for the client to find your email in their inbox – and it also tells them what the email will be about before they open it.

3. Keep the conversation flowing with questions
Don’t expect your leads to write long, detailed messages. It’s not uncommon for emails to be short and to the point – this doesn’t mean there’s a problem, you just need to keep the person’s attention. A simple start is to keep the conversation going by asking them friendly questions which mean they’re more likely to answer.

4. Cut length, boost clarity
Lengthy emails will just confuse potential clients. While you don’t want to appear blunt, you need to make it easy for them to respond to you and your questions. Bullet points or listed questions are easier for them to answer in turn.

5. Close off longer emails by summing up
If you need to write a longer email, aim to sum up the key points of your message at the beginning, and also draw out any specific requests or actions you need the client to complete at the end of the email

Happy emailing

Email can be a powerful tool for closing business deals – but unlike a face to face conversation, misunderstandings are more likely, and you can lose a warm lead with slow or confusing replies. However, just a couple of changes to your emailing style can make a big difference, and turn more leads into customers.

7 Timeless Tips on Advertising from Ogilvy

You’ve probably heard of David Ogilvy and his timeless marketing book “Ogilvy on Advertising”. If you haven’t, I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy here.

I’d like to share with you a few of my favorite nuggets of wisdom that I’ve found in his book and have used for my clients, successfully, and that you can start using today to help your business grow. Let’s jump in…

Speak Visually. Create an infographic with Visme

Marketing Tip Number One:

It pays to give most products an image of quality. A first class ticket.

Marketing Tip Number Two:

Big ideas are what it takes to attract consumers to your product. (Which leads us to…)

Marketing Tip Number Three:

How to recognize a big idea.

Did it make me gasp when I first saw it?
Do I wish I thought of it?
Is it unique?
Does it fit strategy to perfection?
Could it be used for 30 years?

In a recent post I wrote about harnessing the power of mass desire on to your product, I covered why some ads run for 30 days and some run for three decades. You can check it out here.

Marketing Tip Number Four:

Positioning (what it is and what it isn’t)

Positioning is not a buzzword. Simply put, it is “What a product does and who it is for”.

Marketing Tip Number Five:

For local advertising you get [much] better results when you name the city/location in your headline.

Marketing Tip Number Six:

Recall increases by [an average factor of] 28% when you put your headline in quotes.

Marketing Tip Number Seven:

Story Appeal (use it). Add photos that arouse curiosity and entice the prospect to read the copy.

When it comes to marketing your business you have to take a unique approach, because after all, your business is unique and the problems you solve and face will be unique as well.

Copying what others do won’t get you there. Learning principles, tips and “hacks” that are proven effective will help. However, it’s up to you and your team to find the groove that makes your product irresistible to your customers.

These tips can get you some of the way there but don’t look for all the answers on the internet. Use your mind, trust your gut (you understand your business better than anyone else) and rely on the facts that can help you leverage your marketing efforts further.

When you’re creating your next marketing campaign try to remember these tips and this quote from Steve Jobs. I find it both insightful and motivating, I hope you do to!

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
– Steve Jobs