LinkedIn is a teachable skill

As I delve deeper into the world of solopreneurship, I’m learning many valuable lessons about running a solo business. Examples include:

One person who exemplifies all of the above lessons is Justin Welsh, who is on the path to $10M in revenue through his soloist ventures. I came across Justin via the Fractionals United community, where many members are interested in getting better at LinkedIn.

Now, it may sound weird to be talking about being “good at LinkedIn”, but I think it describes Justin well – just look at his feed and profile.

The beauty of being good at LinkedIn is that it’s a skill that’s highly visible. And unlike other people who merely possess LinkedIn skills, Justin has taken the next step to teach it to others. He offers an online course called the LinkedIn Operating System,1 which I just completed.

Interestingly, despite being somewhat frugal in general, it didn’t take me long to decide to pay for the course. Justin’s visible skills and the course’s testimonials were helpful, and a 30% discount was helpful in getting me over the line (seems like the discounts change constantly). However, I was already a warm prospect because of my realisation that parasocial relationships are important, and because I already post on LinkedIn (I find it much more civil and valuable than other social networks). Therefore, I see getting better at LinkedIn as an investment in my business. Along with posting regularly on my website and mailing list, improving my LinkedIn visibility should help with attracting quality leads.

I’m still far from implementing all of Justin’s advice (some of which would take months and years of deliberate practice), but here’s a quick outline of the core parts of the course along with my high-level thoughts.

  1. The foundation: Defining your niche, and building an online persona through your backstory, polarisation, and stories.
    • As noted above, having a well-defined niche is key. I’m still working on sharpening mine, but I’m definitely further along than where I was before I fully recognised the need for specialisation.
    • I’m not a fan of online polarisation (one of the reasons I deleted my Twitter account), so I translated polarisation to strong opinions, which is something I definitely have. As a CEO at a startup I worked with once said: “you have the rare qualities of a) very good with data and b) very able to express your opinions – especially when you don’t agree with how something is being done.” In fact, the realisation that as a soloist I don’t have to hide my opinions to fit in with the norms of a single company is quite liberating.
  2. Content creation: Relaying content through leading/discovering/reporting, and systematising content creation and publication.
    • It’s helpful to think of content as falling into the three broad categories of leading, discovering, and reporting. In some areas, I’m comfortable leading based on my experience. In others, I’m happy to discover new things and share them as I go. Reporting is something I’d like to do more of – perhaps in the form of podcast interviews down the track.
    • Again, systems and habits are key to success. Even people who have a natural talent for LinkedIn content creation won’t get anywhere if they don’t post consistently.
  3. Building your tribe: Smart audience interaction and finding relevant people.
    • This part is also about systems that are fairly straightforward to implement. That’s partly why LinkedIn is a teachable skill: Most people don’t bother systematising audience interaction and growth. At its core, this is about human relationships (which I believe will take longer to automate than other skills that will be taken over by AI).
  4. LinkedIn lead capture: Building the profile funnel and hero section, telling prospects what you do, providing social proof, and ending with a call to action.
    • This includes parts that I already knew I wasn’t doing great (like having a generic cover photo). Now I’m more motivated to improve my profile, and have a checklist of items to address. It’s surprising how many people have profiles that can be easily improved – including many accomplished professionals. This highlights how LinkedIn profile building is a skillset that’s orthogonal to one’s technical career skills.
  5. Business workflow: Inbound strategy, outbound strategy, and selling on LinkedIn.
    • Once again, full of helpful tips and actionable advice that I will be implementing. Like much of the better business and marketing advice out there, the emphasis is on building trust and relationships and providing value, rather than on creepy sales tactics. Doing this well takes time and a conscious effort.

If you’re in a place where you’d benefit from learning how to LinkedIn, definitely check out the course. Even though it’s a few years old at this point, it’s still highly relevant and recommended. I will be revisiting it in the future.

  1. That’s an affiliate link to the course, so I get a cut if you sign up through the link. It’s probably marketing 101 to incentivise people to generate referrals, but I wouldn’t be publishing this post if I didn’t think the course was valuable. ↩︎


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