Over the last few months I have been making attempts to adjust my LinkedIn profile based on the various projects I am involved in and pay more attention to what I get recommended for.
Most people work one job at a time and so their LinkedIn profile reflects that, possibly with a volunteer position listed near the bottom. They have the profile both to enhance their reputation when speaking to outsiders and to make it easier for others to contact them with new job opportunities.
An entrepreneur however is not trying to get a new job nor are they always doing one thing at a time. In my case, I also happen to write guest columns for a magazine and sit on the advisory board for a few businesses. I have also authored two books.
I already modified my profile overview to focus on my entrepreneur credentials and the two books I wrote, condensing all my entrepreneur and investing activities into the family office rather than listing out the various entities we have started or invested in.
I was motivated to do this because the previous complex narrative may sound impressive when read before I speak at an event but was too long and busy for online where attention spans are shorter.
I also thought that the impressive list of accomplishments would help in raising capital for current and future projects but LinkedIn has only served to secure some strategic partnerships or people contacting us to invest in their early-stage ventures.
I like deal flow as much as the next investor but we do not need deal flow right now. We are focused on fundraising and so the profile should either help to achieve the current focus or certainly not cause a distraction.
My profile also listed some of the advisory boards I sat on and board roles for some of the firms I have started. While they are accurate, they may impress a few people but they also lead to confusion.
What do you do?
I wanted it to be very easy for people to Google me, find my LinkedIn profile, scan and know exactly what I am focused on right now. We have a single family office with a portfolio of investments across technology, clothing, entertainment and renewable energy.
If you want more detail then use the other links in Google or reach out to me (our website does not currently list the various companies in the portfolio).
Why not name each company?
The biggest reason why I no longer include the names of each firm is that the only reason to do so is to secure new customers, clients or investors.
Investors don’t come through LinkedIn, they come through networking and introductions. To date I have yet to get a customer or client through LinkedIn so I will not bother to try anymore.
The bonus is that I get to be less public about what I am doing and become less of a potential target. If people think you have this big empire, you become a larger target, even if the companies are startups struggling to establish themselves.
What’s the point of a LinkedIn Profile?
The big question then is why bother to have a LinkedIn profile at all. The reason is simple: Google.
If you are an entrepreneur trying to raise money, secure new customers, clients or strategic partnerships, smart people are going to search for information about you. The more digital outposts you create then the more likely you are to control the narrative about your past and present.
Trusted sources like LinkedIn rank very high in searches and so maintaining a presence there helps dramatically to shape how people see you. It also gives them context for approaching you.
Google “David Mullings” and you can see the results of my digital outposts and media presence over the years. This was a key lesson I took from David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing and PR years ago.
With a simple profile I expect people to more easily understand what entity is my core focus and that building a portfolio of investments is what I actually do.
I do help each company but I can provide those details via a one on one discussion.