If you are thinking of starting a consulting career from scratch, I am sure you would benefit a lot from LinkedIn.

You can do this from your smartphone or PC in the comfort of your home or a private office space. It is up to you and your client to choose how and where to meet, if there is ever any need to meet physically. However, you could choose to conduct everything online, whether on LinkedIn or elsewhere on the internet.

LinkedIn is a social network where you can network with professionals and people in the world of work. Among these are people who are likely to be your potential client or who could refer your highest paying client or become your most valuable work partner.

Apart from connecting you with the people that matter to your consulting practice, it is laced with several other features that you would definitely find useful.

I will mention some of these features here, but will actually focus on how to use LinkedIn to start your consulting career instead.

Now, here is how:

Setup your profile

Your LinkedIn profile is your personal space on LinkedIn and it is up to you to lay it out how you want it. You would want it to help people learn about your work and your background. Consider it your digital resume, because it truly appears like one.

There are preset sections for you to complete with your personal and work information. You would need to set a profile headline and summary, then add your past and present work role, academic and professional qualification, publications, projects and so on.

Your profile headline is a good place to write ‘Freelance brand consultant’ or whatever describes your specific kind of consulting practice. While your profile summary is a perfect place to give a warm introduction, highlight your learning and work history, and other relevant background information. It also offers a great opportunity to call your profile visitor to contact you for consultation.

Grow your network

The people you are connected to on LinkedIn make up your network. They would see your LinkedIn posts directly in their LinkedIn feeds and get notifications about your activity on LinkedIn. You would also be able to exchange direct messages with them. All these possibilities give you a greater reach to people in your network than people not in your network.

Connect with colleagues, employees, friends and potential clients to add them to your network. Some of these people are likely to need your consulting service soon and others might be able to add value to your practice.

Ask for recommendations

It is possible to request recommendations from people in your network on LinkedIn. Recommendations serve as a form of testimonial or reference from people who have worked with you before. They give validation to your work history and reinforce your authenticity in the minds of your profile visitors.

Feel free to ask some of your connections whom you have worked with before to recommend you on LinkedIn. Get at least one recommendation that is relevant to the consulting practice you are starting.

Create content

Write posts, take photos, make videos or design infographs on subjects relevant to the area of consulting you are venturing into and share them on LinkedIn.

Use all of these content to communicate with your connections, use it to inform and educate them. Use it to engage with them on issues related to the problems your consulting practice intends to solve for them, then create an opportunity somewhere within your content to call them to get consultation or try other added services and products you can provide them.

Give career advice on LinkedIn’s Career Advice hub

LinkedIn has just added a career advice feature called Career Advice to its platform. This feature creates an amazing opportunity for members of the social network to give or get free (unpaid) advice on the platform.

Although, all LinkedIn members can sign up to the Career Advice feature to give or get advice, but members cannot opt in for both experiences at the same time. And when you sign up, you may be selected to either give or get advice. This would be done through an algorithm that is best known to Jeff Weiner and his colleagues.

There is a high chance that such algorithm will use data gathered from member’s profile and activity to make this decision. It means you are more likely to get invited to give advice on the career advice hub based on the quality of your LinkedIn profile and activity.

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