2 Weeks Of Using Linked In for Professional Networking
As of today, It has been 2 weeks since I started using Linked In. I have had an account for some time now. Perhaps, 3 to 4 years. May be more. However, I never used it. I dont use any social media (I am going to assume that Linked In is essentially Facebook for working people) as such. I have an account on Facebook which I strictly use for developer purposes. Instagram has a ton of my photos but otherwise I don't interact with others socially.
I avoided using Watsapp until the beginning of this year. I was all about just my work, and my own way of non-social media/non-chat way of life. I prefer phone calls and emails.
Then, I decided to take my work from home business to a incorporated business, early this year. Last month, I managed to do it, the private limited incorporation. As of today, I am Founder and CEO (of a company that has exactly one employee, me :P ) at Suvashna Training and Development Private Limited.
One Person Cannot Do Much
It was in 2012 when I decided to give up on an office job career thing. I must have changed over half a dozen jobs since finishing my MBA in 2008. That life was not for me. I decided to become a freelancer of something that is somehow based on my (then) forgotten software coding skills. Now, at the end of 2019/beginning of 2020, I have become this ‘consultant guy’ in software.
(The following links have more details about what I am and what I do for a living — online professional profile, github profile, linkedin profile. I do this shameless self-plugging to my online sites for it is too difficult to explain what i do for a living in one brief line.)
By the grace of my parents, mentors, a whole collection of students who worked with me in the last 7 years and most recently, my wife, I am doing alright. I am hired regularly by clients all over the world, getting paid, and able to afford a comfortable life. Above all, I thank god for the good things that are given to me.
Over the last year, I have been feeling an itch. I have these grand plans. Business roadmaps. Technology tricks. Ideas. I would go the length (work — day and night) but fail to finish things. I would keep trying and keep trying. At the onset of this feeling of ‘stoppage’, I felt that, perhaps, after years of pushing myself to limits, I have hit my limit. I have lost the zest that i had from my younger days. Eventually, I realized that I was pursuing goals that are beyond the capacity of one man. I need to build a team.
That is when I came up with the simple plan.
- Incorporate a company (for financial, business and legal reasons) — This is done.
- Connect with other people from the life that I have walked till now.
- Build the team.
Connect with People
I am afraid, my freelancer, independent consultant lifestyle has left me all alone. Making new friends is impossible if you are not going to an office. Further, I setup my base of my operations in Mysore for the last 7 years (As i write this, I have relocated to Hyderabad, a much larger city), making it hard to meet other pros like me.
Combine that with my anti-social media attitude, the endgame was inevitable. I distanced myself with all the connections and friends I have made, especially in my college days (Engineering and MBA). My good fortune is that I happened to pursue my engineering at SJCE, a top college in Mysore/Karnataka. I also got double fortunate, when I did my MBA at SDMIMD, another top college in Mysore/Karnataka.
As I made my plans to go the startup route, I realised, perhaps, I can leverage on my past connections. It was, one of my MBA senior, who gave me a lucrative project which altered the course of my life. It was also my MBA classmates who believed in me and helped me over the years with financial and non-financial assistance over the years.
So, I value and respect and recognize how important connections are.
I remembered that I have a linked in account. I decided to reconnect.
At this point, roughly 2 weeks ago, I had exactly 3 connections. One of them is my mentor. Another was one of my clients. Another was an old friend of mine. My activity was nil. Nor was I posting stuff. Nor was I commenting and doing other standard Linked In Interactions. Then, I started. It was easy enough find some of my old class mates, once I updated my personal profile to reflect my education.
The recommendation algorithm works beautifully. As I write this, I have over a hundred connections on Linked In. Some of them were actually people I worked/studied shoulder to shoulder for weeks and months in the past.
They Have Gone Places
I always imagined that many of my class mates were brilliant folks. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. I found that many of my connections have gone on to do become top level folks. Many were founders/co-founders of small to medium businesses like myself. Others had gone on to become Program Directors, Project Heads, VPs and so on and so forth (there are so many titles!)
All in all, It was good to see these familiar faces. Some of them interacted with me (via Linked In messages, after accepting my invitation), perhaps as a professional courtesy. Or, may be, it is just their way of staying in touch. I was here to gain some business advantage, and they are here for the same reason, I assume. Some of them were old friends, who had lengthy conversations with me, showing excitement about my ‘the road less taken’/’different’/’unusual/’’ professional life and career path.
I noticed a few things as well. For one thing, my MBA connections are far more active than my Engineering connections. I suppose it makes sense. I also noticed that (just like in MBA), a lot of women are in Human Resource roles, looking into issues such diversity and inclusion. A lot of them who took up sales jobs in campus placement (my campus placement was also in sales) have gone on to start their own companies (like me).
Perhaps, the most oddest thing that I observed, are the profile pictures. Many of my connections, the MBA ones, are still using the same ‘studio photo’ that we all took as students in 2007, as part of our placement preparations. It puts a smile on my face, every time.
As an added bonus, I found that my MBA clasmmates have been running this watsapp group for ages. the group is as exciting as a floating glacier, but its good to be part of it. Peopel send good wishes and forward jokes. It’s cool.
I felt, after a long time, that, I am not the only one who has taken the offroad. It is a good feeling to know that I am not the only going through all the challenges of trying to run a business on my own.
A few years down the line, I may once again become a social media recluse. It might help me in my business plans or it may not. Either way, as of now, I think, I did the right my becoming active on Linked In.