Social media

Why LinkedIn is both a valuable and toxic tool for freelancers

November 26, 2019

When I first entered the world of self-employment, the first thing I did was let my LinkedIn connections know. From this one post, I gained quite a bit of business. So it’s no surprise that I promised myself I would post on my business social media profiles regularly.

I didn’t keep that promise. I quickly deduced that it is much more rewarding when I use my ideas as inspiration for the work I do for my clients – not for me. If I get an idea for a blog post, I propose it to the most appropriate client. Only when they aren’t interested in pursuing the proposal would I consider writing it for my own channels (note: for this one my own business was the most appropriate client).

While I don’t often post on my LinkedIn profile, I do scroll my news feed at least once a week. I recently started to notice how I feel during and after these scrolling sessions – low. I was intrigued by this, so I started to analyse which posts made me feel the worst about myself.

I follow lots of copywriters on LinkedIn. Some of these copywriters make claims about what makes good copy. This is where I start to question my own abilities. Do I write bad copy? Do I need to have read multiple books on copywriting to be good at it? Am I wrong to assume I have enough skill through natural flair and experience? The answer to all of these questions is, of course, no. I make a living doing what I do. If I don’t trust my own judgement, I need to at least trust my clients’.

I follow several non-copywriter freelancers on LinkedIn too. Their regular updates showing how well their business is going makes me wonder if mine is actually going as well as I think. In the end, LinkedIn is still a social media platform. Everyone shares the highlights of their lives, while keeping the not-so-good parts to themselves. If one thing is clear to me now it is this: LinkedIn is no exception when it comes to excessive social media use being bad for mental health.

The learning curve here is this: I will use LinkedIn to announce wins, endorse my peers, and to occasionally share my thoughts. But I will not use my LinkedIn news feed to measure my own success.