So many resources exist on and off LinkedIn that can help you if you are considering entrepreneurship, whether a p/t side gig or f/t commitment.
Articles, Newsletters, and Posts in Your Newsfeed: By following relevant hashtags or ringing the bell on individual LinkedIn profiles or LinkedIn company pages, you might find a lot of pertinent content in your newsfeed to stay informed about the latest trends, best practices, new ideas, and more.
Business Incubators or Accelerators: Incubators and accelerators provide support, mentorship, and resources to early-stage startups. They often offer workspace, access to funding, networking opportunities, and guidance from experienced entrepreneurs. Research and find out if there are any reputable incubators or accelerators in your industry or geographic location.
Chamber of Commerce and Local Business Associations: Aside from networking opportunities to meet people and build the know, like, and trust with others, one can get business referrals and lead generation, coaching and mentoring, educational workshops and training, advocacy and representation, business and support services, marketing and promotion, access to resources and partnerships, and more. Consider your community and the importance of you and your business getting involved. My business is in Paoli, PA, so I value my involvement in the Paoli Business and Professional Association.
Company Pages: LinkedIn hosts company pages for businesses of all sizes, including solopreneurs, startups, and established companies. Following relevant company pages can provide insights into the entrepreneurial ecosystem, job opportunities, industry updates, and news about innovative products and services.
Events: LinkedIn promotes its events but allows others to share their in-person events, virtual events, webinars, summits, Linkedin Lives, LinkedIn Audio, conferences, and more that includes topics on entrepreneurship and small business topics. Participating in these events can provide networking opportunities, expert insights, and a chance to learn from industry leaders.
Industry-Specific Associations and Organizations: Depending on your specific industry or niche, professional associations or organizations may offer resources to entrepreneurs. These groups often provide resources, educational opportunities, industry-specific advice, and networking events. Search for associations or organizations relevant to your field and explore the benefits they offer.
Influencers: Many influential entrepreneurs and business leaders share their insights on LinkedIn. Their expertise may be a game changer with valuable insights, industry trends, and stories of successes and failures.
Job Listings and Recruiting: If you’re looking for talent or seeking opportunities to work with other entrepreneurs, LinkedIn’s job listings and recruiting features can be valuable. You can post job openings for your own business, explore job opportunities in startups, or connect with freelancers and consultants who specialize in supporting entrepreneurs.
Libraries: Libraries typically offer business books, publications, and databases. They may have online learning, business planning tools, entrepreneurship workshops and seminars, small business resource centers, business mentoring and consulting, funding and grant information, and more. Every library offers different things, so check your local city, county, or state libraries. In Pennsylvania, there is the Power Library, which is an electronic library.
LinkedIn Groups: Numerous LinkedIn groups are dedicated to entrepreneurship and small business owners. You can connect with like-minded individuals, ask questions, share experiences, and learn from others.
Local Business Networks and Meetups: Attend local business networking events and meetups in your area. These events can provide an opportunity to connect with other entrepreneurs, learn from their experiences, and potentially find mentors or collaborators. Websites like Meetup.com can help you find relevant gatherings in your city. Join almost 5800 members on this meetup to learn and network! To date, we have run 5682 events and had 41,484 RSVPs.
Local Programs: Many cities and regions have entrepreneurship programs or initiatives to support and foster local startups. These programs often provide mentorship, networking opportunities, resource access, and funding. Check with your local chamber of commerce, economic development agencies, or city government for information on such programs in your area.
Networking and Connections: LinkedIn is a powerful platform for networking and building connections. You can connect with fellow entrepreneurs, potential mentors, investors, and industry professionals. Engaging in conversations, sharing your insights, and seeking advice from others can expand your network and open doors to potential opportunities.
Online Communities and Forums: There are numerous online communities and forums where entrepreneurs gather to share knowledge, seek advice, and connect with like-minded individuals. Websites such as Reddit (r/entrepreneur), Quora, and various industry-specific forums can provide a wealth of information and an opportunity to engage in discussions with experienced entrepreneurs.
Online Learning: There are vast libraries of courses and video tutorials on various entrepreneurial topics. Check out the plethora of links in this article to upskill or reskill.
Podcasts and Blogs: A vast array of podcasts and blogs are dedicated to entrepreneurship and small business. These platforms often feature interviews with successful entrepreneurs, discussions on various aspects of starting and running a business, and practical tips and advice. Some popular entrepreneurial podcasts include “The Tim Ferriss Show,” “How I Built This,” and “The Smart Passive Income Podcast.”
SBA: According to the SBA, they are “always looking for new ways to give you the assistance you need and to meet you where you are. [Their] … Community Navigator Pilot Program is designed to help you find resources and advice.” They offer guides and opportunities on affordable loans, financing, marketing, business development, operations improvement, industry-specific training, and import and export opportunities.
Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs): SBDCs are funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and provide aspiring entrepreneurs with free or low-cost consulting, training, and resources. They offer assistance with business planning, market research, financial management, and more. To find an SBDC near you, visit the SBA’s website.
SCORE: SCORE provides free mentoring and free or low-cost workshops and other resources to entrepreneurs and small business owners. There are business templates and tools, online education, a business library, local seminars and events, business assessment tools, industry-specific expertise, funding and financing guides, business roundtables and peer support, and more. I have just celebrated my tenth anniversary as a SCORE volunteer on the speakers’ bureau and have presented for my home chapter, Chester & Delaware County SCORE, as well as Princeton, Bucks County, Tri-County, and Silicon Valley SCORE. If you are overdue to attend an in-person event and are local to Parx Casino in Bensalem, PA, join me and 150+ others on June 14th with Bucks County SCORE for the 4th Annual Women Building Businesses Conference.
Thought Leaders and Thought Leadership Groups: One of my favorite communities is called the Thought Leadership Branding Club, and they have a LinkedIn company page as a private LinkedIn group for members who want to take advantage of the many resources. You will also find them on Twitter and Instagram.
Universities: Universities typically offer a wide range of resources to support entrepreneurship and foster an entrepreneurial mindset among their students. You can explore your local university’s offerings of programs, courses, dedicated entrepreneurship centers, incubators and accelerators, workshops and events, competitions, networks, alumni associations, funding opportunities, business support services, co-working spaces, maker labs, mentorship and advising, and more.
Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC): WBENC is a nonprofit organization that supports and promotes women-owned businesses. They offer certification programs, networking and business matchmaking, supplier diversity programs, educational and training programs, mentoring and coaching, business resources, advocacy and public policy, access to capital, business development and growth support, recognition and awards, and more.
Entrepreneurship is a journey that requires continuous learning and adaptation. By utilizing a combination of online and offline resources and LinkedIn, you can gather knowledge, connect with a supportive community, and gain practical insights to navigate the challenges of starting and growing a business, whether a part-time side gig or a full-time commitment. The list above could be expanded even more, but it should provide a good start for those seeking entrepreneurial resources.
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Lynne M. Williams is the Executive Director of the Great Careers Groups, a volunteer-run 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides career development and networking connections for 1) job seekers in career transition, including veterans, and 2) employed and self-employed for career management.
Aside from writing keyword-focused content for ATS resumes and LinkedIn profiles, Lynne is currently writing her doctoral dissertation on LinkedIn for Job Seekers. She is a contributing author on “Applying to Positions” in Find Your Fit: A Practical Guide to Landing the Job You Love, along with the late Dick Bolles, the author of What Color is Your Parachute?, and is also a speaker on career topics.