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How MyOwl used LinkedIn to grow as a start-up in the EdTech Space

By Josh Chernikoff

MyOwl, is an EdTech company founded by Brent Newton and his 12-year-old daughter in 2020. MyOwl wants to make schoolwork simpler for students by having all homework accessible from one place. It’s an awesome idea. In the age of digital tech students have to do their homework using multiple apps and platforms, but having everything together in one place makes it easier for the schools, parents, and most especially the students. 

When Brent came to us, he had been applying to various accelerator programs and was looking for a way to get his company up and running and to get more leads and clients.

Together we worked on clarifying his signature solution so that he could clearly communicate MyOwl’s value proposition to potential clients and to potential accelerator programs or investors. First, we got clear on who his ideal client was and which stakeholders to engage with to get things rolling.

“The group coaching conversations we had, and working on my LinkedIn profile, helped me to realize that I was targeting the wrong ideal client. I quickly pivoted to focus on private schools.”

And then we got started with setting up a lead generation system using the power of LinkedIn to position him as a leader in the education space, boost his credibility, connect with his ideal clients, and start booking sales calls. 

Now when Brent first thought of LinkedIn, he saw it as a place to list work history. That’s how most people see LinkedIn. They use it as a CV but this isn’t very efficient for growing a company, standing out online, and getting more leads.

“Initially my LinkedIn profile was terrible, embarrassing even. I had no banner, no hashtags, no about section, nothing. I quickly realized that if I wanted to be a player in the EdTech space I needed to have a presence and give my profile a complete overhaul.

With help from the EdSales Elevation Experience, Brent started seeing how LinkedIn could be set up as a sales system.Once we had clarity on WHO he was targeting, and WHAT his signature solution was, and how to position it on the market, the LinkedIn setup began. 

Brent changed his profile and transformed it from a CV to a sales page. He began creating content that positioned him as a leader (quality over quantity), and he began reaching out and creating connections, engaging with them, building relationships, and networking. 

Once I improved my page and started posting content, I had more people connecting with me on LinkedIn and I started to see more people signing up on our website.

In the startup world, where visibility is crucial, LinkedIn became an essential link for My Owl, connecting them with possible customers, investors, and partners.

Now I know you always hear me talk about why LinkedIn is so powerful and how to get started with it… but I thought it would be fun for you to hear it from one of our clients and to hear his top tips for using LinkedIn (including his biggest fears and obstacles and how he overcame them!) so you can start leveraging LinkedIn to grow your business too!Here’s what Brent has to say:

My Journey with LinkedIn: A Personal Guide to Success

1. Embracing Networking over Social Media Fears:

If you’re anything like me, you might not be interested in social media. I get it - I’m not a social media guy. But I am a networking person. And LinkedIn is the mother of all networking apps and I wanted to tap into those opportunities for my business. So if you want to network with your ideal clients, investors, and collaborators and just stand out as a thought leader in your industry, LinkedIn is the place to be.

2. Transforming a Neglected Profile into a Thought Leader's Hub:

  • When I worked through the EdSales Elevation Program, I quickly realized what was wrong with my LinkedIn Profile and why it wasn’t working for me. Honestly, it was lackluster – no banner, no hashtags, nothing. And I realized that if MyOwl wanted to be a player in the EdTech space, in the startup world, we needed to have a strong presence and so we went about a complete and total rehabilitation of our LinkedIn page.

If you want to get more leads, and clients and stand out as a leader in your industry, it starts with building a strategic profile, and setting up a sales page.

3. Stop being the silent observer:

  • I was a silent observer on LinkedIn initially, if I read a post, I wouldn’t comment, and I wouldn’t even drop an emoji reaction. I was just kind of lurking in the background. And I know many entrepreneurs do that. Because they don’t know what to say and they don’t realize the value in commenting to stand out as an authority and establish new connections. I knew I had to change that. These days I actively engage. So if you’re scrolling silently, then start engaging and connecting, and you’ll be surprised what happens. 

4. Sunday Night Strategy for Consistent Engagement:

  • I know it’s important to be active on social media and to share thought leadership content. But I also know I can’t do it all. So I don’t get bogged down trying to get in front of thousands of people. I focus on the 25 people I can engage with and the quality content I can share instead of quantity. I plan and schedule posts every Sunday night. If you’re struggling to share content consistently or to connect with people, you’re probably overwhelmed by the thought of thinking you need to get in front of thousands of people. Just start small and plan it. Quality connection and content over quantity wins. This regularity is crucial for building trust and showcasing your expertise.

5. Building a Supportive LinkedIn Community:

  • The startup journey can be lonely, and LinkedIn is a great place to connect and engage with a community that shares those start-up experiences.

6. Choosing Targeted Groups Over Quantity:

  • When I first started with groups on LinkedIn, I joined really big groups with 1000 of people but I soon realized that to stand out and build strong connections, I needed to be in smaller, more niche groups. If you want to network more, groups can be extremely powerful, but you need to spend some time finding the right groups. This leads to more meaningful interactions.

7. Seeking Expertise from the Younger Generation:

  • I'm not a tech-savvy 20-something, but I recognized the value in learning from them. So if you’re worried that you don’t know how to do hashtags or work with social media, don’t be afraid to bring someone onto your team who does understand this stuff and let them help you so you can keep focused on being the CEO of your business.

8. Logo vs. Personal Photo: Leveraging Visual Branding:

  • I chose not to use a photo of myself on my profile and decided to use our company logo instead. This means people are connecting with the company brand instead of me as the brand and I like it that way. If you want to build a company brand instead of a personal brand, remember you get to make LinkedIn work for you.

9. Overcoming Hesitation with a Leap of Faith:

  • Getting started with commenting, posting, and sharing videos took a leap of faith for me. I had to realize that if I kept trying to be perfect, I’d never get it done. I had to be brave and just do it. If you’re sitting there scared to start, you just have to start. And it gets easier once you’ve done it a couple of times.

10. Overcoming Fear of Rejection When Reaching Out:

Many people are worried about bugging people or annoying them if they reach out. They’re scared of being judged and being rejected. But I think if you approach people in the right way, in a respectful way, in a way that shows that you've done some homework and how you can help them, then there’s nothing to be scared of. I think that outreach can be a powerful tool and if you're not using it, you're hurting yourself.

No matter how you look at it, LinkedIn is a powerful tool for EdTech Founders and Education Companies to network, get leads, and get clients!

And here’s what Brent had to say about working with us inside of the EdSales Elevation Experience:

“This completely changed how I approached my business.

The program started paying dividends literally from the first five minutes of our first call when Josh had us focus on who our ideal client was and began building a list of my ideal clients. Truly, it completely changed how I approached my business. And the dividends just don't stop: being surrounded by a group of driven and like-minded education entrepreneurs; being taught the importance of and steps to take to improve our social media footprint; being given a roadmap to create and master a lead generation system that is repeatable; and just, in general, a huge confidence boost that every startup founder needs. A fantastic program every edtech founder should join.”




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