LinkedIn Influencers: 9 Experts to Grow Your Writing Business

Carol Tice

Linkedin Influencers to Grow Your Writing Business. Makealivingwriting.comAre you looking for fresh ideas to ramp up your freelance-writing business in the New Year? If so, my tip is: Look to LinkedIn influencers. But not the usual freelance writing guru-types.

That’s not who I spend most of my time reading in social media. Instead, my feed is full of business and entrepreneurship experts.

One of the secrets of my success is that I was a longtime business reporter before I got into freelancing. So when I started my own home biz, I knew right away to take it seriously. And I knew people from many walks of entrepreneurship would have good tips for me.

I continue to read and learn from business leaders — and these days, they’re all over LinkedIn.

A lot of writers don’t think of what they’re doing as a business, which is why you end up under-earning. Let’s fix that with a shot of serious business inspiration!

One more reason to check out LinkedIn right now: Ever since Google+ died last fall, LinkedIn has really livened up. I find myself spending more time on there. (So let’s connect.) People seem to be using the platform more — and they’re posting great stuff.

Another plus here: reading top LinkedIn infuencers is a chance to learn how to be a LinkedIn influencer. Study the types of content they share for a playbook on how to build a social-media audience.

If you’re wondering, there are no affiliate links in this post. These experts don’t even know I’m about to mention them. Gonna be a surprise.

Who’s got pithy tips for you that could help your little ol’ home-based, freelance business? Here are the LinkedIn influencers in business and entrepreneurship that I read, to help my freelance writing biz grow (listed alphabetically):

1. Don’t be afraid to fail

LinkedIn influencers: Richard BransonFor writers who’re shaking in their boots, I prescribe a dose of Richard Branson. Nobody has launched more diverse business ventures, flamed out (remember Virgin records?), tried again, succeeded wildly, crashed back to earth again, built and sold, more times than he has!

If you think he’s not relatable — hey, he’s got a new book, Finding My Virginity. He’s a longtime Entrepreneur columnist, too. When you’re feeling tapped out, let Branson be your ‘idea guy.’

For a quick dose of mind-expansion, try this post:

LinkedIn influencers: Richard Branson post on doing things differently

2. Track trends

LinkedIn influencers -- Anita Campbell of SmallbiztrendsFull disclosure: I’m in a mastermind with Anita Campbell of SmallBizTrends — but I was an admirer of her in-depth site long before that happened.

If you’d like intel on emerging opportunities or niches where you might want to target your writing services, Anita is a good one to tune into.

Her site covers a broad swath of business issues, including hiring good help and passive-income ideas for solopreneurs.

Take the pulse of the ‘business climate’ with updates like this one, as you plot your own marketing strategy for the coming year:

3. Multiply your results

Grant CardoneLinkedIn Influencers: Grant Cardone isn’t just a mega-successful business tycoon (currently doing crowdfunded real-estate investing), he’s written multiple bestselling books about business mindset.

He does a ’10X’ program for radically leveraging up your business that I find inspiring (though in my own coaching, I’m happy just to help double your writing income). I once sat in on one of his live masterminds — look for opportunities to watch him in action.

Grant probably isn’t for everybody, personality-wise — he’s your classic brash, swaggering, super-confident dude. But he knows what he’s talking about. Here’s a recent post of his I heartily agree with, and shared around:

LinkedIn Influencers - Grant Cardone recession graphic

4. Fix your business

LinkedIn influencers: Melinda EmersonI’ve been aware of Melinda Emerson, the SmallBizLady, for a long while. She’s always super-sharp — and if you can’t relate to big-business guys like Grant Cardone, check out Melinda.

She’s got advice for businesses that are just your size, and knows how to grow them. Her new book is Fix Your Business (might that help you?).

If you don’t know what to do next, Melinda probably has a good idea of the questions you should be asking, as you can see here:

LinkedIn influencers - Melinda Emerson post

5. Be a ray of light

LinkedIn Influencers: Phil GerbyshakI first met sales, marketing, and social-media whiz Phil Gerbyshak about 8 years ago, at the online-business conference SOBCon in Chicago (sadly, no longer held, but was totally life-changing for me). Then, I met Phil again at World Domination Summit in Portland! We kept running into each other — and he’s one of those people that you’re just thrilled to see.

Phil is one of the friendliest, most approachable people I’ve ever met. He does social media right, in my view — namely, he just socializes. He mostly shares uplifting ideas and thoughts, and his own journey through life. He has a larger-than-life personality and just lets it shine.

I’m confident he gets lots of clients who just want a chance to spend time talking to him, because Phil just radiates joy and fun. He’s refreshingly honest and totally real. I feel lucky to have run across him.

He’s super-active on Facebook, but shares in LinkedIn as well. He has a huge network, so there’s great conversations. He hops on live, shares photos, videos — he’ll keep you uplifted and keep your newsfeed hopping with ideas. Here’s a recent one, on finding clarity in your business (you could use that, right?):

LinkedIn influencers: Phil Gerbyshak post on clarity

6. Think like an entrepreneur

LinkedIn Influencers: Derek LewisSome people on LinkedIn serve up loads of shareable mindset-shifters that seem to wire straight into your brain and change you for the better. Right now, Derek Lewis is my current favorite LinkedIn influencer of that ilk.

Yes, he is a business writer (like me!), but he also runs an online business, Ghostpreneur academy. So he knows from online biz.

As a bonus, he’s got book-publishing info, tips on being a book author, writing craft, and more.

Here’s a sample of Derek’s graphical shares:

LinkedIn influencers: Derek Lewis post

7. Master LinkedIn

LinkedIn influencers: John NemoIf you’re taking the time to hang out on LinkedIn, why not learn how to attract your ideal clients while you’re there? That’s where John Nemo comes in.

I do a lot of coaching on LinkedIn myself, and have helped hundreds of writers get hired through the platform (and more to come in February!), but I’m still gleaning new tips from John.

He’s a good one to watch if you want to connect with top-drawer clients — he’s landed tons of ’em.

John keeps the fresh info and case studies flowing on his updates, as you see here:

LinkedIn influencers: John Nemo case study

8. Be an entrepreneur

LinkedIn influencers: Connie Ragen GreenIf you’re a freelance writer who has any dreams of teaching online, self-publishing, or earning from your blog, I recommend you adopt more of an entrepreneurial mindset. Your business is yours to create!

And for that, I’ve got Connie Ragen Green in my feed.

Her emphasis on small-business marketing means plenty of useful tips for any freelance writer. There are insights on the nuts-and-bolts of running your business, too.

Here’s a post from Connie that caught my eye recently:

LinkedIn influencers -- Connie Ragan Green

Be a contrarian

LinkedIn influencers -- Carol RothI’m a firm believer that in this era of polarization, we all need to keep listening to people we disagree with. For me, that person is Carol Roth. (She’s another influencer I met at SOBCon. Tip: Get out and meet people in 2019!)

There may not be a single thing we agree on politically, but I know she’s got good reasons for her point of view — and her business tips are always solid.

Carol is a super-savvy businesswoman who’s leveraged her knowledge into a book on entrepreneurship, as well as high-profile TV-commentator gigs.

As she famously says, she’s the one who’ll tell you if you’ve got spinach in your teeth. We all need someone like that around.

Carol will make you think about the big picture of your business and where you’re headed:

LinkedIn Influencers -- Carol Roth post

Learn from LinkedIn Influencers — and more

Hopefully, this list shook up your idea of who freelance writers should be learning from! The interesting thing is, LinkedIn definitely seems to be popular with the (white) male influencers. I looked up some of the women I find smart — Marie Forleo, Amy Porterfield, Naomi Dunford from Ittybiz — and while they have LinkedIn profiles, they don’t seem to do LinkedIn. Catch them on other social-media channels.

I could also do a list like this for Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, as every influencer has a different place where they’re most active. Whatever social-media channel you spend time in, seek out the big business minds. Your freelance-writing biz will be better for it.

Who are your LinkedIn influencers? Leave a comment and share their name (the comments won’t accept links).


  1. Ralph Benko

    @Eleanor Goold is a LinkedIn god.

  2. Debbie Curtis

    I love the suggestions Carol. I already follow John Nemo, but I guess my ‘next most famous’ are you, Linda, and Chris Marlow! I think I’m most intrigued by Melinda Emerson and Connie Regan Green. And, Richard Branson is quite a story, too. Thanks!

    • Carol Tice

      Exactly my point — we all tend to follow the people who specialize in our exact thing. But I believe thinking more broadly about who might have great tips for you pays off big.

      On Twitter, my favorite follow is… The Dalai Lama. He posts every day about compassion and human relations, and what really matters. I love it! Talk about a fresh perspective on your business. 😉

  3. Rebecca Henderson

    You mention Grant Cardone is a “classic brash, swaggering, super-confident dude,” and I’ve found the same can be said about Gary Vaynerchuk. I find his perspective to be refreshing at times, especially when I feel stuck in a rut. If there’s ever a man who makes you feel like you’re not doing enough to change your life, it’s Vaynerchuk. Thanks for the post, Carol!

  4. Jim Williams

    Don Hutson and Zig Ziglar are two people I follow in LinkedIn. Spend more time there, often on the Ipad, so I can screen capture the best stuff I see.

    • Carol Tice

      Wow, Zig is one of the all-times in marketing! Instead of screen capturing, I say share it out on your own LinkedIn status, to build your audience. 😉

      Then, that also holds onto it for you, you could always rediscover it by scanning back through your history.

  5. Katherine Swarts

    I just started researching ideas for getting influencers interested in mentioning you in their posts. (I’m working on a book of life hacks for optimistic living, a topic that should interest the freelance writers and small-business owners who follow Carol’s recommended sources.) Who has tips to share on influencing the influencers?

    • Phil Gerbyshak

      To influence the influencers, start by adding value to them. Mention them in relevant ways in your articles and on your social media. Not to just mention them in hopes they’ll mention you. But to spotlight their expertise – like Carol has done here.

      Share their content – want to get someone’s attention? Say their name. Want to get someone’s attention online? Share their content. Make sure to use their handle when you do, and say in a relevant way why you shared their content with your audience. If it doesn’t align, you’re chasing the wrong influencer.

      Make a personal connection with them that adds MORE value to them – if they are near you, offer to buy them a coffee (and do NOT pick their brain about business). If you notice they are flying in to your city, see if you can take them to or from the airport (Amy Landino did this to meet Gary V – it worked as he mentioned her). Send them a custom jersey of their favorite sports team. Be PERSONAL.

      Those are some thoughts. If you add value to my life, if my content adds value to yours, and you make a personal connection to me, I’ll mention you in my work – often without you asking me to do so.

      Good luck!

      • Carol Tice

        Thanks for sharing your tips, Phil! I’m sharing out a ton of other peoples’ great stuff lately.

  6. Aditya

    I’m a follower of Grant Cardone. He’s a great marketer indeed. But I didn’t know many other people mentioned in this post. Thanks for sharing such a comprehensive and easy list. It’s really helpful.

    • Carol Tice

      My pleasure! I get a kick out of Cardone, and think his business savvy is right on. He’s like another Mark Cuban (except Cuban is better to follow on Twitter).

  7. Judith Norris

    Thank you once again for recommending additional resources. Linkedin is my favorite! It is too time-consuming for me to follow everyone. I chose you and Richard Branson. The others have stellar qualities as well. However, I need to write more than reading.

    • Carol Tice

      Wow, me and Branson! OK then. 😉

      • Kathie York

        That’s what IIII was thinking! ;-D

  8. Phil Gerbyshak

    What an honor to be included in this list Carol. Thank you!

    I enjoy the insights of Larry Levine, Deb Calvert, Anthony Iannarino and Brynne Tillman a bunch.

    • Carol Tice

      Ooh, thanks for those additional influencers to check out, Phil!

      • Phil Gerbyshak

        My pleasure. Always happy to share some more insightful people.

  9. Katherine Swarts

    Gary Vaynerchuk has written 5 NYT bestsellers and posts almost daily on business-growth topics. His latest (as of this morning’s feed) is “6 Sales Tips on How to Sell Without Selling” (focus on your brand, stay optimistic but also humble and patient, use LinkedIn regularly, know how to use social media ads, connect with influencers, use great content for leverage).

    • Carol Tice

      WELL familiar with GaryVee…haven’t been following him on LI, will have to check it out and see if he’s active there! Great suggestion.

  10. Akhi

    Hi Carol Tice,
    I was reading this and i realy found what i was looking for your article is really informative and i’ll be grɑteful if ʏou keep writing in the future.


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