Lewis Howes on Social Media and Business Success

A former pro athlete turned author, speaker, and angel investor, Lewis Howes (@LewisHowes on Twitter) sustained a career-ending injury and wound up sleeping on his sister’s couch before starting a seven-figure business. He’s hosted hundreds of webinars and authored two books on the power of LinkedIn. Howes also founded The Sports Executives Association and co-founded Inspired Marketing, which offers online courses on using social media and creating successful online businesses.

Here, Howes shares his tips on social media, income generation, and more.

ISBB: What are the biggest mistakes that small businesses make with social media?

Howes: They don’t create a plan. They set up their social accounts and expect leads and customers to come in. In reality, it takes time to develop relationships. The best thing people can do is start by helping their potential customers by answering questions, being resourceful, and providing great support.

How does your background in sports influence your thought process in business?

It influences almost everything I do in business. My desire to be number one in the world at any business venture I take on comes from my desire to be a world-class champion in sports. You are bound to get your head knocked off without vision on the playing field, and each decision I make is a strategic move based on my feeling of where the market will be moving (or businesses evolving) in the future.

Which income streams have you found most successful: speaking engagements, webinars, booking writing, or something else?

Product creation is the most successful form of income. I find selling those products best happens through webinars first, then speaking engagements. Webinars allow an amazing amount of flexibility as you can be in front of thousands of people from anywhere in the world without leaving your home. They are much more efficient than speaking engagements because you can do multiple in one day and generate more in sales by saving time from travel.

What are some do’s and don’ts for small business owners on LinkedIn?

Do optimize your profile and continue to add value to the network on an consistent basis. Want more tips? Download the free LinkedIn videos from my website.

Don’t set it up once and think you’re done. Your LinkedIn profile is a living, breathing platform online, and you need to put into it what you want to get out of it. Don’t spam people. Don’t send invitations to connect with people unless you personalize the message.

You’re also an angel investor, so could you give us some insights into what you look for in new ventures and how you predict future success?

I look for companies I believe in. Also companies that I’m close with those running them, and that are working in spaces that aren’t necessarily “big” markets at the moment, but where the trends are heading in their direction.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Stay passionate!

About Susan Johnston

Susan Johnston is a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in writing about business and personal finance. Her articles have appeared in or on The Boston Globe, Dance Retailer News, GetCurrency.com, Mint.com, PARADE Magazine, WomenEntrepreneur.com, and other places.
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