I’ve heard this question more than once, and it basically goes something like this. “I’m working, but I’ve also started a business. How do I use LinkedIn for my new business without tipping off my current boss?” I really, really wish I had an answer to that, but I don’t! At least I don’t have the answer I think everyone wants to hear – that you can do this neatly and efficiently in the same profile, or that you should actually start a new profile and run two accounts at the same time. Neither of these will work. Let me explain why.
Having a profile serve a dual purpose just isn’t going to work. You’re either employed or you’re not at a given business. The only real way I know to approach this problem is as follows (and just so you know, this is less than perfect, but it’s doable!) You broaden and generalize your profile.
Let’s have a quick example. Suppose you’re an IT manager for a given business and you want to start a social media marketing business on your own. What ties those two together? Well, using technology for business is more of an “umbrella” concept that each of these can fall under. So, instead of being the IT manager for “XYZ” company, you become an expert at marketing technology. That way your profile will make sense to your boss as well as to prospective customers of your new venture. This actually works quite well, and I’ve seen many people do this with great effect.
The only other option is to create a new account for a second person, who just happens to be you. Unlike some social media platforms, Twitter for instance, LinkedIn discourages this type of thing. If they catch you, and they will in short order, they shut down both your accounts. You might think you can get away with this, but think of all the things that would have to be different on the second profile – work dates, for instance. Do you want to lie about all of that?
Having a second profile is the least viable of both these options. So my advice: stick with what I call the umbrella method and make it work for building both your income streams.