When Covid hit, meaning she was unable to spend time with her family, LinkedIn expert consultant Salina Yeung quit her well-paying job on the platform to start her own business. Salina talks to The Industry Leaders about how her company started life as a simple blog, why she loves what she does, and why she's trying to get better at switching off.
Could you tell us a little bit about your history and how you got sitting where you are today?
Yeah, sure. So a little bit of my background used to be doing e-commerce and high fashion for the longest time, actually, for eight years. I worked in marketing in Hong Kong for roughly around 10 years too.
Later, I got an excellent opportunity to move to the UK with a magazine company, and I was based there for a little bit. After working there for a while, I found out I was no longer really interested in journalism. So I decided to move back to Hong Kong, where I got a job supporting Michelin restaurants which was really exciting.
My moves around the globe weren't over, though, because I then moved to Luxembourg to be with my husband, who worked there. And I was a little bit miserable, to be honest with you, as the culture was quite different and I didn't speak the language.
However, I had a little bit of luck, as a talent spotter from LinkedIn sent me a DM and asked me if I would be interested in looking over a team in Hong Kong. And I was like: 'it seems like the universe is speaking to meʼ!'.
I worked for LinkedIn for around two years, leading a small business team over there. But having a long-distance relationship with my husband was really, really rough. So I decided to basically quit my job, which was very high paying, in the middle of COVID.
Everyone told me, 'you're crazy, Salina! You shouldn't be doing that right now'. But I packed my bags and booked a flight the next day. The minute I came back, I was like, Oh my gosh, what have I done.
But I started blogging, which is not even something that I like or something that I thought I'm good at. And things began to blow up in a very good way. So this is how everything started. And theinacademy just started because of that, through a blog.
I feel like that's quite a hopeful story for a lot of people! So in terms of theinacademy, what kind of work does your role involve?
I think there's a lot of leadership. I really take pride in hiring the best people. I always share that I don't want culture fit here at the academy I want a cultural edge. I believe in collaboration and building a very diverse community within the team. So I think that's one of the main elements of work that I do most of the time.
Obviously, from the back end, I help my clients, mainly executives and businesses, with LinkedIn branding. I also have another team that is dedicated to doing B2B marketing consulting.
What is it that gets you out of bed in the morning? What excites you about what you do?
I would say I show up on LinkedIn every single day. I do this to empower, educate, and help many other entrepreneurs, business coaches, and side hustlers, to use LinkedIn the right way to help them succeed.
It's a really beautiful platform. Obviously, I'm biased, but I genuinely believe that LinkedIn is a great platform that people can go and learn so much from. And people are extremely open to sharing knowledge, which is one of the things I love about it.
What would you say is the best advice that anybody's ever given to you?
If you want to invest in something with minimum risk and a guaranteed return, invest in yourself.
And I couldn't agree more. I'm just building out my baby, theinacademy, right now. But I'm really, really enjoying every moment. Obviously, there's ups and downs. But at the same time, I felt like I have been identifying myself with the job for too long. And you know, many people also identify with their own corporate job, and that's their identity. And that shouldn't be how it is.
When COVID hit, people began to get laid off, so being attached only to your employer is no longer an option. So building your own personal brand is like investing in yourself. And that's something that nobody can take away from you.
How do you keep up to speed with what's going on in your industry?
I go to three places - the first is obviously LinkedIn itself. I know the team behind it puts a lot of thought into how it can be more helpful to people. One example of this is if you just Google a question, you might not find the answer straight away. But if you put "LinkedIn help" at the end, it will just automatically comment. It's like open-source. So that's the first place that I go.
The other is the LinkedIn business blog, and the last place, which I hope I could do more, is to join some of the LinkedIn product lead "AMA" (Ask Me Anything) events. I know they do these events quarterly. They are great events where I can ask questions on the upcoming updates of LinkedIn or any new trends within the professional social media industry.
No surprise that everything is very, very LinkedIn focused! In terms of your life and career so far, what would you say is the most challenging project or the most challenging situation that you've had to overcome?
I think it would go back to my career history. If I could do it again, I think I might negotiate with LinkedIn to try to do a remote working situation where I wouldn't have to start a long-distance relationship. That, I think, would have helped me so much.
COVID just made me realize how important family is. To be with them and genuinely invest time there is important.
I'm intrigued to find out what you'll say to this next question. If you finish work today and step outside your office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What do you do?
Selfishly the very first thing I would do is travel, especially with my family. I am very grateful to my dad for giving me tons of opportunities when I was young, basically living abroad in the US and in the UK and travelling every summer with the entire family. So I want to give back and say thank you to my dad for that.
The second thing I'd do would be to give a raise to my entire team, who have had a crazy year. The last thing would be investing in the best tools, resources and learning platforms to help our team be even better at the job.
So when you're not spending your lottery winnings or working very hard. How do you switch off after a day of work?
Oh, that's tough, to be really honest with you! I've been an entrepreneur for nine months right now, but only a couple of months ago, I realized how important it is to take full ownership of my schedule.
It's difficult to switch off; I'm still learning. But right now, I make sure to have no phone in bed and switch off all notifications after 11:30pm. It's so tough. It's really, really tough. I have times that I'm touching my phone and catch myself like, 'wait, it's okay. I'll do it tomorrow'. So these are the two things that I'm doing, but I wouldn't say I'm there yet.
So what's next for you and for your business?
So last year has been a fantastic year for theinacademy; I've been getting tons of one-on-one clients. I'll still receive a couple of one-on-one clients, but I feel like I'm at that stage where I need to transform my business model from one-to-one to one-to-many.
That's why I have this digital course upcoming which is open for enrollment from the 26th of July. The course is the LinkedIn personal brand academy to turn your connections into customers. It is specifically built to help entrepreneur business coaches and side-hustlers succeed on LinkedIn learning. It helps them develop their personal brand and teaches them how to do content marketing to create demand from their LinkedIn audience.
What's the best way for people to get in touch with you?
I actually reply to all my DMs, which surprises many people because I have a huge community. I always take the time to respond unless you're trying to sell me stuff. Those are the only rules.
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