Meet a LinkedIn-based business helping companies and individuals navigate employment opportunities

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, a few trends have emerged nationally.

Nearly 1.8 million women have dropped out of the labor force, largely to care for children and family. As part of that, a broader workforce shakeup has been happening. Employees are rethinking their jobs. Companies are scrambling to fill vacant positions, and there’s an influx of entrepreneurs testing new business concepts.

While Michelle White of Fort Wayne didn’t start her company, upLinked, in response to the pandemic, it happens to deal with many of these issues in some form or another. 

Founded in 2018, upLinked helps individuals and companies use the professional social media platform, LinkedIn, more effectively—whether they’re seeking to hire, to grow their brand, or to establish themselves as experts in a field. What’s more, White and upLinked's Principal Growth Strategist, Britney Breidenstein, are building this company as mothers working from home in Fort Wayne.

Britney Breidenstein, left, and Michelle White, right, of the LinkedIn consulting company, upLinked.

While this situation might smack of “having it all,” both women are the first to admit that balancing work with mom-life is not an easy burden—even under the best of circumstances. In many ways, navigating these challenges is what led White to create her business in the first place. Michelle White is the Founder and Owner of upLinked.

A teacher by education, she worked her dream job at Northwood Middle School for six years before she and her husband had their first child in 2011. As their family grew from one to four kids, she sought ways to spend more time at home, first as a virtual teacher and later as a program developer and coordinator for The Summit.

But while White spent fewer hours on the job, she still felt strained mentally, physically, and emotionally, trying to balance her career with family time.

“It’s not popular to say, but I couldn’t do both,” White says. “As a result, I took a mental health break for a year and a half to focus on my kids, and while it was difficult financially, it was the right move for my family.”

In 2018, a previous freelance editing job led to White working with a corporate client needing assistance with LinkedIn. As she acquired knowledge, she realized there was business potential and launched upLinked to offer coaching, branding, and social media services to more companies in Fort Wayne and beyond. Britney Breidenstein is the Principal Growth Strategist of upLinked.

Breidenstein came into the picture about a year later. With undergraduate and graduate degrees in business and HR, she was managing a side-hustle consulting business, which involved workforce inclusion and diversity trainings. While she was browsing LinkedIn one day, she came across upLinked’s business profile and loved White’s work. The two met for coffee, and eventually partnered to expand upLinked’s potential—utilizing White’s foundation in social media and teaching and Breidenstein’s business and consulting acumen.

Over the years, they’ve developed a 4-part process they walk each new client through to maximize their LinkedIn potential. It involves 1) an in-depth constructive analysis of their current LinkedIn profiles; 2) defining core objectives, goals, and metrics; 3) creating a customized strategy; and 4) executing an action plan.

“We really drill down into what’s your objective for being on LinkedIn, who’s your target market, and then we develop SMART goals to help you achieve your objectives,” White says.

LinkedIn has been seeing growth during the pandemic workforce shakeup.

For individuals, upLinked offers 60-minute LinkedIn strategy consultations, walking through this process, starting at $149 for one session. Expanded coaching packages go up to $219 per month for 6 months. For businesses, upLinked offers a similar two-part consultation, using its 4-part process to create a customized strategy. These services can be expanded with company page management, consulting, and workshops.

During the pandemic, when many people’s budgets and employment took a hit, upLinked moved quickly to offer free, mini LinkedIn profile reviews with five quick tips for participants.

“We talk a lot about equity and social mobility, so offering free coaching during this time was really crucial for us, and those reviews went like crazy,” Breidenstein says. “So many people followed up with us after and said, ‘My profile is taking off now.’ We helped a lot of new college graduates last summer, too.”

Overall, Breidenstein has noticed many regional workers are following national trends in rethinking their careers during the pandemic. Some are even using this time to test new career concepts online or on social media.

“A lot of people took time during the pandemic shutdown in 2020 to consider: Is this what I want to be doing for my job?” Breidenstein says. “We’ve seen a lot of people start doing short videos or consulting workshops and become regular content creators. They’re really looking for an additional outlet—a way to pivot into a future career that will give them more flexibility.”

LinkedIn has been seeing growth during the pandemic workforce shakeup.

Speaking of flexibility, launching a virtual and social media-based company has provided a great deal of empowerment to White and Breidenstein in their own ability to manage life as working moms. While it’s not always easy, White says she’s found the best way to be effective and present in both areas of her life is to set strict boundaries in each territory, devoting a few uninterrupted early morning hours to her work and then unplugging completely when she’s spending time with family, so she’s not multitasking.

Breidenstein says these strict boundaries are some of the first things she and White bonded over.

“We don’t believe you have to sacrifice all the time as a mom,” Breidenstein says. “You don’t have to apologize for setting parameters around your time and talent either. We’re fortunate to both be in a market and a position where we can put motherhood and family first, and we’re still able to be businesswomen, too.”

Both women have found that managing life as a working mom involves many of the same skills they teach in their LinkedIn sessions: Simplifying, strategizing, and planning ahead to achieve your goals.

“We try to help our clients build these skills in multiple areas of their lives and work,” Breidenstein says. “Our 4-part process for LinkedIn is a strategy they can take with them and apply in many ways.”

Learn more

For more information about upLinked, its workshops, and events, visit www.getuplinked.com, and follow them on LinkedIn.
 

Read more articles by Kara Hackett.

Kara Hackett is a Fort Wayne native fascinated by what's next for northeast Indiana how it relates to other up-and-coming places around the world. After working briefly in New York City and Indianapolis, she moved back to her hometown where she has discovered interesting people, projects, and innovations shaping the future of this place—and has been writing about them ever since. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @karahackett.