On this episode of Tech Beat, Earl is joined by Jeff Erickson! Jeff is the Director of Strategic Partnerships for Forecastr, an online software that helps founders forecast revenue, predict runway, understand their numbers, and get funded.

Jeff is a long-time player in the Utah startup scene and a force to be reckoned with on LinkedIn. With over 21,000 connections and followers, he shares value-packed posts, articles, and advice about finance, raising capital, founders, and more.

If you’ve been looking for ways to find and deepen business relationships, this episode is for you.

A Bit on Jeff’s Journey in Business

Everyone’s seen the neighborhood kids sitting behind a lemonade stand on a hot summer day but what about a golf ball stand? As a sixth grader, Jeff and a friend would scour the local golf course in Bountiful for lost golf balls and sell them to people coming up to play. Pretty inventive!

Jeff says he’s always had a streak of entrepreneurship in him but didn’t know what he wanted to do during college. His dad was an accountant, so Jeff thought it made sense for him to get a bachelor’s degree in accounting—but he hated it. 

So he went back to school for an MBA in finance, which he enjoyed but still didn’t see where it was taking him.

Out of his MBA, Jeff worked at an investment firm and after a few years, left with one of the firm’s partners and joined him at a startup. He fell in love with the start-up world—the energy, optimism, and “change the world” mentality.

Jeff’s wife, Inger, started her own business in the home decor industry and couldn’t keep up with the demand. 

With help from a neighbor who wanted to contribute capital and help with the technology side of the business, Jeff and Inger scaled her business, “Uppercase Living,” to over $40 million in annual revenue.

Since then, Jeff has helped other startups and has been an investor and advisor for multiple businesses in the tech scene. He loves building meaningful relationships with other business owners, especially founders, and helping them become successful.

Life Advice: You Don’t Just Need to Check Boxes

As we mentioned, Jeff talked about the uncertainty about his professional life he felt during school. His dad was an accountant for 30 years and had a very traditional work life.

His mom, on the other hand, encouraged Jeff’s entrepreneurial spirit and was an out-of-the-box thinker herself, self-publishing multiple books when that wasn’t very common (think pre-Amazon). 

When the aforementioned golf course called the police on Jeff and his friend because they didn’t have a business license, Jeff’s mom took him to city hall to get the license!

So as Jeff got his degrees, he was unsure what he wanted his professional life to look like. It wasn’t until he tried a few paths and used his skills in those settings that he discovered work he loved.

If you’re feeling lost about finding a place where you’ll use your talents and passions, don’t worry! Experiment and apply what you love wherever you are and you’ll find your place.

LinkedIn Advice: Always Add Value

Now onto the nitty-gritty LinkedIn thoughts. Jeff has built an awesome following of people in the startup scene and beyond by being authentic and adding value. He says that if you’re looking to break into a new space, LinkedIn is a great way to do so.

You have the opportunity to interact with people that you’d never have access to in person and build relationships over time. When talking with people or creating content on LinkedIn, first think, “Is this something that will add value to others?”

Don’t worry about always being original or having completely new ideas. There are so many people on LinkedIn that not everyone will see the same posts. So feel free to share content from others with your own thoughts and value. In fact, Earl said that some content creators even suggest that you “repurpose more than you create.”

A big part of that is celebrating others. Earl shared, “If every post is self-promotional, you will not get an audience.” When you’ve found people and trends in your space that you want to connect with, be sure to support the work they’re doing.

Both Earl and Jeff stress that you should “share what you’re passionate about and it will naturally attract others who are interested in the same things.” Bottom line: Be authentic, add value to others, and celebrate those around you.

For more actionable advice, check out Earl’s full interview with Jeff! They have even more details about how you can make the most of your LinkedIn presence.