LinkedIn is courting a new (and some would say, surprising) audience - Small Business Owners.

It's a far cry from the tried-and-true groups of job seekers and recruiters that LinkedIn is best known for attracting.

At the same time, the move fits the narrative that LinkedIn wants to be all things to all professionals - even Small Business Owners.

Especially those in search of the tools, training, resources and freelancers to help grow their companies.

LinkedIn ProFinder + Small Business Owners

In conjunction with the recent launch of LinkedIn ProFinder, its new freelance marketplace, LinkedIn is asking Small Business Owners to share their stories as part of the LinkedIn ProFinder Small Business Contest.

(Note: The contest runs through Nov. 30, 2016.)

"As a small business owner, you are always looking for ways to work smarter and faster. At LinkedIn, we're committed to helping you do just that," the company noted in announcing the contest. "In support of this endeavor, we recently introduced LinkedIn ProFinder, a brand new platform that provides consumers and small businesses an easy way to connect with top freelance professionals for project-based work. Many small businesses like yours are already using ProFinder to find the quality freelancers they need, but we want to do more to help you take your small business to the next level."

How it Works

The contest asks for Small Business Owners to share a bit about their business and explain the impact it has had on themselves, their customers and their community.

LinkedIn will choose a trio of winners, with the first place entry receiving $5,000 in cash. All contestants will be eligible to win a free 90 day subscription to a Premium version of LinkedIn as well.

While the contest is a nice way to draw attention to ProFinder, it's also a strong signal that LinkedIn wants users doing business with one another on the site.

The Big Shift - Selling on LinkedIn is Encouraged!

As someone whose sole focus the past five years has been training others how to sell using LinkedIn, it's music to my digital ears.

It tells me that LinkedIn realizes what many of us have known since the network was founded all the way back in 2003 - when you put 450 million professionals from 200 different countries in the same digital room, it's inevitable that we'll want to talk business and make deals with one another.

While it's bread-and-butter revenue continues to come from job listings, premium job-seeker and recruiter accounts and similar features, LinkedIn is clearly making a move to court more direct buying and selling of products and services between members.

All the more reason for you to create a client-facing profile, start reaching out directly to your ideal clients and customers and begin following a proven method to generate more sales leads, clients and revenue on LinkedIn!