Do you get LinkedIn connection requests from competitors? Do you avoid them like they’re poisonous mushrooms? If you’re like many folks, you don’t connect with competitors for fear they’ll use some LinkedIn magic to steal your client list. And then you’ll lose your job and live in a cardboard box, subsisting on cans of slimy mushrooms, which are at least a step up from poisonous ones.

Okay, I’ll quit the mushroom references…for now. But social media need not be so dramatic. You’re making much ado about nothing.

For starters, log into LinkedIn and check out my LinkedIn profile. Scroll down a tiny bit to Highlights, and view all my 2,400+ connections. About 200 of them are clients. Find all of them—I dare you! For all you know, any one of my LinkedIn connections may be:

  1. A client
  2. A prospective client
  3. A networking colleague
  4. A family member
  5. A neighbor
  6. A friend
  7. A friendly competitor
  8. A complete stranger who requested a LinkedIn connection (yes, I accept those requests)
  9. A complete stranger I met at Taco Bell

There’s no way to categorize my connections—or yours for that matter. Your client list is safe.

And why, you may ask, would competitors ask to connect? Who knows—I don’t read minds! But maybe they’re gentle human beings who see you as a friend instead of a foe. Or maybe they’re so impressed with you that they want to hire you.

Even IF LinkedIn somehow revealed your clients—which, again, it doesn’t—who cares? If you stand by your products, your services, and your relationships with your clients, you have little to nothing to worry about. Take a deep breath, and adopt a mindset of abundance. Do I sound like a life coach?

If you’re still leery, you can adjust your settings to hide your connections. Here are the desktop instructions:

  1. Click on Me under your small profile pic in the top right corner.
  2. Click on Settings & Privacy.
  3. Click on the middle tab—Privacy.
  4. Click on Change to the right of Who can see your connections.
  5. Select Only you.
  6. Click on Close on the right.

That’s it! Your client list on LinkedIn is safe. Of course, it always was.

Do you have other burning questions about LinkedIn? Reach out to me at brooke@deshoutout.com. I’d love to hear from you!

Author’s note: No mushrooms—poisonous, canned, or other otherwise—were consumed during the crafting of this article.

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