"I struggled to make money, I struggled to get clients, but I got views!"
Meet Quentin Michael Allums. Famous for being the first video creator on LinkedIn back in 2017, pushing boundaries of content creation ever since.
We had the pleasure to sit down with Quentin and hear his story. He talks about follower growth, consistency, struggles and successes he's seen along the way.
Quentin was 22 when he started creating content on LinkedIn. He's been consistent ever since. He talks about consistency and his fears when he started.
«People think that getting a few viral videos or having a large following is what changes everything. I thought the same (at least for a year or so). I struggled to make money, I struggled to get clients, but I got views (hah)! When I really learned how to capitalize on the attention, that’s when things started to change for me.
Before LinkedIn I was trying my hand at other platforms. I created over a hundred videos on YouTube, more on Snapchat, on Instagram, had a lot of success with a platform called AskWhale (which most people don’t even know what that is). I was just a young kid trying to make it in the world of entrepreneurship and documenting my life as I built.»
«LinkedIn was intimidating to me. I used it in college to meet people and write a few articles but I never viewed it as a place to create content. At least not a place where someone like me could succeed creating content.»
«Back when I was focused on building my first agency, there was a time when I was really struggling. Then one day I just reached out to a stranger on LinkedIn whose work I really liked. We met, he gave me a chance and ended up being my biggest clients. It was him who told me to really look at LinkedIn.
I saw what people were doing with broetry (the style where you write small sentences and add line breaks to make the reading easy) That was 2017 and then LinkedIn released video content. And that’s where things really started to pop off for me as I was one of the first creators to leverage that feature.»
“What if no one listens to me.” Welp, no one was listening anyway at that point.
“I haven’t built anything successful yet.” Who cares. Either have most people.
“I’m black. I don’t see a lot of other black creators on LinkedIn.”
I had a lot of excuses. But a lot of those fears and insecurities are what set me apart from others. »
«I started creating consistently in 2017. I was 22 years old. I feel like I’ve grown up on this platform.»
Quentin dived into content with video, one of the most feared content types out there. And he has mastered this art ever since. He talks about skills needed to deliver impact with content.
«No one owes you a view. Earn it. I used to be huge into poetry and spoken word as a kid. I spent time on writer forums back in the day just trying to get people to read my work. Create because you love it. Fail. Learn. Iterate. The followers will come, but be patient and you’ll improve over time.»
«In my opinion, it’s just seeing a gap and being bold enough to fill that gap with something different. The creators that really grow offer something different. It doesn’t matter if your content isn’t raw and unedited or highly produced. Just be different and create something that people either want or need.»
« Ask yourself these three questions
- Before taking my current role I took a Creative Director job for 5 days. Great company. I learned something in those 5 days that stuck with me. The company was built around this question: “If your brand disappeared tomorrow what would the world be missing?” Think about that. Have an answer for that question.
- Do you really want to do this? Most people fail because they’re not consistent. You won’t be consistent if it’s not important to you. So what’s the reason you want to create. Get clear on that and commit to creating and improving.
- What do you bring to the table that is unique?»
«This has changed for me a lot over the years. I used to just rant at the camera. Now I storyboard most videos and send over to my editor (I don’t edit my videos anymore because that’s not where I am best and it is time consuming). I do have a process. The most important thing for me is always this though: What is the outcome I’m looking for / what is my hypothesis? If I know what I want, it’s easier to write a script, remove details, etc.»
«Thinking that I wasn’t good enough or that people wouldn’t listen. There are people way less qualified than you & I crushing it right now. No reason you shouldn’t be either.»
Creating content actively since 2017 has given Quentin unique insights into both LinkedIn and content creation. He talks about his achievements and the journey.
« 1. Built a pretty successful company
2. I got to speak all over the US
3. Made some pretty wicked friends that inspire me every day and opened up doors I never knew existed. »
«Ha, with my text posts, no. On LinkedIn, my first video hit 30k views. But after that I didn’t have the same success. I had to work pretty hard. Not everything I created had a ton of views. But that first video told me “You can do this!”»
«You’ve already started. Now is the best time to invest in it though.»
«Just do something different and something valuable. You’ll be remembered that way.»
«I’ve been a writer forever. It’s always been something that I have loved. The key is understanding people and that’s what helps me tell great stories, but I have a long way to go. It’s something that I’m really going to lean into for the rest of my twenties and thirties.»
«Create more. Use the data and feedback that you get to create better.»
Quentin started with one single goal. A goal of being consistent. He talks about how he found his niche and built an engaged audience.
«Hah! That is a great question. There are things that are difficult about both. Being an entrepreneur for most of my adult life I thought being an employee was so easy in comparison to being an entrepreneur. But today, honestly I don’t think that’s true at all. They’re both tough depending on where you are. I have immense respect for both. Entrepreneurship was one of the hardest things I’ve done. But also the most rewarding and most fun. So really I just think it depends who you are, where you are in life and what you’re built for.»
«Yes. It’s immediate proof of your skillset. It’s something people can’t argue against. Whether it’s a podcast, YouTube channel, TikTok, LinkedIn, it doesn’t matter. It’s a part of your portfolio and brand. As a creator, I can drive traffic that a non creator wouldn’t be able to. AND I can do the marketing things lol. So it’s always a bonus in my opinion. That being said, there are still some companies that don’t like when their employees have other things that they are focused on.»
«I want to focus on creating experiences for people. Kind of like social experiments and really bringing out the stories there. That’s what’s next for me. I’m getting bored of what I have been creating. I’m also older now and it’s time for some shifts. I’m excited!»
«There’s nothing you can’t overcome.»
«Yes. More so when I had my company, but even now with minimal effort I still make money on my LinkedIn audience. »
Numbers guide Quentin to understand what works. He uses that to improve and keep learning. He looks at his data to fine tune his messaging and keep growing his audience. Let's dive into the numbers.
«About 900 followers at the start. It’s a little over 70k followers today.»
«5 years I guess haha. Most of the hard work was done from 2017-2019. I took a long break in 2020 after my little brother passed away in late 2019.»
«Engagement was a lot different then. There was less competition. The algorithm was different. What was counted as a "view" was different. Between 2018 - 2019 I feel just about everything went semi-viral to viral.
Now, I’m mostly focused on my writing until I get this next thing up and running. It’s something different that I know LinkedIn NEEDS right now that I’m excited about. I also repurpose a lot of my TikTok videos to LinkedIn. Views overall are down for me but it’s not something that I’m too worried about. »
«I track because that is how I improve. It’s just a big game/experiment for me and that’s what makes it fun. It’s different for every platform. But for LinkedIn I track the basic stuff.»
«So for example, I may be testing whether a video or text post will bring in more leads. For the text post my CTA may say “Message me Personal brand if you want help taking your brand to the next level.” And for the video I may say “Message me “brand” if you’re ready to take your personal brand to the next level.” And then I check which one brought in more messages. Things like that. I get more detailed on other platforms: watch time, retention, etc. But LinkedIn it’s typically based around my own hypothesis.
And for the basic stuff, everything should tell you something you just need to know what you’re looking for. Maybe people are watching all of your video but they’re not clicking through, that should tell you something. Maybe they’re leaving within a few seconds, that should tell you something and help you improve. »
This is Not a T-shirt by Bobby Hundreds
The Copywriters Handbook
Ready Player One
And that's it, folks. This was a sneak-peek into how Quentin continues to build his personal brand, and finding new opportunities along the way.
Make sure you follow Quentin Michael Allums on LinkedIn for more on personal branding, storytelling and marketing.