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According to Create + Cultivate, 75% of women spend two hours on social media per day, but 68% of them say social media affects their self-esteem. Research by Yale + Harvard has also shown that excessive social media not only makes you feel bad, but can actually rewire your brain as well (and not in a good way). And according to a study by the University of Pittsburgh, the more time a person spends on social media, the more likely they are to feel depressed.
On March 1, 2017, I decided to quit Instagram + Facebook for a year. I ditched both my personal and business accounts. I called it my Social Media Free Experiment because I wanted to figure out a better way.
Now, you may be one of the three people out there that love social media. I’m only kidding… I’m sure there are at least ten of you! kidding. But seriously, don’t get me wrong here. This post isn’t a slam to social media. In fact, there are many, many days I miss being on Instagram. But I encourage you to keep reading. For me, it’s about understanding the impact of social media on your life and, what I’m going to argue, could be a better way of building your business!
You see, much like many of you probably do now, I used to be believe my business depended on social media. But it didn’t start that way. Back in 2012 I started working with floral designer Amy Osaba to help with the business side of her floral company. Over the next two years, the results Amy experienced in her business due to the principles I helped her put into place were staggering. So naturally other creative entrepreneurs in the Atlanta area, and then in the Southeast, and then all the way to the west coast, and eventually even outside the United States started to notice. I barely had an Instagram back then. It was mostly pictures of my Christmas tree and my dog. I made over six-figures my first year just by helping a bunch of people with something they desperately needed help with: running their creative businesses. I found a need. I solved the need. Then, I shared it. Hint: You don’t have to be a business consultant to do this. In fact, I would argue this is the ONLY way to do it!
Marketing was word of mouth and word of mouth only. It wasn’t until 2016 that I saw my Instagram following start to pick up. And then, yes, I did start to see the momentum it could build in my business. And as a result, I started to try more. Then I started to base my results on those efforts.
But it didn’t take long to see the platform at Instagram changing. Suddenly, all the images started to look the same (you know what I mean?), all the captions started sounding the same (you know what I mean?), and after one too many ads trying to sell me the lie that more Instagram followers was the key to my happiest life, I started to think something was wrong. I was spending hours on a platform perfecting the grid, writing something heart-felt to go with it, and then obsessing over the post performance once I put it out there. Why didn’t they like that image? It’s so pretty. It meshes so well with my feed. Why didn’t the comments roll in? That caption was on point.
I could go on and on, but that’s not the point.
We all need a list. A list of interested buyers. An audience. That list can come from a lot of different places, and social media is just one of them. It could be friends and family or word of mouth. It could be straight up old school advertising. It could be past clients. We all need a list, but I was wrong about the way I was trying to create mine. I was keeping my thousands of people on a social media as my list – a list I had no control over and no idea if the people on it were even seeing my posts (all you people who think you can control the algorithm feel free to comment below). I needed a list that I controlled. a place where I knew my content would land in front of my the eager eyes of my audience. In other words, email is the way, friends. I got this wrong for a long time, but you don’t have too. Sidenote: I’ve used Mailchimp for most of my business and highly recommend this platform to get started.
Don’t know where to start? My friend, Jenna Kutcher, put together a great post on how to get started with your list, here.
Okay friends, you’re talking to the queen of boundaries. I had my posts scheduled out using Planoly (which I love by the way). I had captions pre-written. I had a scheduled thirty minute time to engage. I didn’t even believe I was affected by social media because I thought I was the queen of boundaries. It wasn’t until I detoxed that I realized how wrapped up in it I was. The first two things I realized?
1) Life suddenly seemed extremely quiet.
2) I had so much time to actually put my head down and do my work.
If your plate feels full already, maybe just maybe social media isn’t the most effective use of your time.
People like rebels. Be one! 😉 Seriously guys, I was getting it all wrong. I was focused on marketing one product, The Blueprint Model, with only one tool. I wasn’t building funnels. (No idea what a funnel is? watch this!) I wasn’t working on other revenue streams. I wasn’t moving people through a sales process. I was creating great content and hoping people would buy it. Getting off social media forced me to get smarter. It made me realize I was putting all my eggs in one basket. Social media should be the cherry on top, not the entire sundae!
Well, I’ll live to convince you another day, but for now I just want to conclude by saying that in 2017 I quit social media because I needed to get educated on marketing. I needed to step away from the bubble because the noise was just getting too loud. Here is what I learned.
We live in a culture that encourages success, not fulfillment.
If you want fulfillment you’ll have to work for it and risk feeling like the odd duck sometimes.
– Brian Gost, Radical Simplification
If something isn’t working for you, you don’t have to do it! And if you’ve been feeling the weight of running the rat race, wondering if there is a way to love your work and have a fulfilled life outside of it, I’d love to invite you into my new mission born completely out of my time off the grid – The Fulfilled Life Project. Because I believe there is more to this life than just hitting the next sales goal or getting more followers. Can we just talk about that?
The most valuable lessons I've learned in ten years of being my own boss