I quit Instagram for my business. With only 457 followers, I decided to throw in the towel and say goodbye to the influencer-heavy, image-rich platform.
So you may be wondering, why with only 457 followers, should I be reading an article about why you decided to quit Instagram? After over a year on the platform, Limit Breaker amassed 457 followers (most of which don’t see its posts) and on average 5-10 website visitors per week.
In contrast, for these 5-10 visitors per week, I was putting in about 10 hours per week on the platform. Sometimes much, much more. If we round those visitors up, I was spending about an hour per visitor – that makes absolutely no logical sense.
Why I quit Instagram
This article isn’t just about me though, it’s also about you. I’m going to go through some of the main reasons why I decided to quit Instagram for my business. In each section, I will ask a few questions which you can use to start thinking about your own activity on Instagram.
Before that though, I want to start by saying that this is my own decision and it’s one that doesn’t at all reflect on anyone else.
Over the year that I’ve been on Instagram for Limit Breaker, I’ve met and developed great relationships with some wonderful people. Those connections won’t stop just because I quit Instagram. In fact, they will become deeper as we collaborate and connect in different ways.
Instagram can be a great place for expanding the reach of your audience, delivering your message and making genuine connections. It can also be a place of social media comparison, lack of transparency and distraction.
Are you on Instagram because you’ve been told you need to be?
If you’re getting online marketing advice from people on Instagram who are telling you that you have to be on Instagram. Chances are, these people are telling you this because they’ve had success on Instagram.
The same can be applied to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, blogging, content creation in general, or even print. These people may have had success, but that doesn’t mean you will. Even if you apply their special formulas and five-step processes. That simply doesn’t mean you’ll generate the same growth as they do.
In fact, what you’re actually doing is applying a cookie cutter formula which worked for one person. One person with a unique business which is likely not the same as yours.
Are you on Instagram because a guru, influencer or coach told you to be there?
How much advice, tips and tricks or formulas have you implemented and seen results for?
How much time and effort did the above take to implement and did you keep it up?
Is your time on Instagram worth it for your business?
Instagram is a beast, one that needs feeding, attention and a lot of your time. If it’s your platform of choice, then you need to fully immerse yourself in it.
Let’s not beat around the bush, Instagram doesn’t want users to leave its platform. That’s why it doesn’t let you add links in descriptions, makes you create videos using its in-built software and makes the desktop version of the platform impossible to use so you’re forced to scroll addictively on your phone.
With all this in mind, your use of the platform for your business has to take this into consideration. To get people to click the link in your bio, it takes some serious work on your part.
One of the reasons I quit Instagram was because the time I was putting into the platform wasn’t giving me enough in return.
I mentioned earlier that for 10+ hours of work each week, I was getting 5-10 website visitors. That simply doesn’t add up. I seriously had to question whether the time I was spending creating images, doing photo shoots, writing ‘engaging’ captions, posting stories, commenting, liking, following, was honestly worth it.
You may be thinking that if I implemented the right strategy, spent more time on the ‘right’ activities, wrote more engaging descriptions, took better photos, or simply stuck with it, those followers would increase and so would my website visitors.
Of course, with this logic, you’d probably be right. But with anything that takes this amount of time, you have to ask yourself if it’s honestly truly worth it to spend a massive chunk of time on something which may, one day, just maybe start to give you something back?
My answer to that, was no.
How many hours per week are you honestly spending on Instagram?
How many website visitors, clients, customers, sales are you making from Instagram?
Compare the two, now is your time on Instagram honestly worth it?
Could your time be better spent on a different platform?
When I first started thinking about quitting Instagram, I took a good look at my Google Analytics.
I’m not the most data-centred person, but as a business owner, keeping an eye on stats is important for me. Looking at my website visitors from various social media platforms, I found that Instagram came dead last.
So not only was I spending 10+ hours a week on it, but it was also proving to be the worst traffic driver. In contrast, I was spending 1-2 hours a week on Pinterest and gaining 20-30x the visitors of Instagram. Now that makes a lot more sense.
The goals for your business might differ, so when looking at the analytics for your site, make sure to bear in mind what pages people are visiting, how long they’re there and if they’re converting how you want them to. Then you can truly see which platform is working the best for you.
After significantly reducing my time on Instagram and increasing it on Pinterest, I saw a dramatic rise in website traffic.
Does my data tell me I should still be on Instagram?
Are my website visitors actually converting? (signups, sales, contact etc)
Are there other platforms which should be getting more of my attention?
Could your time be better spent elsewhere?
When immersed in the online world, it’s easy to forget that we don’t have to be constantly updating our status to appear relevant. One of the most refreshing and weirdly comforting things I realised when deciding to quit Instagram, was that people don’t actually care.
People, although well-meaning, are generally selfish. We spent the majority of our time thinking about ourselves, our own wellbeing, businesses, improvement and safety. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s human nature to think about the self. So when you update your stories, post on your feed or release your latest whatever, most people don’t really care.
It’s comforting because it means that you simply don’t need to spend so much time trying to make the world like you. Think about it this way, you may follow a few big influencers with millions of followers, but do you really care when they write their latest blog post or give you a life update?
The majority of the time you don’t, unless you’re their friend, or unless you’re getting something in return.
So here’s your permission to stop updating – if you don’t want to – and start spending your time elsewhere.
The time I gained from quitting Instagram allowed me to step away from Instagram’s influence and delve deep into what I wanted for my minimalist business. It also allowed me to create meaningful posts for my readers. I spent more time on activities which gave me something in return, or that I loved and more time outside of my business, connecting and recharging.
Could your time on Instagram be spent creating, producing or working on something else?
Could your time on Instagram be spent outside of business, with friends, family or on your hobbies?
Do you need to be everywhere at once?
Do you enjoy being on Instagram?
This is perhaps the most important question I had to ask myself before I made the decision to quit Instagram.
Whenever talking with business friends about the platform I’d always say ‘I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram’. Quite frankly, that was a lie. I didn’t have a love-hate relationship with Instagram, I had a hate relationship with Instagram.
Any conversation about the platform was filled with complaining. Frustrated talk about its algorithm, failed attempts at growth and even conversation comparing ourselves to other accounts.
What’s so ridiculous is that every time I’d check my feed, I’d immediately feel inadequate. My likes on X post were lower than usual, my followers keep dropping, I’m just getting bot comments, X person is doing so much better than me.
It only took a few days being away from Instagram when I removed all social media from my phone, that I truly started to realise how much I disliked it. Instagram not only took away my time, but it also took my self-esteem.
Do you say ‘I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram’?
Is the ‘love’ part of this statement true?
How do you truly feel when you’re on Instagram?
Do you compare yourself to others on Instagram?
Do you wish you didn’t?
I quit Instagram and why you can too
This article explores some of my thoughts before I made the decision to quit Instagram, but it also offers up some questions to help you explore too.
The questions in this article could work for any social media platform you’re on. It’s important to apply this critical thinking to any tool you use because that’s what social media is, a tool.
Here’s the thing, if you hate being on Instagram. If it gives you anxiety, absorbs your time, isn’t giving you anything in return or you truly hate it. Then, you simply shouldn’t be on it and that’s okay.
Not every platform out there has to be used by you. You must find the ones that you enjoy, that you appreciate, get value from and that give back to your business in some way. Or, you might find that there are other activities you could be doing to benefit your business.
If you need it, here’s me saying that you don’t have to be on Instagram for your business if you secretly don’t want to.
The business world is full of gurus and coaches telling you how to rise to the top, get noticed and create 6-figures businesses. It’s in your face, unrealistic and overwhelming.
It teaches aspiring business owners to strive for ridiculous income goals, instead of their happiness and guides them towards a life filled with excessive pressure, at the expense of their values.
So what if you intend to create a minimalist business instead? What does that even mean? I can only give you my thoughts on this as a general guide. Because, to each person, a minimalist business could mean something completely different.
What is a minimalist business?
“Minimalism is a mindset rather than a blind purge. If something is useful or pleasurable, you keep it. If it’s not, then you consider scrapping it.” – Paul Jarvis
Within this context, a minimalist business makes sure every decision, piece of software and process is useful, or enjoyable. If not, it’s removed to make room for the things that are.
Something akin to the slow business movement, a minimalist business focuses on conscious choices that benefit the business and the people working in it. It’s uncomplicated, intentional and simple in the best sense of the word.
Why a minimalist business is important
The most powerful thing you can do with your business is to create something that’s 100% true to your vision.
It’s incredibly easy to get caught up all the advice out there offered by online coaches. Many of which is about growth and increasing revenue to high levels at the expense of your time and attention.
If instead, you were to craft an intentional business based on putting the value you bring to people’s lives first. You would then create something which not only sells itself but makes a real difference to the lives of your customers.
Minimalism is about reducing the additional unnecessary ‘stuff’ you don’t use or enjoy. This can be applied to more than just the things in your life, and in terms of business, this can apply to any of the following:
The devices you use
The software you pay for
The systems you’ve implemented
The number of products/services you offer
The number of social media platforms you’re on
The processes you use to talk to customers
The amount of time you spend on certain tasks
How wonderful would it be to create a simple business? With minimal overheads, you only use the software and processes you absolutely need and help make your life easier. You spend your precious time on tasks which give you something in return. You’re clear on your audience, you know exactly how to serve them and create tools and resources they will use and love.
It’s this last paragraph which has lead me to create a plan for my intent to create a minimalist business of my own. The business in question is this one, Limit Breaker.
I’m half-way through my journey to creating a minimalist business and I’m going to tell you right now, it’s not easy. Making sure that each decision you make and each item you add to your to-do list is intentional, is hard.
To explain my process, I’m breaking it down into stages:
Define the intention of my minimalist business
Stage one of my process was to define the intention for my minimalist business. This is the most important stage because if you don’t get clear on why you want to start a business in the first place, then it’s incredibly easy to get lost along the way.
For this stage, I made sure to write down the reason why Limit Breaker exists, the problem it’s solving and how I can bring about a solution. This was entirely people focused and aligned with my values.
This ‘intention’ became so important to me that I created a page on the Limit Breaker website to outline it as a reminder. This page also contains the intention behind some of the choices I wanted to make with Limit Breaker, such as the absence of advertising on the site.
You’ll see this point in many marketing articles – understand your audience. But most of the time, this advice is only surface-level. Understanding where your audience hangs out online, their generic problems and goals is one thing. But to truly understand your audience, it takes a little bit more than that.
At this stage in the process, I’m contacting my audience directly and asking them questions. There’s only so much feedback you can get from Instagram posts and comment sections. But when you send a personal email or DM to someone in your audience (or someone who you’d like to be in your audience), you truly get to know them.
To break it down further, my plan is to do the following:
Email members of my list directly to get to know them
Spend more time directly messaging people than ‘liking’ their work
Interact with my Facebook group, other forums and communities to have real conversations
Alongside this, I’m keeping a note of the language my audience uses through messages, tweets and in person to make sure that when I’m writing or creating, I’m directly talking to them.
Outline my deliverable/s
Deliverables are the ‘things’ I want to offer my audience, this can be free or paid-for. One thing’s for certain, to run a business, it has to be sustainable. I want to be able to work full-time helping make the maximum difference to my audiences’ lives. I can’t do this if Limit Breaker isn’t financially viable.
However, one of my main priorities is to make sure that anything I ‘sell’ is providing maximum value. For this reason, my priority is to create one paid-for ‘item’ which will be Limit Breaker’s sole ‘product’. This way, I can focus all my energy into making sure it’s the best possible product it can be.
This will then be backed by free articles and the Facebook Group community. By having the paid-for item, the site will be able to remain advertisement free and my vision will stay intact.
Keep it simple and then add if needed
This is where it gets hard. For a minimalist business to work, you need to keep it simple. If you have 5 products, 3 email opt-ins, 6 pieces of software you pay for each month and you’re on every social media platform going – it becomes unsustainable very quickly.
The idea of a minimalist business is to take your big idea (because I know it’s big) and pare it back to it’s the simplest form. After all, Facebook didn’t start at the size it is today. Heck, even Amazon started as an online book shop.
My plan is to take my larger idea and strip it back to its simplest form. I’ll remove any need for software, completely reduce overheads and minimise to make sure that my time spent on it, is beneficial to create the best possible ‘product’ I can.
By working this way, you not only produce your offer faster, but you can also make sure it’s actually something your audience wants, without spending too much time and money on it. Although at this stage, you would hopefully know your audience well enough, that your offer should be a hit.
Then, once the ball starts rolling, you can improve and add as you go, but only if your audience asks for it! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in bells and whistles, but most of the time these don’t actually add much value. Your audience is interested in the value you can give them, that’s all.
Work out where to spend my time
I know it’s hard to resist the allure of every social media platform. I also know it’s hard not to get wrapped up in email funnels, opt-in freebies or even writing regular blog posts. But if you didn’t read any resources online telling you to do these things, would you actually do them?
For a minimalist business to work, it’s important to be incredibly strict with your time. After all, it’s the only thing you can’t get back.
It’s absolutely okay to be on every social media platform if they all, honestly, give you something in return. I’m talking about something significant here. Clients/customers, website visitors who stick around, important connections, enjoyment etc. If they don’t give you any of these in return, then it might be worth re-considering the time you spend on them.
The same goes for the processes you use to turn website visitors into customers. You may have been told to create an opt-in freebie and then a funnel, and then two weeks of emails before converting them to a customer. But has this actually worked for you? If you could make this much simpler, remove the time spent writing these sales emails and instead directly contact your list on a personal level, would you?
Your time is more important than you think. Spending it on things that don’t give you anything in return is not worth it.
Re-think my processes and software
Lastly, we move onto money. Specifically looking at where your money is spent.
Pieces of software that supposedly make your life easier, could actually be making it harder. If you use a complicated email package with automation, but you don’t use the automation, what’s the point?
Or if you pay for project management software, but you only use it once a month and you have to explain to your clients how to use it every time, are you overdoing it?
Even if you don’t pay for these things, the time you spend managing and keeping track of every piece of software you use could be time spent elsewhere.
Creating a minimalist business is difficult but worth the energy. The business I aim to create will take time to mould and develop. But because I’m intentional every step of the way, I can make sure that I’m making better decisions, putting people first and staying true to the reason why I started in the first place.
Answer me this, how many times have you read an article online about increasing your confidence, gaining more clients/customers or simply stepping out of your comfort zone, only to find that the advice came from an extrovert?
Then, after implementing the advice, you find that it simply hasn’t worked for you. It’s not necessarily because it was bad advice. It may well have been that the advice came from someone who wasn’t dealing with life from your perspective – an introvert perspective.
One of the most important things we can do with our time is to make sure we’re filling it with things that have meaning. The same goes for the information we consume. So let’s find some introvert bloggers and websites that we can relate to.
4 introvert bloggers challenging stereotypes
We all know that introverts are complicated and varied. We’re not only stereotyped as shy and reserved, but we’re also misunderstood. It’s time we changed that perspective. So here are four introvert bloggers who are challenging introvert stereotypes in 2019.
Ruth Newton – The Anti-Hustle Project
Exploring how to stop hustling in your business, work less, live more & live better. Define & live your own anti-hustle life.
Ruth’s website The Anti-Hustle Project is a guiding light for burnout-riddled business women who are sick of the hustle lifestyle portrayed by so many business coaches.
She promotes a way of life which can be in harmony with the things you actually want. Prioritising not just your business, but relationships, health, life-balance and more.
Ruth uses her introverted tendencies to go deeper into these topics, not imposing her opinion on others, but guiding them to find their own.
Roxana Alexandru – HonestRox
Are you an introvert? Is social anxiety getting in the way of your best self? Come on over and join the club! Let’s introvert together.
Roxana is a perfect example of someone who promotes loving and embracing your introverted self. Like most of us introverts, Roxana used to feel inadequate, boring and misunderstood. It wasn’t until she began to truly love her introverted self, that she started to overcome her social anxiety and her limiting beliefs.
Roxana created HonestRox to share her experiences, trials and successes with other introverts. She teaches fellow introverts to embrace their unique skills to make an impact at work, grow their network and build influence.
Gina Lucia – Limit Breaker
We create articles on authentic business, life balance and growth from the perspective of introverts around the world. Free from clutter, free from noise, Limit Breaker promotes one thing and one thing only – authenticity.
It may be a little weird to mention myself in this article, but I truly believe that Limit Breaker not only offers a fresh perspective in the introvert world but in the online business world in general.
I started Limit Breaker in 2018 after playing the introvert blame game. For years I would place limiting beliefs on the things I actually wanted to do, simply because I’m an introvert. I can’t speak in front of a group of people – I’m an introvert. I can’t talk in front of a camera – I’m an introvert.
After realising that the only thing holding me back, was me, I jumped head first into creating what you see today. A site which publishes articles from introvert bloggers from around the world.
Morgan – Barbed Wire & Lace
A crafty INFJ set out to create a small business that utilizes my creative side. Writing, crafting, saving people money and small business tips!
Morgan is an INFJ introvert blogger with some serious drive and a whole lot of heart. Morgan’s writing is completely relatable and unapologetically honest. Exploring issues like anxiety, burnout, relationships and more, she comes at introverted topics with incredible depth and shares her personal experiences without holding back.
Morgan’s drive to create a community of like-minded bloggers has lead her to create somewhere that they can thrive. Completely reflecting her personal generosity, this community’s goal is to lift each other up, because we’re stronger together.
It’s becoming exceedingly frustrating to be authentic in the online world because we’re constantly pulled away from being ourauthentic self. You know, the online world where influences live, original brands thrive and solopreneurs are popping up left and right.
Every day we’re bombarded by online experts telling us how to best build an audience, or a following. We’re told left and right that x, y, and z are the best practices and that we have to do them in order to be successful at the ‘online game’. In fact, I have followed many tips from these experts, even at the expense of my own internal compass.
When I found myself feeling uneasy about a particular prevalent activity in this space, I consoled myself with “What the heck do I know about this subject matter? I’m not an expert, they are!” This flawed way of thinking led to many bouts of anxiety and depression because I felt that I HAD to do what everyone else did, else I’d face dead ends.
But then something clicked.
I had a few conversations with other introverts that felt the exact same way I did about online practices. It opened my eyes to the truth that I don’t have to do what others are doing. It might not be a ‘proven’ way yet by the so-called experts, but it feels right to me, and being authentic in the online world and to myself is more important than following the herd.
I have the privilege of having a full-time job that keeps me financially stable. So anything that I do with my side hustle comes from a genuine place of passion and love. As a Sr. Functional Analyst at a Fortune 500 Company in the United States, I’m lucky to have enough time to myself to pursue Honestrox as a project. I don’t need to strategize, purchase every tool available out there, or sell myself out in order to make it’.
For me, ‘making it’ means having the freedom to post what I want and when I want. Since I don’t depend on this website to feed my son, I can play around and be authentic to myself. I like to think that even if that weren’t the case, that I would still refuse to do the following 5 things, but one never knows how they’ll react when dire times are afoot.
It’s because of this freedom that I refuse to do certain things that seem commonplace in the online space these days. While I’ve been influenced by each one of them in the past and believed that I had to follow suit. I’ve recently chosen to be more authentic to my true self and forgo all these so-called ‘best practices’ that garner attention. It’s my goal moving forward to act according to my best instincts. Because every time I’ve gone against many of them, I ended up taking the hit mentally.
Here are 5 things to do to be authentic in the online world
1) Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not
This is the foundation of authenticity, as the first rule is to truly honour yourself. There are plenty of things the mega-influencers do that I simply cannot bring myself to.
For example, I’m pretty sure you’ve seen this pose before: pretty girl/boy, arms wide open, smiling and laughing in the middle of the street. Or a field. Or in a chair. Whatever the ambience, it’s always the same forced picture to denote an air of confidence, even if it’s the last thing they’re feeling at that moment. They could be crying behind the scenes, but oh how much fun they’re having in front of the camera! As an introvert, I cringe at the thought of such a pose because it’s not my personality.
There’s a huge trend of showing up at your best, from every single angle, all the time. There’s a reason why people follow influencers – because they’ve mastered the art of illusion. I’ve never been a giddy, top of the mornin’ to ya kind of gal, so I have a difficult time resonating with these pictures. I don’t smile without a reason and I certainly can’t pull off pretending to laugh because it’s not who I am. Gosh, I totally prefer my resting bitch face over faking a smile.
It’s definitely something I struggle with but I’ve come to realize that I’m not serving anyone by pretending I’m someone I’m not. That’s not the goal I want to achieve, even though that’s what gathers attention these days. If there is such a picture in my feed, it’s because it was caught unintentionally and it spoke to me. Otherwise, I refuse to do this.
2) Consider your gut first before following a sketchy trend
I recently learned about the phenomenon of ‘follow to be followed’ and I’m honestly stumped. If this is the type of world we operate in now, I want nothing to do with it. Show me your authentic self, and I’ll show you mine. If I choose to follow you it’s because you inspire me or you’re teaching me something, not because I want you to follow me back.
What kind of Instagram game is this where superficiality wins above everything else? If you practice this, what kind of business are you creating for yourself? It’s anything but genuine, which is why I refuse to do it.
As an introvert, I crave deep and meaningful relationships. I have no time for such games that take me away from an honest connection with someone. This is about staying true to your principles because there comes a time in everyone’s life when we have to make a decision about whether we want to participate in a common practice that might not fit into our worldview.
Personally, I want the people who follow me to be interested in what I have to say, and not because I tricked them into it. I would only be tricking myself. Honestly, my biggest win is when someone finds me and they follow me because they think I’m either funny, inspirational or a total weirdo. That’s the biggest compliment I can get. It’s mostly for this reason that I choose to not follow that many accounts so that I can create a genuine following.
3) Choose value and honour above all else
I get hit with so many valueless targeted ads that I’ve had it. I see this in my feed all the time. The same faces keep popping up. It’s overdone. Provide value and content instead of trying to sell off your ‘free system’ that got you 2k clients. It’s so uninteresting, I can’t imagine it working long-term.
As an introvert, not only do I find it extremely uncomfortable pushing my own agenda, but I can spot it immediately when others do it. It’s not something I want to practice in my own business. I believe content, community, and purpose-driven value are the key factors in building an audience.
Some do it wonderfully and you can feel their genuine desire to help you solve a problem, but the majority almost seem predatory. I’ve definitely promoted my content plenty of times, especially if there’s a blog post I think will resonate with people, but I don’t think I’ll post ads that benefit me directly. There’s a very distinct difference between the two and I strongly believe people can spot it. As an introvert, putting myself out there is uncomfortable enough, I can’t imagine having to create ads that just end up annoying people.
4) Listen to your compass before following a best practice
I caved in and smothered my website with ‘opt-in freebies’. I plastered them all over my website, even though it made me feel ‘icky’ and uncomfortable inside. Who is this girl all over my pages prompting people to join her list in exchange for a self-promoting document?
I recently came to the conclusion that I’ve been too indoctrinated into this online world that continuously pushes everyone towards the same end goal. Those who are actually seeking help are overwhelmed by all of these practices employed by the ‘experts’.
I decided to follow my instinct and go back to basics. It’s not that I don’t have any freebies hidden within some pages, but they are not prominent or my sole-focus in attracting an audience anymore. I refuse to do this anymore. I went against my gut the entire time and now that I’ve changed my strategy, it feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Don’t be afraid to follow your gut feeling, only you know what works for you.
5) Challenge the status quo on what success means
Ah yes, the epitome of success. 1M followers, 10k likes and 1k comments per post. Hallelujah, what a goal to strive for. It’s impossible to keep up with the Kardashians or to mentally stay sane in such a sea full of competition. So what, unless 1M followers result in £1M in sales, it’s futile to exert this energy on such a goal.
I’ve decided to give myself the freedom to post what I want and when I want, without the pressure of always having to look at my insights and stats. Success to me is when someone relates so much to what I have to say that they choose to open up with their own story and connect with me.
If people like what I have to say, they can follow me, else it will all remain part of my legacy. I will not follow to follow, buy an exorbitant amount of ads, or participate in click-farms. I choose to not focus on likes, followers and comments. There are more important aspects of my business to focus on than knowing that someone out there liked one of my poses.
As an introvert, this is the most challenging aspect of being an ‘online personality’ because it can really get to me and bring me down if my expectations aren’t met. And that usually happens when I have the wrong set of expectations.
At some point, I might expand or remove some of these items, but for now, this is where my heart’s at. It’s a daily struggle where I need to make sure I’m staying true to myself and to my goals, and that I’m also doing what I can to expose myself to the world. It’s a tricky game to play, and one that definitely costs some tears here and there, but ultimately at the end of the day I need to live with myself first.
Because if I don’t like myself, the success achieved through these means won’t mean anything ultimately.
So think about your own authenticity. What is it that you’re currently doing that doesn’t feel right? That gives you an uneasy feeling when you do it? Think about why you’re doing it and then try to come up with an alternative that agrees with your gut. If you find yourself following others online because that’s ‘how it’s done’ but you’re going against your own principles, you need to stop and ask yourself if you’re being true to yourself.
We can’t all be Tony Robbins or Marie Forleo. Nor should we want to. We need our own voices to push through the noise. And that can only be achieved successfully once we stop trying to be everyone else but our own authentic self.
No matter the area of life, if you’re looking to change or improve something, the internet is probably the first place you go to look for ideas and support.
Want to start eating healthier? Look up recipes on Pinterest.
Keep arguing with your partner? Find a Facebook group where you can discuss all things relationships.
Want to start an online business? Google how to start an online business.
And one of the great things about this, apart from the ease of access to the information, is how many people there are out there like you. Information and advice no longer only comes from stuffy experts or people who’ve been doing something for many years. You can find regular people, doing what you want to do, only a few steps ahead of you, offering to show you how they got there.
I love the fact anyone can now create content and share it with the world. It allows there to be many more options, opinions and examples out there for us to explore. But there’s a dark side to this increased content. And that’s the pressure to provide advicecontent that grabs peoples’ attention.
The Dark Side of ‘Content’
If you don’t have an online business you probably won’t be aware – creating advice content is a huge online marketing/sales tactic. The reasoning is that by showing potential clients you know what you’re talking about and giving them value for free, they’re more likely to buy off you.
There’s a whole sector of businesses dedicated to supporting other businesses to create this kind of content. And a key component of this marketing is to be prolific with it. What this has created is an online space full of noise. Full of different people telling you how to do anything. And, with many of them, they promise you their way is the best way to do it.
The amount of advice that’s now available a few clicks away on Google is staggeringly overwhelming. There probably isn’t a single topic you couldn’t find a advice article on. For free.
My Experience with Advice
I could list endless stories of the times I’ve followed advice and it didn’t work. In my personal life. For my health and wellbeing. In my business.
I’ve spent years absorbing all the information and advice out there. Always looking for the ‘right’ thing to help make my life feel easy and carefree. More often than not, it’s had the opposite effect.
It could be easy to sit here and say it’s because the advice I followed was bad advice, but I don’t believe that. I believe much of this advice didn’t work because it wasn’t the right advice for me. Because I never stopped to question whether this was the case before I blindly followed what some online expert told me.
As an introvert and HSP, I fall into a very small slice of the population. And for that reason, a lot of advice out there isn’t a good fit for me. It’s taken me years to figure that out. To realise that not every piece of advice works for every person. And the key is to pause and evaluate if advice is right for you before you implement it.
How to figure out if advice right for you
Create a personal filter
Really knowing yourself is the first piece of the puzzle. Learning about my high sensitivity was a game changer. If you’re here you already know you’re introverted. That’s only one trait. There are many more that will influence you as a person.
Personally, I rate the ‘Big 5’ personality profile. It breaks your personality down into 5 categories – openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. You can take the test here. I rate this because I find it easier to understand than the Myers-Briggs Types.
Knowing your personality isn’t the only factor that makes you, you. There’s also your values and beliefs, your upbringing and previous experiences. All these things come together and create a personal filter that you can run all advice through before you implement it, simply by asking the question “does this fit me?”
Check out the person giving the advice
When deciding if advice is right for you it can help to consider the person giving the advice a bit more closely. Although they don’t have to be exactly like you, the more similar you are as people, the higher probability that the advice would work for you.
If an extrovert is suggesting you go out and talk to new people at yoga classes as a way to make friends, for example, that might not work for us introverts.
Also, consider their lifestyle. Are they single when you’re married? American when you’re British? These things influence the advice given. If you have children, you might not be in the position to go to the gym 4 times a week to do the heavy weight training a fitness expert recommends.
Sometimes the only way to know if something is right for you is to try it. I know I can easily get lost in my thoughts, pondering every option to find the ‘right’ one. But even once you’ve thought it to death, you still don’t know if it’s right until you do it.
The key with trying it is to set yourself a timeframe, and after that point evaluate how it was. Be curious about it. Did it work? Was it manageable for you and your life? If it didn’t work, don’t beat yourself up about the fact it didn’t work. Because not everything works for everyone, and that’s ok.
If this one piece of advice wasn’t right, consider why and see if you can adapt it to suit you more. Reflect on what you’ve learnt from the thing that didn’t work because that gets you a step closer to what will.
It was an abnormal Saturday night. Sitting in front of the TV, singing along to catchy Europop with 7 million UK viewers, we watched the ‘Superbowl of Europe’ – Eurovision.
After the 26 acts had performed and the votes had been tallied, it was down to scoring and there were two faces on the screen waiting to hear who had won Eurovision 2019. The Netherlands, or Sweden.
On repeat was the phrase ‘Sweden needs 253 votes to win’, it was, quite frankly, the longest wait I have ever experienced to reveal a winner. The two contestants were in obvious emotional pain as they were forced to wait a full minute before finding out that Sweden not only didn’t win but only received 93 points.
I can only describe this akin to emotional torture. Something that is perfectly summarised in the face of John Lundvik (Sweden’s singer), as he hears the result. This put him not second, but 6th.
While this result may seem entertaining or funny to some, I couldn’t bear to watch. This unnecessary style of putting entertainment over the mental wellbeing of their participants was incredibly hard to sit through. So much so that over three days later, I was still thinking and talking about it.
What’s an empath?
Put simply, an empath is a person who experiences a great deal of empathy. Often taking on the emotional pain of others at their own expense.
Case in point, above.
At the same time, empaths feel deeply, they experience the world with keen sensitivity and often ‘see’ things others may overlook.
I want to be clear. We live in a world which looks down on sensitivity, sees it as a weakness. It’s not, but that’s an article for another day.
Cultivating an empath’s simple life
I gave the example above because this emotional stressor was unexpected and came out of the blue. What started as a fun and uplifting night, turned into a complete downer which stuck with me for days.
Sensory overload is a daily problem for many empaths, without a filter in which to shield us, we feel everything, good and bad, that comes our way. This means loud noises are louder, crowds are busier, arguments are painful and a friend’s pain becomes your own.
If this sounds like you, then you have an opportunity to fine-tune your life to create a calmer, positive space for your mind.
I couldn’t control the Eurovision announcement, but I can control the choices I make in life. So instead of telling you ways in which you could create a simpler life. I’m going to share with you how I’ve done it.
Reduce the ‘stuff’
I used to own a lot of ‘stuff’. Extra bookcases with books I would never read. Bedding for the extra bed we never had. Junk drawers full of who knows what and boxes filled with ‘memories’, fancy dress and just in case sleeping bags.
Although all of these things were neatly tucked away inside cupboards, their presence was a weight I didn’t know I was carrying. By removing the unnecessary from my life and only keeping the items that I valued, my space felt lighter, and so did I.
Tap into the senses
Empaths have keen senses. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of this, I make sure I’m working with it. I light candles to help me feel calm. I open curtains and paint walls white to get as much light as possible. I pick music tailored to what I’m doing and always have it on.
Curating the space around you, even if it’s just adding a plant to your work desk, opening a window, or making a cup of fresh coffee, can completely change the experience of everyday life.
Take it slow
We live in a fast world. More growth, more money, a bigger house, fancy things. There’s an art to taking it slow and being more intentional with our time, especially if the previous list overwhelms you at all.
By enjoying the process of building a business, rather than rushing to the end goal, I’m embracing slow growth. And instead of working that hustle life, I’m using my earned spare time to cultivate a garden slowly. I appreciate it, the life it brings to my space and enjoy it’s growth as I grow.
Focus on what matters
As an empath, it’s incredibly hard to avoid the empathy you feel for others. Nor should you, it’s what makes you, you.
But if you’re spending your time with people who drain that energy and don’t give anything back, then you may need to reconsider where you’re spending your time.
As an introvert and an empath, the friends I make are few but incredibly important. However, I’ve had ‘friends’ who either absorbed my empathy in return for nothing or chipped away at it until the stress became too much.
Don’t let these types of toxic relationships rule you, work to move past them, and then spend your time on the relationships that help you thrive.
Creating your business or personal brand and putting it out into the world takes guts. You’ve spent hours moulding your creativity, passions and skills into an online business. The aim, I presume, is for this business to give you something in return. Perhaps money, fulfilment, security, or all of the above?
So when it comes to promoting and sharing it with the people of the world, you want to make sure you’re doing it in the most efficient and least stressful way possible, right?
Perfect. In steps the online coach to answer all your questions with clever sales pitches, enticing freebies and ‘value’ drenched webinars. They provide secret techniques, five-step formulas and copy and paste templates that you can use to ‘skyrocket your growth’, ‘amplify your profits’ and ‘rapidly grow your whatevermetric’.
What could be better?
What could be better than having somebody else provide you with the key to online business success with profits just around the corner? All for the one-time payment of £397 or 5 monthly instalments of £87.
Okay, so I’m being a little harsh. But tell me you don’t recognise any of the sales jargon I’ve used above. Of course you have, because you’ve been targeted by Facebook ads every day. You’ve clicked on an article hoping to get answers and parted with your email to get more. You’ve experienced all of this because it’s extremely hard to avoid. Even when you know psychology is being used to manipulate your brain into parting with your money, you still do it anyway because the pull is strong and you know you need help.
There we go, I’ve said my piece. Let me be clear though, online coaches perform a good function. They can help get you to where you need to be. They can, in fact, guide you to making the best decisions for your business and be the support network you may not currently have.
However, we have developed a new style of delivering that coaching. One that creates one product, course, series of videos etc and distributes it to the masses. This cookie-cutter technique is appealing on many levels. It offers the coach the ability to package their knowledge and skills to reach more people. It allows the customer to pay less than they would for one-on-one coaching and get seemingly similar results.
Sounds great on the surface. But when you apply this to your very complicated and intricate business, with a very deep and unique person at the helm, it makes it very difficult to see the results that were promised to you in the sales pitch. What’s more, if you don’t get the same results promised, it’s common knowledge that it’s likely your fault for not putting in the work. Oh hello again, burnout.
Is this online coach right for me?
So with all the coaches out there, with all their information products and courses, how do we make the right decision? How do we make sure that the money we are parting with, will serve us in the long run?
Because let’s be honest about this, getting help is a good thing. As long as it’s from the right people.
Having personally paid for group memberships, online courses, workbooks and more over the past few years, I’ve developed the following series of questions you can ask yourself (‘they’ refers to the coach, course, membership, download, etc):
Note: This can and should be adapted to you and your business
Are they promising increased money/profits? Scrutinise this. Are they using it just to get you to buy? Do they include ‘you must put the work in’, or some variation, in the small print?
Have they spent more time on the sales page than the actual product?
How many ‘sales techniques’ have they used? Did they use a countdown timer, a free webinar, Facebook ads, limited time offers?
Will their techniques actually fit your business? What kind of business model do you have? Do you want to follow their 5-step formula to get the results they’re promising? If you do, you will likely have to commit to it.
Do their values align with yours? They may have made X amount of money the last time they launched something, but does how they did it, align with you? Do they overwork themselves? Do they promote things you don’t support?
I know the feeling of desperation. At the time you’re looking for answers, you’re stressed, you want to make your business work so you can create the life you’ve always wanted. It’s at this point you think you find the answer in the coach who’s five steps ahead of you and willing to give you those answers.
It’s now that you must take time to make the right decision for you and your business. That coach may be able to help you, but only if you rise above the sales pitches, align your values, the values of your business and make a decision for you, and only you.
I’d love to hear your opinion. Did this resonate with you? What’s your experience been like? Do you disagree with anything in this post? Leave us a comment and let’s discuss.
This seemingly simple act of having removed social media from your phone requires a surprising amount of willpower and willingness to be supposedly cut off from the world. Even temporarily, this idea is uncomfortable. Especially for a person who incorporated an online social life into daily living for the better part of 10 years. Effectively, as a millennial, I’ve spent my teen and adult life constantly connected digitally.
The interesting thing is, this change is not a complete rejection of social media altogether. But instead, a rejection of the constant stress and anxiety it has given me within easy access in my pocket.
Why I removed social media apps from my phone
Wake up, scroll through Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. Reply, comment, like and share. Repeat whenever boredom strikes (10-15 times a day). Open up Instagram stories, document my thoughts, what I’m drinking or eating, ask questions, ‘engage’. Right before bed, check social one last time and fall asleep.
All of this probably sounds familiar to you and let me be clear. My social media habits only gave me stress and anxiety and not a lot in return. They had to change.
While scrolling I would compare, idealise and adjust my digital persona to match others. This was entirely unconscious. Just like you amend your personality, likes and values to match your friends’, I did the same with the people I was following on social media. The sheer number of people I was connected to, meant that I was constantly pulled in 100 different directions. I took on, piece by piece, bits of personality that weren’t mine.
My phone became my best friend and my worst enemy. I would pull it out to pacify boredom. Constantly refreshing to gain approval from online friends and strangers, and ignoring its control over my free time and enjoyment of life.
How I did it
Let’s get a little more specific. I don’t like making any ‘big’ decision without a plan. So I set out the following parameters:
All social media apps would be deleted from my phone, all except WhatsApp (if you count it as social media), so I could still send messages to select friends
I would only check social media on my laptop or desktop computer
In addition to these three, I also:
Significantly reduced my ‘friends’ list on Facebook to only people I was willing to show my front garden to (a random parameter I set for myself)
Significantly reduced my Instagram following list down to people who I wanted to see updates from
Deleted Twitter (it wasn’t for me)
What happened next
The first few days were difficult. Not because I missed social media, actually, I felt free for the first time in years. It was difficult because I had developed habits of pacifying my boredom with my phone for years. As a result, if I was reading a book, my brain struggled to concentrate on the words, and instead, I found myself glancing towards my phone, even though there was nothing on it to look at.
Once my pacifiers were gone, I found myself with hours of spare time to fill. I was conscious that if I didn’t fill this time with something meaningful, then I would simply swap my phone for hours of Netflix, video gaming or mindless podcasts.
Instead, I set myself short projects to complete. I fixed a hole in our bathroom wall, a hook to a door, support on a bed and paid more attention to the things and people around me. I picked up reading again, planned for the future and finally started to hear my brain working on important thoughts, instead of what I should post on Instagram next.
Without the apps on my phone, I’m only able to access social media when on my computer or laptop. This means that my time on social media is brief and I consume intentionally, instead of constantly.
For the first time in years, I finally feel in control of my attention.
As for the people in my life. Trust me when I say that nobody notices if I don’t reply instantly. They don’t mind if I take a day to leave a comment and they certainly don’t care if I don’t share my espresso in the morning.
We’re lead to believe that without being constantly connected, we’ll miss out on life. But it’s only by being disconnected that we truly live it. It’s only when we’re disconnected (even for a short while), do we truly understand who we are.
Did this article connect with you? Leave us a comment, we’d love to hear your thoughts.
Let’s face it, being an introverted solopreneur in an extrovert’s world is no mean feat. In order to succeed online, we’re told to create courses, show our faces on video, start podcasts, put ourselves out there and generally shout louder in the sea of neverending competition.
For many introverts, that sounds like a nightmare. One of the most obvious differences between introverts and extroverts is that extroverts gain their energy from others, whereas introverts create their energy when alone and have their energy drained from others.
So ‘showing up’ on a daily basis – even if it’s online – can be a real drain for us introverts.
That doesn’t mean to say that to succeed as a solopreneur you have to be an extrovert. Far from it. The real secret to succeeding as an introverted solopreneur is to embrace your introverted-ness and use it to propel you forward.
So with that in mind, here are 5 things every introverted solopreneur needs to succeed.
1. Decide what success means to you
Success is in the title of this post, but success is a relative term. What it means for you and what it means for somebody else in your industry could be completely different.
Your success in business doesn’t have to be defined by other people’s expectations, industry standards, or even where you see other people in your niche.
Here’s what success means for me:
Success is creating a community of like-minded introverted business women who are thriving and empowered. My success is in correlation to theirs. If I have helped even just one of these people then I have succeeded.
2. Define your niche
In a busy online world, it’s almost impossible to be vague about who your customer is and succeed. The people at the top of your industry may appeal to a huge variety of people, but that’s because they can. Their audience is so large that they simply don’t need to be specific.
For the other 95% in your industry, in order to succeed, they have been ultra-specific on who they’re serving and how. This is so that they can find and target their ideal customer easily.
If you haven’t targeted your business or found your niche, now’s the time. Start with yourself, what specific skills and interests do you have that sets you apart from others in your industry?
What problems have you overcome?
What type of person are you?
What interests do you have?
What makes you different?
Use these differences to craft your niche. Many solopreneurs succeed online when they share their story, what they have overcome. It’s when you get this specific that you find a whole group of people who are just like you.
3. Find your people
Now that you’ve defined your niche, it’s time to find them online. Having your niche and target customer outlined will save you an immeasurable amount of time. Knowing who they are, what problems they’re having and how you can solve them will make it so much easier to put together a plan of action.
So now’s the time to find them. Ask yourself these questions and then use the answers to get specific with how you’re going to spend your time marketing to them.
What social media platforms do they spend the most time on?
What sort of things to they search for on Google? What questions do they have?
Where do they go to find help?
When you’re deciding on your marketing activities, it’s easy to think that if you put yourself everywhere then you’ll reach more people. But by doing that you’ll stretch yourself thin, and burn yourself out. Pick 1-2 platforms initially to put all your effort into mastering, you can always add more later.
4. Create your own marketing roadmap
Online marketing can and should be different for everyone. There are thousands of online courses out there that can teach you specific techniques to grow your audience, make more sales and create the business of your dreams. But to grow and thrive in your own business, you need to make sure the marketing you pursue for your business, is enjoyable.
If you hate the idea of speaking in front of a camera, don’t do it. If you’d rather not deliver talks or workshops, then don’t. Finding what works for you and being consistent is the only important factor. If you need reassurance, there are thousands of influencers on Instagram who don’t even show their face and have gained thousands of fans.
Here are a few of my favourite ‘introvert approved’ marketing techniques:
Get to grips with Pinterest and automate it so it does the work for you
Create an email opt-in freebie and send engaging emails to your readers
It’s when you’re truly yourself online that you’ll start to thrive and build a business you love. Plan and find your own marketing roadmap and make this a possibility.
5. Don’t do it alone
It’s easy to think that introverted solopreneurs love working alone, and although that’s somewhat true, we also tend to overwork ourselves, don’t share our struggles and burnout easily.
So while you’re creating business success, make sure to connect with like-minded people who are in a similar position to you. There are already communities set up and running in Facebook Groups, forums and even some local introvert-specific networking groups (if you’re lucky).
Don’t have this group near you? If you’re an introverted woman who’s an entrepreneur, you’re invited to join my Facebook group.
In the online marketing world, we’re told to grow our social following, increase email subscribers, set up Facebook ads, show our faces and so much more just to stand out. It’s exhausting and for many solopreneurs out there, it’s impossible to keep up with.
But what if I told you there was a way to grow your email list, social following and market yourself authentically? Plus this technique was introvert-friendly!
I know, you’ve heard that sentence before, but truly, this technique works. It means:
You’ll spend less time constantly on social media
Less money spent on ads
And less time trying to be an extrovert and instead, more time for you to market authentically
So what is this miracle technique and how do you go about doing it?
The answer my friend is guest posting.
What is guest posting?
Guest posting is, in short, writing blog posts/articles for someone else’s website (either free or paid). The benefits of this are as follows:
A link back to your website either in your author bio, or if you’re lucky, within the post itself (great for SEO)
The ability to add the coveted ‘as seen in’ banner to your homepage
Establish your authority as an expert in your niche
If done right can gain you email subscribers, social media followers and customers
Why guest posting helps you market yourself authentically
Guest posting is a strategic way to reach your ideal audience by using an audience that already exists. It’s similar to finding an influencer, paying them to promote your product and as a result, you’re seen by their audience.
A guest post works in exactly the same way. Your content, voice and expertise is placed in front of a large audience that you may not have usually been able to access.
The advantage of this over influencer marketing is that your post is shared on their social platforms. It may even be emailed to subscribers and you don’t have to pay for it. Your post will provide a link back to your website for as long as it remains on their site.
Sounds pretty special, doesn’t it? So now we know what guest posting is and why it’s a smart idea. Let’s talk about how you can get started.
How to start guest posting
If you have your own blog then you’ll know the ins and outs of writing a blog post. What other websites want is the best. They want quality content that will attract new readers into their website and gain them followers and subscribers in return.
Everyone is playing the same game when it comes to content marketing. So if you can write a post that fits with their audience, reads well, engages and works for SEO, you’re onto a winner.
So here are some simple steps you can take to start guest posting today:
Define your ideal audience/niche. To make the most out of guest posting, you’ll want to make sure you’re targetting your ideal audience. Get really specific on who they are, where they hang out online and what problems they have. By doing this, you’re making sure you can market yourself authentically.
Find websites that align with your audience/niche. Do some Google searching, search hashtags on social media and find others in your industry.
When relevant sites have been found, you’ll need to search their websites to see if they accept guest posts or not. Usually ‘contribute’ or ‘submit to us’ pages are located in the footer of these sites. You may have to dig a little to find them.
Some websites require you to pitch an article before you write it, others require you to submit a fully-written piece.
Either way, you’ll want to do your research on the site. Including how many words they want, their writing style, the sorts of posts they publish etc. All of this will inform your next step.
Step 4 (if you’re required to pitch):
Send an email to the website as per their instructions and pitch your article. Depending on their requirements, you might only need to provide the title. Or you might have to give a few starting paragraphs too.
Always include some other examples of your writing, especially if they are relevant. It’s also good practice to include a couple of other article titles in your email, just in case they don’t like the first.
Step 4 (if you’re required to submit a whole article):
Write your piece as per the instructions on their site. You’ll want the title and content of the piece to mix both your ideal audience, with their existing one. Don’t be afraid to go niche with this, these guest posting websites want articles that are fresh and new.
Send this article with your author bio to the website. Make sure to be friendly and include some other examples of your writing. Including who you are and what your business does.
Make a note of when you sent in your piece. A lot of websites ask you to wait 1-2 weeks. If you haven’t heard back then they’ve not accepted you. Don’t worry about this, it’s not a reflection of your writing or business. The post just wasn’t right for them at that time.
The beauty of this is that you can just submit the post to a different site. Keep going until you’re accepted.
That’s it. The process of using guest posting to market yourself authentically might seem daunting. But trust me when I say that it works. By utilising this technique, you can reach large audiences easily without spending hours on social media.