Social media are designed to be addictive. In this article, I’ll share with you what I learned by deleting Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest from my phone.
October 2019. I realized that my productivity was being deeply affected by social media. Don’t get me wrong: I work with digital marketing, and I recognize the importance of social media. They’re useful and a crucial piece of our present. Social media allows a connection that few other platforms provide today.
I also know that when we get sucked by technology, it’s mostly our responsibility. We control the usage and the relationship that we have with social media and technology.
And even though I wasn’t the most active person on social media, I was being sucked by a spiral of voyeurism that was making me a robot. I was suffering the most significant effect of social media: an automatism of my thoughts and my actions.
My thoughts and actions controlled by social media
My thoughts started to be deeply influenced by what I read people commenting on pages of people with jobs similar to mine.
My actions resulted in the production of content that I knew would lead traffic on my website because I knew people wanted this type of articles and digital products.
And here’s a significant benefit of social media for those working as digital entrepreneurs: social media allow us to have valuable feedback on what we do and tells us what our audience needs and problems are.
I’m an advocate that, as digital entrepreneurs, what we offer as products or services needs to solve a problem. This not only guarantees the success of what we do, but it means we are adding value.
But wanting to solve problems doesn’t need to be synonymous with looking, all the time, for what people say they need. By always wanting to hear from others, we eventually move away from what we really want to do.
Financial sustainability justifies the use of social media.
But if we are working on a business, we have to do things that make us earn money. We want and need to be financially sustainable.
One of the reasons that I still work on my project in Portugal (Nomadismo Digital Portugal) is because it represents a substantial part of my income.
However, one of the reasons for having created my work as a freelancer, and my project in Portugal was because I wanted to be happy and feel professionally fulfilled.
Without such motivation, I would have stayed at my previous job. Working for others makes, in many cases (and certainly on mine), more money and fewer headaches.
Knowing that I wanted to feel fulfillment in my professional life, I created my work as a freelancer. A year after working as a freelancer, I created Nomadismo Digital Portugal because I wanted to tell everyone that it’s possible to work remotely, be happy, and have a real career.
I wanted to tell you how I did it, what I learned, what I created, and everything I could share, I shared.
The project began to grow, and I was feeling great about that. But the balance that I wanted started to be affected. The balance between achieving financial sustainability with the project and the desire to help started to get messed up.
I knew (and I still know) that I could make money with the project: and I started to “do everything” to get more money with it.
More money = more responsibility.
I started to receive more and more messages that I didn’t have time to answer.
I was mentioning the products I was selling all the time, instead of providing people real help and advice. The more online courses and ebooks I was selling, the more tired I was. I needed to create more content, more online courses, more videos, more everything.
I know that all my digital products have a lot of quality. I always create the best products that I can. Anyone who has ever taken an online course or training with me knows that I always deliver more than I initially promised.
But I got to the point (which coincided with the launch of my last online course) that tiredness wasn’t only linked to the amount of time I was investing in content creation.
It was also tired because I no longer saw myself reflected in what I was doing.
The influence of the world on what you do
I was consuming a lot of what others were producing and creating.
I knew the names of all Portuguese entrepreneurs who were creating digital services and products.
I was reading comments from other digital product launch posts to structure my own releases.
And I (who never spent much time on social media) was organizing live sessions and stories sequences and posting almost daily on Instagram.
After several days with a constant headache and without knowing what digital product I needed to launch after my online course, I realized:
I didn’t start this to be tired. I started this to be happy and to make my audience discover a way to have professional fulfillment.
I want people choosing mu products because they know they are the ones that will allow them to get where they want. I don’t want them to buy my products and services because my Instagram stories are the most beautiful.
I don’t want to apply marketing techniques to make them buy my products. I want to teach my audience to understand the marketing tricks and methods, so they know how they need to act in the digital field.
I want them to learn how to make money from their work all the time, on a stable and regular basis, not just at launch stages or promotional seasons.
I have a steady income since I started working as a full-time freelancer. And that’s what I want to continue teaching my audience: to have a career, not just a one-time job.
I took a few days to analyze everything I have done in the last four years as a remote worker. My differential was never social media. My differential was never sales.
My differential is the absolute personification of what I say. It’s the help that I give to people by really listening to them. The unique combination of my background, my personality, and my skills it’s the reason why I earn money and recognization with my work today.
My project in Portugal has achieved success because I always personified everything I say and promote.
I decided to uninstall all the distractions that were blocking my decisions. I deleted Instagram, Facebook, and even Pinterest from my phone.
For a few days, I was still entering on Instagram through the Facebook Creative Studio to see the comments on my posts. I found myself opening Instagram through the browser, but luckily, the browser experience is not as addictive as on the phone.
After a few days, I got bored. I wasn’t tempted or interested in entering on my social media. I just wanted to write; I just wanted to learn. I was free of direct influences — I was finally reading and investing time on what I really needed and wanted.
How to know what people want and need?
This decision made me write what I genuinely think I need to say. Since I have no market analysis or strategy behind my writing… how do I know this is what my audience wants and needs? — I don’t.
I don’t know. But I believe that if I started the project in 2016 writing what I wanted to share and it turned okay, I think this time it will be okay too.
If I’m going to use Instagram again? Probably yes. It is a fantastic social media. I will not delete my personal account or my business account. I will continue to login to see or share something If I want.
But for now, I know I want to enjoy the full independence of my actions and my thoughts. For now, I’m saying to social media a “see you later,” and a “welcome back” to my writing.