The Social Media Vortex
This is the first in a series of stories recounting the lessons learned, adventures and misadventure of my first two years in business.
Social media leveled the playing field for small businesses, new businesses, niche businesses – you name it. We can now reach a global audience of potential customers and clients without spending big dollars to do so. It can also be a whirlpool of wasted time, sucking the energy out of a solopreneur. Our reality is that we are responsible for all aspects of our operation, including social media. Once it take hold of you, the social media vortex replaces productive time with time spent spinning in anxiety and being swallowed whole buy self-doubt.
The Great Time Robbery
There I was, 6am hopping on Instagram to make a quick post, scroll a little to catch up on the day’s activity; then send a quick link to an article on LinkedIn, add a bit of insight, scroll a little, review some connection requests and…holy crap on a cracker! 9am!
Where did the last 3 hours go?
Starting out on your own means wearing many hats and your time is beyond precious. This is where the addictive nature of social media can destroy its ROI. Simply broadcasting your stories out into the world without any engagement isn’t a great approach, nor is buying followers (seriously, everyone can see what you are doing, please stop).
You do have to invest some time actively connecting with others online. So, how do you manage those interactions without falling down the rabbit hole?
I lost so many hours early on. Waaaaay too many to count.
Reducing my time on social media through the use of a social media tracker on my iPhone was a great start. That forced me to prioritize my social time. Scheduling the time I will work on various apps and limiting scrolling to whatever time is left over after I have taken care of the more important tasks (posting, engaging, connection requests).
Yes, there are great gems to be found scrolling, but my time is better spent elsewhere on my business, learning a new skill or frankly staring out the window. Once I hit my daily cap, I’m done.
Comparison Conquers Common Sense
Compare and contrast. Remember that from grade school?
As in, look at that person’s latest success story on social media. Compare how much more successful they are than me and contrast their continued success with my lack of it. Ugh. This narrative would suck all the energy out of me, and common sense went right along with it.
I am a firm believer that another person’s success does not diminish my own and encourage lifting others up. But in the vortex? Logic ceases to exist. I got sucked in. I got jealous. I got judgmental. Why did I feel that I was competing with anyone? With everyone?
Social media can be a tool to build community AND it absolutely is designed crush our mental health. Vanity metrics seem to exist solely so we can feel better than others and simultaneously feel worse than others.
For me, it was a matter of staying focused on my intent. What did I hope to achieve with social media? Sharing knowledge. Meeting and connecting with fascinating people. Helping others by sharing my story.
If I start to feel the insecurity forming it is definitely not a good day for scrolling, even if time permits. Working alone gives ample time for mental health challenges to spin out of control and I now guard mine carefully.
Here is the hard and fast truth about your beautiful website. No one cares.
It needs to showcase the value you will bring to your potential customers, and serve as a means of legitimacy. All the details, the stuff that keeps you up at night, no one else even notices.
Testing how your site responds on mobile vs laptop, SEO optimization or how it loads on various browsers is time well spent. Hours tweaking the slightest change in colour or font style is not going to generate positive ROI and is likely upping your stress level.
When you can afford someone to help with site design, let them worry about the “little stuff”. Your time is so precious, you need to be developing, selling, connecting!
I don’t know how many hours I wasted last year trying to make my fonts the same across my website, online training platform and marketing collateral. There was a point when I finally accepted, they would never be exact since each used their own set of in-house font designs. I “settled” for a similar clean look and feel and called it a day.
Do you think anyone has called me out that my fonts are not precisely the same? Of course not.
There is a point where ‘good enough’ is time better spent for solopreneurs so they can move on and focus on what really matters to drive the success of their business.
Escape the Vortex
The positive impact social media has on our businesses is undeniable. Learning where to divide your time, and how to protect your mental health when you are solely responsible for your operation is another business lesson we often learn the hard way. The good news is that we can all break free from the wasted time and spiral of negativity.
Check out #2yearbiz on Instagram for bite-sized updates
Glendalynn Dixon guides business transformations focused on data strategy, leadership & change management. She is a bestselling author, speaker and mentor who champions women in technology and uses stories from her wild ride of a life to challenge preconceived notions. Glendalynn shares the story of finding her voice to create change in Carpe Diem