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Creative Living

8/22/19

Finding Creative Freedom For Your Business Through A 4-Month Social Media Detox (Part One)

Have you ever fought the urge to chuck your phone into the nearest and dirtiest body of water (I’m talking pond scummy, smells-worse-than-your-brother) type of water? Only to further dissuade you from ever accessing the one million channels you have access to via social media?

If you have thus resisted this impressive feat of willingly throwing away a $1000 block of metal, congratulations, you’re one ahead of me. I’ve wanted to throw my phone against a wall, chuck it in the trash can, or my personal favorite, make it prey to the sledgehammer in my garage.

Despite my grumbling and complaints, I was never able to hide my phone away in Daley Jones Locker.

But this begs the question, why would I want to in the first place?

This past year for me has brought some severe reflections on social media and my phone usage. Not to mention, the emotional weight that I was placing on myself every time my deft little fingers began their habitual swipe motion.

In total transparency four months ago, I hit a solid social media wall. Or to be precise, I slammed up against a solid fortress of social media exhaustion.

And without forewarning my audience, on a random May day, I deleted the Facebook and Instagram app, I blocked all social sites from my desktop computer, and I waved sayonara to all online platforms until further notice.

There was, however, one enormous catch that this serious lack of planning affected…my business. Or rather, both my wedding photography business and my new graphic design business for creative entrepreneurs. Whoopsie Daisies! Yeah, just a small problem there.

But these last four months of detoxing from social media has been some of the most rewarding, eye-opening, and self-discovering experiences of my small-business career. Sure, I could blame my innate happiness on the fact that I also decided to let myself go and eat all the chips I wanted for a solid summer (bikini-ready? I say Dorito-ready!), But I think not. This sabbatical allowed me to go deeper into myself, discover my unique voice and gave me the mental space necessary to achieve clarity in my real purpose.

Hefty stuff, ya? Intrigued yet? Good. That’s why I wrote this little anecdote with loads of juicy adjectives. They’re just a writer’s little secret to gain interest (insert evil wanna-be-writer-laughs right here.) So let’s dive in.

If you’re where I was two years ago – exhausted, burnt out, feeling lost in the gross hustle of running a business – then you can’t miss this opportunity to detox and thus experience a reawakening of your most authentic self. Trust me. We could all use a little bit more creativity in our lives. Here’s how.

Emotional Repercussions: Going Cold Turkey

But in case you’re still in your denial princess phase, let me capture the scene. Our dearest Disney Princess, has just escaped her tower for the first time in her life. She willingly leaves her overprotective (helicopter) mom for the pursuit of adventure and leaning into the unknown.

I like to think of the beginning stages of my social media detox, as an experience akin to Rapunzel’s in the most recent Disney version. Yes, we are all adults here but come on, I know you’ve seen it!

Her initial reaction to escaping her tower – glee, astonishment, a sense of thrill – was quite like mine when I first made the conscious decision to press that shiny small “X” in the corner of my app, and watch it disappear from the phone screen entirely.

Freeeeeedom baby!

And then like Rapunzel, reality sets in, and the scope of the situational consequences amount to a phase that I like to call what-the-fuck-am-I-doing-my-business-will-be-ruined-and-my-life-will-waste-away phase.

It’s the awkward time where you oscillate between convincing yourself that going off social media is the best decision you’ve ever made, to fear that your life is henceforth over.

My drama knows no bounds when it comes to making decisions for my life and my business as a creative entrepreneur.

But honestly, in hindsight, this is where the fun began.

Without the hustle to make it as an influencer, I became reacquainted with something that I had long since given away: the freedom to be ME.

The only conundrum at this point was this: I no longer remembered how to be me without the world reacting and justifying who I was and what I was doing.

Posting on social media and spending time habitually engaging with the various apps each day, had been a significant building block of my current business model. Both my wedding photography business, Lux Light Photography, and my coaching brand, had grown significantly due to these apps. Being without them begged the question: If other people did not engage with my brand and give me metrics to ascertain the success and popularity of what I was creating, then what was the damn point of creating in the first place?

Could I create for the sake of creating, without needing other’s approval? Could I find enough enjoyment in the process of creation itself, without relying on the end result of success?

For the first time in nine years, I was without social media to gauge the success of my business, and therefore, my view of myself as a successful creative.

Take a minute and view the questions below. If you answer “yes” to any of these, it might be time to entertain your own social media detox. You can finally ditch the hustle of your business and spend more time getting back to the creative you used to be.

  1. Before you start a new project for your business, do you utilize social media platforms to gather inspiration? Do you gauge what other people in your industry are creating?
  2. Do you find yourself feeling envious of other people on the platform, whether it’s influencers, friends, or fellow industry creatives? Do you watch their “like” count like a cab driver watches an airport, calculating how many popular votes they get in comparison to yourself? And when they get more “likes” do you find yourself reacting, finding ways in your mind to justify why they don’t deserve it, and you do instead?
  3. Do you pick up your phone to view social media without even realizing it?
  4. Do you wish you quit social media forever (you may find yourself complaining to your friends about it frequently)? Yet, you can’t go a day without checking?

I could have answered “yes” 78459485 times to these questions and more. Six months ago, I would have laughed in your face, rolled my eyes, and gave you a sympathy you’re-crazy-but-it’s-cool pat on the back. I would NEVER have imagined running two businesses without social platforms.

But I did. I’m still alive. And I can chalk my social media detox up to one inner transformation: cultivating new daily habits.

Read on and click here, to discover Phase Two of my social media detox, and how I formulated new habits to support running a business (and enjoying my life) without Instagram or facebook.

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