Exciting times! This month marks a full year since I quit social media.
I get asked about it all the time, so I thought I’d write you a long post and share with you:
- how + why I quit
- what it feels like to be without it
- exactly how much I earned without it
- how I continued to have a 7 figure business without social media marketing
- whether I’m going back (the short answer: hahahah fuck no)
Want to list to this as a podcast instead?
How I began…
In February of 2020, I decided to try something new for the year ahead.
I thought I would give myself some 21 day challenges – enough to try out some new habits or experiences without having to commit to the long haul.
Here’s some of the of challenge ideas I came up with:
- 21 Days of No Shopping
- 21 Days of Franzen checklist method
- 21 Days of Walking
- 21 Days of No Social Media
- 21 Days of The Artist’s Way methodology (daily morning pages and weekly artist dates)
- 21 Days of Orgasms
- 21 Days of Painting
- 21 Days of Meditation
- 21 Days of Yoga
- 21 Days of Holidays
- 21 Days of No Phone
- 21 Days of Journaling
- 21 Days of Whole Foods
- 21 Days of Blogging or Book Writing
- 21 Day Media Cleanse (No news websites, celebrity gossip, Reddit, Buzzfeed, Youtube, TikTok or social media)
- 21 Day of Benjamin Franklin questions
Another one of my challenge ideas was to quit social media for 21 days.
It felt like the most important one to do, the one my heart was pulling me towards.
I had been out of love with social media for YEARS before I actually quit. I knew it wasn’t good for me, my brain, my creativity, my mental health or my lifestyle. It just felt impossible to do.
I wrote this in my journal SIX YEARS before I quit:
How I felt before quitting
I’ll be honest… the day before I started the challenge, I was SOOOOOOOO FREAKING ANXIOUS before I began. I didn’t know how on earth I’d be able to complete it, and felt like I would be missing out on everything. I wasn’t sure WHAT I’d be missing out on, I just didn’t want to miss out!
How I set myself up for success to manage the 21 day quit:
- Deleted Facebook and Instagram apps from my phone & iPad
- Installed BlockSite Google Chrome extension on my laptop and blocked Facebook & Instagram
- Followed these instructions to block access to Facebook & Instagram on my phone
- Told my Facebook mates to either DM me or send me a snail mail so we could be penpals
- Told the world publicly to set off my Obliger tendencies so now I had to stick to the challenge. Ha!
How it felt when I quit social media
Honestly… the first few days, then weeks and then months of quitting social media felt positively euphoric.
Fairly quickly, I knew I could never go back.
Here’s something I wrote two weeks in:
Life was so much sweeter without social media.
Peace flooded into my heart. Ideas, creativity and deep thinking returned to my brain. And TIME. I had so much glorious TIME back. All those hours and hours spent endlessly scrolling were now spent in my hobbies, in things I’d long neglected, in pastimes I’d forgotten I loved. I:
- wrote old fashioned letters to my long distance friends (and continue to, 12 months on). I feel closer to them than I ever did on social media!
- drew and painted endlessly
- developed a regular journaling habit
- played board games with my kids
- talked to my family
- read blogs
- baked & cooked
- read books (I read over 200 books in 2021).
What’s more, here’s what changes I’ve noticed since quitting social media:
- I’m much more present as a parent and wife – I’m no longer itching to be somewhere else.
- I’m more content. I don’t really compare myself to others anymore. I’m less anxious.
- I’m more creative – I have blogged more in the last year than I have in any other year. In the last 12 months I’ve created 3 new e-courses, a mini course & an illustrated Christmas planner.
- I have a longer attention span, and can study, read and create for longer periods.
- I’m more fulfilled. Social media is kind of like junk food for the brain. The rest of life & other hobbies are so much more nutritionally dense.
Research backs up my experience
Longitudinal studies on social media are only just emerging in the past few years on the effects of social media. The conclusions are… horrifying.
- 70% increase in depression
- increased anxiety
- memory loss
- disrupted sleep
- reduced academic performance
- increased neuroticism
- reduced empathy.
The impacts on the growing brains of children & teenagers is even more severe & life threatening.
What’s more, social media companies continue to allow conspiracy theories, hate speech, misogyny, transphobia & racism to thrive. Not only that, but growing evidence finds social media companies are a critical threat to democracy, privacy & public health.
Social media has long been marketed as “connecting the world”… but it is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
But… what about my business?
I LOVE my business so much, and there’s very few parts of it that I don’t enjoy. Social media definitely was the biggest brain suck, time suck and joy suck in my business.
I’ve long taught people to build their business NOT to rely on social media marketing because it’s dangerous for many reasons. It’s much more important to build your business with your focus on your mailing list and properties you actually OWN. Otherwise you can be in a world of pain.
Making the business decision
For me, I ended up looking at my statistics, and only 20% of my sales came from social media, even though we spent at least 80% of our marketing time with it AND we were at the time spending a lot of money on Facebook ads.
The rest of sales were coming from places that were WAY less time intensive and expensive, including:
- my mailing list
- word of mouth referrals
- SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
- podcast interviews.
I realised I could be spending more time on those marketing methods that were making big gains without huge costs, AND increase my joy, creativity and work satisfaction while I was at it.
We decided to do a three month trial without social media first, just incase I’d made a giant mistake. But I hadn’t. My business continued to bloom and thrive perfectly well without social media… and was so much more joyful!
Here’s the thing…
There’s legit THOUSANDS of ways of ways to market your business…
and all of them are COMPLETELY OPTIONAL.
Social media is just ONE of them.
And it’s not usually the most time-efficient or sales-effective!
There are other, better, more powerful ways to market your business.
Businesses have been growing for THOUSANDS of years before social media was even invented.
There’s SO many companies that don’t use social media marketing, from online entrepreneurs like myself to billion dollar companies.
How much I made in a year without social media
This is totally on par with our usual income – we just no longer have $100,000 a year in Facebook ad spend and ad managers. More profit BOO YAH!
(Extra anal numbers note: I recently published my end of year review with my financial year income from July 2020 to June 2021. That number was higher because it included an extra launch in the timeline. When taken from a Feb-Feb timeline, the annual income sits around the same as previous years.)
In the last year I’ve also taken off… FOUR MONTHS on holidays. This is absolutely bonkerdoodles – I’ve never really taken holidays in my business before… much less FOUR FREAKING MONTHS OF IT!
That’s… a full 30% of the working year. And even when I am working, I only work about 10 hours a week.
And yet we’re still hitting above a million a year with low expenses.
How big is my team?
When I say I work so little and earn so much, peeps always assume I have a large team.
I do not.
I have two part time virtual assistants. Together they work under 25 hours a week. Between all three of us, we’re still working less than one full time position.
I’ve had a large team before – over 20 people. I freaking haaaaaaaated it. It was way busier, more stressful & full of The Dramaz. I don’t want to manage people – I just want to be left alone in a room to create whatever I want. My assistants are both super self-motivated & don’t need or want me to really manage them. They are just happy to support me in whatever way I want. It’s the perfect fit for me as a creative.
I thought I’d get my OBM Zeets to give her perspective too!
“When Leonie first told me they were taking a social media break, I was so excited for them! I knew social media had felt like such a time-suck for Leonie, especially after we trialled Facebook ads (hint: it was not the right fit). The effects of Leonie’s personal social media sabbatical were noticeable pretty much immediately.
Within the first few days, Leonie was telling our work group chat just how much better they felt; Leonie’s creative spark was a burning flame and they were feeling more connected to their family. They had more time for hobbies, new experiences, reading and time with their girls. It was not at all surprising to me when Leonie then said “how about we ditch social media as a business marketing tool?”
I say “not at all surprising” – in all honesty I was goddamn thrilled.
Social media was the biggest, consistent time suck for me as Leonie’s Online Business Manager. Between batch creating content, creating unique, helpful & humorous content and then scheduling everything, I felt like I was constantly playing catch up. And don’t even get me started on trying to figure out the ever-changing algorithms for each different platform, GOOD GRIEF! To add insult to injury, none of the social media platforms we were posting on brought us a number of leads or sales that made the sheer amount of work & effort worth it. Leonie’s business is guided by Pareto’s Principle (20% of your work brings in 80% of your income) and social media did not meet that principle. If anything, it met the opposite. We were putting in 80% energy/effort/work and social media barely even brought us 20% sales. Yuck. Get outta here.
Kicking social media to the curb also meant I suddenly had much more time to focus on my OBM duties. I’ve been able to complete more trainings which have led to things like Project 10%, as well as fully take over a lot of launches for eCourses and the Goal Getter Workbooks. The pressure is off to create highly specific content that’s tailored toward to algorithms. Now we get to create content specifically for you; Leonie’s dear readers, customers & fans, and that’s just been dang fantastic!
Bottomline? As Leonie’s OBM and VA I do not miss social media at all and it’s been absolutely brilliant watching Leonie’s biz soar to new heights without it!”
Do I miss social media?
Not really… the benefits of quitting far far outweigh any tiny losses.
I’ve recently popped onto social media to see how it feels after so long away:
- Go on Facebook if I want to either judge someone I love, or feel inferior. It also is so shallow and meaningless it makes me wonder how on EARTH I used to spend any time on there!
- Go on Twitter if I want to enter a scream chamber where everyone is yelling “WE ARE FUCKED! THE WHOLE WORLD IS FUCKED!”
- I miss Instagram the least. When I do look at it, it all just looks… fake. Not real. Curated and photoshopped. It looks like a magazine with pretty pictures and very little depth.
Have I missed out on anything from quitting social?
No. I’ve regained my time, inner peace and attention span.
My one wild and precious life is worth more than the toxic costs involved.
Want to quit social media? Or learn how to market your business WITHOUT social media?
I’ve been asked about this SO MANY TIMES in the last 12 months that I ended up creating a program just to answer your questions and help you on your own social media-free journeys.
My program Marketing Without Social Media begins March 1! Almost 2,000 gorgeous humans have now taken it with rave results:
Most of all…
I just want you to know…
You get to decide what works for you and your beautiful soul.
If you’re feeling a calling that something needs to be different, don’t be afraid to experiment and try.
You are in charge of you, your life and your business. You get to create the environment that is going to best help you thrive and shine.
I am cheering you on, every step of the way.
Time left to enrol: