I’ve seen a lot of conversations around the desire to leave social media from fellow online business owners, but there's a lack of clarity around what it would actually look like to delete Instagram and/or TikTok and never look back.
If you’re considering leaving the comparison-packed world of social media, are tired of keeping up with the endless trends and changes in the algorithm, or worry that you might *actually* be addicted to the apps, this case study of what it’s been like spending an entire year off of social media (with no desire to return) will give you plenty to think about.
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Welcome back to the Multi-Passionate Mastery Podcast, and if this is your first time listening, welcome to the show. I'm so excited that you're here. I'm your host, D'Ana Joi, and I'm a life coach who helps multi-passionate bring their next big idea to life without overthinking, overworking, or stressing out by trying to do all the things at once. On this podcast, you'll find holistic solutions to common problems that multi-passionate face, like not knowing what to focus on, not knowing which project to start with first, or generally feeling all over the damn place. My work is designed specifically for multi-passionate creatives because there is a huge lack of support for those of us who are not interested in just choosing one thing. We are still in between seasons here on the podcast, but I'm dropping a very special bonus episode because today, August 26th, 2023 is my one year anniversary. Of being off of social media if you're listening to this, after that date, it's been over a year since I left social media. I knew that when I hit one year, I wanted to create a case study sharing how it has impacted me, and that's what we're going to be diving into today. But first, let's do a little bit of housekeeping. I wanna remind you that if you'd like to be alerted when season four of this podcast airs, please join my email list. That's the best way to stay in touch and keep up to date with everything that I've got going on, all the fun things that I'm creating for you that are coming out really, really soon. So you can sign up for my email list. Down in the show notes and then when you join, just opt in for podcast updates and I'll definitely let you know when season four airs. Okay, now let's get into the case study. Leaving social media was a personal choice, but as an entrepreneur, I also had to consider how it could both positively and negatively impact my online coaching business. Today. I've seen a lot of conversations around the desire to leave social media, but a lack of clarity around what that could look like, or a genuine fear that. Everything would crumble. Uh, this is especially for online entrepreneurs feeling like not being on social leaves them with so few options for sharing their work. So now that it's been a full year since I took my business off of social media with no desire to return, I have quite a few thoughts to share. And if you're considering leaving the comparison pact world of social media, you're tired of keeping up with the endless trends and changes in the algorithm. Or you worry that you might actually be addicted to those apps, then this case study of my year off of social media will give you plenty to consider. So let's start with why I love social media, and when I say social media throughout this case study, I'm going to be referring to Instagram because I never fully got into TikTok. I posted a few videos and then was like, I don't get it, and just let it sit there. And I actually went in and deleted it recently because I don't see the point of just having it sitting there. I was never on Twitter. So for me, social media, Is Instagram. Okay. So I was on that app back when I started my blog. And back then it was a much different place. It was a photo sharing app, Captions were like a mini diary, and nobody was stressing out about having 30 perfect hashtags. It was a lot more. Chill and there were like four filters. Do you remember those days? A lot has changed since then, and when the talking heads to Reign Supreme on Instagram showed up to alert users, that short form video content would become the priority of the platform. I knew I had to start planning my escape. Okay. Before leaving social media fully, I did try to create some boundaries and I go into some of my thought process that I was going through while I was still on social media in an episode here on the feed. So I'm gonna link to that in the show notes. It's called,"How I'm responding to the changes on Instagram as a life coach for multi-passionate." And so I recorded that right after this announcement came out. Right after we found out that basically you needed to make reels or you were gonna become irrelevant on Instagram. I had strong feelings about that. And that's in another episode. So I'll link to that as well as a lot of other resources that will be mentioned in this episode down in the show notes. but here are my top reasons for getting off of social media once and for all when setting those boundaries just was not working anymore. The first reason is that I'm not a video person, right? And it's not that I camera shy, but I'm just usually not in the mood to be on camera. I don't feel like getting dressed and then finding lighting and having an area of my home that looks, you know, appealing for video. All of that creates a huge barrier, for just getting my work out there versus sitting down to record a podcast. It doesn't matter what I'm wearing. I could be sitting in a completely dark room. My room could be a mess. It doesn't matter. And that's what I love about podcasting, so I'm really not a video person. And when it comes to Instagram and being on stories, I didn't enjoy the disruptive energy that popping into my stories had on my day. So with video becoming the central medium of the platform, I felt like I had to assimilate or else basically. But I couldn't keep up with the pace of reels, and I was so over wasting my time searching for. Trending audio, like it all started to just feel like, kind of like a joke. Like I was like, I, I can't do this anymore. And then the next reason is, you know, because of the shift from static content to video or whatever was going on with the algorithm, a lot of my content was getting little to no engagement, specifically like static, you know, post and. I know that sometimes you have to be willing to speak even if nobody is listening, but when the work that you're spending time creating isn't getting delivered to the people who intentionally opted in to receive that work by following you, it's okay to be frustrated. And I didn't like that feeling of genuinely wanting to help and be in relationship with the community that I created content for only to be iced out by the algorithms. And I go way more into depth. On what those feelings, uh, were in that podcast episode that I mentioned, which I'll link down in the show notes. So speaking of content, I was spending hours making content, curating my feed and creating a rollout schedule. And I remember having thought, imagine how much time I would get back if I wasn't on this platform at all. And that started as a fantasy, like, wow, just imagine. Wouldn't it be nice? But it became something tangible that I got serious about creating for myself. I got serious about answering that question. Another reason why I left was I was not quote, unquote closing clients in the dms. I had a few fun conversations, but it wasn't like my dms were flooded with potential clients asking how they could work with me and. You know, there are a lot of coaches and strategists out there who teach that if you don't have clients in your dms, it's because your content is not, um, up to par, or you're not speaking in a specific way, or you don't have the right calls to action, but, I hesitate to take all that at face value because even if you have amazing content and it's not getting shown to anyone, how is anyone even going to see it? You know what I mean? So there were people that were connecting with me in the dms over maybe something that I shared in stories or just chatting, but I wasn't using the dms as a way to close clients. I, I never really needed to, to do that. So, um, I didn't have that fear of, well, if I leave Instagram, how am I gonna dmm my clients? Because that wasn't something I was doing anyway. And full transparency, if I. Did have a ton of clients flooding my dms, then maybe I wouldn't have left. You know, maybe I would've figured out a different way to remain on the platform, without leaving because I wouldn't have wanted to leave so many people who could potentially be enhanced by my work in that space. But that just wasn't the case for me. Next I crave spaces where long form content was desired. So, you know, I wanted to focus on podcasting and writing articles, and I realized that creating long form regenerative content is much more sustainable than making short videos with the hopes of going viral. It felt like a better place to spend my time. And then of course there's the fact that I was comparing myself with others. I don't even feel the need to explain that because I know that you get it if you've spent any time at all on Instagram. I was also addicted to the app. I was constantly checking it and I don't feel the need to explain that either cause you probably know how that feels. And it just in general, was not doing my mental health any favors. I know you know how that is too. So that's why I left social media, all of those reasons. And now let's talk about how this is way more simple. So, around the time I was planning to leave, I found a podcast called Off the Grid, leaving Social Media hosted by Amelia Hruby. I binged the entire first season, and in each episode, Amelia gave a step-by-step playbook for taking your business off of social media, and she was specifically talking about Instagram, so it could not have been more timely. I followed her advice and I added in a few of my own strategies. So here's a snapshot of my exit plan. First, I chose a date to leave, and I mentioned that date repeatedly in all content leading up to it. Then I let folks know where else to find me, so my email list, my podcast, or following my articles on Medium. Then I decided what I wanted my legacy feed to include. A legacy feed is a static feed that you leave up on the platform so that if someone happens to find you there, they can be guided towards your other platforms of choice. I also got clear on what I would be focusing on once Instagram was out of my life and my business. This is a really important step because this is what put me in the mindset that I was gaining something instead of losing something, I was gaining more time to pour into my podcast. I was gaining more creative. Space to think about long form regenerative content that could serve my community for years versus something that's going to be on the feed for a day. So that was really, really important, getting clear on what I would be focusing on instead, once Instagram was gone, and then I recorded my final reel shared what I wanted to be remembered for on the platform, and then when August 26th, 2022 came, I logged off and never looked back. I, in this entire year, have not once logged into Instagram. I have not logged in, just to check my dms real quick. I never went back. All right, so that's the why and the how. Now, let's talk about. Some personal stuff. Let's talk about how leaving social media has impacted me on a personal level. Even though I was on social media and on Instagram to promote and share my work regarding my business, leaving was a very personal choice that I made with my mental health in mind. When I made the choice to finally leave and I picked a date and I told a few people, oh my gosh, I'm gonna be off of the platform for good. Like, I'm not doing any more of this. Boundary setting that isn't working. I'm just, I'm done. I'm taking my business off of social media, and I truly made that decision. I felt an immense weight lifted from my shoulders. It was like I no longer had to engage in this battle between my mental health and this platform. And I remember crying in the shower like weeks before my actual log off date because I felt so much relief. And I also felt that I was prioritizing my needs and taking very good care of myself by choosing to walk away from a platform that was no longer serving me. We hear people say things like, walk away from things that aren't serving you, but how many of us actually do that? It's really hard, you know, for a lot of us. So I felt really proud of myself and so relieved. The next way that it impacted me was that I had a lot more boredom, and boredom leads to creativity. So one of the most exciting aspects about leaving social media was the amount of time that I got handed back to me as a result. I no longer had to spend my creative energy thinking about what content the algorithm was eating for lunch that day, and instead, my brain was free to daydream without a constant influence of content. As a creative person, I need to let myself get so bored that my mind starts to generate creative ideas and concepts and visions of the future. Time spent daydreaming can be really difficult to come by when every idle moment is filled with another quick scroll. So I gave myself the gift of being bored, and as a result, my creativity was enhanced and continues to be enhanced even a year later. Um, it's more easy to be present. I think this is something that. We can all relate to, you know, when was the last time you hung out with someone and you spent half the time talking to the top of their head? Because they're looking down at their phone checking social media. It's annoying, right? And, and when was the last time you realized that you know, you are sometimes that person too. That's also annoying. If you've ever deleted Instagram or TikTok from your phone to clear your head for a few days, you know what an immense feeling of spaciousness it can create. since leaving social media for good, I found it much more easy to stay present when I'm engaging with my friends or with my family. And I am more present in my day-to-day life When I'm out on a walk with my son, I'm watching shadows from the trees, dancing on the grainy pavement, as I thank them for their shade. I feel the cool rush, an unexpected breeze on my skin, and I actually feel it, not just notice it. I really feel it and have that moment. Even a cold sip of water is something that's become a moment to slow down and be more present in my body. If you can't tell, it's summer as I'm recording this. So these are the things that I am experiencing and. Not pulling my phone out to constantly check social media makes it more easy to be present. I'm not gonna pretend that leaving social media immediately transform me into a mindfulness expert, but it's definitely easier to be in the moment and experience the world both in internally and externally in a more present way. Let's talk about how absolutely wonderful it was to be off of social media during my three month maternity leave. That time that I would've spent mindlessly scrolling and comparing myself to Insta Perfect new Moms and buying a bunch of stuff I didn't need because of all the Instagram ads. Instead of doing that, I chose to listen to an array of podcasts the way that podcasts showed up for me when I was up at all hours of the night nursing a newborn. It gets me emotional when I think about it and when my partner went back to work and it was just me with a new baby at home, I would pop an earbud into one ear and feel a little bit less alone. Whether I was listening to like an immersive show that took me on an adventure or getting advice about breastfeeding. Or just enjoying some conversation about adult topics. The content I was spending hours consuming was worlds more nourishing than the time I would've spent scrolling on Instagram and being a podcast host myself. My experience of embracing podcasts as pseudo companions during my maternity leave deepened my dedication for showing up for you right here on my show. Another way that leaving social media has impacted me personally is it's helped me with taking my time to make decisions. So I'm a person who needs to take their time when making decisions, and this is partially due to my human design. I have emotional authority, which means I need to sleep on it. I need to give it a couple days, even a week to make sure I'm in a neutral space before I make any big moves. And it's also partly due to the fact that I'm a highly multi-passionate person who has a ton of ideas that I wanna act on at any given time. So taking my time to make decisions, it allows me to gain clarity about how I can structure my priorities so that I'm able to take action on my big ideas without overthinking, overworking, or trying to do all the things at once. And yes, this is what I help my clients do inside of my coaching program. So I live it and then I teach it. And it wasn't until I was off of social media for an entire year and I started working on this case study that I realized how much easier it is to take my time when I'm making decisions because I'm not being influenced by the fast pace of ten second videos or one minute videos. You know, I'm not subconsciously making decisions based on what I see other people doing, either because I don't see what they're doing. Let's round this out with a hard truth. I'm still addicted to my phone. I'd love to be able to say that I no longer check my phone first thing in the morning, and that I've been completely liberated from any feelings of addiction when it comes to that sneaky little device. But that would be a lie. I'm still addicted to my phone. I check my email on my phone way more than I need to. I do sometimes scroll through Pinterest, but. I'll save one or two d i y baby activities, and then I'm done. I, I don't even check it every day, so definitely has not replaced Instagram, but sometimes I check it out and I will often pick up my phone just to check it, even when I don't see any alerts, which for me is a sign that. Something's off, right? Phones are addicting. Before having my son, I definitely had better boundaries with my phone, but now that I have to be more creative about getting my work done during the day when I'm caring for him, I do a lot more from my phone because it's convenient. So it's kind of like a give and take thing that I have with my phone Where I am grateful that I'm able to use it, but I wanna have, you know, more balance there. So if I figure out how to break free from cell phone addiction, I'll report back. Um, but yeah, I definitely still feel like the device itself is a bigger problem than just the apps that are on it. Okay. So we talked about the personal. Now let's take a quick break and then we'll move on to the second half of this case study. How Leaving social media impacted my online coaching business? Hey, if you're enjoying this episode of the multi-passionate mastery podcast. I love it. If you could take a moment to share it with a friend. All you have to do is find the share icon on whatever platform you're listening on. Copy that link and paste it in a text to whoever this episode makes you think about. I'm on a mission to prove that sharing content that we love with people that we care about is the best way to grow a podcast. Will you help me on that mission by sharing this episode? Do it right now, before you forget. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. And if you're that friend listening, Hey, nice to meet you. All right, let's get back into the episode. welcome back. Okay. So my online coaching business actually grew after I left social media. And the months after leaving, I signed twice as many clients into my group coaching program as I did the months prior. And I know you're thinking, but how? How is that possible? I feel you thinking that. So let me break it down. The first thing was my mindset. I held the belief that leaving social media would be good for my business and I focused on what I would be gaining in my business instead of what I would be losing. This put me in the mindset of doubling down on what was already working. And what was already working was this podcast. So as I mentioned, clients were not flocking my Instagram and then DMing me because they wanted to work with me. They were binging my podcast. Putting the tips I share into practice, getting results, and then taking the next step to work directly with me inside of my coaching program. I know this because when clients join my program, they would fill out an intake form about where they found me and more and more and more. It started to be I found you from your podcast. Your podcast, your podcast. So I was like, why am I even on social media if that's not where people are finding me? Not having to worry about social media content gave me the space to produce a more high quality show, create a marketing plan for the show, and to focus on offering potential clients everything they need in order to decide if my program. Was the right fit for them. And I'm speaking in past tense, but this is still something that I do. If you wanna know more about my specific strategies and methods for doubling down on my podcast and how it grew my coaching business, check out the show notes because I did a great interview on the, in my Non-Expert Opinion podcast with Chelsea Rife All about that, about leaving social media, doubling down on podcasts. And I give a very. In depth behind the scenes. Look at how I use my podcast to grow my coaching business. Check that out in the show notes. Um, and then another way that my business grew, even though I wasn't on social media, is that I never stopped sending email. Email marketing will always be a part of my business, and that means that my business didn't stop just because I wasn't on social so, as I've mentioned before, being off of social media creates a lot more think space and when it comes to my business, I've always thought big, but I haven't always thought long-term. So now when I consider what to do next in my business, I consider the long-term impact that whatever I'm going to do will have. So instead of thinking, what should I post this week, I'm thinking, what is my current framework missing that I can elaborate on to get my clients better results? Instead of batch recording reels that may or may not get any engagement. I'm creating an updated free training that will be one of the most valuable long-term assets in my business. Instead of researching which hashtags to use, which still makes me wanna barf when I think about it. I'm planning out the next season of my podcast, so in short, it's much easier for me to think long term, but I'm not trying to keep up with the impossible pace of social platforms. I am also blissfully unaware. I almost titled this case study Blissfully Unaware because that's how I feel about every one-off social media trend. If I'm not aware of it, I feel no pressure to jump on it. This goes for meme trends, like remember when everyone was posting on Instagram, little miss, little miss this and whatever, and just all these trends and. It's like as soon as you see it, you better create your version I just, I don't have the energy for that. And I also am blissfully unaware of larger conversations. I have a friend who reached out to me and was like, I know you're not on social media, but right now everyone's talking about whether or not, um, coaches should be working and teaching if they're not certified. And I was like, What, you know, what she's like. Yeah. It's a huge, loud conversation on social media. and once she told me that, I started seeing that people were also talking about it on their podcast and it was a big deal, and I was like, oh, I'm so glad that I'm just blissfully unaware of this like, I didn't feel the need to chime in doesn't impact me'cause I'm not thinking about that. It was a trending topic and now people aren't really talking about it anymore. Probably, I don't know. Um, but I imagine so I feel like, you know, these trending topics, they come and they go and I'm just grateful that I have no awareness of them because it's a waste of precious think time. That could be spent implementing more long-term strategies. Right? We're kind of tying some of these, uh, benefits together. Now I'm gonna talk about something that isn't as great. Part of my business strategy is to partner with aligned brands and promote them here on my podcast and also share them on my email list. And aside from a brand that's run by one of my former clients, shout out to first house. None of the brands that I've attempted to connect with have been interested in partnering with me. There's been a lot of rejection over here, and many of them said things along the lines of, You know, we're focusing on user generated video content at the moment, which is code for, we will only wanna work with social media influencers. I am sure there are brands out there who see the value in podcast advertising over and above social. You know, especially when I've got an email list to go with it. If you're one of those brands, you reach out to me so we can talk. Um, but you know, I can't deny the fact that when you're not on social media, it can make you way less attractive to brands who aren't willing to think out of that TikTok size box. So that is something that hasn't been as fun to discover. Speaking of blissfully unaware. I'm in a state of pure bliss of not having to see every business move that other coaches are making. I remember feeling like everyone around me had a picture perfect business and I was failing because I wasn't, you know, hitting the same numbers or I was seeing someone else post content three times a day and feeling like, well, I must not be dedicated because I couldn't keep up with that pace. Today, I could give two shits about what any other business owner is doing on social. I'm blissfully unaware. It does not impact me, and I get to joyfully stay in my own lane. I get to mind my own business. So we have covered why I left social media, how I left social media. How it impacted me personally a year later and how it has impacted my business a year later. Now, let's talk about some things that I miss about being on social media. There are a couple of things that I miss. Literally only two things. And I wanna share them here because I don't wanna paint a picture that leaves out the negative aspects of getting off of Instagram or any other social media platform. One of my many passions is graphic design, and I miss being able to utilize that passion to create static social media graphics. That hardly got shown to anyone because they weren't reels. But still, I, I loved it. I loved creating those graphics. It was a way to utilize my creativity. I still create Pinterest pins for my blog post, and I do get back to my love for graphic design via my free digital magazine that I design myself. Sometimes I will create custom graphics to add visual elements to my emails, or I will post content, um, inside of my client community that has graphic attached, and then I design my own presentation and course materials and things like that. So I still get to use my graphic design skills, but I, I do miss. Being able to, to do that for social'cause it was a fun way to spend my time and I don't really do it as much anymore because there's not as much of a need. The second thing that I miss, well this is less of something that I miss and it's more something that I thought I would miss after leaving, was meeting new people. Meeting new people. I remember thinking, if I leave Instagram, where am I gonna meet? Like cool new people. Um, but the good news is there are so many more places to be in community online than social media. Some groups that I'm a part of at the time of recording this, Mel, the Oracle's Inner Circle Group, which is a dedicated group about sharing the human side of life. To say that it's refreshing is an understatement. Such a beautiful community. I'm also in a group called Broads in Progress by Alexandra Crohl, and that is a group that's dedicated to helping fem podcasters grow their podcast presence. It's a fabulous community as well. And I'm in Mariah Coz's Creator Party Group, which is a literal party online for coaches and content creators. In the online space. It is. So much fun. I highly recommend it if you are a fellow coach, or a content creator. So those are a few of the groups that I'm in, and if you're worried that you're never gonna meet any new people once you get off social media, joining an online or in real life community first could help your transition. I do wanna note that Facebook groups don't count because Facebook is social media. Um, and the groups that I'm a part of are not on Facebook. I have, Try to engage in a few Facebook groups for like, programs that I'm in and I just, I, I never can stick with it because I despise that platform as well. I left Facebook long before I left Instagram. I haven't mentioned that, but I just feel like Facebook is so irrelevant these days that I don't even need to talk about it. Okay, we've reached the end of the case study sharing my experience. So let's talk about you. How can you plan your escape? I'll give you four steps and then I'll share a list of resources that will also be down in the show notes and we'll wrap this up. So the first thing is, take some time to think it over. Weigh the pros and cons. Consider what it's worth for you and be honest about your options. The next tip is that it's okay to start small. Delete the app from one week, then work your way up to one month. And take note of how you feel and then allow that feeling to guide your decision. My next tip is to listen to the Off the Grid podcast with Amelia Hruby. The whole first season of her show will give you a step-by-step playbook for how to leave. She also has an amazing leaving social media toolkit that you can download for free. And lastly, don't let fear be the reason that you stay on social media. You can always change your mind and go back. So give yourself permission to live your life on your own terms. That fear that you feel is the power that social media currently has over your life. What would it feel like to take that power back? I will leave you with that, and here are a few more resources that you can also find listed down in the show notes. On my podcast, I have an episode called How I'm Responding to the Changes on Instagram. I highly recommend listening to that one if you want to hear the more emotional side and hear what I was going through while I was still on the platform. It's a really unique experience. About a week later, I decided I was going to leave and I recorded a follow up episode where I made that announcement. So if you wanna hear that energy from a year ago when I was like, I'm done, I'm leaving, then you can check that out. Both of those are linked in the show notes. Again, I mentioned for the Off The Grid podcast, I have an interview on that show called Your Client Isn't In Your dms Coaching Success Without Social Media. Check that out. And you can also check out Amelia's interview on my show called Leaving Social Media as a catalyst for clarity and bravery and hear her story of leaving social media and how she went about it. Then there's my interview on Chelsea Rife's podcast, my non expert opinion. It's called Quitting Instagram, doubling down on Podcasts, and No more Coffee Chats with D'Ana Joi. So if you wanna continue this conversation and hear more details about my experience and how maybe it could influence yours and your social media life, check those resources out on the show notes. Thanks for listening, and I'll see you in the next episode.