10 reasons to quit social media—or, at the very least, take a temporary break, step away for a bit, and rinse out your brain.
1. Because, instead of spending 144 minutes per day* posting and scrolling on social media, you could use that time to build skills and gain mastery of your craft, take a course, write a novel, record an album of music, hike through national parks, cross something off your bucket list, meditate, practice yoga, nap, or anything else that you yearn to do.
*This is the average amount of time for the majority of Americans these days. Whoa.
2. Because sometimes, it’s really wonderful to watch a sunset, enjoy a meal, savor a glass of wine, or celebrate a victory without needing to document the moment or share it publicly.
3. Because, instead of looking down at your phone, you could look up at the night sky, look at your child as they grow, look at a tree, rock, wave, or look at the world with a new perspective.
4. Because every time you post something on social media, you own the content. But the social media platform now has certain rights over your content too—and they’re entitled to store it, copy it, share it, and use it via their “non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license,” along with the ability to use your username, profile photo, and certain types of personal information. And maybe that doesn’t feel good to you.
5. Because it feels liberating to delete accounts and free up space in your head. Less noise. Less clutter. Less incoming information. More room to breathe, think deeply, and do your best work.
6. Because it’s nice to have privacy. Maybe you don’t want your ex to know which type of bagel you had for breakfast or who you’re dating now.
7. Because it feels good to reconnect with people in a different, deeper way: sending a letter, calling for a long chat, taking a stroll together, exchanging gifts.
8. Because, despite what many seem to think, you can have close relationships, stay informed about world events, build a strong community and professional network, and run a successful business without social media. (I do. I’m not the only one. This is doable.)
9. Because you want to be a role model for your kids and other people in your life. You see other folks glued to their phones and it troubles you. You want to demonstrate, “We don’t have to live this way.” You want to lead by example.
10. Because this is your one and only life. And maybe you don’t want to spend 5.91 years* of your life scrolling on social media. Maybe there’s something else you’d prefer to do with all that time instead.
*If you use social media an “average” amount from age 30 to 90, it all adds up to nearly 6 years of your total lifespan.
Social media is not “good” or “bad.” It’s simply a tool. It all depends on how you use it.
It can be helpful, harmful, or a mixture of both. There are plenty of good reasons to use social media. There are plenty of good reasons not to use it, too.
You get to decide what feels right for you and what makes sense for your profession, career, or company.
If you want to quit (or cut back), you absolutely can.
And it might be one of the best decisions you ever make.
This is what my iPhone screen looks like…
It is a calm place.
– I have 8 apps installed on my phone which I use occasionally: banking app, ride-sharing app, and a few others.
– I keep these apps hidden on a secondary page. Out of sight. They’re not the first thing I see.
– I have all notifications turned off.
– My phone does not vibrate, buzz, beep, ding, or interrupt me.
– If someone calls, it doesn’t ring. It goes straight to voicemail.
– With one exception—I set up my phone so I do receive calls from a small circle of people (mom, dad, sister, brother, partner, my therapist, and a few others), because there are certain instances where I do want to hear the ring and pick up. For instance, if my mom calls and it’s an emergency, I want to know.
– I rarely use my phone to send texts. I installed a program so I can write texts from my computer on my desk, which feels way better. Instead of hunching over a tiny phone screen, I can write texts the same way I write emails—with a keyboard. It’s way faster and feels better for my body, too.
– I don’t have any social media accounts. I deleted all of them 6 years ago.
– I have close friends, a strong support network, a wonderful professional community, and I’ve been successfully self-employed for 11 years.
I’m sharing this image of my phone screen, because a picture says a thousand words.
I want to offer this gentle reminder:
You don’t have to use technology the way “most people” do.
You can choose a different path.
You can delete apps. Deactivate accounts. Declutter. Set boundaries. Protect your precious brain space. Protect your privacy, your mental health, and your time.
And, reducing screen time (and social media time) won’t hurt your career. Quite the opposite. It will allow you to concentrate deeply and do your absolute best work.
Technology should make our lives better, not worse.
Make sure you’re using your phone, and it’s not “using” you.
PS. If you want to change your relationship with technology—set limits, create boundaries, delete, declutter, free up tons of space in your brain—then you will love The Marketing Without Social Media Course. Learn how to find plenty of clients and customers and run a successful business—but without all the tech burnout and exhaustion.
If that sounds like the kind of life and career that you want…then please review the course info and enroll soon. We will be taking enrollments until midnight on March 15 and then, doors are closed for 2021.
Thank you. I am so excited to begin. See you there.
As a teenager, I attended a large public high school in a huge city with 9.8 million residents.
Like most public schools, it was overcrowded. Too many students. Not enough classroom space, supplies, or grown-ups available to manage the throngs. During lunch, thousands of students would explode into the quad like a swarm of locusts, jostling to squeeze to their lockers, laughing, flirting, sometimes fighting.
Most of the teachers were kind, passionate, and caring. All of the teachers were overworked and underpaid. Several made a permanent imprint on my life.
One was my history teacher in ninth grade.
I am humiliated to confess that I don’t remember his full name. It started with E. Mr. Einburg. Mr. Elliot. Something like that. But every other detail—I remember.
I remember his face. His slightly stooped posture. His graying curly hair. The location and layout of the room and exactly where I sat. Main building. Second floor. South corner. Final row of desks. To the left. Three seats back. And most of all, I remember how it felt to be inside his classroom.
Picture Bernie Sanders with a California tan. That was this teacher.
Mr. E taught history—but not the history found inside our state-issued textbooks, not the half-truths, glaring omissions, and excessively simplified stories, a war reduced to a glib paragraph.
He taught us the real history.
He was the first teacher, first authority figure, and (as I now reflect on it) the first white man I ever met who said things like, “You will notice there aren’t many stories about Black and Brown people in this textbook…” (he would say this while holding the book in his hands with visible disdain) “…and we need to talk about why that is.”
He spoke on behalf of people whose voices had been silenced.
He had us watch movies about union workers and their fight for safe conditions and better pay.
He told us harrowing details about bloody civil rights battles, racist systems, injustices from long ago and present day.
He told us these things because he wanted us to know the truth, he wanted us to care, and not be asleep.
He was steady, clear, and precise. All facts. No sugarcoating. His tone of voice signaled, “I am telling you this, because I respect you enough to be honest with you.”
For kids who hungered to know more, he kept his classroom open during lunch. He would answer questions, and ask difficult questions. He would tell stories, debate, or just chat with anyone who needed a safe place to land.
21 years later, I am still thinking about Mr. E. His work echoes in my mind and heart, in ways that I am just now fully realizing.
It pains me to know that—lost in my self-absorbed adolescent haze, worrying about college applications, passing my driver’s exam, whether my crush liked me back, and whether I ought to drink regular soda or Diet with no calories—I never properly thanked him.
I want to thank him now.
I share this story for two reasons.
Whoever is reading this, please reach out to a teacher today and say thank you. A school teacher or anyone who has influenced your life. A parent. An auntie. A coach.
Tell them, “You have impacted my life in so many ways, and here is just one…”
To everyone reading this, regardless of your vocation—whether you are a teacher, nurse, attorney, cupcake baker, yoga instructor, writer, artist, mystic, healer, or perhaps parenting full time—I know that sometimes it feels like your work doesn’t matter much.
Sometimes it feels like nobody is watching. Nobody is visiting your website. Only two people attended your last workshop. Or the sales aren’t rolling in. You feel invisible and unimportant.
Please trust that—just like Mr. E—you are impacting people deeply, in ways both seen and unseen.
You are planting seeds. You are creating a ripple effect that is bigger than you see and bigger than you know. You are more influential than you think.
Even if you are not receiving a voluminous flood of likes, hearts, comments, replies, clicks, or fan mail, your efforts matter.
21 years from now, someone might be writing a long overdue thank you letter dedicated to you.
*Marketing Without Social Media* 21 ways to find clients and customers without using social media.?php>
Is it really possible to run a successful business, find plenty of clients and customers, and make great money…without using social media?
When it comes to marketing, using social media is certainly one option. But it’s not the only option. There are plenty of other things you can try.
Maybe you don’t want to use social media, because you find it exhausting, draining, distracting, you’re concerned about privacy or ethical factors, it’s just not your favorite place to hang out, or you’ve noticed that social media marketing doesn’t seem very effective for your particular personality, type of business, or clientele.
And so, you want to find some marketing approaches that don’t require social media.
Your wish is granted!
Here’s a list of 21 marketing ideas that don’t involve social media.
If you see any ideas that jump out at you (“Ooh, that seems cool, I could definitely try that”), write them down, and then do them.
1. Climb on top of your house or apartment, stand on the roof, hoist your arms into the air, and cry out, “Hear Ye! Hear Ye! I have a product that may fit your needs and interest you greatly!”
Hahaaaa. Just kidding. Okay, maybe don’t do that. Check out the rest of this list for better ideas.
2. Do a “45 in 45” email challenge.
This means, make a list of 45 people that you know. Any people.
Your list can be a combination of friends, family members, current clients, past clients, colleagues, classmates, teachers, mentors, acquaintances, local business owners, anyone at all.
Challenge yourself to email 45 people over the course of 45 days.
Send a personal email to each person, one at a time. You can contact 1 person per day. Or you could do 5 people per day, 9 days in a row. Whatever pacing you want.
In each email, say hello, introduce (or reintroduce) yourself, and then briefly let them know what you’re offering right now: personal training services, SAT tutoring, organic skincare products, whatever you sell. Ask them to consider hiring you/purchasing your work. And/or, ask them to spread the word about what you’re offering.
Let’s say, for example, that I’m a financial planner, and I want to find some new clients. I’m going to write to my friend Isiah. My email could sound something like this:
Happy New Year! I hope you’re healthy and doing well. I heard a rumor that you moved to Chicago and bought a house? That’s wonderful news! Please send me a photo of your new place and give me an update on how you’re doing these days.
I’m writing today with some happy news: this year marks my 3rd year of being self-employed. My business-iversary is March 1.
This year, I’m offering:
– Tax preparation services
– Financial planning services
– And (my favorite) I’m offering a 30-day course that combines yoga, meditation, and mindset work with financial education. I teach you how to feel way less stressed about money, earn more, save more, and spend more intentionally. One client said, “I feel like this course helped me release 40 years of money stress. I feel 10,000 pounds lighter.”
If any of those services sound like something you need, you can go to my website to book an appointment or to enroll in the course. I’ll put links down below. Thank you.
Or, if you happen to know someone who might want (or need) any of those things, feel free to share my info with them.
Thank you so much! I really appreciate your friendship and support.
Just like that! Keep your email brief and simple.
To see a few more examples of how you could craft this type of email, check out this workbook I wrote called Get More Clients. It’s free.
Contact 45 people over the course of 45 days, and I can almost guarantee that you will end up with more clients, more customers, more money rolling in.
Even if you don’t get immediate sales, the good news is–now, 45 people know what you’re offering. You’re on their mind. They can start spreading the word and that’s a very good thing! No matter what: this is a positive step in the right direction. No matter what: you win.
This is exactly what I did 11 years ago when I decided to start my own business. I sat down in a coffee shop. I emailed everyone I knew, one by one. I let each person know what I was offering and how to hire me. This led to my first 5 actual paying clients. And then things kept rolling from there.
If you think, “But I don’t know 45 people! I don’t even know 10 people! I don’t know anybody! I am floating adrift in a void of nothingness!”…well, go through your phone or your inbox. You probably know more people than you think you do.
Doing a 45 in 45 email challenge is not complicated, but it does take courage. You have to be brave enough to click “send.”
Your courage will be rewarded. This is one of the simplest, fastest ways to immediately bring more clients in the door. It’s something you can do at any time, whether you just started a business, or whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur with decades of experience. Do this anytime. You will always get results.
3. Add info about your product or service to your email signature.
A typical working professional receives more than 100 emails a day.
I’m not talking about newsletters. I’m talking about regular ol’ emails. Emails from your boss, colleagues, clients, potential clients, collaborators, freelancers, and other people in your professional network. Whoa! That’s a lot of emails.
If there’s something you want to sell, put a link into your email signature.
For instance, I could make my Gmail email signature look like this:
If you typically deal with 100 emails a day, and you work at least 250 days a year, that’s 25,000 emails per year!
Put a little note into your email signature and that’s basically like advertising your work—for free—25,000 times! A great way to gently remind your community about what you’re offering and point them where they need to go.
4. Make a mysterious sign. Pin it all around town.
In Pittsburgh, someone put bizarre signs that said BARBER SCHOOL? all around town. That’s it. BARBER SCHOOL? No website link. No explanation.
Pittsburgh residents were perplexed. Many wondered, “Who did this? What does it mean? Am I hallucinating? I need answers!” The entire town started talking! It even got mentioned in the paper!
People started Googling “Pittsburgh Barber School?” and wouldn’t you know it, a barber school was the top Google search result. The owner of the barber school says that a bunch of people enrolled in their program–all because of that sign! This is hilarious and wonderful and also, a great lesson. Mysterious signs. They work.
5. Circle back to previous clients and customers via email. Say hi. See if they’d like to hire you/purchase from you again.
You might be surprised. Often, people would LOVE to work with you again–they just need a little nudge and reminder to actually do it.
Email, text, call, or send a quick audio or video message to check in and see if they’d like to work with you again.
Last year, during my Marketing Without Social Media Course, one woman decided to do this. She emailed 6 potential clients to invite them to hire her again. Everyone except for 1 said yes! She told me, “I don’t normally follow up with people like that!” But she was very glad that she did.
6. Send snail mail: a postcard, brochure, packet, or maybe a small gift and handwritten note.
Snail mail is so special. With the simplest thing, like a postcard that costs less than one dollar, you will make a strong impression.
7. Pitch yourself to the media (podcasts, radio, TV, etc). Get booked for appearances. Use this as a way to promote your mission and business.
You can start with smaller platforms (your friend’s podcast), get some practice, and then gradually work your way up to bigger platforms (national TV).
Not sure how to pitch yourself to the media?
My colleague Lindsey has a great template you can use–and it’s free! Go to her site to find it.
I also provide several media pitch templates and sample emails in The Email Course.
8. Do something “cool,” “different,” “noteworthy,” or “newsworthy” that gets people talking about your business.
Once upon a time, back when I helped to launch a brunch restaurant in Oregon, we hosted a monthly Letters and Brunch event.
We provided free letter-writing supplies—cards, envelopes, stamps, pens—to anyone who purchased a $20 brunch/drink combo. Customers could write letters to loved ones while waiting for their food to arrive.
People loved it—and they told their friends about it, too! This led to lots of new customers coming by to check out the new restaurant.
9. Start a newsletter and send it out consistently.
You can use your newsletter to share advice, tips, music playlists, worksheets, checklists, recipes, inspirational stories, whatever your potential clients/customers would enjoy most. Of course: share info about your products/services, too!
Your newsletter can be long, short, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly—whatever style and frequency makes sense for you and your readership.
Most marketing specialists would advise you to send out your newsletter very frequently, but personally I disagree. I vote: send it out when you have something inspiring, beautiful, or helpful to share. Quality over quantity.
Want to learn how to write a newsletter that people absolutely love reading and grow a bigger mailing list? Sign up for Newsletter Magic.
10. Start a podcast.
Use this to build an enthusiastic audience of listeners/fans/potential clients.
You don’t necessarily have to release a brand new episode every single week. If that sounds too exhausting, you could release your show just once or twice a year.
For instance, you could release 8 episodes all at once, and call it the Spring Season. Then, several months later, release another 8 episodes and that’s the Fall Season.
11. Do the Give, Ask, and Receive technique.
This is a technique that I made up and tested out with a group of clients. It worked so powerfully!
The concept is really simple. Every workday:
– First, GIVE.
– This means, do something generous for someone in your community with no expectations and no strings attached. You can do an act of generosity for anyone. A friend, colleague, client, customer, even a complete stranger.
– For example, you could post a 5-star review about a friend’s book or podcast. You could introduce a colleague to someone they ought to meet and make a helpful connection. You could nominate a colleague for an award. You could mail someone a small gift in the mail. You could send a text with an encouraging pep talk to boost someone’s spirits. You could share a music playlist with your clients to brighten their day. It can be something very small and quick that doesn’t take much time. Big generosity in a tiny package.
– Start your day by doing something generous. GIVE first.
– Once you’ve done that, then ASK. Reach out to someone and make a request or proposition. Ask for something you want.
– Ask someone to hire you. Ask someone to check out your website. Ask someone to feature your product in their shop. Ask someone to interview you for their publication. Ask for something small–or ask for the moon.
– If you’re courageous enough to ask, there’s always a chance they will say YES.
– Then, REPEAT. Do the Give, Ask, and Receive method every day. Try doing it for 10, 20, or 30 days in a row. Watch what happens.
My clients loved the Give, Ask, and Receive format because it feels really balanced. Yin-Yang. Give first. Then ask. Send positivity into the world. Then, welcome that positivity right back.
If you’re someone who gets really nervous and insecure about asking, by giving first, it helps to erase some of those icky, anxious feelings. You can ask with confidence–because you know, “I’m not a grabby, greedy person. I’m a generous person. I can give–and ask–every day. Both.”
If you love the Give, Ask, and Receive concept, get onto my mailing list. Because I’m leading a Give, Ask, and Receive Challenge later this year and it’s going to be free to participate. So fun!
12. Talk to a stranger.
I’m very introverted, and I rarely chit-chat with strangers when I’m in public. Usually I am wearing my headphones (and of course, these days, a face mask), and I keep to myself.
However, on the rare occasions when I actually make an effort to chat with a stranger–almost every time, something magical happens.
Years ago, I got hired because I chatted with the woman sitting next to me on an airplane. We just had a friendly chat about life, work, goals, dreams. Turns out, she had always dreamed of writing a book.
When I told her that I’m an author and I teach writing courses online, her face lit up and she said, “Oh my gosh! Can you believe the serendipity?” Later, she signed up for my Tiny Book Course and we’re still in touch to this day!
You just never know. That quiet person on the plane, at the store, could be a journalist, or a potential client, or someone who is looking for the exact product that you provide. Perhaps God (or the Universe, or whatever term you prefer) put your paths together for a reason.
13. Print a bunch of business cards or postcards describing your work. Sprinkle them all around town.
Community bulletin boards, coffee shops, bookstores, the gym, yoga studio, etc.
14. Give a big stack of business cards to your friends and family members, too.
Tell them, “Please keep these in your purse/bag/car. Just in case. If you happen to meet someone who needs what I offer, give them my card! Thank you!”
15. Introduce yourself to fellow business owners who might be able to refer clients to you—and vice versa.
For instance, if you offer wellness coaching and personal training services, introduce yourself to a local physician. When she has clients who want to get healthier and improve their physical fitness, she can refer those clients to you. (And you can refer clients to her.)
16. Gently remind clients that you love and appreciate word-of-mouth referrals. Encourage them to send new clients your way.
People often get busy and forgetful. Sometimes, they just need a tiny nudge to remind them to do this.
17. Teach a free class in your community (or online) to connect with potential clients and give them a small sample of your skills.
After the free class ends, invite them to continue learning by hiring you/enrolling/purchasing your book/etc.
18. Write articles/essays/blog posts on your site—and for other publications, too.
People might discover your work that way.
19. Dress up like a dinosaur and dance on the street corner with a handmade poster to advertise your services.
Haha! I witnessed this one time (LOOK! here it is), and it made me laugh so hard.
I immediately pulled over, bought a car wash on the spot, and then made a quick video, because I was so enchanted by this hilarious “marketing strategy.” I immediately texted that video to several friends and told them, “You need to get down to this car wash!”
Okay, maybe you don’t literally want to put on a T-Rex costume. But you can find your own version of this. What would be wild, silly, goofy, zany, unexpected, charming, delightful—sure to grab people’s attention?
20. Go “above and beyond” for your clients and customers.
Add special touches that makes people flip out with excitement—so they rave about you to all of their friends.
For example: a soothing aromatherapy face towel to wipe down after yoga class. A personal email to check in and make sure they’re delighted, instead of just an automated reply.
Figure out “a little something extra” that costs very little (or nothing at all) that makes people super happy.
21. Do a really good job.
The best “marketing plan” is…to be really, really, really good at whatever you do.
If you are a really good attorney, graphic designer, massage therapist, executive coach, dog trainer, science fiction novelist, Tarot card reader, you make mermaid-inspired facial products from seaweed and crushed shells, or whatever you do–people will talk about you. People will rave about you to their friends. People will text their cousin and say, “You need to check this out.” Word will spread.
Over the next few years, instead of spending 10,000 hours posting things on Facebook and trying to find customers there, instead, use those 10,000 hours to gain mastery of your craft, hone your skills, and become excellent at whatever you do.
Stop doing shallow, unremarkable work and start doing, as author Cal Newport calls it, “Deep Work.” Your best and highest work.
Do this—and people will talk about you, recommend you, and send new clients your way.
SOCIAL MEDIA IS OPTIONAL, NOT MANDATORY
You can certainly incorporate social media into your marketing plan. But you don’t have to. Social media is optional, not mandatory.
If you don’t enjoy using social media, then either delegate the task to someone else on your team, or simply decide, “It’s just not for me. I’m not doing this anymore.”
It is absolutely possible to run a thriving business without social media.
I know many successful people (fundraisers who raise millions of dollars, performing arts directors who produce Broadway shows, fitness trainers who are booked solid for months at a time) who manage to find plenty of donors, clients, and customers—without using social media. There are plenty of other ways to connect with people and sell your work.
Out of the 21 options you just read, is there 1 that especially leaps out at you?
Something that makes you think, “Yes! That’s something I could do.”
Do it. Try it and see what happens.
Regarding social media: Maybe you will continue to use it for personal reasons, for your business, or both. Maybe you will decide to cut back. Maybe you will take a short break, a long break, or a forever break.
Listen to your “hut” (heart + gut) and do what feels right for you.
Your hut is very smart.
TINY STEPS ADD UP TO BIG THINGS
If you email 1 potential client…1 time? That’s a great start.
Now, imagine what might happen if you email 1 potential client every workday, all year long. Say, you contact 5 people per week. 20 people per month. After 1 year, that means you will have contacted around 240 people. Many of these people might hire you or spread the word. Tiny steps add up to big things.
IF YOU LIKE THIS LIST…
If you’re an aspiring author, you might love The Tiny Book Course, too.
I also have a variety of Free Resources that you can check out, including checklists, workbooks, audiobooks, and more.
Thank you. I’m wishing you a powerful and inspiring year, whether it includes social media–or not.
I was sitting alone on my couch with my broken leg bound up like a mummy, swollen from recent surgery, bleary and woozy from painkillers.
It had not been…the best week ever.
I felt grateful that I’d broken my fibula and not my spine. Grateful to be alive. And also, lonely and a little nervous.
Nervous I would never be able to run or jog or dance again. Nervous that I would fall behind on work, that my income would suffer, which (as a self-employed person) I couldn’t afford to let happen. Nervous about so many things.
I lived at the top of a steep flight of concrete stairs with no elevator, which meant I was temporarily “trapped” in my apartment and couldn’t leave for a while. I didn’t have family nearby. My partner (at the time) was at work.
I was alone. All alone with my thundering thoughts, an unsettling place to be.
Then, a knock at the door.
It was my friend Justin. Coming by, just to check in and say hi.
And he brought me a sandwich.
The scent hit my nostrils and I realized: between the accident, the ER, the surgery, and all the meds, I hadn’t eaten a proper meal in days. That sandwich was gone very quickly.
He asked how I was doing. I answered honestly. I’m actually feeling pretty anxious.
Justin looked me straight in the eyes and said, “It’s going to be okay. I’m here for you. You have friends who care about you. We are going to help you get through this. And you will be stronger than ever.”
Justin visited for about 15 minutes and then left. I felt different than before. Calm. Steady. More hopeful.
It’s incredible what a sandwich and a few minutes of compassion can do for a person who is hurting and a little scared.
Justin’s tiny act of kindness changed my attitude and, really, changed my whole year.
Big actions are important.
Tiny actions are so important, too.
The call. The text. The moment of undivided attention. The hand to hold. The sandwich.
Tiny things create big ripples.
Go bring a sandwich to someone today. Or your own personal version of a “sandwich.”
It might make a huge difference.
It could change their whole day. Maybe even change their whole life.