Adventures in Instagram as a Soulpreneur

instagramsoulpreneur

When I started my Instagram account in November of 2015, it was before Spiral Sea Tarot (website, brand etc.) had really taken shape and I had no clear objective or expectation going in. At the same time, I ran a personal Instagram account where I interacted mainly with my friends IRL. But, it was a weird time for me. I’d spent the last year or so in the process of reevaluating my spirituality and finding more ways to incorporate it into my life; getting back in touch with something I'd lost somewhere along the way. The problem was, I didn’t feel comfortable to share that with most people and every time I wanted to post a picture of an incredible spread I’d just done or a passage from a book with an unconventional topic - I felt a lot of reservation. But, I knew I wanted to take pictures of the things I loved and I knew I wanted to share those things with...someone. And so, in secret, I started a second account - now the one and only account I use today.

Why a secret? To test the waters. To provide myself an outlet that felt safe. To share without filter or fear. I suppose those would be a few good reasons. Once I was sure I wanted to have this space where I could creatively explore what I was most passionate about, I shared it with a few - mainly because it felt weird to have this side thing that no one knew about and ultimately I knew I needed to transition myself more fully.

Now that I’ve been doing this for over a year and a half, I wanted to reflect back on what I’ve learned through the process of showing up everyday in this capacity. So without further ado, below are the biggest lessons I've so far come by while using Instagram as a soulpreneur.

You don’t have to do it all! This article is about Instagram specifically because that’s the platform that I’ve clicked with; that works for me. I tried to do the Twitter thing and I kind of have a Facebook though neither of these networks truly appeal to me for various reasons. So my fellow soulpreneurs, don’t feel like you have to have your foot in every door. I learned that I do much better to focus on the place that brings me the most joy and satisfaction. Forcing anything else would not be authentic or sustainable.

If you’re eager to build a following or make those long lasting connections, you may be tempted to start googling strategies to grow. I’m here to tell you that for me, ignoring the strategies was my best strategy because even if they technically work, they didn’t feel right. What strategies am I talking about? How about, following thousands of accounts without rhyme or reason in the hopes that a percentage will follow you back? Or, leaving heartless comments on other accounts just to be seen. And what about all those pods? Closed groups who work together to pump up each other's posts in an effort to beat the algorithm. I was asked to join a pod recently - I declined. Personally, I hate feeling like I have to do anything. If I want to comment on your post - I will. If I don’t resonate with it or don’t have the time, I won’t. It’s as simple as that. It’s also true that if I focused on these strategies perhaps I’d have a bigger following than I do currently, but then again...maybe not. At the end of the day, I learned that doing what feels right for me was the only strategy I needed to lean on.

It doesn’t matter who follows me. Repeat after me. It doesn’t matter who follows me. As a soulpreneur or otherwise, you cannot allow that count to dictate who you are and how you feel about what you do. There are going to be people who follow you just to dump you as soon as you follow them back (see lesson above). There are going to be people who you follow and admire who never follow you in return. There are going to be people who follow you for months or years and then unfollow you for reasons unknown. Who. Fucking. Cares. I don’t say that to be insensitive. I say it because caring too much will get you nowhere productive, and I promise you, these people are giving almost no thought to their actions. They aren’t waking up and thinking “how can I upset so and so today?” No. They are doing their own social media thing by their own standards and so be it. Hey, we all have accounts that one day we decide we no longer vibe with and why shouldn’t we have the freedom to unfollow them? What if looking at their posts everyday conjures up a host of insecurities and for our own mental health, it’s just better to not have them in sight (see lesson below)? Let’s not assume that every unfollow is malicious; people have their reasons - good or bad. AND if you’re experiencing any of the above, you’re in excellent company because we all experience it! I lose followers every damn day - sometimes MANY followers in a day. This is okay and it is also natural. The right accounts and connections will find you. Those who are engaging with you authentically will be evident. Remember - it doesn’t matter who follows me.

Know thyself. I have this conversation with myself where I’ll say “this is me, and that is them”. It’s very easy to get swallowed up in the sea of comparison, imposter syndrome or envy - especially when you find yourself surrounded by so many seemingly successful and gorgeously curated accounts. My advice: keep your eyes on your own page. It is wonderful to be inspired by others, but you must know when this inspiration has turned toxic and to stop looking - or following. Everyone is on their own path and you are no different. Trying to appear as someone else, act like someone else or emote like someone else is doing such a disservice to you. You must find your authentic voice in this over-saturated environment. Masking, because you think it will help you gain a following, more attention or help you stand out, is not a sustainable or joyful way to go into any enterprise. Know thyself. Not only will this feel better, it will also attract the right tribe, connections and opportunities in alignment with your vision - operative word being "your".

I love taking pictures! Yes, this is something I learned that I probably wouldn’t have known about myself had I not started this account. Photography has become a creative and cathartic outlet for me, and this is largely why Instagram is my social media platform of choice. If writing is more your thing, perhaps Twitter would be more appealing or even Facebook. But for me, I love expressing myself through image and finding new and interesting ways to showcase what I love. So while I do have objectives when it comes to social media, it’s also just really fun and if it weren't, I doubt I’d be as engaged or excited about it. Social media shouldn’t be a chore - I think the things we are most successful at are the things that we’re also having a really good time with. If you cringe every time you "need" to make an update, chances are the quality of your updates will reflect this.

Fuck perfection. Of all social media platforms, it’s really easy to get swept up in the perfection game on Instagram. Especially for some of us who are naturally perfectionists, it can be difficult to think we’re putting something out there that is even slightly askew. I’ve literally spent an hour trying to take a photo and you know what, fuck that. At the end of that hour my back hurts, I’m exhausted, I’m cranky and I’m over it. Now when a picture isn’t coming together, I snap what I can and then walk away. Maybe they turned out okay and I will use them or maybe I’ll just set it aside for another day. But perfection, no matter how long that picture takes to come together, doesn’t exist. I’ve learned to let ease trump - some days I’m in the flow and some days, my eye just isn’t there - or the sun isn’t out - or whatever. Just do your best and know when to walk away.   

Social media is a powerful tool. I specifically use the word tool because a tool is something you can build with, if you know how to use it. And in the right hands, Instagram can be an incredible place to grow your business and make long lasting connections and friendships. But, you have to show up for it. If you want people to connect authentically with you - you must authentically connect with them. If you want people to engage with your posts - engage with your audience - respond to comments. Ask questions. Be interested.

Go with your gut! Duh - we’re soul centred folks, this is our bread and butter - leading with intuition and also guiding others to do the same. Take your own advice and listen to that voice that says “this isn’t right” or “this feels good, even if no one understands it”. As you navigate these murky waters that can feel overwhelming and scary at times, use the most powerful tool you have in your kit - your gut. I've more or less felt my way through this process since I began and I'm not sure where I'd be if I didn't, but I do know I'm happy with where I am - so that's pretty damn important, right? Sure, I have plans and agendas and some sense of organization, but if my gut says "scrap that shit you planned to do this week" - I go with that voice. Some of my biggest successes have been things I never planned; things that just came to me on a whim that I then rolled with. Don't be so rigid. What makes you feel good? What are you excited about? What feels right? The answers are closer than you think.

So those are the biggies, though In writing this post I realize there is actually a shit ton more I could share on this topic. We'll leave it there for now and I hope some of the lessons I've learned resonate with you and provide some food for thought. I will likely continue to blog on this topic and so if there is a particular lesson outlined above that you'd love to see me go more in depth on, leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below!

Until next time...
Julia