We've all been there:
You're lounging on your couch, taking a much-needed break from the hustle. You pull out your phone and start mindlessly scrolling down your Instagram feed, skimming through one beautifully curated photo after another.
Before you know it, you look up at the time. It's been a whole 30 minutes of breezing through one Instagram photo after another, double-tapping and occasionally reading through the long thought-out captions.
You feel like shit. You feel like your feed isn't good enough. You need to step up your game. You want to be more like that influencer whose feed is so gorgeously curated you want to look at it forever.
It's draining, exhausting, and utterly defeating. But why is that?
Two words: comparison trap. These days, when everything and everyone is just a tap or two away, it has become so easy to get lost within the world of comparison.
As powerful and amazing as social media can be, there's one primary issue it presents. Instagram, and platforms like it, takes away the context of the situation and offers an impossibly perfect perspective on others' lives.
As the pressure to present yourself in the best light grows with the number of followers, how can you be sure to stay true to yourself on a platform that values perfection?
Focus on People, Not Numbers
When I open my Instagram app, the first thing I do is go to my profile and check how many followers I have.
This is a dangerous trap. By taking my attention from the quality of my engagements, rather than the number of my followers, my focus is taken away from what really matters.
It's easy to slide into the jealousy and desire to gain more and more followers, but what about the ones you already have?
The next time you feel anxious about the number under the "followers" heading on your profile, ask yourself: "if I were standing in a room in front of [number of followers you currently have], what would I say to them?"
At the time of writing, I have 576 people following me. Sure, it's nothing to blink an eye at if you're aiming to be an Instagram influencer.
Yet, if you think about it, 576 is equal to a small conference. If I was invited to speak in front of 576 people, I'd be damn sure to make sure my message counts.
Find Your Voice
After hours of scrolling down your Instagram feed, things often start to look the same. There's a cup of coffee with beautiful latte art on a marble countertop, a fashion blogger leaning against the wall wearing that season's latest trend, and a cheesy quote or two.
On a platform where everyone starts to look the same, how can you differentiate yourself?
You stand out through your own voice. You share things from your unique perspective. You come up with a point of view and share it unapologetically.
It's worth noting that, when you start to share your specific point of view, you may lose followers. You might see that number go down and your feed may not look perfectly curated. And that's OK.
Let me repeat: that's OK.
Why? Your people will find you and they will resonate with you.
The only difference is that instead of following you for your outside aesthetic, they're following you because of who you are and how you choose to portray yourself to the world.
Share Your Story
Since I decided to launch into full-time self-employment, there's a lot of things I've had to learn. I had to figure out how to get my business license, how to pay quarterly taxes, and how to not freak out when I don't have client work right this moment.
Through it all, there's been one lesson that's stuck out to me the most: not everyone's journey has to look exactly the same.
I've been considering self-employment for a number of years. I would go online, read an article of someone's journey to full-time freelance, and decide I didn't want to do that. I would find another article, read a different journey, and decide that wasn't the way for me either.
This put me off of self-employment for a long time. I didn't want to do it like everyone else did. Over time, however, I finally realized something: I don't have to do this like everyone else. In fact, I can do this my own way, incorporating the parts I like about other people's journey and creating my own path to self-employment success.
One thing content marketers keep hearing is: there's so much content out there, how on earth are you going to be able to stand out?
While it's true thousands of pieces of content is being published on a daily basis, it doesn't mean there's no room for yours. You just need to find a way to get creative and add your own twist to it. In order to make your content stand out, you need to incorporate your story and your unique brand voice.
Not sure what story you want to tell on your social media or any other platform? You're not alone. As a business owner, it can be difficult to separate yourself from your business and look at it from an outside perspective.
That's why I created a free worksheet to help business owners like you find their brand voice, tell their story, and connect with their customers via Instagram or any other channel. Download it and get started today.