Why I Deleted Instagram from My Phone
Your Biggest Vision
Season 3, Ep. 43

If you have been feeling stuck and frustrated with your online business specifically on Instagram, this episode is for you. I decided to delete Instagram off of my phone. It has been several weeks since deleting Instagram and I thought I would share the reasons I decided to do it, what I have been doing since then and my plan in terms of navigating my business without it moving forward. You don’t and should not have to be at the mercy of Instagram for your online business to be as successful as you want it to be.

Tune in to hear: 

  • Why I decided to delete Instagram off of my phone and how it has been going these last few weeks without it 
  • Why I think Instagram may be doing some entrepreneurs more harm than good
  • Tips on getting out of comparison mode and into the driver’s seat of your life as an online business owner

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If you have been feeling stuck and frustrated with your online business specifically on Instagram, this episode is for you.

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Business without instagram- Leah Gervais

Episode Transcription

Leah Gervais: Hey, everyone happy November. I hope that this finds you well and that you are having a great fall so far and are looking forward to welcoming the holiday season. I certainly am. Uh, if you follow me on Instagram or if you are on my email list, you may know that last week I took a practice maternity leave. 


So this is something that was recommended to me by my friend, Tara, who I had on the podcast a few months ago, talking about her maternity leave advice. One of the things she recommended is to take some time to, um, have your business function without you and to see how your team does without you, and to just see what goes on. Uh, and she said that she realized doing practice rounds while she was away was, was really helpful, or why should we, while she was pregnant, it was really helpful.


So we did that, and that is why I started, uh, decorating for the holidays in October, which is not a precedent I usually want to set. I do want to wait until week through, um, you know, Halloween, uh, but here we are. So anyway, I hope that you are, uh, had had a great Halloween and are looking forward to the holiday season. And today I wanted to, uh, open up to you guys about my decision to delete Instagram from my phone. 


This is a pretty personal decision, but I just wanted to talk it through with you because there were a few indicators that this was the right thing to do for myself, that I don’t know if one alone would have, uh, been enough motivation for me to do it, but all of them together sort of helped me evaluate it. And I wanted to share them in case one or all of these is feeling true for you too, and might be a sort of catalyst for making a different decision for yourself as well.


So, uh, just to give you the kind of rundown I have not had on Instagram, on my phone for several weeks now, I have not been posting my stories. Um, we haven’t really been posting stories, but when we do, it’s typically not me. And there are a few reasons for doing that. So in this episode, I just want to talk to you about the D the reasons leading up to my decision to do it, that kind of flags I was seeing around it then what I’ve been doing since then, and the stance that I’m taking moving forward with it, and what my plan is in terms of navigating that within my business, because you might be wanting to do something like this, but you might be wondering, is it something I feasibly can do given Instagram being part of my business model? And that’s a very real question. 


So that’s something I want to address as well. So let me start, uh, even further back a few months ago, I had a mastermind retreat, um, for my year long elite mastermind, and one of our sessions inadvertently, or just sort of spontaneously centered a lot around the use of Instagram in my clients is businesses. So my early masterminders are pretty successful. They make five figures per month, or they’ve had multiple five figure months. They have, you know, long-term contracts, they have premium pricing on their coaching or whatever service it is that they provide. 


Not all of them are coaches. Um, all of them are self-employed. I think all of them are self-employed, uh, in short they’re living like their dream lives. And that was something that they really established at the retreat. Many of them were able to kind of take a pause and look back at what they wanted to be when they grew up or vision boards that they even made at the beginning of this year, when they joined my mastermind and see how much of their life really was their dream come true, whether it was their day-to-day job, the work they do with their clients, the money they’re making the fact that they no longer work for someone else or a combination of all of them, really in the most spectacular ways their dreams were coming true.


And so this was of course, incredible to see yet, we started realizing that there was this sort of common denominator around comparison and still feeling quote behind, uh, from where you should be. And I don’t think that that’s all the fault of Instagram. I think that that can happen through various ways, but I certainly realize that that channel was not helping it and was typically a safe bet that it would make you feel worse rather than it making you feel good, not so in short, my clients that have really seen their lives come their lives change, and their dreams come true, and their goals achieved started realizing, Hey, maybe, you know, maybe I should rethink my relationship with Instagram, which isn’t making me feel the best about myself. 


When really I have so much to feel so great about coupled with something that I’ve been seeing for years and have talked about for years, this isn’t really specific to my mastermind, but coupled with so many entrepreneurs wondering why their business isn’t taking off on Instagram.


So a lot of times new entrepreneurs will see the online business world on Instagram, they’ll start an online business and they will assume that they need to start an Instagram because that’s usually where they found out about Instagram. Right? Totally makes sense. So they start these Instagrams and they spend a lot of time and energy figuring out what to post, maybe even getting photo shoots, done drafting, different pieces of content, following people, reading free PDFs on how to get more followers, uh, trying different bots, different apps I’ve seen and heard it all. And I tried a lot of it myself. I was totally, you know, person number one within this scenario, but I learned a few years ago and it served me well to know that Instagram is not a very good lead generator, especially not the way the algorithm is now. It’s pretty hard to get people to find out who you are on it, that don’t already know who you are.


It’s not impossible, but it’s not that great of a system to rely on. And then furthermore, it’s really not a great place to rely on people buying from you because not everyone sees every post. They’re not usually getting on Instagram to buy. If anything, if Instagram itself is good for any marketing, I believe it is good for nurturing. 


So this means people that already know you have already found out about you from some other avenue, then following you on Instagram, getting to know you a little bit more and a little bit better, maybe conversing with you, DM-ing you, whatever. And then eventually buying from you, but usually through a different channel. So it does have a marketing place nurturing, but it is not the full funnel, which is what a lot of people rely on it for. They feel like people should be finding them on Instagram and getting to know them on Instagram and buying from their posts on Instagram and that’s way too many eggs to put in the singular basket. 


That is an app on your phone and for almost all my clients and any entrepreneur I know, and myself, we start businesses for freedom and Instagram really doesn’t make you feel free. And even if, even if in a hypothetical world, that funnel was full-proof and that was really working well for you. I still don’t think that that would make you feel that free because you’re relying on a different app. 


You’re relying on Mark Zuckerberg in order for your marketing to work. And you don’t really have ownership over that social media platform. So a little bit more on that net in a bit. But my point is, um, from a business standpoint and from a strategy standpoint, and from seeing my clients and seeing so many other entrepreneurs have this kind of frustration with it, I guess I’ve just been a little turned off by it for a few months now, honestly, I don’t think that I had the same kind of frustration that I see in other entrepreneurs because I’ve known for years now that Instagram is solely a nurturing platform for me and for my business.


That’s the only way I treat it. If someone were to find out about me via Instagram, meaning have it be a lead generator or someone were to buy from me over Instagram, that’s great. That’s exciting, but that’s more of a bonus than a reliable strategy for me. Nonetheless, I was just starting to feel a little bit pickier about the platform then, uh, fast forward a few weeks and Facebook starts to just get a lot of negative press in the news. And you might have heard of this from the notorious whistleblower, who testified before Congress about the dangers of social media and the dangers of Facebook and Instagram in terms of the harm it can do on the mental health of youth and it’s addictive natures. And how many of the C-suite members, including trios, Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg have been well aware of its negative effects for years and have really not done that much about it.


And, um, that is honestly that itself doesn’t bother me as much as I feel like it bothered the general public. Like I remember reading about reading on Twitter, just how angry people were and how corrupt they were calling Mark Zuckerberg and all of that, that, that didn’t really land with me. I’m not going to lie. This is more of a personal preference, but in my mind, I feel like if we’re going to make these companies, uh, you know, if we’re going to vilify them for making things that are addictive or bad for our health, then you know, why aren’t we going after candy companies? Why aren’t we going after alcohol companies? Why aren’t we going after tobacco companies? Why aren’t we going after so many other types of things that we do in, and companies that make these things that are bad for us, that they of course know that they’re bad for us, but they make it anyway because we live in a capitalistic society where people can make their own decisions.


So it didn’t bother me so much that these people knew and were kind of not caring anyway, that wasn’t really where my anger came from. And I never really got angry, but it did allow me to kind of pause and think, okay, well, if I quit drinking alcohol, because I learned how bad it was for me, I never smoked cigarettes. Um, I do eat sugar, but the point is I started thinking, I believe that the responsibility is on the consumer to evaluate what’s good and what’s not good for them. And to make those decisions. And why am I doing this? Then if this isn’t great for my mental health. And I will say that the addictive nature of Instagram slash Facebook still probably I think what really pushed me over the edge to delete it. It is my pregnancy, honestly, because I am about to have a baby.


I’m just a few weeks away at this point. And I don’t love admitting, but it can be honest about the fact that oftentimes if I’m not working or if I’m just, you know, watching TV or if I’m just cooking or if I’m like getting on the subway or whatever, um, I have the habit of opening my phone and looking on Instagram, I’m sure so many of us do, or maybe it’s Facebook for you or Twitter or whatever, but we have this habit without thinking of opening our phone and getting on a social media platform. 


So I started just thinking about what life would be like with a newborn. And I imagine that there’ll be lots of interrupted sleep. That there’ll be lots of downtime feeding him, um, or just kind of laying with him, maybe trying to rest myself. And I realized that there was a pretty good chance that a lot of that would be consumed with social media consumption if I didn’t break the habit now, just because I was in the habit of getting on my phone and looking at an app.


So that was a really big push for me to realize, you know what, this is not what I want for my mental health. This is not what I want for the next few months of my life. I want to get out of the habit now. And more importantly, I want to prove that I don’t need to be on this app as much for my business to still be a million dollar business before my baby gets here. I want to do that now. So it was sort of all of that thought processes that, uh, made me just simply delete it. And I didn’t consult with anyone about this. I didn’t tell my team about this. And we certainly do. And, or did use Instagram as, as a, you know, as an actual like marketing platform. It was a tool that we use. It was something that we thought about and talked about and things like that.


So it was a little bit abrupt, I guess I would say to just delete it, although I haven’t deleted my account and I won’t, and I’ll talk about that. I’ll talk about why in a second. Um, but nonetheless, I just kind of decided to do it for my own mental health and just as, as my own preference, because I don’t want it. And you know, more importantly, I think that my job as a business coach and as someone who works with entrepreneurs is to show what you can do. And what’s possible. I’ve always kind of viewed that as something that my platform is for. And that’s why I’ve always been very open about my income. Um, and I’ve tried to be very open about the struggles I’ve had as well as the wins that I’ve had and something that I want to sort of prove, or just show or demonstrate is that you don’t need to be on stupid Instagram in order to be successful.


And I think it’s really important to say that, and I know that there are going to be, um, you know, there are some people that are saying, well, if you’re not on Instagram as much, if you’re not showing up, that’s what people love to say. If you’re not showing up unquote as much, then you’re going to lose clients. Well, so be it. And you know what? I know that the right clients will still come to me and they’ll come to me in even more abundance because they’ll realize that they’d rather learn how to build a business from someone who isn’t glued to this app on her phone all the time. Um, in fact, I had a client a few like last year, I think could join scale your side hustle. I love her very much. And she explicitly told me she was very open to me.


And she said, I almost didn’t join Scale Your Side hustle because I was comparing you to other business coaches. And you don’t have that many followers in comparison. I have just for reference in case you don’t know, I have around 20,000 followers at this point, uh, which is like not a million, um, it’s not a hundred thousand, it’s not 50,000, it’s it? But it’s also not 2,000. I worked hard to get those followers, but it hasn’t grown in, I would say probably two or three years because I stopped caring about following. So anyway, she told me that she almost didn’t join Scale Your Side hustle because she couldn’t take me as seriously as these other people that had really big followings because I didn’t have that big of a following. And I, at first I kind of just laughed it off. I didn’t really care, but then I kind of thought, you know what?


I’m proud of that. I am proud that people can join my programs, learn my business strategies, learn how I got from side hustler to six figures to seven figures and know I didn’t have to use Photoshop to do it. And no, I don’t have to be on Instagram stories every hour to do it. And no, I don’t have an Instagram husband to do it and no, I don’t have to document every second of my life to do it. I still have the ability to have privacy, to have time on my own, to define what I want my day in my habits to look like, to choose how, and when I want to show up for people. And none of it stops me from making the money that I want, the impact that I want, the business that I want, or the growth that I want.


And in fact, it helps sort of narrow down or even just sort of, you know, specify who’s the right client for me because they also want that level of freedom. There are going to be some people out there that want to be influencers that want to use Instagram that want to learn Photoshop that want to have a verified, uh, platform that wanna, you know, be able to document their travels and everything. And that’s fine. That is perfectly fine. And they should, and there are business coaches out there that will show them how to do that, because that is what they’ve chosen to do. So I hope you kind of get the gist of where I’m coming from here. It’s not that I’m trying to bail or just kind of like dip out. It’s that? I think that it’s, um, this is what works for me.


And, and you know, it’s not that I don’t think Instagram’s valuable. We still do use it, which I’ll talk more about in just a second it’s that I don’t want to be at the mercy of it, and I don’t want my business to rely on it. And so if you’re listening to this and you’re like, that is exactly how I feel about Instagram. I want to be able to have it. I want to be able to utilize it, but I am so sick of feeling reliant on a dependent on it, disappointed in it, frustrated by it, maybe even hurt by it. Maybe even addicted to it. Then, you know, you’ll probably fit right in, in my programs because I’m going to continue to talk about this and continue to share how we’re leveraging it strategically while it’s not at the cost of my mental health, my being present with my family and my personal life and my freedom.


So with that, what does it look like? What does Instagram look like in our business model moving forward? Well, at this point we still, I still have my plot. I still have my account and I still continue to post on it several times per week. How do I do that? If I don’t have the Instagram app, it is a actually, it’s not a mix. Well, it’s kind of a mix. Um, we post using, uh, Holly, or I’m sorry. Geez. Facebook, Facebook creator studio, Facebook creator studio is a free platform that comes with your Facebook business account, which I’m sure everyone has. If you have an Instagram business account, the two are connected and it allows you to draft posts, um, schedule them and, uh, create them in advance to then be posted to Facebook or Instagram. So we do everything from there. It is a free platform it’s you don’t have to pay for it, like some of these other ones, not that there’s anything wrong with those, you know, just do what’s your cup of tea.


Um, the downside of Facebook creator studio is that it does not allow you to schedule reels. So at this point I just don’t really make real, so that’s how I’ve addressed that. Uh, but it does allow you to upload video and like to IGTV. And it does allow you to upload of course, photos, including carousels. So that is how we schedule things. Now. I don’t usually do them myself. Uh, I have a team member, an amazing, amazing, very talented marketer who helps me with that. Um, and her and I kind of worked together to talk about what we want to share and what’s supportive to our audience, and then we schedule them out. So she doesn’t need to have be on her phone anymore. And I don’t need to have the app on my phone. Occasionally we still do use stories. And that is a similar situation where it’s typically someone on my team posting things I’ve asked them to post or posting things like reposting things that they’ve seen people share with us.


Um, reposting my podcast things. And I will say that maybe once or twice since I deleted it, I’ve read, downloaded it to my phone, posted something I really wanted to, and didn’t know how to do with that without doing it myself, and then just re deleted the app. So, you know, that’s an option too, this isn’t, I’m not trying to like make any grand statement here. I’m not trying to boycott Facebook or boycott Instagram, or, you know, put vilify these platforms. I am just trying to make this work to have freedom on my terms and my vision come to life. That’s like always the Mo of everything I do. So that’s how I’ve been able to do that. Now you might be wondering why Leah, are you still then posting? If you don’t want to be on it, why should other people be consuming your content on it?


And the answer to that is like I just said, I’m not anti Instagram or I’m not anti Facebook. And I think that there’ve been times in my life when they’ve really benefited me and motivated me. And I really connected a lot with people, both mentors and mentees, um, you know, coaches of my own and then clients of my own on the platform. 


So if someone is in that chapter right now, and if they are enjoying the app, if they’re getting to connect with people, they’re networking, they’re growing, they’re learning all of, if they’re benefiting from it, why should I not provide content on there as a way to kind of add to that experience for them? It’s similar to how our business treats Pinterest. We have been using Pinterest since our business started, um, you know, almost six years ago now. And it is a huge traffic can traffic source for us.


It’s also a pretty big lead generator for us. We have completely unique Pinterest managers. We have someone that strictly does our Pinterest. She’s amazing and then has her name and I pay her monthly to do that. And she creates pins for us and she creates content for us and they lead back to my work. And that is a great lead generator. And I haven’t logged on to Pinterest in probably three years. Right? So it’s like, I’m not going to dictate how people are reached by us or how they consume our message or how they are supported by the things I have to say and share, and my story and my journey and my tips and my strategies and my client success stories and all the other things that I really take a lot of pride of putting out into the world, because I know how helpful they are to people that consume them.


And I know how life changing our programs are to be totally frank. I’m very, very confident in the work that we do, and it’s very moving to watch it happen, but I’m not going to sort of like decide where people should find out about it, where they should get that message where they should be reached by us, et cetera. That is up to that is up to them. That’s up to people how they want to experience that. So that’s kind of the approach that I’m taking. If people are in a moment or in a chapter where they’re benefiting from being on this app and they like it, and they are able to feel inspired by being on it, why would I not continue to put things out there that continue to inspire them or continue to motivate them or continue to show them what’s possible?


That’s what this is always been about. Um, so really like the intention behind my platform hasn’t really changed at all. Um, the only things that have changed are about my personal use on it and how frequently I’m on it and how I’m on it. And a little bit of the nurturing strategy behind our business, because we did use Instagram stories as a nurturing strategy quite a bit. Um, and all that’s really looking like is doing more of the things that we, um, have ownership of to nurture like this podcast, for example, like my website, like our programs and like my email lists, all of which frankly I’ve been building for the past six years. 


So this isn’t really anything new. It’s just about making sure that we’re constantly taking a pause and evaluating what we’ve done, what we’ve set up and how happy we are and how happy I am and importantly, how free I feel and making sure that we are still optimizing the answers to all those questions in a way that still serves our audiences and grow audience and grows our business.


So it’s really, probably not as dramatic as it sounds that I like deleted Instagram. Um, it’s not like I was an influencer and I just totally deleted the app that I relied on. It never has been my end all be all. Um, but it started to feel like it wasn’t a good habit. And so I listened to that. And if you are starting to feel like, Hey, maybe I’m putting too much pressure on this platform and I’m not enjoying it as much. And I’m not like as happy as, um, I could be. Then, then, you know, maybe this will kind of spark something different.


So I hope that you found this helpful. If nothing else, I hope that it helps you realign and re-ask yourself. If what you’re doing day to day is in alignment with your definition of freedom. If there’s anything else you can do to find more freedom. And if you want to know or talk about or discuss better or different strategies for how to get yourself out there, how to get visible, how to get more leads and get more clients and get more sales that doesn’t involve the brain drain of Instagram, then definitely reach out to our team. You can always email us at help@leahgervais.com. You’d be a good fit in any of our programs. And I will continue to update you guys on this as I experienced it myself. Uh, and I just hope that you remember that your freedom is a non-negotiable, but no one is going to fight for it except for yourself. 


So I encourage you to continue to ask these questions and remember that even if you do something scary, like cut off something that might be working, you’ll only further connect with people who also don’t want to experience the thing that you’re cutting off. So no need to be scared. Okay. Visionaries, I will talk to you soon, all my very best to you guys and have a great day.

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