Getting visible online after a break (or when you’re starting from scratch)
How do you get visible again after you’ve taken a break from showing up online? I’m going to share three tips that really helped me when I returned from a month long break from promoting myself online.
Why I needed a break
I’ve been really fortunate during lockdown to have an au pair who has been with us for the last year. But when borders finally opened up, she wanted to see her family for an extended period, which meant losing most of my childcare for a month or so.
With the kids at home, and very limited childcare between July and August, I pared that right back. I didn’t want to get completely burned out, so I wrote out a long list of what I was doing, and cut it back to the bare essentials.
I stopped posting on the blog for a bit, took some time off my in-house role and stopped taking on new client work.
This exercise of extreme prioritisation let me focus on doing the work. Which was great and necessary. But it also stopped me from doing anything outward-facing.
Now that she’s back, and I have space to work again, I found myself really struggling to get visible again.
I started to think, “I’m never gonna be able to promote myself online again, it feels so uncomfortable.”
When you’ve taken a break from showing up online, it can be quite hard to come back on, as you really break the habit and lose some confidence. I think that that is quite similar to if you’ve never done it before.
The main difference is that, having done it before, I know that the more you do it, the easier it gets.
I screwed up all my nerve, wrote a plan that made me feel slightly sick (going live every week on Instagram for 4 weeks), and just went for it.
These are the three things that helped me start showing up again:
1) Remember why you want to be visible
For me, being visible is doing video because I feel like I make stronger connections that way.
I don’t really believe that the universe gives a crap about the energy I’m putting out there, but have noticed that when I put more stuff out there, I get more back.
So the first thing that I always try to remember is why I actually wanna be visible in the first place.
When I show up on Instagram Stories and talk about courses I’m creating or work I’m doing, that always results in me earning more money. It’s not necessarily from the thing that I’m promoting, either!
Sometimes I might get a new client who wants something totally different and doesn’t even follow me on Instagram, or someone might refer me to somebody. It’s a way of reminding people that I exist and what I do.
Within a few days of sharing my first Instagram live, someone bought a content marketing bundle, and someone else booked me in to do a workshop to their audience – a powerful reminder for me that this really does work!
Remembering why you are doing it will make you realise why it’s important to you, and that is very motivating.
2) Don’t overthink it
I have a tendency to want everything to be just right.
Previously, when doing a live video, I would spend ages writing notes, write out an exact script and spend far too long on it, rather than approaching things spontaneously.
Having cut everything out, I realised I didn’t want to add that back in. I wanted to go live with some notes and just figure it out as I went.
THIS IS TERRIFYING FOR ME! Terrifying.
But I also felt that I wanted to spend that time I would spend writing out a script doing something else. And I wanted to show up as me, rambling chat and all!
It’s amazing to have a plan. It’s great to have a clear idea of how you want to do something. But if writing the script, or getting the tech exactly right, or having the perfect photographs, is stopping you from showing up, I would ask you to stop and question whether that’s really a thing, or if it’s just an excuse.
Getting visible online doesn’t need to be a huge production. It can be as simple as propping your phone up and saying hello to whoever is watching.
What is the bare-minimum thing that you need to do in order to be visible in the way that you want be? You do not need to be perfect, you just need to be yourself.
3) Pick one thing and do it
What do you fancy doing an experiment with? How would you really like to show up online?
Write out a list of ideas and then just pick one thing and just do it.
You could do a live video, like I did. Experiment with the new Instagram Reels feature. Create a video that isn’t live. Start a podcast. Write a blog post and then share it everywhere. Email your list (or start one, if you don’t have one!).
You could just talk about what your plans are for the day, you could celebrate the things that you’ve achieved across the day, you could show people your working space, you could talk people through the latest book you’re reading or the book you’re writing.
It doesn’t need to be a big production. If you’re struggling to think of what to talk about, my content marketing bundle is a good place to get started.
It might be embarrassing. Or watched by five people. It might be terrible. It’s just to get you over the initial hump of showing your face online again! It gets easier, I promise!
I think one person tuned in to that first live video I shared. But I saved it to my Instagram profile, and got some really lovely messages about it in the days after it went up.
Just pick one thing and then do it.
As I mentioned, I am doing a series of live videos on Instagram over the next few weeks. I’ll be turning them into blog posts, which will form a little series here on the blog, or you can take a look at the original videos on my IGTV page.