What do you want to be known for? This is the question I asked myself before going to bed last night. Sometimes posting to social media feels so calculated, I get in my head and I want it too much. I want likes, I want followers, I want people to like my work. I know *how* to play the game - post work in progress, talk about your inspiration, make sure people know what you're doing and what you're making. But it's hard to feel authentic when you're catering to an audience. Curating an online persona is not something I'm interested in doing, but here we are.
I’ve used Twitter and Instagram as tools for my career for the last 6+ years. Putting myself out there and owning my narrative has been incredible useful in helping me market myself, especially since becoming an independent consultant. I have three major interests: design, photography, and illustration. By running my own business, I’m able to dedicate time to all three in ways that makes sense to me. They come together and drift apart as much as necessary.
We’re all (secretly) desperate to be the stars of our own show, to be known. We want attention. But what do we want it for? If you’re an introvert like me, you get tired of the constant conversation and the need to "perform" online. I've gotten psyched out to the point where posting my process, thoughts, ideas, and work in progress photos trumps taking the time to hunker down and do work! We feel bad when our work isn’t Instagrammable - and we don’t have to feel this way! The messy, terrible, silly, pointless, BAD work that you never put online is the important work.
You're not perfect, and your work is not supposed to be perfect. You are not supposed to hit a home run every time. Believing this lie is limiting your potential. Don't get distracted by Instagram. Don't get distracted by what other people are doing, how many followers they have, and don't make yourself feel bad for not "being as good". Fuck that. You are good.
Do the Work
The question of how we want to be known is bigger than social media. If you're an independent consultant, your business is your reputation. Do you want to be known by clients as reliable? Honest? Patient? Thorough? These are goals you should strive for: self-awareness and self-improvement, not Instagram followers. Say it with me: values, not numbers.
Take 5 minutes and ask yourself: what do you want to be known for? Write your answers down, and keep them close to you. Make up your mind about who you want to be, and then go be that person.