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Welcome

Hey there! My name is Megan and I'm the sewing, pattern making girl behind Dolly Henry. This is my blog, where I share my own creative adventures and hope to meet fellow fabric enthusiasts. I also design and sell sewing patterns through my online boutique, alongside a beautiful collection of clothing and dolls. Thank you for stopping by!

NEWSLETTER

On a Social Media Break (and loving it!)

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook or subscribe to this blog, chances are you would know that I am a busy little bee getting ready for the Brisbane Finders Keepers market in June. I must admit there have been a few hiccups since my application was accepted and it just seems to be Murphy's Law that things that haven't gone wrong before would start to once I had a bit of pressure on!

This included a bit of a dolly disaster (don't ask me, I'm still scarred lol) that meant about a months worth of work was undone, and added to that was crucial supply delays. Added to this was a lovely little flu-bug thing that descended (very likely due to the anxiety and stress caused by issue No. 1) not long after the first hiccup.

Random Sketches
Some new dolly friends that will be coming to the Finders Keepers

Thankfully everything has ironed out a bit now and I seem to be back on track. We had a Finders Keepers countdown calendar in plain sight near the kitchen. I took it down this week. It was getting a bit much. That number was in my face even when I had finished work for the day making it impossible to forget about the timeline I am on. I realized this may be an issue when I flicked through my diary and the months just seemed to dissolve before my eyes. I've always been hopeless with deadlines.

I feel like there is a ticking time-bomb and I find it very hard to relax or enjoy working when I know there is a time constraint. At the opposite end, I do work well under pressure and can produce wonders in twenty-four hours but not when it's a long drawn out deadline. That's just painful!

This week I was struggling a bit to see how I could get it all done. I have already gotten a lot ticked off my almighty to-do list but I just didn't feel like I was making headway as fast as the days were flying. I began looking at what I could eliminate from my day-to-day for the next couple of months, that would release some of the pressure. Oddly enough, I chose social media. I'll explain why because I know it seems insane an online business would choose to opt-out of social media promotion which for a lot of small businesses like mine happens to be one of the only ways to promote yourself these days.

Teeny Tiny Outfits
Hello, it's another Mama Llama!

What did we do before it? 

Well I do sort of know because I started my first website before Facebook and Instagram were what they are today and prior to that, I found other businesses through other methods such as Google, magazine advertisements, and blogs. Then the socials took off and they became the place to be. And it really worked fabulously in the good old days. It did have results. In the past 18 months, however, I have seen a dramatic decline in the effectiveness of using SM (social media) as a sole promotional channel. 

I am speaking in a ratio of effort versus results. Speaking to others, I know I am not alone in this. I have a few ideas as to why this may be and possibly the word algorithm is in there somewhere. But I also have another theory. I have a good feeling a large portion of us go onto SM and stay on there. Just scrolling. Just posting. Just chatting. Which is all totally great but it means that we are devoting a large amount of time to these sites and apps, and becoming less active at getting off them and exploring the larger, wider world.

Anyway, I decided to take a break from all of this as it takes up a huge amount of my time, the results are minimal and I need to focus on the task at hand. Jumping off this bridge actually wasn't very hard as I very much felt I needed the headspace and a break. It also helps that it isn't working great guns so it's easier to dump something when it isn't serving you well. Aside from that, I also have a newsletter that I use to reach out to my readers and customers so I am not completely and utterly disconnected.

Croissant, doing a "this is me after a long day" pose
Mama Llama in mustard and pink!

It's only been two days but I have already noticed big differences. The first afternoon I finished what I was making and immediately decided to take a break - before I realised it I was tripping off to find my iPad to check Instagram. I thought this was interesting that I had set off before I had even registered what I was doing. When I remembered I had deleted the app, I paused and did think okay so what shall I do? I picked up the FLOW magazine I collected earlier in the week and settled in to read, something I wouldn't have made time for because I would have been on the iPad "working".  I did make me wonder how often I spent time on SM while frequently feeling that I didn't have time for other things like reading the magazines I had sitting beside my bed.

The following morning was definitely interesting for me. I woke up a bit excited knowing that my one (business) task for that day was to get working on product creation. It felt good not having fifty gazillion things to do revolving around in my brain. Apparently, multitasking isn't great and I am starting to see why. I usually make a cup of tea and check my emails straight up to see what things lie ahead for the day - whether it's orders or responding to enquiries, or chasing up wholesalers - and then I migrate naturally onto Instagram just to 'check'. That morning I didn't. I had my thoughts completely to myself and I thought okay what shall I do instead? I went and got my sketchbook and spent some time just scribbling while I woke up with my tea.

Croissant the Cat kit production line
One of my new fabric designs on a panel that was later turned into a cushion cover

Anyway, you don't need a step by step process of my day so here is a summary of what I have discovered so far!

- I have more headspace. Just having this room to think has been amazing. I have been considering giving up SM for 100 days and seeing what happens. Like an experiment. This thought led me to consider exactly what I would do as a business owner if SM disappeared overnight. How would I promote Dolly Henry? How would I get people to find me?  There are a lot of people not on SM and a lot that are do not actively use it in the same way a certain portion of the population does.

- I have achieved more. All those five-minute checks, adding to my stories on Instagram, posting quickly, messages, replying to comments and visiting other accounts must have taken more time than I thought. I have had more energy because my breaks have been unrelated to a screen. I have picked up my sketchbook if I feel fidgety and just drawn pictures. This has led to new ideas. I have also started a notebook to record what I do achieve at the end of each day so I have a way of recording what I have gotten done. When you make things by hand it takes awhile and it is easy to feel like you haven't done a lot in a day. Writing what I've actually achieved in a day fixes this problem and makes me feel good.

- Creativity in regards to marketing Dolly Henry has returned. I have other outlets I could explore for promoting my business. One being this blog, which I could spend more time on if I spent less on SM. Another being this market I am going to in June. I also have a newsletter list I could build on and put more effort into. SM takes so much of my time and energy and it has been a bit of a time suck while not giving me much back for all my effort.

Some of the gorgeous new trims, threads and fabric new to the Dolly Henry shop
Mouse Manor Embroidery kit featuring an original Dolly Henry fabric panel




- I've gone deeper into the pool. Instead of splashing in the shallows of SM, I have exchanged endless scrolling for reading interesting articles and blogs again. I've taken the time to read some of the newsletters in my inbox and even engage with the sender instead of reading and deleting. Makes me wonder exactly how social SM is!

- Exercise and Health. There is only so much making I can do in a day, and it turns out checking and replying to emails doesn't take that long. With the absence of SM I could be left twiddling my thumbs, so I have started going for a walk instead of feeling like I don't have time. I also still have a shoulder and arm injury that plays up a bit, aggravated often by typing on my iPad....this is okay if I haven't got to use it to sew and do computer work as well so taking the some of this load off my arm in a busier season is a bonus!

It's only early days yet but I have to admit so far I am loving this. I have wanted to have a break from SM for a long time without stopping my business activities but I was always too scared. After all, it flies in the face of everything everyone says about promoting an online business now. But it was making me feel stressed, overwhelmed and unproductive. I am glad I have decided to stop for awhile.

I am looking forward to having more time to actually create, both designs and also content for my blog. Instead of giving all my time to big corporations (because that's what SM websites are now) that frankly haven't rewarded my loyalty and time with some benefit to me or my business, I am building my own thing, without any "help" for a little while....it'll be interesting to see where this takes me...it's all very experimental and that's part of the fun!

Megan xx

7 comments

  1. I love seeing all the pretty things you're up to Megan! Good on you for finding this out...SM is always a tricky issue, and giving it a rest now and then is so good for the soul and our productivity! Hugs, xAli

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    1. Hi Ali! Thank you so much for your lovely comment xx I feel like I need a SM reset to tip the scales back in the right direction so to speak. Balance is key and sometimes everything gets a little bit uneven :-) Megan xx

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  2. I'm glad you've raised the issue Megan, it's good to be reminded that SM is there to be used and not abused. I'm thrilled to see what you've been making, especially with your own fabrics! You're very talented :) xo

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    1. thank you for your beautiful words Kellie xx

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  3. So much time we "waste" on SM and I have thought about giving it up too. I may shorten my time on them and use my time more wisely. I enjoyed your post and it's great to find more time in the day for sure! Love your posts and cute little dolls, Henry, etc - your doodle or sketch book would be fun to sell for embroidery! I'm always looking for cute little things like that to put on a label or do a small project. Have fun at market!

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    1. Hi Susan! Thank you so much, I might do something like that with my drawings one day! Megan xx

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  4. Hi Susan. So happy to hear about your detox SM journey. I am doing nearly the same these days. 15 minutes a day on Instagram and 5 minutes on Facebook. Planning Facebook takes 2 hours a month and Instagram 1 hour. Done. Good luck

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