Dani Gardner helps holistically minded solopreneurs articulate their message, stand out in the marketplace, and grow their business without having to be online all the time.
She believes that you don’t need to be loud and make bold flashy claims in order for people to notice you. She believes that you can market yourself with quiet confidence, and in doing so grow a genuine following of potential clients.
Dani has been talking recently on her Facebook page about her personally imposed digital sabbath, which I found to be a fascinating and a much-needed approach to online business and productivity. So, I chose to interview Dani for the Spotlight Series to dive deeper into how she is living and leading this movement on how you can grow your business by spending less time online.
Q. What started this movement for you?
I was waking up feeling anxious about what response there might be (or not be) to what I was posting in Facebook Groups. I knew this was not good for my well-being so I decided (with great trepidation) to not post in Facebook Groups for 30 days.
This was a really big deal for me. I thought my business would shrivel up and die so I called on the support of my personal mentor to make sure I followed through.
After just a few days I could not believe how different I felt. I was so much calmer and relaxed and this gave me the inspiration I needed to continue.
Q. What does your online/offline schedule look like now?
Monday’s are my ‘quiet desk days.’
I begin with reviewing my week, identifying what is important and making sure those things are scheduled into my calendar. Then I’ll check-in with my mastermind group, do some writing, post to my Facebook Page, reconcile transactions in Xero, and touch base with a couple of supporters of my work or past clients via email.
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursdays are my client session days. I typically post something to social media once or twice on these days in response to topics that came up during client conversations.
Fridays I don’t plan any work. It’s ‘Dani Day’ and I leave it open. Sometimes that means pottering around the house, having a salon appointment or I might use it to catch up on any important things that didn’t get finished during the week.
And Sunday’s I have a social media sabbath (I hand my phone over to my husband Jon on Saturday night for minding until Monday morning).
Q. What differences have you noticed since spending more time offline?
I’ve noticed that my business does not suffer, which has been a huge relief.
One of the reasons I believe this is the case is because of the type of content I share. It has substance, I don’t post for the sake of posting or because Facebook says “We haven’t seen you in a while.” I’ve laid a good content foundation that includes blogs, native posts, interviews, and my audio book which people can access without any fuss.
The other things I’ve noticed is that the more time I spend offline the more I want. I also feel more connected with nature and natural cycles now which is soothing to my soul.
Q. Has going offline impacted your business in any way (positive and negative)?
My online activities seem to be more effective and potent now. My trust has also grown.
Before I really did believe I needed to be ever visible all the time or risk slipping through the internet, I don’t believe that now.
There are times where I fall into the groove of thinking I need to do more, but then I get little reminders here and there that help me let go of those thoughts.
Q. Why do you think so many start-ups/solopreneurs are feeling pulled to spend ALL their time online?
Firstly, we get taught that being online all the time, on multiple platforms, and posting multiple times per day, is what is required to be successful.
There is also an addictive element, and social media platforms play on that by coming up with new ways to make us pick up our phones.
And personally, I’ve come to believe that we have been cast under an insidious digital ‘spell’ that is extremely difficult to come out from.
Q. From what you’ve seen or experienced, what is the impact of this behaviour?
The impact is that we end up being switched ‘on’ 24/7. There is no space, no true rest, more anxiety, more fear, and more feelings of not-enoughness.
We become totally disconnected from the natural world and that affects our well-being.
Q. In today’s world, do you think it is necessary to be online all the time to build a business?
No, it’s definitely not necessary.
For me, I got pulled into the vortex of Facebook Groups because of the appeal of ‘zero dollar’ marketing. When this happened my time online increased humongously!
I spent hours commenting and encouraging others so as to not slip through the algorithmic net. It felt laborious and inauthentic.
To keep being seen in Facebook Groups the true cost is being online all the time.
However, now that my marketing practices do not revolve around Facebook groups this alone has decreased my screen time.
Q. How do you suggest people can “Wean” themselves from spending so much time online without it impacting their business income/growth?
In the case of someone who is reliant on Facebook Groups, I recommend shifting their focus over to their Facebook Page and website. This is what I started doing prior to that initial 30-day break from posting in groups.
The ‘type’ of content that we share needs to be looked at too. I see a lot of somewhat superficial ‘how to’ content and sharing of memes. This type of content is ‘okay’ but it probably won’t grow a following of people who are interested in what you have to say.
To make content more interesting, thought-provoking and potent, something else is required. Our content needs to help people through the lens of our own values, perspectives, opinions, personal experiences, and beliefs.
I share more about how to spend less time online and ‘potentising’ our message in my short audiobook Foundations of Quiet Marketing.
Read more interviews from the Spotlight Series.