How I manage my online business without a smartphone in 2022
For nearly a year now, I've been living and operating my business without a smartphone. As dumphones are trending, I wanted to share how I made the switch to a flip phone (the Sunbeam F1 Daisy) and make it work as a business owner.
(If you’re as interested in this topic as I am, I have an entire playlist of videos on YouTube sharing my dumbphone journey over the past few months, and everything I’ve learned.)
I know the concept of this blog post might seem silly to anyone who successfully ran a business before, say, 2007, but many of us have started and grown our businesses in the era of the smartphone, and it can be easy to forget the time before smartphones took over. But I believe it’s possible to find a healthy balance in your use of technology as a business owner, even if that includes giving up your smartphone entirely. Let's get into my tips!
1. Find ways to do everything on your computer, instead of your smartphone
This helps remove the dependency on your smartphone, but also, limits your work activities to your physical computer. I've found this transition has resulted in less screen time and better work/life boundaries for me. Because the size of your computer limits where you can take it and how easily you can use it, it’s creates a natural boundary between work time and the rest of my time.
2. A great website is the home for your business
Any business, whether online or brick and mortar, could benefit from a great website. At minimum, you want your website to be functional and easy to look at. It should have a portfolio showing pictures or examples of your work and have a way for customers/clients to contact you directly. Your website makes clear who you serve and how they can work with you.
3. An email newsletter is critical
I've found that the majority of my business comes from my newsletter and this has been the case when I had a smartphone and used Instagram a ton, and it is still the case now! I've found that a newsletter allows you to reach people directly in their inbox, and you can reach people who don't have a smartphone or who don't follow you on social media. A newsletter is the best place to communicate directly with your super fans - the people who come across your website and immediately sign up for your newsletter. They love what you do and they are ready to buy your products and services - they’re just waiting for you to email and let them know when you have something new for them.
4. Go beyond social media marketing
It’s possible to access social media without a smartphone. Instagram, for example, recently made it possible to post from your web browser. Still, the experience is not quite the same and the algorithms will punish your account for not using all of the features of the mobile app. If you're utilizing social media marketing, I would recommend adding other marketing strategies in addition.
Surprisingly, most marketing ideas don't require a smartphone, including YouTube and Pinterest (these are search engines, not social media). You can also work to improve your website's SEO, start blogging, podcasting, handing out fliers or leaving business cards at local businesses, reaching out directly to potential clients, reaching out to past clients, going to a local meetup or trade show, or partnering with someone in your industry to refer business to each other. Don't discount these in-person and analog marketing methods!
5. Plan ahead
Personally, I use a combination of digital and paper planning. Of course, I love paper planners the most! If you're used to relying on your smartphone for scheduling and list-making, you will need to make a change. You will need to write down things like phone numbers and addresses and directions and confirmation numbers and other info that a smartphone would store for you. I know this can be a headache at first, but I challenge you to think: what would happen if your smartphone battery died and you didn't have an outlet or charger nearby? Would you be able to get your work done? Planning and preparing for your week ahead of time is huge if you're running a business, whether you use a smartphone or not!
These are just a few of my tips for living and working without a smartphone, but I'd love to hear yours in the comments below. What do you think? Would you try working without a smartphone?