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Thriving in business and life without social media with Bradley T Morris

 

Since the inception of Facebook in 2004 social media platforms have come to dominate the information landscape by tapping into to the intimate human need for connection and community. In exchange for ‘free’ online services tech companies mine our personal data for extraordinary profits while turning ‘users’ into free content creators and dopamine addicts.  Even as the harmful effects on mental health and civil society come to light, it is hard to imagine doing business or life without a robust social media presence. 

In this episode AIR I speak with Bradley T Morris, creative director at Majik Media about breaking free from the algorithms and reclaiming our creativity by investing in a village minded business and life based on collaborative, heart centred relationships. We also discuss the top strategies Bradley used to grow a 6 figure business after deleting his social media accounts.  

Show Notes

 

If you enjoyed this episode on evacuating social media you might also enjoy episode 031 The power of our attention and compassion in the information age with Dr Charles Chaffin

 

Episode Transcripts

 
intro  0:09  
You’re listening to Awake in Relationship, a podcast about intimacy, community and culture in a time of great change with Silas Rose.
 
Silas Rose  0:41  
Hello, and welcome to Awake in Relationship. My name is Silas Rose. If you’re a fan of the podcast and perhaps follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you probably notice I am an infrequent poster, in fact Ill let you in on a dirty little secret, I  kind of think social media is the devil It  wasn’t always that way. Back in the early days, I must admit there was a certain novelty to connecting with old friends and sharing your thoughts online. Back then, really kind of talking before 2010 You might actually see posts from people you care about and engage in some form of civil discourse around important topics. It’s hard to know exactly when things kind of took a darker turn, perhaps 2015 around the presidential election in the US, really seems to be when the town square in the internet turned into a dumpster fire of hatred and misinformation. Despite mounting evidence from whistleblowers and even internal reports from Facebook, about the harmful effects social media has on our mental health, and the social fabric of our society, it is still somehow hard to imagine having a full and rich social life or business without a strong social media presence. So if you’re wondering if there’s life after Instagram, I’ve got some good news. In this episode, I speak with Bradley T Morris, Creative Director at Majik Media, about breaking free from the algorithm, and reclaiming our innate creativity and social agency in the real world. We also discuss specific strategies Bradley used to create his village based business, which really enabled him to grow on lifestyle, as well as a six figure company, rich inner heart centered relationships. If you’re craving more friendships, and less followers, this episode is for you.
 
Bradley, good morning, and welcome to Awake In Relationship.
 
Bradley T Morris  2:51  
Thank you so much. It’s nice to be here.
 
Silas Rose  2:54  
So you a new connection, I actually reached out to you for some help with my platform. But I was drawn into your work by our kind of mutual disdain for social media. So I wanted to have you on the show because I feel like there’s kind of a growing awareness around problems with how we engage with technology, but no one’s really kind of offering any real solutions. And I really feel like you have something to say there. So let’s start with a brief introduction. When was the inspiration for you to get off Facebook five years ago?
 
Bradley T Morris  3:42  
Yes. So for myself, we had just had my son. And I had been feeling the desire to leave social media for about three years prior to actually leaving. Like most entrepreneurs, I felt like if I left social media, I wouldn’t have a business. And so I I stuck with the dysfunctional relationship longer than was necessary. And for me, it was mostly about the the ethics of social media, what they do to people in general in how we communicate with each other, the algorithms and how they control people and how they manipulate what people believe. And also just, you know, in the early days of social media was about getting to know your friends and connecting with people. But then the algorithms made it so that you had to pay for any form of exposure with the people who were wanting to actually see what you’re posting. So there was enough domino’s, for me that was like this is just this is not a productive use of my time. I don’t enjoy it. And there was also the addictive nature. So for me the final straw was I was out for a hike. I was up on a mountain watching the sun said it was a beautiful sunset. And I caught myself thinking in future tense of the post I was going to be putting on Facebook the next day to describe the moment I was currently having. And I was like, This is ridiculous like this technology is pulling me out of the beauty of the moment, so that I can essentially manipulate the moment to benefit me to get more likes and comments and shares and hopefully money eventually. So I just I didn’t like the way that I was altering my lifestyle, and my moment to moment experience to try to showcase or present myself in a way that promoted likes, shares, comments, etc. And it was a cycle that I was in it was a cycle I saw so many people in and it was unhealthy. It was it was not a good thing. And so that was my final straw that and having my son and said, Well, I’m I’m out of here, I’m gonna go find a better way.
 
Silas Rose  6:06  
Yeah, some people take posting to the extreme, you know, I think there’s a real phenomenon of influencers actually dying, in the process of getting that perfect post. You’re your own business coach, you run a media company, it seems somewhat counterintuitive to be counselling people to delete their social media accounts, I really get the sense, you’re a creator. And you really understand not only the inspiration, but the pain that’s involved in constantly putting out work. What are some of the pitfalls that perhaps creators inevitably encounter when they’re trying to build a social media following? 
 
Bradley T Morris  6:50  
Well, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried scrolling to the bottom of the wall. But there is no bottom to the wall. It is a bottomless pit that goes on to infinity and beyond. And so as a creator that wants to put out quality work in the world, I want my work to last I am building my my body of work to last and anything that is created for social media lasts, the length of the scroll feed, and then it’s gone. And it’s gone forever. I mean, you know, there used to be the, it was a 15 seconds of fame. When you got famous for somebody, it’s literally now it are 15 minutes of fame. It’s literally like a tick tock video, you’re famous for three seconds, and then it’s gone. Like people forget about it, and they’ve moved on it is there’s this weird drug like addiction to the feed. And so I think most creators will agree with me that they have the best of intentions to post and get off. But they get caught in the news feed, they get caught, they go down rabbit holes, and I would say 90% of those rabbit holes is the number I’m making up. But all of you creators, listen to this. Tell me if I’m right 90% of the time you’re on social media is a waste of time and energy. And so, you know, when people are, we think that, Oh, if I post good content, people will like it, people will hire me. Or if I post good stuff that will increase my following and my following will buy my stuff. And I mean, what it really actually takes to build the those the following the relationships, it takes so much. Let’s just say you’re putting in two hours a day to create the content, write the content to waste time scrolling the feed. I mean, what else could you be doing with that two hours a day. And I think if people take a step out of the the conditioning, that they’ve allowed themselves to be conditioned into, around the constant necessity of like, I need to post three times a day, I gotta come up with content, I have to think of something clever to say, I have to take nice pictures and make good videos. So people pay attention to me. I mean, all of that energy could be focused elsewhere. And for me, when I left social media, I realized that I needed to rethink how I grew my business. And every year on New Year’s I think of a word that is going to be my theme for the year. And for the first two years after leaving social media, I had the same word and it was relationships. And so instead of focused on trying to get many people to follow me, I focused on cultivating real one to one relationships in the real world, whether it was bridging connections to people through zoom and podcasts, or it was actually meeting people in the real world going to more in person events, etc. And for me that’s that’s helped tremendously. And I have grown year after year after year since leaving social At almost six years ago, so I can say for certain, it is way better for my lifestyle, my work days have gone from, you know, 10 hour work days to six hour work days. So I’m not wasting that bandwidth anymore. And I’m I’m more focused on creating quality than quantity.
 
Silas Rose  10:23  
We will go into specific strategies that you have used to grow your business, but I really want to kind of address the sort of addiction element, what is it that keeps people on posting? I have the sense that there is this kind of underlying fear. And I think you alluded to it earlier in the conversation about how it feels impossible to have a thriving  business without social media. What is that fear?
 
Bradley T Morris  10:53  
Well, I mean, there’s the the fear of missing out of like, social media is all the rage, everybody’s doing it. If I don’t do it, who will I be? How will I grow? How will people know I exist. And I’ll say, like, when I when I deleted my accounts, I felt like I was erased. You know, it wasn’t like, all my old friends started reaching out via text message or picking up the phone and calling me, I had to initiate that. I had to initiate connection with people I cared about, I kept a list of the people that I wanted to regularly get in contact with. Just so I would remember. And, you know, in a sense, I did disappear a little bit. But if that’s what happened, how meaningful were those relationships, how connected were we actually, and so in the process of the last five or six years, I have built the strongest relationships of my life. Because I am connecting with people. I’ve started a dad venture club on my on my island with dads and kids to go on our adventures. I have a man venture club on my island with men that get together every Tuesday for different adventures. I have my relationships for golf, my business relationships, I have my family relationships, I live on a we’ve got to share land with another family, like, all of these things have blossomed because I stepped away from an inauthentic way of living and stepped into something that felt more real and true to me. And the addiction is real. I mean, just I’ll give an example. I mean, there’s this new app called Voysey, which mixes beats, and you can freestyle over beats. And it’s like a very simple, fun app. And so I’ve been playing around on that. And then the other few weeks ago, when I was playing it, I was like, Oh, do you want to share this to Instagram? And I was like, Huh, okay, I’ll try that. Sure. I haven’t been on Instagram. So I resurrected that account. And I click the share button, but I had to have the Instagram app on my phone. And so like, I started sharing a daily song. And before I knew it, I was just going to Instagram to mindlessly scroll wasn’t even about like sharing from voice into Instagram. It’s like, oh, are people liking or people commenting? Oh, this is like the hell with this. I don’t care. I’m doing this for me. I’m gonna delete Instagram. So I deleted Instagram. I’ve been better ever since
 
Silas Rose  13:15  
the first hit is always free… .  So at the core of what you do is really about collaboration. And I’ve heard you talk about this as a village minded business. What is that? 
 
Bradley T Morris  13:33  
For me, I live on a small island and have for the last almost 10 years. And when you live on a small island, you’re more dependent on the people on your island. I mean, if our we had this massive storm years ago, and there was the power was out at our house between the winter solstice through New Year’s Eve, in the middle of winter, and there becomes this like dependence on each other and strangers opening up their homes that had power to like, help people wash their clothes or give them a shower, let them make some food or just like we have an extra bed come live in our house for the next week. Well, the power gets turned on. And there’s this. For me, it’s like I want to live in a world where I feel a sense of belonging, where I belong to a group of people in a community that that holds me that holds me accountable that lifts me up to be my best self. When you’re on social media, trying to get likes and followers and fans, it has nothing to do with friendship. It has nothing to do with connection. It has nothing to do with with meaning. It is literally a popularity contest. And I for me personally I just didn’t want any part in that. I wanted to feel meaningful connection and to have authentic genuine conversation Since when people and I’m sure a small percentage of people that engage on social media do get that satisfaction, I think it requires strategy and discipline to be able to get that out of social media. But for me, it was, I wanted to, I want the people in my life to know me, I want to know the people in my life and social media was not providing a space where I felt that because everybody on there is trying to present this, this false version of themselves, that’s not a full spectrum version of who they really are. Not everybody, but many people are trying to put a front as a way to gain more popularity.
 
Silas Rose  15:43  
That sense of belonging really speaks to me in the sense, it’s so essential for our mental well being, and, and certainly for certainly the future survival of our democratic processes. What specific strategies would you recommend for anyone that’s  flirting with deleting their accounts to grow their business, and their reach organically?
 
Bradley T Morris  16:19  
So I mean, first thing is, if you if you do decide to leave, make a list, create a spreadsheet, or whatever, of all the people you want to stay in touch with and start reaching out to them. Now tell them you’re thinking about leaving, and say, Hey, can I get your phone number your email? What country or city do you live, and just start to organize that in a way so that when you do leave, you’re not just like burning the bridge of connections that you have built? And you’ll be surprised you start to make those connections? How many people are thinking about leaving and want to leave? I mean, I, my these conversations about leaving social medias are some of the most popular talks I have. And so as far as strategies go, I mean, just question What is relationship? How can we relate better? How can we bridge more connections? So for me, three years ago, we shifted our magic media business model, from taking on clients to doing revenue share partnerships. So instead of just renting out our services, and having a project for six months, getting paid a bunch of money, and then having that be done, we now do revenue, share partnerships, where our team becomes the team of the partner. And we work together for three years. And it’s a three year commitment. And that’s been amazing, because it leverages everything we do. And we in return leverage everything our partner has been doing for their life’s work. And together, we build something that would not be possible unless we were working together. And we all make more money as a result of that. So that’s a revenue share. Model. That’s, that’s been phenomenal. It’s really transformed. How I do business and how I’m able to structure my life. And then, you know, I tad Hargrave from marketing for hippies, who talks about having like a hub, a hub lists. So hubs are like people who have a network that is that are connected to what they’re doing. So like magic media, I have a hub network of people that are following our work, they’re on our email lists, they’re inside of my communities. And so start to build a hub list of like, who are the people you want to be connected to these could be podcast hosts, people that host workshops, conferences, they can be other coaches in your industry, and just start to regularly reach out to foster those connections to engage with those people. And I just did a coaching call yesterday for our Creators club group, which you’re part of and the the topic of conversation was around cultivating connection, and what that can do for the business that too, just without an agenda, setup conversations to try to genuinely learn about these other people that are in your industry, and understand what are their struggles right now? What are they looking for? What are they trying to do to move their vision forward, and just to see if there is overlap, or to see if there’s anybody in your network you could introduce them to, to move their vision for because people remember that people, if you genuinely show up to want to help people move their version vision forward, they’re gonna do the same. And it’s the idea of the network effect is, is when you you build these networks, people, when they open up their network, they’re opening up the world to you. For example, one connection I had a call with yesterday gave me seven different people that I need to connect with them for a magic kids business. And so I that’s the power of like, one how many posts would I have? I needed to make to get one person to introduce me to seven different people who can all further what we’re trying to do a magic kids. So that’s, that’s one it’s just like meditate on the word relationships and what that means to you and how you can focus more on relationships and relationship cultivation. And what that would mean for you and what it would mean for your business. And see if you can do a whiteboarding session where you restructure your entire business model to better serve and focus on relationships.
 
Silas Rose  20:34  
How do you track success? Because when you’re in the Instagram dashboard, there’s  kind of simple metrics, ie: a certain amount of engagement. What you’re talking about it’s, it’s very nonlinear.
 
Bradley T Morris  20:48  
Yeah. I mean, for me, success has become more about my lifestyle, my health, how much time am I getting with my son? And my, do the projects I’m working on light me up? Am I learning and growing as a creator? Am I? Am I helping to lift people up as as I evolve my own body of work? Am I creating things that I hope stick around for another 2030 plus years? And at this stage of my career, the answer’s yes. Like 100%? Yes. And every category is I’m becoming the version of myself that I’ve always aspired to be. And to me, like, What greater metric for success? Is there? Do I have enough money to pay my bills at the end of the month? Yes. And all these other boxes are checked? Yes, that’s fantastic. I mean, for me, I did a visioning exercise seven years ago with my wife, where we went from New Moon to new moon, and we just created a 10 year vision for our life. And we, we created this vision, we built a vision board for it. And we we did a beautiful vision board. I mean, we framed it, we put all of our visions written on the back of it, it’s hung over a bed for for the last seven years. And I mean, we can look at that thing. And 60% of what we envisioned and put on there has come to fruition, and we still have three years left, and there’s all of this extra momentum that is taking place. But the idea of having a 10 year vision was amazing for me, because I was always trying to dream bigger than I could create, you know, my my goals every year were just ridiculously huge. And I always failed to to achieve what I wanted to achieve. But having a 10 year vision gave me permission to be where I was, and to enjoy the journey that we were on. And I feel like, as far as a practice goes, like, one and two and three year goals are great, but a 10 year vision is where it’s at. Because that allows you to, to enjoy every step and even weeks that are held for me, I understand how those weeks are setting me up to step into this vision that I have and that I’ve been walking towards for seven years.
 
Silas Rose  23:25  
How do you deal with setbacks? 
 
Bradley T Morris  23:29  
I just show up and you do what you got to do get through it. There’s been many setbacks. I mean, let’s just say, for magic kids, you know, we we raised $100,000 last year to build magic kids. And we, which is our new publishing and production company that magic media owns. But we ran out of money. And I’ve got a team of over a dozen people that I’m working with. And I had to send out the hardest email my life like everybody’s so stoked about the work we’re doing. And we’re gaining momentum with this project. As like we’re we’re getting close to the end of the bank. And there’s not going to be enough payroll, if I keep you working longer than the next two weeks, I need you to finish up your projects. And then you got two choices. Choice one is keep working and banker hours will pay when we get our next investment round. Or option two is find some work elsewhere for the time being until I raise this money, and there’s a hard email to send because I wanted to keep pushing, but it would have been irresponsible for me to keep people working without telling them that we were getting low on funds and, you know, 80% of the people that I sent that email to kept working and banked their hours and we made the investment and now we’re, you know, we’re we’re continuing on with the journey but the setbacks are for me, you know, they used to be a lot harder, but I think they’re just they’re their guiding lights in the journey that are pointing us to look at Certain things that need to be looked at, and to set up infrastructure so that we can achieve what we’re trying to achieve. And so the setbacks are, they’re there for a reason. They’re getting us to pay attention and to look closer at what we’re doing or the direction we’re heading. And I mean, I’m a bullheaded Taurus. So I definitely have no problem with like, powering through, okay, we’re going this way, let’s go. But I think in the years of having many setbacks is that it’s just, it’s just a part, you know, as a part of the adventure that we’re on when we’re a creator, and an entrepreneur,
 
Silas Rose  25:42  
Behind the village mind and business really is this much bigger lifestyle vision, which I think for both of us really creative freedom, you know, as opposed to enslavement by algorithms, which is what happens when we get sucked into the world of social media. How has your own  lifestyle mission evolved over the years and where do you  see yourself going from here.
 
Bradley T Morris  26:08  
For me, I mean, what we’re doing magic kids have writing all these amazing kids stories, and then producing all of these amazing audios with, you know, voice actors and producers and musicians to score the music and sound effects. And in our first 14 stories we’ve released, I’ve collaborated with over 40 incredible artists. And so for me, I feel like my life’s work is to collaborate with amazing artists and to help lift those artists up in projects that I’m inspired to create. It’s definitely like my my ability to creatively direct people and projects and to inspire vision that we’re bringing people together is what I love to do. So I’m excited to do more than that. I’m hoping that I’m 30 a now I’m hoping that before I’m in my mid 40s, that magic media is producing our own movies. And so I, you know, I just want to keep creating, that’s, that’s the joy for me, I enjoy. You know, I’m a coach by trade, I coach people to create it to build businesses. And I love that because I feel like it’s just like, turn, it’s the give back part of what I do. But my true joy is and it’s in making beautiful experiences and creative projects and with people and and then as far as like my I play pro golf is my passion hobby. And so I wake up at 5am all year round and go out and play golf every day in the morning to for my first thing in the am walk in the wintertime I’m playing with glow in the dark golf balls under the stars. And so that’s my obsession, and I’m hopeful that in my 40s I get to semi retire from the operational side of my business, which is what I’m building right now is like building a team to run the steer the ship so that I can play golf and create and do fun things.
 
Silas Rose  28:17  
It’s been such an inspiring conversation. Thank you so much.
 
Bradley T Morris  28:21  
Thanks so much for having me on the show. I hope this inspires people to think outside of the social media bubble that you’re in and to reimagine what life would be like without social media.
 
Silas Rose  28:32  
And  how can people find out more about you and when you do
 
Bradley T Morris  28:36  
for magic media and the work that we do there. That’s majikmedia.com and majikkids.com. 
 
Silas Rose  28:50  
Thanks again.
 
Bradley T Morris  28:52  
Thank you so much.

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