Failure is in the Eye of the Beholder

The news is in! After struggling to keep my page new, fresh, and creative, I, Donna Gail, have officially fallen back down to 19.9k followers.

Now before you think this is going to be a sob story, I have a completely different direction that I want to go in. Like my past blog, “How Losing 11,000+ Followers Made Me More Successful“, there will be the real side of this (which is what I have lost) and the optimistic side (which is what I have gained!).

Ten months ago, I had around 33,000 followers. But I also had my Instagram handle still under my small shop’s name. I had started to convert my small shop’s page to a more blogger/lifestyle page for some time so it didn’t feel right keeping it my small shop’s name which is why I changed it to @donnagail.bby. In an attempt to help my page and my business out, I had done A LOT of loop giveaways which left my page with a lot of fake, spam, ghost, and giveaway accounts. I had many followers who just weren’t there for the content – only for the free stuff. Because all these followers weren’t engaging with my account, it made my page look relatively fake so I made the hard decision to delete all of those accounts. I knew the repercussions would be that maybe I would lose even more followers because they didn’t view me as legitimate or I would never gain more followers because, again, my engagement made me look like a fake or uninteresting account.

And that’s exactly what happened. I willingly deleted about 11,000 followers from my page because they weren’t people that actually supported me. From there, my page’s back-end numbers seemed to be staying steady for someone who had a third less followers! But what I feared was going to happen kept happening. Week in and week out, hundreds of followers would continue to leave. Maybe they didn’t recognize my page’s name after I changed the name, maybe because they didn’t like the content I was posting because it wasn’t JUST Disney, who knows! But I liked the content so I kept posting.

Now almost a year later, I am finally under 20,000. Trust me I understand how superficial this all sounds! “Waaahhh, you ONLY have 19,900 followers… Woah is you..” Haha I get it! Which is exactly the point I’ll be making here. That overall this whole losing followers thing doesn’t really matter. But at the same time, people can gabble on and on about how numbers don’t matter, and they are right they don’t, BUT it still hurts to lose the number or have poor numbers. The reason it doesn’t feel great is because content creators like myself usually spend A LOT of time curating their content, editing pictures, finding things to discuss that will spark interest. So when people don’t really end up liking it, it’s like “Ok well what am I supposed to do then?”

And right there is where the comparing starts. I can tell myself repeatedly to not be like others, to stay in my lane and do what makes me happy to post and success will be sure to follow. But then I see so many other people posting grainy pictures, selfies with the caption “I woke up like this” and nothing more, and overall just thoughtless content and yet they are the ones that get the most likes, comments, and followers. It baffles me! Then I wonder that if that’s what is driving success, maybe I just need to learn to not try to post good things, but how does that make sense? It doesn’t.

However, even with all the strife that my page has caused me, I have actually been able to work with MORE companies and brands. Strange right? Almost like they like the authenticity that my page holds and the fact that I’m not afraid to post what I like, be a goof on my stories, and actually engage back with the people who take time out of their day to comment or DM me. It’s in those moments of being offered a new collaboration with someone that I feel really good about the content I provide people!

If you are out there right now beating yourself up about the same thing I am going through right now, then here is me telling you straight up that this is the PROOF that numbers don’t matter! And no, it will probably never not hurt to have people continue to leave my page just as you will probably never feel great about that happening to you either. But we have to keep reminding ourselves and each other that this whole number game thing does not determine your overall success. It truly, truly doesn’t.

So although it doesn’t feel great to have people continually tell me “I don’t like you or your page” by the simple act of unfollowing me, I still like to think that I provide fun content. And even though it might suck to think about eventually being under 10,000 followers, I would like to be more optimistic than that. I haven’t had a whole ton of success these last two years, and it seems like more often than not my hard work kind of just goes unnoticed or falls by the wayside, never to see any tangible benefits. But I still choose to continue to work hard.

Because just like beauty, success, and all other positive things are in the eye of the beholder, so is failure. So even though I look at myself and my page sometimes as being a failure, I know deep down that that isn’t true. And maybe someone is out there right there looking at my page as the best thing ever!

So here’s to the failure of continually losing followers, but also to all the successes I’ve had without those people around to see it!


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