“You’re almost at 5,000 followers on Instagram. Keep up the hustle and you will look back and laugh at the people who critiqued you for not having thousands of views. That will be amazing talking points and motivation for more people.”

I got that message from a good friend a couple days ago.

If you laugh at me, I feel bad for you. I wish you would spend your time on something you love. If your self-esteem is connected to the number of followers you have on Instagram, you’re finished. I don’t care about how many followers I have, and at the same time, I care more than you know about every follower I have.

But my friend was right. This felt like the right time to motivate some people, or create some “talking points.”

Here are the 5 key takeaways I have learned about going from 400 followers to 5,000 in a year.


You are not for sale. You are not another conversion number. You have no specific “ROI” for me. So many people building social media communities for one reason…. To sell you their course or their mastermind.

Here is how it looks. They give something away for “free.” You just give them your name and email. Then they send you the free item they promised. 3 days later, another free something of vague value. 3 days later, another free something of even vaguer value, because they want to “add value.” 3 days later, a sale offer. 3 days later, a reminder email about the sale. 3 days later, a final reminder, because this will “never be offered again. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity.” 3 days later, they’re gone unless you bought what they were selling.

If that’s your thing, go for it. But it’s not mine. I don’t want to monetize you.

All of my content, all of it, is free. No sale. No funnel. No course. No mastermind. Nothing. It’s all free. My best information, at scale, all day long, for you, for free.

I have a successful global communications and marketing business with clients that pay me. You are not my client. You are my community.


Every time I write something, I ask myself, “Is this true?” Did it actually happen as I am reporting it? Do I mean what I am saying? If someone asks me about it in the street, will I be able to repeat it?”

Thank you for that.


Knowing you are reading helps me stay inspired to see the world through the lense of a story. The direct message from my friend that I mentioned above started as a direct message on Instagram. But it turned into a story that inspired this post. Life is more fun when you see your day to day as a movie, a play, a work of art. With Instagram, I’ve been able to tell you a story a day for the last year.


I wake up and look at your comments. I keep you next to me on my desk. I dream about you at night. I want to know what helped. I want to know what else I can do. I want to know about your struggles and successes. I love seeing you interact with each other in the comments.


I read every comment. I (yes, me) reply to every comment and direct message. The ones that you send me when you are sharing our global entrepreneurship competition with your local radio station in Venezuela. The one where you send me the link to your first episode of the Youtube show I inspired you to start. The one where you tell me you finally stood up to the bully that was making your life a living hell, and he backed down. The one where you told me you finally talked to your mom about your fear of failing in front of her and you are free for the first time in your life. The one where you send me a blessing or a hug or a high five, or a heart.

I read them all. I see them all. And let me tell you that it humbles me more than you could ever know. It grounds me and takes my gratitude level through the roof.

But more than anything, it makes me want to do more.

More to get you to start that thing that makes your heart sing because life is short.

More to give you the courage to block out the noise and negativity of all the jealous and scared people trying to tear down the building you know you can build.

More to show you that this big world is beautiful and full of abundance and kindness to explore.

More to create a happy magic moment for your friends, or family, or yourself.

So if you were follower #1, #5,000, or whatever number comes next, just know….

I see you.

I feel you.

I appreciate you.

I honor you.

And I want nothing from you because you’ve already given me the best gift in the world.

Your trust.

International Speaker and CEO of a Life in Shorts. Daily Vlogg’in my journey on YouTube @brianrashidglobal. Helping brands of all size tell stories that sell.

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