The 5 Reasons Why I am Rebuilding My Instagram from Scratch

PSA: While I don’t expect you to care about any of this, it helps me to write it down as this process could help at least a couple of people by giving them the courage, inspiration and more importantly a on-going blueprint for something they have always wanted to do. 


I have had an ongoing love/hate relationship with social media platforms in general.

  • I spent way too much time trying to keep everything to Twitter’s original 140 character limit.
  • I really tried to work Pinterest but it just didn’t do it for me.
  • I believe that LinkedIn has a lot of potential but I always have to remind myself of the difference between a post and article, not to mention the continuous onslaught of direct messages by outsourced IT consulting companies.
  • Let’s face it… Facebook is just bloated. I spend most of my time in private groups and in the ads manager. But with personal accounts and the 5K friend limit, the fan pages having more confusing options than the Starbucks menu, and decoupling of messenger sometimes has even my head spinning.

But it all changed for me when I met our new mutual friend a few years ago… the ‘gram.

Yes, Instagram.

Honestly, its just so easy that even my Dad (the one-finger typer who still uses his phone to make phone calls) figured it out with zero help from me.

My 7-year old son has a loyal, highly-engaged, private Instagram account which he manages himself (on my phone).

Honestly, I love Instagram. There I said it. I love Instagram.

I just love everything about it.

I love the interface. I love the simplicity. I love the hacks and the game. I love the ease of Instagram stories. And who doesn’t love swiping up or sliding into DM. While they are still figuring out IGTV, the IG Live is just a solid, dependable platform for interviews, pinning links and so much more.

Over the last two years I have been learning, experimenting, and testing various tactics on Instagram and I finally feel like I have “figured out” what is possible. Let me be very clear… I am not saying I know exactly what to do. I am just saying I feel like I know what is possible. And while the road to more than 28,000+ followers and friends has been an exciting one, it’s time for me to go all-in and hit the reset button… so I can really grow the ‘gram.

Screenshot: as of Feb 9, 2019 at 11:21am PST
This crazy guy @sharran is going to rebuild his @instagram from scratch even though he has a decent 28K following. Click To Tweet

And for the first time, I am focused on other metrics and foundational strategies such as engagement, audience avatar, cadence of content etc. wayyy more than number of followers. And I say this because, the moment everything took off for me was the very moment when I stopped obsessing about that follower number.

Weird. But totally true.

In the last 12 months, I have a higher EPF (earnings per follower, a concept Craig Ballantyne introduced me to) than almost everyone that I know personally. Which is why I am going to build it right (and better) from the ground up because the opportunity is just plain amazing. While I don’t expect you to care, and I am frankly shocked that you are even reading all this (thank you), my goal here is to memorialize this decision for myself and use this as an opportunity to showcase how it is okay to love a little app that connects you with the world.

The 5 Big Reasons Why I am Rebuilding My Instagram from Scratch

#1. Be willing to destroy that which is not excellent
My Instagram page has been a hodgepodge of experiments since the start. My audience consists of foodies and dog lovers, to business owners and CEOs, and everyone in between. I want to dial this so that I can show up and contribute in a much more focused way.

Be willing to destroy anything that is not excellent -Joe Polish #quote | This crazy guy @sharran is rebuilding his @instagram from scratch Click To Tweet

#2. You need to define your audience before you can own it
I have a pretty passionate community of followers. I got over a 1000+ likes on a post of a dessert tray. That’s crazy. However, going forward I am focused on everything to do with building a better entrepreneur. If that is you, join me… because I am going to own it.

From @sharran: You need to define your audience before you can own it #quote #strategy #platform Click To Tweet

#3. Buying followers does you no good
I am really embarrassed to tell this story but now is as good a time as any.

I still remember the day vividly.

I was at about 9,500ish followers and I had read somewhere that I would get the Swipe-Up feature in stories when I hit the 10K mark.

I really wanted the Swipe-Up feature. I was thinking about all the cool ways I could use “swipe up” in a sentence.

I had psyched myself and lost all patience.

I was unwilling to wait.

I just wanted the 10K just so I could get the Swipe-Up feature and stop hitting refresh every 3 minutes on my phone to check my follower count.

I wanted the Swipe-Up feature real bad.

So I found some (shady) dude and PayPal’d him $350 for the promise of 3,500 followers.

I woke up the next day… lo-and-behold, I had an additional 3,503 followers. And best of all, my Swipe-Up feature had also been activated.


Well, kinda jackpot.

About 24 glorious hours later I lost exactly 3,501 followers.


But, I got to keep my Swipe-Up.

And the 2 additional followers were my friends. So net-net I was -1 in 24 hours. My friend who works at Instagram told me these exact words “Dude, promise me you will never do that ever again.”  

#4. “I only wish I had known that in the beginning.”
That is what I kept saying that to myself, “I only wish I had known that in the beginning.” 

How many times have you said: I only wish I had known that in the beginning #regretisnofun Click To Tweet

Do you know what it feels like to say that to yourself over and over again?

Let me try and explain.

It feels like I just took the PSAT and got a C grade? You know… the test you take before you take the real SAT to get into college in the US? The road to 28K+ and learning how to build, grow, and engage with a community has been the Instagram version of the PSAT.  It has been my practice test. My warm up round. It’s time to really crush it.

#5. Inspired by Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit
Have you heard of Drew Manning’s story? I was deeply inspired when I read the Fit2Fat2Fit story.

Drew was a personal trainer and health coach. He kept getting push-back on his ideas and methodologies related to losing weight and getting fit. So he decided to get fat and show everyone that it really works.

He put on 75 lbs on purpose.

And then he documented his entire journey on gaining and losing the 75 lbs.


Every time someone tells me “Hey… it must be easy for you Sharran, you are strangely famous… and you have a bunch of followers to start with” I cringe.

I hustled for every single follower.

From @sharran: I hustled for every single follower. And now I am going to do it all over again... just better. #quote Click To Tweet

I asked shamelessly in my email marketing. I put it on my blog posts. I plug it in podcasts. Yes, I also got flurries of followers when friends with large followings gave me shout-outs or whenever I was on speaking on stages. But it was by design.

So, now I get to show the “excuse makers” how to go from zero and build it all over again. While I am not going to record the entire story like Drew did with his health, I am going to be an open book and show you everything that is happening at the Sharran-Instagram-Empire-Making-Initiative.

If you are interested in becoming a better entrepreneur, supercharging your business growth, and learning from my never ending journey to becoming a better leader… follow me on Instagram.

I promise to document this journey with specifics (yep, exactly the details of what I am doing) so that you can model the strategies for yourself if you’d like.


PS: Oh, here is what I did. I “gifted” my Instagram account to my company Kingston Lane. And I just transferred my @sharransrivatsaa handle to my new account. The Kingston Lane marketing team is pretty happy that they now have the Swipe Up!



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  1. Sharranthis is definitely not for publication, it is to renew our tennis-time friendship at the Carmel Valley Ranch years ago. I found this on internet and just wanted to get in touch to tell you I am so very proud of you and what you have become. What a wonderful way to make a living by helping others. My thanks to you. I remember our conversations on the deck at the club which has all been changed since then. I retired from tennis at age 88 in October. Gave all my gear away and just am enjoying miles of walking with my Havanese. I would love to hear from you and about your occupation. Marge Kohler P.S. I miss seeing you!

  2. Ann Acquaviva says:

    Hi Sharran,
    You really walk the walk.
    I don’t know you personally however I could only imagine the personal rewards to yourself and your family as you push yourself and grow in the direction you are headed with such purpose. There are not too many people these days that have standards as high as yours. You are inspiring to say the least. I am, as so many others are, very happy to see the success you are achieving. We are along for the ride. With heartfelt gratitude I say thank you for helping to change the world one person at a time.

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