Do you find it difficult being an introverted entrepreneur? Do you wonder how you can grow your business if you’re not comfortable networking? If yes, then you’re not alone.
I am an introverted entrepreneur myself.
I didn’t even speak English when I first came to Canada as a young teenager. I had a thick accent and I struggled communicating with others.
Over the years, however, I have developed certain skills that have enabled me to succeed.
I think of myself as an ambivert. Ambiverts are people with balanced personalities composed of both introverted and extroverted traits.
In other words, I am inherently an introvert, but I can sometimes come across as an extrovert, or be an extrovert if the situation requires me to be.
Whether you’re starting out, growing a startup, or you want to take your business to the next level, just remember: Being an introverted entrepreneur is not a disadvantage. You can still succeed as an introvert in the business world.
A common myth is that introverts are antisocial, and can’t be great leaders. In fact, a study found that being an extrovert is an essential trait of an entrepreneur.
Does that mean an introverted entrepreneur can’t succeed?
Not at all.
Just look at Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, or Mark Zuckerberg. These famous, mega-successful entrepreneurs are all well-known introverts. And they are incredibly successful.
You see, it’s all based on our cultural and historical understanding of what a leader should be like. Much of our perceptions and preconceived notions stem from our cultural upbringing.
The fact is, however, that you have to identify your power. Then use the right tools to turn introversion into a powerful advantage.
Are You an Introverted Entrepreneur?
The terms “introvert” and “extrovert” were introduced by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung in the 1920s. In Jung’s view, introversion and extroversion are two different ways of responding to the outside world.
Jung described introverts as people who enjoy reading, writing, and thinking. They get their energy from these introverted activities.
On the other hand, extroverts prefer large social groups. They like to be out and about, socializing and feeding off the energy of others.
Now that’s a very literal and archaic way to look at it.
Today, we know that there are many levels of introversion. It’s like a spectrum.
One introverted entrepreneur could be fine in a small networking event whereas another one could be very uncomfortable attending it.
Remember, it’s not just about being shy or social. I know introverts who aren’t shy at all. In fact, they’re quite social. Generally speaking though, introverts are introspective, quiet, and observant.
Your inclination to spend time alone is a strong indicator that you’re an introvert, while your preference to spend time with others is a strong indicator that you’re an extrovert.
If you had a choice, what would you rather do? If you prefer being alone, and look forward to being alone, you’re probably an introvert.
7 Ways an Introverted Entrepreneur Can Succeed
In my experience, here are the top 7 simple ways an introverted entrepreneur can succeed and break through the limitations they have set for themselves:
1. Accept Your Nature
The first step is to accept that you’re an introvert. If you already know that this is your nature, that’s great. Self-awareness about who you are is important.
But I am sure there are people out there who haven’t yet realized they are introverts. Or maybe they don’t want to accept it. Why? Because being an introvert is sometimes not considered to be a positive leadership trait.
In fact, research at the Queensland University of Technology found this bias among introverts, about themselves.
They wanted to find the reason why introverts are less likely to emerge as leaders than extroverts.
When the researchers studied 184 business students, they found that introverts believed that they needed to be an extrovert to become a leader. Engaging in extroverted behavior was unpleasant for them, but they felt they had to. Hence, the study concluded that introverts engage in higher levels of negative affect. And this impedes their emergent leadership potential.
However, it’s all about how you see yourself. In essence, it’s your mindset that matters.
Understand that you are an individual with a particular set of qualities and skills, regardless of whether or not you’re an introvert. And recognizing those qualities is essential before you can make the most of them.
Chances are, you aren’t as confident in your abilities as you should be. Maybe you even undervalue them.
Research has shown that introverts are more definitive and specific when describing things. So, you may take your time, but you always make sure what you say is worthwhile. This is a very good quality.
Once you have accepted that you’re an introverted entrepreneur and that it does not make you any less of a leader, the sky’s the limit for you.
Quiet people have the loudest minds. – Stephen Hawking
2. Unlock Your Potential
One of the most important skills you have as an introvert is that you listen to people. This ability means that you’re aware of your environment, including the needs of your clients and colleagues.
Adam Grant’s research on leadership and introversion proves this point. He conducted a field study. He sent questionnaires to managers and employees at 130 franchises of an American pizza delivery company.
His team analyzed different management styles. They found that proactive employees earned higher profits under an introverted leader. Why? Because introverted leaders are more likely to listen carefully to suggestions and support employees’ efforts to be proactive.
Introverted entrepreneurs are more aware of emotional cues and sensory perceptions. Introverts often encourage employees to contribute and make suggestions.
On the other hand, extroverted leaders sometimes feel threatened by an employee’s proactiveness.
Adam Grant’s research team also conducted a lab experiment called the T-Shirt challenge. They took 163 college students and designated them as team members and leaders in a T-shirt folding group. The aim was to fold as many t-shirts as possible in 10 minutes. For motivation, iPods were the reward for the top t-shirt folders.
They found that the groups with proactive followers performed better under an introverted leader. Because introverted leaders listened carefully and made their team feel valued. This motivated the introvert’s team to work harder. As a result, they folded, on average, 28% more t-shirts.
Furthermore, introverted entrepreneurs do their best thinking alone. Thinking time is important. When you’re alone, you get deeper insights into your business plans. And then you could delegate to an extroverted team member for optimal results.
The bottom line is that as an introverted entrepreneur, you should hire proactive employees to get the best results.
3. Find an Extroverted Partner
In a startup business, you should partner with a person who has similar goals and a similar view to yours. But they should also have a different set of skills than you, and different strong points. Balance is key.
In other words, they should have strengths that are complimentary to yours.
For example, you could partner with an extrovert if you are an introvert. This is a great way for an introverted entrepreneur to succeed.
Both personalities have their unique advantages. When combined together in a team, however, amazing results could occur.
Just look at the ultra-successful company, Apple. Steve Wozniak (an introvert) and Steve Jobs (an extrovert), both brought their personalities together and created the innovative giant company Apple that we all know and use today.
Steve Jobs was in charge of marketing, while Steve Wozniak focused primarily on product development. They were stronger together than they could have ever been apart.
You see, you have to identify what you are good at and pair yourself up with someone who is doing what they’re best at.
Generally, introverted entrepreneurs are great at doing the deep thinking and research work necessary for the business. On the other hand, extroverted business leaders are great at selling and getting along with people.
An extrovert who is great at networking and awesome at sales will help your business succeed if you partner with them. Find a business partner who can be strong in the areas that you are weak.
4. Schedule and Prepare in Advance
Introverted entrepreneurs often don’t like surprises. They tend to prefer to be aware of the details of the situation they’re getting into before they commit to them. For example, they might want to know how big a group networking event will be, and who will be there, before they commit. Extroverts are more comfortable being social, so they don’t care as much about knowing those details in advance.
However, business is full of surprises, so you have to be able to adapt. What you can do to smooth your journey is, plan as much as you can. Plan ahead and prepare in advance. As an introverted entrepreneur, this will help you.
If you have a meeting or a networking event, do your research in advance and prepare for it.
Or, ask your extroverted business partner or extroverted team member to attend the networking event for you, so that you don’t have to go at all. That’s another solution.
But it’s important to note that you shouldn’t forever ignore things that are your weakness, or things you’re uncomfortable with. You should strive to work on them. Improve. Grow.The more you’re out of your comfort zone, the more you learn. The more you learn, the more you grow. Click To Tweet
I believe that the more you leave your comfort zone, the more you learn, and the more you learn, the more you grow. Why do I know that? Because I did it myself.
Below, on the left side, is an image of me when I joined toastmasters to work on my English, and removed my fear of public speaking. Can you spot me?
Now contrast that to the right side’s photo, where I was giving a TEDx talk.
Did this new-found confidence happen overnight? No. I worked long and hard on my skills. I battled with my mind to remove my fears.
In the beginning, I always scheduled one-on-one meetings instead of group meetings. When confronted with bigger groups, my extroverted team members would help me.
While you strive to grow your startup, ask yourself this: Wouldn’t it be great if you could grow, too?
5. Manage Yourself and Recharge
Introverts and extroverts differ on how they recharge at the end of the day. They differ when it comes to what gives them the energy to face the next day.
As an introvert, you have to find time for yourself. Quiet time. And use that time to rejuvenate. Introverts use quiet time to recharge.
Yes, everyone needs some quiet from time-to-time. But introverted entrepreneurs need it daily. During that time, do whatever works to recharge your batteries. As an introverted entrepreneur, you must ensure that you make that downtime a priority.
When you allow yourself to have plenty of this private time, you are better prepared to face tomorrow.
If you find yourself in a meeting that drains you, take a small break. Maybe 10-20 minutes.
Remember, those few minutes will go a long way in enabling you to perform at peak performance. Being your own boss means that you have the flexibility and freedom to create your own schedule. So take advantage of it.
Here are a few suggestions:
Meditation: Focus on your breathing and try to push out the clutter in your mind. Not only will meditation give you peace, but it will also enable your creative side to come out. Try a meditation app.
Listen to music: Music is one of the most powerful ways to manage your mood. Use it to uplift your state of mind.
Read books: Reading a book (fiction or nonfiction) is a great way to recharge. I prefer self-improvement books and biographies. Regular reading is one of the most powerful habits of self-made millionaires.
Journaling: Explore your thoughts. Or, write down your daily accomplishments or aspirations. You could even write a story.
The above list is by no means exhaustive. Whatever you choose to do, the main goal is spending time on your own in a relaxed state, using that thinking time and quiet time to recharge and find inspiration.
6. Develop Introvert-Friendly Skills
If your business is built on one-on-one relationships, then you’ll do well as an introvert. So you could look at creating a business that is built on one-on-one relationships, such as a coaching business.
Or, focus on developing and mastering skills that could benefit your business. Copywriting is one of those skills. It is meant for introverted entrepreneurs.
Writing is easier than public speaking if you are an introvert. Why? Because it gives you time to think about what you want to say.
But remember not all writing is equal. When I refer to copywriting, I am referring to sales copy and revenue-based writing. In essence, copywriting is the art of closing in print. It is when you sell or persuade with the written word. Copywriting is one of the most powerful ways to generate revenue for your business.
Copywriting is the backbone of every marketing strategy of every business. Hidden in plain sight, it drives all consumer purchase decisions.
You just have to know the right words to use, and where and when to use them.
In fact, copywriting was my first high-income skill. As an introvert, it was a no-brainer for me. When I got the chance to undertake a mentorship with Alan Jacques, I jumped at the opportunity to learn copywriting from him. And I have never looked back since. I built all my businesses on a solid foundation of this one powerful skill.
Hence, it’s no surprise to me when I see introverts do amazing work writing emails, and crafting compelling social media ads.
If you’d like to generate more revenue for your business as an introvert, I have put together a free in-depth training.
So you could also see if this little known and high demand skill is right for you.
The best part? You don’t need a degree or any sort of experience to get the best out of this free training.
7. Introverts Can Close, Too
I mentioned earlier how I battled my fears of public speaking. I worked on skills that didn’t come naturally to me. And I advised you to strive for your personal growth, too.
As an introverted entrepreneur, I know how difficult it is to meet people and close deals. To close, you have to feel comfortable talking to people. Sometimes this is hard for an introvert.
However, closing is an essential skill required to be successful in business. The art of selling.
Now, if you’re introverted, you may be utilizing the help of your extroverted partner or your extroverted team members to sell and close deals. And that’s great.
However, you should work on your closing skills, too. That way you don’t have to rely on others. I personally had decided early on that I would work on my weaknesses. No matter what.
As an introverted entrepreneur starting out, I spent hundreds of hours on the phone. I faced many rejections. Over and over again. I kept losing out on business.
I felt humiliated. I just didn’t know the right way to close deals, or convince people. I didn’t know what to say and how to say it. All of the information that was found was based around the old methods of being slimy and pushy in sales.
I tried doing that. I followed every trick in the book of a skilled sales professional of those times. It didn’t get me anywhere.
Over the years, with plenty of trial and error, I figured out what works and what doesn’t.
I created a 3-step blueprint around my methods once I figured out what worked. This is a proven framework that any introvert such as myself could follow. Easily. I call it The Perfect Closing Script.
It’s like a cheat sheet that you can just keep in front of you during your next sales conversation.
This way you would know exactly what to say and what to ask to help you close the deal.
Think of this script as a secret weapon for introverts. The more you practice, the more deadly a weapon it becomes. So, practice role-playing the script with other people. Become comfortable selling on a live sales call.
There’s No Better Time Than Now
Now that you know the different ways you can succeed as an introverted entrepreneur, it’s time to go out and take action.
I know it’s hard to take the first step. But remember, your first step is the most important step you will ever take.
I speak from years of experience as an introvert. It’s acceptance and implementation that turned me into an ambivert.
If I can go from not being able to speak English, to public speaking on stage at TEDx, in front of thousands of people, what does that mean? It means, so can you.
But you don’t have to get out of your comfort zone right this moment. Take it one step at a time. It’s all about those small incremental 1% improvements every day.
1% improvements every day can make a lot of difference over the course of one year.
You could discover the skill of copywriting which is tailor-made for introverts.
Or maybe you could learn the framework from which you could easily close deals yourself.
Whatever you choose to do, remember: Accept yourself, know your strengths, and believe in yourself.