How Introverted Entrepreneurs Can Build a Thriving Business
If you’re an introverted entrepreneur, so much of the advice you’re getting isn’t right for you.
We’re told to put ourselves out there by attending the biggest and best networking events and pitching our services every chance we get. That we must lead webinars and workshops and speak at events—regardless of whether or not that plays to our strengths.
In short: masquerade as an extrovert. But following this formula is a sure way to drain your energy and resolve, fast.
Here are three ways to protect your energy while building a thriving business that attracts the clients you want to serve.
Give Yourself Permission to Say No to Networking
Networking is hard on introverts. It combines all the elements that sap our social batteries the fastest: small talk and forced conversation with seemingly endless groups of strangers.
People are attracted to authenticity, and if you are so far outside of your comfort zone at a large, loud networking event, how can you be fully you? Or bring your best self to the table?
It isn’t worth the time required to recover from an introvert hangover, and continually pushing yourself to do something that saps your energy is counter-productive. There are plenty of other ways to build your business that will utilize your unique skill set.
Focus on the Strategy That’s Right for You
Entrepreneurship courses, webinars, and training programs provide a formulaic approach to attracting the right clients and building a successful business. Many provide a significant amount of value, and their strategies may even work well for you.
But what if some of these don’t intuitively feel right to you, or align with your strengths any more than networking does? If this is the case, here’s the good news: they don’t have to be a part of your strategy.
Instead, pay attention to the activities that draw on your strengths and give you energy, and focus on those areas.
For example, many introverts express themselves more effectively through writing than speaking. If that’s true for you, starting a blog and pushing those posts out through social media is a highly effective way to develop an online community that attracts the right customers.
If your business is fully or partially online, build your social media pages and master the art of paid promotion to drive sales and draw loyal followers.
Take Small Steps Outside of Your Comfort Zone
I’m sure you’ve heard the quote encouraging you to do the thing that scares you. There is value in this concept, but I’d like to propose a modified version.
As an introvert living in an extroverted world, it may seem like we have much smaller comfort zones than extroverts. Open concept offices cater to extroverts, the loudest person in the room typically has the floor during meetings, and extroverts thrive during networking events.
Alternatively, situations like this are exhausting for introverts, and it’s important for us to take a different approach to protect our energy.
Instead of gathering the courage required to do the big thing that scares you, start with a small, progressive step.
For example, I would like to give a TEDx talk someday (although currently, the very thought terrifies me), and my initial stretching step was to develop The Artful Introvert with a friend. Together, we’ve created workshops for introverted women that begin with a group coaching session that I lead, and then transition into a related painting project that she instructs.
This opened up an opportunity for me to lead a Lean In Circle for both introverted and extroverted women, and these stretching experiences are creating a progressive path toward my ultimate goal of delivering that TEDx talk.
Stay True to the Way You’re Wired
As an introvert, you have a unique set of skills and so much to offer the world.
Staying true to the way you’re wired is the most effective way to develop a thriving, successful business. Giving yourself the freedom to build your business in a way that’s aligned with who you are will attract the customers you want to serve, and ensure you have the energy you need to serve them well.
Read this ebook to learn more about how to protect your energy and balance your drive with self-care.