In the world of business, being an introvert can begin to feel like a disadvantage. Extroverts are painted as natural-born leaders and entrepreneurs, while introverts seem to have taken a backseat.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that all successful entrepreneurs are extroverts. If you take a couple minutes to search through Instagram’s top entrepreneurs, you’ll probably find a lot of outspoken, lively individuals speaking to the camera like they’re pros. As a fellow introvert, I completely understand how discouraging this can be. Through most of my life, I’ve felt as though being an introvert was a downside to my personality. I thought that in order to be successful in starting my own business, I had to be outgoing, loud, and upfront. For years, I let this deter me from starting my own business.
However, in this past year of starting True Blue Creatives, I’ve learned that there are many strengths in being an introvert. Strengths that will make you a fantastic entrepreneur, partner, and leader. Once I began capitalizing on those strengths, I began to realize that they were some of the biggest parts of my business that my clients enjoyed most.
5 Tips for Introverts on Starting a Successful Small Business
1. Take it Online
If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that technology has made starting a small business more accessible than ever before. You no longer need a brick and mortar storefront to open a retail store. You don’t need to do rounds of funding because you don’t need millions of dollars to purchase inventory and retail space. You don’t need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising to get the word out.
All you need is access to the internet and the possibilities are pretty much endless. Platforms like Shopify have made it possible to set up an online store in a matter of days. Dropshipping and print-on-demand give the ability to sell products without purchasing inventory. Social media gives you the opportunity to put your business in front of thousands of new people everyday.
As an introvert, you need to use this to your advantage. You can now operate a business from the comfort of your own home, which is a dream come true for introverts who prefer spending their time alone. Use social media as a way to advertise your business without having to spend hours networking. There are so many businesses out there selling their products and services entirely through Instagram — no introductory phone calls, no in-person meetings. Use these tactics to your advantage so you can spend your time and energy harnessing your strengths and growing your business in other ways.
2. Focus on Your Introvert Strengths
Introverts are naturally better listeners. Rather than think of what we’re going to say next, we take the time to listen as others speak and really understand their feelings and needs. This gives introverts the opportunity to build genuine relationships with their clients, customers, and team members.
Introverts tend to be heavy thinkers. When faced with a problem, they take a step back from the situation and come up with a well thought out solution. They don’t act too quickly, weighing out the pros and cons prior to making any large decisions. This introspective approach allows them to see perspectives that others may not, opening new opportunities for creative solutions.
Most of the time, introverts prefer being alone, meaning they work great independently. As a small business owner, you don’t have somebody over your shoulder holding you accountable to get things done. In order to succeed as an entrepreneur, you need to be able to keep yourself focused and motivated.
3. Find a Balance
If you’re an introvert (which if you’re reading this far, we can safely assume you are), being around people drains your energy. In fact, a day full of meetings and Zoom calls probably sounds like your worst nightmare. That’s why it’s important to find a balance between activities you find draining and activities you find reenergizing.
Personally, there are two ways I do this when I’m figuring out my weekly schedule. I’ll block off 1-2 days in the week that are strictly for client calls and outreach. This way, I can get the most exhausting part of my job out of the way. Usually, I schedule these days for Wednesday or Thursday. This avoids adding to my Sunday scaries and gives me the last day or two of the week to focus on work I enjoy doing.
The other way, which is becoming my preferred way, is schedule blocking my individual days. In the morning, I’ll work on designing, strategizing, and planning — all things that I personally love and find energizing. Then, in the afternoon, I’ll schedule my calls.
Everybody has their own preferences, so you have to find the balance for you. Personally, if I scheduled all of my meetings in the morning, I know I would feel to mentally drained and uninspired to carry out the rest of my creative responsibilities. However, I also know people that prefer to do it the other way around by scheduling the most difficult tasks first (in this case calls) so they can get it out of the way.
4. Create Streams of Passive Income
Now there are plenty of reasons why you should start earning passive income, but being an introvert is a major plus. Imagine being able to earn money without having to spend hours on phone calls or in meetings? Sounds too good to be true, but it is possible!
By selling templates, e-books, online courses, etc., you can generate income all from the comfort of your home without much interaction. Now of course, you still want to create a connection with your audience, as they are the ones who will be purchasing your projects. But it’s not nearly as daunting as hopping on one-on-one phone calls with potential clients or customers.
5. Recruit a Team Member (Preferably, an Extrovert)
Just like all other parts of business, you hire people for the things you aren’t good at. At the end of the day, if you aren’t comfortable with going live on social media or making cold calls everyday to sell your services, hire somebody who is. Creating your dream team is all about creating balance between your team’s strengths and weaknesses. Find a business partner who is extroverted and comfortable with putting themselves out there as the face of the business. Hire somebody on your team who is willing to represent the business on social media.
As we head into the new year, don’t think of your introversion as a weakness. Recognize its strengths and capitalize on it in order to grow your business successfully.
Looking for help starting your small business? Contact us to see how we can help!