Let’s face it, you feel invisible.
Sometimes it’s like your best ideas are flat out being “hijacked” by your more vocal counterparts. And it seems like they’re taking all the credit. In a world that never stops talking, being an introverted entrepreneur can be hard but it doesn’t have to be.
In fact, the advent of the internet and the magic of being able to launch your own website + voice your opinions at the push of a button makes introversion very rewarding these days.
At least one third of the American population is introverted. – Susan Cain, New York Times best-selling author of Quiet
What makes it quite interesting however, is the fact that we all have a mix of both worlds. As an introvert, I sometimes find myself talking and interacting like an extrovert, depending on the topic of discussion and the surrounding circumstances.
Of course, we all fall at different points along the introvert-extrovert spectrum. Even Carl Jung, who popularized these terms in the first place, said there was no such thing as a pure introvert or a pure extrovert — that “such a man would be in a lunatic asylum.” There’s also a term, ambivert, for people who fall smack in the middle of the spectrum. Susan Cain goes to explain further on CNN, quoting Carl Jung.
In a world filled with so much hype and noise, how do you not get pushed to the back as an introvert?
After using myself as a case study and doing lots of research on this topic, I came up with these eight solid ways to brand yourself, play on your strengths and be comfortable in your own introverted skin without stretching yourself too thin. Let’s dive right in!
Do you. Be you.
When I first started my business, I felt the need to run it the way everyone does theirs. I mean, join every Facebook group, be on every social media platform, embrace the latest craze in town and just follow the herd. They’re the experts, you know. And when you see people that have so much success doing what you dream of doing, there’s a natural tendency you’ll want to do whatever they do. It even got to a point where I wrote my web copy exactly the way my successful competitors wrote theirs. And guess what? I ended up with the kind of copy that was filled with hype, failed to reflect my values, purpose and intentions, and ended up not making any sense to me, talk less of making sense to my prospective clients. Introverts thrive on the kind of creativity that comes from solitude. Do you, be you and stop following that latest fad in town.
Truth is, people know when you’re trying too hard. You come across as being desperate, unsure of yourself and a little bit crazy. So forget the labels the society tends to place upon you. Embrace yourself. Introverts run the world.
When dealing with your tribe, embrace vulnerability. People love vulnerability. Because it’s relatable. It makes them feel like you know them. Like you’re in “this” together. Share your pain, share your joy, share the highs and lows without crossing your comfort zone. I understand the fact that we’re not over-sharers, the most important thing here is to strike a balance. Vulnerability in itself is marketing reverse engineered. Just not in the way people think.
Recognize your strengths.
So you realized you don’t wanna become Seth Godin after all. Maybe all you want is a business that brings in 5k per month. Or 300k. It’s ok to want either. Or maybe it just suddenly dawned on you that you don’t want to build an empire or lead a large group of people. Or maybe you don’t like to collaborate with anyone in your industry.
That’s OK. Never apologize for who you are.
More often than not, introverts need space. Sometimes I just sit in my bathroom and let the minutes roll by. In extreme situations where the kids are crying, the hubby is blaring some music and I feel myself entering the red zone, I know I need a little bit of solitude. And where else can I get that except the bathroom? [#survivalisthenameofthegame.]
Sometimes you just want everyone around you to shut up or the whole world to just melt away for twenty minutes. Leaving you in your little world. Oh, is that only me? Right.
Bottom line: Whatever you don’t want to do? Don’t do it.
Create products and services based on your strengths.
Introverts are known to possess a razor-sharp focus and an intrinsic ability to shut the world off. Introverts are also self-motivated and don’t rely on external stimulation to stay charged. For instance, acclaimed scientist Charles Darwin was known to politely turn down dinner invitations and take secluded walks through the woods. (Source: Hubspot)
So a little while ago, I beta tested a service I wanted to offer my clients, and it was supposed to include talking with them on the phone for at least 90 minutes. The feedback was fantastic, judging from the 10-part question survey the participants filled. They gave raving reviews, but I absolutely hated it. I took on five people for the beta testing process and had horrible headaches each time our sessions ended. I didn’t enjoy talking on the phone for anything more than 60 minutes. It was an ordeal I would never put myself through again. Needless to say, I dropped that service like a bad habit.
As an introvert, it’s imperative to master your strengths and play on it. According to the excerpt from Hubspot and Susan Cain, we thrive more in solitude. And that razor sharp focus is very accurate. Base your products, services, heart projects, webinars, blog posts and every marketing strategy you can think of on your strongest traits. If every webinar runs for 75 minutes, makes yours 25 minutes if it makes you more comfortable.
How about a little “cheating” on the side?
In the presence of mutual understanding and respect, both personalities (extroversion and introversion) have a natural ability to merge together beautifully. If there are some aspects of your business that make you want to tear your hair out every time you do them, play on someone else’s strengths. How about an extroverted VA with a larger than life personality? Or some form of collaboration with your BFF who you truly love and trust and you know can pull it off? The most effective work teams have been found to be a mix of the two types.
Sharpen your social skills.
As uncomfortable as you may feel in large settings of in the midst of extroverted groups of people, you need the social skills. This is something I’ve been able to improve upon over the years, so much so that you may get the illusion of thinking I’m extroverted. Imagine you’re meeting a group of people for lunch and hoping to convert at least one of them as a client. Yes you’re introverted but you still need to make a good impression. You never know who is looking, you never know who is judging. And just because you’re an introvert doesn’t necessarily mean all your clients will be introverts.
Exude confidence in your body language.
No one wants to hire a wimp or someone that comes across as a “less-than-confident” entrepreneur. Whether you’re meeting a potential client face to face or on the phone, let everything about you exude confidence. Come prepared and carry a note with you if necessary! Don’t put yourself in a situation where even though we both know you’re really good at what you do, your body language says the opposite. Introversion isn’t the same as insecurity.
Quiet isn’t the same as “boring”
Add some zing to your marketing message. Bring your personality to the table and let your brilliance shine through. Marketing can be fun, kind, empathetic, gentle and still make money without the hype. Sometimes people read stuff I write and they’re like “I don’t think you’re introverted!” And I’m here thinking to myself: oh, that’s because I’m not boring!
Last but not the least, embrace rest and solitude.
Where’s your “me” time? Because you’ll need it. Oh yeah. Most of the time.
If you can only write a blog post once in a month, that’s fine! If you only need to take three clients per month to stay sane, that’s totally fine! And if you need to spend twenty minutes in the bathroom once in a while like I do? That’s fine too. Introverts thrive more on solitude. Embrace it.
All round awesome people to follow online if you’re an introverted entrepreneur:
- Tara Gentile: Who else would you follow online but the creator of the Quiet Power Strategy™? Tara Gentile is one amazing woman. She writes one of those newsletters I actually do open. I love the fact that she’s all about giving the quiet ones the permission to run their business their way. I love her personality and wealth of wisdom. You can catch here Quiet Power Strategy posts over here.
- Carrie Klassen: Carrie is the founder of Pink Elephant Academy for Entrepreneurs and she believes marketing can be quiet, gentle + kind and still be marketing. She’s one of the introverted entrepreneurs I respect and follow online. I like her confidence and body language when she talks on video, coupled with the fact that she’s very soft spoken. Dive into her gentle marketing blog posts here.
- Esme Wang: Esme Wang runs a thought-provoking blog that makes you to stop and think of doing something meaningful with your life. It makes you realize that normal, everyday people have real life pains they go through. Her story is relatable, and she touches on topics that would otherwise be too painful to talk about if not for her brilliant prose and presentation. Now I’m not sure whether she associates with introversion or not, but I sure do enjoy her thoughtful, well crafted posts on the school of life.
- Alexandra Franzen: Alex is the word unicorn that makes even the most difficult conversations smooth as butter. She strikes me as someone who is kind, and deeply cares about humanity. I can get lost just scrolling through her archives reading every ding dang piece of prose she’s inked on her website. Because she’s marvelous like that. The next time you find yourself on the spot in an awkward situation where the right words just seem to elude you, hop on her blog! Chances are she’s already covered whatever it is you’re looking for.
- Paul Jarvis: So I already know Paul is a genius, I just never knew he associates with being an introvert until I read his take on it. His Sunday dispatch is pure gold, where he shares the most insightful posts on creativity, freelancing + running a successful and profitable online business. Much like Alex Franzen, what I love most about Paul is his kindness and authenticity. He says it like he means it and never apologizes for BS.
- Corina Nika: Corina is the super talented designer behind the mega popular blog Cocorrina. She’s humble, talented and kind of an Instagram celebrity. What I love most about her is the way she relates with her tribe. She even posts a video on her blog every now and then, addressing her readers’ questions and giving valuable advice on growing their blog and getting started in the design world. Corina can turn the simplest of things into a pure work of art you can use to fuel your creativity.
- Lisa McLoughlin: Lisa coaches introverts and helps people cultivate confidence. I think that’s a pretty cool niche. Need I say more?
- Megan Gilger: Megan runs the popular Fresh Exchange blog and also associates with being an introvert. I first discovered Megan through Pinterest and then became kind of addicted to her “getting real” posts where she and her husband/business partner share insights on love, life, career, creativity and defining success on your own terms.
- Allison Lehman: Raise your hand if you use the lovely stock photos from death to the stock photo. Allison (and her team) redefined stock photography for creatives and small business owners like me who don’t have the means to buy expensive, over-posed photos from the big stock photography websites. She runs her own show on her blog Up & Running and shares her insights on health & wellness, travel and entrepreneurship. She also co-wrote the Charge Up introverts eBook.
Recommended books for introverts
- Quiet by Susan Cain
- Quiet power strategy by Tara Gentile
- Charge up Introverts by Claire Dean and Allison Lehman
Do you consider yourself introverted? How does it affect the way you market and run your business? Do you follow other introverts online? Hit me up with your observations and insights in the com section and if you’ve really enjoyed this post, please share!
Love & kale chips,