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December 02, 2014

Can Introverts Run a Successful Business?

Dumb question right? Of course they can! Although we don’t generally have the big personalities you typically see behind the millionaires and billionaires of the world, it doesn’t mean we can’t be successful in our own way. Introversion is not the same as shyness, although they often go hand in hand. If you’re introverted or shy, you don’t have to fear the world of running your own business. Introverted, extroverted or somewhere in between, here are some points to keep in mind when you’re feeling out of place.

Don’t compare

This one took me a while to master (maybe I’m not entirely there yet either) but understanding that just because you’re not like the person who’s out there hustling, talking to anyone and everyone, shouting from the rooftops, doesn’t mean that you can’t find your own form of hustling. The best part of running your own business is knowing that you’re in control and can make your own rules. Break the mold, be creative, brainstorm until you can’t brainstorm no more!

It’s so easy to look at someone who is successful and think to yourself; I’ll never be like them. Realize that you don’t have to be. You don’t get to hear about all the areas they’re struggling in and how they may be looking at you wishing they had more of your qualities. Believe that you can do things your way and be successful even if it’s unconventional.

Know your weaknesses

This applies to all areas of business; you have to be able to identify the areas that will never be your strong point. I will NEVER like getting up on stage or getting in front of a camera to talk about myself, my business, my passion or any other topic you can think of. Even if you asked me to talk about cats for 30 minutes, something I would happily do, any day of the week, without any compensation ;) If it’s in front of more than 2 people you can count me out! Is that ideal when you’re trying to grow a business? No. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways around it.

Figure out how work around your weaknesses

Don’t beat yourself up for possessing qualities that might not be as celebrated in an over sharing, over socialized world. Put your thinking cap on and find a way to work around your introverted qualities.

Work on improving them

The most obvious solution is to continuously push yourself out of your comfort zone and work on improving your skills in the area you’re lacking. I know that sounds a lot easier than done. You’re most likely never going to be (or want to be) Tony Robbins; flying around the world, speaking to millions of people each year. But you can strive to be comfortable at public speaking, sales or whatever your weakest point is.

The biggest key here is; DON’T OVER THINK IT. Don’t take your mind onto a stage with a thousand people watching. You won't be able to fathom ever getting there. What’s the tiniest little baby step you can take right now to being more comfortable in your area of weakness? Maybe it’s as simple as talking to your barista about more than your coffee order. The Internet is a glorious place and you can find tons of information on the subject of coming out of your shell. Look for a few tips that can help you and give them a try next time you’re ordering your morning latte. After you’ve mastered that, work on chatting to vendors at a craft show, then work on selling at a craft show. If those steps are too big, take some smaller ones.

Don’t let your mind scare you from doing something before you even get started. Keep thinking smaller until the task scares you just a tiny bit and you can actually perceive trying it. That’s the key to getting started.

Get Creative

Consider other routes to get you the same exposure, your way. If craft shows aren’t your thing and you don’t foresee being comfortable participating in one for a while, master the online side of business. Don’t want to be interviewed on TV? Seek out a popular blog that is willing to write an article on you with questions you can answer over email. The point is; nothing is impossible….especially in today’s world where everyone is constantly online. It’s practically made for introverts!

Grab a Partner

Whether you have to hire someone or partner up, realize that, introverted or not, you can’t do everything yourself and that doesn’t make you any less of a business person. Extroverts may be great at getting out there and being the face of their brand, however they may lack in other areas. I could personally spend a month in my home office, typing away, answering emails, working on social media, talking to no one but my cat. That’s not healthy….I know. But an extrovert might go crazy spending that much time alone and ultimately need to hire someone to take care of those aspects.

Everyone has weak points; the important part is recognizing them and not letting them hold you back.

Work your strengths into everyday

The days that I don’t try to fight what I’m actually good at and the way I work are the days I’m most productive and happy. Think about your sleep schedule. Some people are just naturally night owls. Ask them to get up early and get lots of work done and they’re probably not going to be happy or productive. There are some things we can’t get around, we have to do them regardless of how much we hate to. For those times, try to find balance or a reward for when it’s over. On the weekends you have a craft show, plan to spend evenings by yourself so you can recharge and plan an entire week of silence after the show if necessary. The more you can work your natural strengths, interests and passions into your business, the more successful it will be.

I believe anything is workable but if you really can’t imagine how you can grow your brand without the face-to-face aspect then maybe it’s time to pivot. Do you really want to work on a business that is going to put you into a cold sweat everyday, stress you out and make you feel like you’re constantly struggling?

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