Do you personally know any introvert entrepreneurs?
Famous introvert entrepreneurs include Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Larry Page. And it isn’t too hard to find introverts online who are each trying to make their mark on the world! Many introverts are drawn to entrepreneurship because of the ability to create your own schedule and ideal work setting.
I was reading a startup book not too long ago. There was one line where the author said that “sensitive types” shouldn’t be leading startups because of the skills required to succeed in a competitive environment.
As someone with an Aries rising, I’m always up for a challenge if I feel strongly about the associated cause or purpose. In this case, how introverted entrepreneurs can not just survive, but thrive in their chosen fields.
How Introverts Can Navigate Entrepreneurship
We live in a cluttered online world where it’s getting harder and harder to stand out amid noise, distractions, and competition. As an introvert, it’s of vital importance that you stay focused, capitalize on your unique strengths, and establish clear boundaries to maintain the space you need for success.
1. Know How to Listen – And Show It
As an introvert, you’re probably already one heck of a good listener.
When I was younger, I used to get annoyed or defensive if I felt like the other person wasn’t really listening to what I was saying. Nowadays I am mellower (it’s one of the perks of getting older) and I try to be calm and mature during conversations which could comprise of strong differing opinions.
When it comes to business, make it a point to show your customers and clients how well you listen to them. Whether you’re a coach, writer, or some other type of professional, the other person is thinking about hiring you not because “you’re an introvert,” but because you could be the one to help give them a solution. Use your listening and observation skills to truly understand your customer’s pain points. It builds rapport and will help you create a solution that gives your customer results.
2. Know How to Budget
Many introverts are creative and hold onto values we are deeply committed to. Those of us with gentler, sensitive souls are giving of our time because of an introspective and compassionate nature.
That being said, business is not the same thing as being a charity. A nice way to incorporate a form of giving back to society or your community is to have a percentage of your profits go toward supporting a cause you believe in.
Don’t be overly altruistic when it comes to budgeting and planning for your daily living expenses. Material security might not mean anything to your soul when you depart from this world. But having a roof over your head and not freaking out about a perpetually minuscule bank account helps give you material (and emotional) security to some extent.
Figure out how much you need to survive and don’t undersell your products or services. Do you worry about pricing because you don’t believe you deserve to earn more, or that the people who need your help most won’t be able to afford it if you increase your prices?
Think about what cost it’d be to you if you continue to keep your prices too low (or free, in some cases!). Is the exhaustion and worry over finances worth it? Aim to find a balance between your giving nature and your budgeting goals for incomes and necessities.
3. Know When to Say “No”
Writer Claire Wilde says:
“One way to make time is by starting to say no to things you might otherwise feel obliged to say yes to.”
When you’re an entrepreneur, you become ultra aware of how you manage your time. You’re likely to have a never-ending to-do list, and if you don’t see to these tasks, it’s your bottom line that takes a hit.
There could be many situations that feel more like obligations to you, rather than events or activities you actually wholeheartedly say “yes” to.
For example, are there people in your life who take a lot of time away from your entrepreneurial endeavors? Or are there people who try to tell you that you “must get out” more and be less of a loner?
Take a moment or two to ground yourself to see how your body literally feels when you think about some of the situations you may consider as obligations. Chances are, you’ll feel tense if it’s something you dislike or would rather not do. Then, think about how you could bring more balance to your life to claim the time you need for business related activities, while still allocating some time for social get-togethers.
Life is too short to live out others’ dreams and expectations while sacrificing your own.
4. Know When to Step Back… Emotionally
Many empathetic individuals are introverts. This may make you a bit of an emotional sponge where you just “get it” when someone is suffering or undergoing some kind of turmoil in their life.
Have you found yourself unintentionally soaking up emotions that aren’t yours? Someone could spend an hour offloading to you about some worries at work. While that person feels much better after the session, you find yourself not just drained but feeling the stress and anxiety that the person just shared with you.
These are times when you have to take a step back. Visually imagine a line which separates the other person’s emotional world and reality from your own.
Knowing when to step back can be helpful in business too, especially if you find yourself getting jealous of others’ success while outwardly congratulating them on it. You may also become especially harsh on yourself because of some negative criticism you’ve received.
Everybody makes mistakes, and we all have the choice to learn and grow from those mistakes.
5. Know When to Step Back… From Social Media
In the past few years, there have been more articles exploring the negative effects of social media.
How social is it really if it’s causing us more stress and anxiety than feelings of mutual and genuine friendship?
Experts constantly remind us that social media is a highlight reel. Remembering this helps you remember that social media depicts a limited or distorted sense of reality.
If you’re unsure of the ROI you’re receiving on social media, try focusing more time on your website and email marketing efforts. Social media rules and algorithm updates can change anytime. You want to have more control with how and when you contact and connect with your clients and followers.
Introvert entrepreneurs, there’s a lot for any individual to “get right” when it comes to having a successful business. We have unique strengths but with these strengths come unique potential pitfalls as well. The work we have to do includes protecting the things we need for our success — our time, our finances, and our ability to set boundaries. Learning how to secure these will help us to help others, and maintain balance in our lives as we set out to achieve our entrepreneurial goals and dreams.
Jess Chua is an INFJ who’s passionate about empowering other introverts to live their best life. She has been quoted in articles on Apartment Therapy, Forbes, and Student Loan Hero.
If you’d like to be a beta reader for Jess’s book project (for…introverts), sign up here!