Being an introvert entrepreneur is one of the most excruciating oxymorons in business. It just isn’t a natural compatibility and the reason for that is, well, you can’t succeed as an entrepreneur on your own. Launching a startup just isn’t kind like that. To be successful as an entrepreneur, you need to be able to work well in a team, have business relationships, approach investors, communicate effectively, please customers and enjoy the support of a huge range of other people.
If you are an introvert, this will no doubt have you breathing heavily already because the idea of being around lots of people tends to drain your energy, you rather enjoy your solitude, your quietness makes it difficult for people to get to know you and, in terms of business, you have always been drawn to jobs that allow you to work alone. Yeah, being an introvert that wants to be an entrepreneur doesn’t exactly the ideal foundation from which to start from. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible to achieve or that you shouldn’t give it ago because being a successful startup owner isn’t a club that is exclusively reserved for extroverts.
But for all the entrepreneurial responsibilities that you may find overwhelming, daunting and impossible, you will have your own strengths, many of which will be invaluable to your success. Sure, you may be faced with a slightly more uphill road, and an uphill road that is paved with more obstacles than normal, but your success is about using the advantages you have to the best of your abilities, and here is how.
- Play To Your Strengths
Unlike extroverts who can get away with being a little less clinical, an introvert requires much more careful planning. You are going to need to consider exactly how your idea and your plan of attack lines up with your personality traits. The best way to start is to know your strengths and to play to them as much as you possibly can. This could be your attention to detail, your ability to code like the best of them, your addiction to web design and typography, or even just your love of something in general, like graphic design, words or even upholstery. Whatever it may be, your best bet is to think about how you can build a business around this talent, a business that plays into the hands of your strength like putty. You need to pinpoint that thing that sets you apart from the rest of the crowd, that thing that you know others won’t be able to match and start from there.
- Reduce The Chance Of Interaction
If you are an introvert, then one of the things you will have noticed about yourself is that you panic when it comes to interacting with others, especially when it is large groups of others. So a great way to counter this reaction of yours is to pick a business type that will reduce your chances of having personal interactions where possible. Further down the line, it could be that you hire people to take on this role for you but, to begin with, it is a great idea to give yourself the best chance of success by avoiding your weaknesses. As such, forget to have a consultancy business or a company that offers training. You may think this is limiting your options, but it isn’t. You can always venture into these further down the line, either when you have grown in confidence or like we said when you can have others take on this responsibility for you.
- Don’t Start Too Big
On the one hand you know you can’t do everything on your own, but on the other hand, you don’t want to risk overwhelming yourself, and that is why it is crucial you consider starting small. There are so many benefits to be had to outsource, but one of the major benefits outsourcing has for introverts is that it allows you to better understand who you work well with. This can be a hugely important factor to consider when you struggle to work with others. The other thing we recommend you do is only hire the people you need. By doing this, you will be able to gradually get used to what your role is, and gradually get used to working with others. By diving into the deep end working with huge groups of new people and having to guide them through new situations you could end up doing more harm to your business idea than good.
- Picking The Perfect Partners
This can be an absolutely critical aspect to consider when it comes to succeeding as an entrepreneur because, as an introvert, you need to make sure you find business partners that not only complement your skill set but also compliment your personality. For example, if you get the sweats just thinking about sales pitches, or holding a workshop, then find someone to compliment this weakness. Find someone that is an ace at this, someone who thrives off their ability to close and win people over to their way of thinking; someone who likes being involved in conversations. This doesn’t just apply to partners either, it applies to employees and freelancers and just about everyone else that will be involved in your business. But before you start thinking that extroverts have it easier, it is well worth being proud of the fact that you know what it is to be an introvert and that means you will be able to spot them in your team and, better yet, you’ll know how to encourage better team bonding as a result of it. Both introverts and extroverts are made up of weaknesses and strengths; it is just a matter of piecing them together to make the puzzle work.
- An Environment With You In Mind
The great thing about being the boss, the person at the top, the one with the idea and the one driving things forward is that you get to do things your way. You get to create an environment and a brand and a way of doing things in your image. That doesn’t mean practicality and sensible business choices go out the window and that is that. What is means is you get to create policies and strategies and values that you, the introvert, want to cater for. This day and age have just about everything to suit everyone. So let’s say you struggle with communicating things face to face because you have a fear of confrontation or being misunderstood; a great way to counter this is to create a slight cushion in the form of remote technology. Not only will this allow you to remain just as efficient when it comes to communicating, it also allows your employees to work from home, which has tons of benefits, not to mention that it makes you a forward-thinking entrepreneur. There is a way of doing things that allow your business to work at its best and allow you to reach your financial goals, all while accommodating your personality traits, so don’t be afraid to explore your options.
- Online Interactions Are Amazing
There was once a time where engaging with people in the real-world, face to face, was the only way any business would get done. This isn’t exactly an introvert’s best friend. Luckily for you, the online world has blossomed into an unstoppable beast and one that allows you to interact with other people virtually which, if nothing else, can give you the confidence to interact face to face further down the line. Networking events aren’t something you have to fling yourself into and just get used to. No. Social media is now the big thing in terms of networking. That’s not all either because emails and instant messaging are also big tools that are at your disposal. Once you get the vibe of networking this way, then you can consider exploring meetings in-person, knowing you have learned all the attributes you will need through your online networking. So long as you are aware that doing business in-person still has more benefits and that you can’t avoid them completely, forever, then you will be fine.
- Practice Makes Perfect
The only way anyone gets over their fear of something is to keep plugging away at it. It is just like a singer having to overcome stage fright, of which some of the biggest stars in the world fall into this category as you can see at http://www.refinery29.uk/2016/05/111361/celebrity-quotes-stage-fright-anxiety. Harry Styles. Taylor Swift. Ariana Grande. Lorde. All of these had to battle through, but by doing so they managed to succeed. In terms of being an entrepreneur, you can’t avoid socializing forever. Sooner or later you are going to have to bite the bullet. Investors, business partners, heads of department, employees, clients, mentors; all of these people will become crucial to you in your line of work and that is why you need to practice. The good news is, socializing is a skill, and that means you can develop and improve your skill level. Start small by having conversations with friends, and talking to people in front of you in the queue and people sat next to you on the bus, and then move up from there. Start talking to attendees at networking gigs and whoever else you may need to talk to. Yes, you could feel anxious and crippled by the intimidation of it all and want to be sick, but just like singers who overcome stage fright, practice makes perfect.