Regardless of what type of business you own, you need paying clients. That’s a given. But when you are an introvert with a new online business, you also need to figure out how to go about doing that in an introvert-friendly way.
Otherwise, you’ll struggle and burn out. And that defeats the purpose of starting your online business in the first place.
So what does it look like to run an introvert-friendly online business?
In my opinion, it’s about balancing respect for the introvert IN your business AND strategic actions required to grow your online business. It can’t be one or the other.
Let me explain what I mean.
Introverts experience energy drain from too much stimulation. In particular, too much “people-ing” drains us. We are naturally more inwardly focused. We listen (often to what’s not being said). Being internal processors, we need time to contemplate, organize, and prepare our thoughts and ideas before we extend ourselves outward. That’s why many of us work best alone and uninterrupted before we collaborate. This gives our responses and creations depth.
While these factors contribute to our introvert strengths, they can also be perceived negatively as stereotypes.
Sometimes introverts themselves can make the mistake of falling back on those stereotypes to avoid doing what is necessary to reach out to potential clients.
If you find yourself saying or thinking something related to your introversion that drains you and ultimately feels like self-sabotage, I’m talking to you!
It’s easy for an introvert to cringe at a lot of the business advice out there. And it’s easy to feel pressured and overwhelmed by it too.
We prefer individual or small group conversations versus large networking events. We need solitude for our well-being. We value privacy. We require time to process our ideas. We prefer that our work speaks for itself. We don’t want to feel like we’re forcing ourselves onto people or into their space. We don’t necessarily measure our success in terms of “go big or go home”. We don’t need to be front and center.
That’s why it can sometimes feel like WHO we are runs counter to much of what is required of us in putting ourselves out there to attract the customers we need for our business to succeed.
So a natural reaction to the expectations (and aspirations) that seem much more extrovert focussed – especially in terms of visibility and self-promotion – might be to:
- resist and pull away into the comfort zone of our home office, closing ourselves off to others, and deciding not to take action in our business until it feels right.
- overthink the options, feel the fear of having to put ourselves out there before we’re “ready”, and then we get stuck in inaction (which feels mildly comfortable except we begin to feel trapped and ashamed).
- push ourselves because we have been told we “should” choose a particular method for visibility, and take the leap before preparing ourselves or having support. Then, when we don’t get the results we wanted, we interpret that as reinforcement of the fact that it wasn’t worth doing in the first place. And then we retreat and get stuck in analysis paralysis.
- have the intention and commitment to take action but have so much swirling around in our mind that we convince ourselves that we don’t know what to do next. This fuels our self-doubt and further depletes our energy.
Can you relate?
Now don’t get me wrong. Introverts are not all the same and I don’t claim to be the voice of the introvert online business owner. The point is that we need to understand ourselves and treat each other with respect as unique and capable individuals. Negative stereotypes and pressure to be something that we’re not doesn’t help anyone.
So the challenge for the introverted online business owner is to find that balance. Respect your introversion AND find ways to connect with potential clients in a non-icky way that works for you.
Learn from others. Listen to advice and strategies. Experiment. And then tweak everything to make it work better for YOU. Knowing and respecting your introvert strengths, and then trusting yourself, is a significant part of your job as you build an introvert-friendly business.
It takes time to figure out how to make your new business work in an introvert-friendly way that doesn’t feel manipulative and frustrating to you. And it takes time to earn clients and generate consistent revenue.
Being your own boss is not for the faint of heart. It takes vulnerability, commitment, courage…and action. Every single day!
That’s why I believe that it’s important to run your introvert-friendly online business with an ebb and flow. Inward. Outward.
We can learn how to find a rhythm to include both clarity and courage so that you can build your confidence as a successful online business owner.