Okay. Full disclosure: I’m not an introvert.
But hear me out, because I’m pretty “introverted” for an extrovert. While I feel most energized around other people, I do need my alone time. Sales calls sometimes make me nervous, especially when I’m presenting to more than one person. Networking isn’t my favorite thing in the world either. If you’re an introvert (or, like me, an extrovert who has introverted moments), then you know what I mean.
But being an introvert doesn’t mean you aren’t cut out to run a business. Some aspects of it may be tougher, but others will be easier.
Here are a few tips to get you through the difficult times as an introvert in business:
Make Time to Recharge
I’m a writer, so I usually spend all day alone doing what I love. (Lucky me, right?) My time spent talking to clients is pretty minimal.
But, what if I were running a business that required me to interact with people a lot? Well, it would be pretty different. If you’re an introvert who is doing this, first of all, I commend you! It’s no easy task for someone who would much rather be alone most of the day.
If you deal with people to the point where it starts to stress you out, you need to take some time for yourself to recharge. Here are a few ideas for regaining your sanity:
- Practice yoga/meditation – This is a great way to de-stress while getting some much-needed alone time. You don’t have to go to a yoga studio either. Just search for videos online to help you learn the basics, and you can practice just about anywhere!
- Read a book – Keep your favorite fiction book handy and read it to escape from reality for a little while.
- Retreat from your environment – If you work in an office, something as simple as taking a bathroom break or going out to your car will give you a few minutes of alone time so you can survive the day.
You might think you don’t have time for this stuff, but taking a quick break can actually make you more productive when you start working again. So, make it happen.
If you’re an introvert, crowded rooms might make you anxious, especially if you don’t know anyone there. And – let’s face it – small talk with tons of strangers is downright tiring.
So, instead of dealing with the stress of large networking events and meetings, try to schedule more one-on-one interactions. Doing so will ease your worries a bit and help you feel more confident. Plus, you’ll avoid becoming over-stimulated by your environment too quickly!
Find a Good Partner
Embrace your introversion by finding a business partner who is extroverted. That way, you can both tackle the tasks that best align with your strengths.
Don’t feel like networking? Let your partner handle it. Don’t feel like taking phone calls today? Your extroverted friend would probably be more than happy to. Then, you can handle the more traditionally introvert-y tasks like product development, behind-the-scenes marketing, and blogging.
Imagine this. You receive an invitation to a huge networking event. You don’t want to go, but you know that going could really help your business… What’s an introvert to do?
Well, you can stay home and avoid the madness. Or, you can step outside of your comfort zone and open yourself up to new possibilities for your company!
I know, I know – as an introvert in business, just the thought of going to a huge event might give you anxiety. But here are a few strategies you can use to make it easier:
- Prioritize quality over quantity – Would you rather meet 100 people who don’t care about your business or 10 people who do? Obviously, the latter is the better option. That means you don’t have to make small talk with tons of people. Just find the right people, and focus on building relationships with them.
- Be yourself – You’re not an extrovert. And, despite what society has probably drilled into your head your entire life, that’s perfectly fine! So, find your personal networking style and stick to that.
- Don’t beat yourself up – Both introverts and extroverts can struggle with networking. It’s completely normal for it to be a bit uncomfortable. Keep this in mind and realize that many of the people at networking events are just as freaked out about it as you are.
Oh, and here’s another good idea for networking: host an event yourself! When you do, you’ll become the go-to person at that event. That means that people will come up to you instead of you having to seek them out. What a relief!
And remember – your introversion isn’t a disease. It’s part of what makes you an awesome, effective business owner, so get out there and use it to your advantage!