I have a confession to make: I am an introverted entrepreneur.
Introverts are shy.
Introverts avoid crowds.
Introverts dislike going out.
These are common beliefs most people have about introverts, but they are not necessarily true.
Not all introverts eschew the human race. In fact, many of us lead great social lives and enjoy meeting up with friends and families. At the same time, we also prioritize our me-time for recharging and rebalancing.
And just because you’re an introvert doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun running a successful business. In fact, introverts can create incredible companies because we are more emotionally connected to ourselves and those around us. Just ask Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, Mark Zuckerberg, JK Rowling, Warren Buffett, Michael Jordan and Elon Musk. All introverts. All with lucrative businesses and careers. Even Gary Vaynerchuk, one of the most successful extroverts of our time, declares that now is the “golden age for introverted entrepreneurs”.
There is a multitude of different ways to build a business, and as a new entrepreneur, you may be seduced into the extroverted way of growing a business that may not feel aligned with your core beliefs and personality. If the thoughts of cold calling strangers and hard-selling until the person pulls out their credit card fills you with anxiety and dread, remember: There’s more than one way to cook an egg.
One thing to recognize is that introversion is a strength, not a weakness. When we try to adopt extroverted business tactics is when we get stuck, frustrated and broke in our business. Introverts are able to build strong relationships one-on-one, connecting on a deep level with prospects and clients. When we stay aligned with who we are, we naturally attract more of those who are like us: Win-win.
Keep reading to find out how to build a business as an introvert:
1. Choose a business-building strategy that resonates with you as an introverted entrepreneur
The key to this is finding what you actually like to do instead of following a strategy that promises $10K months in 30 days but you’re gritting your teeth through it. If you hate Facebook lives, don’t do them. Yes, there’s enormous hype that Facebook lives will blow up your business. But so will funnels. So will email marketing. So will podcasting. So will articles. So will Instagram. Entrepreneurs have built six-figure businesses using each one of these strategies.
Bottom line? Master one medium by being consistent, getting really proficient, learning from your mistakes and honing your message. Then watch your business grow.
One of the biggest mistakes I see time and again is entrepreneurs trying to have a presence on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest all at the same time. If you are a solopreneur and still trying to find consistent clients, spreading yourself too thin over multiple platforms will keep you uber busy without seeing results. Stick with one medium that your introverted self truly enjoys spending time on. Build your reputation, grow your expert status and learn to connect with (read: provide value to) prospects and influencers. You’d be surprised at the momentum you can build within a short period of time.
Then, in the near future when you are booked out and have a team on-board, that’s the time to scale to multiple platforms and expand your target audience.
Here are the leading platforms you can grow your online business to six figures and beyond as an introverted solopreneur:
- Podcasts (Video and/or Audio)
- Articles and guest-posting
- FB lives
- Speaking events (a particular quirk of mine is that though I’m an introvert through-and-through, I still enjoy speaking engagements!)
Word of caution: When you’re building a business that you are aligned with, be prepared for a few FOMO moments. Other entrepreneurs will be sharing how they made their 5-figure months by doing X strategy. Remember that the reason that they became successful is that they found an approach that resonated with them and remained consistent while learning from their mistakes. It’s a journey that we all go through, and each of our paths is unique. Don’t fall for comparisonitis, and whatever you do, don’t switch strategy just because you saw it work for someone else. Changing tactics should be a deliberate process after being consistent with one approach, assessing the outcomes to date and evaluating alternative options.
2. Connect with people one-on-one. High-end packages sell when the person knows, likes and trusts you
As introverts, we thrive on close relationships. Nurturing a one-on-one association tends to feel more natural for us than being a social butterfly. And this is a tremendous strength when selling high-end packages.
Prospects will not invest thousands of dollars if they don’t see you as an expert and as someone who can help them with their specific problem. Building that connection, providing great value, and tailoring your responses to their needs will make you stand head-and-shoulders above other entrepreneurs whose strategy is to get in front of as many eyes as possible with generic information.
The best way to connect with others on a deeper level is to treat the other person like a human. Be genuine. Be vulnerable. Be kind. When we’re building an online business, we sometimes forget that on the other side of the computer screen is also another person. It’s easy to get hooked into writing content and speaking to prospects a certain way just because it worked for someone else.
But those are someone else’s words. Someone else’s genuineness. Someone else’s character. Infusing your personality throughout your content and communications will make you memorable. Mentioning your idiosyncrasies in your work will build that know-like-trust faster than trying to copy someone else’s ‘perfect’ post or sales script.
3. Offer the sale in a way that feels genuine and fun
This is big. After you’ve found a growth strategy that resonates with you (and that works), and you’ve spent time building that know-like-trust with ideal clients, the next step is to offer the sale. Sales can be fun and easy with the right strategy that suits your business and personality.
For the longest time, I thought that sales had to be hard and feel pushy. I was told by multiple coaches that pressuring people to pull out their credit card on the phone was ‘for their own good’. That if I didn’t practice hard-selling, I was doing a disservice to them.
I’m an introvert! I thought. But if hard-selling and pressuring clients on the phone is the only way to make money, I gotta just grit my teeth and deal!
So I used to hard-sell my coaching (packages up to $2500 at the time) this way. And I hated every second of it. I would dread it when I had a sales call scheduled for that day. But I thought I had to grin and bear it because I’m an entrepreneur, right? I step out of my comfort zone, right? Today I do what others won’t so tomorrow I can do what others can’t, right?
Sure. Stepping out of your comfort zone is part of the daily tasks of an entrepreneur. But doing something you actively dislike– repeatedly – because it’s the ‘only’ way is a big red flag. We live in an age of unprecedented digital ingenuity. There are a ton of ways to do sales.
Don’t get me wrong – there is a considerable population of people out there who enjoy hard- selling. They get a kick out of it!
Does hard-selling works? Absolutely.
Is it the only way to sell? Absolutely not.
I’ve since explored different sales strategies and evolved one that suits my business and personality. Now, I look forward to sales calls. There is no pressure – it’s just me showing up like me, taking time to really be there for the person, and having fun. The potential client and I usually have a laugh on the call. I’m genuine and honest. And now I sell packages for more than double what I used to. Sales is easier, more fun and happens more frequently than when I used to hard-sell. And funnily enough, I’ve had more perfect clients than ever since I’ve started selling my way.
So the bottom line in building any business as an introverted entrepreneur is to really listen to that inner voice and let that be your guide. You don’t have to grow a business doing something you don’t like. You can be successful in your business, building it your way, with the right strategy, support, and consistency.