I have to be honest. I used to think being extroverted would get you way farther along in business and in life. Extroverts can talk to just about anyone — just ask my husband! Extroverts make friends quickly, and always seem to have more energy for conversation and connection. At least, that’s what I believed.
The truth is, I’m no extrovert, and that’s okay. I’m an introvert through and through and with each passing year, my introversion shows up in bigger ways. Both personality types bring a lot of value to entrepreneurship, and some challenges, too. As a social introvert, I enjoy one-on-one interactions and spending time with my dearest family members and friends. But to reflect and recharge, I prefer alone time…
So, what does all of that mean for business? Believe it or not, introverts make incredible leaders and can find immense success in building and scaling their own businesses. Here’s how to harness the strengths of introversion and amplify your business with them.
What does it mean to be an introvert?
A lot of people label themselves as either an introvert or an extrovert, but it’s actually more of a sliding scale. Everyone has tendencies that dip into both types of personalities. Psychology heavy-hitter Carl Jung was a big-time believer in this idea, promoting the notion that everyone has varying levels of introversion and extroversion. So, even if you’re the biggest jokester at a party or more of a stick-to-your-people observer, we all have a little bit of introvert in us.
A lot of people think introversion is all about social skills. We’re prone to think shy and quiet equals introverted, and loud and outspoken equals extroverted, which isn’t exactly the case. It’s more helpful to think of how and where you get your energy.
Introverts recharge and feel re-energized by spending time on their own. This is me to a T. I could spend hours, even days, alone being fully content in that aloneness. Big events exhaust me and small talk is my definition of torture. More on that in my podcast episode ALL about whether it’s better to be an introvert or extrovert… (Hint: you’ll have to tune in to find out.)
So then, you probably guessed it — people who have more extroverted tendencies feel replenished when they’re around people, talking, laughing, and soaking up others’ energy.
Benefits of running a business as an introvert
If you’d asked me a few years ago what I thought about introverts and entrepreneurship, I might’ve told you it’s more of a challenge for us intros to find success. Now? I understand the treasures of growing a business as an introvert, and there are oh-so many.
Introverts are often the deep thinkers, avid dreamers, and inspired action-takers. They observe others intuitively and don’t get caught up in the performance of leadership and entrepreneurship. For them, it’s more about connecting with a meaningful purpose and synching up with individuals who can bring that purpose to life.
When they up-level their business, expand their teams, or launch new initiatives or products, they are generally able to step back and take the long-term, big-picture vision into consideration. Their thoughtfulness allows them to take into account several possibilities and scenarios at once, and plan for the optimal course of action.
Introverts are also super independent thinkers, which allows them to come up with innovative ideas and creative solutions. At the same time, they can observe their surroundings with hyper-attention to detail and listen well to feedback, whether it’s constructive or critical. They’re natural analyzers, so really taking in the opinions and ideas of others is vital to their thought processes and decision-making practices.
3 tips for introverts to expand their businesses
Don’t go it alone. One of the biggest struggles introverts face is delegating tasks and accepting help. While they’re open to receiving comments and questions, they bear a whole lot of responsibility for their businesses when it comes to managing it all. Since they tend to rely on themselves for so much, it can be difficult to outsource and ask for support, even when they desperately need it. If you are an introverted entrepreneur, consider this your permission slip for asking for and accepting (without feeling guilty!) help in whatever area you might need it.
Connect with authenticity. Whether you’re speaking to your team or your audience online, it is so, so, so key to show up as your true self. Even if it doesn’t feel totally natural to share what’s truly on your heart and mind, that courage, to be honest, shines through and creates a legitimate and lasting community. My pal Morgan Harper Nichols, an incredible artist, and through-and-through introvert, spoke so honestly about her journey with showing up authentically online and building a personable brand in this podcast episode. You’ll create a level of trust and loyalty that’ll keep ’em coming back for more again and again.
Find space to rest. As introverts especially, we need to find ways to protect and refuel our energy. If we are constantly on the go, creating impressive new business plans, and giving our all to these businesses we so love, there has to be an element of restoration. Overstimulation is real for introverted entrepreneurs, and it can lead to burnout, fast, if we aren’t careful. Notice when you’re nearing your edge, and carve out some time to take a moment of quiet alone time, whether you take a walk, read for 10 minutes, or turn off your phone for a relaxing evening at home.
Try to work these three tricks into your daily work routine, and see how drastically your business (and your joy in this crazy ride of entrepreneurship) shifts and expands over time.