Yes, Introverts Can Thrive as Entrepreneurs Too
Entrepreneurship has long been considered a career path in which only extroverts can thrive. More recently, however, new scholarship and the incredible success of introverts such as Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg have helped to end the myth that introverts don’t thrive in the business world.
Part of the reason the myth has continued for so long is due to a lack of understanding about what introversion is. Introversion and shyness are not synonymous, after all. As Brian Eckert of Bplans writes, “Introversion is simply one end of a personality spectrum that has its opposite in extroversion.”
More recently, however, introversion has been viewed with a new light. Gone are the days when introversion was considered a liability in the business world, instead it is widely accepted that introverts and extroverts differ in that they simply have different ways of responding to the outside world. In fact, introverts can thrive in the business world if they make a concerted effort to focus on their strengths, rather than their faults. Below, we highlight tips that introverts can use to make the most of their entrepreneurial endeavors, whether they’re going solo, in a small team, or expanding into a global market.
Use your personality traits as a management asset
Though it may seem like successful managers were born for the positions they hold, most have put forth a great deal of effort to not only earn their positions, but also to adapt to new situations, communicate effectively, and give adequate support to their employees.
Both introverts and extroverts have strengths and weaknesses when it comes to management, and introverts and extroverts allow different employees to thrive. According to Adam Grant, who published groundbreaking research on leadership, proactive employees thrive under an introverted manager.
“Introverted leaders are more likely to listen carefully to suggestions and support employees’ efforts to be proactive,” he writes. Conversely, extroverted leaders “like to be the center of attention,” and “tend to be threatened by employee proactivity.”
Introverted business owners and managers would do well to look more closely into Grant’s findings and encourage employees to speak up, share and run with their ideas, and make suggestions as a means to benefit the company.
Schedule one-on-one interactions
Most introverts blossom in the one-on-one or small group sphere, whether your company is small or rapidly expanding, often introverts would do well to use their affinity for quality-over-quantity to have the best possible outcome when it comes to business meetings.
These intimate meetings will allow introverts to avoid overstimulation, but can also help other introverted employees share their ideas, and can ultimately benefit the company as a whole.
As your company expands, carefully consider your core team and business needs
When you first start your entrepreneurial endeavors, you might be going at it alone. From payroll to HR, to advertising and marketing, entrepreneurs often have the arduous task of balancing all aspects of their business model.
As your company grows and expands, however, some amount of control will have to be released in order to accomplish the tasks at hand, which is why you should take careful consideration in who you bring onto the team, especially if you experience rapid growth in your business.
Of course, this idea will vary from person-to-person and from business, depending on where you’re at as an entrepreneur. It can be as simple as finding a business partner who makes up for your shortcomings, or if you’re further along in your endeavors, something as complex as finding individual or company who understands the complexities payroll regulations.
Regardless of where you are in your business endeavors, working with the right people will become crucial as your business continues to expand.
Take charge of your self-promotion
As any entrepreneur knows, the ability to connect with an audience and sell your product is a critical and necessary component. However, self-promotion and connecting with audiences can be a draining and nerve-wracking process. As with any endeavor as an introvert, effective self-promotion rests entirely on maximizing the skill-sets you already possess.
If you’re an excellent writer–use that to your advantage by putting together a compelling blog post, or focusing on social media campaigns in order to get your message across. If you’re nervous about attending a marketing event, consider hosting one yourself, thereby making you a go-to person for conversation. Instead of worrying about interacting with many people, consider crafting a speech, allowing you to reach many at one time, rather than having many small group conversations.
Practice Self-Care and Recharge
While all introverted entrepreneurs take care to collaborate with coworkers and adapt to the stressful environment that the workplace brings, many introverts reach a point when they have to escape from a group environment to recharge and practice self-care. Remember that introverts best thrive when they are able to recharge, regroup, and prepare for the next day’s work. Recharging and prioritizing self-care will help you put your best foot forward, restore your emotional energy, and help to come up with ideas that you may not have thought of in your day at work.
Starting or expanding a small business as an introvert is no easy feat. It requires a lot of hard work, personal sacrifice, and dedication in order to get your business off the ground, and even more to keep going. Introverts who put forth the effort into managing their self-care, identifying their strengths as managers, and choosing the right team to support you in your endeavors will help introverted entrepreneurs on the path to success.
Danika McClure is a writer and musician from the northwest who sometimes takes a 30-minute break from feminism to enjoy a tv show.
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