Imagine this scenario…
Your name has been ticked on the register at the door and a badge has been slapped on your jacket ready to announce to the room who you are and how exactly you can be of use to anyone.
Having been directed to the table of coffee and croissants you automatically walk over and help yourself, only realizing afterwards that you don’t have enough limbs to carry your coffee, croissant AND bag whilst still being able to do the obligatory shaking of hands with everyone you meet.
You don’t even know why you picked up a croissant. You’ve already had breakfast and your mouth is so dry and your stomach so unsettled that eating anything right now is clearly going to be disastrous.
Placing the croissant back down on the table and hoping no-one saw you pick it up in the first place, you scour the room.
Groups of people are huddled together in a seemingly relaxed state like they’ve known each other forever. There’s a buzz of chatting, laughing, handshakes, business cards…they all seem to be having a whale of a time.
But for you? This situation makes your heart sink to your knees.
You’ve got to go up to these people. These strangers, that you’ve never met before. And chat, sell yourself, exude confidence, charisma and charm.
You’ve never felt more out of your comfort zone in your life. And as you stand there staring at the busy room, you think to yourself – ‘What the hell am I doing here?’
Hmm, fun, right? NOT!
Early on in my start-up journey I soon realized that running a business holds many challenges for the gentle dreamers of this world.
For starters, as someone who is quiet, introverted and at times shy, the idea of attending huge networking events as a way to market my business (something that so many business blogs encourage) makes me want to run for the hills and never look back.
Not only that, but the time and energy needed to set up and run a business can be incredibly draining and overwhelming for introverts.
From marketing, to accounts, to customer service… at the beginning of your business development, there’s lots to learn, do, tweak, try, and get your head around. If not careful you can burn out before you’ve even got going.
And yet, despite this, I still believe that becoming your own boss is a wonderful option for the quiet types of this world.
When I first started a business I knew I was going in the right direction from the moment I took my initial tentative steps.
Leaving behind the exhausting open plan offices and hectic schedules of full time employment allowed me to find the freedom and peace I’d been looking for throughout my entire career.
It meant I could work from home, find blissful solitude when I needed it, and create my own rules to live and work by.
And I guess that’s the point really.
Because when you’re the boss. YOU get to choose how, why and when you do things.
It doesn’t matter how many business blogs I read that tell me I should be getting out there and networking face-to-face at big conferences. I never do.
Instead I choose what’s right for me. I listen to my body and give myself what I need. And I take steps to ensure that my business nourishes who I am rather than leaving me empty.
If you want to do the same, the tips below for introvert business owners will help you honor who you are, create a business that brings you joy, and keep your quiet determination at an all time high.
It’s all about looking after the gorgeous individual that you are.
Because when you do that? Your business will certainly reap the rewards.
1. Focus on your natural strengths
I really believe that getting to the heart of your natural strengths and using them within your business is one of the best things you can do for your success and career happiness.
Work will feel easier, you’ll get far more done with less effort, and ultimately your life will be filled with far more joy and fulfillment.
When I first launched I found myself attending lots of big networking events, which only served to drain my energy and knock my confidence.
However, after a while I realised I would gain far better results by focusing on the marketing strategies where I really thrived such as blogging and social media.
The result was that I felt less overwhelmed, more energised, and a whole lot happier (which also happened to mean I got way more done!)
2. Set boundaries to protect your energy
When running a business it can be very easy to end up working crazy hours, seeing people every day, and generally working every spare moment you’ve got.
However, as an introvert it is imperative that you have regular quiet time to reflect, get inspired, and re-charge your batteries.
As you run your business make sure you build quiet time into your week. Think of solitude as an important part of your self-care routine and set boundaries to ensure you give yourself the time and space you need.
I limit the amount of face-to face meetings I have each week, I use email and social media for the vast majority of my communication, and I ensure that I get out and go for a walk at least once a day (which is normally when I have all my best ideas!).
The more self-aware you are of which activities drain your energy, the more you can shape your business to work well for who you are.
3. Connect with others who ‘get’ you
Even introverts need people and connecting with others who really understand what it’s like to be in your shoes can help to maintain a healthy mind-set and get the support you need when things don’t go to plan.
As an introvert I found that becoming a member of supportive online communities helped enormously when my motivation took a nose-dive or I needed a second opinion.
There is something very special about being able to share a similar way of thinking with other people, and building connections with others (even if it is just online) can really give you a boost on those days when you need it.
A lot of my first clients also came from these groups which goes to show that connecting with others in supportive communities can be good, not only for your mind-set, but also for your bank balance.
Running a business as an introvert certainly has its challenges, but if you get the self-care balance right it can also be an amazing career option for the quiet types of this world.
Work with your strengths, give your body what it needs, and don’t forget that important time alone.
You’ll be creating a nourishing business in no time.
P.S. I’m currently stepping back from producing content for this website because I’ve entered a new phase of my life – motherhood! In the meantime feel free to browse the posts that I’ve previously written on this site and check out my list of favourite resources to help you create a business as an introvert.