Welcome to the second of an ongoing interview series where we’ll be meeting other introverts in business who have found their own unique version of success.
Today I want to welcome writer, photographer, digital course creator and all-round gorgeous woman, Susannah Conway. I discovered Susannah about 4 or 5 years ago and instantly fell in love with her ‘wear-your-heart-on-your-sleeve’ writing voice that reminds us we are all travelling this rocky life the best way we can. She also runs several online courses combining creativity and mindfulness to help you find your true self (swoon).
If you haven’t checked out her blog (she’s just launched a lovely brand new website) I highly recommend that you do but in the meantime, have a read on her thoughts and experiences of running a business as an introvert.
1) When did you know for sure you were an introvert and what does that really mean to you?
The realisation that I’m an introvert came about through blogging. I started my blog in April 2006 and as I spent more time online I found people who were just like me. I don’t remember the exact article or blog post I read that gave me my aha moment, but somewhere, somehow, the word INTROVERT landed in my awareness. I love that we’re talking more about it and wish someone had explained it all to me when I was younger — it would have saved a lot of stress when I was at school!
For me, being an introvert means I generate my energy in an internal way. I need plenty of time on my own to recharge and refill my energy supplies. I’m not particularly shy and can be out-going when I need to be, but my preference is always for the calmer, more thoughtful path. I’m more inward-facing.
2) How has being introverted helped you in your business?
Being introverted makes working at home a breeze. I love my own company so I don’t have any problem with being on my own all day — I hated working in an office. My tendency towards introspection definitely helps me as a writer, which in turn helps me when using social media. I like to write and share and doing that from behind my laptop screen suits me perfectly.
3) What challenges do you face when running a business as an introvert and how do you manage them?
I would probably have a much larger audience if I put myself forward for speaking gigs and more in-person teaching but neither of those appeal to me. I feel I’m at my best when I’m writing and sharing from behind the screen. I need time to think and process, and I don’t do that brilliantly on my feet.
4) How do you care for yourself and maintain your energy levels?
I say no more than I say yes — this is crucial. I don’t overly schedule my days so I have space for brainstorming and creativity. Sometimes I’ll just get one key thing done in a day and that is enough. When I’m working on a big project I tend to disappear into the creation cave and only emerge when it’s complete, but I try not to do that more than twice a year — it’s exhausting. I don’t work at a desk because it makes me feel caged in. I drink a LOT of water!
5) What is your favourite form of self-expression?
Writing, journalling and photography, in some shape or other, every single day.
6) What advice would you give someone who is worried that their introversion will hold them back?
Figure out how you work best. Introversion only holds us back when we think the only way to work is as if we were extroverted. No matter what you do you’re already at a disadvantage because you’re battling with your own nature. I don’t like public speaking but some introverts enjoy that aspect of their job. Some introverts don’t enjoy the highly visible nature of social media but I really like that and feel comfortable sharing. My point is, there are no rules. Figure out your own personal strengths and run with them!