How to Start a Business When You’re an Introvert

Introversion is a strength – if you know how to use it.

The business world often caters to extroverts.  Most of the courses, trainings, seminars, and books focus on sales, marketing, and business strategies that involve extrovert strategies, such as networking to meet people, improving client relationships, negotiating, leading and building teams, sales calls, and extension socialization. 

Introverts, however, are built differently.  They prefer quieter, less social environments.  Being with people 24/7 can cause burnout very quickly. 

Does this mean that introverts can’t be successful in business?  

As an introverted entrepreneur myself, who is also very shy, I can honestly tell you that you can absolutely be successful as an introvert in business. Did you know that some of the best and most successful entrepreneurs of our time are introverts?

Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk are all introverts.  Their introversion did not hold them back in business from building their empires.  In fact, they have claimed that their introversion actually helped them in business.  

Introverts have a lot of special skills in business and leadership.  Once they learn how to play to those strengths and minimize their weaknesses, nothing can honestly hold them back.

1.  Choose the right business for you

When selecting a business, you’ll want to focus on your strengths and on minimizing your weaknesses.  There are many different business choices for introverts. In fact, introverts can operate in any type of business they choose by adapting it to their personality style. 

However, selecting one that accentuates your strengths will allow you to create a business that does not burn you out and that also allows you to enjoy the process and journey.

You will want to think about choosing a model with social interaction that you can manage.  Different types of introverts have different tolerance levels for social interaction and you will want to select a business and a business model that allows you to have the right fit.  For example, if you don’t like working with people at all, you most likely shouldn’t select a business that forces you to be on the phone all the time or managing 1:1 customer interactions. 

Great business ideas for a low tolerance for social interaction include things like affiliate marketing, eBook publishing, accounting, blogging, and web design. However, some introverts enjoy working with people, but need to do it in short spurts followed by no interaction. 

If you are more of a social introvert, great business options include life coaching, course creation, and counseling.  

Choose a business that you can see yourself doing for the long term and that feels like it fits you and your personality. 

2. Find partners who compliment you

Many introverts work with extroverted partners, either as a co-owner of the business or as strategic partners.  This isn’t for every introvert, but if you lean towards being a social introvert who likes to work on a team, this can be a powerful option to get the job done in business. 

A co-owner can be a good option if you find a partner who is a good match for you and has strengths in areas where you are weak. For example, you might be good at doing social media marketing and planning, but they are good at sales and working with people on the phone.  This is a good match, because they have strengths in areas where you don’t.

Choosing to work with a partner in business should be done cautiously. Just because someone makes a good friend, spouse, family member, or fits well with you in other social interactions doesn’t mean they will make a good business partner.  There are different dynamics to personal relationships than business relationships. You might do a trial run before making a full commitment to see if it’s a good match.

Most introverts do not like conflict, so making sure that you fit well with your partner is a good thing to find out before choosing to go into it for the long-haul with someone.      

A great way to partner up with others in business, without having to make them a co-owner, is to work together as strategic partners.  For example, you can partner with people in contract relationships in which they provide a service to you such as answering the phones, doing sales for your business, promoting your business through social media marketing, etc. in exchange for a fee or commission.  It is a great way to fill in the gaps and get someone else to help with where you feel weak.

3. Create an environment that makes you feel good.

Choosing the right working environment shouldn’t be underestimated when selecting your business.  Where you work, how you work, and who you work with are what make up your overall work environment and should be selected carefully.  Most introverts don’t like busy offices, traffic, excessive phone calls, consistent interaction with people without any breaks to recharge, or working with others who won’t stop talking while you’re trying to work. 

This is why most introverts are happiest working in an environment where they can work in quiet and solitude. For that reason, most introverts love working remotely from a home office, and find online business models are very appealing.

Choose a good work environment that makes you feel comfortable, where you know you can be the most productive, and where you can effectively manage your energy.  

4. Use online networking vs in-person networking

Networking online is a great way for introverts to meet new people, clients, get leads, and find partners.  Connecting with people online is easier now than ever. There are Facebook groups, forums, and more for reaching out to people and building relationships. 

Online networking is great for introverts because they can have more targeted conversations with people who are more likely to buy from them or partner with them, because it is easy to find people who are already interested in their product or service.  It is also a great way for introverts to manage their social energy because many messages and posts can be automated using software or scheduled posts.

Introverts can also talk to lots of people at the same time online, such as through video, live streaming, blog posts, etc. instead of having to have endless 1:1 conversations, which can lead to social burnout very quickly….this isn’t possible with in-person networking.  Networking online is also great because it allows you to break the ice before having that phone call, teleconference, or in-person meeting.  

5. Create evergreen content

Introverts can benefit in business from creating evergreen content.  Evergreen content is simply content that you create online that stays up forever.  So you make the content once and you can either keep sharing it forever in different forms, or you upload it to different platforms and it stays on there for as long as that platform exists.  

This allows introverted business owners to minimize how many conversions they have about their product and service, and also helps them to make sales without having to have as many 1:1 sales conversations. 

You can create educational content for your potential and current customers that stays on the internet on things such as landing pages, videos, FAQs pages, podcasts, forums, or blog content.  

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