As an entrepreneur, you wear a lot of hats! You’re essentially a human hat rack of roles within your business.
Out of the many, many hats placed on your head, two of the biggest ones you’ll be operating under, when you start your business, are marketing and business development. Both those hats require a lot of interactions — with unfamiliar people.
There are some entrepreneurs who are extroverts: naturally comfortable in group situations, easily warm up to strangers. But there are just as many entrepreneurs who dread those situations. They face an on-going, almost daily struggle to get out of their comfort zone to create those opportunities necessary for their growing business.
We know this truth very personally — as we’re introverts, too!
Just to clarify, it’s not that introverts don’t enjoy being around people — it’s just that their energy reserves deplete quickly in groups, whereas an extrovert’s batteries just keep getting filled up! Introverts are good listeners, but keeping up conversations can be difficult, as well as exhausting. And then directly jumping into a conversation with a ton of people they’ve never met before? Talk about stress!
So, what’s an introvert entrepreneur to do? Here are 5 core tips that have helped us, and many others, to make the process easier.*
*Note: Emphasis on easier. These steps can help ease the tension, stress or exhaustion you can face, but those feelings never fully “go away.” But that’s OK! There’s nothing wrong with being a natural introvert, it just creates a few additional obstacles. These are obstacles that you can — and will be able to — face head-on to help grow your passion(s)!
All relationships have a beginning.
Yes, yes, we know this sounds pretty obvious. But it’s a reality that can easily be taken for granted. This is especially true when we’re dropped into new situations, where we have to meet new people — say, for example, at networking events.
It’s important to realize that we weren’t born knowing the people in our lives, whether friends or acquaintances. There’s always that “introduction phase” that we all face, and we have all overcome in one way or another. Use these past experiences to help you build your future business relationships!
Instead of letting any negative thoughts, insecurity or anxiety creep in, work on altering your mind’s focus to the positive “what-ifs.” And soak those “what-ifs” in the same positive interactions that created the friendships and cherished personal connections you have now. Let the energy that you experience from those memories flow through you and drive you to engage more in future networking opportunities.
Reach out to your current network! Starting from a familiar base can help the process for everyone. This is especially true for introverts.
Take advantage of your current network in two different ways:
The important factor to remember is: don’t be too pushy, or “salesy.” Be authentic and honest; those qualities will receive a far better response.
Whenever we take on something new, most of us tend to create a strategy and set up some initial starting points. Why not use this process when connecting with new people?
It may seem like a lot of work, but actually having a set strategy can greatly benefit your future interactions and assist you in leaving the impression you’re hoping for. How to draft a game plan?
Don’t forget to listen! Questions and conversation points won’t do you any good if you don’t actually listen — and carry on an organic conversation.
During an interview on how to succeed as an introvert (when whole sectors can be dominated by extroverts), Bill Gates admitted that an organization cannot be run by only introverts; there need to be some extrovert influences present, as well.
“If you come up with something — if you want to hire people, get them excited, build a company around that idea — you better learn what extroverts do, you better hire some extroverts [… ] and tap into both sets of skills in order to have a company that thrives both in deep thinking and building teams, and going out into the world to sell those ideas.” – Bill Gates
If you don’t have the budget to hire people on or don’t have a business partner to balance things out, try bringing on freelancers or other companies. Not only is Google a great tool for finding companies and freelancers but you can also use some of the following websites too:
… then practice some more.
“Knowledge is of no value, unless you put it into practice.” – Anton Chekhov
Reading and thinking about it will only take so far, because in the end, you must implement and continue to implement! You know how this works. The more you do something, the more comfortable you become with it. Step out of your comfort zone, and put yourself out there! In no time, you’ll see that you’ll start to spend less time preparing and more time doing. (It’s not unlike speed dating.)
Listen to this episode of Branch-Out: THE Digital Media & Marketing Podcast as Larry Yu, of Kite Global Advisors, talks about thought leadership, and how he succeeded as an introvert while trying to build thought leadership of his own!
If you need a little more help along the way, listen to our free podcast, Branch-Out: THE Digital Media & Marketing Podcast, to give you the foundation you to push forward toward your goals.
Originally from Romania, Tatiana Ivan combines operational prowess with creative flair to produce smart and visually stunning brands. With degrees in neuroscience and psychology from Brandeis University plus experience working with start-ups in the biomedical and pharma industries, Tatiana knows first-hand that the most powerful way to persuade people to get behind an idea, concept or product – no matter how creative, technical or complex – is by telling a compelling story. As the COO and Creative Partner of Waverley Knobs, she combines powerful cinematography and compelling storylines for clients so they stand out and shine in the market.
In addition to turning visions into reality and running the daily show at Waverley Knobs, Tatiana is a twice-published poet. She’s also a certified InsideOut® Coach, able to unlock the knowledge, skill and talent already within people and teams so they can improve performance and results.