We hate people. People we don’t know, people in big groups; we’re introverts. We appreciate the quiet, dread large networking events and consider our words carefully before we speak. We research a subject before offering an opinion, we’re willing to thoughtfully consider the opinions of others, and we develop long-term relationships. Can an introvert be a good entrepreneur? Yes! These are all qualities that can make an entrepreneur successful.
Some suggest that introverts can achieve success by acting like extroverts – nonsense. Introverts achieve success by understanding and accepting our introverted-ness, and by manipulating our environment to our advantage. (I would argue that once you get an introvert talking about our business or area of expertise, we actually DO turn into temporary extroverts.)
An introverted entrepreneur can intentionally set meetings with smaller groups in our comfort zone. We can request information ahead of time so that we are not expected to speak off-the-cuff. When that’s not possible, rely on honesty: “I’d like to take some time to fully consider my response; can I get back to you later today?”
Social media is a valuable tool for introverts. It allows us to form virtual relationships, share information without “selling” and demonstrate thought leadership on multiple platforms – all without human contact. Perfect! When someone reaches out as a result of our virtual connection, it’s because they are interested in the content. When they call, we’ll be ready to lead.
It’s no accident that many successful introverted entrepreneurs run businesses that require technical expertise like law firms, medical practices or my own CPA firm. We are likely to research our concepts, then take a strategic, thought-out leap. My advice to other introverts: know thyself. Embrace your introverted qualities because they are needed.