If you've ever thought that entrepreneurship is harder for you because you're an introvert, then you may be surprised to know that wildly successful entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg are all self-identified introverts.
In fact, you'll find successful introverts in all walks of life, including entrepreneurship; especially entrepreneurship.
Introverts thrive in roles where they can work independently; on the periphery of a team, remote working or in their own business.
Many introverts find traditional employment difficult but as an entrepreneur, an introvert can create their own perfect role in which they can play to their strengths.
If you're an introverted business owner, or are an introvert contemplating entrepreneurship, the first thing you should remember is you are not flawed. You are perfect just the way you are, and you have plenty to offer the world, even if your experiences so far may have led you to believe otherwise.
What do introverts bring to the table?
Here are just a few of the hugely desirable entrepreneurial qualities that introverts have and are bringing to their customers the world over.
Humility: This is a double-edged sword. Because of your humility you likely don't see all of your greatness! It's a charming quality though, one that gives you the edge in business because you don't get too carried away with yourself.
One thing to bear in mind... remember not to be so humble that you can't see what you bring to the table. It's okay to blow your own trumpet now and again.
Strong listening skills: Introverts like to listen, and in business, listening to your audience is everything. Your clients will appreciate it, and you will understand your clients' needs much better.
Thinking before acting: There's no rushing in haste for introverts. They take deliberate action. And while they may move slower than extroverts, they tend to build strong solid foundations in everything they do.
Caring for others: Most extroverts are motivated by what they can accomplish, so they have to work hard to develop the skills an introvert finds natural - focusing on what they can do for others.
Deep thinking skills: As deep thinkers, most introverts find it easy to recognise and create solutions to problems that most people overlook. They also read between the lines and find gaps to fill gaps in the market that are often under-served.
Great communicators: People often mistake an introvert's quieter nature as not being great at communicating. They're wrong, of course. Just because we don't talk as often or as loud, doesn't mean we don't have anything to say. It's just that we only spend time and energy to say something when there's something worth saying.
A steady authentic approach to business: Most introverts build reliable businesses from the ground up. They stay in their lane, are not often swayed by pop culture or shiny trends.
Direct communication style: Since most introverts dislike small talk, they'd rather get straight to the point, which saves their audience time trying to figure out the point themselves!
How to promote your business as an introvert
So now you know why you should NEVER doubt your ability as a successful introverted entrepreneur, here are a few tips for building a successful business that you're going to love.
Design the kind of business you want to run
I'd argue that there's not one introvert on the planet who would feel comfortable and fulfilled working in a business they don't love. We're just too sensitive for that. So, you may as well start as you mean to go on and create a business that you're proud to run.
Don't try to change who you are. Don't ever feel like you have to become more extroverted. Stay authentic, and the right people will gravitate towards you. In the same vein, if you don't like to do something, don't do it. There's always going to be an alternative introvert-friendly option, and your creativity will surely lead you to it.
Plan and prepare
I find that as long as I have a plan, I can cope with most things. So, for example, if you struggle with speaking in public, take the time to memorise roughly what you're going to say, create scripts, frameworks, notecards and workflows, anything to help you stay unflustered even when you're not in your comfort zone.
Use technology to your advantage
Scheduling tools, messenger, and community-based technologies help you to stay in touch while keeping your distance. What's not to like?
Connect with smaller groups
If networking gives you jitters, try attending smaller groups or join an online group to network on your terms.
Give yourself space and time
Most introverts don't move too quickly. They need space and time to allow their decisions and creations to mature, just like a fine wine. So give yourself that time - you know rushing something won't suit you.
Play to your strengths
Focus on the things you do well and don't force yourself to do things you don't enjoy. Frank Kern, another self-identified introvert, once said that you should focus on three things you're good at and make them the focus of your business.
Get in the right mindset
You should expect to feel challenged and out of your comfort zone occasionally. As you navigate this unsteady but highly rewarding territory, make a point of noting the things you don't like and think of ways you could adapt to support yourself in a future similar experience. For example, create the perfect environment for growth by hiring or collaborating with extroverts.
As an introvert, you have a wealth of qualities that make you a great leader and entrepreneur. So don't ever feel like you have to change your personality in order to succeed. Just remember to stay authentic, recognise and play to your strengths, and be proud of what you can bring to the table.