Introverted Entrepreneurs

Most often, entrepreneurs and business owners are thought of as extraverted – they are
comfortable interacting with others, promoting their business, and drawing energy from being with
other people. The constant hustle and bustle of owning a business is a thriving environment for
an extravert. But what if you find that you are more introverted? Maybe you find the long hours
interacting with others to be exhausting, investor meetings and promoting the business might feel
daunting or networking leads you to feeling sapped of energy. It is common for introverted
entrepreneurs to question whether they are capable of succeeding.

Being an Introvert

Even as an introvert, you can be a successful entrepreneur.

Certain aspects of the career might require more time and energy, but overall, there are ways to navigate this career path regardless of whether you identify as an extrovert or an introvert. The main difference between the two personality types is simple: Do you gain energy from being around other people (extravert), or do you gain energy from alone time (introvert)?

Simply knowing this about yourself and having awareness of your own needs is a huge first step.

Something important to keep in mind is that even as an introvert, you may find in certain
situations you act more extroverted. It might be helpful to see extravert and introvert as two ends
of a scale, and some situations may have you feel more in the middle than at one end or the other.

Take time to ask yourself:

· What situations bring you the most energy?
· What situations or moments of the day are healing for you?
· Are there times when you feel at one specific end of the introvert/extravert scale?

Sometimes imagining this concept as grayscale, rather than black and white, can be helpful when
brainstorming answers to these questions. Or, imagining this concept on a scale from 1-10 (one
end representing introverted personality, the other end extraverted personality). Where do you
fall on that scale? Do you find it changes depending on certain situations?

Success as an Introvert: Start with Self-Care

If you find that you are more frequently on the introverted side of the scale, you might be asking
how to simultaneously cope with this personality type and be a successful entrepreneur. Let’s
start with the most basic, yet one of the most important, ideas: Self-care.

Self-care is a phrase frequently thrown around in society, and it does not always mean relaxing
bubble baths or vacations (though it could certainly mean those things too). Self-care is the idea
of doing what recharges your body and mind, and what keeps you healthy. Sometimes self-care
is as basic as getting enough sleep or drinking enough water each day. Frequently, introverts
need time alone in order to recharge and feel like they can tackle the day with a “full battery.”
Take time to ask yourself what types of solitude activities you enjoy, or at least what helps you to
feel energized.

It is crucial to keep in mind that if you do not take time for yourself to “recharge,” it will become
increasingly harder to manage other aspects of your life. Running a business on a half-charged
battery is going to eventually lead to burnout. Just like any healthy habit, self-care takes time to
build into a routine, so starting early will lead to healthier outcomes.

Seek Support and Take Breaks.

Beyond self-care, there are a number of ways you can be an introverted entrepreneur and successfully run a
business.

Typically, being an entrepreneur requires a lot of face-to-face interaction, which can be
tiring for any introvert for 40+ hours a week. Reaching out for support from any co-workers,
co-managers, etc. can be a way to reduce some of the personal interaction stress. Even though it
can be difficult to delegate tasks, sometimes it can be helpful for your own well-being and allow
you to feel more successful focusing on the tasks where you thrive. If you are by yourself
running the business, maybe setting aside times during the day for a break where you can be by
yourself to recharge or do one of your self-care activities.

Remember your Passions.

You became an entrepreneur for a reason, regardless of being an introvert or extrovert.
Something drew you into the profession. Think back to what drew you into this career path.
Remembering what about entrepreneurship is passionate for you can be helpful for coping with
the long hours that might drain you as an introvert. There might be times where you have to
“act” like an extrovert or “put on a mask” during times when you truly feel exhausted.
Reminding yourself of what you are passionate about, what drew you to this career, what your
goals are, and what you love about your business can create a positive outlook on a situation that
might otherwise feel tiring.

What are your Strengths as an Introverted Entrepreneur?

Just like it can be helpful to remember what brought you into this career path, remembering your
personal strengths can provide a helpful perspective. Even if you do not fall into the
“stereotypical” extroverted business owner, you have your own inherent strengths that can make
you unique and successful compared to others. If you fall into the mindset that being an introvert
is only related to struggle and difficulty, then your day-to-day thoughts about yourself could lead
to other long-term mental health consequences such as anxiety or depression. Creating a
different mindset that allows you to see your introverted personality as a strength rather than a
weakness could drastically improve how you think about yourself and your job.
When thinking about your strengths, try to think of specific adjectives that make you amazing at
what you do. Some possible examples (though certainly not all-inclusive) could be:

· Punctual
· Thoughtful
· Empathic
· Creative
· Organized

Think about your Work Environment.

Not all businesses are the same, and neither are all entrepreneurs. Different types of businesses
operate in different types of environments. For example, a privately owned ballet studio will be
very different from a private practice law firm. What types of environments do you thrive in?
Some businesses will have environments where you are more often by yourself, which might be
ideal for an introvert. Also bring in your passions, strengths, and styles of business. What are
the ideal situations where all of these factors can create a supportive environment for you, the
entrepreneur at the center of the business?

In the end, just because you are an introvert does not mean you will be an unsuccessful entrepreneur.

If the brainstorming questions above prove to be difficult, or you are in a work
environment that feels impossible to manage, try working with a counselor. Therapy for entrepreneurs can provide a space for you to process your work stress and increase your skills to cope as an introvert.

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