Turn Your Intro Out, on what it means to be an introverted business owner in the digital age
In any discussion of social media, blogging, networking, or any means of connecting one person to another, there is an inevitable point of resistance for many: I am an introvert.
Wallflower, you bring me joy.
You there in the corner, shy, soft-spoken, it’s time to turn your intro out.
It might surprise you to know that many of your entrepreneurial role models are introverts: Chris Guillebeau, Darren Rowse, Chris Garrett…
You don’t have to be a wam-bam-thank-ya-mam extrovert to get ahead in business. To build a network. To create a following of loyal fans.
You need to know your strengths, as they relate to yourself & to others.
Your inward business plan…
As an introvert, you lead a rich internal life. Instead of having an intuitive sense of others, you probably have an intuitive sense of yourself. You know what works for you, how you will react to different situations, what excites you, and why certain stimulus shuts you down.
That knowledge is invaluable in building a business platform that works for you – regardless of if it has been done before.
Your outward social profile…
Introverts naturally gravitate to low barrier social tools like blogging or Twitter. There, we can prepare our thoughts, research our answers, and quietly observe. Skills we’ve honed but rarely get to use in more immediate social circumstances.
The real trick in using social media as an introvert is learning to reveal the process. Instead of closing up your social process deep inside, letting it out – allowing others to see how you work through conversations, experiences, and questions – will naturally bring a sense of expertise, authority, and transparency to the profile you’re building.
Your growing relationships…
So much of building a business is nurturing relationships. Extroverts may have an easy time of finding new people to add to their ever-expanding network. But introverts rule the roost when it comes to taking those relationships to deeper levels.
With much of our lives lived at superficial-at-best levels, a business owner who takes the time to cultivate deep, lasting relationships with her customers, partners, and colleagues is a business owner worth investing in.
Introverts do well with deep relationships and conversations rather than chit-chat. Be generous in introducing people to each other as well. Then it’s easier for you to ask for introductions from your good contacts.
Nancy Ancowitz, author Self Promotion for Introverts (via Inc Magazine)
The internet has made it possible to connect to surprisingly perfect people. Perfect for you, that is. Take advantage of the low barriers and starting forming relationships that matter.
Use our own inner mind work to work out what others are feeling & experiencing and use that to connect with them. You may not be able to do that in real time or in person but give it an extra 30 seconds and you might be a social situation master! Conducting business in the online space allows you to do just that.
Your sense of self…
When it comes down to it though, as an introvert, it’s often lack of confidence in yourself that creates the biggest barrier to social exploration.
The good news is that the digital age means that your “authentic self” can still be a persona. In fact, developing a persona can help you get in touch with the deepest truths of our own quiet selves.
If you meet me at a conference or workshop, you would likely pass me by pretty quickly. Although I’m working on my social shortcomings, I’m not close to be where I’d like to be. I don’t ask the right questions, my stories ramble, and my words are awkward.
But my personal brilliance is bubbling just below the surface.
Online, I allow that brilliance to shine through. That is who I am. I know that I ask the right questions, tell remarkable stories, choose the right words (at least sometimes!), and make you feel at ease.
It’s not that the digital world allows me to be someone I am not, it’s that the barriers to my own sense are broken down.
Introvert, it’s your time to shine.