Gary Vaynerchuk is a delight to watch.
For an introvert like me, it’s refreshing to see an entrepreneur so outspoken, daring, and, well.. extroverted!
That’s how entrepreneurs are, right?
Brash. Outspoken. Extremely confident in their abilities.
That’s how Steve Jobs was. Walt Disney and Oprah also come to mind.
But do you need to be extroverted to be successful as an entrepreneur?
Well, have you ever heard Elon Musk talk in public before? It’s cringe-worthy at best. You can tell he doesn’t feel comfortable in the spotlight — and that’s because he isn’t.
He’s an introvert.
Same with Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Warren Buffet.
All of these fine gentlemen would probably rather be at home reading a book than be at a social gathering of any kind..
But that’s not a weakness. You don’t have to be the loudest person in the room to run a company.
I’m certainly not the most outgoing person, but that hasn’t stopped me from being a successful solopreneur — building two profitable online courses over the last year and a half that have helped me travel the world.
So how do you become a successful entrepreneur as an introvert?
Follow these steps, and you just might get there.
Start An Online Business
Thank goodness the internet was around during my lifetime. If it wasn’t, none of you would have the faintest idea who I am.
I wouldn’t be selling online courses at all (duh), and I’d probably be working a regular 9–5 job.
I have done public speaking in an empty room. I’ve taught students from the comfort of my own bed. I’ve connected with people from around the world without leaving my house.
Because of the internet.
Webinars, email, and digital content have allowed me to create, market, and run my online business without having to talk to anybody in person.
Trust me — I LOVE that.
If I had to talk to too many people in public, I’d probably have an anxiety attack.
The internet is the great buffer for introverts everywhere. It has leveled the playing field and given us a way to communicate with people without physically looking them in the eye.
How freakin’ cool is that?
Whether you’re running an e-commerce store, a marketing company, selling online courses, or monetizing an app on the Apple Store, you no longer have to physically be in the same room as anybody you’re working with.
It’s devilishly easy to start.. but the only problem is, once you start gaining success, you sort of NEED to do interviews, go to events, or get comfortable speaking in front of people to take your business to the next level.
You can do a good job marketing yourself, but you can do an even better one by doing interviews, collaborations, and speaking engagements in front of (possibly) thousands of eyeballs.
This requires getting out of your shell. So how do you do that?
Ease Your Way Into It
The first time I spoke in public, it was with a room full of fans who already knew who I was. They were followers of my Facebook page who came to support me.
It was intimate — like 20 people were there — and I didn’t feel that nervous before I went up.
Now imagine if I jumped right into speaking in front of 500 people at some huge conference. Oh my goodness — I can smell the new underwear I’d have to buy already.
But that’s the thing.. you need to ease your way into these things as an introvert.
It’s possible to LEARN how to behave in big social gatherings — but we need to hit one level at a time before we’re finally ready to rock a room full of thousands of people.
So before you speak in public.. first do a Facebook Live to feel the pressure of having people’s eyeballs on you.
Before you do an interview on someone’s podcast, maybe have a short call with them beforehand to feel more comfortable with them.
Contrary to popular belief, the ability to be comfortable in public, or around others, is a skill that can be learned. Yes, some people are “natural” at this — AHEM, extroverts — but that doesn’t mean you can’t be comfortable too.
If you told me two years ago that I could go live on Facebook in front of 300 people with absolutely no sweat, I would’ve called you crazy.
But just recently after my Facebook page got popular, I started doing it with no problem.
I got used to it. Even when I started vlogging in public, that was a hard thing to get accustomed to. But I got over it, and now I can speak to inanimate objects in public like a pro.
Don’t go thinking it’s impossible, okay?
Work With Someone Who Is Extroverted
This is a good business strategy anyway — to work with someone who fills your “gaps.”
For example, if you’re not detail-oriented, it’s best to start a business with someone who is.
So, if you’re an introvert, perhaps it will make more sense to work with an extrovert.
Having the right people doing the right things — this helps all business run smoothly.
Team Up With Other Introverts
One counterintuitive thing that may help you feel better is to have someone that understands you by your side.
For instance, I love talking to fellow vloggers about vlogging. I actually get more comfortable vlogging in public when I have someone next to me who also is speaking to an inanimate object.
The same is true for business, I believe.
A way for you all to get over uneasiness in public is to communicate your fears with each other and know you’re all not alone.
Then it feels a little less staggering to get out there and connect with people at networking events, or even give speeches/interviews when that time comes.
Understand That Introversion Is A Gift In Business
Introverts value deep one-on-one conversations over speaking to many people at one time. This can be a setback in business, but, to me, this helps tremendously with customer service.
I’ve tried my best in my online courses to go above and beyond for people. If they have a question, I’ve been known to spend 30 minutes at my keyboard typing up a thoughtful response for them — even though they may have only needed a 2-minute response.
I as an introvert value deeper one-on-one connections with only a few people. And this can help make your clients/customers feel like a million dollars.
So maybe start a business where you’re only taking care of a few different people at once. Like a digital marketing company. You can charge a higher fee per month for their marketing in exchange for elevated customer service.
Trust me, the introverts out there would knock customer service out of the park.
And their customers would feel so special that they’d almost certainly recommend their business to other contacts in their network.
This is the power of introversion.
Going deep instead of wide — both have their positives and negatives, but don’t think for one second that one has more value than the other.