5 Ways Introverts Can Shine As Entrepreneurs
If you're an introvert, then you've probably already discovered that you work best alone. You might have always disliked working in groups and in teams. I know I have!
This is why I believe entrepreneurship is usually the best path for introverts. Introverts need to be in charge of their own schedule, work environment, time, and energy in order to really show up in their strengths and shine in their work.
For any introvert who does not want to be an entrepreneur, I strongly encourage that they make sure they are at their dream job, and if they're not, then it's time to be searching for and taking action to land their dream job!
But, for those who are entrepreneurs and know what you are passionate about and love doing, here are my top tips to help you shine the most!
1. Know when you work best & do that
Do you work best alone? Or with a friend in the room while you both are doing your own thing, or in a coffee shop?
I’ve never heard an introvert tell me that they enjoy teamwork, but some do enjoy collaborating if it’s a good fit (sometimes you don’t always know if it’s a good fit unless you try). I, personally, work best alone when absolutely no one is around-in a quiet, beautiful house sipping my mushroom coffee or tea.
I have co-worked several times in the past, but realized that I am too affected by the other person’s energy to really focus. I also feel distracted by the other person and just want to socialize instead. So, co-working usually ends up being social time rather than productive time for my business.
Now, my boundary is no to co-working. If someone asks me to co-work, I simply tell them that I work best alone, and would love to schedule social time instead. As a whole, I notice that the folks who tend to intitiate most of the co-working are extroverts, which makes sense since extroverts feel more energized by other people.
Are you a morning person, daytime or evening person? When do you feel the most energized, motivated, and inspired? What kinds of things help you start your day with the most energy? When do you feel the least energized?
I am not a morning person and need long, slow mornings to myself to wake up and feel ready for the day. So, I give myself lots of time in the morning to meditate, visualize, exercise, stretch, eat breakfast, drink my mushroom coffee (I'm obsessed!) and drink lots of water to wake up slowly. Then, I put on some smooth jazz and begin my work day, which usually starts around 11am or 12 noon. For early risers, that might sound ludicrous, but it's what I need and it works for me.
I also don't work 8 hour days (occasionally, if I'm really inspired and in the zone, or if I have a big deadline on a project or getting ready for a launch), and that's what I love about being an entrepreneur.
Many entrepreneurs will tell you to hustle and that they work more doing what they love, but that's not what suits me best. As an introvert, empath AND Highly Sensitive Person, working a lot of hours does not support my well being, and doesn't allow me to shine. Thus, I try to work smarter, not harder or longer.
Reflection: When and where do you work best? What time of day do you feel most energized and feel inspired and motivated to work?
Action: This week, pick ONE thing from your response above to change this week. (You can pick all of them in good time, but start with one to make it more manageable for yourself so you will actually follow through and begin implementing a new habit for yourself that supports you.)
Maybe you start each day this week with journaling or you allow yourself two hours in the morning to yourself to wake up slowly. Or, maybe you let yourself sleep in and begin your work day later. It's up to you and whatever supports you best.
2. Respect Your Own Creative Process
Do you know what your creative process tends to be? When do you get your best ideas coming to you? Is it in the shower or going for a walk in nature? When do you feel most creative? What makes you feel most creative?
I’ve noticed that I get my best ideas when I am alone, not when I’m with other people. This is why I don’t like talking about my business too much with friends. Sometimes, I ask my close friends for their advice or for business ideas of what I could do, but usually I don’t seek creative idea advice from other entrepreneurs.
I find that when I’m talking about business and marketing with others that they usually give me a plethora of ideas, You should do this. You should do that, that isn’t necessarily in alignment with what I really want.
Since I am easily affected by other people’s energy, I have to be careful not to hear too much advice from others about what they think would be great in my business.
I know that my best ideas come to me when I’m alone immersed in water, out in nature by myself, moving my body, or just letting myself rest. And, I know that I connect better to my inner wisdom, voice, and intelligence when I’m alone.
Know when you get your best ideas and connect the most to your creativity and inner wisdom. Listen to that and commit to it.
A boundary I implement now is to tell other entrepreneurs I know that I don’t want to hear advice about my business and what I could create. If someone asks me how my business is going and if I don’t feel like talking about it, I tell them that I don’t feel like talking about that right now.
Reflection: Notice and write down when your best ideas come to you, when you feel the most creative.
Action: Do something creative or that inspires your creativity every other day this week. Whether that's getting out in nature, creative writing, painting, dancing, taking a bath, or letting yourself daydream. Notice how you feel engaging in your creativity.
3. Know Your Limits
If you see clients 1:1, how many 1:1 sessions per day/week/month can you have these sessions without burning out and feeling depleted? What’s your limit? What number helps you feel well? If it’s not many, and you’ve been making your main source of income from 1:1 sessions, consider creating some kind of “passive” income for your clients and audience like an online course, program, book, product...
How much sleep do you need to be at your best? What foods help you feel energized, what foods make you feel tired and cranky? What kinds of body movement helps you feel at your best and is fun?
Again, how much time do YOU need in the morning to be at your best? Be honest with yourself. Most introverts I talk to need 2-4 hours to themselves in the morning. That’s their ideal anyway. Sometimes, parenting or other responsibilities conflict with that, and if that’s the case, what’s one way you can give yourself a little more time in the mornings? 2-4 hours might seem like a lot, but if it’s what you need, then it’s what you need. There’s no judgment here.
I've always felt too sensitive to wake up to an alarm; it's too disrupting to my nervous system. So, I have made it my boundary to not wakeup to an alarm unless I really feel that I need to in order to not miss a flight or an appointment. I get 9-9.5 hrs of sleep. I have a non-negotiable morning routine that’s about 2 hours. I don’t see clients, make appointments or see friends before 11am. My mornings are my time.
And, even though I'm more of a night person than a morning person, it's not good for me to work 1-2 hours before bed. I need more space and downtime in between work and bed. Watching TV or reading something that's not too stimulating helps me wind down before sleep. That's what usually works for me, what works for you?
Reflection: What are your limits? What boundaries do you need to create for yourself and your business?
Action: Put your limits and boundaries in place. Maybe that's only being available to clients on certain days or blocking out certain times for selfcare in your calendar. Maybe it's allowing yourself to sleep as long as your body needs or always eating protein for breakfast. Whatever your limits and boundaries are, respect them.
4. Do You
Don’t follow the grain because it’s the grain. Don’t do something because some business expert told you you should. Do things YOUR WAY. Go against the grain, create your own schedule, life and business. Yes, read books, listen to podcasts, hire coaches and consultants, read blogs about business and marketing.
Learn all that you can, but always prioritize your own voice and intuition. Other people do not know you or your life better than you. You are the expert of your life.
So, always take others’ advice with a grain of salt, including my own! If you’re intuition is telling you not to go in a certain direction, don’t do it. If your desire isn’t what the experts are pushing you to do, don’t do it. If your body is saying no to someone else’s idea, don’t use it.
Reflection: What is YOUR way of doing your business that you are in love with, that feels really damn good to you?
Action: Implement one thing in your business life that your intuition and body says a HELL YES to even if that's not what you're hearing from other experts. Practice listening more to yourself.
5. Listen To Your Intuition
You are very intuitive and your intuition knows best. Let your intuition guide your life and business. It won’t always make sense to your mind, but if you’re feeling a nudge, listen to it.
My intuition told me that a collaboration my mind was attached to wasn’t for me long before it ended. I didn’t listen because in my mind, it seemed amazing, but, my gut was telling me something else. It took me a while to listen, which I believe delayed the work I was really meant to be doing and it also meant that the ending of the collaboration was a bit uglier than I had expected. It was all a learning lesson, but you can save yourself some misery and confusion by listening to your gut early on in your business and life.
In a patriarchal, White supremacist, capitalistic society, we've been steered away from our intuition and taught to be guided by our rational mind more. Don't get me wrong, our logical mind has it's place, but it's not meant to be the guide of your life. Your mind does not always want the best for you, but your intuition always does.
You might be hearing conflicting information about what you "should" do or not do, always go with your gut and your inner wisdom that wants the best for you. It will never fail you even if it doesn't make sense to your mind.
Sometimes, this requires you to trust the unknown and take some big leaps without a clear path in sight. It's okay if it's scary, but if you know deep down in your soul and gut that this is where you need to lead, then trust it.
Reflection: When was a time your gut/intuition was telling you something that you didn't listen to and it backfired? Or, when was a time you did listen to your intuition and it worked out?
Action: What is ONE thing you are feeling led by your gut/intuition to do right now? Decide to listen and follow it, and take one action in alignment with your gut feeling. Notice how it feels and what happens.
Even though you probably work best alone and need to do YOUR own thing, you will shine with quality support. You are not an island after all. Whether it’s having a business bestie, being a part of a mastermind group (paid or free), hiring a business or mindset coach, and/or surrounding yourself with entrepreneurs. It’s essential for your business growth to have high quality, like minded support of you and your business. If you don’t yet have this, please start cultivating it. Support will help you get through the ebb and flow of owning your own business, make you a better and more successful entrepreneur, and inspire and motivate you to be the best version of yourself and keep showing up!
Reflection: What kind of support could you use right now?
Action: Take ONE action this week towards giving yourself this support.
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