How could a business owner be introverted and be successful? It's one of the questions I ask and answer to myself daily. How could I use my natural behavior to my advantage in the business world and succeed?
I used to think being introverted meant that I was meant to 'hide behind the scenes' of my workplace. I was the 'support system', 'best listener' and not many people expected more from me aside from my business partner, Stephen. He would, and still does, encourage me to step out my comfort zone and try new things/experiences in our business environment.
Recently with finishing college and jumping right into the business rather than dipping my toes, I've learned that my introverted behavior is not my greatest weakness but a strength I've yet to fulfill.
I Am Support.
- How could being a support system be a bad thing, especially in business? Everyone needs help everynow and then, and it's important to have someone to go to within a company or business. With my time being specifically directed towards growing Creative Consulting and understanding how to best operate it, I've had the opportunity to be integrated with every project and client. I'm meeting new people, seeing new projects, understanding more and more on the wonderful connections just waiting to emerge around me! And, because I'm beginning to understand these things, I am able to be the one with alot of the 'answers' to situations. I am here to support my partner in the business when meetings overlap or become too heavy on his schedule, I am here to support my designers if a concept is just a little 'off' or needs to be interpreted, I am here to support my social media team when impromptu posts are requested or a technical problem arises, and I am here to support my search engine optimization team when analytics need to be reviewed or new developments need to be considered. Being the person that people can go to within the company doesn't have to be a burden if it's understood how much potential lies within that position.
I Am Quiet.
-Introversion does not always mean 'quiet' or without thought. There are often times when my mind is overflowing with concepts and ideas about artworks or designs I can't wait to work on. I get inspiration from many things throughout the day so sometimes it's like the ideas get backed-up within my mind like a popular coffee shop at rush hours. Being quiet isn't a weakness though. If anything, being quiet gives me an opportunity to listen and think about what I want to say. I don't fly off at the handle and say something without meaning; my words have worth. As an introverted business owner, I have the superhuman ability to sit with a client and watch, listen, and consider my reactions. I gauge the client and through these thoughts, I come up with my private 'plan of attack' to communicating with them effectively.
have been so caring and supportive, and have explained to me in just the two times I've attended that being introverted is not a weakness, it's a power. There is nothing wrong, nor anything to fix within an introvert, only behaviors to consider. I can't tell you how many times they playfully fussed at me for apologizing repeatedly over nothing! As an introvert in the business world, it is important to participate, to connect, and to get out there in order to sell, and it's far from impossible. It's a bit more difficult to do because I preferred to work behind the scenes till this point in time, but in order for my business to grow I have to personally grow as well.
Trying new things, meeting new people, and experiencing new roles will not harm me or my introverted tendencies.
I Am Here.
- I think one of my biggest difficulties taking on a heavier role in our business is that of actively being a part of meetings and discussing work with clients. It's too easy to discuss work with my team and partner, but to introduce, meet, and discuss services with a client was a horse of a different color. The single most important aspect of accomplishing all this is actively being there. Taking the steps to attend a helpful networking group like Mirelli's and be included, providing the opportunity for new connections to emerge, and being there is the most important part of the effort. If you are an introvert and a business owner, I'd encourage you to do your best to at the very least Be There in the moment. If you don't have the energy to heavily participate in discussion, listen to what your client or group members are saying. You can take notes, have a private conversation with the respective person later on, or follow-back with an email when you return to your workspace. As long as you are there, you've won half the battle, and that's what I think to myself before every meeting or opportunity scheduled: I just have to be there. Once I'm there, I feel fine and perfectly capable to perform the task or meeting ahead of me.
So at the end of the day, or the very early as business owners tend to know so well, I don't think that being an introvert and a business owner should clash. I am still conquering my battles and everyone has struggles of their own to get through day to day. I know that Stephen and I make an excellent team because of his natural extroverted behavior complimenting my natural introverted behavior, so if there comes a moment where I happen to fall short, I know he will be there to help. The name of the business game is to take what you know, what you have, and what you can do and run with it. Show the world what you've got and do your best to keep your head up because if you're an introvert, you don't need to 'become an extrovert'. You need to be you and understand your potential as a leader that provides full support, listens intently, speaks profoundly, and becomes present when needed.
That's what you'll be seeing this introvert business owner doing for years to come!