Month: May 2011

Owning a Business as an Introvert

“It appears to me that you are an introvert. How do you deal with that when running your own business?”

This question was asked to me at a recent entrepreneurial event, at our local library.

image by rionda

The answer I gave was relatively simple: “I am introvert. I’ve always been relatively shy about hooking up with other people. I’m aware that this is my personality and that it can be an issue in business. But I noticed in the past that every time I step out of my comfort zone good things happen. Also, being a bit more careful about throwing myself out there, generally prevented me from getting into business situations that are too risky [and not my nature].”

I’d like to elaborate on this topic a bit more and then rap it all up at the end with a great post from Steve Blank that I recently read.

Stick to yourself

I am an introvert, but that’s okay. I stick to it. I don’t think this really keeps me back from doing business. I might not be as “out there” during a networking event and working the room as Gary Vaynerchuk would. I am a bit more shy when I comes to cold calls and connecting with new people. I feel it every time I pick up the phone or introduce myself to someone new. In these situations, I keep reminding myself that my head will certainly not be cut off and the other person or party will most likely not even notice anything. Even if you are rejected, who cares? You just go on to the next person or situation.

I also make an effort to learn how to overcome this. Currently I hold a part time position as “sales rep” (trade broker with the charities division with Tradebank Canada) which is very much against my personality, but it teaches me how to deal with my feelings in the types of situations that I would naturally avoid.

Step out of your comfort zone

I use the feeling of shyness as an indicator that I’m about to step out of my comfort zone and into the zone where good things will happen. So I’m afraid about the step, but excited to know that good things will happen when I do this. Thinking about the good opportunities and possibilities that will open up on the other side encourage me to keep going.

It doesn’t hurt to be a bit “conservative”

Lets call it “conservative”, as in “not jumping the gun too fast”. Considering the consequences an action or decision might have before I do it, will make my business smarter and more secure and will most likely provide for a less bumpy ride. Just keep both extremes of this habit in mind: overdoing the thinking might stifle growth and slow you down, underdoing it will make you appear to be inconsequential.

What is actually important as an entrepreneur?

As an entrepreneur you will work in and on your business. The more the business grows, the more you will (and should) work on the business and not in it. You might eventually have someone else to deal with reaching out to others on a daily basis. Your job is it to recognize business opportunities and guide your business towards it.

“Entrepreneurs are artists”

Steve Blank recently posted a short video of how entrepreneurs are artists. Their art is how to create business’ out of all the different parts and opportunities out there.

See for yourself:

Don’t let your shyness or introverted personality keep you from realizing your dreams and business opportunities and start painting a beautiful business. Rather, embrace and use this trait to your advantage.