3 business-boosting, introvert practices to inspire ALL entrepreneurs during Covid-19
I’ve been in business as a graphic designer and brand strategist for over 10 years. During this time, through all the ups and downs, Covid-19 included, my way of doing business hasn’t changed.
To explain, I’ve adapted.
I continually grow.
But the core principles of who I am, and how I do business are deeply rooted in the fertile, nourishing soil of my introversion. In that soil, no matter how fierce the outside elements, beautiful things have grown, even if growth is slow at times.
In this article I’m going to share a few of the introverted practices I use organically in my business to keep it ticking along.
But first, it’s important to clarify some definitions.
Introverts are not necessarily shy and quiet people, which is still a common misconception. Being an introvert means that I’m energised and revitalised by the quietness of my own company, and I’m drained by the high-stimuli environments of social settings and large groups. The conversations, the noise, the thinking — after a short time, it flattens me, and I long to plug back into the stillness.
I do like social gatherings, but in much smaller doses than my extrovert friends. Unlike me, they get their energy from being around others, feeding off, and fuelling themselves with conversations and interactions.
The other misconception is that introverts can’t make effective entrepreneurs. The opposite is true. By harnessing our strengths we can make a powerful impact in any venture we pursue. Some introverted entrepreneurs include Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Warren Buffett.
While I can’t speak specifically to the inner workings and practices of each of these famous entrepreneurs, I can most certainly speak to my own.
The business-boosting practices I’m going to outline in this article suit my introverted personality, and because they are all done from home, they’re completely Covid-friendly.
Keep in mind, these practices are provided for the purposes of inspiring, not as a set of hard and fast rules to strictly follow, because realistically, they may not suit your work style. I’m also not suggesting that only introverts use these practices, because that’s definitely not the case, extroverts use them too! Indeed, introversion and extroversion is on a spectrum, and many of us fall somewhere in-between.
So please, take as little or as much inspiration as you want, no matter your personality type, and use it as a springboard for your own exciting ideas and actions.
1. Share your knowledge
Personally, I’m not a fan of direct or hard selling, but I’m a huge fan of sharing, particularly knowledge.
This article is an example. I’m sharing information on a topic that I hope will help many people, and I’m expecting nothing in return.
But here’s the thing, it’s business boosting nonetheless.
Karma is beautiful. What goes around comes around, and in a multitude of ways.
For example, a few people who read this article will also read my bio, visit my website, and possibly even download my free branding resource. Somewhere down the track, one of these people may consider using my services.
To me, that’s karma.
To social scientists, it’s the Norm of Reciprocation.
The Norm of Reciprocation is a social response where people are so happy to receive your free offerings, they feel compelled to give you something in return, like their business by purchasing your products or services.
Whether it’s karma or reciprocity, it works.
So consider sharing your knowledge, whether it’s through your newsletter, social media, forums or articles.
Share your knowledge because you want to give. And at some point, what goes around will come around.
2. Share opportunities in order to form solid partnerships
I have a supplier in a different industry who sends me quick emails periodically about opportunities she sees.
She’s an introvert too.
Her emails are literally just a few, short lines. But to be honest, the length of her emails can never match the depth of my gratitude.
By emailing me, she’s keeping herself at the top of my mind in an immensely positive way. When I think of her, I think good thoughts. Given that branding is partly how customers perceive you, she has built a beautiful brand. Whenever I think of her, I feel a sense of warmth and joy, associating her with generosity and honesty.
Her acts cost nothing, yet they pay dividends in the short and long term.
Perhaps you can share opportunities with fellow business owners too?
Here’s how I share opportunities.
During busy periods I’ll refer clients to other designers and brand strategists. These same people think of me when they too are busy. It’s a lovely see-saw effect that makes the world (or playground!) go round.
Also, if my clients need website copy and taglines, I’ll refer them to copywriters. These copywriters refer their own clients to me if they need branding and design assistance. This network of goodwill between similar or aligned professionals keeps us ticking along in a supported and nurtured way.
Personally, I reach out to all these people individually, but for those who need the interaction of groups, you can form or be part of a large online community. Interestingly, I was once part of a Facebook group for graphic designers, but because I quietly enjoyed the group without commenting as often as others, I was eventually blocked. So, share opportunities in a way that best suits your personality. For some, that will be quietly and individually, for others it will be loudly and publicly. Both have their place. Both are effective.
Introverts are generally excellent listeners because we connect with people on a deep, emotional level, even on the phone and over Zoom video meetings.
It’s true, listening is a business-boosting practice, but I listen because I love to, not because I have to. I’m genuinely, profoundly interested in people’s stories.
Entrepreneurs LOVE talking about their businesses, and I’m all ears!
I want to know why they started.
How they started.
What’s unique about them.
What their customers think.
What challenges they’ve had. The list goes on!
My advice is this: clients and potential clients have a problem they want solved, and they want to know you’re listening to them, not just hearing them.
There’s a big difference.
Hearing is about opening your ears, with the goal to respond. Listening is about opening your mind, with the goal to understand.
If you don’t already do it, try listening to your customers. And I mean, really listening. When you give them the silence and space to truly unfurl, you’ll connect on a deeper level, which means you can offer a solution that is so specific and spectacular, it will be hard to turn down.
The power of giving
Whether you’re an introvert or not, the practice of: sharing your knowledge, sharing opportunities, and genuinely listening to people can help boost business during Covid-19, and beyond. I genuinely hope it does!