The Introvert’s Guide To Success In Business

I’m not your therapist.

I’m just a dude with severe social anxiety and a preference for big libraries.

I’m also an entrepreneur.

To survive in a world of extroverts I follow these 3 simple rules:

Rule #1

Be Kind To Yourself

You can set yourself up for success, or you can set yourself up for failure.

It’s 100% your choice.

I once tried to start an appointment setting business because the money was easy. I knew that I hated to talk to people on the phone, but I rationalized myself into it.

I’d buy a list of phone numbers from a list broker, then I’d cold call for 8–10 hours a day. By the end of the first month I ended up in the hospital with chest pains. I thought I was dying.

It was unkind of me to do that to myself. I knew better.

If you know that networking events drain you, then don’t go. Use Twitter ads to promote your ideas instead. Write a book. Use attraction marketing. Get people to come to you.

If managing people sucks the life force out of your brains, then don’t do it. Hire someone who can. Run a business that doesn’t require people management (think: Investing, writing, food cart, freelancing, etc.). Hire independent contractors.

It’s 2015. It’s never been easier to be a solo-prenuer. You don’t need huge staff to get things done. Use Upwork. Partner with people. Use automated software. Crowdsource. Whatever.

Know what turns you on. Know what turns you off.

Avoid the things that turn you off.

Don’t do something you hate. You won’t stick with it long enough to ever be good at it.

And in 2015 your business has to be pretty damn good at everything it does just to survive.

Be kind to yourself.

Rule #2

Ask For Help

Over 5,200 people have read this post in the past few days.

I’ve been watching. They’ve been writers, programmers, information marketers, designers, hustlers, teachers, gardeners, book publishers, and more.

That’s 5,200 uniquely skilled, talented, ambitious people all interested in the same goal: Making something cool.

I’ve already asked one of them for help. All it took was a simple email and (if things go well) I’ll be able to add an entirely new source of revenue for my copywriting business. It’s a source of revenue that I’ve avoided until now because it turns me off. It takes too much of me to implement.

Just by asking someone for help, I’ve given myself a potential $50,000/year raise.

You don’t have to do everything in your business. You just have to make sure your business does everything it’s supposed to. Huge difference.

Ask for help.

Does it cost money to ask? For good help, yes.

Sometimes I use Upwork. Sometimes I use partnerships.

You can have 30% of a $450,000/year pie (with help), or you can have 100% of a $20,000/year pie (doing it all yourself). That’s how I see it because that’s how it is.

What is your business failing to do well right now? If you’re an introvert (like me) I’d guess:

  • Sales
  • Customer service/retention
  • Branding/Marketing
  • Social media
  • Etc.

It might sound psychotic, but there are plenty of people out there who want to do that kind of stuff for a living. They are just looking for someone like you to give them that opportunity.

Find them (they are easy to find). Ask for their help. Let them help you. Profit. Rinse & Repeat.

Don’t be stubborn.

Rule #3

Do Things Your Way

Newsflash: There is more than one way to skin a cat.

Gruesome metaphor. Wise advice.

The best way for you to run your business/venture/organization/whatever is the way that keeps you motivated, energized, and focused. Any other advice is just a distraction.

Distractions are expensive.

And my dear fellow introverts, we are notoriously bad at doing things that don’t jive with our inner-selves. You know it’s true.

That’s why this:

If you don’t want to be the startup founder who uses “Bro” as the intro to an email… don’t. If you aren’t a brogrammer, then don’t be one.

If everyone is jumping on the podcasting bandwagon but you hate the idea of having to talk to actual people while being permanently recorded… then don’t do it. If you prefer to write your ideas down, then do that instead.

There is no such thing as, “the best way to X”. If there was, then every business would be the same. Every investor would follow Warren Buffet’s strategies perfectly and be just as rich as he is. But that doesn’t happen.

There’s another piece to it all. That piece is you.

You have to be you. You have to do it the way that you can do it.

Advice (like this post) is fun brain food, but it’s mostly useless.

I was homeless and almost killed myself because I thought the only way to succeed in business was to run a large organization. I must have read it somewhere. Probably lots of somewheres.

But it isn’t true. Not in the capital T sort of way.

Business is personal. It’s your ideas put into action. It’s art.

That means it has to come from you. It can’t come from anywhere else.

Especially if you’re an introvert like me.

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Published in Startups, Wanderlust, and Life Hacking

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