How to Start a Business When You're an Introvert

How to Start a Business When You’re an Introvert

The business world seems like it caters to extroverts. And that makes sense: As a business owner, you need charisma to lead a team, negotiate with partners and engage with them regularly. In addition, you need to network with new people and improve your client relationships.

For an introvert, therefore, these responsibilities may seem intimidating, or even overwhelming , to deal with. Introverts tend to prefer quieter, solitary environments; but does that mean it’s impossible for them to be successful entrepreneurs?

Of course not. If you're an introvert, you have your own strengths and weaknesses; and while you may have some extra challenges to overcome in business ownership, you’ll also have some extra advantages -- if you know how to use them.

1. Choose your business category wisely.
Your first step is to choose your business carefully. Before you write up a business plan, think carefully about your idea and how it will relate to your personality and mental and emotional needs:

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Play to your strengths. Not always, but often, introverts like to bury themselves in specific, individual tasks. For example, you might like to code applications at work, or, as a hobbyist, you might be an expert woodworker. In either case, you need to build a business that caters to your particular strengths. There’s almost certainly something you can do or something you know that extroverts won’t be able to match. So pinpoint it and exploit it.

Minimize interaction demand. When you start planning your business, opt for a model that doesn’t require much personal interaction. For example, you might want to avoid one-on-one consulting or training if you don’t enjoy socializing. You might also want to rely more on helpful tools to build your business than do other people.

Start small. Whatever your business is, start small. Hire only the people you need; that way, you can get used to your role gradually and avoid overloading yourself with new people and situations.

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2. Find partners who'll complement you.
If you’re strongly introverted, you'll be better off finding business partners and employees who complement your personality and skill set. For example, if you hate the idea of making a sales pitch to a stranger and don’t like talking to people in general, team up with someone who’s strongly extroverted and straightforward, who likes having conversations.

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