Biz Ladies: 9 Ways to Build Your Biz as an Introvert

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Charge Up is about proactively managing your life and career and filling your tank full of delicious alone-time goodness, so that socializing, networking, building your biz and spending time with people is awesome, not awful. It’s full of tips, tricks and hacks from Allie and Claire (both entrepreneurs themselves at The Wonderjam and Claire Deane Marketing) as well as insight from other successful bloggers and entrepreneurs from Columbus to Brisbane, Australia. Today these biz ladies give us a brief sneak peek of their soon-to-be released eBook, Charge Up: Build Your Business And Manage Your Energy With Your Introversion Superpowers and share 9 ways you can overcome your shyness and grow your brand. – Stephanie

Read the full post after the jump…

For introverts, networking sucks. Let’s just put it out there. It feels sleazy, it’s SO awkward, and walking into a room alone with a room of extroverts in sell-mode is enough to make an introvert want to step over their own grandma to get out of there. While we may look like a particularly social bunch if you were to go by our Twitter feeds, a large proportion of entrepreneurs and bloggers, in particular, are introverts. While introverts gain energy from being on our own, as biz ladies we need to be able to sell our services and ourselves.

But who says networking events are the only way to meet new potential collaborators, clients and business partners? Here’s 9 non-traditional ways to “network” that guarantee you’ll never have to set foot into a conference centre again.

  1. Send an email to someone you admire, and ask them for coffee. Indivitual networking is better for introverts because we hate small talk! Getting to know someone personally allows for a deeper connection, meaning they are more likely to remember what you do and makes them more likely to refer you to their networks.
  2. Start with people you know. Who within your circle of friends could use your services? That tenuous existing link can make it so much easier to reach out, and there’s plenty of research indicating that loose ties are the most valuable to you from a business perspective.
  3. Start a blog, and write about YOU. Make it interesting, funny, weird, honest – say all the things you couldn’t say to people in real life about yourself. Keep at it, and people will be coming to you!
  4. If you are going to a conference, research the guest list first. Ask your Twitter followers who is attending, write on the event’s Facebook wall – make at least one contact before you rock up and arrange to meet up with that person so you’ve got one familiar face at the event.
  5. Introduce two people via email every day! It establishes you as a hub, resource and connector. Plus, people will feel like they owe you. You’re not making these connections solely for this reason, but if you’re a giver, it’s also more likely you’ll receive great things back.
  6. Contact someone you want to work with through LinkedIn and arrange to meet one-on-one. Individual meetings are much less daunting than a room full of strangers. Vow to treat that meeting like you want to become friends. Less sales, more relationships.
  7. Share other entrepreneurs’ content online. By spreading the word about the work of someone you love, they are more likely to notice your efforts, and when you do reach out, you’ve already established a connection.
  8. Create a free, downloadable resource for your audience. Building your email list gives you instant access to a list of people who find you trustworthy and relevant.
  9. Guest post or write for other blogs and publications. Email isn’t as scary as talking on the phone, so what do you have to lose by reaching out to blogs you admire to see if you can write for them?

If you do find that events and conferences are a really effective way to make new connections and promote your biz, here are 4 ways we make them work for us:

  • Manage own expectations. If you are going to go to a networking event, don’t expect to make 20 new contacts. If you make one, that’s enough!
  • Give yourself a time limit at an event, say 30 minutes. Walk in, stay for 30 minutes, and then see how you feel. If you’ve been a good little introvert, and have filled yourself up with lots of good energy in the lead-up, you might want to stay for another 30!
  • Set some goals. Go into a networking event wanting the business card of one particular contact. Having an objective makes it feel less like meaningless small talk.
  • Change up the way you think about networking events! Think of the event as an opportunity to meet and go deep with someone new who you can also help.

 

melissa

This. is. AWESOME! No matter how hard I try to convince myself otherwise… I’m truly an introvert and get super awkward in many social situations. These tips are so perfect! I will definitely be using them. Thanks also for making me realize I’m not the only shy lady out there! This whole post makes me feel a lot better… and super excited too! Now to work on getting more articulate and clear when talking about my ideas and passions!! xoxo

Erica

Thank you for affirming that networking is my own personal hell, and I don’t have to do it all the time! Having people time and time again emphasize how critical it is to get out there and schmooze gets quite tiresome. These are great ideas :)

Susan

I was excited to see the title of this post pop-up on my feed. Many of the tips above will prove to be useful. However, I’d like to point out that introversion is not synonymous with shyness or awkwardness. These are 3 different things.

panda flannel

Oof, thank you. Right now I have an entry-level in-house job in an industry that is mostly built around freelancing, and am trying to decide what to do from here since my position has a fixed end date a year from now. I love my work and want to keep going in my field, but just went to my first networking event and it made me want to curl up in a ball and find a completely different career. This was really encouraging in that there might ways I *can* make it work.

Caroline

This is a really great post, with real content (I was expecting something more vague and “you go girl!”). Thanks!
The only trouble I have with this sort of article is that I can never remember all the points, or implement them all at once. I’m going to set this up on my calendar with monthly/weekly goals.

Grace Bonney

Caroline

That’s a GREAT idea. I love the gmail app “Boomerang” for things like that- I send myself emails designed to arrive once a week at a specific time to remind me to do certain things like this :)

Grace

Robin

Oh yes indeed. You’re so on point at mentioning that so many of us who are super active online are introverts…I can put on a good social face, but I’m SO much more comfortable behind a screen (cue Susan Cain, who speaks of the computer shield). Your tips are great and ones I generally practice. Thank you for putting this together and total shout out to my fellow introverts :)

Jess

These are great tips! I am faced with this challenge all the time :) I have found blogging to be the best way for me to make connections and build my business! I really like your point of asking people to meet 1:1 – I plan to do this more!

Kayla

Ah, this was the perfect article for me! I love all the tips and will try and use them because I can be completely useless at networking. I particularly like the idea of staying at an event for 30 minutes. That’s a great goal to give yourself so you don’t just pop in and leave two minutes later. Thanks!

Jenn Coyle

Awesome post. I am so incredibly introverted and working from home doesn’t help. You’ve re-inspired me to be more open minded about networking events and reaching out!

Swati

These are some great tips. I have evernoted them! Thank you so much! I have always noticed that one on one conversations help me more than any event ever did… but as an introvert blogger I also struggle with social media :/

Claire Deane

Thank you everyone for your comments, particularly the comments around how the article is really practical and that you’ll be implementing the tips! That’s definitely what we were going for!

Susan, we definitely agree about the introversion vs shyness thing – introversion is about where you draw energy from (being alone, vs. being around people) and it’s possible to be a shy introvert! Hopefully the article still has some great tips you can use to grow your biz.

Can’t wait to see what other tips and tricks other introverts share in this comment thread!

Jennie {Love 'n Fresh Flowers}

As a hardcore introvert with a successful small business, I love that you ladies wrote this article!! It’s amazing how tough it can be to tackle some key business tasks when you really hate chit chat and find social settings draining. But it can be done and these tips are great! Fortunately social media really makes it easy to tell your story now without having to actually interact in person with your customer. I know that sounds a bit terrible to say, but if you’re an introvert, you’re nodding your head with appreciation. :-)

And Susan is absolutely right: being an introvert doesn’t mean you’re shy. I’m not even remotely shy, but I’m incredibly introverted. So I can interact easily with a group when necessary, but it totally drains my batteries and I can only do it for so long. It took me a long time to understand that about myself and to consequently be kind to myself, instead of being annoyed at how exhausted I was after giving a workshop or speaking to a group.

Thanks for writing this Claire & Allie!!

amy

Ugh, so what I’m seeing is…join Twitter. ; ) Thanks for the “just do it” reminder on that, as well as reaching out online. Love the comments above about making an action plan and breaking long-term goals into day-by-day bites that aren’t scary or overwhelming.

Natasha

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! As an introvert I always struggle with networking and my boyfriend who is a massive extravert always pushes me which really doesn’t help! Your article actually reminded me who I am and that it’s ok to be different

Elizabeth

Thank you for sharing this! I am an real estate and I feel like there is such a push for me to be an extrovert but this reminded me I can be successful on my own terms!

Kandy

This is wonderful. Thank you for recognizing the challenges introverts face networking. When I go to a networking event I give myself permission to meet and have a real connection with only 2 people. It gets me talking to people, but it makes me feel sane in a room of people flitting about.

Sarah

Awesome! I always take it slow when I want to be networking (in person). It’s very overwhelming and I have a hard time putting myself out there, making introductions, etc. But I do like to think if I make one connection, it’s good enough. I always felt like that was a cop out but it is very nice to hear that advice from someone else!

kimithy

Great article, and helpful!

I’d also like to toss out another suggestion – if possible, consider having a trusted employee/intern/friend be in charge of branding/marketing/networking/selling your business. Particularly if you’re extremely introverted, if it’s possible to hire or barter for those services, you can focus more energy on the other aspects of running your business that you love, and leave the socially exhausting tasks to someone you trust who enjoys them :)

Jackie Lamas

i’m such a huge introvert and kind of makes me seem lazy to connect but really it’s because i’m an introvert! these are such great tips!

Maywonder

See I knew it! There’s no way that only extroverts could own and be successful at business. The numbers just don’t make sense. Anyway, thanks for writing this for all of us no matter what % of introversion we have.

Sally Mae

Sounds like someone has been listening to the James Altucher podcast, this is the same advice he gives out.

carly

Wait, who wants to start a happy hour group for introverts? I feel like it would be like speed dating- you are only allowed to talk to one person at a time. Or maybe it’s just a 30 minute happy hour. And then it ends. :-)

Good tips and a great reminder to keep up the networking. I bet even extroverts would find these ideas helpful.

Marta

I was very happy indeed when I discovered Design Sponge as a result of ongoing research for my newly opened business, but this article turned me into a frequent guest on your blog. What a unique angle to approach the life of a business woman from. Needless to say, I’m an introvert myself and this article stroke a chord. I’m not alone! Brilliant and thank you!
Marta

Theresa

These are incredibly helpful tips. & I love Carly’s idea for an introvert happy hour :) Thanks for such a great post! I love when I come away with action steps!

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