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The Introvert Entrepreneur: Amplify Your Strengths and Create Success on Your Own Terms by Beth Buelow
You have the willpower to create something you deeply love and believe in – that’s why you become an entrepreneur. Being an introvert doesn’t diminish your chances of success. It’s a fact that is explored in The Introvert Entrepreneur by Beth Buelow.
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You’ll be amazed by the myriad of qualities that you possess, the ones which, in your head, are derailing your journey towards a successful business venture.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP / THE INTROVERT ENTREPRENEUR
“Introverts choose entrepreneurship so that they can live and work authentically, according to their rules.”
Don’t be discouraged when you discover that:
“There are introverts who love to network, go through a sales process, or make speeches with no preparation.”
Some parts of business development are draining and stress-inducing for the introverts, but absolutely necessary to get the project off the ground. Fortunately there are ways to cope, as The Introvert Entrepreneur tells us.
Beth Buelow wrote this book to bring new data about introverts in the world of entrepreneurship. It’s a common belief that if you don’t display the characteristics of an extrovert, your dreams of creating a profitable solo venture will crash and burn. But keeping up a façade is exhausting. And when customers sense deceit, they’re gone.
Beth Buelow, based in Tacoma, Washington, is an introvert. She embraced her personality, launching her own personal development company, the Introvert Entrepreneur, which offers coaching and training services to fellow introverts. She is a writer, facilitator, and certified professional coach, praised around the world for her exquisite skills in entrepreneur coaching for introverts. Interviewing up-and-coming and well-established entrepreneurs in her highly regarded podcast, Buelow sees her introvert nature as a gift.
As you’ll discover in The Introvert Entrepreneur, she isn’t the only one. Many others have decided to embrace their traits rather than stifle them.
The book is structured into 9 chapters that call for inner rediscovery. In the first chapter, you’ll learn of the false impressions about introverts, along with their strengths and qualities, and why they are more than capable of reaching success.
Moving on, in the next chapters you’ll find out:
- the things entrepreneurs refuse to speak of, such as fear and doubt;
- how to build a business foundation which represents who you are;
- learning to enjoy and excel at networking and sales;
- how to pick the right people to be around you;
- and finding out how to manage your future collaborations.
In the final chapter, you’ll discover additional techniques to help you thrive.
Throughout the book you’ll encounter quotes and proverbs, short interviews with outstanding introvert entrepreneurs, and links to the resources section on the author’s website, for more in-depth information.
The Introvert Entrepreneur is constructed as a house, each chapter a room, and the ladder to the roof – achievement – must be your own creation, each step built on your terms. It’s your choice. The world outside those walls is scary but, if you’re willing to commit and believe in your contribution, go on and make magic happen.
Here are the key concepts of Beth Buelow’s book:
- “Finding your voice.” Your purpose, goals, values, and vision are tied to who you are. Misrepresenting your business happens by rejecting your true self, which is toxic for any introvert entrepreneur.
- “Networking.” The power of connecting resides in face-to-face interactions. People must trust you in order to buy or invest in your products or services. It’s done by showing up.
- “Self-promotion.” The equilibrium between self-loathing and narcissism must be achieved. If any of these are present in an unhealthy dose, then you are unlikely to attain your objectives.
- “Energy management.” Plan your days carefully to allow yourself enough time to recover between meetings, events, and other reunions. Networking and self-promotion will quickly exhaust your energy supplies.
- “Isolation and collaboration.” As your venture grows, you’ll require the assistance of other people. Transparency and two-way communication equals trust for the duration of your relationship. Again, a balance must exist between working on your own and interacting with your employees, contractors, or project partners.
- “Personal and professional sustainability.” Bring your A-game, make thoughtful decisions in accordance with your principles, find new and innovative ways of growing, both personal and professional. If you want to leave a legacy behind, raw talent is wasted without hard work and commitment to do better day after day.
Our introvert nature compels us to seek refuge in a world of Jaffa cakes and cups of tea, with an endless library at our disposal. But that will not change when we take it upon ourselves to become an entrepreneur. We’ll still need a break from the noise. The initial stage of development can be completed from our office but at some point, we must face the music and get outside.
Besides, let’s not forget that:
“Our ability to read the energy of a room means we can be responsive to what people need in the moment.”
Here are five actionable things from The Introvert Entrepreneur to ease our anxieties:
- As introverts, even the satisfaction of an achievement is celebrated internally. After some time, our mind and body feel the negative consequences. Learn to express your joy externally, and take a breather before starting the next stage of the project.
- Social activities are naturally draining. Instead of playing the extrovert card, connect with your naturally extrovert side (Yes. Introverts have an extrovert part). Also use your introvert traits: listen, observe, and internalize. Combined, they will expose your strengths, and your energy will last longer.
- If you need a break during an event, excuse yourself, take a minute, and breathe. Relax your body. Be there, in the present. Dress comfortably for the day to avoid feeling constrained by your clothing while trying to connect with the individual that’s in front of you.
- Articulate thoughts about your value proposition out loud. You may have the entire plan in your head but when you’re asked, silence takes ahold of you. Maybe you mutter half-sentences or inaudible nonsense under your breath. It’s useful to know the answers to the why-how-what questions about your business and practice them out loud.
- Introverts adore preparing. So, if people ask us to speak freely, without a plan… we’ll most likely freeze on the spot. However, it seems that taking improvisation classes might help us express our thoughts in intelligible sentences. Also, this activity has the structure to satisfy our appetite for order. Moreover, improv is about trust, acceptance, authenticity, and being present, all of which ground our sense of safety and generate personal energy.
Public speaking is in the Top 3 most-dreaded and draining activities for introverts. To reduce the stress of it, we have our own rituals of planning and rehearsing. I mentioned earlier how improv can be great for loosening up our fear of unexpected questions. You can integrate these little suggestions below, all of which resulted from Beth Buelow’s experience with improvisation and public speaking, and decide which work for you:
- “Ditch perfection.” Trying to achieve perfection is a wild goose chase. Stop chasing the right answer. It’s just a mirage. Think about small children skating. They fall down quite often, don’t they? After that, they get up and have another go. So will you. Improv is about letting go and enjoying the moment.
- “Make the leap.” Observing other people doing stuff on the sidelines is quite reassuring. We like to know the risks, the processes, the implications, the consequences… the list goes on. Improv will give you the nudge to jump once in a while, without having to know what’s going to occur after.
- “Tell the truth.” Most people don’t. That’s why is so refreshing and creates funny moments, which carry an important dose of easiness and tranquility. We don’t need to file our lies in a drawer, take them out, and then invent something else to cover up our deceptions. Sounds exhausting. At an improvisation session, you don’t even have time to make something up.
- “Say yes.” Accept the challenge. Accept the unknown outcome. Instead of the terminal word “no”, respond with “yes, and” which will help you keep the conversation going. Maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the end.
- “Don’t try to be funny.” Isn’t improv the exact opposite of this? Well, yes, but it’s an indirect approach – you don’t try to be funny. You just are. Jerry Seinfeld himself is an introvert who takes chances, lets things fall down in whichever shape or form he fancies, doesn’t shy away from challenges, and tells the truth.
- “Accelerate failure.” Failure is inevitable in our quest to reach our goals. Certainly you can’t dodge it forever, or throw in the towel at the first disappointment. Embrace the fact that it will happen, and learn from it. Try to see failure as a necessary “bad” in order to move forward.
As an introvert myself, I believe that Beth Buelow is a rockstar for writing The Introvert Entrepreneur. There are a million details that cement her dedication and drive to guide introverts through the waters of entrepreneurship, adjusting their sails on the great journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur.
In the darkest of days, remember this nugget:
“One of our biggest fears is that we won’t be able to handle or deal with something. In truth, we can handle anything.”
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