5 Ways To Harness Your Introvert Power as an Entrepreneur

I don’t want to presume too much about you, dear readers, but I’ve noticed a pattern among the fellow freelancers/entrepreneurs I’ve had the pleasure of engaging with over the past few years:

Much like me, the majority of them are introverts.

It makes perfect sense.

Instead of feeling the pressure to perform at business meetings, freelancers can allow themselves the time to absorb communications from clients, mull things over, and then respond. Instead of feeling guilty for turning down lunch invites — worried that others will think them a weirdo or a snob — freelancers can spend lunch hours with their cats, scheduling social outings only when they feel up to them. And instead of working the typical 9 to 5, feeling obligated to stick to corporate work hours despite feeling burnt out, freelancers have the ability to work at their own pace, scheduling in book breaks, walks, or yoga as a means of recharging. It’s no wonder that introverts everywhere are flocking to freelancedom and entrepreneurship.

What’s sad is that many introverts still feel the need to apologize for their introversion. In Introvert Power, Laurie Helgoe writes that many introverts “… see extroversion as a bar that he or she can never quite reach.” I know the feeling. I’ve long cursed my tendencies toward introversion and social anxiety, and I admire those who can work a room like nobody’s business… and have a blast doing so. The thing is, being an introvert has its own benefits.

Introvert Power wasn’t written for freelancers or entrepreneurs, and it wasn’t written for writers. I recommend it anyway, because I found to be very affirming. That and I found that its lessons can easily be applied to the freelance life. How?

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Are Your Supposed Weaknesses Actually Your Strengths?

The summer after my freshman year of college, I approached the editor of a small, family-run, local magazine about the possibility of interning for him in some capacity. To test my abilities, he gave me an article assignment. But when I couldn’t get confidential information out of a source, the piece was scrapped, and he told me I wasn’t aggressive enough for the journalism industry.

I was crushed.

Fast forward about seven years. I was working full-time as a marketing associate at an academic book publisher, but still freelancing on the side. A family friend mentioned my name to this editor — the very same editor who had long ago made me doubt myself — and he contacted me about writing features for his magazine.

Obviously, he didn’t remember who I was. Not only that, but he ended up liking my work so much that he tried to lure me away from my job so that I could become a staff writer for his magazine. I was having none of it.

I eventually stopped writing for him because the pay was meh, and he kept introducing errors into my final copy. I also found him patronizing.

It was a valuable experience, though. It showed me clearly that while I may not be aggressive enough for hard news, my ability to develop a rapport with my sources when in a one-on-one, casual interview made me a valuable asset.

Plus, it was extra-satisfying to turn down a man who had once upon a time told me I wasn’t good enough.

Neener-neener.

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Link Love: April 10, 2010

I feel as if this week was a perfect example of how much I was missing when I was playing recluse for the past year. (The positively balmy weather didn’t hurt.)

On Tuesday, I went to the #nyblogout — a happy hour for NYC dating bloggers — and met a few people I had previously only known online. On Friday afternoon, I went to an open dress rehearsal forĀ Armida at the Metropolitan Opera, and then went to a Ben Folds concert in the evening. And today, I went to the local university to rehearse a choral piece an old high school friend had composed for his grad school recital. It felt good to get away from the computer screen.

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