From The Quiet Entrepreneur Introvert Coach mailbox:
“I’m completely new to all this business malarkey but some of the thoughts that are scaring me so far are:
1) The idea of selling myself and coming across as a ‘know all’. On my blog, I don’t want to come across as saying to my readers ‘I have the answers to all your problems’ (because I don’t!)
2) Asking for help/info or making requests that would help me to move forward. I’m talking about asking for help from other bloggers or requesting they publicise my work, or asking people to appear on my blog. Here I’m talking for a kind of ‘networking’ perspective. I think I’ll be quite shy about making the first move.
3) Making mistakes and being judged negatively.
4) Trying to sound natural when I know other people are going to read my words.
5) The amount of energy I’m going to need to make my vision come to life!”
All of this makes perfect sense to a fellow introvert – so let me break it down, point by point.
- So many introverts talk about being scared of “selling” themselves and coming across as a “know all” – including yours truly! I wrote about it on The Quiet Entreprener blog, and suggested one way to get round the problem is to find a cause to support. That takes the pressure off you, because you’re not selling yourself – and it gets you into the habit of promoting someone or something you believe in.
Also, you can tell your readers, up front, that you don’t have all the answers! It’s just as valid to write about what you’re experiencing from the viewpoint of a “student” as it is to write as an “expert”. It can be more appealing for people who are at the same stage as you, or a few paces behind you, to learn from the mistakes you’re making!
- Like you, I’m keen to get other people to write for or be interviewed for The Quiet Entrepreneur – but when it’s a relatively new blog, that can be tricky. Some people are very willing to contribute content, regardless, because they understand the value of being seen. Others, who are more well-known, may be less inclined. So, rather than asking them straight out to contribute, I’m reading their blogs and following them on social media, and I’ve also signed up to their newsletters.
I’m introducing myself in a Quiet way and helping them by sharing their content with my followers – which, by the way, is increasing my following too. I’ve also started conversations via social media. When I’ve written a few more blog posts and have a significant following, I’ll feel more comfortable about approaching them for content for my blog – because I’ll be able to show that the blog is attracting interest, and they may be able to connect with some new introvert followers.
- I don’t think the problem here is necessarily making mistakes – I think it’s the fear of being judged negatively. Everyone makes mistakes – in fact, the most successful entrepreneurs are those who have failed several times, and kept picking themselves up off the floor and trying again.
So the question is: who are you afraid might judge you negatively? Family and friends? Or total strangers?
Family and friends may try to discourage you from pursuing your business ideas because they care about you and don’t want to see you fail. I tend not to share fledgling ideas with family and friends, in case they inadvertantly shoot them down in flames. And as for what total strangers think… who cares?! 😉
Some people say that, unless you’ve upset at least one person, then your writing isn’t authentic! If someone judges you negatively, then it simply means that they don’t “get” you – in which case, they’re not in your tribe. So don’t worry about them. There are plenty of people who WILL get you – so go out and find THEM!!
- Sounding natural on your blog takes time. When I first started writing a blog, I was used to writing reports and making sure that everything was grammatically correct. I still tend to be a bit of a grammar freak, but I’m gradually getting over it!
When someone’s reading your blog, it should be a similar experience to listening to you speak. Try reading your blog out loud. Does it sound like you? If not, change it. You could even try recording yourself talking about whatever it is you want to write, and then write your blog from that.
- Ah yes – this is the biggie for me too! When I first started thinking about helping introverts in business, everyone I spoke to about it thought it was a brilliant idea, and said they could see huge potential. And that scared me!
Suddenly, I could picture myself being overwhelmed with work and not being able to cope. So I stalled the project. I did nothing on the website or on social media. Instead, I spent some time reading articles on-line, and I began to realise that there were other introverts out there – some of whom are doing more or less what I want to do.
And rather than thinking of those people as competitors, I see them as potential collaborators – and I realise that I don’t have to make my vision come to life all on my own. Even if you can’t afford to pay people to help you, there are ways of exchanging skills, so that everyone benefits.
If you have a specific challenge around promoting your business as an introvert, and you would like help with it, Ask The Quiet Entrepreneur’s Visibility Coach.
About the author Julia Barnickle is a film maker, photographer, artist and writer, and the founder of The Quiet Entrepreneur community for introverts in business. She offers visibility coaching to raise your online profile, and helps you create videos to promote and deliver your services.