Introvert Business Models for On-line Success

Ryan Lee infographic - 3 Business Models for Online Success

I’ve talked before about people’s preconception that you have to be an “expert” in order to be successful in business – and also how, for introverts, it can feel like you’re coming across as a “know-it-all” or a show-off.

That’s why I love this simple infographic from information marketer (and extrovert) Ryan Lee, showing the 3 basic models for building on-line success as an information marketer – which is what you are, if you write a blog, create digital products or on-line programmes, or do speaking gigs.

The 3 roles that Ryan identifies are Expert, Host and Producer – and as he says, you can take on any or all of these roles (in fact, I would recommend it, as it can bring in multiple streams of income). But as an introvert / ambivert, I disagree slightly with Ryan’s definition of some of these roles!

Role #1 – The Expert

Ryan says “you love to be the centre of attention” and “you’re outgoing.” Many experts, though, are highly introverted and prefer to research and write about their specialist topic, rather than standing on-stage talking about it. Susan Cain is a good example – when her book (Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking) was published, she was invited to deliver a TED talk on The Power Of Introverts – and she is visibly uncomfortable being in the spotlight. However, over time, she has become more accustomed to her new-found fame and appears more at ease in interviews such as this one, where Marie Forleo interviews Susan Cain on Networking for Introverts.

Role #2 – The Host

Ryan says “you take the back seat to other experts”, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Marie Forleo is an introvert (or probably an ambivert, like me) and much of what she does is based on interviewing other experts – but that doesn’t mean that she’s taking a back seat. Far from it, in fact! You can still be the expert in your topic, if you’re interviewing other experts – I would actually say it makes for a more interesting conversation because you can ask deeper questions, rather than skimming the surface of the topic. It also comes across more naturally than if you’re having to ask questions that you don’t understand the answers to! 😉 Being the Host is a great way to gain credibility when you’re not well-known yourself – and to generate more interesting and varied content for your readers / listeners.

Role #3 – The Producer

I agree with Ryan’s definition of the Producer – and it’s very easy to know whether you fall into this category. If you love creating systems, organising things (but not necessarily people) and get excited about spreadsheets(!), then you’re probably ideally suited to the role of Producer. In a recent conversation, one introverted friend described how she loves to get into the nitty-gritty detail, especially when it comes to technical stuff – I, on the other hand, detest that level of detail (even though I spent nearly twenty years rolling my sleeves up in my role as IT consultant!), so the role of Producer would not be ideal for me.


Whatever role (or roles) you decide to take on, I wish you every success. One of the roles I shall be playing is that of Host – so if you’re an introvert or ambivert, let me know how you’re getting on. I’d love to include an interview with you on the blog. 🙂


About the author Julia Barnickle - The Quiet EntrepreneurJulia 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.

Follow Julia on Instagram | Youtube | Twitter | or on her website.

5 comments… add one
  • It’s good to know that there are published idea for introvert who are thinking of online business. Every person has his own and unique personality, and we should know that everyone of us needs different guides as well. Keep sharing your thoughts, Julia. Wishing you more success in your craft.
    Prosper Show recently posted..Third Party Marketplace News – eBay goes down again & partners with niche verticals, Amazon delivers directlyMy Profile

  • Hi Julia,
    I’m so thankful that you are rethinking and questioning all these asumptions about introverts!

    As an introvert/ambivert myself, I couldn’t be less interested in being in the spotlight. But whenever I see some problems that stirr my passion, I feel deeply compelled to offer my expertise in every way I can. And if that means speaking or being in the “expert” role, so be it.
    I think the main difference is in how we come accross as introverts, but we can embody any role if we feel deeply motivated to do it.
    Again, thanks for talking about this 🙂
    Charo
    Charo Pinilla recently posted..What if nobody wants what you have to offer?My Profile

    • Thanks Charo! I think you’re right, when you say “the main difference is in how we come across as introverts” – we often tend to be quietly spoken, for example, and to speak more slowly and deliberately because we like to think about what to say before we say it. This can be mistaken for not knowing our subject, because people have got used to experts jumping in and giving their opinion straight off the bat. So it’s down to us, as introverts, to assert ourselves as experts in whatever way we can – either in the spotlight or behind the scenes.

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