How to tell when your energy levels are flagging (and why it matters)

introvert energy levels flagging
This guest post is by Tanja Gardner.
I found Tanja’s website when I first started The Quiet Entrepreneur and wanted to see whether anyone else out there was helping introverts in business. Tanja, whose “other” business is copywriting, is based in New Zealand. Her primary focus, when helping introvert business owners, is on energy management, which is what she’s sharing with us in this article.
~ Julia Barnickle

Do you really need help figuring out when your energy’s low?

On first reading, “how to tell when your energy levels are flagging” might sound like a strange topic for a blog post.

After all, you should automatically *know* when you’re getting tired, shouldn’t you? Especially since we introverts (and other quiet entrepreneurs) are generally inwardly focused, shouldn’t we be intimately aware of what’s going on with our own energy levels?

Well yes, in theory. In practice, though it’s not always quite that simple, for a couple of reasons:

  • Many of us are so used to pushing through energy slumps with sheer willpower that we’ve almost lost touch with what’s really going on internally.
  • Energy drain doesn’t always show up as physical tiredness: it can wear a number of faces, and not all of them are ones you’d immediately recognise.

Let’s look at these two issues in more depth.

Issue #1: we’re often out of touch with our real energy levels

Even in the heart-based business space that many of us inhabit, there’s a kind of unwritten pressure to keep doing, doing, doing. Most of us know intellectually that solo down-time and self-care are essential to maintain our sanity… But for many introverts, there always seems to be a work or family commitment that’s more important in the moment.

If this sounds like you, you’ll probably find yourself pushing through scheduled breaks, again and again, to first meet this deadline, and then get that problem solved. After all, you rationalise to yourself… you’re not that tired. You still have time available, and the work won’t do itself!

Of course, it’s not just borderline workaholics who have difficulty connecting with their energy levels in the moment. We live in an extroverted world where many of our day-to-day activities carry at least some kind of energy cost. Each individual “price” might only be small… but add them up over the course of a day – or a week – and you end up with a “death of a thousand cuts” situation.

Finally, expectations can also play a huge role. If you’re not expecting something to feel draining for you – especially if you’re enjoying it while you do it – you can be totally unaware of the energy cost. At least, you are until you finish up, get home, and wonder why all you want to do is sit on the couch and vegetate for the next century or so.

Issue #2: we don’t always recognise the way energy drain shows up

The other thing to be aware of with introversion-related energy drain is that it can look very different in different people. Yes, of course, some people feel it as physical tiredness, but it can appear in several other shapes too. Just a few examples include:

  • Problems concentrating or focussing
  • Creative blocks
  • Jumping to negative conclusions and getting easily frustrated with your clients
  • Being unable to even see potential opportunities, let alone take advantage of them
  • Feeling as though everything’s harder than it should be
  • Difficulty dealing with the unexpected

So even if you’re not physically exhausted, if you’re an introvert who’s experiencing the kind of mental and emotional weariness that underlies those examples above, there’s at least a chance that energy drain is behind it.

And that can have some serious impact on how you’re able to run your business.

So if your energy levels are flagging, what can you DO about it?

There are two approaches to managing your energy: reactive and proactive.

Most introverts, if they do any kind of energy management at all, opt for a reactive approach. That means they do their best to keep an eye on where their energy levels are. They might practice mindfully checking in with themselves regularly to see how they’re feeling. They might even monitor where their energy is over time – perhaps journaling or using an energy tracker.

Then, when they start noticing they’re getting low, they take steps to fix it. They might pull back on their commitments, take a “mental health day’ from work, schedule in some extra self-care… whatever they think will refill their energy tanks.

The problem with this for entrepreneurs is that pulling back from commitments – especially at the last minute – can have lasting consequences for their business. Deadlines can only be renegotiated so many times before you develop a reputation for unreliability. Not delivering on your promises is a quick way to get known as being “difficult to work with”.

The alternative is to adopt a proactive, 3-step energy management process that involves:

  1. Getting crystal clear on the things in your business and life that drain you
  2. Getting equally clear on the things that re-energise you
  3. Using your knowledge of #1 and #2 to proactively plan your business and life to ensure you have the energy you need, when you need it

Learn more about proactively managing your energy as a quiet entrepreneur

The 3-Step Energy Management Process is at the heart of the work I do with my 1:1 coaching clients. It’s a way of taking control of your energy levels and deciding what YOU want to spend your limited energy on… instead of simply responding to the energy drains life throws your way.

And on February 3rd (2nd in the US and UK), I’ll be running a 4-week programme that shows you step-by-step how to implement the process in your unique situation.

CLICK HERE to find out more about Energy Management for Introverted Businessfolk and see whether it’s right for you. (affiliate link)


About the author Tanja GardnerTanja Gardner is a deeply introverted (but not even *slightly* shy!) heart-based entrepreneur who started out as a copywriter for difference-makers. Then she discovered that what she really wanted to do was help fellow introverts build their businesses without exhausting themselves. So she started Conscious Introvert Success: a treasure-trove of introvert-friendly resources, information and coaching.
 
To connect with Tanja, follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
Or you can check out Conscious Introvert Awesomeness: her free community for introverted business owners to connect with and support each other.
1 comment

Is #VATMOSS the End of the Road for Introvert-run Internet Businesses?

VATMOSS 2015 - business killer - Is #VATMOSS the End of the Road for Introvert-run Internet Businesses?

I don’t usually rant on this blog, but I recently came across something from HMRC (the UK tax authority), with regard to new EU VATMOSS rules, which made my blood boil…

VAT: supplying digital services and the VAT Mini One Stop Shop

Since then, I’ve taken some time to read up on the topic of the VAT Mini One Stop Shop (VATMOSS) and how it will affect small businesses around the world. This has given me a chance to calm down (a bit!) and gather some information which may be of assistance to other introvert business owners who are, as yet, unaware of the new VATMOSS rules which come into effect on 1st January 2015.

Disclaimer

I would like to make it clear, right here, that this article does not constitute advice or even comprehensive information about the VAT Mini One Stop Shop (VATMOSS). I am not an accountant or an expert on tax or VAT. What I have written here is purely my opinion, based on what I’ve read so far – and the more I read, the more confused I get. I’m also including links to several related articles at the bottom of this post, which might help to clarify things for you.

So what’s the big problem with VATMOSS?

It seems that, according to an EU directive which will come into effect on 1st January 2015 (and which we have only just started to find out about), anyone who trades with “consumers” in the EU, will have to start collecting VAT on sales of “digital services” and pay them to the relevant tax authority. Furthermore, VAT will have to be charged at the rate defined by the buyer’s location, not the seller’s, and paid to the tax authority in the buyer’s country.

For small businesses in the UK, this is galling, because the VAT threshold is currently £81,000 – in other words, if you do less than £81,000 worth of business in the year, then you don’t have to collect VAT. But from 1st January 2015, if you sell “digital services” to consumers in the EU, then you may have to register for VAT – either in the UK, through VATMOSS, or in each individual country where your purchasers live!

Digital services versus Live interaction

The definition of what constitutes “digital services”, or “live intervention” isn’t, as yet, very clear. “Digital services” seems to define anything which is primarily automated – for example where a buyer visits your website, clicks on a Buy Now button and gets an instant download of a digital product.

But, of course, nothing is ever that simple…

Even if you include some live interaction in an on-line training programme, it is currently unclear how much live interaction is required, for the programme to be exempt from VAT.

VATMOSS doesn’t just affect the UK

A lot of people are making the mistake of thinking that this will only affect small business in the UK, so they don’t have to do anything about it. VATMOSS will affect ALL businesses – worldwide. If you want to sell an e-book, downloadable software, a video training course,… or various other “digital services”, to a consumer in the EU, then you will have to charge them VAT at their local rate, and pay it to the local tax authority. Oh, and by the way, there are reported to be 75 VAT rates within the EU.

The good news: if you only sell to businesses, you don’t have to collect VAT. However, it can be difficult to check whether someone is buying on behalf of a business, or as an individual consumer. Sole traders in the UK, like me, for example, do not have a company name, VAT registration number, or anything that can identify us as a business – except for the fact that we have told the UK tax authority (HMRC) that we are trading as a business, and we submit our accounts through an annual tax return. Perhaps the changeover will be simpler for small businesses in the EU, because they already have to be registered for VAT, even if they only earn €1.

Why is VATMOSS such a big deal for Introverts in Business?

I have been trying to encourage introvert business owners to reduce the energy drain by making the most of the internet – not only as a means of promoting the business, but also for the delivery of goods and services. And a lot of what the internet has to offer, as far as delivery is concerned, is automated “digital services” which can be set up once and run continuously – thereby cutting down dramatically on the energy drain.

Even training programmes which are run over the course of a month or more can be automated in part, by using auto responder e-mails and pre-recorded or filmed audio and video content – while using Facebook groups, teleseminars and webinars injects an element of live interaction into the programme and brings you closer to your audience without the energy drain of face-to-face workshops.

Like several of my colleagues, who run similar businesses to mine, I have been intending to create ‘self-paced’ versions of some of my longer programmes – to give more people a chance to benefit from the content, without being tied to a particular time-frame for completing the training course.

However, under the new VATMOSS rules, a self-paced – and therefore totally automated – e-course would be liable for VAT, if it is being sold to a consumer in the EU, although not if it is being sold to a registered business. So the price would have to go up, to accommodate increased admin costs that would be incurred in collecting and reporting on VAT in 28 different EU member countries.

This might price small businesses like mine out of the market, unless we reduced our profits even further… which might put some people out of business altogether.

At the moment, it’s unclear how much live interaction is needed, to change the definition of an e-course from a “digital service” to “live” – so it’s too early to make any definite decisions in that regard, although there is a glimmer of hope according to Lisa Marie Robinson’s VAT Tax Factsheet.

Some of the options for VATMOSS compliance

(as mentioned in the disclaimer above, this is only my opinion, and in no way constitutes advice)

If you’re already VAT registered in the UK / EU, or you will be selling “digital services” to consumers in the EU (regardless of your business location) through your own website, rather than a third-party platform, then the only route appears to be registering through a VATMOSS system in one of the EU member countries (including the UK), which will enable you to report on VAT for the relevant EU member countries through a “Mini One Stop Shop”, rather than registering with each individual EU member country.

If you would rather not have to get involved in the admin required to collect and reporting on VAT, from what I’ve read (and am still reading – new information is coming out daily, if not hourly…) it would appear that there are some options which are exempt from VATMOSS:

  • only sell to businesses – you will have to collect 2 pieces of non-conflicting, non-duplicated evidence (therefore, 3 pieces would be safer…) to prove that the buyer is a business, not a consumer. According to HMRC: “VAT registration number or business bank details / other commercial documents. If you don’t have that information, then you have to assume it is a consumer and add VAT to that supply.” So any small business in the UK which is classed as ‘self-employed / sole trader’ rather than a Limited Company, and is not registered for VAT, will be treated as a consumer. You will also have to keep the information gathered for 10 years, in case of an audit by the tax authorities in one of the EU member countries. Which also raises data protection issues…
  •  

  • only offer “live” services – e.g. live webinars or teleseminars, or any service where the internet or telecoms is only used as a means of communication with your clients, rather than a way of automating your services. So a Facebook group which is an integral part of the programme might be considered “live”, but the jury is still out on this. And it gets even more complicated – according to the EU Commission Explanatory Notes – published 3 April 2014 : “Where a bundle includes goods or other services not covered by the 2015 changes, it is necessary to determine whether the bundle is a single supply and if so, how to qualify the supply.” Of course, from an introvert point of view – the more “live” interaction you include, the greater the potential energy drain. 🙁
  •  

  • only sell your “digital services” via a third party platform – it is then the responsibility of the third party to collect and distribute VAT. However, some platforms are either saying it isn’t their responsibility, or they’re not yet ready, so it’s a good idea to check. My understanding is that e.g. Clickbank and e-junkie will be compliant by Jan 2015, Udemy will announce their policy mid-December, and FastSpring state that they are ready now, whereas Etsy and Craftsy haven’t yet confirmed. Clare Josa suggests “write to your chosen 3rd party platform and ask them specifically how they comply with the requirements in 1.4 and 1.5 here.” Note that payment gateways, such as Paypal, are NOT considered to be third party platforms – so, although they *might* be able to provide you with the information needed to make a decision about whether or not to charge VAT, VAT compliance would be your responsibility.
  •  

  • stop selling “digital services” to EU countries – there has been a lot of discussion about whether this would be classed as discrimination, so I’m definitely not recommending this option. It’s best to check the legislation in your own country and in the EU to be on the safe side – but the chances are, it would be seen as discrimination, which is not permissible.
  •  

  • stop selling “digital services” altogether – this is the most drastic option, but it’s a reality for a number of very small businesses who sell low-priced products and either don’t have the option to add live interaction, or can’t afford to go down either the VATMOSS or third-party platform route. Take heart, though – it might only need to be a temporary measure until things become clearer…

By the way… although the rules coming into force on 1st January 2015 currently only apply to “digital services” rather than digital products, my understanding is that digital products are likely to be the next on the list for the same VAT rules – which kind of makes sense, since the rules seem to be aimed at anything which is “automated” rather than “live”.

The VATMOSS compliance option I’ve chosen

Taking into account all the information I’ve read so far (and, as I said, I’m still reading, so my decision might change…), the conclusion I’ve come to is this.

  • From the end of December 2014, I will stop selling e-courses that include an interactive Facebook group, until it’s clear whether my involvement in the Facebook group constitutes adequate “live” interaction to make the whole programme exempt from VAT – and therefore something I can continue to sell direct from my website. This will affect my Video Creation for Introverts programme, which was due to start in February 2015.
  •  

  • From the end of December 2014, I will stop selling ‘self-paced’ training programmes, which consist entirely of pre-prepared videos, audios and PDF training materials – until I can find a third-party platform which will handle the sale and the correct VAT collection / reporting on my behalf. Unfortunately, that will involve price increases, to cover both the third party platform fees and VAT.
  •  

  • From 1st January 2015, once the dust starts to settle and the VATMOSS requirements are (hopefully) clearer, I shall begin to re-structure my offerings to make them do-able for me (as an introvert with limited energy reserves) and affordable for my clients.

Sign up for my newsletter, to stay up to date on my developments…


UPDATE 1st December 2016 from Clare Josa and the EU VAT Action Campaign Group

“Just announced by Pierre Moscovici of the European Commission:
Threshold promised for EUVAT €10k cross-border sales and the simplifications we asked for, for the first €100k. More as soon as we have checked the fine print.
Obviously, still needs to be negotiated and passed as law.
But this is a phenomenal achievement. Thank you all for your support.
Clare, Juliet & the EU VAT Action Campaign Group”


Join the Digital VAT 2015 Facebook Group for updates and news of discussions with HMRC on VATMOSS

There is also a Twitter hashtag for #VATMOSS and #VATMESS, where you can join online discussions with HMRC and others, and post your own questions.


Some useful articles on the topic of #VATMOSS #VATMESS:

Enterprise NationWhen VATMOSS met HMRC

Clare JosaVAT-MOSS webinar 2nd December 2014 – quick notes

Lynn Serafinn, of The 7 Graces of Marketing#VATMOSS – New Tax Law Discriminates Against Small Businesses

Lisa Marie Robinson, of Balanced Tax ServicesVAT Tax Factsheet (Note: Lisa is a US tax accountant, and is currently writing from the point of view of a business in the USA trading with someone in the EU. However, she is planning to update the document to include more information that pertains to the businesses that are located in the UK, following another discussion with HMRC during w/c 1st December.)

John McCarthy, CEO of Taxamo writes a guest blog for The Accountancy Cloud – The new VAT rules and what they will mean for businesses supplying digital services cross-border to customers in the EU

Rosie Slosek, of One Man Band AccountingEU VAT Changes 2015 – What You Can Do

Ysolda Teague, of Ysolda Original Patterns (knitting patterns) – They Didn’t Know – The Impact of #VATMOSS On Really Small Businesses

Heather Burns, of Idea15 Web DesignHow #VATMOSS is the end of small enterprise in Britain – and how we can change it

Tim Gray, of Words That Change The WorldNew EU VAT rules change the game for digital businesses


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.

11 comments

The Surprising Hidden Powers of Introverts (that nobody talks about)

The Surprising Hidden Powers of Introverts
This guest post is by Charo Pinilla.
Charo is based in Madrid, and she is yet another valued contact who I ‘met’ on-line, through a Screw Work Let’s Play 30 Day Challenge. I asked Charo to write this article for the blog, following a conversation in the Facebook group about Myers Briggs personality types. I hope you find it as fascinating as I do!
~ Julia Barnickle

Let me ask you something: what do you know about yourself?

Yes, I know you are an introvert, or you wouldn’t be reading this blog, but what else is hidden in your personality type? Do you know your strengths? And have you ever been mistaken for an extrovert, even though at your core your know you are an introvert?

Myers Briggs Personality types

When it comes to Myers Briggs personality types, there is much more depth in that apparently simple 4 letter code than we usually realize.

The reality is that being an introvert doesn’t just mean that, in order to recharge your batteries, you need alone time. That’s not even a small part of the story.

What being an introvert really means is that your preferred mental activity, that mental process you do better than anything else, has an introverted orientation.

However, knowing you are an introvert only tells you “how” you do certain things in life, but it doesn’t tell you “what” it is you do in an introverted way.

For example, these are some common activities you may well do yourself:

  • You see the traffic lights turn red and you stop your car.
  • You empathize with your closest friend when she tells you about her problems.
  • You get an insight about what is going on with a client of yours, even though you’re not sure how you know it.
  • Or you choose the best website hosting based on the features of the service and their price.

Each one of those things involves a different mental activity, or as Jungian psychologists call it, “Cognitive Function.”

To make all this clearer, I’m briefly going to explain a bit about personality.

The 30 second version of Jungian Personality Theory

There are only two ways in which people can gather information about what’s going on in the world.

Some of us do it by paying attention to what our 5 senses are perceiving: what we hear, see, smell, etc. And some of us are more intuitive about what is going on around us, so when we need that information our unconscious will give it to us, like an idea coming from nowhere.

Those two cognitive functions are called Sensing and Intuition. (Letters S and N in Myers Briggs).

And even though all of us can do both things, only one is our preferred way of getting information about the world, much like how it feels when we write with our dominant hand.

Once we know what is going on around us, we’ll decide what to do about it. And again, there are two possible ways in which we make that decision:

Either your decision making process is based on your personal values, on how your decision will influence other people, and your feelings about it; or you’ll set your own feelings aside and base your decisions on logic, hard facts and rationality.

These two cognitive functions are called Feeling and Thinking (F and T in Myers Briggs).

What does personality theory say about you as an introvert?

The thing is that, all those four cognitive abilities come with a specific “flavor”, what psychologists call “orientation”. The orientation can be introverted or extroverted, making a total of 8 different combinations:

  • Introverted Sensing – Extroverted Sensing
  • Introverted Intuition – Extroverted Intuition
  • Introverted Feeling – Extroverted Feeling
  • Introverted Thinking – Extroverted Thinking

And guess what?

You are extremely good at using one of those 8 cognitive abilities: your dominant function. And you are pretty good at using a secondary one: your auxiliary function. Those are what I call your personality “Superpowers”.

The surprising side of introverts

And here is where, surprise, surprise… things get very interesting:

Since you are an introvert, your dominant cognitive function is focused on your inner world: on your ideas, thoughts, feelings, memories…. That means your strongest superpower is introverted.

But your secondary superpower is focused on the outside, on the world around you and on others. That means your secondary superpower is extroverted!

It makes sense, right? Each one of us has to deal with things and people in the outside world, and with things that are going on inside of us. That’s why your dominant and secondary function work in tandem, helping you understand your world and live in the most efficient way you can.

And what’s more, since you are an introvert, and you naturally hide your main superpower, what people will see in you most easily is your auxiliary function. As a result, what others will notice first in you is your extroverted side.

I’ll use myself as an example. I’m an INFP. People first see my secondary function Ne (extroverted intuition) – my ability to teach, speak and talk about the topics that I’m passionate about. And they are very surprised to find out that I am an introvert at heart.

On the other side, what they don’t see is my more private introverted side Fi (introverted feeling) – my dominant function. They have no clue about how much I feel things inside, how sensitive I’ve always been to criticism or how difficult it is for me to do anything that goes against my own values.

My tip for you

Please, do what you can to discover and understand your own superpowers (see below for a gift that will help you do it). And use them in your business as much as you can. Your sense of fulfillment will increase dramatically!


About the author Charo PinillaCharo Pinilla helps conscious professionals (coaches, holistic practitioners, teachers, healers) to clarify what is the contribution they are meant to bring into the world and how to package it into products, programs and services their ideal clients really want to buy.
 
If you want to find out more about your own “superpowers” visit: www.TappingYourPurpose.com/Julia to get a complimentary copy of “Discover your superpowers as an introvert” that Charo has created especially for readers of The Quiet Entrepreneur.
Follow Charo on Facebook | the Tapping Your Purpose podcast
2 comments

My Top 10 Tips on Webinars for Introverts

my top 10 tips on webinars for introverts

From The Quiet Entrepreneur Introvert Coach mailbox:

“From your experience of doing webinars, what tips would you give to a beginner like me? I’d like to run one, but feeling overwhelmed at the thought of it!”

Webinars enable you to get closer to your audience and to share your expertise in a more concentrated dose than through your blog. A webinar can be the equivalent of doing a talk to a networking group – but far less draining for an introvert, and to a potentially bigger audience.

When you sign up for The Quiet Entrepreneur newsletter, you’ll see my webinar on “How To Overcome The Top 5 Challenges Faced By Introverts In Business.” It’s not the first webinar I’ve ever done, but it’s definitely been the most successful to-date.

So, based on my experience, as an introvert, here are my Top 10 Tips for preparing and delivering a successful webinar.


VIDEO COOKIES DISCLAIMER

  1. Find out what your audience wants to know
    This might seem obvious, but it’s often overlooked. If you have some newsletter subscribers, ask them what their challenges are. Post questions in Facebook groups or on Twitter, create a survey using SurveyMonkey, and invite people to join your webinar to find out solutions to the challenges. That’s exactly what I did!
    (Watch the video, above, to find out more)
     
  2. Be clear about what outcome you want to achieve with your webinar
    The purpose of a webinar is to share your expertise – but what do you want to happen at the end of the webinar? Are you doing a webinar to encourage people to sign up to your newsletter, or to sell something? Webinars work equally well for both – but not at the same time!
     
  3. Think up a “must watch” title
    Your first challenge will be getting people to sign up for your webinar, so you need to make it clear what the benefits of attending will be. That’s how I came up with the title “How To Overcome The Top 5 Challenges Faced By Introverts In Business” – it does what it says on the tin.
     
  4. Choose a webinar hosting or video streaming service
    Are you going to be doing a straightforward webinar, with slides? Or would you prefer to do a live video stream (live stream), where you appear on camera, as though you were on TV? GoToWebinar and InstantTeleseminar are probably the most popular webinar platforms – both offer a free trial period, but you have to pay for the service after that. For my latest webinar, I used Google+ Hangouts On Air – it’s a bit fiddly to set up, but it’s free, and it can also be used as a live stream. Other live stream platforms are Ustream and Livestream.
     
  5. Have an offer ready, that you can promote during the webinar
    Even if you’re not “selling” anything on your webinar, you can still make an offer – it could be a free one-to-one conversation, for example, to give you an opportunity to find out even more about your audience.
     
  6. Prepare notes, or a script
    As introverts, we like to be well prepared, rather than coming up with ideas on the spot. When I’m doing a webinar, I write a script so that I know I won’t run out of things to say or have too much to say and run over the allotted time. You might be more comfortable with bullet points, but preparing ahead of time does help to reduce the collywobbles!
     
  7. Do a practice run
    After all your preparations, the last thing you want is to be flummoxed by the software! When I used InstantTeleseminar or Google+ Hangouts On Air for the first time, I tried out the software a week or so in advance, so that I felt comfortable about pushing the right buttons on the night. Bear in mind, though, that technology has a habit of going in to meltdown at the worst possible moment – so expect problems, and stay calm! If necessary, you always have the option to run the webinar again.
     
  8. Don’t be afraid to show off your expertise
    The whole point of doing a webinar is to show your audience what you know – so make sure that you not only share lots of useful information about the topic you’re covering, but also give them a bit of background about yourself. As introverts, we tend to overlook this step – we feel embarrassed about blowing our own trumpet. But if your experience is relevant in any way, then you absolutely must mention it.
     
  9. Have a clear “call to action”
    You’ve prepared an offer, right? So now you need to make sure you mention it during the webinar, and tell people what they need to do. Get into the habit of always having an offer and always giving a call to action, whatever you do. It’s good practice both for you and for your audience – so that when it comes to actual “selling”, you’ll feel more relaxed about it, and your audience won’t think of you as being pushy. (I’ll put my hand up to this one – in my Top 5 Challenges webinar, I put so much effort into preparing the webinar, and then mumbled my call to action!)
     
  10. Make a recording
    Only about 50% of the people who sign up for your webinar will actually attend the live call. Some business owners don’t make a recording, because they believe their audience will be more likely to take action if they are on the live call. But if people have signed up for your webinar, they are interested in what you have to say – and they might have a good reason for not attending live. So I like to give them the benefit of the doubt, and provide access to a recording. I have also heard business owners say that, when it comes to sales webinars, the recordings are often more effective at converting sales than the live webinar!

If you have any questions about promoting your business as an introvert, I’d love to answer them. Simply send me your question using the contact form, and I’ll write a blog post just for you!


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.

4 comments

Introverts and Perfectionism

spiders web - introverts & perfectionism

Prompted by a discussion in The Quiet Entrepreneur community, about Brené Brown’s book “The Gifts of Imperfection“, I’ve been wondering whether perfectionism might be one of the biggest challenges for introverts, and whether it’s one of the main reasons why we find it so hard to promote ourselves and our businesses.

That’s not to say that extroverts can’t also be perfectionists. But when introverts are being told all the time that our behaviour is in some way “wrong” or “unsociable”, it’s only natural that it might increase the tendency for us to question the validity of everything we do.

I’ve had to let go of being a perfectionist, recently, for the sake of my health – and simply to get stuff out of the door. But it’s not easy. I’m constantly worried that people might think my work isn’t good enough and ask for their money back!

When I was filming the videos for my latest e-course on video creation for introverts, I encountered more technical problems than I had done in the entire three years of filming to-camera videos previously. At one point, I started to wonder whether the Universe was trying to tell me something…

But I persevered. I re-recorded the videos that were out of focus, or where I looked uncomfortable (which was on quite a few, as I had a bad back at the time). And I decided to stop using my fancy new camera, which I hadn’t yet learned how to use, and to concentrate on filming videos with the kind of equipment I thought my clients would be using.

Even then, I had some technical problems – crackling on the sound track, caused by me moving my arms about as I talked. And I thought perhaps I should start filming them all over again.

But the problem with that is, you lose the spontaneity. In my opinion, that is the biggest problem with perfectionism. Sure, you might get a “perfect” product – but it lacks authenticity.

In this age of air-brushed images and CGI, it’s sometimes difficult to tell reality from fiction. And if you compare what you’re creating with that unreal world, then of course it’s going to look flawed and imperfect.

But that’s the point.

Life is flawed and imperfect. And if you’re not prepared to share your flawedness and imperfections with your community, then you’re doing them a disservice. Because you’re trying to pretend that you’re better than they are.

That’s why I decided to include some out-takes and early videos in my video creation course – just so that people can see how far I’ve come (even if it’s still not all that far!!), and can take comfort in knowing it’s possible to start off really badly and, with practice, get better.

Because, of course, you know that already.

Everything you are proficient at now, you have had to learn to do and practise until you became more competent at it. But if you’re anything like me, then you might have a desire to always start at the finishing line – to be super-competent at everything, even though you’re a beginner.

By tempering my perfectionism, I’m hoping to open a gateway to greater creativity, greater honesty and greater productivity. Watch this space…!


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.

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A Blog Challenge – Me and My Writing

blog challenge - me and my writing

About two months ago, I was invited by fellow introvert Lynsey Whitehouse to take part in a blogging challenge which has connected bloggers from all over the world over the past few months. Since then, Lynsey has launched the Brainy Girls Guide to Business, to help aspiring female entrepreneurs and women in business.

The idea of this challenge is to write an answer to the four questions below, and then to pass the ‘baton’ onto other bloggers to do the same. It’s a great way to learn about other people’s businesses and find some new blogs to follow.

What am I working on?

I’ve just launched a five-week video e-course, The Quiet Entrepreneur’s Guide to Video Creation for Introverts, which helps introvert entrepreneurs to feel at ease, and shine through authentically when creating to-camera videos for a blog, newsletter, sales page or on-line training course. I shall soon also be starting work on an e-course about other types of video that can be used to promote the business, and re-vamping my “blogging for beginners” e-course.

How does my work differ from others in this genre?

I wasn’t sure how to answer this, at first – there are a few of us out there now, helping introverts promote businesses in a more authentic way.

I think the main difference is that, whereas the majority of introverts prefer to work “behind the scenes” (as a Mechanic, Lord or Accumulator, in Wealth Dynamics terms), I feel quite at home “on stage.” Nowadays, I prefer to film videos – which I find less energy-draining – although I do appear in person on rare occasions, such as at the Inner Winner Conference in Bratislava, Slovakia, where I was invited to do a talk in March 2014!

Why do I write what I do?

Despite having worked for 20 years in IT – a very introvert-centric industry – I didn’t realise what being an introvert meant to me, specifically, until fairly recently. It was only after I watched Susan Cain’s TED talk, on The Power Of Introverts, that I started noticing how my introvert entrepreneur friends behaved when they came into contact with extroverts.

That’s when I realised that introverts needed help to promote the business in an authentic way, because we’ve been force-fed marketing methods, that don’t suit our personality, by extrovert marketing and business gurus.

I decided I wanted to be an advocate for introverts in business, and I started The Quiet Entrepreneur blog to help fellow introverts realise that we don’t have to be loud or pushy in order to be successful. Simply by presenting our authentic introvert selves to the world (which can be a challenge in itself), we will attract the clients who will benefit most from what we have to offer.

Ironically, although I can wax lyrical about the work that my fellow introvert entrepreneurs are doing, I still suffer from the typical introvert condition of wanting to hide in a cave when it comes to promoting my own stuff! 😉

How does my writing process work?

I mostly talk to myself – I almost never make notes. I’m not a planner, so my writing – and my videos – are generally very spontaneous. Something happens in the outside world, and I react to it. Then comes the talking to myself part, where I imagine myself doing a talk on the topic, to an audience. When I have a fairly clear idea about what I want to say for the opening paragraphs, at least, that’s when I sit down and write.

I generally go straight to the computer and type out my thoughts, unless I’m going to be stuck somewhere where I don’t have access to a computer for a few hours – in which case I’ll write the first draft of the article out by hand and then edit it (often quite ferociously) on the computer.

Now to pass on the blog baton to two friends and fellow introverts:

Natalie Vijlbrief - www.digitalie.euNatalie Vijlbrief is an online marketeer who helps entrepreneurs and small businesses simplify marketing. By making marketing as easy as possible she wants to give the self-employed more time to spend on their passion. She shares all that she knows on her blog: www.digitalie.eu

Káren WallaceKáren Wallace has been hailed as a natural born coach – intuitive, positive, and insightful. She has that rare ability to see beyond your outside shell and is able to discover the best within you, gently showing you the way to uncover the real you, and shining a light on the special gifts you have to offer the world. She offers her unique blend of wisdom and experience at KarenWallace.com, where she nudges smart, successful women to lead a more luscious life. You can also find her at The Calm Space – an online magazine that is like a virtual day-spa for your senses.


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.

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Looking After You AND Your Introvert Business

looking after yourself and your introvert business
This guest post is by Kathryn Hall of The Business Of Introverts.
I first came into contact with Kathryn when I was researching websites on introverts in business, and since then we have moved in some of the same circles, despite living in different parts of the UK. I was really pleased when Kathryn approached me with this article, because it’s a topic that has become of extreme importance to me since my own health has deteriorated – I now think that self-care needs to be top of the agenda for everyone, not only for introverts who are in business.
~ Julia Barnickle

The most significant goal I’ve ever set

Back in December I did the same thing that I have done every other year for as long as I can remember.

Armed with a pen, my journal and a glass of red wine, I sat down for a reflective, end of year goal setting session.

I always love doing this. It’s a time to feel proud, to acknowledge all the people, experiences and things that have come into my life over the previous 12 months, and also to look towards the future for more exciting adventures.

But as I began to set myself goals for the coming year, one particular goal soon began to take priority above all others. In fact, it went on to form the foundation of everything else that I wanted to achieve. If I ignored this goal, then it was likely everything else would fail.

And so, I wrote out this goal. I set it as my intention for the year, my most important priority above all else. In big bold letters filling a whole page of my journal. “LOOK AFTER MYSELF.”

If you let it, business can be all consuming

It’s funny – I’ve found that people who have only ever been employed often think that finding motivation and dodging distractions is the biggest issue. The TV is always there after all.

And although that’s true to a point (I’m yet to meet a business owner who doesn’t have slumps in their motivation now and again), a far bigger problem is in fact not switching on, but instead switching off.

There will always be new marketing techniques to test, emails that need replying to, articles to read, tools to try out, contracts to write, products to create…and so on it goes.

The list of things to do simply never ends. And if you aren’t careful, it can be tempting to never stop. To work crazy hours. To not see anyone. And to forget that there is in fact life outside of running a business.

Within your business YOU are your most important tool

Without your energy, creativity, inspiration and ideas, your business is worthless. It needs you. And arguably self-care is as important as business-care. In fact, I believe the two should go hand-in-hand.

To help you on your way, here are my top 5 self-care tips to help you switch off, take a break, and give your body and mind the rest it needs.

  1. Set yourself some boundaries
     
    Being self-employed means you get to choose your own hours, which is wonderful, but it’s also really important to set yourself some boundaries.

    My general rule of thumb is to keep weekends separate from my business. It’s not always possible, and sometimes I’ll choose to be flexible, but having set work-free days makes it much easier to take a decent break.

    Similarly, if you’re able to keep your workspace separate from your main living space this can help greatly with ‘switching off’.

  2.  

  3. Take time out during the day
     
    Little breaks here and there can really help to re-energise and maintain your creativity.

    Try and ensure that you take a proper lunch break, get out for a walk and some fresh air, and incorporate little 15 minute breaks into your day to have a change of scene, stretch your legs and give your brain the rest it needs.

    I’ve found that building daily habits really helps with this. You may have to consciously make yourself take a break initially, but the more you do it, the easier it will become.

  4.  

  5. Don’t forget to see people
     
    Considering that I spend most of my time encouraging people to embrace their introversion, this may seem like an odd tip to include. But don’t go falling into the ‘I’m introverted so I don’t need to see anyone’ trap (easily done if you work from home!)

    Seeing people for support, fun, guidance and a change of scene is just as important for introverts as it is for extroverts. Ok, you may not need to do it as often, but if you don’t get out and about and see others you could soon find yourself living in ‘hermit’ mode, which isn’t that great for body or mind.

    Find the time to book in coffee dates, catch up with friends, and get out of the house when you feel it’s time.

  6.  

  7. Disconnect now and again
     
    This is sometimes easier said than done, however disconnecting from the internet and your business for a few days can do absolute wonders.

    I recently went and spent some time in a gorgeous log cabin in the woods with my partner. There was no internet or phone service and it was relaxing, peaceful and gave me a renewed sense of energy and inspiration.

    If it’s really tricky for you to leave your business unwatched, you could always consider hiring a Virtual Assistant for a few days. That way you know someone is keeping an eye on things while you’re re-charging the batteries. It really is worth it.

  8.  

  9. Have some quality ‘me’ time
     
    Finally, I believe that as an introvert it’s really important to ensure you have some alone time that doesn’t involve work. Put some time aside to do something you enjoy – get stuck in to a novel, go for a bike ride, have an afternoon painting, rest. Whatever you enjoy doing, find some time for it. Both your energy levels and your business will be thankful.

Over to you

How do you find the balance between looking after yourself and your business? Do you have any other tips to add to those I’ve shared? I’d love to hear from you, so leave a comment below!


About the author

Kathryn Hall - The Business Of IntrovertsKathryn Hall is founder of The Business of Introverts, an avid writer and mentor to individuals across the globe who want more freedom, solitude and creativity in their careers. She’s big on helping people to embrace their introversion in all its glory, while creating a life they love.

Sign up to connect with Kathryn and receive her free audio series “How to create a soulful business the stress-free way

Follow Kathryn on Facebook | Twitter

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Don’t Give People What They Want

ask what makes you come alive

There’s a three-part formula which is rather like the Holy Grail in the world of internet marketing:

  1. Find out what they want
  2. Go and get it
  3. Give it to them

Then there’s the mantra: “Sell them what they want. Give them what they need.”

The problem is that most people don’t know what they want – or need – until it’s in front of them. If you ask ten people what they want from your business, you will probably get ten different answers – even if you ask people within a fairly tightly defined niche such as “introverts in business“.

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” ~ Henry Ford

So how DO you find out what people want?

Well, I think that’s the wrong question. I don’t think it matters so much what people want. Although it’s true that, if people don’t want what you’re selling, they won’t buy it – your quest is not to try to sell to “people”.

Don’t ask what the world needs

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~ Howard Thurman

I’ve been wanting to use this quote for ages – it really sums up what I had forgotten for too long, and what I truly believe to my core.

If you talk about / write about / create products and training courses that teach something you’re passionate about – that serves a need – then there will be people who will also have the same passion and the same need.

It might not be their only passion or need – which is why it gets confusing when you ask them what they want – but once it’s presented to them, they will recognise it.

Start with what you know

What challenges have you faced, that you have either overcome or are learning to live with / work around / find a solution for? What would you love to do, yourself? Become an artist? Travel the world? Set up an organic vegetable patch on your balcony?

Start there. And then share your progress with people.

That’s how The Quiet Entrepreneur came about. I was fed up with being told to market my business like an extrovert – going networking, having pushy sales conversations, building up an off-line business before starting an on-line business… But it wasn’t until I came into contact with Susan Cain’s TED talk and book that I realised it went against my introvert nature.

So I started a Facebook group, “Introverts Anonymous”, just for friends and friends-of-friends, to see whether introverts would actually gather together on-line. Within three days I had around forty members! That told me that people were interested in talking about introversion and the challenges that introverts face when dealing with extroverts on a personal level.

Then I started to notice how introverts behave in business situations, and I realised that we tend to hang back when there are extroverts in the room – and I realised we need help to market ourselves authentically. From there, I decided to set up The Quiet Entrepreneur website to support introverts in business with both mindset and marketing challenges – challenges I faced myself, as an introvert wanting to promote my own business.

Many successful businesses start because the owner had a challenge to overcome. Richard Branson started Virgin Airlines because his flight was cancelled – so he chartered a plane, even though he didn’t have the money to do so, and covered the cost by selling tickets to his fellow passengers!

Think like an artist

Around ten years ago, I was involved in a discussion with a group of creatives, where one person was asking the group whether she should write sit-coms for a particular audience, or write what inspired her, and then find a market for it.

It’s strange to think of an artist also having that dilemma. Generally speaking, artists (and by that I mean writers, musicians, photographers, etc etc, as well as painters) just start creating something, without necessarily knowing what it’s going to be – which is the total opposite to creating something for a particular audience.

Think more like an artist. Be bold! Believe in yourself.

Everything you have experienced in life has made you who you are. You are unique. Everything you have experienced has been for a reason – so that you can choose to help others who are on a similar journey, in an authentic way.

Your tribe will find you

Don’t worry too much about WHO your tribe is, and how to find them. All you need to do is to start sharing your story, and the right people – your tribe, your community – will find you.

Ask not what people want.

Ask what your soul wants to express – then go and give that to them.


Do you agree or disagree? What does your soul want to express? Let me know in the comments below.


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.

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Take My Advice And Do What You Want

take my advice and do what you want
This guest post is by Louise Watson.
Louise and I ‘met’ on a Screw Work Let’s Play 30 Day Challenge, in 2013. Like Louise, I’ve disagreed with the advice of so-called gurus in the past and realised the importance of doing things your own way, regardless of how loudly you’re being told “THIS is the ONLY way to be successful”…
~ Julia Barnickle

Over the past couple of years, I’ve read more books and articles than I care to remember, watched countless talks and interviews online, subscribed to blogs and signed up for courses, all in the hope that they’d tell me how to make a living out of doing work that I love.

With each new ‘teacher’ I’d try to follow their words to the letter. After all, these guys had been there and done it all. They knew what they were talking about. All I had to do was follow their instructions exactly and I’d be guaranteed success.

A while back, I watched a video on You Tube about how to succeed by someone whose name now escapes me. In fact, there is only one part of the whole video that I can actually remember, and that was when whatshisname said that if you really want something, you need to want it so much that you’re prepared to go without sleep to get it.

Daring to doubt the expert

Immediately I was worried, because this didn’t tally with my experience. As an introvert, my energy levels are easily zapped. I can’t cope with doing too much in one day. And I certainly can’t function without a decent night’s sleep and perhaps a cheeky afternoon nap thrown in too.

And the thing is, since I began writing, I’ve discovered something slightly odd; that I achieve more when I don’t try so hard. When I left my job last year, I wrote for maybe two or three hours a day, and since I’ve gone back to the day job, it’s about thirty minutes. And yet, it’s only since I started doing less that I’ve seen my writing take more shape. My book’s published, my website is up and running and I’ve got the vomit draft of my second book done.

However, after watching this video, I began to question my attitude to work. Was I deluding myself? I mean, this person was on You Tube; he was kind of famous, he must be awfully important, whoever he was. He must know more than me. Could I really ignore him and go my own way? Wouldn’t that be like purchasing a one-way ticket to Loser-Ville?

Follow the leader?

A common problem for introverts venturing into the world of self-employment is that we’ve been used to being overlooked, to not having our ideas heard, or not having the courage to voice them at all. We get used to thinking that other people know better than us.

When we want to try something new, it seems obvious that we should seek advice from those who have already been successful. But when we do that we can easily fall into the trap of hanging on to their every word. We become focused on trying to fit all their tips and strategies into our routine instead of just getting on with what needs to be done.

Even when we seem to be achieving our goals, we’re so accustomed to doing what we’re told, that the doubts too easily creep in when we hear that we should be doing things differently. But if we want to be successful by ourselves, surely we need to have the courage to go our own way?

Learn to trust yourself

I’m sure You Tube Man was very successful with no sleep. Perhaps he worked better under pressure; maybe the adrenalin kicked in and carried him through his tiredness. All I know is this; if I don’t get enough sleep, I can’t write anything. My brain goes on strike and I get incredibly cranky. Really, don’t mess with me if I haven’t slept much the night before.

So I won’t be following his advice. I’ll be going for my dream in a way that works for me and I’d suggest you do the same. By all means, research those who have ‘made it’ and listen to others’ opinions, but be flexible. Take what works for you and leave the rest. And if you see something working, have the courage to stick with it.

Just because someone ‘made it’ by going one way, it doesn’t mean that way will work for you. If you want to be successful on your own, rather than becoming more ‘them’, it helps to become more ‘you.’

Over to you

Have you found yourself following someone’s advice, even though it didn’t suit the way you work, simply because they were famous? What happened?


About the author Louise M WatsonLouise Watson lives in Bournemouth, England. Her first book, “Stop Making Your Life a Misery” is aimed at people who feel stuck in a cycle of negativity and offers advice on finding a way out. She also writes about issues connected to personal development at www.louisemwatson.com
   
Purchase Louise’s book on Amazon: Stop Making Your Life a Misery

Follow Louise on Facebook | Twitter
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