Most people assume that to be a successful entrepreneur you need to be outgoing, or in other words, an extrovert. When we think of entrepreneurs we picture outspoken, gregarious people who are comfortable standing in front of a room of people, putting their ideas out there and being the life and soul of the party. In reality, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Many well-known entrepreneurs, including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffet and Sam Ovens are all self-confessed introverts. Not one of these people is loud and in it for the personal glory. Instead, like most introverts, they bring to the table a host of other, far more valuable, skills.
What Makes an Introvert?
Twenty years ago, introverts were pigeonholed into a box that said they couldn’t possibly be successful in business. Now, modern psychology takes a different view and we better understand that it is impossible to pigeonhole a person as an “introvert” or an “extravert”. The truth is that we all have qualities of one or the other in varying degrees. For example, introverts tend to avoid noisy social situations, but there are very few people who actively go out of their way to avoid the rest of humanity completely. Most people sit somewhere in the middle.
The Qualities of an Introvert
The important thing is to remember how many amazing qualities you have as an introvert.
You are cautious. Instead of leaping head first into a situation, you think about it first. You process the facts, ask questions, and then make a carefully thought out decision. Entrepreneurs tend to be more successful when they think before they act. It gives people like you the time to come up with better working strategies. After all, as the old saying goes, ‘fools rush in where Angels fear to tread’.
Introverts are comfortable being alone. The life of an entrepreneur is not all parties and networking events. More often than not, entrepreneurs have to work alone until they get their business off the ground. Introverts are hard wired to be comfortable spending time alone. Solitude doesn’t scare them. Instead, they are happy to use this time to come up with creative new ideas. They don’t need to brainstorm with others whereas an extrovert would be crippled with anxiety if forced to work alone.
Introverts don’t need the affirmation of others to be successful. For many extroverts, success is all about being in the spotlight. Introverts don’t need to feel the adoration of other people. For them, success is about a job well done. They don’t feel the need to speak to other people about their ideas. They are happy to rely on their own judgement.
You are a great listener. To be successful in business, you need to hone your listening skills. It’s not only important that you listen closely to clients to find out what they want or need; you also need to listen closely to your employees. Extraverts are often bad at listening. They are too busy talking to listen to those around them. This causes them to miss important clues or advice that could help them build a better business.
Entrepreneurship Suits Introverts
Introverts are well suited to entrepreneurship. They often hate working in crowded corporate environments, surrounded by people. Life as an entrepreneur gives them the time and space to forge their own way and be a success on their own terms.
Embrace your qualities as an introvert. You are thoughtful, a great listener, and above all, a realist. This makes you perfectly suited to life as an entrepreneur.