Contrary to popular opinion, introverts are NOT shy, anti-social, moody nor depressed. Most introverts want NOT to BE alone, but rather to be LEFT alone. They want important people in their lives and to have some level of a social life. They just tend to prefer smaller groups over crowds and need the space to escape now and then from constant input.
Introverts are quiet thinkers and often do enjoy social situations, just not all the time. They need to take breaks and recharge after socializing for too long. And THAT is the primary difference between introverts and extroverts ==> the ways we recharge our batteries. Extroverts do that with other people, while introverts need to separate from the crowd and have some time alone.
“Our culture made a virtue of living only as extroverts. We discouraged the inner journey, the quest for a center. So we lost our center and have to find it again.” ~ Anaïs Nin
A solopreneur is simply an entrepreneur who primarily works alone. Most do have partnerships or networks of some kind, just not paid employees. Solopreneurs will outsource work now and then, but tend not to have employees on a payroll long-term.
Are YOU an introvert who might have personal strengths for the solopreneur lifestyle? Introverts may indeed feel most comfortable in the role of a solopreneur. After all, so many aspects of solo business rely on strengths that tend to come naturally to introverts. Consider this:
1) Both introverts and solopreneurs tend to be loners. Solopreneurs work alone, and introverts are not only OK with that, they thrive on it. This does not require “hermit” status, just a comfort level with being alone.
Introverts often dream of cutting most ties to civilization yet still keep their internet connection. And if that connection is the basis of a solopreneur business, all is well. Can do.
One significant difference between introverts & extroverts is in how their brains process information in terms of ‘reward’ centers. Extroverts tend to feel a ‘high’ from their surroundings, whereas introverts are more likely to rely on internal cues more strongly than external motivational.
Rather than deal with the constant input of a group project, an introvert often prefers being prepared for social interaction, having a mental readiness to do so. Then, no problem. Introverts tend to think introspectively rather than discuss problems in person, though they might well feel fine with discussing issues in online forums.
Introverts can actually enjoy parties and even networking & meetings – for a short time. Then they look forward to being home in their pajamas. Long periods of time being surrounded by people tends to result in utter emotional and mental exhaustion.
Traditional business networking events often feel incredibly phony to an introvert. Small talk made with the goal of advancing a career? Often VERY hard for introverts, who crave authenticity in all interactions.
“Let’s clear one thing up: Introverts do not hate small talk because we dislike people. We hate small talk because we hate the barrier it creates between people.” Laurie Helgoe
Attending conventions or having visitors stay with you can be a nightmare if you are an introvert, because it usually means you have to be ON at ALL TIMES. To talk when you don’t want to, have your thoughts constantly interrupted can feel like a personal hell. Being surrounded by people and input around the clock can be killer for introverts. Let them BE!
Introverts tend to have strong social skills, it’s just that they prefer doling out this social energy with close friends or in small groups over crowds. They often despise small talk and prefer deep discussions over light chatter and shallow discussions.
Many introverts handle crowds and social situations like parties just fine. But they’ll get tired and unresponsive after being out and about for too long, an introvert’s way of trying to conserve energy. Introverts are rarely bored alone, but quite often become bored among crowds.
2) Introverts are deep thinkers and dreamers. If you are an introvert you may despise small talk, but enjoy deep discussions. You might have more conversations in your head than you do in real life. You might even feel irrationally angry when others disrupt your thoughts. You might carry a book to a public place so no one will bug you, and feel annoyed by those who take that as a conversation starter. “So whatcha reading?” ARGGGG!
The tendancy to be a deep thinker and a dreamer can be a strong plus for a solopreneur. Introverts tend to be highly creative thinkers, and are able to develop unique strategy and effective business ideas. Introverts tend to adore philosophical conversations and enjoy thought-provoking media.
This food for thought often leads to original business ideas. Introverts tend not to want to ‘follow the herd’ but rather to blaze their own quiet path. Rather than try to beat the competition, an introvert may prefer to create an angle for a unique market.
3) Introverts see the big picture. They’re more interested in ideas and possibilities and the big picture rather than facts and details. Many introverts do excel in detail-oriented tasks, and often also have a mind for more abstract concepts.
The upside of being overwhelmed by too much stimuli is that introverts often have a keen eye for detail, noticing things that may escape others around them, especially in situations where the input of stimuli can be filtered.
“…I also believe that introversion is my greatest strength. I have such a strong inner life that I’m never bored and only occasionally lonely. No matter what mayhem is happening around me, I know I can always turn inward.” Susan Cain
Ironies about Introverts:
- Introverts can be excellent leaders and public speakers. But they’d prefer giving a speech to 500 people over mingling with that crowd afterwards.
- Introverts see the big picture, yet also often have a keen attention to detail.
- Introverts exhibit increased brain activity when observing visual stimuli, as compared to extroverts.
“Introverts living under the Extroversion Ideal are like women in a man’s world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are. Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we’ve turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform” Susan Cain
Introverts are often writers. They tend to be better communicating the written word over talking in person, and many are drawn to the solitary, creative profession of writing. Most introverts say that they feel most creatively charged when they have time to be alone with their thoughts.
Do you find that being the solopreneur lifestyle lends itself nicely to introverts? Surely that depends on the type of business and the levels of social interaction each business requires. Many do find it a question of balance, as some of us desire much more input in the way of social interaction.
And a related question, does online social interaction suffice? Or put another way…Do you suppose that introverts prefer online social networks over in person business networking? Could it be that the growth trend among social networking online is at least partly about meeting needs of introverted solopreneurs?
I’m primarily a right-brained creative introvert. And a fairly well-balanced one. I mean I consciously alternate from phases of work, solitude and social activities. At times when this balance is off, being aware of that need is helpful – to actively seek more balance between solitude and social activity.
Our culture tends to treat both introverts and right brains as oddballs. Square pegs. Do you recognize and appreciate their hidden talents? Are YOU an introvert? Or an extrovert? Or maybe an ambivert? (combination) It’s really not black and white. Same as the right brain VS. left brain studies, many do fall somewhere in between on that continuum, and that balance can be a good thing. More often, people tend to be dominantly one or the other. Please comment below. Inquiring minds want to know.
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