Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Ask anyone that question and responses will vary from self-assured extroverts to quiet introverts to huh?
We don’t often talk about where we fall on the introversion–extroversion spectrum, but it’s a founding part of who are and how we get things done.
For introverts, it can sometimes feel like the cards are stacked against you — our culture reveres the outgoing and gregarious. But the characteristics that come with introversion are actually pretty powerful, and they can make you a fantastic entrepreneur. Here’s our case for why introverts make for truly great entrepreneurs.
First of all, what is an introvert?
Simply put, an introvert is someone who draws energy from solitude, being alone. That’s contrasted with extroverts who feel energized when in a crowd of people.
Introversion is often associated with being shy or antisocial, but while linked, they aren’t one in the same. Shyness is a fear of social judgement; introversion simply means you’re most comfortable in solitude. And it’s not a zero-sum characteristic — introversion is a spectrum, and different people fall at different points.
Introverts can still enjoy company, going to parties, and public speaking, but they’re likely to be drained more quickly by these activities and need time alone to recharge.
Sound like you? Perfect! Let’s dive in.
Solitude Breeds Creativity
Entrepreneurship requires all kinds of creativity in every aspect of running a business. There’s the obvious ideation phase, where you have to think up a completely novel and innovative business idea, but that’s not where it ends. Small businesses operate with constraints of every kind — financial, scale, time... you name it. In order to thrive and grow within those restrictions, you need to find creative solutions.
Group brainstorming sessions have their strengths, but they’re also limited in scope. True creativity requires an element of solitude, having the time and space to look inside yourself for the answer and evaluate possible solutions and their consequences.
Think about it: some of our most famous creatives were introverts, who did their best work alone. Steve Wozniak, Henry David Thoreau, even Dr. Seuss — all introverted souls who used solitude to create great artistry and innovation.
The business world doesn’t always reward rash, quick decisions. It’s important to be agile, but big decisions should always be well-considered. When your small business’s success is at stake, you want to examine every possible outcome, every conceivable consequence of any decision you make.
For introverts, this kind of thoughtful problem-solving comes naturally. It’s in your nature to deeply analyze and consider every choice you make — and that’s a huge benefit when running a business.
The value of innovation is conveyed through an organization from the top down. But the actual ideas? They often come from the bottom. When employees are given space to create and ownership over their ideas, truly magical things happen. Managers who are extroverted can inadvertently take over these creations, put their own spin on it and limit the efficacy of the idea.
Introverted managers, on the other hand, tend to be more open-minded. And while they’ll give plenty of notes if asked, they’re also more likely to give employees free reign to develop and implement their creative ideas.
Super Powers of Observation
Ever watched a show like The Mentalist? The protagonists have super powers of observation. They notice small details that other people don’t, and they use that extra information to come up with solutions no one else thought of. You could use one of those people in your business, right?
It turns out that introverted people are more observant than their more outgoing counterparts. Introverts are deep thinkers, and they’re more sensitive to outside stimulation. That means they notice tiny and particular points of information, details that can escape less perceptive eyes and ears. With that extra information, it’s no wonder introversion is correlated with creativity and thoughtfulness.
Depth vs. Breadth
There are moments in business that call for a little bit of knowledge on a whole lot of topics, but starting your own business isn’t one of them. To be an entrepreneur, you need extensive knowledge and expertise regarding your industry. You have to understand it on a deep and profound level.
If there’s one thing introverts are good at, it’s managing depth over breadth. Introverts have super powers of focus and concentration, which means they can really dive in and get to know a market or industry, right down to the molecules. That’s a powerful skill when it comes to business ownership.
There are a lot of ways in which the odds are stacked against introverts — most of Western society is designed for extroverts after all. But in the world of entrepreneurship and running a small business, introverts can shine. You have all the know-how to make it happen, so there’s no time like the present to dive into introverted entrepreneurship.