… and why they’re wrong, wrong, wrong.
Being an introvert doesn’t mean you can’t master the skills of interacting with people and generating freelance business; it simply means the process feels effortful, especially in groups.
Many extroverts claim you should just “get over it” and act like an extrovert (or better yet, force yourself to become one). But there’s a much better solution for freelance introverts: use your natural introvert strengths to get ahead. Don’t let these four common myths stop you from building a thriving and successful freelance business:
Myth #1: Introverts don’t like interacting with people
Reality: Introverts understand the creative power of working alone
During a panel at this year’s Creative Freelancer Business Conference (CFBC), Strategic Design Studio founder Stephanie Helline described the vision she had when she started her business. “I would sit happily working in my home office and people would periodically slip jobs for me under the door.” Nearly everyone in the room laughed—because many of us were introverts with similar fantasies.
Extroverts frequently misinterpret the introvert’s desire for “alone time” as an antisocial tendency—even a mental health problem. The truth is introverts simply thrive in a different kind of environment. Big parties and “rah-rah team” gatherings seem shallow and superficial to introverts, who prefer deep, meaningful conversations—either one-on-one or in small groups of people with whom they’ve established at least a basic level of trust.
Introverts also recognize how their talents work, and know that their best stuff is typically created in places that are free of interruptions and distractions. At a bare minimum that means good earbuds in the coffeehouse, but preferably four walls and a closed door.
Myth #2: Introverts are bad at selling
Reality: Introverts can beat extroverts at many sales tasks
In her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, author Susan Cain offers a surprising business reality: introverts tend to make better telemarketers. One of the reasons is that extroverts tend to be reward-driven, while introverts are more likely to consider their work fulfilling in and of itself.
As a result, introverts tend to be more focused and willing to stick with challenging tasks. “Introverts sometimes outperform extroverts even on social tasks that require persistence,” Cain writes.
This determination gives introverts a home-court advantage when it comes to running a marketing machine—whether it’s writing newsletters and blog posts or doing e-mail prospecting. Extroverts may be more comfortable breaking the ice, but introverts are the masters of follow-through. Social media has also provided a new place for introverts to shine by giving them a conversational channel where they can take time to consider their responses.
More myths soon…stay tuned. And please comment if you agree (or disagree).