In the very beginning, when I was just starting out in business, I fretted.
I knew that networking is important. I knew I was supposed to go to business breakfast meetings and have business cards on hand. I was supposed to “get my name out there” and do lunch with other peeps going in the same direction as me. I knew I was supposed to effortlessly make connections and be confident and have my elevator pitch down to a fine art.
But here’s the truth of it:
I hated the thought of it all. I’m an introvert. I relish quiet time. I despise answering the phone. I felt two steps out of tempo, too weird + too protective over the space around me to Network Like Business People Should. Sometimes I even feel like I have a bit of an impediment – I live in a remote area of a remote country. I don’t have access to events easily, and I’m not really interested in leaving my daughter behind to travel to events.
In short: I’ve sucked at traditional networking.
And what’s more: It’s been okay. It’s been MORE than okay.
My business has continued to thrive and blossom and grow – it doubles in size each year. Last year we tipped half a million dollars a year. I still just work a few hours a day. My priority has been in spending as much time with my beautiful family as possible. And I still feel like I’m living my soul purpose every single day.
Obviously, being an introvert does NOT equal sucking at business.
So lemme tell you how to succeed + thrive at this whole business game (even when you suck at that whole ole school networking thang)!
1. Respect Your Precious Energy
You were born a certain way for a very special reason. It’s completely okay if you are shy/loud/highly sensitive/weird/need constant stimulation/need a hundred hours downtime after one day out.
If you’re introverted or extroverted or right on the inbetween. Whatever your Enneagram/star sign/Myers-Briggs/StrengthFinder is.
Whatever your disposition is –
It’s pointless to wish you were anything but what you are. You were born to be you.
Whatever conditions your soul needs to thrive is completely a-ok.
2. Set Yourself Up For Success
You will soon learn in business what things you love doing and what things make you feel like DOOM.
Then set yourself up for success – work out how you can limit what drains you and increase what you adore.
This might mean hiring someone to help you with emails + customer service (or even better yet, do them all – leaving you blissfully inbox-free!) This might mean setting parameters around what you can and can’t do.
For example, I don’t:
- give free coaching advice over email
- respond to every comment on Facebook. If I did, that would be my 24/7 job. And that’s NOT my job. My job is to create what is inside me + sail my business ship in the right direction.
- say yes to every interview request that comes my way
- build out a full coaching schedule. I know that I could if I wanted to as there’s a huge amount of demand there from my peeps, but I just can’t do it. Not if I want to survive + thrive.
3. Use What Tools You DO Have To Supercharge Your Success
You don’t need to go to a zillion networking functions. You absolutely CAN surround yourself with peeps who are heading in the same direction with you that you can mastermind with (without having to get out of your pyjamas). There’s this wonderful thing called the Internet… I don’t know if you’ve heard of it? It’s pretty much God’s gift to introverts.
Anywaysies, online masterminds can be an exceptional place for you to learn, connect, mastermind and grow. It’s why the Amazing Biz + Life Academy has them built into it. It’s why I’m a part of five online masterminds. The internet is an introvert’s paradise.
One of the big tips I have for making the most out of using masterminds:
- Make sure you introduce yourself. I know that’s pretty dang basic, but you’d be surprised at how more inclined you are to loiter if you don’t out yourself as soon as you join. It’s okay to be visible!
- Help other people out. One of the tasks I set myself when I go into an online mastermind is to answer at least three questions that other people have – and answer them as thoroughly as I can – to build my business brain (while I’m creating amazing connections at the same time.) Asking yourself “How Can I Help Today?” is a really big and wonderful question.
- Turn up. Be present. If you get yourself to post just ONE thing each day (sharing either something you’ve found really useful or asking a question), you’ll leave feeling more positive, empowered + on the right path than if you don’t.
4. Do What You Love To Do
As an introvert, there’s plenty of things I don’t love. But there are lots of things I DO love.
I love writing. I love my blog. I love sharing inspiring things.
So I built my business on my strengths.
I did over 100 guest posts in a year. I said yes to doing written interviews often.
I blogged + wrote + shared as much as I could in the way that I loved doing it.
I’ve written over 1800 articles on my blog. I’ve shared countless numbers of free e-books, podcasts, posters + goodies (just this one poster I created has been downloaded over 40 000 times).
And waddya know – it worked.
I used my strengths and applied them – not once. But over and over and over again.
Kept doing the thing that I knew I loved doing that would help people. Keep being productive + prolific + sharing what was inside me.
That kind of momentum + commitment + dedication has turned my dream hobby into a huge, dream-come-true business.
Do what you can do. Make it good. And do it again and again and again.
5. You Can Be An Effing Weirdo If You Want To
It’s okay to want what you want. Just create what it is you are called to!
The kind of face-to-face interactions I’m called to are ones:
- where I don’t have to talk about shallow shit – I want to talk about sacred magic + sex + love + intuition + shamans + money + motherhood + business + herbs + saving the world (without any fear of anyone saying “WOAH! TOO MUCH!”)
- where I can paint/create/do crafty stuff
- where I can let my inner wild woman fly.
These kind of experiences don’t come along all the time. But I cultivate + plan for them. And I take the magic with me when I go.
(I’m not a particularly shy introvert – I can be loud + excitable in person. I just know I need a crap tonne of time to recover afterwards. And that it’s only certain situations I particularly like.)
For example… just this week I went to a blogger’s meet-up to play with Candice + Caroline. (One of the first I’ve ever been to, actually! That’s just what happens when you happen to be a bit of a hermit!)
Anyways, something completely magical happened when our energies came together. We were all open to being wild and weird and wonderful. What was supposed to be a quiet Thai dinner at Granny O’Clock (6pm) turned into a spontaneous art + performance event. We decided we were a European hen’s party. Of supermodels (of course). So we dance-walked the streets of the city, only stopping for supermodel photoshoots (and to fall in the pool at said photoshoot. Well… that could have been just me.) We laughed until our stomachs hurt and then we hailed a bicycle rickshaw so we could Swedish royalty-wave all the tourists and drag-race boys in cars (hint: we didn’t win. Bicycle rickshaws have decidedly poor pick-up.) And I had driven back up the mountain and was tucked up in bed by 10:30. Did I mention this all happened without any kind of substance beyond Thai food + green tea? It was a night purely powered on imagination + sacred silliness + joyful incandescence.
That’s just the kind of networking I will happily be a pro of.
6. Trust Your Gut
If someone doesn’t sing to you – don’t play with them.
There’s been many peeps over the years that for whatever reason have given my intuition a red flag.
This is then accompanied by the sound of “beep beep beep” – a truck reversing.
Picture Leonie backing sloooowlllly away.
Even if someone is the next big thang. Even if everyone else lurves them. Even if you think you should really ignore your Red Flag Warning System just for the sake of your business growing.
If they give your gut the heeby-jeebies, swing a wide berth + go on creating the miracles inside of you.
There is not one person who can make or break your business.
Nobody is stopping you or holding you back from the success you dream of – ONLY YOU.
7. Be A Monk To The God of Your Business
Your whole job in this thing is to become a devotee of your dream. A nun who is in love with the vision of your business. You are so in love with what your business is that you set your eyes only on that, and create it until it all comes true.
You don’t need to get distracted by outside forces.
Stay true to your own self, your own spirit and the way you love to do it.
Build on your successes, trust your gut + go big (in your own glorious, wild, wacky, introverted, weird way!)
Make Us Introverts Proud
Moral of the story is this: You can do this game any way you like.
You just better show up. Shine your light. Do it the way you need to.
Make your magic happen.