I am an introvert and I claim that proudly! I am also a business owner. So, if you have ever wonder whether introverts can be business owners, the answer is Yes. Yes. Yes.
Do introverted business owners get to opt out of networking? No. Nope. Sorry.
I wish I could say that content marketing will cut it, but that isn’t true. I know. I’ve tried. While creating content is important, it is one part of an overall marketing strategy. Yes, you need to generate high-quality content. But you also have to be visible and meeting real people.
Networking for introverts who don’t want to pretend to be extroverts
When I launched my first business and started networking, I dreaded it. I saw networking as a necessary evil, but definitely an evil. I hated it. The prevailing wisdom was that you had to work the room and talk to as many people as possible, shoving your business card into every palm you touched.
It felt like speed dating.
I would go hide in a corner until I could leave, which was not a very effective tactic. 😂
Over the years, I developed some introvert success tactics that make networking much easier, and I dare say enjoyable! It’s all about managing energy.
When I started doing these three things, my networking life changed. It was no longer a chore. In fact, I have several networking events I attend regularly now because I like them so much. Read that again: I like them so much. I never thought I’d say that 15 years ago!
Us introverted business owners need to stick together and help each other have success. Follow these networking tips, and you will be on the road.
1. Carefully select the TYPE of events you do.
As an introvert, networking events where people are casing the room just handing out cards and spending no more than 30 seconds talking to you were AWFUL for me. I hated them, and would usually leave early.
The lesson: Carefully choose how many events you’ll do (limit them to preserve your energy) and the format (making sure you don’t choose events that drain you). You may have to test out a few formats, but once you find a type of event where you’re comfortable, stick to it.
For example, I realized I actually like professional association events where I can volunteer as a visitor greeter. For me, having a “job” makes the networking easier, especially if my job is to say hi to everyone! I also love virtual business networking events because I am comfortable in my own home.
2. Only talk to one or two people.
If I’m at an event, say a workshop with open networking beforehand, I DO NOT “work the room.” It’s too draining.
Lesson: Decide who you’ll talk to (as in, not everyone there). Be selective. You’re allowed.
When I gave myself permission to have one or two deep conversations rather than a dozen superficial conversations, I started enjoying myself. Now I seek out someone who looks like they could use a friend and I strike up a deeper conversation. Introverts need to connect with people on a deeper level, that’s just how we’re wired. I realized for me that means not trying to talk to everyone.
3. Practice, practice, practice.
Being at a networking event where I have to speak feels like being called on in class—my worst nightmare in school. Even if I knew the answer, I’d forget it the second all eyes were on me (I have since learned that has to do with how an introverts brain is wired).
Lesson: Take the time to practice your 30 second introduction (over and over and over).
In most networking situations, you will need to introduce yourself and give your elevator introduction. Winging it does not work for introverts. I practice it in front of the mirror, record it, and recite it while I’m doing the dishes. My dogs are really sick of hearing it.
Say it so many times out loud that when you are put on the spot (which is what being asked to share feels like to an introvert), you will just automatically say it. Trust me, it makes that whole thing so much easier!
By the way, my 30 second intro never comes out the way I’ve practiced it. But something reasonably accurate does come out, and that’s what matters.
Networking in your Jammies? Oh heck yes. 👘
About those virtual business networking events…
I am launching a virtual chapter of Keep It Local called the Chillprenuer’s Virtual Hangout. I’d love you to join us.
Why is a person who sells content marketing becoming the president of a networking group?
The answer is that nothing replaces one-on-one relationship building. Your content marketing supports it, helps you attract clients and meet more people, but it’s not like talking to a live person.
I discovered Keep It Local about a year ago. I won’t lie: the idea of networking in my pajamas was very appealing.
What I found is a group of soul-centered entrepreneurs who are committed to helping each other. It is an amazing support network. Whether we’re learning something cool from a presenter or doing some masterminding, it is always time well spent. And I have not only gotten business from it, I’ve become a client of my new friends. Win-Win-Win.
So, when my friend Jill asked if someone wanted to launch a new virtual chapter, I said YES! And now it’s happening.
If you are looking for a low key, easy way to make new connections and build your business—especially if you are in the personal development, holistic healing, or small business marketing space, join us. You can visit three times for free… how cool is that?
- Chapter: The Chillprenuer’s virtual hangout (Keep it Local chapter 602)
- Motto: It’s all good
- When: Wednesdays from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT
- Where: From the comfort of your own home via Zoom
- Other: This is a seat specific networking group, but as we are just launching on May 1, all seats are open! While we refer business to each other, there is no obligation to do so. It’s completely low pressure.
Nothing to lose, everything to gain. I look forward to seeing you!