All you introverted business owners out there- this one goes out to you.
You know- the ones living in an extroverted world.
The ones told you need to be more extroverted if you ever want to grow.
You don’t need to believe the lie that you need to be more extroverted to get ahead.
What you need is a game plan. A game plan that revolves around your energy.
First you need to recognize what kind of introvert you are and how it affects your energy- because we’re not all created equal.
Not sure which kind of introvert you might be? Check out this post and find out!
Then you’ve got to take note.
There’s a lot of noticing that goes on when figuring out what drains your introverted batteries.
Not sure what you need to take note of in your business (and life) so you can gain your energy back and show those extroverts there’s a new type of business owner in town?
These five tips will help!
Not all introverts are the same when it comes to their energy levels and interacting with others.
For some a quick meeting might not be too much of a drain.
And for others that same quick meeting could deplete your energy for the rest of the day.
You might find that bundling all of your meetings on one or two days a week might allow for greater energy on your non-meeting days that will allow for more productivity. Or you might want to sprinkle your meetings throughout the week.
Also think about the time of day. Will having meetings later in the day allow for more productivity in the morning? Or do you have enough low-energy tasks that can be completed after all your meetings are over during morning sessions?
Test out when you respond best to, both within the week and within the day, and consider setting boundaries around your new meeting times. Even just allowing for one meeting-free day a week just might be the white space your body needs to gain back your energy.
There are basically three types of meetings we have, and they’re all with clients.
The first are inquiry calls, and we’ve found that those don’t particularly drain us because we’ve had so many of them by this point that we know what to expect. There isn’t that much brain power involved, so we don’t have a particular schedule that makes these easier.
We also have client presentations, which are pretty straightforward. No heavy decisions are made on the spot. We show up, present our designs to our client, get some initial feedback, and then give our clients plenty of time to consider their options. We’ve found that these don’t drain us as much either, so no particular schedule is needed.
And then there are strategy sessions.
These are our most in-depth client meetings. It’s when actual work is getting done. We’re doing tough digging with of our clients and need to be on top of our game to ask probing questions so we give our clients the best brand strategy out there.
Brand strategy sessions are draining. After we’re done, any great amount of productivity is out of the question. We’re depleted for the day.
But we also want to make sure we’re meeting the needs of our clients, who don’t always like having these heavy-hitting meetings at the end of a work day.
We schedule our meetings for the late morning/early afternoon. This way we’re able to get in a few hours of design work or content creation, have an energetically draining (but absolutely exciting) strategy session, and after that, we get to small tasks like production design or putting brand style guides together. The work after meetings are pretty rote, so we can just put on some music and zone out while still being productive and not having any more energy drained for the day.
I’m sure y’all know, no matter if you’re introverted or not, that social media can be a major energy drain.
And yet we keep going back for that sweet dopamine rush. Look at all those likes.
But then we don’t get likes.
And we worry about the algorithm.
And then there’s those accounts (you know who I’m talking about) that make you feel horrible no matter how well your content performs. Those people need to be unfollowed, stat.
That’s why it’s important to choose your social media channels wisely, especially as an introvert without a social media team to handle it all for you.
Once again, it’s all about noticing when and where the energy is drained.
And if you’re a one-person show or small team, and there’s no possible way to have a presence on certain channels without feeling that drain, give that channel the boot. You’ll feel lighter and have more energy to go full-force on the channels that give you life.
Honestly, there are a lot of pretty great brands out there without a great social media presence.
It’s all about pivoting your marketing elsewhere- search marketing, in-person networking, grass-roots campaigns, referrals, getting featured, hosting events (virtually and in-person), paid advertising.
Remember that day Instagram went down? Of course I’m joking because it always seems to be going down (and we find out via Twitter). Putting all your eggs in social media isn’t the wisest choice anyhow. So if you’ve gotta give social the boot, there are still ways to build brand awareness!
Well lemme tell ya what hasn’t worked.
Facebook is responsible for panic attacks and toxic people creeping into our brand’s sphere (more on that in a sec).
So unless things really change, Facebook is off the table.
And so if Twitter. It’s too fast and we don’t have that much to say. Just the thought has us drained.
Tick Tock? Not really sure what to think about that one. Maybe? If we ever have the time to test it out, we’ll let you know.
And that leaves us with Instagram.
Instagram doesn’t drain us. People are nice, for the most part. There’s always trolls no matter where you go.
And nobody has yet to slide into our DMs expecting all their business questions for free (I’m looking at you Facebook).
So when we can, we post, but it’s not a priority.
We rely much more on search marketing and word of mouth that we haven’t had to rely on social media, but when we lean into it, it’s Instagram.
Now we know that this is Introvert Basics 101, but it is the hardest thing to do.
But those toxins have got to be dropped!
These are going to be not just your energy drainers, but your energy vampires.
Make a list. Journal it out. Is there anyone that drains your energy at just the thought of their name?
Are they a social media follower that either troll or a frenemy or someone that has decided to be super competitive and nasty about it (they are out there)?
These people have no right to access your business if you don’t want them to on social media. Last time I checked, freedom of the follow wasn’t on the Bill of Rights.
And then there are the business associates. These can be partnerships, clients, vendors.
Yes- you’re going to have to drop them. Or get real creative so you don’t personally have to deal with them.
You might want to work on that slow goodbye. Wrap up the project, fulfill your end of the agreement, and then just wave goodbye. No drama or social media scene needs to be made. Stay classy, San Diego!
It’s sad. But yes, we’ve had to end business relationships. Thankfully not very often. But if there’s something toxic going down, we respect ourselves too much to let it continue for too long.
Strong contracts are a big part of our game, as are looking out for red flags (see the next little bit of advice).
But we’ve also, unfortunately, had to tell people through personal account Facebook DMs that the constant messages requesting free help are unacceptable. Getting off of Facebook also helped.
Honestly though- the biggest way we’ve gotten rid of the toxins is with our pricing.
If you’re a service provider and your rate is bottom of the barrel, you’re going to be walked all over. You’re going to be an order taker and your value won’t be appreciated because you’re not even valuing it.
If you’ve got a price point in mind for your service, work on creating a client experience that’s in alignment with that price point, make adjustments, and the toxic clients will disappear.
People will recognize you as the expert. And clients trust the expert.
This one takes time.
You’re going to have business opportunities you take that end up being the worst energy drains in the history of your business.
The important thing is to learn from them.
Maybe it’s working with a particular type of person, manufacturing a certain type of product, offering a particular service, or coordinating with vendors- if something is draining your energy, note why.
What is it about this situation that is draining? How can you protect yourself against this from happening in the future?
Get these red flags ingrained into your every being so when they crop up later down the line your red-flag spidey senses will tingle and you’ll know this opportunity is just not for you.
We’ve got a list. It’s ever growing. But here’s a few…
And on that note…
This can be any number of things- from revenue streams to types of content and business relationships.
Once again, it’s all about noticing what’s draining your energy and mustering up the courage to say no.
Because whenever you say yes to something that drains you, you’re saying no to something that doesn’t.
We’ve all got a finite amount of time, especially if you’re going at this whole business thing alone or with a micro team.
Running an intensive group mastermind could send your energy levels into a downward spiral.
But you could also repackage this mastermind as one-on-one coaching (and charge more) or rework the mastermind materials into a digital product where you aren’t involved (at a lower-entry price).
And when you free up your energy, you’ll have more of it for projects, services, products, and content that light you up!
Because running a business is more than just making money. It’s about achieving your purpose. About making an impact. And about living a better life.
We’re pretty sure working 24/7 isn’t the life you imagined when you decided to run a business.
We first look for red flags.
If a potential client checks off any of them, it’s a kind, but firm, no.
Yes, we’ve had at least one really nasty email in return after we let someone know we weren’t the best fit for them. Oh, how we’re so glad we stuck to our red flags on those! That project would have gone to nightmare town real quick.
There’s also saying no to certain social media outlets.
And saying no to work on the weekends- we respond to emails on Monday.
We need to say no more often for our sanity, our energy, and our self-worth.
As one of the many introverted business owners, we need to remember that this isn’t just about our business. It’s about our life.
If work drains all your energy, what energy is left for all the other lovely parts of life?
Don’t get us wrong. It’s going to be tough. And it’s going to take time. But little by little you’ll end up with a business and a life that gives you more energy than it takes. You just need to make the decision to take your energy back.