Do you think introverts can’t become successful freelancers? If so, think again.
Imagine a superpower that would make you self-aware enough to avoid embarrassing yourself, while also giving you the focus and drive to thrive and do amazing work without relying on anybody else.
I used to think being introverted was something that would hold me (and most creative entrepreneurs) back, in the big bad world of business.
Introverts can become successful freelancers
We are all told we need to be loud, brash and in-your-face to make waves and move forward in the business world. But I’ve now come to see introversion as something of a superpower.
Find your quiet confidence
I believe quiet confidence is the key. This is the perfect state – equally far from arrogance, as it is from being too withdrawn, uncertain or passive.
It’s having a strong belief in yourself, your abilities and how you can help your clients without the intrinsic need to shout about it.
There is real power in exuding a quiet confidence.
It can instantly make people start to respect you and it ensures they listen up when you have your say. It can give your words real impact.
If you look at some of the famous introverts in the entrepreneurial world, like Elon Musk, Warren Buffet, and Larry Page, it’s fair to say we introverts are in good company.
Get used to discomfort
I’m not saying it’s smooth sailing as an introverted freelancer. Necessary tasks like networking, self-promotion and sales, are unavoidably awkward and uncomfortable for most of us.
That’s no reason to avoid them, however.
Megan Bruneau, a Canadian psychotherapist, says that one of the best ways to fight something that makes you feel uncomfortable is to face it over and over again until you get used to the discomfort. Once you are used to it, it stops making you so anxious.
This supports the idea that often the best progress is waiting just a few inches outside of your comfort zone. You can grow and expand your comfort zone by gently challenging yourself, and avoid pushing yourself to the point where it’s too hard and you get discouraged.
So don’t go extreme overnight. Just make sure that you are regularly looking for opportunities to take another step further out of your comfort zone. Remember the process of self-improvement happens over time.
Rather than jumping into the middle of a big networking event on your own, try introducing yourself in a relevant Facebook Group first, or bring a friend along for support.
The more you take these steps, the easier they get. You just become somebody who does these things.
When we start thinking like this, we can also start to look out for feelings of fear and discomfort, and lean into them.
That hit of anxiety that you feel when you imagine making a sales call, going to a networking event, or appearing on a podcast starts to become a sign that you should take a deep breath and then go and do the thing that you fear anywhere.
It’s a sign that you’re about to do something that will help you grow.
Seeking out the fear like this will help you to do more than you thought possible. As a result, your quiet confidence will constantly grow.
Freelancers, take advantage of your introverted qualities
Being an introvert has often been equated with being shy or quiet, or someone who feels uncomfortable in the crowd and tends to avoid any kind of social gatherings.
Nowadays there has been an introvert uprising, and more and more people are proud to proclaim their introversion.
Here’s the truth: being introverted usually means you’re a deep thinker and someone who is extremely conscientious about the things you value in life. You are fiercely independent, you don’t need anybody else’s approval. You know what matters to you.
Introverts are also, in general, good listeners and excellent at expressing empathy with other people. In the business world, this means you are better at listening to your customers, employees and clients, and can be better at resolving issues and solving problems.
All of which are great skills to have as an entrepreneur.
Alistair Webster is a creative director, marketing consultant and founder of Freelance Success, an educational platform designed to teach aspiring freelancers how to build sustainable, thriving freelance businesses doing the work they love. For the last ten years, he’s been working freelance – building businesses, and working with some of the biggest brands in the world – from Hotels.com, to the University of Oxford. He’s passionate about sharing everything he’s learned along the way, and sharing the exact steps he follows to launch new businesses, build multiple income streams and work from anywhere.
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