Can Introverts Be Great Entrepreneurs?
Recently, there has been a lot of talk about how introverts can be great entrepreneurs. How they can be more focused and determined without needing that rush of interconnectivity with people (after all, that is what extroverts are, right?) they thrive on being with, talking to and let’s face it, drinking with other people. They love other people. Where introverts are the opposite, they are drained by other people, or they at least don’t thrive around other people. I assume that Jean-Paul Sartre was pretty introverted when he wrote No Exit – I guess most writers – and maybe even bloggers – myself included – are introverts, hiding behind our pens, paper, and computers.)
Of course, this is true. Introverts have a ton of very useful characteristics which are phenomenal in building a business. Introverts tend to be the ones toiling in the backrooms actually making things happen – writing code or developing business plans. The introvert is the Scotty of the business, always pulling things out at the last minute, getting things done just in time.
The problem is, you can’t have a hugely successful business with just a Scotty at the helm. You may be able to come up with an idea, code the idea, but when it comes to getting the word out – to socialize your idea, to get investors or customers for your idea, you need the extrovert. Scotty can get the ship moving, but he needs help to steer.
Most of the businesses mentioned when they talk about successful introverted entrepreneurs fail to mention that they all had partners who were extroverts, who helps to promote and socialize the business. Or, if they didn’t have an extroverted partner, they had to push themselves into being an extrovert in order to promote their business.
While it’s great to say that introverts can be successful, the reality is that unless they can partner with an extrovert, or become one, even to a small degree, they likely won’t be successful.
The sad truth for introverts: while a business needs extroverts to live and survive, its doesn’t really need introverts. And in some cases, once the company becomes successful, the introvert partner is no longer required.
On the flip side, while it may be painful for you – you can – as an introvert – change. You can take on the role of the extrovert, you can learn to be an extrovert, or at least find one to partner with who is trustworthy.
IMHO, as an introvert, you can’t build a business alone. Scotty needs a Kirk to be out there, in front. Unlike on the Enterprise, both Scotty and Kirk should be making the decisions.
Imagine a typical entrepreneur.A quiet, reserved introvert is probably not what first came to mind. Aren’t entrepreneurs supposed to be gregarious and commanding—verbally adept and able to inspire employees, clients and investors with the sheer force of their personality? No wonder the advice for introverts who want to be entrepreneurs has long been some form of: “Be more extroverted.”
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