Do only "go-getters" succeed? Freelancing for introverts

Mar 18, 2014

Photo by Paul Mison

Marketing is challenging for everyone, but particularly so for the introverts among us who often can't stand networking and freeze up when calling potential clients.

We’re creative. We’ve got our stuff together. Our work is beautiful/smart/useful. But we can’t talk about it!

How do we stay in business?

The wrong advice

Millions of introverts deal with this problem, but the advice is normally just “become more outgoing.” This seems false to me.

It’s Women’s History Month, and I’ve been thinking about the women who have inspired me in my creative hustling life. Today I came across a video conversation between two women who have inspired thousands of female entrepreneurs across the country: Susan Cain, the NYT bestselling author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Just Can’t Stop Talking, and Marie Forleo, entrepreneur extraordinaire and founder of B-School.

It’s worth your time:


Some quotes from Susan Cain:

  • Introverts are everywhere: “Media is filled with introverts.” People who seem like extraverts may have adopted strategies to get along.
  • Introverts can be social, but for a short time: “Many introverts find themselves being passionate about something that requires them to also be out in places that are beyond their comfort zone. You can act out of character for the sake of work that you really love but you’re doing it mindfully, and as soon as you’re go into your own space.”
  • How to budget your social time: “Come up with a quota system where you say, ‘OK, whatever it is, once a week I’m going to go to these networking events. Meet your quota, and then you don’t have to feel guilty the rest of the time.”
  • Find kindred spirits: “Everybody tells you for networking that your job is to work the room and you should emerge from every networking event with a big fist-full of business cards. I don’t even use “networking” -- it sounds machine-like and cold. I go through the world looking for kindred spirits. Usually at any event, there’s one such person...and that’s fine. That’s a much more humane and effective way to live.”
  • Work with a partner: “I believe that most business owners are best-suited to finding a partner who is the temperament complement. So an introvert looks for an extravert and vice versa. Or skill set. It makes life so much easier.”

Introverted freelancers, what are some strategies you’ve found to be successful while staying true to your personality?