I have a confession to make: I’m an introverted entrepreneur. Now, before you pass judgement on that seemingly inconsequential statement, consider a few of the generally accepted qualities of an imagined entrepreneur: charismatic, confident, and a people-person. In my humble opinion I don’t embody those words in the slightest, and I frequently suffer from attacks of imposter-syndrome when it comes to my business. I feel like I’m leading a secret life.
Despite my awkward, introverted self, I started a company almost 10 years ago and focus on a small but loyal market. I had enough work and was happy to spend days alone in my office, focused on work I enjoy, with minimal interaction. Recently though, I’ve felt the increasing pressure to jump into the social media mosh pit. I’ve resisted for so long, hiding my thriving little company in the solitude of my office, afraid of judgement, criticism and confrontation. But my clients are asking to incorporate social media strategies into their projects, and their markets are on social media as well. Close to 90% of Canadians are connected online and over 60% of them use social media every day (McKinnon, 2019), so there’s no doubt that social media is relevant and important. I decided it was time to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. It’s time that I peek out from behind my desk and dip a toe into the social media swim.
Does that mean I start plating my sad leftovers so they’re suitable for Instagram? Do I start wearing makeup and practicing my duck-face for all those selfies I’ll need? Will I need to loudly claim the social causes, political affiliations and charities I might be involved in? NO. I’ve chosen not to. I’m slowly wading into the social media pool party in my own unobtrusive way.
Making the leap
How am I making this transition? By making small, simple steps that build my relationship and comfort-level with social media at my own pace:
- Observe. I have to study something before I get involved. Social media is no exception. So rather than just starting random accounts and jumping in, I’ve spent some time browsing through the groups and posts on different channels like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. I want to learn what people are saying and what topics are getting attention. What voice do the organizations that I admire use? I also ask my friends and other trusted colleagues in my industry how they use social media (and I lurk on their accounts!).
- Understand that I choose what I post. You don’t have to announce anything you don’t feel comfortable with. Some people love going into the fine details of their kid’s accomplishments, family traditions, and frustrations with work, the world and all that’s under the sun. That’s fine. But if you don’t feel comfortable with that level of sharing, then don’t feel obligated to follow suit. Marisa Quinn wrote a terrific article on 10 Things About Social Media That Make Me Uncomfortable As An Introvert. You can focus on other things that don’t feel like they’re encroaching dangerously close to your personal space. You’re your own social media filter!
- Ignore the numbers. Social media follows, likes and connections sometimes feel like the measure of your success on a specific platform. That’s ok if those numbers are meaningful to you but personally, this introvert prefers to focus on a smaller group of people, just like in real life. Once you start your account, you don’t need to follow every person recommended to you. Curate your community to serve your purposes. Having a more meaningful group will make it easier to connect and engage with them once you’re ready.
- Be selective. You don’t need a presence on every platform. Find out where your audience spends their time and focus your efforts on that platform.
As an entrepreneur, the benefits of social media are hard to ignore, but as an introvert, it can leave you feeling anxious. Just remember that social media doesn’t mean you have to give up your privacy. Even though it’s always on, you’re not. Take it at your own pace, and when you’ve had enough, you can simply log out.
If you’re an introverted entrepreneur, we’d love to learn how you approach social media! Let us know in the comments: what works, what doesn’t work or what worries you most?
Check back soon for my next blog post, where I feature one of the most successful introverted entrepreneurs and look at the major impact he’s had on social media.
Social media can feel like the big, loud party you never wanted to go to: find out how one introverted entrepreneur eased her way in to join the party (from a safe distance of course!). #introvert #entrepreneur #socialmedia #adviceforintroverts #business #freelance #businessadvice
Social media isn’t always easy for #introverts: 4 tips on how you can ease into the #socialmedia stream. #introvert #entrepreneur #socialmedia #adviceforintroverts #business #freelance #businessadvice
References in the text:
McKinnon, M. (2019, June 30). 2019 Report: Social Media Use in Canada. CanadasInternet.com. Retrieved on September 16, 2019 from https://canadiansinternet.com/2019-report-social-media-use-canada/
Quinn, M. (2016, November 3). 10 Things About Social Media That Make Me Uncomfortable As An Introvert. Introvertdear.com. Retrieved on September 17, 2019 from https://introvertdear.com/news/introvert-social-media-things-that-make-me-uncomfortable/