When you picture a successful entrepreneur, you probably imagine someone with an outgoing, talkative personality. The kind of person who loves to socialize and meet new people.
The person you probably don’t picture is someone who is quiet, becomes overwhelmed and exhausted by noisy environments, or avoids spending too much time around other people, especially large groups.
So where does that leave the shy, socially reserved introvert who wants to start a business?
Better off than you think!
For starters, most experts see introversion/extroversion as a spectrum with few people at the extremes. Instead, most of us fall closer to the middle.
What about you?
Take the Quiz
- Do you feel exhausted after an evening out with a lot of people (like at a party or networking event)?
- Do you find you really need quiet time alone, for example, just reading, meditating, listening to music, or watching TV?
- Do you tend to prefer to socialize in a very small group (just a couple close friends)?
- Do you find it difficult to initiate a conversation with a stranger?
- Do you label yourself (or do other people label you) as shy or quiet or socially inept?
- If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, you’re probably closer to the introvert end of the spectrum.
But that doesn’t mean you’re not cut out to start your own business.
Hugely successful entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, or Warren Buffett are not the kind of guys you’d find chatting it up at a party.
And there are plenty of famous actors, professional speakers, and other performers who can “do” extrovert but are in fact quite introverted – myself included.
Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, it’s important to know yourself and where your energy lies.
In fact, think of your energy like a battery; if you are an extrovert your batteries are charged by social interaction, if you are an introvert your batteries will be drained.
That means you need to play to your strengths and get help in the areas where you’re weaker.
So, if you are an extreme introvert, you may prefer to run a home-based business rather than founding a company that requires you to interact with employees.
Or, if you really do want to build an empire like Zuckerberg, Gates, and Buffet, then just know you’ll probably need to partner or hire an extrovert who is good at the more social parts.
25 Money Making Ideas for Introverts
As an introvert, it’s important to find the right business for you.
For instance, an online business can be a great fit for introverts because it allows all the freedom, control, and income of self-bossing with less of the frequent people contact that you find so draining.
Another benefit to a web-based business is you get to use your online interactions and presence to determine the persona the world sees.
So you can be reserved Rachel or Raphael at home and Rock Star Rachel or Raphael in your business!
But selling online is the only way to generate income. Here are 25 other ideas that are well suited to people who enjoy solitude:
- Webmaster or IT consultant
- Graphic design
- Copywriter (using words to sell a product or service or to promote causes)
- Fiction writing (romance, novels, etc.)
- Travel writer (see how-to info below)
- Social media consultant
- Editing and/or proofreading
- Web designer
- Craft-related businesses
- Creating patterns: Sewing, knitting, woodworking
- Creating software or apps
- Clothing maker
- Working with animals
- Growing and selling flowers, vegetables, and/or herbs
- Errand service
- Fixing things: Cars, appliances, clothes alterations, broken pottery, antique clocks/watches, appliances
- Making things better: Custom cars, motorcycles, campers, etc.
- Building things: Furniture, boats, decks, etc.
Finally, you may be an introvert but if you want to be your own boss then you still need to stretch yourself now and then.
Join a Toastmasters club to conquer your fear of public speaking. Or if you must attend a networking event set a goal of talking to just three people.
To this last point, you may even choose a business precisely because it pushes you to talk to strangers.
For example, International Living magazine editor Jen Stevens, says one of the many great things about travel writing is it gives introverts a built-in excuse for initiating conversations with owners of inns, shops, cafes and others along the journey who can add value to your article.
For even more ways to make money without a job-job, check out the Cool Jobs and Ideas page at Changing Course.
With so many ways today to communicate with clients and customers and to make business connections without ever venturing into public, you don’t need to be an extrovert to become your own boss.
Instead, be true to yourself, find the right business for you, and then take action!