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Great Home-Based Biz Ideas for Introverts

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:

  1. Webmaster or IT consultant
  2. Artist
  3. Graphic design
  4. Blogger
  5. Copywriter (using words to sell a product or service or to promote causes)
  6. Fiction writing (romance, novels, etc.)
  7. Travel writer (see how-to info below)
  8. Genealogy
  9. Social media consultant
  10. Editing and/or proofreading
  11. Web designer
  12. Craft-related businesses
  13. Creating patterns: Sewing, knitting, woodworking
  14. Creating software or apps
  15. Woodworking
  16. Cooking/baking
  17. Clothing maker
  18. Working with animals
  19. Growing and selling flowers, vegetables, and/or herbs
  20. Errand service
  21. Translating
  22. Bookkeeping
  23. Fixing things: Cars, appliances, clothes alterations, broken pottery, antique clocks/watches, appliances
  24. Making things better: Custom cars, motorcycles, campers, etc.
  25. 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.

(And if you do love to travel and like the idea of making money while you do it, I highly recommend The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program.)

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!


How Dave Murdered His Dream

In my 24 years at Changing Course I’ve grieved the premature death of hundreds of perfectly viable business ideas.

Ideas which were totally possible – some even brilliant.

Ideas which, if acted upon, could have sprung their owners from job jail… and made a difference in the world as well.

But sadly their owner let them perish.

There are two main ways to kill a dream.

Death by Discouragement

For starters, you can believe the life-long cubicle dwellers who love to tell you that being your own boss is just a pipe dream.

Or, you can become so overwhelmed with the thought of acting on your great idea that all you want to do is zone out in front of the television.

Or you can become consumed with the “what ifs.”

  • What if no one wants my art, repair service, writing?
  • What if I fall flat on my face?
  • What if I don’t know enough to be a [fill in the blank]?

That’s what happened to Dave.

Today Dave has a corporate job. But as a child he spent time in foster care

Dave’s dream was to open a sports camp just for kids in foster care.

Family and friends had lots to say about Dave’s dream.

“Never work.” “Too much liability.” “Where would you hold it?”

Sadly, Dave became so discouraged, overwhelmed, and fearful about what might happen if he failed, that he never paused to consider what his life and the lives of the campers would be like if he was successful.

Death by Silence

The most common way to get away with murdering your dream is to keep it to yourself.

After all, if no one ever knows about your big idea they can’t possibly judge it… or you.

If you don’t share your business plan… then no one will know that you didn’t lift a single finger to get it off the launch pad.

If you never let your idea see the light of day, never show your art or share your writing or perform your comedy act… then no one will expect anything from you.

In other words, when you’re accountable only to yourself, then there’s no real consequence for failing to follow through.

Or is there?

When you murder your dream you’ve made the decision to spend the rest of your life in job jail.

If you think that price is too high, then you have a choice.

You can continue to slowly starve your dream to death through sheer neglect.

Or you can decide to get off the misery-go-round.

If you wisely chose the latter, here are two simple steps you can take right this very minute.

Step 1: Publically Declare Your Intention

For five years I produced a fabulous two-day workshop called Work at What You Love which I co-led with my friend and author of Making a Living Without a Job, Barbara Winter.

At the end, I’d ask each person to publicly declare an intention.

One by one upwards of 150 people rose, microphone in hand, and declared their dream to a room full of people.

“I’m going to spend summers living on a river barge in the south of France.”

“I’m going to write the biography of my grandfather’s life.”

“I’m going to open a bike repair shop.”

Your Turn

The ground rules of a public declaration are simple:

  • It must be summarized in one sentence.
  • It can’t begin with “I’d like to…” or “Maybe I will…” or “It would be great if I could….” Instead, your declaration must begin with the words “I’m going to___”
  • It must include a commitment to act.

So you have a choice. You can murder your idea and no one will ever know.

Or you breathe life into your dream by going on to social media or emailing your closest friend and making your own public declaration now.

Step 2: Do your homework

In the beginning, you don’t have enough information to be excited or scared.

You need information.

Who else is succeeding at the thing you want to do? After all, if someone else is doing it, then there must be both a need and a way.

Had Dave done a search for “summer camps for foster kids” he’d have found many examples of thriving enterprises.

A simple online search for “camp insurance” would have led him to dozens of companies that offer quotes for sports and non-sports camps.

As for how to begin, this is just one of many “how to start a summer camp business guides” Dave could have found to get the ball rolling.

Take five minutes now and see just how much you can find out about your dream business.

Step 3: Find people who want to see your idea succeed as much as you do

The forces of fear, self-doubt, and overwhelm are mighty.

That’s why you need a team of people who want to see you realize your dream as much as you do.

People who will be there to support one another, to hold each other accountable for making slow steady progress, to offer new ideas and solutions, to help one another overcome the inevitable setbacks, and to celebrate the wins big and small.

Left on your own and you can feel hopeless.

But when you’re in a group of supporters you feel empowered.

You become almost “bigger” than you usually are.

You feel a confidence that’s sometimes impossible to muster on your own.

Yet with this network of supporters cheering you on, you’re inspired to go on… to plow ahead with a certain audacity that you might not normally feel you have in you.

As importantly, your productivity will soar.

With a dream team behind you, you will get more done in six months than you would otherwise accomplish in six years!

The people on your dream team can be friends, like-minded co-workers, even total strangers. You can meet in person or via conference call.

Regardless of who’s in your group or how you communicate the key is commitment.

After all, a dream is a terrible thing to waste.


Praise

A New Direction

I decided to take the Work @ What You Love Workshop and also work one-on-one with Valerie. The workshop explored so many unusual and unexpected solutions to my specific questions. I made so many new connections to what clearly works for me in crea...

Julia Raymond
Curvology Studio

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