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I know the terms extrovert and introvert seem to be everywhere these days, but I think they are the perfect set of words that can help you describe yourself to others. What I really like about them is that you can normally tell how a person will act based on these terms alone. Extrovert? You are most likely fun, outgoing, and social. Introvert? You are probably shy, soft spoken, and love being at home. But what do you do if you’re an introverted solopreneur that needs to start networking?
I am an introvert, and I am not ashamed to admit it. I prefer being at home with my little family and I need to recharge after being around a large group of people. Do these things make me a terrible person? Of course not. However, being an introvert has put me in an awkward situation when it comes to networking with other bloggers and small business owners.
My friends will tell you I am the loudest, proudest person they have ever met. But for some odd reason, it’s hard for me to network with strangers. If you can survive your first meeting with me, we will most likely become fast friends. If not, well, you might tell people that I was super awkward. Luckily, I’ve learned a lot on this entrepreneurship journey of mine. So here are my tips on networking as an introverted solopreneur.
Try Online Network Groups
Online networking groups are easy to join and fun to interact in! This is, by far, my favorite way of networking at the moment. Since I spend a large chunk of time on social media for business and personal use, networking online seemed like a perfect way to get to know other people without sacrificing a ton of time and energy.
You don’t have to be friends with everyone, and I am slowly learning that. But it seems hard to say “Hey, we aren’t meshing well” in person. It may be that I don’t want to burn bridges or hurt feelings, but online I can say “It was nice catching up, but I think it’s best if we cut the conversation short. It was great talking to you!”. Sure, it may still seem a little harsh, but at least they won’t see me running in the opposite direction! The key to networking as an introverted solopreneur is to put yourself out there. Eventually, you’ll start meeting with people that you just click with.
I started networking online by joining online Facebook groups, and it has been incredible for me. I get to read different posts from anyone who has business or entrepreneurship questions and even just something as simple as someone reaching out for a buddy. The responses and support have been amazing and awe inspiring. If you join the right groups, you’ll meet incredible people, and also learn quite a few ways to build your business.
Go To Small Events With A Friend
Although I am not the biggest fan of parties or large gatherings, I have come to enjoy going to networking events with a friend. Going with someone I already know makes me more comfortable, and seems to make me a little more outgoing as well.
If you are an introverted solopreneur, bringing a friend can help you show your true personality a little easier. When you are comfortable and confident, other people will notice. You want people to be drawn to the person you truly are, and sometimes we aren’t our best selves when we are nervous.
When I say start small, I mean start as small as possible. Try going to a small local networking event or workshop. You’ll get to learn about the event and connect with others without the pressure of talking to so many people.
Talk On The Phone
I get super nervous when I have to call and talk with someone. Whether it be for the dentist, a potential client, or even my dog’s groomer, I tend to breathe heavily when I hear my phone dialing.
I know that I have to get over that fear, especially since I am always on the hunt to connect with new friends and clients. So what do I do? You guessed it, I talk on the phone. If I can take a text or email and turn it into a conversation, I hop on a call. If appointments need to be made, I call and make them.
This all helps me control my voice and get comfortable talking on the phone. If you tend to have a quiet voice, or hate making calls, this is the perfect place to start! You don’t have to go out, and you don’t need to see anyone face to face. However, it will help you have confidence in your voice and allow you to practice speaking to people. It sounds crazy, but it works!
Carry Around Business Cards
Even if you are just starting in the online business world, having a business card is still a great way to help you connect with others! A business card can tell more of a story about your business in a second than you would be able to in an elevator pitch (even a super short one!). Plus, it has all of your contact information.
A business card may not help you online if you sell services (a portfolio or hire me page would be better for that), but if you also like connecting locally, it can be a great option for you. Or, if you sell products instead of services, you can include your business cards with each order. You never know, you may just make a few new best biz friends. When creating your business cards, remember to add your social media accounts and website so people can chat with you!
So there are my four ways to help you network as an introverted solopreneur. Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes it can be overwhelming. But when I think about the connections and friendships I’ve already made on my short journey, I know it is worth it to keep pushing forward. So get out there and get to networking!