When you picture a business owner, you probably envision someone who’s outgoing and can talk to anyone. They don’t seem to be intimidated by any situation and they’re bold and excited to network and make connections with others. If you’re an introvert, this vision might not describe you, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be a business owner in your own right. In fact, introverts can and do thrive as online business owners.
Online work can be an ideal opportunity for introverts for many reasons. Online businesses mean that introverts don’t have to summon up the energy to constantly interact with others face-to-face, and working online is largely self-paced, so if you need to take a step back for an hour and enjoy some time to yourself, you can.
If you’ve been looking for a life-changing opportunity, opening your own online business might be it, and there are a few ways you can ensure that you thrive as a business owner.
Embrace the Solitude
Before you start an online business, it’s time for a little research. You’ll need a realistic, detailed idea of what it takes to start an online business, especially if you expect your online business to be able to compete against the likes of Amazon. Plan for challenges — lots of them — but also remember that the victories will be exciting and rewarding because of all of the work that you put into your business.
One of the major challenges that online business owners face is the solitude that comes with the industry. You’ll spend lots of time working online, and usually, you won’t be interacting with others face-to-face. In this case, being an introvert can be beneficial, because this solitude isn’t really a challenge at all.
While you’ll want to embrace the solitude of being an online entrepreneur, be careful not to isolate yourself. Remember that you’ll still need support through this journey, and having someone to vent your frustrations to or to bounce ideas off of is a valuable benefit. Sharing your plans with your friends and family can help, but if they aren’t entrepreneurs, themselves, they may not understand your goals or be able to give you the detailed support you need. Consider finding a business mentor through your local SCORE chapter, since they’ll be able to provide you with personalized guidance.
Create a Memorable Experience
Your online business will need to compete against brick-and-mortar businesses, which have the advantage of being able to offer customers unique, enjoyable, and memorable experiences. You’ll need to find a way to do something similar — and better — with your online business, and being an introvert gives you an advantage here, too.
As an introvert in the eCommerce community, you can create a customer service experience that goes above and beyond the service that your typical eCommerce business provides. As an introvert, your natural empathy and ability to listen attentively and pick up on nuances in a conversation can make the customer feel heard and valued. Because you’re invested in every interaction, you can stay patient and focused. Plus, if a customer isn’t quite sure of what they’re asking for, you can hone in on those little details that matter and present solutions with a sensitivity to and awareness of the customer’s concerns.
All of these attributes lead to an ideal customer service experience, and those are skills that other entrepreneurs may not have. You can use the qualities that you have as an introvert to your advantage. When you offer great customer service, you can gain not only returning customers, but also build relationships with customers who may share word of the great customer service with their friends, potentially bringing you more customers.
Connect with Talented People
You probably won’t be running your online business entirely on your own, so make sure to surround yourself with talented people who can help. Your business support team may consist of a designer, a social media specialist, a bookkeeper, a lawyer, and any other number of professionals.
If you’re not talented at website design, then make sure that you connect with a developer who can ensure that your site’s user experience is ideal. A bad user experience can cost businesses not only customers, but also money.
As you establish your team, make sure that you’re working with people who communicate in the ways that you’re comfortable with. If you’re more of an email person, make that fact known when you first start talking with these professionals. While you’ll probably have to hold the occasional phone call, working online means that you can get a lot accomplished through email and even text.
If you’ve been toying with the idea of starting an online business, chances are you’re better qualified to run that business than you think you are. If you keep telling yourself that you’re not enough of a people-person or aren’t otherwise prepared for this venture, don’t let that fear hold you back. Instead, remember all of your skills and remind yourself that being an introvert can actually be an advantage in the world of online business. Maybe now is the perfect time to make that dream of becoming an entrepreneur into a reality.