When it comes to business owners, you likely imagine a charismatic leader blazing a trail to the marketplace. A larger-than-life, socially-savvy extrovert who can sell popsicles to Alaskans in February. An owner who lives to network and gets their energy from customer-facing engagement. It might seem like introverts could never be business owners since stereotypes indicate they are:

  • Shy
  • Socially awkward
  • Anti-social
  • Poor public speakers

Here’s the thing, the stereotypes are false! Introverts can thrive as business owners. As a matter of fact, some of the most recognizable companies were founded by introverts, including:

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Microsoft
  • PayPal 

Introversion Isn’t What You Might Think

Being an introvert or an extrovert isn’t what most people think. It’s not simply a matter of being outgoing or shy. Intro and extroversion describe how people get and give their energy. Quite simply, extroverts get and give their energy by being with other people, while introverts get their energy by being alone to process internally. 

For extroverts, being alone too long can deplete their energy. Extroverts process by socially engaging with others and when they feel isolated, they can easily become depressed. Introverts on the other hand, need significant time to themselves to recharge their batteries. It’s all about energy, which has nothing to do with shyness, communication style, or enjoying other people. 

Introverts Have Special Advantages in Business    

Being an introverted business owner gives you some serious advantages. Letting go of the notion that business owners need to fake extroversion to succeed makes room to maximize your innate abilities for profit. Here’s how-

Introverts make excellent leaders – Introverts tend to be better leaders. Their preference for quality over quantity in interpersonal relationships makes them better listeners and more open to ambitious employees and their ideas. In many cases, extroverts subconsciously seek attention which can make it more difficult for them as leaders where they can feel threatened by employee ambitions. Introverts are comfortable allowing others to shine right along with them. 

Introverts are master communicators – Introverts tend to be masters of written communication. This can give an introverted business owner the upper hand with marketing and other written content. While introverts may not thoroughly enjoy large crowds, they are often excellent at leading small groups and especially capable one on one.

The Bottom Line

This topic of whether or not introverts can really succeed in a business is near to my heart because I am an introvert. Unfortunately, I didn’t figure this out until later in my adult life and career.  Because I bought into the myth that a great business owner had to be an extrovert and I really like talking to people, (I am not a recluse, after all.), that I really needed to personify an extrovert as defined.

In the growth process, I learned and wasn’t all that surprised to discover that I was really an introvert to my core.  By the time I really began to see this as a strength v. handicap, I was actively serving in a successful business that I also co-owned.  So, I say to you from firsthand knowledge, there’s nothing to fear if you lean closer to the introverted side of the spectrum as a business owner.  Being an introvert doesn’t disqualify you from being successful in owning and growing a business.  In fact, it may be giving you an upper hand.