Today’s post is from Kathryn Hall, who blogs over at The Business Introvert. She helps introverts escape the noise and run their business their own way, which is a topic very close to my heart. Kathryn contacted me a few months ago and we knew we had to connect. Even if you aren't an introvert, you may find her tips very useful.
Let’s not beat about the bush. If you’re introverted then you need regular quiet time, there should be no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’ about it.
Unlike our extrovert counterparts who thrive in social situations and lively work environments, our bodies have an inbuilt need for peace and quiet in order to function effectively. (I should know - I’m not sure that even a sliver of extroversion exists in me!)
And the truth is that as someone who’s highly introverted, alone time means so much more to me than simply re-charging my batteries and finding my energy (though of course that is hugely important).
Through the wonderful power of daydreaming and reflection (don’t you just love a bit of window gazing?) it’s also how I access the creative part of my brain, process the world around me to find clarity, and get my problem solving head on to come up with solutions – all of which is pretty important when you’re running a biz!
But of course we all know that being your own boss can also be hugely time-consuming. With (deep breath!) emails to respond to, blog posts to write, meetings to attend, paperwork to file, courses to write, clients to speak to, social media to schedule, accounts to sort out and graphics to create…how do you actually run a business as an introvert without completely losing your marbles?
Well, just as with anything, I believe it’s about taking positive action to shape your business to suit your own specific needs and desires. You are the boss after all!
Below I have compiled 5 tips to help you ditch the overwhelm, clear your schedule, and find that all-important space to breathe.
If you’re anything like me, your body, mind AND business will be truly thankful.
Don’t fill your schedule with meetings
As an introvert, working to a jam-packed schedule that involves meeting people all day every day is a one-way ticket to exhaustville.
If meeting people either face-to-face or via Skype forms a core part of how you run your business then I highly recommend you schedule meeting-free days to recharge your batteries, focus on other tasks and reflect on your business.
Similarly, setting yourself limits on how many people you see in a day/week can be really helpful and will help stop you feeling overwhelmed with everything that needs doing.
Change your business model
If you’re really struggling to cut down the amount of meetings that you have, then consider how you could change your business model to better suit your introverted needs.
For example raising your prices but working with less people would allow you to focus on providing a quality service for your customers while reducing the amount of meetings, sales chats and itty-bitty admin that needs to be done with each new client.
Alternatively you could also try cutting down your clients but supplementing your income with passive products such as online courses or e-books. Although these type of products still take a lot of marketing work, they do offer an amazing option for introverts who would rather spend time alone at home than getting ‘out there’.
Keep your notifications closed
One of the greatest things I ever did for my sanity was to take control of how I receive information from the big wide web.
Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the internet. My entire business is built upon it and I’m pretty sure I would not be my own boss had I been born 20 years earlier.
However (and this is really important), just because I’ve created a career that’s reliant on the web, doesn’t mean I need to be connected to it every single second of every single day.
If you spend your whole day with email and social media notifications popping up here, there and everywhere then you are essentially allowing other people’s agendas to take control of your own (which I’m sure you’ll agree is hardly the best way to create space in your schedule).
My advice to you is this. Keep your emails and social media notifications switched off until you actually have time to deal with whatever awaits you.
It’s such a simple change but it seriously can do wonders for how you spend your time.
Use the power of automation
Ah, automation, how I love thee.
A glorious bonus of the internet is that there are a whole wealth of tools out there to help you do all manner of things thus streamlining your business, saving you time and creating space for you to breathe.
What you can use is very much dependent on the type of business that you run, however a few popular tools include:
- Freshbooks (for invoicing)
- Calendly (for scheduling appointments)
- Ejunkie (for delivering digital products)
- Email filters (for automatically filing emails)
- Mailchimp (for sending newsletters)
If you feel like you spend a lot of time on a particular part of your admin or marketing, then consider if there is a tool to help you (there’s nothing Aunty Google can’t help you with, remember!). And ultimately, the more efficient you can get your business processes, the easier things will be for you in the long run.
Get some help
And finally, remember that business doesn’t always have to be a one-man-band affair.
Hiring a virtual assistant or other professional even for an hour here or there can help massively in clearing your schedule and giving you some space to breathe.
From managing your accounts to marketing your business to answering your phone calls. Whatever you need a hand with, there will always be someone out there who can help.
So don’t try and do it all alone, get someone to share the load!
Kathryn Hall is founder of The Business of Introverts, an avid writer and mentor to quiet types across the globe who want to live happy, healthy and empowered lives. She’s big on helping people to embrace their introversion in all its glory, while creating a business they love.