Introverts get a bad rap. They’re often viewed as shy, aloof, antisocial, or just plain weird. But when it comes to entrepreneurship, it appears that introverts may have finally won the upper hand. Just consider names like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Larry Page, Warren Buffett, Marissa Mayer, and the list goes on. In fact, you could make the argument that these are the glory days for introverts.
Sadly, despite the many famously introverted entrepreneurs out there, most people would still say that extroverts make better leaders. And yet, introverts bring so much to the table as entrepreneurs. For instance, they’re known as being ultra focused and creative innovators, all without hogging the spotlight.
Conventional wisdom says you need to be an extrovert – or, at the very least, pretend you’re one, in order to be a great entrepreneur. But, as is often the case, conventional wisdom is wrong.
Here are 4 reasons why introverts can be just as successful,or even more so, than their extroverted counterparts:
1. Introverts require loads of time to think
Introverts crave time alone, plain and simple. And in fact, that’s the very essence of introversion; being energized by spending time alone. As a result of all this alone time, introverts can come up with pretty cool ideas, while solving seemingly unsolvable problems.
2. Introverts can better manage uncertainty
Uncertainty is the name of the game for many start-ups. And introverts tend to be able to handle it better. Why? It’s their nature.
Introverts typically analyze new business ideas quietly and internally beforehand. They mull it over and think it through. Once they do decide to move ahead, there’s no stopping them. Even when challenges seem insurmountable and setbacks abound, they press on, knowing in their heart and gut they’re following the right course.
This is a vital trait for an entrepreneur considering not only the shockingly high failure rate of new businesses, but also the fact that even successful startups don’t typically turn a profit until the third year.
“Doubt, of whatever kind, can be ended by action alone.” –
3. They’re focused listeners
We learn by listening, not by talking. And introverts are, by far, the better listeners. This is a critical characteristic when it comes to entrepreneurship. You have to listen to your customers, to your employees, and to your vendors, if you want to be successful. When you’re a good listener, you can not only hone and polish great ideas, but also avoid expensive missteps.
4. They’re calm, cool and collected
Extroverts have a tendency to lose it. Introverts, on the other hand, are typically more even tempered, with a calming and peaceful presence. This demeanor can work wonders when trying to build trust and diffuse the many difficult situations that arise when starting up a new business.
“Nothing gives a person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.” – Thomas Jefferson
If given the choice, most businesses would hire an extrovert. And yet,ironically enough, some of the most admired and respected leaders are or were introverts. Think Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, and Steven Spielberg. So if you’re an introvert, know you’re in some pretty spectacular company. And keep pushing ahead to pursue your business dreams!