If you want to be a solo entrepreneur (i.e., a “solopreneur”), or as many refer to it, a freelancer, then you’re in good company…
…especially if you’re an introvert.
About 60% of entrepreneurs, according to various research articles, suggest that introverts make up a large portion of the freelancer and solopreneur community around the world.
Freelancing has become one of the best side hustles to embark on in the 21st century, and for many they’ve made a full-time living doing what they want to do on their own terms..
How To Start Freelancing
Alright, so you’re an introvert, but how do you start your solopreneur career?
The first thing that you’re going to need to do is figure out what you’d love to do for a living. This is going to require a bit of creativity, but if you want to work for yourself that’s simply a prerequisite.
Chances are that you already know what you’re good at because you spend time by yourself doing it anyway!
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For instance, even something as mundane as reading can be turned into a voiceover business, whereas you record yourself reading scripts from home into a microphone and then send it to the client. Websites like Voices.com are a great option for this line of work.
Moving Past Self-Doubt
Many introverts consider themselves depressed, and this can be for a number of different reasons. Sometimes, self-isolation is the sole cause of depression, and this drastically reduces motivation to do anything that will move someone’s life forward.
Become your own best friend. From personal experience, I can tell you that once you learn to love yourself and treat yourself as good as you might treat a beloved pet with love and concern, life gets a lot better.
You’re safe in your mind. The world cannot touch you in your head, and it’s literally the BEST place to be as an entrepreneur (although common advice is against this approach). Getting out of your head doesn’t actually help you – it just delays the self-treatment that you’re doing subconsciously anyway.
You are capable of great things. The reason that introverts are better at freelancing is because it’s literally the definition of an introvert: doing things on their own. This means that you have nobody to compare yourself to. There are no metrics that you have to meet or else you are fired. You hold yourself to your own standards, and if you don’t like a client you don’t have to work with them!
(This is one of the best aspects of freelancing, actually.)
You can move at your own pace. Self-doubt is caused by an observable failure against someone else’s metrics for what they deem “good work”. Screw that – the entire reason you are becoming a solopreneur is because you want the freedom to work comfortably.
Define Your Goals
This might seem like an overused, cliché term for helping people succeed, but I assure you this is as crucial as being able to see with your eyes.
If you don’t have eyes, you can’t see where you’re going. The same thing happens if you don’t have goals.
So think about two types of goals:
These goals should be broken into 1 month, 6 months, and 1 year goals to answer a simple question:
How much money do I want to have earned at the end of these periods of time?
Money earned is a great way to measure your success in the short-term.
These goals should not be measured financially, but by concepts. For instance:
In 5 years, I want to be able to move to [location].
In 10 years, I want to own my own home.
When I’m [pick an age], I want to be financially independent and travel the world.
Lay It Out Step By Step
Introverts are great at breaking things down into bite-sized accomplishments. We find it easier to take things a step at a time and then work at it at our own pace.
For instance, if you want to earn $1,000 in 30 days as a website developer, depending on the price you charge you can easily accomplish this feat. The steps that you actually take might be spending a few hours every day on websites like Facebook or Reddit and hunt for posts from people who need your skills.
Then, the next step would be to actually talk to that person on the phone or via Zoom.
After you’ve spoken to the client and they agree to work with you, send them an invoice based on the agreed price.
Work on the project, finish it, and then get paid for the work you’ve done.
BOOM! You’ve met your first short-term goal, and then all you have to do is come up with a repeatable strategy that allows you to work toward your long-term goals.
Pro Tip: Being A Freelancer Requires Communication
Just because you’ve launched your solopreneur career doesn’t mean that you don’t have to talk to anyone.
Success in business requires a level of communication between you and customers. You might prefer working by yourself, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to actually talk to people.
How else are you supposed to get business?
The same skills required by extroverted people in sales are needed by introverts, but the method that you approach new customers with doesn’t have to be the same.
For instance, an extroverted salesman might want to work locally and meet in person with clients.
You’re an introvert – that isn’t going to happen, unless it’s the nature of your industry.
Instead, as an introverted freelancer you’re going to be able to communicate with less personal but still effective means of communication such as email, text message, phone calls and/or video calls.
Extroverts vs. Introverts
So the main question here is, Why do introverts make better solopreneurs?
Simply put, introverts are completely comfortable being by themselves for long periods of time, and often prefer working alone.
Extroverted individuals, on the other hand, prefer to physically be around other people. Now, this isn’t to say that you can’t be an extroverted solopreneur – many freelancers are actually quite extroverted and do well.
However, think about the actual scenarios in which you would be doing the work necessary for your business to succeed. If you are a web developer, using our earlier example, you’re most likely at a desk in your home, drinking some coffee and listening to music while you design and code the hours away.
The same can be done on a laptop in a Starbucks in the middle of New York City, with all of the hustle and bustle and noise.
Who do you think has better concentration? The introvert with little distractions, or the extrovert who’s being bombarded with conversations because they need to be around other people all the time?
But, again, this largely depends on the industry you’re in…
…and it would be pretty difficult to freelance as an Uber driver without being physically around other people.