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Entrepreneurial Success—Even When You’re an Introvert


Introversion and extroversion are character traits that define how a person prefers spending their time. Introverts tend to like quiet, solitary, and introspective experiences, while extroverts prefer energetic, collaborative, and social environments. Clearly, neither is inherently better than the other, but for introverts, entrepreneurship can be especially challenging.

Do you worry that being an introvert could potentially deter the success of your entrepreneurial endeavors? Do you have big dreams but think you’re too shy to reach greatness? The stress ends here. Being an introvert doesn’t mean entrepreneurship is impossible for you, and it doesn’t even mean it has to be difficult. It just means you have a different set of skills and a different temperament that must be considered when you're building a team and business. Take a look at 5 ultra-successful entrepreneurs and how they’ve been able to use their introversion to succeed.

1. Larry Page

Larry Page co-founded Google with Sergey Brin, and we all know how that story went. Many saw Page’s CEO appointment as an odd choice, because he’s highly reserved, and as you can imagine, “geeky.” But Page’s quiet, intellectual nature allowed him to create innovative new products and a unique brand that lives as an example of one of the country's best corporate cultures.

2. Bill Gates

You likely recognize Bill Gates as the founder of Microsoft, and someone who is now worth billions of dollars. Gates started out as a solitary introvert, but he used the people around him to complement his own strengths and weaknesses. In his own words, “If you're clever, you can learn to get the benefits of being an introvert, which might be, say, being willing to go off for a few days and think about a tough problem, read everything you can, push yourself very hard to think out on the edge of that area. Then, if you come up with something, you'd better learn what extroverts do, you'd better hire some extroverts and tap into both sets of skills.”

3. Warren Buffet

Warren Buffet, the founder and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, is one of the wealthiest people in the world and a prominent figure in investing. He's also known for his level-headedness, intellectual persistence, and critical thinking. He’s introverted by nature but still manages to lead one of the most prominent businesses in the country. He brings that intellectual composure into his communication style, letting his introverted tendencies serve as an entrepreneurial strength.

4. Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook founder and billionaire Mark Zuckerberg was once described by COO Sheryl Sandberg as “shy and introverted, and he often does not seem very warm to people who don't know him.” Zuckerberg has been able to build charisma through his introversion, as contradictory as that may seem. He surrounds himself with team leaders who complement his strengths, which has enabled him to build Facebook into the company it is today.

5. Elon Musk

It might be strange to think that a man who’s been described as the “next Steve Jobs” was once a reserved, introverted engineer, but Musk is open about that past. Somewhere along the line, Elon Musk saw the power he had through communication and socialization and recalibrated his personal reserve to help his ideas flourish in an environment that traditionally favors extroverts.

Introversion doesn’t dictate your behavior. Just because you’re introverted doesn’t mean you can’t socialize. Take notes from Elon Musk or Warren Buffet, and work past your introversion by developing yourself into a more communicative, charismatic figure.

There are some advantages to introversion. Take pride in your introversion for what it is. Introverts tend to be more contemplative and more thorough thinkers, so use those advantages to come up with better solutions for your business.

Nature doesn’t predict success or failure. Neither extroverts nor introverts are guaranteed to succeed in the business world. Your success is determined by the actions you take, not by who you are as a person.

You can always make up for your weaknesses. It’s possible, but unwise to try to do everything yourself, especially if you’re introverted. If you know you’re not outgoing and don’t like engaging with others, find teammates who can make up for those tendencies.

Know your own strengths and weaknesses, and adapt or make up for them accordingly. With this approach, you’ll be successful no matter how you started out. Looking for a place to kick-start that success? Look no further. Join EXIT Realty Massachusetts as a franchise owner and launch your new career. Spend just 30 minutes today to find out how to get started.

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