Must an entrepreneur be an extrovert?
Theories abound. A common misconception is that entrepreneur equals extrovert. Maybe it’s the sales hat we usually wear as startups that’s to blame for the assumption… and the finance, purchasing, marketing, and human resource tasks we juggle before we can afford to hire staff or professionals to do it for us… plus make the coffee and file the bills and etcetera roles we slip in and out of so seamlessly. High profile seems part of the job.
The ability to do all this and still focus on our goals is at the heart and soul of being a successful solopreneur, especially when the startup has a strict budget. If yours doesn’t, and you have very friendly relatives w large pockets… lucky lucky!
There’s an assumption that outgoing Type A’s are nature’s entrepreneurs. But there are so many approaches that work—which are you?
This great post from by Alison Why in examiner.com looks at the transformational, charismatic, participative, and laissez-faire entrepreneurial styles. It explores transactional, autocratic, leadership, situational—even service-oriented. Finally, it gets to the quiet entrepreneur–or what I call The Considered Entrepreneur.
The ability to reflect and self-reliance are basic descriptive tags not only for introverts—but for entrepreneurs of all stripes—essential ingredients to launch you and your dream out into the world. There is no exclusivity on success. Given the right combo of multi-tasking capability, a viable skill set or product that others want to pay for, hard work, persistence, and a bit of elusive good luck—anyone can apply.
Stereotypes and entrepreneurs
Extroverts tend to pigeonhole introverts as reserved or quiet and I’s often stereotype E’s as yakkers with an “all about me” focus… The main differences may be that introverts like to draw on inner resources for strength and ideas and function as their own support network for the necessary boost and determination—while extroverts seem to thrive more from crowd/peer support and group interactions to accelerate energy and drive. Regardless of whether we prefer to share or ponder, every solopreneur needs an extra strong foundation to grow. Sometimes we’re a delightful combo… with elements of transformational and autocratic thrown into the uniqueness… Relying on the stereotypes may mean we are creating our own hurdles and roadblocks, and never take the risk that’s needed to be our own boss.
I was at a women’s event recently where a guest speaker talked about external vs internal communicators. It was interesting that most listeners equated entrepreneurial success with being an external communicator and extrovert. Some misconstrued the 10-pies-in-the-sky multitasking capability we all must master of doing umpteen unrelated jobs at once, while still coming up with an idea a minute plus putting it into action, AND making sure the kids and pooch are fed on time (whew!)—with being an extrovert. Yet these essentials of entrepreneurship are generally shared by everyone who takes that leap into uncertainty. So next time someone suggests you don’t have a big stage personality or that this impacts your risk-taking ability to follow your solopreneur dream… correct them, quietly, and just carry on juggling.
This piece in Inc further illuminates the situation and gives excellent insights.