Succeeding in the online space as an Introvert – Emma Louise Parkes
Bringing my coaching business online in early 2019 was quite a culture shock.
As someone with almost a decade of in-person coaching experience & numerous certifications under my belt, I was more than ready to be a ‘full time’ coach.
However, as an introvert (and one who didn’t even have a Facebook account at that!) I wasn’t quite as ready for the online space…
It’s ironic as introverts, with their high emotional intelligence, excellent listening skills and natural empathy, are born to be coaches but the online space is an environment we can find challenging for a number of reasons.
Many of us have complete confidence in our coaching abilities, yet feel overwhelmed by the business building activities such as networking & marketing ourselves.
What I’ve found to be true for myself & my clients is that we struggle in a few areas in particular:
Information overload – There are thousands of people selling business advice out there, & it’s often hard to know who to trust & which strategy is best for you. As natural overthinkers, we can become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information available. Many free downloads or lower priced digital products provide a lot in the way of knowledge, but don’t show us how to implement it, leaving us even more confused than before.
Too much research, not enough action – Ever found yourself down the research rabbit hole? Wanting to feel prepared is a common trait with introverts and serves us well in many ways. However, our perfectionist tendencies can also keep us stuck in ‘analysis paralysis’, scared to make the ‘wrong’ choice – meaning more time spent behind the scenes than out in front of our potential clients.
Feeling out of integrity by trying to act ‘extroverted’ – Some marketing strategies may never feel good to us (cold DM’s I’m looking at you!) and while you may be comfortable doing live video at some point, it’s not always the best place to start. So being told you ‘have’ to do it from day one can be off putting to say the least!
So much of how we approach online business is down to our mindset.
When we focus on the noise, how it feels like a crowded industry and how we feel like everyone is trying to sell us something, we naturally see more and more evidence of those very things.
How would it look if we decided that the opportunity to run a business online was a huge gift for us introverts? Free marketing, working from home, zero travel time to and from work and access to an audience of millions of ideal clients globally.
There are so many positives if we choose to look for them.
Here are the top three tips I share with my audience and clients to help them thrive in their online business:
The 80/20 Rule – Not quite the Pareto principle… instead, a great way to ensure you don’t burn out in front of the screen and that you still have energy left for a life outside of your business. The key to this is learning your limits before you ‘hit the wall’ of tiredness and stopping in enough time – doing no more than 80% of your maximum. Tire after 20 minutes on social media? Stop at 15, even if you feel fine. Does an hour of content writing wear you out? Set an alarm for 45 minutes, then stop typing. It’s much easier to remain energised than to re-energise – your future self will thank you for quitting while you’re ahead!
Trusting your Gut – If something doesn’t feel right about a strategy, investment or potential client, it probably isn’t. We are very intuitive as introverts but often we rationalise our gut feelings away and make a logical decision instead. Lean into your instincts and trust yourself.
Get the right support – There are so many options out there, this will be different for everyone. Before investing in any coach, program or course, be really clear on what you need. Is it strategy, mindset support, help with marketing, learning new technology? ‘Business coach’ is a very generic term, so make sure you’re signing up for what you need to implement vs the result someone is promising.
When I launched The Ambitious Introvert Podcast, I wanted to show newer coaches & business owners the levels of success that introverts are capable of in the online space. Many of the guests I’ve featured have built high revenue, profitable, sustainable businesses while honouring their introverted nature in various ways. These include aligned marketing, deciding not to offer group coaching, working 20 hours per week maximum and outsourcing all non-coaching activities to preserve their energy.
The overriding message I want to share is that your introversion is a gift & a superpower. So rather than thinking of it as something that holds you back or that you need to change, start embracing it as, nurtured properly, it’s a powerful asset that will serve you well as both a coach and a business owner.
Emma-Louise Parkes is a Business & Mindset coach for ambitious introverts & sensitive entrepreneurs, & host of The Ambitious Introvert Podcast. She’s a strategic life coach, trained facilitator, NLP Master practitioner, trained in EFT/TFT and brings over 10 years of experience to help online entrepreneurs to grow & scale a successful, sustainable online businesses.