For the quieter folk amongst us, the idea of starting a business can be scary (read: terrifying!). Typically, succeeding in business will involve some type of self-promotion, an activity that can ignite fear in us as females - especially if we’re introverts! So if we’re this way inclined, where do we even begin?
We spoke to Megumi Miki, a self-confessed introvert and founder of Quietly Powerful Women, about some of the unique challenges faced by quieter women, and how to overcome them.
According to Megumi, there are three main challenges generally experienced by introverted women, The first, and perhaps biggest challenge, she says, is:
‘Being reluctant to self-promote and attract attention. For women that start consulting businesses (as opposed to product businesses) this can prove a particular problem, as their business is heavily reliant on their personal brand, and ability to promote themselves to potential clients.’
In addition to this, Megumi says that quieter women also experience challenges with:
‘Over thinking, rather than taking action. And also internalising doubt and self-criticism.’
As action, confidence in ourselves, and an element of self-promotion are essential to start (and succeed) in business, what should introverts do to overcome these challenges?
To help with self-promotion challenge, Megumi recommends the following:
‘Keep reminding yourself why you’re doing the work. When there is a bigger purpose, you can get over your fears. Remember that in the end, it isn’t about you - it’s about the work you do and the people you serve. You can also ask others for help with promotion - I’ve personally asked some extroverts I know to help me, and they’ve been so great. Ultimately, that’s helped my confidence.’
When it comes to overthinking, Megumi says that:
‘The important thing is to do something, even if it’s small. View everything as an experiment. Get support from people you trust - they’ll encourage you and also help you to avoid potential pitfalls.’
And as for self-doubt, Megumi says that we need to change our mindset - doubt and criticism, she says, can actually be a good thing:
‘Without doubt, we can become complacent. Without mistakes, there’s no learning. Without criticism, we don’t make corrections. Take a different approach to your internal voices - instead of letting them derail your confidence, be more light-hearted, for example, you might think “Here we are again, self-doubt! Did you have to come back so soon!”’
Megumi says that above and beyond everything else, introverts need to love what they do. Doing so, she says, will help immensely with garnering enough confidence to start a business:
‘When we love what we do, we can learn and excel in the behaviours needed to do it. It is difficult to do this if we don’t really believe in what we're doing - introverts, naturally, don’t like winging things.’
Doing something you believe in, Megumi says, will give you the confidence to not only start your business, but make it succeed:
‘If you’re doing something that gives you meaning and enjoyment, you’ll develop the courage to do what it takes, and stick to it through the tough times of self-doubt and internal and external criticism.’
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