So, you're one of those quieter types who gets a little queasy at the thought of tooting your own horn or turns a particular shade of scarlet when asked to speak about your accomplishments. That must make marketing your business pretty unpleasant sometimes.

How do experts respond to this common predicament? In short--tough!

While it sounds a bit harsh, the most important thing introverted entrepreneurs need to understand is that marketing isn't optional. Excellence alone isn't enough to get you customers, and the build-it-and-they-will-come approach to getting the word out is simply a recipe for bankruptcy. But just because you can't get away with no marketing at all, that doesn't mean the process of finding customers for your business needs to be inevitably awful for introverts.

On the Crew blog recently, author, designer, and self-professed introvert Paul Jarvis offers a rundown of clever suggestions for combining a reserved nature with effective marketing. Among them:

1. Schedule bravery

More loquacious business owners may always be up for talking about themselves and their companies. Introverts find it draining, so it's best to tackle marketing tasks when you have the energy reserves to do them well. That can involve plenty of pre-planning, according to Jarvis.

"I schedule sharing when I've got the energy and am feeling amped up to do it. That means putting newsletters in the cue sometimes weeks before they go out, pre-publishing blog posts to go live at later dates, and even scheduling tweets way ahead of time," he writes, suggesting tools like Buffer (a personal favorite of mine as well), MailChimp, and WordPress to accomplish this.

2. Be selective with feedback

Just because someone has something to say about your work doesn't mean you have to listen to them. Of course, you can't improve without input, but Jarvis advises introverts to be selective about which voices you allow to take up your limited bandwidth. "I don't have the mental space to deal with a constant discussion of my ideas. That's why I don't have comments on my website and why I don't answer every tweet, or even have a Facebook account," he writes. "Interactions require a specific headspace that I'm not always in, so I pick and choose which places I interact."

3. Leverage your vulnerability...up to a point

Your nerves and doubts may feel like a weakness, but according to Jarvis (and a ton of other communication experts), shared in moderation, they're actually a strength. Just make sensible choices that are right for you.

"There's a lot of talk about authenticity, vulnerability, and honesty--and while those are good, seldom does advice out there paint the whole picture," he explains. "You can share the honest and vulnerable parts of you that you want, and keep the rest to yourself. You don't have to share everything, you can just share what you're comfortable with or what gives you strength. If you're naturally private, then only share small pieces."

Published on: Dec 16, 2014
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