VaynerMedia CEO Gary Vaynerchuk is a total extrovert. If you couldn't guess that from his lively and outgoing social media presence, Vaynerchuk will confirm it himself. "I am an extroverted entrepreneur. That is no secret," he wrote recently on Medium. "I put myself out there and surround myself with a lot of people."
As a highly social, highly successful entrepreneur, you might think Vaynerchuk would recommend his approach to others, advocating plenty of old-school networking for would-be founders. But, if so, you're in for a surprise. According to Vaynerchuk, now is actually a golden age for introverted entrepreneurs.
"Technology has changed the game."
Once upon a time, Vaynerchuk explains, it definitely paid to be a outgoing people person if you were out to build a world-striding business. But things are different these days. Just look at all the quieter types -- from Mark Zuckerberg to Kevin Systrom -- running some of the country's most successful businesses. So what's changed? In a word: technology.
"In the past, things like networking events or conferences were where a large amount of connections were made. Or your connection would set up a meeting for you. Those scenarios absolutely made it necessary for young entrepreneurs to put themselves out there in an outgoing way. If they weren't outgoing, maybe they found it necessary to bring someone on board who was," writes Vaynerchuk.
"But now, it's different," he continues. "We are in the glory days of the introverted entrepreneur. Because of technology, there are so many ways to build a company now, talk to people and make connections in the business world; all without leaving your desk. Now, face to face is no longer the standard. While it eventually will happen when you're building a big business, the persona you put out there can be determined by your online interactions and presence."
The bottom line, for Vaynerchuk, is that these days authenticity is worth far more than an outgoing personality (especially if that personality is an act). "Don't fake it. Bet on your strengths. If you need to sit down all day at your desk and focus, do that... never think that you need to be louder, more outgoing, a bigger personality" he concludes.
It's heartening advice if you're dreaming of starting your own business but worrying you don't have the personality type to succeed. And it's not only Vaynerchuk who has reassuring words for introverted entrepreneurs. Quieter types might go about building their businesses a little differently, but research shows that introverts can make excellent leaders (and even be just as good at public speaking as extroverts like Vaynerchuk). So don't be discouraged if you don't really enjoy working a crowded room. This may just be the perfect time for with your strengths to start a business.
Do you agree with Vaynerchuk that technology has made life easier for introvert entrepreneurs?