I have been getting asked a lot;”what is the best business for introverts?“…
It’s a pretty loaded question with lots of variables, so I’ll break it down in what to me is a logical order.
You need to aware:
There is no right answer.
It’s a very individual decision, and there are a lot of things to consider.
Being introverted is only one small slice of the hundreds of things that make up your personality, and they all converge to creating what will eventually be the answer that is the best business for YOU.
Watch the video – The Best Business For Introverts – it’s a long one, but has more detail and personal stories than the written post does…
I personally never thought about what is the best business for introverts, I just did things.
I started moving forwards, and kept tweaking my path like a guided missile does.
That’s partly due to being young and not as self-aware as I am now, but it also has value. There’s a lot gained from implementing things with speed, and building momentum.
When you’re in motion, it’s easy to stay in motion and redirect your path.
Getting started is the hardest part.
If you’re being held back, thinking about starting a business, or thinking about what kind of business or career path you want to have; you’re probably best served by starting to do something.
You’ll figure things out as you gain data, experience, and real world feedback. You’ll have a richer data set and more information at hand to make these decisions.
You shouldn’t pressure yourself to have the right answer, or make major life decisions, immediately and expect to stick to them forever.
It’s a process of trying things, learning, and tweaking. The best you can, is make the best decision you can with the information you have, and then implement.
Let’s look at the first set of questions you need to ask yourself.
What are your life goals?
Depending on your age, you may or may not know what your longer term life goals are.
Figuring this out is the first thing I would look at. The business, career, or whatever you choose to do is going to be the vehicle to take you to your bigger goals.
Your bigger life goals might be tied up with your career or business path…
Maybe you want to help thousands of people, cure cancer, or become a millionaire?
But it isn’t necessarily…
When you know your goals, you can look at what is going to best serve you getting there.
For myself, I’m completely unemployable…
I hate being told what to do, I don’t take instruction well, I’m very self-directed, generally disagreeable…
and my highest value in life is freedom.
The thing that I want, more than anything else, more than money, more than power; is freedom.
I have (and will continue) to sacrificed a lot of money and potential power, for freedom.
My drive for freedom dictates basically everything that I do.
There’s a lot of different levels to freedom…
- Not having a boss
- Not having an office / being location independent
- Not having to work at given times
- Doing whatever I want
- Working with whoever I want
I change the path of what I’m doing within my businesses relatively regularly… because I have the freedom to do so.
I work mostly on inspiration, and moving towards a vision; rather than a fear based moving away from debts, obligations, paying for kids and mortgages, etc.
I don’t have anyone to take responsibility for at this point in my life.
That’s my situation, but it might not be yours.
Perhaps you value maximising income? Security? Excitement?
If you value security, you’re better off getting a job, rather than taking the risk of building a business.
If you value income, and security, and you happen to be a computer programmer… go work at Google or something. It will be a better fit than a business.
Whereas, if you value freedom, excitement, and income, you’re better off in a business – you can scale it as far as you want, and you have the excitement of the unknown.
You need to know your life goals, and your values, to determine which is going to be the right path for you.
There is no single answer to the question; what is the best business for introverts?
You’re not defined by your introversion.
It’s a small component of various different things you would want to consider when deciding what you want to do with your life.
Again, depending on your age it will depend how many skills you have, to what level they’re developed, and how much awareness you have of them.
If you’re into something like coding or engineering, where you can get a job that pays well, and you like that…
Go ahead and get a job.
You’ll be better off working in that world, rather than trying to compete against Google. Just go work for them.
That’s not an option for me, and it’s really the only career path that I would consider if it were feasible.
As an introvert you probably want to just get on with the work. You might enjoy the ‘doing’ of the job, but you just want to be left alone to do the work and produce the results.
That’s simply not the reality in basically any corporation.
This is assuming you’re a high achiever and looking at the upper end of a job/business.
In most companies; it’s gonna be about 30% ability, and 70% politics.
If you’re someone who doesn’t get along with others too easily, finds small talk and pointless socialising tiring… even if you can do it, but don’t want to be doing it all the time by choice…
The office environment is probably not going to be for you.
I can do that stuff because I’ve taught myself to get on with people, but I still find it tiring and would never ever want to do it all day.
The only way I could work in an office is if I was the boss.
I have zero interest in playing politics and kissing ass. I just wanna get on with the work.
If you’re like me (or worse), you need to be realistic about what your options are.
You could play that game… but you’ll likely be frustrated, and probably not excel at it. You just don’t have the temperament for it.
If you try to play the game, you will underachieve.
So don’t play the game.
If you’re just looking for security and you’re content to keep your head down and stay a middle-man, that’s cool.
But if you’re looking for something more, that might not be the place to find it.
You need to know yourself.
There’s a difference between being able to do something, and thriving on it.
Everyone’s an individual, a mixture of hundreds of different things that all amalgamate to create your personality; you need a greater understanding of yourself to really excel.
If you’re sat here thinking,
“yeh… but I don’t know myself that well, I don’t have that much experience…”
Here’s the truth…
Nothing lasts forever.
Just start doing something. Follow what you think is your best option right now.
Focus on developing your skills, develop yourself as a person and your value.
So that whatever happens, as the economy changes, or your desires change, you can move with that and you’ll always be a step ahead.
As long as you’re constantly growing, constantly developing yourself; you’re going to be ok, no matter what happens.
There’s certain areas I would place a focus on developing.
Learn how to make money. Sales and marketing is the most important skill you can possess.
If you can make money, everybody will pay you to generate money for them. It’s the one job that will never go out of fashion.
Not to mention, if you want to have your own business. The first and absolutely most fundamental thing you must be able to do, is make money.
Without making money, you can’t do anything.
If you think you’re not a natural sales person, watch my series Sales for Introverts.
You’ll discover that sales is not talking and being extroverted. Sales is listening, and introverts can excel at it, when they learn the right skills (which often come naturally).
You should also learn how to get on with people, how to make people like you.
Not because you want to be doing it all of the time, but because you will have to do it at some point in time, no matter what you do.
If you’re Bill Gates you might be able to get away with having no social skills, and still succeed.
But the chances are, you’re not Bill Gates. More likely, you’re an above-average, intelligent person, with an above average work ethic; but you’re not a top 0.001% intelligence with a top 0.001% work ethic.
I know I’m not.
Don’t look at famous successful introverts like Bill Gates or Elon Musk and use that to excuse your own lack of social skills. Look at the 10% below them, everyone who is successful, but not quite billionaire level successful…
Because that is where you should aim. That’s realistic. You can get to there.
You must realise that to succeed in the world, you need to be able to deal with people. To have some social skills, to be able present, to get people to listen and influence them.
Spend time developing these skills.
If you can understand people, and psychology, you can thrive.
Very few people understand other people (or themselves). Most people live in a dream world; absorbing what they’re told to absorb by the TV; and have zero understanding of history, philosophy, psychology, human nature; let alone how to use this knowledge to actually succeed in the world.
Sales & marketing + highly skilled in something technical = success
If you’re a top 1% coder with sales skills, you’ll be a billionaire.
If you’re a top 1% coder without sales skills, you’ll work for a billionaire and get paid $200,000-300,000 per year.
What kind of business is the best business for introverts?
One of the big questions is; do you want to be in a person-facing job or not?
Do you want to stay in your comfort, behind a computer, doing what you know…
Or do you want to get out of your comfort zone, grow, and round out your personality?
I started off age 20 as a Personal Trainer in the City, working with bankers and corporate lawyers.
A trial by fire for a shy kid, with no life experience, no sales skills, no social skills, and no business skills. It was the best thing I ever did.
It forced me out of my comfort zone and to grow at an insanely rapid rate, otherwise I’d be hungry and homeless.
As I’ve said before, the best business starting out is a freelance service business because you learn how to sell, and how to deal with people.
Unless you’re a true genius, or you have a really brilliant idea for a non people facing business, in which case pursue that.
The temptation if you’re introverted, especially if you’re shy, will be to avoid people. To go to the removed, behind the computer screen kind of business.
I get that, but it’s often the case that the harder choice in the short term is the better choice in the long term.
You’ve got to look at your life goals that we spoke about at the start.
What kind of person do you want to be?
Not just what you want to achieve in your business or career, but what kind of person do you want to be?
For me, having a people facing business, and having to do sales, developed me as a person, and overcame my shyness and social inadequacies quicker than anything else possibly could.
Which also trickled back to other parts of my life. When I wanted to get good with girls, it was easy because it is just the same as sales.
I’d done the hard work already.
You can step into your struggle and learn to overcome it, or you can shy away from it. It’s up to you.
You’ll develop more as a person, and your life will be better, by going into the discomfort and overcoming it. I promise you.
Long Term Success…
I really believe that developing yourself as a person will bring the most long term success.
Which generally means going where you’re least comfortable.
Whatever scares you the most, might well be the right thing for you.
What do I think is the best business for introverts?
I believe you should build the business that best fits the vision you have for your life.
I can’t tell you the best business for introverts.
More importantly, it doesn’t matter what the best business for introverts is. It only matters what is the best business for you.
I know it’s cliche, but that choice has to be yours.
The more you learn, more you do, and more experience you gain; the better you’ll be able to make these decisions.
Life is a journey and this is just one part of it. Things will change. Your goals will change. Your personality will change.
I’m a completely different person now at 28 to who I was 10 years ago, when I was deciding what I wanted to do at university.
Who I am now, compared to who I was then is so far apart that I’m literally a 180 degree different person.
Nothing will be forever. Just start moving with the best data you have, and follow what feels right. Follow what pulls you forwards.
You’ll tweak and change things as you go.
Sometimes you’ll make bad decisions, and sometimes you’ll drift off course.
That’s all part of the fun that is life. You’ll figure it out in the end.