Do you usually prefer to sit and read a good book or binge watch your favorite movie on Netflix instead of going out to a party on a Friday night? Well, at least this is me. To start, I’m an introverted person. I prefer reading over going out to dance or to a party. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s nice to be out with other adults instead of being home all cozied up in bed and watching movies. With this being said, how can an introvert become a business person?
Are you an Introvert?
According to Vocabulary.com, an introvert:
generally prefers solitary activities to interacting with large groups of people. If you would rather work through your feelings in your diary than have a conversation, then you are an introvert.
What does being an introvert have to do with business, work at home moms or womenpreneurs?
Being your own boss is great, you don’t have to get instructions, rules or demands by someone else. No human interaction, right? WRONG!
No matter in what line of work you’re in, you will always have to interact with another human. Whether it’s over the phone, email or in person.
But as Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, put it, “Most inventors and engineers I have met are like me — they’re shy and they live in their heads. They work best when they are alone, and can control an invention’s design. I’m going to give you some advice that might be hard to take: work alone. You’re going to be able to design revolutionary products and features.”
Read more on the 6 Truths on Why Introverts Make Great Leaders.
With that, we have the pleasure of speaking to a womanpreneur who has been committed to helping those who like you and I, would much rather find ourselves alone than chatting with others. Let’s meet, Lotanna Ezeogu, Founder of Skills Tribe.
Tell us a little about yourself and what it is you do as a Work at Home Coach?
I teach introverted or shy entrepreneurs to:
- Meet new people and grow their network
- Build win-win relationships
- Get value from their network in the form of clients, referrals, support, raving fans, mentors…
How long have you been doing what you do?
Unofficially, I have been working on my people skills since 2009 (7 years) but I started teaching/coaching in 2015 and turned it into a business in April 2016.
Would you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert?
Tell us what made you want to help shy and introverted entrepreneurs/freelancers?
I struggled with being shy and introverted, then I struggled with getting clients because I moved to a new town and didn’t know anyone. I know how tough it can be to run a business as an introverted or shy person. I also know how mastering the art of building relationships/people skills has improved my life significantly and I want to share my knowledge and add value to people’s lives.
I am learning to live my life by design and not by default and one of the things that is very important to me is proving to myself that I can run a successful location independent business created around one of my hobbies (meeting new people).
How did you come up with the idea of being a resource to others that might not know much about networking?
I followed the money. I made a list of things I loved to do, was great at and had results doing, then I sent that list to 65 of my friends & family and asked them to honestly tell me which one they would be willing to pay for.
I explained the importance of being honest with their answers because I did not want people to be ‘nice’ to me then start a business and have no customers. Learning to network (meet new people, build mutually beneficial relationships) was by far the most popular.
What would you say helped you grow your networking? What did you learn about networking with others?
I attended University in another country, it was a fresh start, I didn’t know anyone. I made the most amazing friends with the most amazing people skills and it rubbed off.
Moving back to start my business in a new town also forced me to do a lot of personal development and research to learn how to comfortably pitch my products/services to people without being salesy or pushy.
Networking with others allows you to gain access to things and opportunities you otherwise would not have access to. It would take a lot of time to tell you all that I have been able to get from my network besides, people have the money, so if you do not know how to interact with people getting that money will be extremely tough or in some cases impossible.
How can one lose the fear of speaking in a large group?
Focus on adding value. People don’t really care if you are ‘proper’ or grammatically correct; they care about getting a return on their time/money/investment. If you are able to provide value, you’ll be more than fine.
However, I believe in starting small and building on your confidence, so I recommend you start with smaller groups (tea party with the girls, online webinar) then work yourself up to larger groups.
Have you thought of creating a course or do you already have a course on networking?
I’m presently working on 2 courses.
- A mini course on starting conversations as an introvert, especially if you just moved to a new city. (to be released in November)
- An ultimate course on people skills/networking that will contain EVERYTHING I have learnt in the last 7 years on both topics.
At the moment, I offer a 4-week personalized coaching package that costs $167.
What’s the best part of networking for your business?
The relationships I have been able to build and the support I have been able to get from people moving in the same direction as me.
Did you ever think you would become your own boss?
Lol, I always knew I would be my own boss.
For many that are thinking of becoming their own boss but are afraid to do so, what advice would you give them?
Find someone who has what you want and follow them (listen to them and learn from them).
Develop your professional skills (get really good at what you do), develop yourself/ invest in yourself, develop your people skills.
Make sure you are passionate about the business you want to start, running a business is tough but it helps a lot if you love what you do. I’ve learnt that success in anything takes time, work, money, consistency, continuous learning…so wouldn’t you rather spend all that time, work, money… doing something you love?
How do you balance work and life?
It took a while to get a handle on work-life balance. I was overwhelmed up until a few months ago. Creating a business system that prioritizes my income producing activities helps a lot to have a work-life balance.
I work 5-6 hours a day, 5 days a week and I spend the rest of my time doing chores, working out, dancing salsa, catching up with friends etc.1 day a week is dedicated to resting and doing things that make me relax.
Any additional comments or advice?
Learn to live your life by design and not by default.
Start living the life you want now. Stop waiting for those perfect conditions.
Even if you think that you can’t become an entrepreneur because you’re shy or don’t enjoy talking to people much, think again! You offer great value to others by being able to take in perspectives from all different ways instead of just one.
This gives you a greater advantage by really listening to your customers, clients and your business. As, Lotanna mentioned above, “make sure you’re passionate about the business you want to start and do something you love.”
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