How Introvert Entrepreneurs Can Network and Build Client Relationships

by Beth Rifkin

4 min read

As an entrepreneur, you have to fill many roles in the early stages of building your business. For introverts, networking and promoting your business can be difficult, but these activities are essential to your success. Promoting your business connects you with potential customers so you can form relationships and learn to better serve their needs. Networking helps you find employees, mentors, opportunities, and new ideas. Down the road, these interactions can lead you to greater success. Introverts find social interactions to be draining, especially interactions with new people. They are also hesitant to promote their business with sufficient enthusiasm; they believe the quality of their work should speak for itself. Instead of forcing yourself to go to networking events where you may find yourself overwhelmed and uncomfortable, consider pursuing strategies to network and build relationships that take advantage of your strengths.

Blogging

One way to connect with other like-minded people is by blogging about your business and industry. Readers get to know you and your ideas on a more intimate basis. Many introverts are better abler to express themselves through their writing since they have the time to organize their thoughts and craft an effective message. In contrast, networking tends to revolve around surface level discussions and less about substantive issues. Through blogging, you can establish your brand, find new customers, and build relationships with people within the industry. In terms of leverage, a blog is much more effective than networking in many ways. A blog has unlimited reach, while you may only come into contact with a handful of people when networking. A networking event lasts for a couple of hours, while blog posts remain online as long as you desire. Your blog can put you in reach with people who have invested time and energy into learning about your business. You have a much greater chance of forming meaningful relationships with them. Make sure to include some sort of contact information on your blog and regularly engage with readers.

Social Media

For introverts, social media is a great substitute for networking since your message is exposed to a huge number of people. Additionally, you have control over who you choose to respond to and follow. Over time, you will grow a following of people interested in your work and thoughts. Social media is a good complement to your blog and can expand its reach. It gives you another place to engage with your readers. You can also use social media to converse with people you want to add to your network by commenting on their posts and sharing content with them that they may find useful or interesting. These conversations can turn into meaningful relationships. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat have a massive user base and come with tools that allow you to measure their reach and impact. They are also good for testing out new ideas. If discussions on a certain topic receive engagement, you can expound on them further, which may potentially lead to insights about new opportunities. Many business relationships start out on social media before moving into the real world. This path is much better for introverts since these real-world interactions are with people you are already familiar with and can lead to more intimate connections. Using social media also bypasses the cold, awkward introductions at networking events that many introverts detest.

Leveraging Existing Contacts

Both social media and blogs enable you to connect with people over ideas before you meet physically. In a way, it leads to a warmer meeting where both of you have a familiarity with each other based on your blog or social media interactions. This increases the odds that a valuable relationship will develop, which is more difficult at a networking event where the odds are stacked against you. Another way to create these types of meetings is to ask people you know to connect you with people within your industry that they know well. It’s a good idea to start with family members or close friends who know your personality and your objectives. In many ways, this is the best type of physical networking, since there is a greater deal of trust and less of a chance that time will be wasted. Once your network begins to grow, you can tap into it to get feedback, increase your customer base, and ask for introductions to more people who will expand your network even further. Overall, there are many ways to network. Being an introvert is not an obstacle, especially with blogging and social media. As an introvert, try to connect with people through common interests or acquaintances. This leads to an increased likelihood that a meaningful relationship will develop and help you avoid the uncomfortable and unseemly aspects of networking.

References & Resources

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