Starting a business of any kind isn’t easy. And chances are, if you’re an introvert, you’ve come across your own kind of stumbling blocks along the way. I certainly have.
So, in this article, I’m going to share with you five mistakes I’ve made as an introverted business owner and how I’ve overcome them.
Visual learner? Watch the video instead:
Before I talk about the mistakes I’ve made in business, here’s a little background information on me.
- Currently, I’m a freelance content marketer, I write blog posts and articles for businesses online.
- I also run Limit Breaker, a website (that you’re on right now) which provides articles and resources for introverted businesswomen.
- Previously, I was a freelance web designer and developer. Which is where I made most of my mistakes.
My introverted business owner mistakes
Now you know a little bit about me, let’s get into my mistakes. There are obviously more than five, but these are the ones that really had the biggest impact on me and my business.
Mistake number 1: I believed my introversion was holding me back
I spent years blaming my introversion for things I thought I couldn’t do. Things like talking on camera, in front of a group of people, having a photoshoot done and generally business things that normal people don’t struggle to do, I blamed my introversion. Whereas, in fact, the only thing that was holding me back was me.
When I first started to get into personal development, I came across the term limiting beliefs. I realized that all these things I was blaming on my introversion were actually just things that I developed over the course of my lifetime. They were limiting beliefs that I believed to be true.
Things like, ‘I can’t talk in front of a group of people because I’m an introvert’ were actually not true, but it had influenced me so much that I simply didn’t try, even if I wanted to.
Once I realized this, there was nothing holding me back from achieving the things that I wanted to achieve. I started to do things like appearing on video, get that photoshoot done and start building the business that I wanted to build from the ground up.
Mistake number 2: I believed five-step formulas would work
You know the ones, those five-step formulas and strategies that if you follow to the T, you’ll see success in your business. And I tried them all. I also believed, because I was told, that if it didn’t work for me, it wasn’t because the formula or strategy wasn’t right, it was because I wasn’t working hard enough or I didn’t do it properly and so I was the one to blame.
Here’s the truth. Those five-step formulas and strategies worked for those gurus who are giving them to you because they were in the right place at the right time.
Think about it. People on Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok are telling you these strategies work because it did for them. In their unique circumstance. It doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. It took me years to realize this. And while I still look to experts and coaches and gurus to help, I do tend to take a step back and question them before I blindly follow.
Mistake number 3: I believed the side hustle hype
The type of person who builds their business within a year to an amazing success that you see online has these things in common:
- They were in the right place at the right time
- Had money to chuck at it
- Had time to chuck at it
- They had the right connections and resources
- They may have already been seeing success
- Or have the skills already in place to back it up
- They probably also have a really good support system and backup if things go wrong
For the rest of us, it takes a little more time than that.
It’s so easy to get sucked into those articles that make it seem like you can have overnight success because you really want it to happen. You might be sick of your nine-to-five job, and you want to switch over to your side hustle and make it a full-time business today.
But sadly, things don’t always work that way unless you have those things I’ve already mentioned.
I know, I’ve been there and I’ve made the mistake of jumping into a project that I had no financial viability for because I just said simply wanted to do it so badly.
Don’t make that same mistake.
Mistake number 4: I compared myself to others
Comparison is something we all deal with, but it can be completely crippling if you let it take over. I used to compare myself to everybody in the business world, especially if they were on Instagram.
I’d scroll and scroll for hours and compare to no end on absolutely everything from how beautiful they were to how beautiful their websites were, and even their photographs, descriptions, how many likes they were getting, everything. It was emotionally draining.
As an introverted business owner, there’s no point in comparing yourself to someone who’s years ahead of you. The fact is, they have time on their side, and they may have started a few years prior, when the platforms and techniques they were using worked for them better than they would work for you. Comparison takes way too much time and energy.
Imagine what you could do with all the time you spent scrolling on Instagram, comparing yourself to other people, and the energy you’ve lost after you’ve done it.
What could you do with that instead?
And we all know this one, you’re only seeing their highlight reel.
Instagram and all these other social media platforms are heavily curated. The people that you admire and compare yourself to online are only showing their highlights reel and not their ups and downs of daily life.
Comparing yourself to somebody’s best bits and not seeing everything else that comes with it is really damaging to you and your self-esteem, so it’s time to stop.
Mistake number 5: I put productivity ahead of rest
When building a business on your own, it’s easy to overwork, especially if you work from home. And us introverts know that we need to recharge our energy as much as possible. But when you’re in the thick of it, you don’t think about that whatsoever.
I’d go to sleep thinking about my business. Wake up thinking about my business. I’d read introvert business books. Listen to podcasts. I’d do anything and everything in my spare time and in my work time thinking about my business, and all that did was burn me out.
I was completely consumed by my business. And worse, I felt guilty if I wasn’t working on it. My work-life balance was a thing of the past.
Afterwards, I realized something had to change. As an introverted business owner, I was constantly consuming content and training and courses, feeling like I was getting stuff done when, actually, it was the opposite. I was just overwhelming myself.
Here’s how I overcame it, I:
- Rekindled a hobby of mine.
- Set a strict schedule for work.
- Included in this schedule not reading business books or listening to business podcasts once I’d finished my workday.
- I also allowed my brain to rest and I tried to stop feeling bad about letting myself do that.
- Told people what I was doing so they could hold me accountable.
I believe in the power of failure and making mistakes. It’s what makes us stronger and helps us make better decisions in the future.
It’s why I’ve decided to share my personal mistakes with you.
Tell me, what mistakes have you made in your business? Can you relate to any of mine? Leave them in the comments below and let’s chat.
Kailey12th November 2020 at 4:52 PM
Love your article! It literally describes my life lol
Gina Lucia13th November 2020 at 9:56 AM
I knew I wasn’t alone in this Kailey!
Rakiya7th April 2021 at 7:28 AM
Hi Gina really enjoyed reading this post. I am in the process of starting my own business at the moment and I find myself doing mistakes number 5. Trying to take in everything information that I can find and I even dream about it.
Gina Lucia7th April 2021 at 10:52 AM
Hey Rakiya, oh gosh yes don’t do that! Make sure to find balance and know that finding the right information as you go is more important than knowing absolutely everything before you start. Nobody ever has all the answers and everybody’s business journey is unique anyway so make sure you find time for rest.
Linda G Blatchford24th April 2021 at 12:25 AM
Great post! Needed to see this today. I’m grateful to know I’m not the only one. And, that I need to rest more.
Gina Lucia24th April 2021 at 4:39 PM
Ahhh thank you so much. Yes absolutely rest more. It’s worth it!
Sahadia7th May 2021 at 11:39 AM
Really love this article! I can see myself at the start of my journey thinking and feeling the same way. We sometimes, as women in business, need to be reminded that what we feel is not uncommon. Thank you for sharing! Love it!
Gina Lucia9th May 2021 at 10:57 AM
Yes you’re so right! We all go through similar stuff so it’s really important to talk about it so we know we’re not alone.
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