Hello, beautiful woman and entrepreneur! It’s Blair Rhianna here, and welcome to this episode of the Aligned Entrepreneur Podcast.
This is episode 4 which means all the show notes as well as any links that I share will be at blairrhianna.com/4.
Today I’m going to be sharing with you my own personal experiences of navigating the online space as an introverted entrepreneur and how you can harness the power of your own spiritual and energetic sensitivity to let yourself be seen and grow your business in a way that respects your boundaries and honours your unique needs.
So if you’ve ever referred to yourself as an introvert, shy, quiet, sensitive, spiritual or intuitive, you’re going to love this week’s episode.
Let’s dive in.
So let me just start off by saying that I get the struggle of being an introvert running an online business. O Lordy, do I get it! The struggle is real! Not only am I an introvert, I’m also an INFJ (according to the Myer’s Briggs test), highly energetically sensitive, a Cancerian and, oh yeah, a woman. Which basically means I feel all the feels, all the time, which makes me innately highly qualified to speak on this topic of how exactly we thrive as an introverts in the online space.
So with my personality and background in mind, according to the law of just straight up common sense, working online shouldn’t be a natural fit for me. And to be honest it’s not, at least it’s not in the traditional loud, hustle-based, masculine logic-dominated way of doing business that many of us are familiar with.
When I first started my online business I was exhausted by the loud, never-ending noise of social media. The need to constantly show up and be visible. I felt chained to my business and was drained by having to show up online in ways that felt incongruent and at odds with my intuitive and energetically sensitive nature. And being unable to find my own rhythm or claim my own unique space and feeling like I had to downplay my needs or hide my energetic sensitivity in order to do what everyone else was doing and catch up often meant that I compromised my energy for the sake of growing my business forced me out of alignment with my true self and I burnt out pretty quickly.
And within 18 months of starting my business I found myself with business success by other people’s definition but I was also in a black hole of fatigue, overwhelm and doubting if I had what it takes to run a successful online business long term because as I’ve mentioned in previous episodes, getting quick success in business is not really all that difficult to do but getting there sustainably and being able to maintain that long-term – therein lies the challenge of online business.
Instead, we’re sold on the idea of quick success. All we see online and all we hear about is how to get to five figures, six figures or seven figures as quickly as possible and the 5 step process or the number one thing to hit your first 10k month but not a lot of people are talking about the sustainability of success. And allow me to make an assumption here, but odds are if you’ve put in the time, the energy and the money to start an online business you’re going to want to be sticking around long term!
So when I reached this point of burn out, it was then that I began to truly look at what I was doing and I realised that even though so many other people were able to sustain that level of action and success, it wasn’t naturally me and I saw just how much I’d been sacrificing in my efforts to ‘make it online’ and how much I’d been ignoring the sacred wisdom of my body, the intuitive guidance of my soul and the natural rhythms that I choose to live my life by, all of those unique parts of me that make me incredible at what I do with my clients but I had perceived that those parts of me had no place in business.
Rather than seeing my sensitivity as a gift and interweaving it into strategy I could utilise in my business, I had instead seen it as a part of me to push aside or to be embarrassed by and that I had to downplay or ignore those parts of myself to keep up with everyone else. That is was shameful to take time off or to have a higher need for quiet and space than most other people meant that I wasn’t cut out for business. That those parts of me weren’t okay and needed to either be eradicated, pushed aside or pushed through in order to play the role of the successful entrepreneur as I perceived it.
It was this energy split in my identity between who I am as a person and who I wanted to be as an entrepreneur was what was causing the energetic misalignment in my business. Because the thing is, if you’re only letting half of you show up in business, then you only have half of you to give to the demands of business that require your full presence. So you’re going to get drained very quickly because you’re not accessing your full resources because you’ve disconnected from the strengths of the parts of you that you feel you need to hide – such as your sensitivity and introversion. And trust me, those traits do have incredible strength when channelled and used effectively in your business to get you to where you want to go in a way that’s entirely unique to you.
So to say that you can’t have success or you can’t do certain things in your business because you’re an introvert is to buy into the belief that there is only one way of doing business, which is simply not true. It all comes down to knowing your own rhythms and how to apply that knowledge to taking action in your business that is in alignment with your core nature and honours your needs and boundaries in business so you don’t get burnt out, stressed out or fall into the habit of sacrificing your energy or giving away your power.
And a lot of the time when I talk to female entrepreneurs who are more energetically sensitive and, to be honest, if you’re in the healing or wellness industry either as a coach or practitioner, then you have the heart of a healer. Which probably means you have an extra level of sensitivity that most other people don’t experience or often understand, whether you necessarily identify as an introvert, sensitive, spiritual, intuitive or not is entirely up to you as it’s the energetic quality I’m referring to here, it’s the heightened level of sensitivity, awareness and sensory experience I’m referring to rather than any labels we come up with to try to characterise our own experience. Ultimately, what I’m focussing on here is the energetic quality that makes you more in tune, more aware of your environment, more aware of people and more giving of your energy, that’s what needs to be looked at as that’s the part that poses the greatest energetic leak but also the greatest strength when channelled correctly.
So when I talk to female entrepreneurs who don’t respond well to the strong, masculine hustle mentality of online business and they find their business and their message getting drowned out in the sea of online noise, they’ll often say things to me like “well I can’t do that because I’m very introverted” or “I can’t be posting every day online because it takes too much of my energy” and if you’re saying things like this either to yourself or out loud, then it’s a sure-fire sign that you’re following someone else’s definition of success and you’re employing strategies to suit that definition of success which is causing you to do things you feel like you have to, rather than because those strategies are actually a fit for you or play to your natural strengths. Because if they were in alignment, they wouldn’t be draining you!
Part of the misconception about business is that I really want to be addressing is that we think it should be draining! That it’s natural and expected to be exhausted all the time. And so we set ourselves up for that, we play into it and therefore we create it in our lives and businesses and we think it’s normal. It’s not! And if you’re feeling that way then something is off, something needs to change.
Because the truth is, you don’t need to post every day across seven different platforms to grow your online business or get in front of your ideal audience. In fact, that’s one of the big myths of online business that causes many entrepreneurs to get content fatigue and social media burn out.
You see, there’s actually three very, very important things that you need to know in order to effectively plan to thrive online. Because that’s the thing, when you’re an introvert, when you have differing needs to the vast majority of other people in the online space, when you need to train yourself to show up online and be consistent in your business, you need to actually plan to thrive. Because if posting on social media, speaking about your business and promoting your services is not a natural strength of yours then you need to allow yourself the space to turn them into a strength by finding ways of doing those things that work for you and your sensitive nature, that bring the strengths of your introversion and energetic sensitivity out into the light in a way that feel authentic and safe but also can reach the people that you’re here to reach, serve who you’re meant to serve and make the money and impact that you’re here to make in your business as well.
The 3 Core Components of Introverted Business Planning
So let’s go over the three core parts of effective business planning specifically for introverts. And if you identify with any of what I’ve mentioned so far, you’re really going to want to listen to this as it’s really important;
1. Know Your Energy
You need to know your rhythms and take full ownership of that and be accountable to those rhythms by knowing how to work within your own energetic parameters, rather than thinking you have to chase after the extroverts to achieve their level of visibility and success. It doesn’t mean that level of success and visibility isn’t possible for you, it just means that you may need to take a different path to get there, which comes from knowing your rhythms – when is the best time to be extroverted and out there and when is the best time for you to be going within and being reflective to gather back in your resources for the next time you go out into the online space.
Knowing when is the best time for you to be doing a Facebook live, when is the best time for you to be running a workshop or recording videos for social media so you can make sure that you are working your business around those optimum times so you’re not in a position where you feel like having to drag yourself out of yourself or fighting against yourself every step of the way.
And that applies to your unique rhythm as a person and also your feminine rhythm as a woman, and if you missed last week’s episode on working with your feminine energy in business, I’d strongly suggest you go back and have a listen after this episode by visiting blairrhianna.com/3, and don’t worry of course you can find the link in this episode’s show notes as well.
2. Plan Ahead
The second part is planning ahead and this is why having a personalized strategy is really, really important in business. So that you have a personalized schedule for you to plan ahead so on these days where you’re feeling a bit more quiet, a bit more introverted, a bit more reflective you’ve already got your social media post scheduled for that day or you’ve got your video scheduled to go out so you know your business is taken care of and you have created the space to solely focus on meeting your own energetic needs in whatever form that looks like for you.
Because when it comes to our self-care as introverts, we actually need to be putting our full attention on replenishment. Our healing doesn’t penetrate as deeply and our cup doesn’t stay full for as long if our focus is split between our self-care activity and the things we think we need to be doing, such as responding to that email, posting in your group or adding to your instagram feed. Having some of those tasks already scheduled out means that you can be fully present with yourself and your own nourishment thereby giving yourself space to truly receive it.
3. Have Contingencies!
And the third part of effective planning is to have contingencies for your energy, this is really, really important, especially when it comes to planning your energy around any extroverted activity you do in business, such as webinars, radio interviews, live events and so on.
Now these may not be things that you’re necessarily implementing in your business right now, but as your business grows, as your visibility grows and as more and more people become aware of your business and want to talk to you about what you do, things like podcast interviews, summits and even radio shows become a natural part of your business networking and marketing, so you need to know how your energy relates to those activities so you can have contingencies in place so that you can say yes to those activities when the opportunities present themselves.
So what I mean by that is, say for example, you know that you’re going to be running a webinar. By knowing your own energetic rhythms and paying attention to your energy, you can plan effectively in the lead-up to that event but most importantly plan effectively after the event as well, which for introverts is often our most crucial time. So you’re nurturing yourself and replenishing your energetic needs to bring yourself back into alignment and restore a sense of balance after you’ve expended your energy on this extroverted activity, which in this example is running a webinar.
This helps prevent the stop-start, feast-famine approach to business where you go hard and push then completely collapse because you’re making the mistake of prioritising action over energy. For introverts, it’s the other way around. We need to prioritise energy over action each and every time.
And I’m not condemning introversion or extroversion or saying one is better than the other in business. There is no right or wrong, there is only who you are and your level of acceptance or your level of resistance to that fact. That’s what will determine your level of success and how long it takes for you to get there. And I guarantee you, one will get you there a hell of a lot quicker than the other!
So to demonstrate how these 3 core elements of knowing your energy, planning ahead and using contingencies come together, I’m going to use myself as an example. When I get approached to be featured on podcasts, summits or radio shows, I understand myself and my energy well enough to know that pretty much the entire day of the interview leading up to the start time, my energy and focus is going to be anchored in that event and I’m probably not going to be able to put much focus on anything else that day until the interview is done. And because I know and accept this about myself, I therefore know it is unreasonable to expect much more from myself for that day. And so I plan accordingly so that I don’t end up making myself ‘wrong’ and feel guilty because I feel like I should be doing more than I can realistically do.
I know that trying to get myself to be “productive” during the day in the lead up to the interview is just going to stress me out and zap my energy. I know that pushing on as if it’s business as usual and just treating the interview as a 30min blip in my day’s schedule is not going to work for me and so it’s not reasonable for me to expect much more from myself than what I can give. And so my plan for that day needs to respect and reflect that understanding.
And I know my own rhythms well enough to know that my day will go a lot more seamlessly and I’ll have a lot more energy to give if instead of trying to do work or be on social media, I instead go for a barefoot walk on the grass and surrounding myself with things that I find comforting in the lead up to the interview, like warm blankets and my favourite essential oil in my diffuser. Those little things can make all the difference when I let myself prioritise them. So when I do choose to engage in any extroverted activity as part of my business, I make conscious effort to adjust my day so I can accommodate the energetic demands of the event, not just the event itself.
And this is where so many spiritual, introverted or energetically sensitive entrepreneurs go wrong – they plan around the event without taking into account the energetic demands of the event, which often far outweigh the time requirement for the event itself.
So for example with myself, I know whenever it’s in my power to control my own scheduling, and odds are if you’re being interviewed on things such as summits and podcasts then usually they’re scheduled well in advance so you most likely have a say in what day and time would work best for you and the host who is interviewing you. So for myself, if given the option I’ll always choose a morning time slot as I know that I pretty much want to be able to get up, meditate, shower, breakfast and bang – I want to be in my seat, in front of the microphone, in front of the camera doing my thing.
And by the same token, I also know that on the other side of that event, even if the interview only goes half an hour, I know myself and I know my rhythms and I know my energy well enough to know that I am going to be shot for the rest of the day. I am going to be needing quiet while I recharge. I’m going to need space just to be for the rest of the day without any clients scheduled and without any external pressures or demands, often with all of my technology turned off. That’s what works for me, that’s what works for my business and I prioritise that.
So that’s what knowing my energy, planning ahead and having contingencies in my business looks like for me when I’m in full alignment with my core self and fully honouring my own introverted energy. And the purpose of this episode is to really encourage you to ask those questions for yourself – what does that look like for you? What do you need when it comes to doing things in your business that require a greater output of energy than what you are used to? And what can you do to make sure you’re able to bring more fuel to your own fire so you don’t get burnt out by the energetic demands of that activity?
So particularly if you’re an extroverted person listening to this or if you’re very driven or you’re able to push through, you might be hearing this and thinking “well Blair, that’s ridiculous! You can’t just take a full day off because of a half hour interview. That’s just crazy!” but that’s the reality of being introverted, or at least that what my reality looks like and many of the female entrepreneurs I work with, and that’s the reality of being an energetic sensitive and that’s why having forward planning is so essential.
So for me, I know quiet, rest and self-care is what I need and I know the cost to my own energy and wellbeing if I let anyone else’s opinion jeopardise my commitment to my own needs.
And the more you can hold to that knowledge, the more firmly you can stand in your own power in the face of other peoples’ objections, judgements and expectations of how you ‘should’ be in your life and business, the more you can stay true to yourself and use your sensitivity to define your own road to success.
Because often the struggle is not with your introversion or sensitivity, it’s with your resistance to simply being okay with being who you are and working with your true nature rather than against it. So you need to let go of the part of your mind that says that it’s stupid or it’s selfish or that you’re being lazy, or that you’re too sensitive or that needing any of these extra measures is a sign you’re not cut out for business. Because it’s simply not true.
And the same can also be said for someone who is quite introverted who talks themselves out of saying yes to opportunities for business growth or extra visibility because they think the cost to their energy is too high or it’s too confronting or too stressful but in reality they simply do not understand how to work in alignment with their own rhythms to honour their needs and work with their introversion and energetic sensitivity, rather than against it. And that’s why forward planning in your business around your energy levels is absolutely essential to thriving online as an introverted entrepreneur, so that you’re not overloaded with tasks or having to force yourself to show up in business when you have already expended that energy elsewhere. Instead, you’ve planned ahead and have taken the steps necessary to ensure your energetic boundaries and needs are met so that you can confidently say yes to those opportunities knowing that you can plan accordingly and nurture yourself through that energy expenditure.
And that’s another thing I want you to be conscious of, is to give yourself permission to move beyond the label. Whenever we subscribe ourselves to a label, it becomes easy to let that label be the reason why we can’t take certain actions or gives us the excuse we need to not even try.
So when it comes to being an introvert in business it’s not about making excuses, it’s not about saying “well I can’t be successful online”, “I can’t use social media”, “I can’t launch my program”, “I can’t be doing interviews,” or “I can’t be speaking on stage” because you think you’re too shy, too quiet, too sensitive or too introverted. It’s not about letting your introversion be the reason why you can’t do certain things, it’s about understanding that if you’re wanting to do those things in your business then you need to be having extra levels of contingency in place so you’re honouring your sensitivity for the gift that it really is.
Because your sensitivity is one of the most essential parts of being a spiritually-conscious, heart-centred entrepreneur, particularly as a female, and as a gift it needs to be protected, it needs to be grounded and you need to be able to back yourself in ways that feel authentic and aligned for you.
So know your own rhythms, have a plan, create a personalized action plan that takes into account your unique energy signature and if you’re not sure how that looks get support from someone who understands how this works and how to apply it directly to your business. Get support from someone who understands introversion, understands your sensitive nature, and understands that you need a different approach to business than what is taught by 90% of what you find online.
You need a more personalized approach that can turn your innate strengths into massive monetizing potential in your business, into consistency, into soulful and strategic action that’s in alignment with the truth of who you are instead of asking you to be someone that you’re nit and sacrificing your energy as a result.
And of course, if you’re interested in how I do that for my clients, you’re welcome to enter the competition I have running at the moment to celebrate the launch of The Aligned Entrepreneur Podcast, where one lucky listener will win a 90min 1:1 Business Visioning & Soul Alignment Session with me. Simply go to thealignedentrepreneur.co to find out more or click the link in the show notes, but be quick as it does close June 12 2018.
So there you have it, my top tips for thriving as an introvert in online business – knowing your energy, forward planning, having contingencies and also moving beyond the label to help you shine your own unique light in the online space and have your message heard by those who need to hear it.
So until next time, I’m Blair Rhianna and I can not wait to see you shine your light in the way that only you can.