As an introvert and creative I have found hustling to the biggest challenge of being an entrepreneur.
I love people and I want to help them as best I can, but I get exhausted from attending social events, meet ups, conferences, and doing what it takes to “get my name out there”. It’s not that I don’t like doing it; I love talking about the work I do and meeting new and interesting people, but it takes everything I’ve got.
Most days I simply want to sit at home and write, inspiring people with my words, teaching people how to lead from within and rekindle their creative passions. However, this conflicts with my desire to also reach and serve as many people as possible, and create a successful business that fuels my passion and gives me and my family a regular source of income. I know this is the challenge many deep thinkers and creatives face when it’s time to “get down to business”.
In the past I would drag myself out of the house or into the shadowy corners of social media to go about hustling as all the successful people seem to do. It was always a battle to get the job done, and I constantly felt like I had no clue how to hustle and be who I am at the same time.
Hustling has become a trend of sorts, a club that you’re either a part of or not. People wear it as a badge of honor, and it seems the only pathway to success is to fit into this “hustle hard” model.
Hustle literally means to push or obtain something by forceful action.
Creating a successful business and a life you love absolutely requires taking consistent action, and to act consistently you need a certain level of focus and motivation, the forces within you that propel you into action.
However, the meaning of hustle these days is often synonymous with networking, marketing, and self-promotion. For us creatives, introverts and sensitive souls, this kind of hustling can feel draining and unaligned with who we are and our true mission. So how can we best go about “getting our name out there”?
Luckily the internet has become a haven for introverted entrepreneurs. Most of the successful online entrepreneurs I know are, like me, introverted and creatives at heart.
The online business world has opened up doors for a new wave of entrepreneurs who are paving new paths and ways of doing business. It’s allowed introverted people who would otherwise be out-shone or over-looked in the standard business world to stand out and be heard. In the online world, the introverts are at home. They’re comfortable behind the screen, and offering their own kind of value to consumers.
Although online business presents an incredible opportunity for us introverts, creatives and sensitive souls, it still requires us to put ourselves out there and of course, hustle our way through it.
Whether you’re setting up an online or location-dependent business, a degree of push and drive and daily action are inherently required if you’ve got your sights set on making your business profitable and powerful.
So rather than avoiding the hustle, or feeling overwhelmed by it, let’s reframe it.
Here are my top 8 hustle tips for introverts and sensitive souls.
1. Know your limitations
In a world that is governed by extroversion it’s easy to succumb to the temptation to force yourself to behave in a way that the world demands. For years I pushed myself, particularly at work, to act in a way I believed I need to. So it’s important as an introvert, creative or sensitive soul to know your limitations. Actually it’s important for everyone to know their limitations. Contrary to popular belief, introversion is not a disability. Everyone should know what their limitations are and how that may affect them in their daily life. I had to really identify that I have a limit. I have a limit to how much I can socialize, how long I can stand being in a big crowd, and I have a limit to the kind of people and energy I can be around.
2. Set boundaries
Once you know your limits set your boundaries. There’s no point in complaining that you’re low on energy if you failed to set up clear boundaries to begin with. As I said, being an introvert is not a disability, but in the extroverted business world you’ve got to stand up for what you need. Take time out. Go within daily. Learn to say no. Organize your time so that there’s always time for you to be alone and recharge.
3. Know your big picture.
The hustle is real. You have to get yourself and your work out there if you want to have a successful business, and have the impact you want to on the world. Staying the course is made so much easier if you know exactly what it is you’re trying to create and bring forth. Take time to cultivate a clear vision for yourself of what you want your business and life to look like, and the kind of impact you want yourself and your work to have on the world. Creating a clear vision will help you to focus, and it will make setting boundaries a whole lot easier, too.
4. Down time.
You need to schedule time to relax, recharge, and go within. Incorporate time alone into your daily schedule. Make time for reflection, journaling, meditating, a long bath, or an afternoon nap. This needs to be a priority, a “must do”, every day. Although it might feel like you’re being unproductive you will actually find by taking an hour in your day to relax and recharge, even if it is split into fifteen minute chunks, will make you more focused and energized, and therefore more productive.
5. Find like-minded people.
Surround yourself with others who work in the same way you do. Even if it’s just one person who gets it. Someone who gets that you need your own space, or someone who is in the hustling game too, where you can both support and challenge each other to get out there more and take constant action.
6. Be true to you.
Most entrepreneurs go after their dreams because they seek a better life and freedom in some way. It can be freedom from the norm, freedom to be themselves and express themselves, even freedom from the 9-5 grind. So at the end of the day be true to yourself and your desire for freedom. Don’t fake it. Any of it. Don’t give up on the dream, or fall into the trap of doing things the way the world tells you to. The world may have you believe the only way to sell something is to promote the hell out of it and sacrifice your health, your time, your energy, and who you truly are, in order to “make it”, but there is no hard and fast rule that says this is the only way it can be done. And there are plenty of examples where this is not the case. People have been able to create a successful business while ultimately honoring there personal needs and desires. Have the confidence to be the rude one, the rebel, to say no, stick to your guns, and to hustle your heart out in a way that works for you.
7. Find a social medium that works for you
When I first started my business I struggled with expressing myself through social media in a way that felt comfortable to me. I felt like I had to be on all of the social media sites twenty-four hours a day if I truly wanted to make it. I resented it so much, and felt pressure to present myself in a certain way in order to get more followers or likes. As an introvert the last thing I wanted to do was broadcast my whole life to thousands of people through social media. So instead I decided to focus on two social media platforms and direct my energy towards gaining more engagement rather than popularity. Today I am very focused on the message I share through social media, and the genuine connections I build through the platforms. I post at least once every day, check in on comments later in the day, and then let it go. I no longer worry about how many likes a post gets or how many followers I have. Instead I focus on spending the shortest amount of time possible on social media, but with the biggest impact. For my work that means directing my energy towards building authentic connections and a sense of community.
8. Express yourself authentically.
On the topic of authenticity, introverts are often highly creative and deep thinkers. Use your gifts as a way to connect with others. Express yourself creatively, show people the real you, and bring that into your work and your hustle. It doesn’t have to be all business! Allow others to get to know you and your brand or products by sharing your thoughts and creative passions while you hustle. Authenticity makes you and your business stand out. It builds connections, and connections are what will help you build a successful business. You don’t need to pretend to be someone you’re not in order to make it work. Express yourself authentically, find a way to hustle and do the work that needs to be done in a way that aligns with who you are, and what is truly in your heart.
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Author: Kira Jean
Kira Jean is an Australian-born motivational writer, speaker, and mentor. She shows people around the world how to build their spiritual muscles and learn to live and lead from within.