You might be shy or you might be lacking in confidence.
But either way, the answer is yes, you can have a successful business.
It just might not be as easy as it is for people with confident, assertive, charismatic personalities.
They (the seemingly confident, charismatic ones) appear so much better at selling themselves and networking than you (the person who has skills and passion in equal measure but who would rather put sticks in their eyes than stand up at a networking event, post an opinion on LinkedIn, or record a video).
There’s a reason I have used the word ‘seemingly’. While some people are honest and open about how they can be shy and struggle to ‘sell’ themselves, other appearances can be deceptive. Most people, however confident their online or networking persona, will have periods when they experience self-doubt.
The important thing is to have a practical plan to overcome your shyness, build your confidence and succeed in spite of it.
And here’s how;
Find the right networking group for you. Some are more daunting, larger and involve more public speaking than others. Many, are small communities of supportive sole traders rooting for each other and genuinely kind, empathetic professionals. If you attend a few, you’ll find one where you feel comfortable.
If public speaking truly sends shivers down your spine, attend a public speaking course. Most will provide tips on preparation and overcoming nerves as well as content advice.
Prepare your ‘elevator pitch’ – a statement about you and your business in a nutshell, so that you can rattle this off at the drop of a hat. Also prepare questions you can ask of others at meetings or events.
If you are writing your LinkedIn profile or business website, view it as an outsider. Does it really make you want to contact you? If not, ask a copywriter for help, as they will extract your selling points and put them across powerfully and persuasively in a way you probably won’t.
Always request, store and digest client testimonials. Maybe you still don’t really believe in yourself. Maybe you’re experiencing imposter syndrome. But reading positive feedback should help it sink in that you are a talented individual with something special to offer the world.
Accept that you just are going to have to step outside your comfort zone at times. It’s likely you will have this in previous roles or in your personal life. And you need to do it now. It will be worth it when the business starts coming in.
Consider a Coach or Mentor. They will be skilled in supporting you in recognising your strengths, defining and overcoming your barriers, leading you on a realistic and achievable path to business success.
If you are new to LinkedIn or other social media platforms you have a couple of options. Outsource it to a social media professional/content writer/copywriter. Or start it yourself, slowly, to build confidence. Start liking and engaging with other posts before planning and creating content of your own.
Be realistic and true to yourself. Maybe you are never going to be the loudest, most outwardly confident person in the room. But clients and customers will embrace your skills, services, products, knowledge and experience as long as you are able to let them see this, in your own way.
A lot of my clients, particularly women, feel uncomfortable promoting themselves and blowing their own trumpets. But if you are determined to succeed, willing to step outside your comfort zone and use the many resources available, you’ll be able to connect with your audience and grow your business.
Don’t let your shyness hold you back. Good luck!