I would love to hear your thoughts on how Introverts in general (or particularly, my INTJ/INFJ self) can go about self-marketing – promoting their own business – in a way that feels right to them. When talking to people and working a crowd isn’t your thing (in fact, the very idea downright exhausts you), what’s the best way to put the word out there about your own business?

My first response is “I have no idea” because this is something that I struggle with myself. What has helped me to understand my own particular dynamic came from looking at the Reiss Desire Profile. The Reiss looks at 16 core motivators – two of which contribute to my own challenges in putting my work “out there”. One is that I have a high need for ACCEPTANCE. You can imagine how that messes up the risk taking required to put my offer on the table. Thoughts of “will I be rejected… what if …” I really don’t need to go on here- I am sure that you get the picture.

The second is my low need for POWER. People who have a high need and are comfortable with POWER just keep going. This trait contributes to a certain kind of resilience that does not see obstacles, interruptions or breakdowns as anything other than hurdles. My low POWER often stops me from even starting. So that even though I have a preference for Extraversion it is not clear in certain circumstances and I experience the same result as you describe.

So we are left with… what if you are not a natural self-marketer? My first advice is not to listen to others advice on this. There are marketing professionals galore who will tell you to follow their 10 easy steps to success. Sure their system works if (and only if) you are wired the same way they are. The question as you so aptly put it is – what will work for you?

There is often an assumption that if you are a solopreneur you have to do “everything” yourself. Perhaps this is an assumption worth investigating. How can you design a model for your business that handles attracting business in another way? I would love to simply leave that question open for you to percolate but let me give you some examples. In my business, part of my strategy is to I collaborate with other coaches and consultants who need what I have to offer but who don’t want to do the parts that I love to do – one on one coaching focused on leadership development. In some cases the reason for collaborating for certian consultants is that I offer a “value add” that contributes to expanding their repetoire. Imagine being able to offer visioning through arts based activities to clients who are seeking innovative approaches. What this means is that instead of focusing on marketing myself to individual clients my business design focuses on finding consultancies where I can play a needed role. Usually I don’t need to do anything because consultants recognize the value of my offer or they don’t – it’s simple.

In a whole other approach, I have written about how online marketing and social media can support those with a preference for Introversion. You can read more about that in a previous post where Denise Wakeman of the Blog Squad points out that she has created one on one relationships with people online in her own way at her own pace. This approach has facilitated a natural transition to presenting in public as so many in the audience are people with whom she already has a one to one relationship. Denise and her partner Patsi, both have a preference for Introversion and have designed their business building to compliment their preferences.

It might be an interesting exercise for you to flesh out your assumptions about self-marketing and then to get curious about how you could reach out to others to design a business model that leveraged your natural traits and preferences and let others do the heavy lifting where you aren’t comfortable.

Of course there is always the larger question – is being a solopreneur right for you? Is there a different way to do the work you love in another context?

A request for readers with a preference for Introversion -please wade in to the conversation by leaving a comment below if you have conquered this challenge.

Category: MBTI Facts
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8 Responses to “Burning MBTI Questions Answered #10”

Patricia Weber April 6, 2009

There is NOT just one way to self-promote. I’m an INTJ and have been in sales for 30 years. Oh yes I was a sales manager, author and am a coach but – everything really is sales. That is one thing you have to know. You can be the best in your field or area but if you can master marketing and sales, or find someone who can to do it for you, then find other work.

Networking is riddled with common misbeliefs about it, one being that it is THE way to self-marketing. There are dozens, heck, maybe hundreds of ways to market yourself. You have to find what you are comfortable with and then act on it.

If you do have to network, as an INTJ and a coach for introverts, I can tell you to plan your energizing time before during and after. Attend some of the event not the entire night. Have a plan either for how many people to meet or more specifically who you want to meet. These would be my top suggestions.

Patricia Weber, Business Sales Accelerator Coach for Introverts, Shy and Reluctant
Blogging Business Sales Ideas for Introverts, Shy and Reluctant

Patricia Weber April 6, 2009

Sandy, If you’re a solopreneuer you must either become proficient with sales and marketing, or as you say, find someone who is. If Bill Gates weren’t a marketing genius can you imagine what Microsoft would be?

This is one INTJ coach for introverts who happens to believe that there is no one way to sales and marketing. There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of tactics. You want to find what you are comfortable with and what works. And before that you want to possibly change your perspective about networking.

Patricia Weber, Business Sales Accelerator Coach for Introverts, Shy and Reluctant
Blogging Business Sales Ideas for Introverts, Shy and Reluctant

Terri Zwierzynski April 6, 2009

As a fellow introvert, I especially like your advice about NOT following someone else’s “10-step marketing system”. I suspect that many of the more prominent marketers are indeed extroverts…and trying to force yourself, as an introvert, to follow their system would be a recipe for frustration, stress and poor results. That’s not to say that you can’t adopt pieces of their system; just pick the ones that feel easy and natural.

As for how I’ve solved this for myself, I guess I’ve fallen into a unique model where I don’t market myself — I market other people! It’s so much easier to rave about other folks’ expertise and programs. And even two introverts can make a collaboration work because they can focus on promoting each other, rather than themselves.

Great insight!

thebeadedlily April 7, 2009

I like this comment, “plan your energizing time before during and after.” Like most of us I guess I find time interacting with folks I don’t know well incredibly exhausting– and I’ve found that online activities– like chats– affect me that way too.

I wish I had an answer to this– two things that do work for me. Just be who I am– if I have to act a certain way to fit in, leave. And find a few very small groups with very similar interest that will help you promote your work as you help them promote theirs.

Great post, Sandy. I also appreciate the insights of Patricia and Terri. I wear my introversion almost as a badge of honor now, having struggled for many years to accept that part of myself. I now see it as a definite strength and use it to maximum advantage! 😉

That said, unless I want to work for somebody else, I need to sell myself, my products and my services. I’ve learned a couple of things that suit me to do this:

1. Partner up with people who can help
2. It is far easier to promote someone else (your partner or your partnership products)
3. If you write well enough, your copy sells for you
4. You can avoid all offline, in-person networking as much as you want but you can’t replace the value of a phone call and personal contact.

Hope this helps.

Patricia Weber April 8, 2009

Even when I attend events, business and social, with my wide open extrovert husband, we talk about a strategy to get there on time – when there’s not a lot of hustle, and plan to leave early. He’s great a supporting me since he’s able to also manage to do what he loves to do and that is be a social butterfly. It’s not the amount of time for him, he can be meeting everyone. On the telephone I feel I have more control to manage my time and energy.

CJ Fitzsimons April 8, 2009

Enjoyed the post and the discussion it’s sparking, Sandy. Following the Ten Easy Steps to Marketing Heaven sounds like Hell to me too. I find that my clients seem to appreciate the fact that they’re not being treated to the Ten Easy Steps.

The very thought of going to a networking event is enough to keep me at home. In my experience such events are filled with (self-employed) people looking for the next client or marketing experts willing to help this process along (for a fee, of course). What I seldom find are people interested in my line of work. So, the question is: where do my potential clients hang out? That’s where to go to, if at all.

Another marketing myth is that people need a brochure. If you have one, fine. If not, also fine. A business card and an ability to ask questions suffices for me. After 10 years, I still haven’t gotten around to my first brochure. And my bank manager is nice to me.

One form of marketing that works for me is just do good work. Happy clients come back for more and even write about the experience. Since I don’t actively push products at them, they tend to ask me if I can do something for them, or know someone who can. (This works only because they know that I only give a recommendation if I am convinced the person can deliver top quality work for this client.)

Another form is to make use of my creativity. Several years ago, I wrote a Christmas poem, turned it into a card and sent it to family, friends and clients. One client, who hadn’t been in touch for a long time, only got the card in February. As he said himself, if he’d received it with the rest of the cards, he probably wouldn’t have read it. In February, he took the moment, something resonated and about a week later he was presented with a challenge where he thought he might be able to use my experience. We mastered that challenge together and he and his colleagues kept coming back for more, for about five years.