by Manish Dudharejia, President and Founder of E2M Solutions Inc
Introverts have an abundance of skills they can bring to any business table, but standing out in a crowd is something most would rather avoid. That makes developing a strong, recognizable personal brand somewhat difficult, especially in the beginning stages of entrepreneurship. However, it’s not impossible.
There are ways you can establish a brand without dashing directly into the spotlight and shouting “look at me!” It’s all about giving yourself (and your new company) a personal identity that others can see and appreciate. That doesn’t necessarily require you stepping outside of your comfort zone.
Here are some tips and tricks that every introverted entrepreneur can rely on during the early days of brand development. They’ll help you establish your place within the industry, even if you’re not used to calling attention to yourself.
Start With Written Content.
When your personal brand is born, the first stages are all about showcasing expertise. You need to demonstrate to others why they should trust you and your company. Although some might think of experts as big speakers and the interviewees you see on the news channels, there are plenty of other ways to express your knowledge without being publicly vocal.
Start by taking the time to create insightfully written, useful content that highlights your high level of industry knowledge. Whether you blog on your own site, post blogs on other websites, publish case studies, or get active on social media, you need to start building a foundation of thought leadership that proves you know what you’re talking about.
If you need some inspiration to get started, take a look at the infographic above to see what might help you establish expertise the quickest. Things like case studies, best practices, and how-to-guides will take you much further than quick and easy blogs about your products. Orbit Media’s research has indicated that the average blog post is 1,151 words long, so you’ll need to invest in lengthy content in order to compete.
Start experimenting with your own content and tracking what your audience enjoys the most. Keep in mind that the success of your content marketing depends more on your knowledge and voice than it does on length or timing, so push yourself to create truly authentic pieces with minimal fluff.
Get Comfortable Hearing Your Own Voice.
Most introverts cringe at the sound of their own voices, but if you pay attention to many of the big names in your industry, you’ll probably notice that many of them have built strong personal brands by deciding to run a podcast, sell videos, or speak at events. This doesn’t usually come naturally to introverts and can be intimidating, but it’s important to start learning to speak publicly now. After all, roughly 75 percent of the population has some level of anxiety in regards to public speaking, so you’re certainly not alone.
The good news is that hearing your own voice gets easier with time. The more you practice, the better you’ll get at it and the more comfortable you’ll become. You may want to start with pre-recorded videos or podcasts instead of live shows. This will give you the opportunity for do-overs and take some of that initial pressure off your shoulders.
Develop a “Break-the-Ice” Plan for Networking Events.
It’s all about who you know, not what you know, right? If that’s truly the case, then you need to network with other entrepreneurs as much as possible. That means attending networking events, which can be terribly uncomfortable for introverts who’d rather communicate by email.
Networking events provide the perfect platform for introducing yourself and telling everyone what you’re about… if you can handle the pressure of doing so on the spot. The key is to establish a plan prior to the event.
- How will you initiate conversations?
- What will your talking points be?
By deciding these things beforehand, you’ll feel much more comfortable during your many conversations.
Don’t just limit yourself to talking about your products or services. This is a chance to build your personal brand, not just your company’s image. If you’re not sure what your personal brand should encompass, take a look at this graphic.
These are the things that other entrepreneurs and contacts will want to know about you. They want to see your personality, your trustworthiness, and your friendly manner. Those intensely personal traits open the door for them to learn more about who you are as a business person and where your company will go in the future.
Let Your Body of Work Do the Heavy Lifting.
As we said earlier, building a personal brand is all about conveying your expertise to other people in the industry, as well as to customers. To do this properly, you need to have the goods to back up your claims. Talking about what you know is very different from developing a company and products/services that demonstrate that knowledge.
Before you even begin building your personal brand, make sure that you’re comfortable with the proven results you have to show others. It’s pretty much impossible to feel confident talking about your skills as an entrepreneur if you have few credentials to flaunt. The problem is, if you’re new to the world of entrepreneurship, you might not have much to back up your skills.
The most effective way to demonstrate your industry knowledge is to develop insights that solve very specific problems. This will reveal your deep understanding of the field, as well as your innovative capabilities to contribute in the future. You might not have years of experience yet, but you clearly know what your industry wants and needs.
To Sum It Up.
In a world where everyone is seeking attention on social media, television, and in-person, it can be difficult for an introvert to feel at home. However, that doesn’t mean introverts can’t be successful as leaders and entrepreneurs. The best leaders aren’t always the loudest ones – they’re usually the ones that are smart, dedicated, and confident.
To build your personal brand, focus on demonstrating your expertise and telling people what you’re about. You can do this in whatever way you feel comfortable, but you will need to push yourself to reach out to those around you. Show your customers and other experts what you’re about, and they’ll come to know and respect you for it.
Manish Dudharejia is the President and Founder of E2M Solutions Inc, a San Diego Based Digital Agency that specializes in Website Design & Development and eCommerce SEO. With over 10 years of experience in the Technology and Digital Marketing industry, Manish is passionate about helping online businesses to take their branding to the next level.