As an introvert, being surrounded by crowds or attending big parties is probably not your cup of tea. Most introverts would rather be alone or hang out with a small group of like-minded people.
Introverts also prefer working independently or with a small and productive group of people.
This need for space and independence makes freelancing highly desirable to introverts. The joy of working independently, the freedom to create a routine that allows you to dive deeply into your work, and the ability to express yourself through your craft make freelancing very attractive.
Freelancing, however, comes with challenges. The most notable and persistent challenge is finding new work opportunities.
Here is how introverts can thrive as freelancers:
1. Find a job that suits your temperament
Some jobs just don’t jell well with some personality types. Instead of forcing your personality to suit your work, why not go for a career where, as an introvert, your unique traits, skills, and strengths are assets?
Jobs that tap into your ability to work independently, your excellent listening skills, and your attention to detail are the ideal choices. On the other hand, a career that demands cold calling, constant networking or public speaking is probably a terrible fit.
Some of the best freelance careers for introverts include:
• Freelance writer
Do you enjoy writing? Freelance writers have endless options: You can publish your own ebooks, craft copy for marketers, write for blogs, or ghostwrite for others in whatever niche you choose to specialize in.
• Social media manager
Are you a social media guru? If you’re able to create social media strategies and implement them, then this is a career you should explore. You can easily do it from home and it can be lucrative.
• Data analyst
As a data analyst, you’ll spend a lot of time trying to make sense of complex data sets and providing reports with their analysis.
• Selling photos
If you’re a professional photographer, you already possess a perfect skill for an introvert. For instance, landscape photographers can enjoy their solitude while working. One thing that you need to master though is how to monetize your skills.
The easiest way is to upload your work to stock photo platforms like Shutterstock. While not every photographer is able to make a living this way, there are people who make up to $6000 per photo over time.
You can also get your photos printed on products like smartphone covers, t-shirts, and many other things that you can think of. If you’re creative and entrepreneurial enough, this can be an excellent income stream.
Another idea is approaching websites and companies directly, for instance, tourist boards, and offering your photographs. You can also login to freelance sites and reach out to people who need a photographer for their projects.
To succeed as a freelancer, you should first choose a suitable career path.
2. Seek out communities
There is a notion that introverts hate or seek to avoid people; this is untrue. Introverts benefit from and appreciate deep connections and meaningful relationships – both professionally and personally. As a freelancer, you need to seek out a community.
You can connect with other freelancers at local events or in co-working spaces or online through LinkedIn in, twitter, and other social media platforms. These relationships provide collegiality, help you improve your skills, and can lead to work referrals.
Think about it this way: how often do you see gigs that are not suitable for you or ones that you can’t take on, but you know someone who is perfect for them? Joining a community of freelancers makes the process of reaching new clients easier.
3. Capitalize on your writing skills
If you’re like most introverts, you’re probably more comfortable articulating your thoughts through writing. While most extroverts think out loud, introverts prefer to carefully think through an issue before they share their thoughts.
You should use this to your advantage by jotting down your thoughts before meeting clients. In professional situations, carry along an outline or notes of the issues you need to address.
In social situations, brainstorm topics of conversation that you’ll broach during the meeting.
4. Only take on what you can handle
Extroverts can easily get off a busy day at work and go straight to the bar to have drinks with friends or prospects. As an introvert, you may not have similar levels of energy. You may want to go straight home to unwind the end of a busy day.
So be realistic when accepting work-related and social invitations. Instead of running yourself ragged by going to every networking event, only go to the ones that seem most valuable.
5. Warm up your leads online
Online networking is suitable and extremely beneficial for introverts. It allows you to link up with like-minded individuals. It’s also a great way of connecting with your leads before you meet them.
Before an event or a meeting, research on the people you’re hoping to meet. Look at their LinkedIn profile and find what you have in common. You can also send them an introductory email indicating that you’re looking forward to meeting them. This sets a stage for productive meetings.
6. Step outside your comfort zone
There will be many times when you’ll be in meetings full of extroverts. In such situations, don’t give in to your natural tendencies and just let others do all the talking.
Take public speaking courses to prepare for moments like this. Learning public speaking and building your conversations skills will benefit all aspects of your life. It will also give you the confidence to get out your comfort zone when be.
7. Play to your strengths
Until you learn to play to your strengths, being an introvert in an extroverted world often feels like a disadvantage. As an introvert, you’re most likely a good listener and more observant, and thus you absorb information quickly and you spot things that others miss.
Take advantage of these skills whenever possible. Introversion comes with many strengths, be aware of them and develop them.