Freelancing is becoming an increasingly popular option for people and can be a good career move for introverts because of the freedom of working for yourself. Extroverts can also thrive in running a business, networking and selling.
The main difference between introverts and extroverts is in which type of environment they work to their potential in. Introverts are generally more introspective and reserved. A quiet environment is important for an introvert to relax, reflect and be more productive in. Extroverts are more concerned with the external environment. They gain energy and work better in social situations with lots of interactions that would eventually feel draining for introverts.
Why introverts can make great freelancers
- Introverts often work best alone, which is usually how freelancers end up working. Some people need the constant mental stimulation of working with groups of colleagues, bouncing ideas off each other. While an introvert can still work in such an environment, it is less likely to be a requirement.
- Introverts tend to be great listeners and will make sure that the client’s needs are addressed. One mistake that freelancers can make is not being exactly sure of what the client wants. Some freelancers focus too much on what they can do in a bid to win over clients rather than thinking about what the client actually wants.
- Introverts tend to be good at research, reading and writing, activities that require deep concentration and quiet. This makes them well suited to freelance writing.
Where introverts may struggle
- Networking is still vital even if you work alone. While you might have more flexibility about how you do it, you still need to reach out to customers and other businesses to form contacts. This can make the idea of pitching or networking events seem a bit daunting.
- Introverts typically don’t make the best salespeople for various reasons. They can come across as less confident and this could put off potential clients. This could also become a problem when a freelancer wants to raise their rates. Clients will jump on the first sign of uncertainty when a freelancer is asking for more money.
Tip: Social media can be a great way for introverts to market and network because of the focus on written communication, which introverts tend to favour. Having a consistently updated blog is also a good way to talk about your field of work as well as showcase your work.
Why extroverts can make great freelancers
- Extroverts tend to be better sellers. Although extroverts aren’t necessarily all confident, they tend to communicate better and will be more comfortable marketing themselves to a potential client. Confidence implies success and therefore clients may be more likely to choose an extroverted freelancer.
- Extroverts tend to be better at negotiation. Under charging is a common problem that freelancers find themselves in. It can be daunting to ask for a higher rate but it’s necessary in order to grow your business.
Where extroverts may struggle
- Extroverts are more susceptible to the loneliness of freelancing. They tend to work best with groups of people and consistent interaction. When this is absent their productivity levels can drop. They are more likely to become bored and quit freelancing.
Tip: Try co-working spaces. You can share a space with many other freelancers, working independently but not completely alone. You can usually pay a monthly fee and go whenever to socialise and get some work done without having to sit in coffee shops all day.
Due to the varied nature of freelance work, it is best to try to exhibit qualities of both extroversion and introversion. This is something that is required in all work but freelancing relies solely on you. You have to do sales and marketing, bookkeeping, admin, IT and then to do the actual work your business is based on.
Though introverts and extroverts tend to behave in certain ways, this does not determine their success or failure in any particular area. Some freelance businesses are better suited to introverts than extroverts. For example, a freelance writing business is probably better for an introvert, whereas a freelance performer will likely do better if they are more extroverted. However, with the right compromises and determination, either can be successful in a freelance business. The key is adaptability and being aware of your strengths and weaknesses so that you can always work on improving your business.
Ambivert is a fairly new term for someone who comes in between introversion and extroversion. They get the best of both worlds and seem better suited to all lines of work, freelance or not. Some would argue that no one is absolutely an introvert or extrovert and that we’re somewhere in between.
What do you think? Who is better suited to a freelance career or do you have to be an ambivert to succeed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.