Struggles Only Introverted Freelancers Can Relate To
December 21, 2015
You may have heard the myth that only 25% of the world are introverts, and they have to try to get by in an extroverted world. While such a thing is difficult to measure, the most reliable statistics I’ve found indicate that it’s pretty much a 50/50 split.
The differences between introverts and extroverts often means extroverts end up creating the rules, and introverts are left playing the game.
Many introverts are drawn to the world of freelancing because they’re able to play by their own rules. If they want to work in their underwear all day, so be it! There’s also a hidden power available to introverts that lends itself well to freelancing.
Freelancing does have some responsibilities that introverts may occasionally struggle with. In this article i’ll mention 8 struggles along with how to deal with them.
1. Interacting Less With People
You walked out of your last office job ready to start a new adventure and a grin on your face. It was time to become a freelancer and ditch all those annoying co-workers.
Alright, that probably wasn’t your main motivation, but I bet interacting with people less often was probably a factor.
At some point, you probably noticed that you still have to interact with people if you want to earn a living. You need to talk to clients, other freelancers, virtual assistants and seemingly everyone else on the Internet.
How do you deal with it?
One core difference between freelancing and traditional jobs is that you have greater control over who you interact with.
Only interact with people you actually enjoy working and are productive with. If you have a client or business partner that always stresses you out, ditch them when you can. Over time, you’ll end up only working with people you like and enjoy interacting.
2. Prospects Wanting a Phone Interview
Your phone suddenly rings. You just pitched someone in that area code via email. Why did I put my phone number in my email signature?
Or, they might email you back to schedule a time to chat. That’s even worse! Now you have to stress about that all day. You want to work with this client, but why can’t we keep this a text-based relationship.
Unfortunately, depending on your industry, most professionals you’ll be working with will want to talk. It’s simply faster than email.
Here’s what you do – breathe! If it’s an unplanned call, breathe slowly to calm down. If it’s a scheduled call, plan out some key points on what you want to cover on the call to stay focused at the task at hand.
This is one of those struggles that will become easier over time, but you may have to work harder at it than your extroverted counterparts. Don’t let them gain the advantage, though!
Keeping rocking those phone interviews and you’ll become a pro.
3. Clients Who Love to Video Chat
One of the best ways to improve client relationships is to get together with them. Since most online freelancers don’t live in the same city as their clients, video chatting is the next best thing. It helps keep your face in their awareness, reminding them to keep sending you work.
Video conferencing is also becoming the standard form of communication for large businesses. If you work in the B2B world, you need to step up your video chat game. Here’s how:
- Plan ahead. Shower, change out of your robe, and make sure the rest of the shot is clean. Nobody needs to see your pile of Chinese take-out boxes.
- Write out what you’re going to say. If you have dual monitors, having an outline up in the other one will be perfect. Otherwise, kick it old-school and grab a pen and paper.
- Video chat with friends. If you aren’t used to video chatting in general, ask your friends and family to help you out. This will help you learn how to video chat, such as dealing with lag and disconnections, as well as reduce any nervousness.
4. Projects Involving Collaboration
For some freelancers, going to work is like grabbing your pick-axe and heading into a gold mine. You swing away for a set amount of time, then you’re done, and you’ve got a nice satchel filled with gold dust.
Collaboration makes it seem like you have to discuss every swing of the pick-axe, or you have someone else grabbing the handle and trying to swing with you.
If that metaphor rings true, you aren’t alone.
Collaboration means allowing others to have a say in a process you’re used to doing alone. However, in order to remain competitive, you need to become skilled in working with others. Avoiding collaborative projects may sound like the answer, but that would end up restricting your income.
Face it directly – it’s the only way you will overcome this struggle.
Start taking on projects that have more collaboration than you’d prefer. Eventually, you may even start appreciating them.
5. The Thought of Networking
Networking is difficult, but it’s needed to advance your career past a certain point. You need to know other freelancers, authorities in your industry and potential clients.
Networking is the practice of nurturing all of those possible connections. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Learning the basics of networking will help you feel like you aren’t going in blind. This, in turn, will help you overcome this struggle.
6. Silently Suffering With Nightmare Clients for Too Long
Extroverts are more likely than introverts to speak up when people treat them poorly. For many, it’s a lifelong struggle, and unfortunately, it happens with some clients.
If clients are treating you poorly, end it.
Thanks to the magic of email, you can avoid direct confrontation with a well-worded message. Simply explain that after this project you’ll be moving on to another one.
7. Clients That Require Too Much Interaction
Some clients are needier than others. They might be emailing, calling or video chatting more than you think is necessary. Of course, you want to keep them happy, so you likely oblige.
Overcoming this struggle requires setting boundaries with your clients.
Let them know your business hours, and don’t be afraid to not reply to an email if it’s not related to the task at hand. Setting boundaries can be difficult for many introverts, but doing so is vital to keeping an otherwise excellent client.
8. You Secretly Wish You Were a Bit More Extroverted
Don’t be ashamed to admit it. We live in a world where extroverts seem to have more fun. They’re out showing clients a night on the town, while you’d rather focus on getting the job done. It’s easy to wish you were extroverted, many introverts do.
Here’s a secret – extroverts aren’t always as entirely comfortable as you think they are.
Overcome this struggle by understanding you likely carry aspects of both an introvert and extrovert in your personality. You can flex your extrovert muscle when the situation requires you to do so. Being unique, we aren’t entirely one thing or the other.
Accept who you are and leverage it to your advantage.
You Can Overcome These Struggles
You’ve likely struggled with other things in the past, and how did you overcome them? By applying consistent effort. That’s the same way that you’ll be overcoming each of these struggles.
Put in the time to cultivate a few extrovert-leaning skills to continue to enjoy the introverted parts of your job.
about the author
Chelsei Henderson is a content marketing consultant helping freelancers and entrepreneurs build successful companies in the digital world.