As a half-introverted person, I understand why so many introverted writers resist marketing their services.
The thought of putting themselves out there — and touting their credentials, track record and achievements — scares them.
And it keeps many of them from doing what they need to do to grow their business with better clients.
Does that mean you’re doomed to fail as a self-employed writer if you’re an introvert?
Not at all.
And my guest this week explains why.
Winnie Anderson is a coach for introverted service-based professionals as well as the host of The Courageous Entrepreneur podcast.
Her specialty is teaching people how to resolve the tug-of-war between needing to stand out but not wanting to stand out.
In this episode, she explains why so many writers resist taking consistent action to stand out, even when they know it’s important.
She explains why standing out feels so uncomfortable for some people. And how introverts can do this in a way that feels good to them — while also attracting great opportunities and clients.
The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe in iTunes to get this show delivered straight to the Podcasts app on your smart phone, tablet or iPod.
Tell us about yourself
Winnie started her career in HR. She worked for a variety of organizations, including a casino-hotel, manufacturer, and a nonprofit.
One day, she was in a bad car accident and had to reinvent herself. She started writing and eventually landed paid writing work.
That job led her to a long-term ghostwriting gig with a company. She eventually became their brand strategist and chief copywriter.
But then in 2008, she was laid off along with many others.
Eventually, she changed direction again and started to land some coaching and consulting gigs.
Today, she coaches introverted service professionals to help them build their businesses and get their message out.
How did you manage to land work after being laid off in 2008?
Being self-employed is the greatest personal development program you’ll ever go through.
The worst part of being laid off was the blow to her self-identity. She didn’t realize how much of her self-esteem was tied to the belief that she was smart.
When she was laid off, she had to come face to face with why she struggled to sell herself.
What’s the difference between being “introverted” and being shy?
Not all introverts are shy. But shy people can be introverted.
Introverts get their energy from within. Extroverts get their energy from without.
Passionate introverts can get on stage or talk to people about “the thing” because they love “the thing.” But they have to gear themselves up to expend that energy. It’s draining.
Check out this TED talk on passionate introverts.
Take a free online personality test to find out your Myers-Briggs code.
Why is “standing out” so critical to building a successful freelance business?
When things stand out, they catch your eye. They entice you to come closer.
Professionally, standing out makes it easier for people to find you in a sea of sameness. When you stand out, you make it easier for people to recognize you as the right solution provider for them.
By standing out, you’re helping the buyer choose. This gives you permission to communicate your uniqueness.
Why do so many of us resist standing out?
Many of us, especially women, were taught not to stand out. Standing out was a form of showing off.
But that was someone else projecting their belief system onto you.
Ask yourself: is this belief working for you or against you? Is it holding you back?
Not standing out might have worked fine in the corporate world. But not as an entrepreneur.
If you become paralyzed at the thought of getting attention, you have to challenge the stories you tell yourself.
Fear is a memory. Often, we fear standing out because it’s an emotional trigger.
This is also true of perfection. We’re highly rewarded for being an exacting professional. But then we become terrified of making mistakes.
You want to stay on the road to excellence and not turn off onto the road of perfectionism.
How can we get to the root of this fear and reluctance?
Our biggest fear is that we are unworthy.
The single biggest thing you can do to address feelings of unworthiness is to detach yourself from the outcome.
When you’re attached to the outcome, your sense of self is tied to the results you produce. So when someone says no, you take that to mean that you’re not a good person.
But it doesn’t!
When you detach yourself from the outcome, you stop measuring yourself by the results. You recognize the sun will still come up tomorrow. People in your life will still love you no matter what happens in your business!
You are born with success inside you. You just have to provide the conditions under which it can flourish.
Are there any other fears that play into this?
The fear that you’re unsafe also plays a role. You want security. You want to know that when you do X, people will do Y.
When “I am unworthy” combines with “I am unsafe,” it’s not good!
It can lead to catastrophic thinking — where you immediately jump to the worst-case scenario.
As soon as you think “I can’t do this because…” or “That’s just the way I am…” you need to challenge that belief.
- What’s the lie you’re telling yourself?
- Where did the lie come from?
- What’s the real truth?
Is there a way for introverts to stand out that feels good to them?
Make micro-movements. These are small, quick actions that lead to small wins. These will help you build momentum.
1. Build referral partners. Think about all the services your target organizations might need. Start building relationships with other service professionals to build referral partners.
2. Package your services. Packages are easier to sell and easier to buy.
3. Go an inch wide and a mile deep. Narrow your focus and become a specialist.
4. Highlight what you’re good at. Create a lead magnet that highlights your expertise and surround it with great content. This makes it easier for prospects to find and connect with you.
5. Be easy to work with. If you’re easy to work with, clients won’t want to let you go. They’ll become your advocate both inside their organization and to their colleagues.
Tell us how you were able to land a long-term project recently with a short email
Winnie’s background is in HR. She didn’t like selling herself, so she looked for agencies that sold to HR departments. With a bit of research, she found an agency that had no one on their staff with HR experience.
So she sent the following email (approximate):
Subject: How to help your clients sell more faster
I’m a senior professional in human resources with a Masters in HR and 20 years of experience in human resources. I’m also an award-winning copywriter. [Mentions big win….] I noticed you have no staff members with HR experience. I’m sure, since I was the person you’re selling to, I can help your clients sell more of what they offer.
Within 30 minutes she had a response. And she had the job in less than four hours.
Where can listeners learn more about you?
Winnie’s website: Winnieanderson.com
Winnie’s podcast: The Courageous Entrepreneur
By the way … whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:
1. Grab a free copy of my new book for writers who are NEW to freelancing.
It’s called “The 3 Magic Levers: How to Get Your Writing Business Off the Ground and Land Your First Paying Client.” — Click Here
2. Download a free copy of my book for ESTABLISHED writers/copywriters.
You’ll discover how to quickly and predictably reawaken dead leads, generate new client opportunities and convert not-yet-ready prospects into freelance writing clients. — Click Here
3. Join our “Get Better Clients Academy”
You’ll get a personalized action plan based on where you are today in your business. Plus all the tools, scripts, checklists, cheat sheets and templates you’ll need to escape feast-or-famine … grow your income … and land clients who love and respect you. — Click Here
4. Get your website DONE!
If you’ve been struggling to get your website done … or if you’re not happy with what you’ve got today… let my team and me build you a beautiful website for your writing business. We’ll do all the hard work! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org … put “WEBSITE” in the subject line … and I’ll reply with the details.