"There's zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.” (Susan Cain)
If you read my Featured Seller interview, you may remember that I'm an introvert. I got more comments and emails about that part of the interview than any other part. Selling online seemed like the perfect place for me: no face-to-face sales, no cold-calling, no presentations. I had online ads, I had blogging, and I had Etsy to get me "out there".
Now, I am finding that even when selling online, I can't always hide behind a computer screen. I'm starting to get invitations to sell at little markets in-person; peers are talking about conferences they're attending, and vlogging is now a huge and effective trend.
I have to tell you, I am terrified to make a video of myself talking. If I ever wanted to be a public speaker, I would need some serious vocal coaching - my voice is very soft, and on the higher side. The same goes for selling in-person - I've never done it before. I wouldn't mind going to a conference, since I wouldn't be the center of attention; but the idea of meeting new people puts me right back to the first day of high school.
The funny thing is that I actually do love being on stage. I played the violin for 8 years in school, and played any chance I got: chamber orchestra, quartets, solo & ensemble festival, recitals, pit orchestra, etc.
Then I realized why performing came so easy, and speaking did not: I was playing a part. I was reciting music. It wasn't ME up there, it was a violinist playing the part written by Vivaldi or Cole Porter.
I was able to separate "Ashley" from the part I played, because I loved the music so much.
I need to apply the same idea to my paper goods and my ideas. I am passionate about the stationery I make, and I believe in helping others be successful in their own handmade businesses. If I can just ride the high I get from what I love, then I can put the "Quiet Ashley" aside sometimes.
The video at the top of this post is Susan Cain, a self-confessed introvert who just happens to be an amazing public speaker. Because she is passionate about this topic, she is able to go up on stage and speak, even though her instinct is to avoid it. I think she has a lot to teach introverts, who are letting their true nature prevent them from succeeding:
In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.
Susan's book was recommended to me multiple times after my interview, and it's next on my reading list. This video is a good introduction to the Power of Introverts.
So, while I've accepted my introversion, and even embrace it now, I recognize that I'm going to have to leave my comfort zone now and then (like Susan did) in order grow - not just as a person, but as a business.
So I am curious - are any of you also introverts? How do you deal with social interactions that can feel like too much at times? What are some of the things you have done to put your introversion aside so that you can function both online and offline?