Laura is one of the first people I met when I was getting started in my business. I have seen her grow her business over the past few years in a way that works with rather than against her introversion. Watching Laura in action made me believe it was possible to have an introvert friendly business.
Laura provides copywriting services for small online service-based businesses. She has a wonderful membership – the Worditude Club where you can get copywriting coaching and seriously improve your copywriting skills. Laura has a copywriting toolkit as well as copy consults.
Why did you decide to start your own business:
My second child was born with additional medical needs which meant he needed to be cared for at home – he couldn’t go to a childminder or nursery, and the first 2 years of his life involved a lot of appointments and emergency hospital visits. I had to quit my job to stay home and look after him, and we still needed a second income (I had been the main earner) – so I was highly motivated to find a way to make money from home.
What is the number one thing you have done in your business so that it works with your introversion rather than against it?
I’ve built my audience largely by appearing as a guest expert for other people’s audiences. Initially as pre-recorded interviews and masterclasses, now I do these live more often.
This was perfect as an introvert – I was at home so I could prepare before, and de-compress immediately afterwards. And I had a huge input on what the questions would be, so it was much easier to manage than a spontaneous conversation.
What introvert super power do think has particularly helped you build your business?
I find it really easy to see the problem from my client’s perspective, and then creatively come up with a solution. To name things, to find a new way to word things, to know how to order things in a sales funnel. I work with 30+ businesses at any one time, and when one of my clients shows up on a call, I can remember what their business is, what we’re working on, quickly understand what they need in that moment, and come up with a solution for them. It’s like there’s a super computer inside my brain. As long as I keep feeding it great writing (by reading good books), and the latest marketing know-how (by keeping up-to-date with who’s doing what, why) – then I’m able to help my members whenever they need me.
What has been your biggest challenge being an introvert in business?
100% going to in-person events. I vowed to never ever speak to an in-person audience. This year I realized this was holding me back and attended a few in-person events and was a speaker at The Mumpreneur Collective’s Momentum Day, which involved speaking for 30+ minutes to around 40 people, then taking part in a Q&A panel – plus all the chatting during the breaks.
What does a normal (or ideal) work week look like and have you been intentional in this set up to support your introversion and need for quiet?
Erm…..not very quiet.
I have two sons, aged 14 and 12, and I home-school them. So on weekdays most of my day is spent with them, then I grab 2-3 hours to work in the afternoon and evenings. And I work pretty much all weekend, until Sunday afternoon when we head to my parents for dinner (every week because I am so spoiled).
I’ve set my calendar up so I’m only available for calls at limited times during the week – I’d rather they were clustered together on a couple of afternoons, then I know I have whole days clear when I won’t be speaking to anyone.
Are there any systems you have put in place that have been crucial to managing your energy?
Not systems – but people. I outsource anything related to graphic design and website management to Amber Phillips from Amber Phillips Design. And anything related to my membership platform is handled by Jonathan Stewart from Business In Notion. This stops me wasting time and energy on things that I’m not good at and don’t enjoy.
Are there any other introvert businesses that inspire you that people should check out?
Fifi Mason – She’s a brand building coach who focuses on introverts – https://www.facebook.com/thefifimason/
Claire Grace – she’s a VA – https://www.facebook.com/theassistantquarters/
How has attending in person events helped you to grow your business and do you have any tips for helping introverts get comfortable (or at least less uncomfortable) about attending?
Yes! Every time I’ve attended an in-person event, unexpected good things have happened. But it also takes a lot out of me – so in 2020 I’ll probably attend less.
#1 You need to be resistant to FOMO. There are many in-person events that people I know and like will be attending in the next 12 months, but if I try to attend them all, I’ll be a puddle of gibbering, crying nonsense. So I’m selective about when I leave the house. AND when I’m at these events, I don’t do all the things. I often skip social dinners in favour of a quiet picnic in my room (then re-join the party a few hours later).
#2 Plan your diary around these events – make sure you don’t have anything too draining planned in the few days before, and totally block out a couple of days afterwards. I really felt the pressure to get back to work as soon as I’m home, but I’m in no position to be productive, so it’s just a waste of my time. Much better to be upfront about how long I’ll be out of the office for, and take those extra couple of days.
#3 Be honest – Multiple times I haven’t recognized people I should. Even people I had spoken to the previous day. I just tell them ‘I’m sorry, it’s not personal. When I’m in large groups of people I sometimes get overwhelmed and it makes it hard for me to put names to even familiar faces’.
#4 Let other people do the talking – At the last event I attended, by the end of day 3, I was barely functioning. But quite a few people wanted to talk to me before they left. So I let them do the talking, I asked them about their business, if they’d enjoyed the event, what they’d taken out of it. And if they wanted to ask me a question, or talk about my services, I was honest about how tired I was and asked them to email me so I could get a better quality response in a few days time.
Your membership is unusual in that it has a lot of one-on-one support of members. Why did you choose to offer this as part of your membership and how do you structure this so it works for you (as well as your clients)?
For the first year I ran a more traditional content-based membership. It was around $40 per month, I released a new training each month, offered one call a month…..and then I ran out of things I could do a training on. And the feedback I had from my members was they didn’t want more content, they wanted more me. So against every bit of advice I was given, I made myself available three times a week for office hours calls, and 1-1 feedback on member’s content, and put the price up to reflect that. Then once the numbers grew, it became more manageable to have members book in for individual 15-minute calls, rather than show up to the group Office Hours call.
I love this model. It works well for me. I can change the hours I’m available for calls to suit me. And I love how much difference I can make in just a few minutues 1-1. I also love seeing the progress my members make. They often start out feeling a bit fed up about writing – not enjoying it, not feeling confident about it. And within a few months they start getting interaction with their audience, ideas come to them more easily, the words flow more readily – they grow in confidence and style.
What is your top tip for helping introverts convey their personality through their writing?
Notice how other people do it. It’s in the little asides in brackets. It’s in the little stories from their life. It’s in the photos that they add into their content. It’s in the way they speed up because they’re-just-so-damn-excited-the-words-smoosh-together. Or s-l-o-wwwwwwww riiiiiight d-o-w-n because they’re too tired to think right now (I was up until 1am dealing with teen-friend-angst issues).* It’s in the whispers and the SHOUTS. It’s in the little glimpses of reality that they could’ve kept hidden but decided to share anyway. It’s when they play with words, make words up, use old words, use silly words (like smoosh).
Find people who do this. Spend time every week reading their content and noticing how they got you hooked, made you care, helped you fall in love with them, then nudged you towards buying, clicking, or doing whatever else their call to action will be.
Then decide which techniques you’d like to use.
*yep, that was an aside, and a relatable story all rolled into one.
Where can people find out more about your business:
Does your business work with your introversion? Take the quiz and find out!