Trick question! Neither—at least from my perspective. Historically, I’ll admit, we’ve been exposed to many attention-grabbing extroverts—and perhaps, for the foreseeable future, we extroverts may continue to receive partisan exposure—leading one to erroneously conclude that, to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to be an extrovert.
But how much more of Donald Trump do you really want to see? As it turns out, there are an increasing number of prominent entrepreneurs who are introverted and at the same time among the most successful of our era, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Charles Schwab.
I spoke with Nancy Ancowitz, a self-proclaimed introvert, who is now a nationally recognized expert on the matter. (Nancy Ancowitz is a business communication coach and the author of Self-Promotion for Introverts®.) Nancy says introverts tend to:
- Be deep thinkers
- Listen more
- Think before speaking or acting
- Get more “energy” from downtime
- Are more inclined to make deep conversation
- Are reflective and appear calmer
Do these attributes describe you more than 50% of the time? If so, then you’re probably an introvert.
Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, it’s critical to find the right business. An introvert is probably less likely to launch a successful PR business, although he or she may start something in technology, writing, or graphic design. The right business will capitalize on your strengths. As an introvert, will you be comfortable wining, dining, and schmoozing every night to build and maintain your PR business? Just because that answer is “Hell, no!” doesn’t mean you won’t be a brilliantly successful entrepreneur. Get into a business that can leverage your abilities so you’ll be the best entrepreneur you can: introvert or extrovert.