5 Myths About Video Marketing for Introverts (Plus 10 Tips)

5 Myths About Video Marketing for Introverts (Plus 10 Tips)

Is sharing on Video really, truly necessary today?

This article is for introverts and people who don’t have the resources, capacity, or desire for video right now, but aren’t necessarily ruling it out. 

I confess: I don’t really enjoy appearing on video. Most of the time. Not because I’m shy about it.. I’m not. If you know me, you may know that my “love language” and the way I communicate is verbal. It’s how I best express myself.

But for me, video is time-consuming and maybe not even the best use of my resources of time, money, and energy at the moment.  

I also have some very real practical reasons/excuses for not creating more video: 

1. I don’t have a good camera. I am using a temporary laptop with a  very low quality camera. Yes, I could buy one.

However, I don’t live in the US where you can order anything you can dream of and have it delivered to your door. I live in Bosnia. If I find something online, I’ll end up paying 3x the cost of the original item in shipping costs and import fees.

Not to mention that I’ve had stuff get lost in the mail. Yeah, it’s that bad.

And yes, I will figure out a way. I have friends in Tuzla and Sarajevo and other parts of Europe who can find one for me, and I can pay them when they visit. But that will be about 6 months from now. 

2. I’m also still working on lighting.  I’m not just being a perfectionist. I cannot in any way feel good about the product I would be producing on camera at the moment. Period. I’m not brand new to video. It’s truly embarrassing and doesn’t come close to reflecting my brand.

This doesn’t mean that I never use video, however.  I do, and I’ll explain more in a moment.

3. I had a brand called the Balkan Nomad. It was a brand that was all about video, photography, and secondarily, my blog.  It was an adventure and I took great pride and joy in creating video content. Today, I just don’t feel the same when I spend most of my days working from home. I also prefer to focus on a topic that isn’t dependent on someone watching me on camera. I’m not into being a “talking head.” 

4. I’m not really a video expert.  The more I know about digital marketing, which is  developing at a very fast pace, the more I realize I can’t keep up with everything all by myself. Video is one of those things I just have not prioritized lately. 

5. I’m very, very efficient at writing blogs. It also helps my SEO.  It makes more sense for me to turn written content into video than turn videos into blogs. 

6. I absolutely LOVE the idea of podcasting. It’s perfect for me and my audience preferences. This is where I choose to focus most of my energy for now.  With the right audio equipment, it has arguably the same feeling of intimacy as a video. PLUS people can listen from anywhere.. in the car, in the gym, or while doing household chores. 

These are my reasons and/or excuses for not creating more video content right now. 

I’m not here to give a definitive “YES” or “NO” opinion when it comes to if, when, or how you choose to show up on video.  Hell, I’m still practicing and learning. I have not ruled out creating more videos once I am satisfied with at least a minimum amount of video quality and the brand I want to stay true to.

I’m all about choices.  There are many more choices available to us than posting videos on social media, hoping to go viral, or on the other extreme, choosing not to create videos at all.

I’m also not here to let either one of us off the hook with tight excuses about why video isn’t important. Because I think it is.

Let’s get real about video, which is the medium that I think many of us, especially introverts, feel pressured into.

I think video is a fantastic medium, by the way. But there are a few persistent myths:

Myth #1: All people prefer video content over written content.

Nope.

This statement is based on a BELL curve. Meaning the “average person” may consume more video than read written content.  Sometimes simply because this is what’s right in front of them in the moment. The data is based on consumption, meaning that in many cases the ONLY option available was watching a video.

It was not based on asking a large and diverse cross section of people about what types of content they prefer.

Or asking what YOUR ideal client/audience prefers. Ask THEM.

Because of this, I was surprised to discover that I’m not the only one who would prefer to read an article rather than watch a video on most days.

There are many (myself included) who prefer to skim or read an article at their own pace, since watching a video can be too slow or too distracting. I can get through an article or transcript MUCH faster than the time it takes to get through a video.

It can also be hard to get through a video because of hearing/audio issues. For example, sometimes people can be difficult to understand because of accents, poor audio quality or volume, or affectations like vocal fry that can be annoying and make it hard to understand because frequency and volume drop off at the end of a sentence. Or a combination.

Hearing loss can also mean that video might not be the first choice. (Example: High frequency hearing loss can make it more difficult to understand female voices)

For all the talk about neurodiversity, sometimes the obvious is overlooked: DIfferent people prefer different types of media at any given time.

Sometimes it just depends on the content. There are times when I would rather read a blog, and other times when I would rather watch a video. I suspect that this is true for many others. I’m not entirely sure this has really, truly, been studied well. 

Myth #2: People prefer short videos over long form videos because of shorter attention spans.

Nope. Long form video is making a comeback.

My theories as to why:

1. Short form video doesn’t usually deliver the information we actually want and are actively looking for.

Although it does have its place, (it’s great for storytelling!) it’s often like reading the cereal box or a magazine at the dentist’s office.

You are not watching it because you asked for it, want to get real information from it, or want to be entertained from anything more than the weak dopamine hit you get from swiping or scrolling. It’s passive.

Long-form video, on the other hand (Think Youtube) is about getting the actual information you are searching for. (such as a how-to video) or for entertainment value. Sometimes it’s a little of both.

Again, I’m not against short-form video. What I don’t agree with is that this is the ONLY kind of content that people want to consume, and that it needs to be the MAIN focus of a content strategy. 

2. It can be frustrating to have to spend time searching and piecing together what we need to accomplish a certain goal.

Examples: Learning how to play a guitar solo, Email marketing strategy, learning how to leverage AI for your business.

I have the perfect example (a story) about my own experience: 

I have inadequate window coverings for the aggressive light that pounds through my southern-facing windows. It’s too hot, and there’s a constant glare on my laptop. I prefer more balanced and subtle lighting, and the option to rest in a darker room when my energy is low, which is often the case in the height of summer. 

I would also love to have some shade on the southern-facing balcony for myself and for the dogs. 

One day, I got so tired of it that I wanted to solve this problem as soon as possible. So I dropped everything and did some research on YouTube.

I typed in: How to build a sun shade (on a balcony) I’m not really into DIY home projects, and it’s not like we have a Home Depot in these parts.. Yes, I actually have to walk to the store (up hill both ways of course) and I have no idea where to find some of the materials I need for this project, or even if it’s possible. 

I also have to do all of this in Bosnian/Serbian.  

But my pain was greater than my desire to ignore this problem, so I decided that it was time to figure out how to make this happen. 

So I found a few YouTube videos. 

The first one was less than a few minutes long. Sounds fantastic for a person with little time or patience for this stuff, right? 

Nope. It sucked. 

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to envision, draw, or build something that you are maybe not inclined to conceive of from scratch in your mind. 

In my case it was how to drill eye bolts into concrete, and the mechanism behind how the blinds would raise by pulling on (what appears to be) a single rope. For about 4 meters of sun shade fabric, which I imagine isn’t light. 

The video had no narration and it moved FAST. There were no detailed close ups on how to thread the rope(s) through each eyebolt, and a few other major points I missed. 

It was frustrating. 

The next video was longer and more detailed, but the dude got right to the point with close ups and detailed instructions. He didn’t rush. He explained how it works in a way that even a beginner could understand. 

Because of this video, I was able to create a drawing that I can give to someone who knows where the heck to get the materials and already has a ladder and a power drill (which aren’t really things digital nomads want to spend money on.. I need a better camera and a new laptop first!) 

I also don’t enjoy spending time on handy projects around the house. When it comes to home projects, I have so little patience for it that it’s probably better for me to leave it to the experts. 

The point of this story: I wasn’t impatient with the videos that lasted more than 5 minutes. I was impatient because I had to go through several videos so that I could find what I was actually looking for: COMPLETE and detailed instructions so that I could get the job done. I didn’t want to spend all afternoon hunting for this information. 

People still want to learn how to do stuff or be entertained by a story or idea that lasts longer than a minute.

Even having ADD/ADHD doesn’t always mean that shorter, video content is better, because it requires more patience to hunt for what we need.

Even if the purpose is more for entertainment, I think that many prefer going a little deeper than a 30 second video. They want to find out what happens next or hear the full version of a song. 

Maybe that’s why many people prefer to binge on a TV series (or series of movies) than watch an episode each week, waiting for the next one to come out.

Too much information for short attention spans

Myth #3: If you aren’t on video, you are seriously missing out on the best way to market your business

This is partially true. I’m not here to say that video isn’t’ powerful.

But there are plenty of examples of successful brands that focus on other media, like podcasting or blogging.

We all also have to start somewhere, and for many the easiest way is via blogging.

And see Myth #1: Not everyone prefers video, at least not all the time.

Myth #4: Video always means “face time” in front of your audience.

While it’s true that people will want to see your face, even if for just a few moments, there are many ways to deliver a message via video without having to sit in front of a camera.

Much also depends on the industry, process or method, and personality of a brand.

Examples:

I teach marketing strategy and “tech.” Slide deck presentations tend to work well for me because I deliver a lot of how-to information that is enhanced by visuals that have nothing to do with seeing my face. I can choose to add my face (a small circle off to the side) if and when I feel like it.

This requires more time for research and preparation.

A drum teacher may want to use a combination of camera angles and focus more on what they are playing than on showing their face, or they can also use musical notation or videos of famous drummers to demonstrate different techniques to enhance a learning experience.

The carpenter/handyman that produced the video on how to build a sunshade: I never saw his face and never noticed. I was focused on his voice and the detailed visuals. 

These styles may require more editing.

A therapist YouTuber such as “The Crappy Childhood Fairy” almost exclusively focuses on speaking in front of the camera, and it makes perfect sense.

This style requires a degree of comfort in front of the camera, preparation (makeup, hair, background) as well as good lighting.

A fitness instructor will likely need to have their entire body in the frame, and will be moving.

This requires a mic that can be worn, and possibly several camera angles or at least one very well framed and lit shot. 

A reiki healer may choose to focus on their VOICE to deliver guided meditations, using still photos as a visual focus.

This approach will require a good microphone and a quiet place to record.

Bottom line: Lots of coaches and personal brands feel the pressure for “face time” and I think it could be preventing many of us from showing up online.  Not every video has to feature someone talking at the camera. Sometimes the focus is best placed somewhere else, or on the voice. 

Myth #5: Choosing not to show up on camera is always about fear and perfectionism.

I agree that sometimes it IS about fear, perfectionism, and endless procrastination. I also believe that simply showing up as you are can be powerful.

I’ve totally avoided getting on camera because of procrastination. (This type of media takes a LOT of energy for me to produce) But for a few months, I decided that every Friday I would get in front of an audience. It was a great opportunity to practice. The more we do this, the better we get.

On the other hand, sometimes showing up on video with poor screen resolution and bad lighting (or bad sound quality) really doesn’t meet the standards we want to set for our brand.

And sometimes maybe it’s just not a good time or we need a break.

A good example would be if we’re experiencing a personal struggle, depression, don’t look or feel great, or just need some extra privacy and space.

When it’s actually an excuse:

1. You intuitively know it can help, but fear is holding you back

When it’s not:

1. You are feeling depressed, are struggling, or need space that is private and off limits to the public.

2. You aren’t in a position at the moment to upgrade your camera, lighting, or hair. (yes, I’m using this as a legit excuse) 

Hopefully this is temporary, but I’ve been there.

Sure, you can show up in harsh lighting in grubby clothes or on a bad hair day. But if it really isn’t you or undermines your confidence, then maybe there are other ways you can show up until you get these things in order.

I still do think that showing up on camera is a great idea and a way for an audience to connect to a real person, but how and when you do it is up to you.

3. You are just getting started. Everything takes longer at this stage, and you want to focus on one area and master it before adding something else (like video)

Remember: there are other ways to create consistent content: SEO, blogging, slide presentations, podcasting, etc.

At any given time, we can create a combination that works best for us. 

Tips for sharing via Video:

1. Know when to say NO. I’m not convinced that having to constantly show up live on camera is always the right decision, or that “dancing on TikTok” is a good use of our limited time, even though entrepreneurs are constantly pressured to create video content.

You may even want to experiment and see what kinds of videos work best for you and which ones might be a waste of time.(Let the DATA decide for you)

What you’re looking for is engagement, (This is key) not just followers, and not necessarily new clients. You’ll also want to have other systems in place. Good luck relying solely on viral iInstagram or TikTok videos to get new clients.

2. Know when to say YES. It could be that video will move you forward but you are stuck in fear, excuse, perfectionism, and procrastination mode. 

That’s when it’s a good time to overcome this fear and get out there and make some videos. 

Video is also a great way to refine your communication skills. I found that my speech patterns could use a little refining, and that the more I practiced orally articulating what I do and how I do it, the better I got.

You get to decide.  I also think that most people know whether or not they are being honest with themselves and use this insight to help them find a workable solution that is right for them at a given time. (This will shift and evolve.. you may want or need to make MORE videos, or you may decide to focus on it LESS.)

3. Know that there are different ways you can use video.  For example, it makes sense for me to use slide decks to present information to my audience. I can show my face in full screen mode for a  few seconds and switch to a different view with me appearing in the corner of the screen while my presentation takes center stage. Or skip being on camera altogether.

You may just need to find a way that works best for YOU.

4. Focus on listening. Shift to a format that involves asking questions, listening deeply, and a thoughtful response. I’ve seen some show up in this way and it comes across very well. The pressure is off from having to “perform,” and the focus is on the question being asked.

5. Use slide presentations. I’ve done this for years. As I just mentioned above, if you choose, you can be seen on camera as a small circle off in the corner or even choose to not be seen at all.

6. Practice feeling good on camera without going public with it FIRST. Good lighting can do wonders, as can a good camera. Tip: Good audio quality is a MUST. Mediocre video is tolerable, but bad audio quality isn’t.

I’ve been through periods in which I didn’t have access to a good camera, background, lighting, or a good haircut. Honestly.. I didn’t. So I chose not to feel pressured into it.

7. Create a repeatable format/ritual that works for you.

Camera/lighting/location: Do you have great lighting on one side of your house or in front of a window? Do you want to go for a walk and take some of the focus off of you just sitting there and show some scenery? Do you want to make your dog or cat part of the “show?” Make it a ritual.

Topics/Scripts: You may also want to have a general format to follow, if it makes it easier for you. For example, every other Tuesday you could give (3, 5,7,10) tips on a particular topic.

Or you could casually but thoughtfully answer questions your followers/community is asking.

Slide decks:  I’m mentioning this a lot because I LOVE slide decks! You could also do what I do and let a slide deck be part of the focus so it takes some of the pressure of having to look great on camera.

8. Learn how to use your platform in a controlled environment to gain confidence. Honestly, if something isn’t perfect or you make a mistake or there’s a glitch it’s not really a big deal, especially for live streaming.

You audience probably isn’t expecting perfection. They just want to connect with YOU.

9. Don’t compare yourself to your favorite YouTuber. I actually know a few YouTubers and it’s a freaking full time job for many, especially if the goal is monetization.

I have to remind myself of this too.. I tend to compare myself with YouTubers with nice backgrounds, high production quality, and fascinating content/talents to share.

The behind-the-scenes truth:  ( I know a few wonderful YouTubers and it’s not easy!)

They have been through days, weeks, and months when showing up on video was a challenge. What helps is that they have a system in place, including studio setup, (background, lighting, audio, etc) as well as a team that can take care of things like editing and all the other things that go into producing a successful YouTube channel. 

They also have a workflow that makes it easier on them by recording and batching videos a few months ahead of their release dates, so that they generally only spend one day a week recording and are never in a position where they need to create content in real time. 

You and I may not have a system like this in place. (I sure don’t) 

For us mortals, it makes sense to focus on the basics: good lighting, good audio quality, and practicing the art of video.  

Get help with editing if you need to. Not because it’s hard, but it can be tedious and time-consuming. 

At some point, you will want to start streamlining your workflow like my friends have done in a way that works for you. 

Later, if YouTube seems like a great media channel for you, you can start learning about things like optimization, editing, thumbnails, improving production, and monetization.

The next logical step from here would be building a team. 

10. The goal doesn’t have to be about the video content

Like I mentioned earlier, it could very well be that experimenting with video helps you articulate what you do in a more effective way, make you a better speaker, or even be repurposed into audio content or a podcast. (Just strip out the video content)

A few quick tips: 

This is easy to do with an app like Auphonic. No tech experience needed.. And it will also clean up your sound so that it has a nice warm, crisp sound.

You can also transcribe your videos using an app like Otter.ai. This works well if your thoughts flow more easily orally than via writing.

To sum it up: You have choices. Many of the choices available to you can take the pressure off without closing off the possibility of using (and genuinely enjoying) video as a medium to convey your brand message, point of view/perspective, and vibe. 

I would love to know what you think.. both about using video as a consumer and creating videos for your own brand. 

A business strategy that works for introverts

A lot of marketing advice comes from extroverts: Lots of time on social media, too much sharing, low-quality “small talk,” and what feels like a waste of time for us introverts.

There really is a better way.  My goal is to help as many brilliant introverted entrepreneurs succeed on their own terms without the external noise or pressure to show up a “certain way” online.

I offer both 90 day coaching packages and 2.5 hour strategy sessions to get you started on a business that actually works.

How to Share Your Brand Story as an Introvert Entrepreneur

How to Share Your Brand Story as an Introvert Entrepreneur

By now you may have heard me (and many others) talk about this thing called storytelling.

Storytelling is HUGE. It’s powerful. It’s not a trend. It’s as old as human history. And it’s not going anywhere.

Having said that, it’s a pretty subjective area with lots of room for interpretation.

I want to explore this within the context of being  both an entrepreneur and an introvert.  (Foreshadowing: Maybe one step at a time)

There’s a lot to unpack here so expect to see packing bubbles and peanuts flying. I don’t want this to be a regular article about storytelling.

Note: If you haven’t read the first blog in this series, which is about boundaries and sharing online for introverted entrepreneurs, I invite you to do that first.

Why stories mean so much to introverted, thinking/feeling types

A story can be as deep and complex as the Tolkien legendarium,  or as simple as information put into a narrative form. A story can be written, but also can be told in a visual or audio format.

Stories can be written, spoken, sung, or translated into just about any communication medium.

Stories can be standalone creations, or exist as part of an intentionally curated collection or canon. The common phrase “Painting a picture” is a wonderful way to convey that a broader story can also be the sum of its parts.

Stories reach a part of our brains that non-narrative data cannot.

Most entrepreneurs limit their storytelling to their ABOUT page, and think of it as writing a journal entry instead of a story that serves a purpose.  Your brand story is important and needs to be treated as such.

Most entrepreneurs, including myself, tend to get stuck and hung up on this for various reasons.

Some don’t know what to write because they feel pressured or uninspired.

Some go about in randomly and make the entire focus on themselves without any of the other elements that make up a good story:

  • A backstory/founder’s story, (Exposition)
  • A compelling plot (The Hero’s Journey is a great framework)
  • An interesting character and character arc that is primarily about the HERO of the story (Your ideal client)
  • A Call to Action or Climax of the story (This all eventually leads somewhere)

And many, many others get stuck because they prefer not to reveal their “life story.” (I can definitely relate)

So how can we weave a narrative into our brand in a way that feels right for us as introverts?

Via sharing. This blog will be a continuation of my previous blog about boundaries and sharing, and I want to give you some more tips before I write another one about the actual structure of a good story.

With any form of storytelling, there must be some level of sharing.

The goal with almost any plot and character arc is that we CARE about what’s going on because we can identify with the story and the character on some level.

This is hard to do without some level of sharing, including that which makes us vulnerable. There will be some inherent risk.

It’s also about a willingness to share our values and perspectives, which can be uncomfortable or even scary, especially in the times we’re living in when diversity of thought isn’t exactly flourishing, or even frowned upon. (Notice what I just did here)

It’s also about building credibility, but it’s not what most people think. It’s not about simply showcasing your expertise. There’s more to it than that. When an author or screenwriter takes the time to provide some background and build a world that feels like you are right there in a specific place and time, this is another level of sharing, and it builds trust.

When everything lines up, the result is that the story doesn’t feel like random bullshit. In fact, we are drawn in even further.

If we’re talking about a brand, we are far more likely to relate to and trust what is being said.

If we’re talking about fiction, we’re able to actually suspend our disbelief and go along fully for the ride. Our subconscious mind buys fully into the notions of light sabers, magic wands, and the technology driving the Starship Enterprise or Serenity.

When everything doesn’t, the result is a movie, book, or intellectual property that isn’t compelling, or a brand that feels “off,” boring, and all over the place. (This is exactly the problem with most wellness entrepreneurs and their brand) 

This is why I often say that the beginning stages of marketing are about creating a world and and story, and inviting the audience into the world and the story to experience it.

Tolkien and Lucas were masters at this.

I think many of us introverts can relate, and why many times we choose to immerse ourselves in a good story rather than engage in meaningless conversation and gossip about weather, what the neighbors are doing, or exchanging recipes.

This is why I get tired so quickly of the conversations I have here in  a  community of extroverts in Bosnia (who spend a lot of time socializing)

Not because I don’t like them, I do. And not just because of the language barrier. (I speak the language but have not mastered it enough to really express myself properly)

Truthfully, after 20 minutes of these kinds of shallow exchanges, I’m good to go.. and ready to go home.

It’s the same reason why I just could never really get into Instagram. I might be missing something, but for now, I prefer to dive into a good YouTube video that actually takes me somewhere. (Often down a pretty cool rabbit hole) Or a good book or film.

I know that you also have a compelling story to share.

My messaging is also designed to attract introverted entrepreneurs who aren’t afraid of putting in some time and effort into their business and brand.

It doesn’t need to be an epic screenplay or even close to perfect. The goal is to start becoming more curious about storytelling, and to start exploring ways you can add it into everything you create.. from your ABOUT page to an email.

As an introvert, I know that the challenge in sharing a story often isn’t about being shy or concerned that developing a compelling narrative takes time.  It’s about whether or not it’s worth it to share.  The old phrase “Throwing pearls before swine” comes to mind. And that’s just ONE reason.

There are plenty of people out there that I don’t really like. (Honest INTJ here) It’s also true that it’s not necessarily the other person’s fault if they aren’t excited about the things/ideas that I treasure, and this definitely does play a role in how an introvert shares their story.

Introverts often spend a lifetime studying, exploring,  mastering skills, and talking about ideas. At a certain stage in our lives, we may discover that most people don’t care.

This makes sense, and I wouldn’t expect everyone, or even most people, to be interested in what I accomplished (of course) but also not even in the ideas I love to geek out about.

I’ve also encountered enough people who will change the subject to something trivial in an instant to make me decide that it’s not worth it to share much.

It makes more sense for me to document my experiences and direct someone who may be interested in what I have to say, and is open to a later conversation, to something I’ve already taken the time to write.

I can pour out my story in writing so that someone can access it if/when they are inclined to, and when they are not distracted.  And find polite ways to exit conversations when they get trivial.

Instead of opening up and wasting my time on those who are genuinely more interested in what’s happening around them in the moment, I’ve developed a system that conserves my energy and is respectful for everyone.

Tips for telling your brand story as a thinking introvert entrepreneur

This is the part where I’m expanding on my previous blog, which was about boundaries and sharing online.

Now I’m going to get more specific, in a very nerdy and introverted way, about the when, why, who, and how to create a story around your brand.

Many of us crave a deeper connection, while at the same time, we may not feel like sharing much, let alone intimate details, with anyone but maybe a few people we trust. (I can count them on one hand)

It may feel as if we don’t really have much to say that will be of interest or make a good story.  Or that sharing something just for the sake of it feels kinda.. cheesy.

So what do we do, especially when everyone’s talking about storytelling and authenticity these days?

I want to explore a question:

How much sharing are we talking about here?  And how do we know what to share and what to keep to ourselves? 

How do we harness the power of storytelling if/when we prefer to keep our private lives sacred, maintain a sense of mystery, or allow ourselves extra “space” during periods when we need it the most?

How much TIME will this all take?  This is a really good question. I find that most introverts don’t mind spending time on something if there’s a payoff.

I also know that we are especially drawn to stories.

So far my message in a nutshell is: Stories good. Me Introvert.  When and How share stories and not make hard?

The first thing I like to remember:

What would Gandalf or Dumbledore or Yoda do, say, teach, or share?

Art credit: Lucas Graciano (DeviantArt)

In business, the story is less about our personal story, and more about our audience. More specifically, the audience/ideal clients we want to attract.

We are there as a guide, much like Gandalf or Obi Wan or Dumbledore was there for Frodo, Luke, and Harry.

Personally, I would LOVE to hear what was going through Gandalf’s mind at many points in the LOTR trilogy.

At the same time, can you imagine these wise mentors oversharing on social media?

Or focusing only their own past or struggles? To to point where it becomes more about drama than insight?

Or not having the confidence to clearly articulate their values and insights?

Or even living as hermits and never sharing their wisdom to our favorite heroes?

I can’t.

They are at a place in their lives which is more about providing empathy and authority. They actively listen, and may choose to share something about themselves ONLY to those who have earned it or would benefit from it in some way. They may not even go into great detail.

Or they may share with the general public if it makes sense. Of course, this is trickier.

They also didn’t just say “I’m sorry this is happening to you. Now I advise you to do this.” This is actually kind of arrogant, and sadly, I see life coaches and “healers” who do just this very thing.

Gandalf does much more by also providing context and choice, because he respects the people he counsels and interacts with. This is illustrated clearly in the scene where Frodo wishes he never came upon the Ring and Gandalf delivers his famous line:

A good leader also has an approachable vibe.  And maybe, if they are lucky, the counsel of a wizard or Jedi Master.

Well, now that you know I can be a LOTR nerd, there are plenty of examples in other stories you may love.

I think that this can be a useful thing to remember when thinking about what to share (or not) online, and how to share it.

I also wonder if these famous wise characters had tips for us mortals, and what they might be. So I wrote a list of advice that perhaps they would share.

The key questions to ask yourself as an introvert when deciding when how to tell your story online:

1. First, and most importantly: How do you feel about sharing a particular piece of information?

If it doesn’t feel right, then don’t do it. Trust your instincts. (Trust The Force)

That’s it.

However, I’m an INT (J/P) so I think about stuff. And I don’t think that this is a bad thing, necessarily.  So let’s look at that.

2. Could this information be used against you?

It doesn’t have to be something negative. The same can be true of things that are positive and dear to us.

This sounds like a crappy thing to say, but unfortunately it’s true.

A few examples:

An ex might find a way to shit on your happiness.

Family members can be especially weird about our own personal choices, preferring to stick to what they made up their mind about us years ago.

If you live in a small town where gossip is the local sport, posting on social media can make you a target. I also have to be careful because even an innocent or benign comment could be misinterpreted because of the lingering tension in the area I live in. (I’ve watched this happen to some of my friends) I’ve joked about not wanting to start another war (I have a weird, dark sense of humor) but seriously.. my peace of mind is important to me.

One could easily say “I don’t give a single fuck what anyone thinks of me.”  This thought can guide and direct you as well. Go for it!

If you have something to lose or that could be compromised, like the safety of a child, pet, or your home, again, posting on social media may not feel right to you.

If you are even moderately famous, you may also be a target: Neil Patel, who owns a multimillion dollar SEO business, has been sued for trivial reasons, because he has money, and prefers to protect himself legally as well as keep his private life sacred and separate from his business life.

I know a YouTuber who had to move his family because they were getting visitors coming to their front door once they hit around 1M subscribers.  (Scary and totally inappropriate) He could probably be an expert on the balance between visibility and privacy, and also happens to be an INTJ.

I don’t want to focus too much on the negatives here, because truthfully, the goal is to become more visible, not hide, if we want to succeed as entrepreneurs.  However, as an introvert, I get it. I don’t want to throw just anything online just for the sake of “visibility” anymore, and that’s why I wrote this blog!

Aside from obvious choices that might cause problems later,  I think that all we can do is refer back to #1.

You may also want to do periodic checks on your privacy settings and make sure you stay on top of your online reputation. (Google yourself) I also think that it’s important to maintain positive relationships with not just new leads and clients, but those you’ve worked with in the past.

This could mean a PAUSE on replying to someone who isn’t happy, stepping back, and having some replies at the ready that you can customize after a cooling off period. (And then make sure that you go back to focusing on attracting only the right clients for you so that this is much less likely to happen in the first place)

Personally, I’m not a big fan of big review sites like Yelp.  I’ve never used them. and don’t plan on it.

I don’t think they are used properly or honestly, and that it’s all too easy for someone to use it to exact revenge on someone for almost any reason, and difficult to remove those reviews.  Same goes for positive reviews. It’s become more arbitrary, less constructive and less informative, and to me, makes little sense. (This is a perfect example of another point I’m going to bring up in #8)

There’s probably more I could say about this, especially with new AI technologies, but I want to save this for another blog.

3. Does it “resonate” with your audience?

First, whatever you post must be relevant. This blog is a great example.  If I were to post an excerpt on social media, would not be relevant to everyone.

Second, it must resonate. This is where our message and unique “voice” plays a key role.

Does it mean being formal and “professional”?” Not necessarily. However,  if that’s aligned with your message and brand, then yes, you can lean into a more formal vibe.

If your brand is more about being a rebel or maverick, your posts will need to reflect that.

If your brand is about being friendly, down-to-earth, and accessible, then you may be posting pictures of your pets or sharing everyday experiences, and this will also come across as relevant.  (Note: This needs to come from YOU, not generative AI)

If your brand is infused with humor, nerdiness, or passion, (you get the idea) then your posts can, and probably should, reflect these things.

What isn’t good is being “all over the place” (mixed messages) or wanting to attract a particular audience but leaning into an entirely different message online.

I want my brand to have a little bit of mystery in it, which I’ve discovered recently. It doesn’t mean that I can use it as an excuse to hide, but it will color how I show up.

Another aspect to consider is SEO. I’ve seen entrepreneurs go off on philosophical tangents in blogs that nobody, let alone their ideal clients, will find in a Google search (or other engine search) online.  When you have a relevant story to tell, you want to make sure it resonates, but it’s equally  important to include relevant keywords.

Just like a movie is marketed and titles and trailers are VERY well thought out, we want to do the same for the content we work so hard to create.

4. Does it provide insight or entertainment?

It’s a pretty straightforward question, but it’s even more important in the earlier stages of the buyer’s journey.  (The later stages are for those who are actively searching for the product or service you offer)

This generally includes social media and email marketing.

Examples on social media:

I recently saw a post about sobriety. It was insightful and thoughtful. It didn’t come off as preachy, nor did it strike me that the author was leveraging gratuitous vulnerability. (Vulnerability porn)

I also saw a post from a friend who just sold a puppy to a famous football player. It’s a great “feel good” post with a good message, which happens to be right on brand for her.  I don’t think you can go wrong with puppies and heartwarming stories ever, but this really works well for her brand.

As a digital nomad, I would post pics from various locations I was working from, but also stories about the realities of travel in Europe, as well as a few bold statements against the travel blogging and “Lifestyle Influencer” BS that was everywhere back then.

None of these were sterile/”professional” posts. People don’t go on social media for that. They go there to be inspired and entertained.

5. Is it respectful to our own privacy AND theirs?

This is again about your own instincts, but it’s a good question to ask yourself before you post.

6. Is it about empathy and appropriate sharing?

Empathy isn’t about those “I’m so sorry to hear about your loss” posts. It’s my opinion that those kinds of posts just make many of us feel unsatisfied (as the poster who probably needs more support than any FB post can provide) and awkward (as a commenter: What the heck do we say?)

I’m so happy when I see real empathy and appropriate sharing modeled online.

For example, I know of a marketing expert that exudes a warm, empathetic vibe about entrepreneurship and marketing. Every word he says conveys that he truly gets it. He responds to individual questions in a thoughtful and respectful way. He makes one feel as if they really matter.

That’s HUGE. And it’s a great skill to cultivate.

I can tell that he put some thought into the stories he has told about his own experiences.

Some are “founder’s stories.”

Just like Spiderman and Batman have their own origin stories that answer a lot of questions for the audience and help us relate to a human bestowed with superpowers, founder’s stories are about potentially life-altering moments that made someone decide to head down the path they are currently on and help others.

Some are “in the moment” stories that we can relate to, like lost luggage or tech glitches.

Of course, sometimes it’s one’s JOB to get VERY specific about life challenges.

There is a YouTuber who calls her brand “The Crappy Childhood Fairy.”

Obviously, she’s going to share topics that are not generally considered appropriate for sharing, but in this context, she’s dead-on specific. You can tell she’s been in the trenches, but the focus isn’t about her, but a blend of empathy and authority (as well as context and choice/agency) about topics like toxic relationships, gaslighting, and childhood trauma.

She does this well because she’s an expert on this topic.

7. Can the lesson/insight/experience be turned into a compelling story?

metaphor for a compelling story: A river lit by a sunset that has a magical feel

This is something I’ve been actively working on, and that I believe takes practice if you aren’t used to storytelling or making use of narrative.

If I have an insight, it’s natural for me to want to share it as pure information: Bullet points, quotes, tips, researched data, making a strong case for something, and educating.

More and more, I like to frame my insights, experiences, learning, and growth  in the context of a narrative.  I’m still studying and geeking out on storytelling, and learn something new every day about things like how to introduce a character, how to write a strong character arc, and how to avoid certain tropes and plot holes.

So I’m challenging myself to play with this more and more by applying it to my own brand and content.

For example:

The other night I was trying to write the previous blog in this series about sharing and oversharing,  and felt stuck. Something felt flat. Something was missing.  So I decided to add some personal examples and stories that highlight these insights as a narrator, rather than as a textbook full of information and data.

See what I did there? This last paragraph of course isn’t the most brilliant thing I’ve ever written. It checks most of the boxes: It’s relevant, feels right, respects privacy, and can help someone understand the point in a way that the brain is more likely to grab onto and remember.

However, the above paragraph on its own is not super compelling.  I think that the story I’m trying to convey is contained in this blog series, not in a single paragraph. The bigger story also unfolds in everything I post, write, or share in a video or podcast.  It’s also about the images I choose.

You get a sense that the tone of my brand isn’t the same as the typical “Female Entrepreneur” brand.  And this is very, very intentional.

The same goes for the clients I work with.. I LOVE watching their narrative unfold.

8. Here’s the curveball: Is it something that might rock the boat?  AND.. because of this, not in spite of it, will provide value to the people you want to attract?

This is the essence of Point of View marketing.

Avoiding “oversharing” doesn’t necessarily mean avoiding something that may be a bit polarizing. (I’m not necessarily talking about religion or politics here) Some talk about “safe” topics that are guaranteed not to piss anyone off, but still overshare.

For example, someone who shares very intimate and detailed and frequent accounts of her daily life.

Some have strong opinions that go against the tide, and although it may feel scary to share them, it’s not necessarily oversharing when they decide to share an unpopular opinion.

For example, it’s not popular these days to tell entrepreneurs that they might have to do some hard work and remain consistent over time. As in years, not months. But more than a few of us in my industry agree.. and they also feel strongly that telling people that it’s supposed to be an easy, joyful walk in the park every day is bullshit.

I’ve also got some strong, specific, and potentially unpopular opinions about where I think the wellness industry is heading because of undercharging and a general resistance to embracing every aspect of being a business owner, including marketing/defining a brand.

This has, by the way, resulted in getting to know some of my colleagues that I’ve always admired but was hesitant to approach!

Popular doesn’t always mean better. Sometimes it pays off to take a stand on something and speak up about it. It can mean new friendships and alliances, or illuminating the darker aspects of a prevailing paradigm.

So in this case, if I’ve run it past these 10 “criteria”  and decide that it’s a go, I may also decide that the perspective I’m offering is actually much needed.

Because those who want and need to hear the message will be so glad that someone is finally talking about the things that they may not want to say out loud. They may be thinking, or even let you know: “I’m so glad that I’m not the only one.. THANK you!”

9. Are you aware and prepared for any consequences, both negative and positive?

When I spoke about not having information used against me, this is kind of a gray area. I find that if people want to use information against me, even if, (or because) I’m silent and keep to myself, they will.  Heck, I’ve lived in a small town in Bosnia as a foreigner long enough to learn that if people can’t find shit about you to gossip about, they will make something up.

However, I can’t hide forever. There comes a time when I will feel the need to speak up and share things that maybe right now I don’t want to share.

For example, I could write an entire book about my adventures and relationship with my dogs here, and how the culture here isn’t exactly dog-friendly.

When I do, I’ll be going through this list, but also be prepared for the consequences: No matter how diplomatic I am, there will be people that probably won’t like what I have to say.

And people who will agree with me 1000%. This could mean that I need to step up even more, or make my introverted self a little uncomfortable about being in the spotlight.

Both are “consequences” of speaking up.

10. Does your decision feel in alignment with your personal brand?

I know this sounds like marketing speak, but hear me out.

Recently, I took a quiz called “Which Fascination Type Are You” (Sally Hogshead) I’m the “Secret Weapon.” So of course, my brand is most effective if I embrace my natural tendency to maintain a certain sense of mystery.

I take this into consideration when I share. For this reason, you probably won’t see me making any “watch me get ready for my day” videos on Instagram.

There was a time when I considered being more like Amy Porterfield or Marie Forleo. But I would feel ridiculous trying to be like them.

This is related to #3 (Is it relevant to your audience) but is more about it being authentic.

For some types, (I encourage you to take this quiz) it will make sense to share more, as it will be part of your personal brand. The Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How you share will also factor in.

For example, Tad Hargrave of Marketing for Hippies is fantastic at “In the moment” videos of him at home. They feel genuine and there is a slight sense of intimacy there, as if you were part of a group of friends meeting up at his home for coffee.

My jam, on the other hand, is creating blogs and podcasts or even books. I like making that time up front to create something that will serve me for months or even years.  I’m not as much into the ephemeral and “in the moment,” at least for now.

Even when I’m speaking in front of people live, which I don’t mind, I want to have plenty of free and low-cost resources in my library to share so that I don’t have to remember every single little thing I’ve written over the years, or feel the pressure to be “ON” all the time.

(The pressure of being ON all the time would make a great blog..)

Others show up in a fun and entertaining way which is completely in alignment with their brand (and checks all the boxes above)

To sum it up and apply the 10 tips to a real world scenario:

Here’s an example that you can run through all 10 of these checkpoints:

I distinctly remember the toxic “positivity culture” of the 2010’s and a period of major depression I went through when this was a “thing.”

Without oversharing, (I wanted to respect my own privacy) I still wanted to speak up on behalf of those who were being told that they could simply “choose to be happy.”

I wanted to make sure none of what I shared could be used against me. (Although realistically, I’m not sure this can be guaranteed)

I wanted it to help others who felt alone because of this nonsense.

I thought about whether it might be relevant or not, in context of the work I was doing at the time. As an acupuncturist, I would say yes, definitely.

I thought about what someone wise might say to a friend, acquaintances, and the public.

I at least wanted to start or be part of a greater conversation about this topic.

So I spoke up. A few of the perpetual members of the “positivity cult” were a tad put off, but I actually got a VERY positive response from even more of the people who were watching me on social media.

Later, I noticed that many others were also starting to speak up about this, and eventually the trend lost much of its momentum.

Slowly, I think that the stigma around depression is lifting. I want others to keep telling their stories and be heard, so that they never have to feel alone and subject to toxic trends like this again.

That’s just a start. I could write more examples, but maybe you can think of more. In fact, I’m going to invite you to do just that over the next few days.

Now that you’ve come this far in reading this blog (cool!) can you come up with a list of things you might want to share, stories you might want to tell, and ways to tell them?

Then run them by these 10 criteria to determine if it’s a YES or a NO, or even a “Maybe Later.”

I hope that this article is helpful to you in some way, when it comes to deciding what to share and what to keep to yourself.  I would also love to know what YOU think!

A business strategy that works for introverts

A lot of marketing advice comes from extroverts: Lots of time on social media, too much sharing, low-quality “small talk,” and what feels like a waste of time for us introverts.

There really is a better way.  My goal is to help as many brilliant introverted entrepreneurs succeed on their own terms without the external noise or pressure to show up a “certain way” online.

I offer both 90 day coaching packages and 2.5 hour strategy sessions to get you started on a business that actually works.

Marketing for Introverts: Boundaries, Privacy, and Sharing

Marketing for Introverts: Boundaries, Privacy, and Sharing

How to set boundaries as an introverted entrepreneur..

This blog is about privacy, sharing, “oversharing,” being an introvert, and honoring quiet periods in our lives.. as introverts who still need to run a business and be visible online. 

I admit it took me a while to write this entire blog series. I’ve been tempted to edit it many times but decided to keep the concepts intact. I’m not assuming that all introverts think, feel, and function the same way I do. 

When I wrote this, I had INTJ/INTP and a bit of INFJ in mind. I’m no expert on these personality types but I’ve found that we do have some common ground. 

I’m also aware that there are other types of introverts and that this blog isn’t speaking on behalf of these types. In the end, the goal was about striking a balance between expressing my own personal experiences, what I think I have in common with other introverts I’ve met, and being open and curious to finding out if “it’s just me or do others also find this to be true.” 

I also have many friends who are extroverts. I have nothing against extroverts. What I do want to speak up about is the bias towards the extrovert culture, which I still find to be a bit of a pain in the ass. I also want to talk about specific scenarios that exist that can feel like a challenge for many introverted entrepreneurs, including myself. 

This blog also isn’t about “marketing tips” for introverts. I’ll do that in another blog.  Here, I wanted to dedicate some space to things I think need to be talked about first. 

Let’s get to it..

I’m less and less inclined to share personal information these days. It isn’t necessarily because I’m an introvert, although it does play a role.

Here are a few of my theories about boundaries from my own experience as an online entrepreneur:

1. I’m a private person. I empathize with celebrities who may have been forced to share their private lives. The general public or even our chosen audience has not earned access to our private lives. Period.

2. Sharing a thought or opinion doesn’t always feel “safe.” (or rather, worth the risk) On one hand, I think that it’s important for us entrepreneurs to share our point of view (perspective) as part of our personal brand.

The flip side is that this takes energy, and when it comes to deeply personal information, to me, and to many introverts, it can often feel like too much. I find that I need to keep my personal life more private lately.

I go into more depth on this in my next blog.

3. I live in a place where boundaries are very loose.  People knock on doors and if there’s no answer, some will just enter if the door is unlocked.  Many ask about private details of one’s life. I’ve also noticed a tendency to gossip. I call it the “dark side” of having a local community.

This creates a lot of anxiety for me, as an introvert that values privacy. Yes, I keep my doors locked and ask people to text me first, but it’s a THING here, and people forget.

4. I need time to focus on both interacting with clients, but also time for uninterrupted “deep dive” work. Some may be fine with constant multitasking and never really focusing on one thing long enough to get good results, but I’m not one of them.

I also honor that I am not great at “switching energy” quickly, nor do I want to at this stage in my life and career.

Note: Those job descriptions for “fast-paced environments” and being able to “juggle multiple tasks” are framed as admirable attributes for the applicant to have, but in reality this language almost always translates into the fact that the CEO/management doesn’t have their shit together and wants to hire some cheap newbie who hasn’t figured this out yet.

Isn’t it better to just set things up so that they are done correctly in the first place? And to focus on important, not just urgent tasks? I think so.

I know a few HR experts who agree with me on this.

So instead of being my own shitty boss, I make it easier for my inner employee (who is also, surprise, an introvert) by blocking out time slots for different types of tasks, documenting every step in a complex process, making decisions and sticking with them, and managing my own workflow.

The fact that I don’t prize myself on being frantic and putting out fires and wasting time by juggling multiple tasks instead of laying down a solid foundation in the first place doesn’t make me a less skilled or valuable employee. It makes me a more skilled and valuable CEO.

And I’m definitely more interested in that.

It’s stunning how so many startups working with far more cash flow than I do don’t bother with any of this, but dump their incompetency on the shoulders of their new employees that they probably cycle through on a monthly basis.

This is a soapbox that I often step on.  I want to mention this because I have another soapbox: Introverts are not low-functioning people with “special needs” that interrupt a productive workflow. In fact, I think the opposite is often true. High-functioning starts from the ground up, usually by people who are able to see the big picture. And introverts are quite good at this.

Boundaries in networking and collaboration

One of the reasons I don’t often “get out there and mingle” with other online entrepreneurs is that I don’t really like the “hidden agenda” culture.

To me, it’s perfectly fine to talk about business and just say that you have an offering to sell.  That’s what we’re here for, not to add another “friend” to a list of 1000 people we can’t possibly keep track of and “connect” with. I get very, very irritated that this is the corner we’re often painted into, because honestly, I need to network too in order to make a living.

So I’ve had to come up with ways to filter in the good and filter out what I don’t want and be super clear about the expectations of our connection, especially if we’re agreeing to spend time together on a call.

Let’s say I meet another entrepreneur online and we decide to meet for a Zoom call to “connect” or collaborate.

Coaches are notorious for this: They forget to turn the dial from “coach” to
“colleague” and will start asking me questions first, when there is no implicit and mutual agreement that I’m there to answer a series of questions.

If I’m not careful, the tone is set from the first moment not by me, but by someone whose agenda is to dominate the conversation, take notes, and use the information they gathered about me later.

Now, I will only answer questions if at least one of the following criteria is met:

  • It’s a coaching or mentorship relationship in which I consciously have chosen to acknowledge a shift in the power dynamic because I’m asking for help.
  • There is an actual need to know any particular details about me
  • I also get to ask questions

You can see what this looks like.. it’s an actual page on this website.

This filtering process can be pretty straightforward if it’s about direct contact with an individual:

“Hey, do you want to get together for coffee? I can show you what I’m offering because I think it might be a great fit for either you or your audience/clients. I’ll be making a pitch that will focus on why this thing I’m offering is super important/time-saving/ultra cool, regardless of whether someone buys from me or not.

Then I would love to hear yours, because maybe we can refer to each other or be a guest on each other’s podcast, especially if we share the same philosophy.”

Friends having coffee together

If someone actually worded it this way, there’s a VERY good chance I would say “Sure!” (But if you don’t have a website or YouTube channel or podcast or something I can check out..  I won’t bother)

Online, in my opinion, can be trickier because at least for me, approaching someone via text just never comes across the way I want it to.

That’s when we may be tempted to use fake language like “Let’s connect.”

It’s also easy to feel weird about asking why many of us even bother keeping in touch with hundreds of people on social media.. which is of course, obviously, to earn a living, not about some popularity contest that’s already rigged. (The elephant in the room)

As an introvert, I have a hard time wrapping my head around why on earth anyone would think that trying to forge a real connection with hundreds of people is anything but a chore. So I prefer to be honest about that.

On the other hand:

1. I don’t expect interesting people who also love to share ideas to just fall from the sky.  It takes some work. 

2. Choosing to not try to be everyone’s friend doesn’t mean that I can’t also be approachable.  I’m a real human who enjoys real connections. I’ve also met colleagues that I admire and was shy about approaching them.. and they turned out to be not only “real humans” but cool people I enjoy talking to as well.

I, too answer every email personally, and most messenger requests. Like a real human. 

3. I don’t mind when people reach out to me personally. Not at all. Many think that some types of introverts are cold (especially my type, INTJ/P) but we’re actually pretty loyal. If we already feel a connection to someone, that person is far less likely to get “replaced” than perhaps they would by a lot of extroverts I’ve encountered.  And honestly, part of it is because it’s just easier that way.  (In addition to when I like someone I do enjoy their company)

Many introverts tend to avoid the work it takes to make new friends. I’m speaking for myself here, not everyone, of course. 

I don’t mind, however, putting work into expressing myself as precisely as I can. For this reason, don’t mind reading longer texts.  I do read them, and enjoy them. 

I’m sure I’m not the only one who prefers to express themselves verbally. It’s the way my brain works. This is also how I understand others. 

I also keep in touch with a closer circle of friends via messenger, because it’s easier for me than using my phone as an actual phone. There’s a practical reason for this. Paying for phone/data plans here (I’m currently living in Bosnia) is a waste of money and the connection isn’t reliable enough for my business.

About talking “on the phone.. “

(Big surprise here) I, like other introverts, don’t particularly like”talking on the phone.” When I had a local business, I had to, which is fine. Today, I have a booking system in place and hours set aside specifically for client calls.

Speaking to someone directly isn’t what I dislike. It’s the fact that it interrupts whatever I’m doing, and I’m expected to drop everything to attend to it immediately. Messenger, on the other hand, doesn’t need a real time response.

This means that if I’m there in the moment, I’m happy to respond immediately.

Or get my thoughts together to summon a proper reply

Or at an appropriate time in my own time zone

Or attend to it in a few hours

Or at least wait till I can go to the bathroom and make some coffee first.

Or even ignore it if I want. (This is rare, but I have that option)

I also don’t require or expect  immediate responses.

There’s another reason I don’t like “immediate response” channels of communication: It makes me anxious.  If I can get the job done without unnecessary anxiety, I’m down. 

When I see Messenger notifications it’s usually something I look forward to. I’m in a different mindset when it comes to email, which is all business.

Granted, I have the kind of business that allows me to do this. In my brick-and-mortar acupuncture practice back in the US, it’s absolutely critical to have a method for phone inquires to be addressed immediately. That’s why I loved our extroverted receptionist (and gave her free treatments)

Oddly, I actually prefer talking in real time to friends. Usually via Zoom and a cup of coffee or glass of wine so that I can give them my undivided attention.

If you are reading this and we have communicated via DM, I am honored and hopefully do my best to balance real connection and respect for space and privacy. Since messenger to me is more private, I try to be very respectful about how I use it.

I’m also getting more into other platforms like Discord and Mighty Networks.

Your preferences may be different. In the end, I think it’s important to think about these individual preferences, both for ourselves and for our audience/clients, and honor them, rather than use a particular channel just because it’s the next hot thing.  (Chatbots, I’m looking at you, and you have a LONG way to go)

It’s also important to be realistic about what’s required for a business. If it’s a brick-and-mortar business, I don’t think that ignoring the phone because we don’t like talking on the phone is gonna fly.

I know that this is a lot of information simply about the ways (channels, methods) we choose to communicate, but I also think that getting this right and designing our business and workflow around a way that works both for us and our clients is often neglected, and needs MORE thought put into it, not less.

Then we need to actually write a policy, and stick to it. (This would also include office hours and turnaround time for replies)

On social media in general, it gets a bit fuzzier.

Sharing on social media as an introvert

Lately, I’ve found myself filtering out who can read updates on my Facebook timeline.

I admit, I have not really been wanting to share anything on social media lately.

However, I have to also consider how this might impact my business and visibility. I’m isolated, physically, and visibility is pretty important in order for me to create a sustainable source of income.

I do go into more depth about this in another blog about storytelling for introverts.

I think many of us go through periods in which we really don’t want to be sharing a lot, even when we know that being consistent about how we show up online is important.  Do we just force ourselves to do it? Do we give up? Whose advice do we follow when there’s so much out there? (Including mine)

Let’s talk about that.

Some valid reasons for sharing SOME information:

1. People can sniff out BS pretty easily

Just like a book or a movie.. if there’s  no backstory, exposition, plot, or character introduction,  it’s likely to fall flat and seem hollow, preachy, out of touch, lacking in empathy, or even made up.

A brand today needs to stand out from the crowd and attract an audience that it truly resonates with, instead of settling for a boring, safe message that ends up attracting a non-committed and non-engaged audience that will only pay attention if there isn’t something more compelling to see. Which will be just about anything else after about 2 seconds.

So that means that avoiding sharing because it may rub a few people the wrong way isn’t a valid excuse to avoid sharing. (For me, anyway)

This isn’t just about standing out. It’s about credibility and trust.  If we can see that someone’s message is consistent over time, that’s a good sign. If it changes constantly, that’s not a good sign. It’s like that guy we knew in college who told us whatever we wanted to hear just to get into our pants.

If all of this sounds a lot like dating.. it’s because it is.

Bottom line: I don’t trust people who aren’t willing to tell me about themselves. And I’m likely not the only one.

From the nosy neighbor to the coaches who want to “connect,” if I don’t have information about them that I can at least research, I’m probably not going to interact, at least not on a business level.

Today, yes, this means having a website or YouTube channel or blog or podcast or something your audience/potential ideal client can see and get a feel for who you are and what you do.

2. Consistency.

As I say this, I have to mention something else I know is true: Consistency is key when it comes to creating a sustainable business. So I must find other ways to remain consistent when I don’t feel like sharing in a way that still honors my need for space, privacy, and doesn’t exhaust me. (More on that later)

Another aspect of consistency expands on the point I made above. It’s about having a cohesive message, story, and brand in place.

Have you ever come across a coach that has a certain vibe in her social media posts, and a completely different message and design in her sales page? Or maybe her emails and checkout pages look like something thrown together in 2010, because she “hates tech” and balks at spending any more than $15 per month on her marketing.

And it shows.

This is what I call “all over the place” branding. Often, the quality is poor and amateurish, and it screams “sketchy” or untrustworthy.

I’ve seen entrepreneurs who have built a solid brand and foundation with very little cash flow.  They invested time.  As they grew, they hired people or invested in software/infrastructure to take them to the next step. And the next.

The difference is that they take their business and their brand seriously.

So far, I’ve talked about reasons why it’s important to share online. Again, be sure to check out the next blog in this series where I go into more depth about sharing your story online as an introvert.

Are there some very legit reasons NOT to share online? What might these boundaries look like?

Let’s take a look.

Reasons I may choose NOT to share:

1. When I have a goal or dream that isn’t yet fully formed

Telling people about a goal before it happens means that some are going to choose to shoot it down. Even if it’s one person, the benefit of sharing something that hasn’t even happened yet may not outweigh the potential negative impact of just one naysayer. (For me, anyway)

Much of this will depend on the kind of support system in place, but I’m a believer in keeping lofty dreams to ourselves, protected and incubated like a newborn, until the time is right.

When the goal is met, THEN I may choose to share.

2. Personal struggles: When it just feels too raw right now

Whether it’s about health, mental health, finance, relationships, I’m less and less into sharing this kind of information on social media or in any content I write. At least for now, and at least not in detail.

Later, the struggle may very well turn into a perfect story that mirrors the Hero’s Journey. But not while I’m currently walking through Mordor.

This is primarily about honoring myself.

woman looking at long road ahead of her with storm clouds

3. To keep up appearances

When it feels exhausting to try to “keep up appearances” it’s probably going to be obvious. (especially on video)

I’ve heard that showing up “raw and vulnerable” helps us to be seen as trustworthy and real.

On the other hand, showing up during low periods can just as easily repel. Attractive people with good lighting, nice surroundings, and shiny happy faces who talk about how they overcame a challenge tend to fare better online than the ones who look battle-worn and are reporting from the front lines.

Or trying to, while wishing they could just take a freaking break.

For example: Depression.

Struggling with depression is real. (I’ve experienced it firsthand and have been speaking up for years about the stigma and the toxic “Positivity culture” for years now)

If one chooses not to show up on camera during a period of depression, it could be that they need time and space. They may need more privacy and time to shift the focus inward.

I want to add that this can also be true for introverts, although again, one of my pet peeves is when introversion is pathologized.

Introverts are not functioning at a lower level than extroverts.

One could even argue the opposite can be true. We’re VERY high functioning and our superpower is all about not wasting time on “throwaway stuff” and trivia.

Introverts often create thoughtful and in-depth content, but in exchange, showing up every day in ways that may suit an extrovert (Say, live streaming or dancing on TikTok) may be too distracting or exhausting for an introvert, especially if they are going through a major challenge.

This will likely detract from their ability to create the high quality content they could be focusing on.

The result will probably be low-quality content.

While the previous reason was more about honoring ourselves, this reason is about how we appear when we try to put on a mask and cover up what’s really going on. I think people can see right through this.

4. Gossip

I’m bringing this one up because it’s seldom talked about, even though it’s everywhere and has been around since humans have existed.

Sometimes people share online with an agenda: To make themselves look or feel good, possibly at the expense of someone else, or to “get even” with someone in a passive-aggressive manner.

I don’t want to participate in it or pass it on, even though I’ve been guilty of it before, to a mild degree. I also don’t want to be talked about or a source of entertainment so that others can feel better about themselves. I’m especially wary of people that seem to enjoy talking about others online or that seem to have no filter.

Note: I’m not talking about holding back on a “rant” about the things that drive us crazy as business owners. I’m talking about singling out and naming someone. I talk all the time about stupid shite I see in my industry.. including things some of my colleagues say and do, false assumptions/myths, and even crappy clients.. without calling any one person out.

I do this if if passes the 10 criteria I talk about in depth in the next blog.

However, if I want to share something positive, I may name or give that person credit.

This may seem obvious, but in social media, the boundaries aren’t always clear and obvious. Gossip is a very old human trait and it’s not going anywhere, so it’s a good thing to recognize and choose to stay away from.

5. Endless questions

This is a cultural thing, but I’ve seen it show up online, particularly with random coaches who want to “connect.”

Where I live, people start right in with asking personal questions. Are you married? Do you live alone? What do you do for a living? Ugh. I used to feel obligated to answer these questions. It’s exhausting enough when I have to do this in English.

It irritates me that I’m put in this position because I don’t want to appear rude, when what I REALLY want to do is say “That’s none of your business” and keep on walking.

Same goes for the online world. Being the one who leads with questions is an icky way of dominating a conversation, unless it’s mutually agreed upon that questions will be helpful.

5. When sharing kills the “mystique.”

Recently, I’ve taken the Fascination quiz (Sally Hogshead) and managed to guess which type i was before even taking the quiz. My Type: The Secret Weapon.

Which makes sense. (If you get a chance to check out Sally Hogshead’s book., it’s.. well. fascinating and helpful)

Many of us are inundated with information about how to be “passionate” and vulnerable and likeable.

We’re pressured to reveal more about ourselves than we feel comfortable with, and the answer to this is sometimes to “get out of our comfort zone” by trying to be a completely different type.

This applies to us personally, but also our brand. I’m studying this more and more.

Some questions that came to mind for me:

Aren’t people also attracted to those who maintain a sense of mystery?

Isn’t it sometimes more exciting knowing that you don’t “Get to” know everything about someone?

Or, on the other hand,  are given the honor of being trusted with intimate information?

Here are some things we can say when people try to “pry” information from us:

  • I don’t feel like sharing that.
  • I know you are curious, but I don’t feel comfortable sharing that information
  • In my culture, we don’t talk about personal things.
  • That’s really none of your business.
  • Before we meet, let’s agree on the agenda beforehand
  • I think/feel this conversation is headed in a different direction than we had intended. Can we go back to the agenda?
  • Julie Odler.  Airman First Class. Serial Number…
  • Now can I ask YOU some questions?

Other things we can do:

  • If I notice that people tend to gossip, I avoid them.  This is more of an issue in the small towns I’ve lived in than online, but I’m still cautious.
  • Sometimes it helps to change the subject (and balance the power dynamic) by asking questions.
  • Be mindful in advance. I can’t count how many times I’ve let people ask me questions I didn’t feel comfortable with just to avoid confrontation. Much like moving out of the way for people that take up space in public places, I tend to do this on autopilot
  • I need to remember that I don’t owe anyone any information about me.

That’s a wrap for this blog!

Check out part 2 of this blog, where I give 10 tips on sharing and storytelling as an introvert and dive a little deeper into the concept of sharing online as an introvert.

A business strategy that works for introverts

A lot of marketing advice comes from extroverts: Lots of time on social media, too much sharing, low-quality “small talk,” and what feels like a waste of time for us introverts.

There really is a better way.  My goal is to help as many brilliant introverted entrepreneurs succeed on their own terms without the external noise or pressure to show up a “certain way” online.

I offer both 90 day coaching packages and 2.5 hour strategy sessions to get you started on a business that actually works.