Building a thriving business as an introvert
with Jessica Williamson
Perhaps if you are an introvert or if you know some introverts in business, there might be stories about how being an introvert can affect your ability to succeed in business.
In today’s episode, I chat with Jessica Williamson about smashing those beliefs, secret introvert superpowers and how introverts can step into their confidence as a business leader and create a thriving business.
In this Episode:
- 05.35: What is an introvert?
- 09.23: Working through the stories about being an introvert in business
- 13.22: Being an introvert for business success rather than holding you back
- 15.48: Using your introvert superpowers
- 22.00: Building a business around your life (not a life around your business!)
- Jessica Williamson Website
- Jessica Williamson Instagram
- Masterclass: The 3 unspoken rules of 5 figure months that don’t involve hustling harder
- Clare Wood Services
- Clare Wood Instagram
Jess is an award winning mindset & business coach and serial entrepreneur having run 4 businesses in the last 5 years… its safe to say, Jess loves to keep busy! Jess has been featured in publications such as Forbes, Channel 9 news and the West Australian, to name a few, for her expertise in growing businesses online.
In the last 2 years, Jess has found her true passion in her work as a business coach. Through her 1:1 coaching and Dreamers & Doers Membership she loves helping other female entrepreneurs unleash their potential and believe than anything is truly possible! Combine that with her coaching certifications, experience in business and her innovative strategies for growth, you’re going to get a tonne out of Jess’ presentations today!
When Jess isn’t busy supporting her clients and getting them epic results in their businesses… or running her own empires… she loves to explore and go on adventures or relax at the beach!
Perhaps, if you’re an introvert, or if you know some introverts in business, you might have some stories around how being an introvert can affect your ability to succeed in business. In today’s episode of the podcast, I’m chatting to Jessica Williamson and we are smashing some of those beliefs about introverts. In today’s episode, we talk about some of the superpowers that introverts have, and how you, as an introvert, can step into your confidence as a business leader and create a successful and thriving business. Let’s dive in.
Hello and welcome to The Clare Wood Podcast, where myself and incredible guests share about money mindset, financial successes, and how to manage your money in a fun and practical way to create wealth and abundance in both your business and your life. I’m your host, Clare Wood. I’m a business coach and a money mentor. I strongly believe that money has the power to positively change the world. I can’t wait to help you transform your mindset around money, create a love of numbers, and build the business of your dreams, so you can live a life of financial freedom, giving, and global impact.
Well, a big warm welcome to the podcast. Jess, so lovely to have you here.
Thanks for having me, Clare, and I’m excited to chat.
Well, I’m really excited to dive into this topic. We had a bit of a chat off air about running a business as an introvert. Before we dive into that, can we start right back at learning a little bit more about you, what you do, and how you help people?
Yes. My journey’s been a long one in a short time, if that makes sense. I feel like I’ve crammed 20 years into the past five or six years. I am now a business and mindset coach, and I am so, so passion about helping female entrepreneurs, specifically, to build their business around their life. And I see so often that people are building their business first, and then, if there’s time, I’ll have a bit of a life outside of that later. I’m really passionate about helping people use their business as a vehicle for creating that dream lifestyle that they are looking for as well. But I’ve had five different businesses and grown and scaled them. I had a swimwear brand as my first business, and I’ve only just recently sold that last year to someone all the way in California. I had warehouses internationally, and grew and scaled that, plus so many different kinds of businesses that I’ve had. But we’ll be here all day if I explain them all, but it’s been an interesting ride. I’ve had a lot of experience in different business models, and my own success in different types, plus all of my mindset training that I just am so, so passionate about. Mindset being one of the key things, and I know you speak a lot around money mindset, as well, is a huge, huge piece of the puzzle to building a successful business, and also having a successful life, and earning the income that you want. That’s where I’m at now is just sharing that knowledge with everyone.
And helping other people to do the same. I love that. I love that. Let’s go right back to the start. Did you imagine that you would have been here right now having built five businesses, having created all of this success? Was it something that you always envisaged? Envisaged, is that the right word? Envisioned… Or has it exceeded your expectations?
Yeah, to be honest, I’ve never… Back in school or I did a business agree at uni and things, and they’re always saying set your short term goals and then set your 10 year goals. And I’m like, if I knew where I wanted to be in 10 years, why wouldn’t I do it today? I’ve never been very good at looking too far in the future, but I’ve always been a big, big dreamer. I actually did a podcast over on my podcast Couch Chats around how I started my first business when I was like in year two or something. I was like six or seven years old at school and the teachers caught wind of it and told me to give everyone’s money back even though it was more of a not for profit, so I’ve always gone for these ideas.
And when I was going to choose what to study at uni, I decided, well, I’m going to study management because if I’m going to be a CEO one day, logically, I better study management. And this was just the way my brain worked. I was never like, oh, who am I to be a CEO? I just thought, well, if I’m going to be a CEO, I better study management. I would’ve never really imagined that I would be here because I am very much an introvert and like to sit behind the scenes in the past, and that was probably a huge lack of confidence as well. And so I’m really passionate about sharing that. Even if you are an introvert, it doesn’t mean you can’t show up on social media. It doesn’t mean that you can’t go to networking events. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have a success one thriving business just because you’re maybe a little bit more quiet or a little bit more shy and that you can build that confidence as well.
Yeah. Cool. Let’s dive into that. What exactly is an introvert if some people don’t know?
What is an introvert?
Yeah. The technical definition, I guess, of an introvert is how you get your energy. You get your energy from being alone. I need a lot of alone time. Probably most of my week is alone just to recharge. And so a lot of the time people couple in being quieter or more shy or more reserved with introverts, and that is true to an extent. There are definitely some introverts who are a little bit more extroverted in their personality. But the reason why that does get grouped in, is because introverts are very introspective. We look inwards a lot. That’s why we need time to ourselves and we are deep thinkers and we prefer one-on-one conversations rather than group things.
And I was actually speaking to someone, and maybe you can relate to this, Clare, you said you are an extrovert, but I was speaking to someone else who said to me, “I just feel really uncomfortable with one-on-one conversations and I just would much prefer to chat to 10 people at once than one.” Whereas, I love the one-on-one and that’s why I do a lot of one-on-one coaching with my business now as well, and I kind of attract those people who enjoy those one-on-one connections as well.
Yeah, I love that. Yeah, so I am heavily on the extrovert part of the spectrum and I love the way that you described it because someone once said to me, “You can tell if you’re an introvert or an extrovert. If you have a bad day, what do you do?” And for me, I just ring people. I ring my mom, I ring my husband, I ring my mates. If something’s going on, I feel like I want to talk it out with people. Whereas, and again, you correct me if I’m wrong, but some of my introvert friends who said, “If I’ve had a crap day,” they go, “I might share with someone, but mostly I sort of just want to be on my own.” And for me I love being around other people and I don’t really have a lot of alone time. It kind of feels uncomfortable for me to do that. I know it is important to have time alone, but I really do love being in the energy of other people. Yeah, I don’t know if I hit the nail on the head there…
And everyone is different. I love hearing how you… I think that’s the great thing, because the reason why I decided to start talking more about being an introvert is because I was noticing that society mostly is showing the extrovert, right? If you want to be a speaker on stage, you’ve got to be loud or this vibrant personality. Well, that’s the story that I was telling myself. And so I realized that actually there’s huge power in maybe being a bit more quiet or being a more reserved and not having to be that extrovert as well, and just understanding the energy levels.
I just wanted to share more of my idea of what it means as well, because I didn’t really see anyone that was talking about it. People were talking about, “Be your authentic self online,” and, “You’ve got to start swearing because society says, don’t swear, so I’m going to be swearing and I’m going to be loud and all of that.” And I thought, right, so maybe to be authentic, I need to be more loud and I need to start swearing. But I mean, those are all narratives that were true for those people. I wanted to share the other side of the coin that maybe didn’t get shared as much as well.
Yeah. I love that. And I also love how you touched and said that that’s your experience, and I think that that’s something really important. Often people like to put labels on things, but the reality is there’s a whole spectrum and a lot of a gray area in there, so different people can have different experiences being an introvert or an extrovert, or perhaps you’re somewhere in the middle if you’re listening along.
Let’s dive a little bit into some of the stories that you had about what an extrovert can and can’t do. You sort of touched on a few of them. Maybe you could expand a little bit more about what people might perceive if you are an introvert; some of the things that could hold you back in business are?
Working through the stories about being an introvert in business
Yeah. Obviously, at the moment we’re getting a lot of messages of we have to be showing up on social media. You have to show your face. You have to do reels. I just want to say, firstly, you don’t have to do anything. But what I do see introverts do is they say, “Okay, everyone’s telling me to focus on my strength and not on my weaknesses. So I’ve identified as an introvert. I’m just not going to show up on social media. I don’t have to because I’m not an extrovert.” And so I see a lot of people mistaking the strengths of being an introvert and using it as an excuse to play small. And I would say I was an introvert.
When I first started my first business I was more than confident that I could build a huge, successful global business. That was not a problem. But I didn’t want anyone to know it was me. I didn’t want to put… I didn’t have my name anywhere, not even on the about page on the website. No one knew who it was. And so that was something that I had to work through myself. I could have said at the time, well, I’m an introvert, no one needs to know who I am. No one has to put a face to the name or a name to the brand. But I, over time, I said to myself, okay, I need to get my brand out there so I’m going to pitch myself to do some public speaking at an event, or I’m going to connect with people and go on podcasts, even though I hated public speaking to the max. I would shut down. My body would shut down.
I wouldn’t even like it when you were in a class or something and they said, what’s your name? I didn’t even know what my name was when people asked me to talk in front of a class or something like that. As time went on, I built up my confidence. We didn’t necessarily know what we were going to be chatting about today, and most of the time when I get onto podcasts and things, but I’ve built up the confidence and I think it’s more like a muscle that you’ve got to work on and not use it as an excuse. And so that’s the same as putting yourself out there, grabbing every opportunity, talking about stuff that’s maybe uncomfortable, getting out of your comfort zone. All of these things, I would just say, don’t use the introvert card as a crutch to hide because everyone’s got something special to share, and it’s just about finding out the way that you want to share it as well.
Ooh, I like that. That’s probably going to trigger some things in a lot of people. “What do you mean I’m an introvert? Can’t I hide?” Well, here’s something interesting. As I shared earlier as an extrovert myself, I’ve got a terrible fear of public speaking as well, and I can totally relate. I remember in corporate, even when we’d go around the table and I’d sit there and I could just feel the anxiety building up when someone was going to come to me and ask me a question or something, but the way that you do get through it isn’t by avoiding it. It’s by practicing and practicing and practicing. And honestly it does get easier in time. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, make sure that you do push through the discomfort because that’s really where the growth happens.
Absolutely. Sitting in your room by yourself is not going to help you get better at facing those fears, whatever they might be.
I love that. Okay, so we’ve spoken a little bit about some of the stories that you had about being an introvert, and you have sort of pushed through that discomfort to really put yourself out there. Let’s talk a little bit about how you’ve been able to translate that into success in business.
Being an introvert for business success rather than holding you back
Yeah. I think for me, it was a bit of a journey and obviously I’ve gone out there and worked through five different businesses, all hugely successful businesses, made a bunch of money, but what I was really lacking was this sense of this is what I’m born to do, or this is what I’m here to do. Until I found my coaching. And so working through that self discovery, firstly trying things, figuring out… And I personally don’t see anything as a failure. Maybe some people would see those other businesses as a failure, but to me, they were making good money. They were causing me a lot of stress and I decided that they weren’t for me, so I moved on from those. And so it was really through the trial and error, the self discovery, figuring out, oh, wait, introverts can have great strengths and really can have their own superpowers as well.
And really stepping into who I was. And when I started to do that, I started to talk about it on my podcast, on my Instagram. Those people started to come out as well. And I started getting so many messages of saying, “Wow, that is me. Thank you for sharing that because I haven’t heard anyone else share that.” And so there’s so many things there. Busting through my fear, figuring out who I was. Trialing a lot of things in order to know what I don’t want from life and what I do. And from that, from really understanding who I was deeply, what I want and what I don’t want, that is when my business started to skyrocket and really take off, especially being more of a personal brand. But even if it’s not a personal brand, that is really at the core of everything.
Because firstly, people are attracted to passion. People can connect deeper. And in order for people to buy from you… I sell quite high ticket coaching with my one-on-one coaching. It’s quite an investment and people need to feel like they know, like and trust me for that. So for me to build my own income, for me to build my own business, to then share that knowledge with others, I really had to start with knowing myself and then having the courage to share that with other people as well.
What are some of the powers of introverts that you’ve mentioned earlier?
Using your introvert superpowers
Yes. Some of the main ones is that we love deep one-on-one conversations. I get very uncomfortable in group situations where everyone’s talking, more so just like I get… I don’t like to call it small talk because that sounds like it’s not nice, but just a bit more top level stuff, fun stuff perhaps. I’m normally just standing and listening. Another great trait is that we are very good listeners. We are very deep listeners and that is usually why maybe we don’t talk as much because our brain is processing all of the things happening around us. And I’m always, not consciously, but subconsciously scanning the environment and noticing everything around and really listening deeply.
That’s a really great strength for me as a one-on-one coach particularly, because I can really listen and not just listen to what the clients are saying, but listen deeper to what the underlying meanings or what other things are happening for them, because sometimes my clients would just be brain dumping and they’re like, “Jess, I want this, but I want that. And I can’t have both and I can’t do this or this or that.” And then I’m just listening. They’re brain dumping the whole lot. And then I say in less than one sentence, “Here’s the solution.” And they’re like, “Oh my gosh, Jess, how did you pull that out from what I said?” And so being an extrovert can definitely have some of these traits, but I think being an introvert by nature, we give at least these superpowers that we can really amplify or turn up if we know what they are.
Really deep connections, one-on-one, great listeners, sometimes tend to be a little bit more quiet but that’s not a scientific fact. It’s just my own perception of it as well. But I used to think that when I was in networking events or sometimes I’d even be at an event where I’m the speaker, but I’m mingling with the audience and people don’t know I’m the speaker because I’m standing there quietly. I’m not commanding the room until I get up on stage. And when I do speak on stage, I have a pretty powerful message to share, but I’m not sort of taking control of the entire room at the same time.
Yeah, and I think this is kind of connected, but a lot of introverts that I know are quite considered and the things that they say are quite well thought through because whereas I sometimes find that I’m talking first and thinking later.
See my brain goes faster than my mouth can, so I’m processing way too much in my brain.
I’m the opposite. The mouth saying things before I’ve really thought it through, so I think that’s another fantastic trait of introverts. I love that. Let’s talk a little bit about the kind of clients that you do work with and the kind of work that you do.
Yeah. I, by nature, have been attracting more introverted style people, but that’s not to say that I only work with introverts. I think that they just maybe connect with my energy. And I think you’ll find that I’m sure as well, Clare, you just find the right people you just connect with really well. I work a lot with business owners. I work with product-based businesses and service, which I know a lot of coaches maybe just work with one or the other, and that’s because I’ve had the product-based business with global warehouses. I’ve had an agency model where I used to take influences all over the world as a travel agency. And I’ve had a bricks and mortar events venue here in Perth. And now my coaching business has more of a service online style business. I kind of had the experience in all of the areas.
That’s what keeps it fun for me. I like variety and I don’t like one size fits all. For me, I do love that one-on-one and I get to work with so many different people. Some of them are more early on in their journey. Some of them are really scaling up for world domination and we’re setting up international warehouses and all sorts of fun things. I like to work in that space, but I also work with people who have already started. I’m not helping people get started or set their startup. That’s really where my passion is and what I absolutely love doing.
And I’m actually launching my Business for Life course this month, depending on when this comes out. And so I’m really, really excited about that because that will be my first core/group program, where I’m helping people, not only grow their business and income, but to build their life first. And so it’s kind of a bit of life coaching mixed with business, and you can have both. You don’t have to just focus on mindset or just focus on business or just focus on having a holiday every day. You can have all of them. That’s kind of the work that’s lighting me up right now.
Wonderful. People are liking the sound of that? I believe you’ve got a masterclass that’s coming up. Would you like to share a bit about that?
Yeah. The masterclass is live on January 19th, and I will be having that as a replay as well. You will be able to jump onto my website or possibly in the show notes and sign up for that webinar because that is where I’m going to be unpacking all three of those aspects and showing you how you can have all three of those as well, and it’s completely free.
Amazing. Well, I love that. I do just want to chat a little bit more about what you spoke about, about building your business around your life. Where has this come from? I love that you talk about… It’s something that I talk about a lot as well. It’s like business success doesn’t mean anything if you are bloody strung out and exhausted and overwhelmed and miserable. Why did you get passionate about teaching about this topic?
Building a business around your life (not a life around your business!)
Yeah. Pretty much everything I teach is because I’ve lived it. And so I think that is the best place to come from when teaching anything. Not just saying, “Well, this is great in theory and I’ve just skipped that step and I’m here living my life.” I’ve been there. In 2019, I had all five businesses. I was doing my coaching full time, running a global swimwear brand with international warehouses. I had my events venue. I was doing a bit of photography on the side. I was doing all of these and I was like, I’m multi passionate. I can do them all. Which the thing is I have a strong threshold for stress so I could do them all, but it’s not to say I should do them all.
And so in 2019 I was running all five. I was also on a plane every three weeks. And while that sounds fun, it’s not a holiday. I wish it was. But every three weeks, as an introvert, I would take a week to recover just energy levels, and then I would take a week to pack again and then I’d be gone. I was just always going, my energy was low, I wasn’t eating properly, wasn’t getting enough nutrition. My skin was just breaking out so badly because my stress levels were through the roof, and I’d hit adrenal fatigue, all the signs of burnout that you could imagine I was there. But I kept pushing through. And I think my body was purely running on adrenaline because like I said, I could do it, but I shouldn’t do it, right? It wasn’t for me.
And so I went through a journey of self discovery and just understanding, okay, this events venue business that I’m running is giving me anxiety on the weekends when I’m meant to be relaxing. People are in my space and I don’t know what they’re doing in there. And I thought that is giving me stress and anxiety. When I’m trying to relax on the weekend, I’d be trying to watch a movie with my partner and I would just have this crazy anxiety. I don’t normally suffer from anxiety and so I knew that this business, it was time. And so I exited and sold that business. And then I continued on and then I realized, look, my swimwear business served me for the last five years, such a fun and wild ride. It took me all over the world doing so many fun things, and I still love fashion, but it’s not my purpose at the same time.
I started the process to sell that business last year and it took quite a while as you would imagine, selling internationally. A business takes quite a lot of time. It’s quite complicated, actually. You can’t just transfer the business like you could in Australia, so I did that. And just had to let go a lot of things. I mean, that’s when my brand was my baby. It was my very first thing that I ever started and I loved it, but it just wasn’t for me. It was really about letting go of all of those things and asking myself, what do I want from life and what does success mean to me? Because people kept coming up to me and saying, “Oh my gosh, Jess, you’re on a plane every three weeks. You’re jet setting. You’ve got international warehouses. You’re doing coaching. You’re doing this. You’re raking in the dollars. You are so successful.” And all I felt was stressed. And the funny thing is I had a swimwear brand. I love the beach and I went to the beach probably once a year. I don’t live that far from the beach. I went once a year for a photo shoot. That was it. And so the irony in that is kind of crazy, but I really hit that breaking point and I thought, what do I want out of my life? What does success mean to me? And I know that you speak about this as well, but I’m like, I couldn’t care less about the Gucci handbag. To be honest, I don’t even like the look of them so why would I spend that money on that? To me, success means no stress, having choice with where I spend my money, having experiences and travel when we can. That is what success looks like to me. And until I really defined that, I was just chasing someone else’s idea of success.
And it’s not to say that you can’t have money, because I think a lot of people see that as well. Like, “Oh, I don’t want a Gucci handbag. I just want a fun lifestyle. That means I don’t need money.” I think you can still have money. And you’ve spoken about this. I heard your podcast this morning actually around those traits of being wealthy, doesn’t have to mean you’re greedy or that you want more than you need or anything like that. And so I had to work through all of those things in order to get to where I am now and in, I think it was from September, as soon as the sun started shining again coming into summer, I was going to the beach multiple times per week and just absolutely leaning into that. I have every Friday off just to either chill and relax and recharge my introvert batteries or to go on adventure.
Last Friday I visited my friend who lives two hours away in a country town. We went to a winery, we went to the beach, and I just had a fun adventure. And that to me is success. Having a lifestyle and earning the income that you desire because you don’t have to choose. Going to the beach and earning no money or working all the time and earning a ton of money. You can have both. And so that’s what’s led me to… I’m like, I want to shake people sometimes. I’m like, stop hustling, stop working harder, please.
I love that. But when you’re in it, right? You don’t know when you’re in it. I know that it can happen to anyone. It certainly happened to me. And it’s really easy to look in from the outside and see these things but when you’re in the midst of it, you think there’s no other way. I have to do this or my income will dip if I’m not grinding all the time. I really, really love that you are teaching people about this, what a fantastic message and that your course sounds just wonderful.
If anyone does want to go and connect with Jess or Jessica, I’ll be popping her Instagram in the show notes for today’s episode, as well as a link to this master class. And Jess, is there anything else that you want to say to the listeners before we wrap up for today?
Yeah. I mean, hopefully you’ve taken some things out from that and hopefully you can start living the life you desire. I do also have my podcast over on Couch Chats. If you would like to immerse yourself in a bit more of that mindset or learning a bit more about my journey, I share a ton over there, and Clare is going to be on one of the episodes as well so make sure you come and listen to that one.
Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for joining us today. I’ve really loved our chat and learning a little bit more about creating success as an introvert, so thank you so much for coming on Jess and sharing your journey.
Thank you so much, Clare.
Thanks so much for listening. If you love this episode, please share it with your audience. And don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @clare_wood_coach. And also make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss an episode. Have an abundant week and I look forward to talking to you again next week.
About your host
Hi, I’m Clare Wood – I’m a numbers geek, a travel lover, a reality tv addict, and a passionate business coach. I’m here to empower you to create an extraordinary business and an amazing life; because I believe you don’t have to choose between the two.