There’s a lot of confusion about the term introvert.
For some it means a person who is timid, shy or social anxious, to others it’s someone who gets drained by social interactions.
Sometimes it’s a person who is very introspective, or it could be someone who is reserved, hesitant and contemplative.
A 2010 study by researchers Jennifer Grimes, Jonathan Cheek and Julie Norem, explores four different domains of introversion to help us understand the differences.
The four domains or types of introverts they suggest are:
- Social Introverts
- Thinking Introvert
- Anxious Introverts
- Restrained Introverts
The most common definition of an introvert is someone who is physically and emotionally drained by social interaction.
A social introvert is someone who likes people, but has a preference for alone time and tends to limit social interaction to one or two people at a time.
Social introverts will likely avoid large social gatherings and spend more time having intimate and meaningful conversations.
They have a strong preference for alone time, doing things that relax them. This is when they feel most energised.
Thinking introverts are more introspective and spend a lot of time in their head. They have very creative imaginations and a rich and complex inner world.
They spend a lot of time thinking by themselves. This is not in a neurotic way however, it’s a very imaginative, cognitive and intellectual way.
Thinking types feel at peace studying, learning, reading and researching. They are often described as daydreamers.
Thinking introverts have less aversion to social interactions than any other types, but may find they are often distracted by thoughts and ideas during conversations. To some they may seem like they aren’t listening and seem distant, but this is because they are thinking deeply.
Anxious Introverts avoid social interaction because they feel self-conscious or awkward around people.
This introvert type struggles with social interaction, often overthinking how other perceive them or ruminating on things that might go wrong.
They are usually quiet and may appear on edge or nervous. Most people would describe them as timid and shy.
They tend to avoid social interaction if at all possible, their behaviour can often boarder on social anxiety.
Restrained Introvert types are best described as reserved. They think before they speak or act and tend to observe a situation before joining in.
They are fine with social interactions but take some time to warm up to new people. Like thinking types, when they speak people listen, as what they say tends to be well thought out.
They have a very calm nature, and may be slow to respond during conversations but are often seen as the strong silent type.
This type may come across as unemotional, as they hold themselves back more than social and thinking types.
So how do these different introvert types impact you as a business owner?
I’ve adapted these four introvert types into the different types of Introvert Entrepreneur, and created a quiz to help you find your Introvert Entrepreneur type.
Exploring the intricacies of your introvert personality can help you get clear on the approach you may take to start, grow and scale your business.
The different types of Introvert Entrepreneur
The Connective Introvert Entrepreneur
Like the social introvert, the connective introvert entrepreneur type is someone who likes some social interaction but tends to limit this to one person at a time.
They enjoy the deep connection with clients but need to ensure they schedule downtime after meetings or sessions in order to re-energise.
They would thrive in a business that is mostly working on their own or with a limited number of one-to-one clients.
Businesses that Connective Introvert Entrepreneurs may enjoy:
- One-to-one Coaching
- Marketing / Business Consulting
- Online Training Course Creation
- Animal Training
- Virtual Assistant / Administrator
- Pet / One-to-one Photography
The Creative Introvert Entrepreneur
The Creative Introvert Entrepreneur is a thinking type. They are creative and imaginative but can often get caught up in shiny-object syndrome.
They tend to have a habit of starting things but not finishing them. The lack of clear focus can then lead to procrastination. They may also put off some of the more mundane business tasks.
Creative Introvert Entrepreneur types are more open to spending time doing social things as long as it allows room for their introspective and creative nature.
Creative Introvert Entrepreneurs would thrive as a:
- Graphic Designer
- Web Developer
- Life Coach
- Online Training Course Creator
- Craft Maker
- Creative Writer
- Trainer/ Educator
The Guarded Introvert Entrepreneur
The Guarded Introvert Entrepreneur is someone who finds it very difficult to interact with people in their business. They will do a job that requires little time with people and more time getting the work done.
They are very reliable but can get caught up in people-pleasing.
Getting clients is most often the hardest part of what they do, as they struggle to put themselves out their for their business.
Guarded Introvert Entrepreneurs will thrive as a:
- Virtual Administrator/ Assist
- Proofreader or Editor
- Bookkeeper or Accountant
- Blogger / Writer
The Reserved Introvert Entrepreneur
The Reserved Introvert Entrepreneur is like a restrained type. They are less likely to jump in to a new situation, which means they may miss opportunities that come along.
They are planners at heart and need to see things from all angles before they act.
This need to plan and be organised means have a tendency to get stuck in analysis-paralysis, restricting the growth of their business.
Reserved Introvert Entrepreneurs could thrive as:
- Technical & Systems Support Providers
- Marketing / Business Consultants (Strategic)
- Mental Health Therapist / Counsellors
- Career Counsellors
- Bookkeepers or Accountants
- Non-fiction Writers
What Introvert Entrepreneur resonates most with you?
Not sure? Take the ‘What type of Introvert Entrepreneur are you?’ quiz below!