Why Introverts Are Successful Entrepreneurs

By Jonathan Low Jonathan Low has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on June 16, 2022

Remember the quiet kid in your school? The one always sitting in the back of the classroom not saying much. Well, today they might very well be an awesome entrepreneur. Introverts – it is your time to shine.

Most of the successful entrepreneurs across the world are introverts. That’s right. You might not notice them, though, because they are not necessarily performing in the media or making public appearances and talks.

Actually, you might have never noticed them. In school, they were probably the quiet kids sitting in the back of the classroom, having just a few friends, and always leaving parties early. Today, they are successful entrepreneurs running their own businesses.

If you are a little bit surprised by this, you have good reason to be. Because we really don’t see or hear much of these successful, introvert entrepreneurs. With good reason though – they are introverts. That does not mean that they are not out there. They are here, and they are killing it as entrepreneurs.

The media is loud about a few of them. Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg for instance. These are examples of successful entrepreneurs who are all self-proclaimed introverts.

And then there are all the great successes, that most people don’t hear much about. Like Marissa Mayer, the co-founder of Sunshine Contacts and former president and CEO of Yahoo!, or Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple Inc.

On the Scandinavian scene, where I live, we have entrepreneurs like Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, theowner and chairman at LEGO, Anne Skare Nielsen, the founder of Universal Futurist, Manu Sareen, who is an author, coach and politician, and Trine Ravnkilde, the founder of goforitcommunity.com. All of them are self-proclaimed introverts. I could include myself by the way. I’m a Danish serial entrepreneur and founder of JumpStory. I also know the feeling of preferring to spend time with just one or two people, rather than large groups or crowds.

Not only are there lots of successful introvert entrepreneurs out there, but it also seems that introverts are starting to be seen and recognized as the powerful businesspeople they are – especially after the covid-19 lock down, where so many of us were forced to stay at home and behave as introverts.

Some loved it, some hated it, and some may have discovered that being an introvert is not an obstacle to success. At all. As a matter of fact, introversion might even be an advantage for entrepreneurs.

So, what is it about introverts that makes such great entrepreneurs when they obviously lack skills within social interaction and networking – skills that seems crucial in the world of entrepreneurship?

The introvert success derives from the fact that introverts are typically creative thinkers, they do not focus on personal power, or on putting themselves in the center of attention. They focus on their passion.

Introverts are also typically great at working alone, which often is deeply required in the first years of a startup, and they remain calm during chaos.

All this is topped with their ability to listen more (than extraverts) before they speak, which according to Wharton professor Adam Grant, makes introverts better leaders to a certain group of proactive employees, a type of employees that need to shine themselves. The introvert leader does not claim the spotlight but helps creating it for these employees.

Their ability to listen also benefits introverts in recognizing customer’s needs.

But does all this really matter in a competitive world were we, after all, need to interact with each other to make partnerships, and where playing ball is in fact considered an important part of generating great ideas?

Well, first, it is important to distinguish between ‘introvert’ and ‘shy’. The first does not necessarily correspond to the other. You can be introvert without being shy or quiet. Introverts gain energy from time alone, but this does not necessarily mean that they cannot socialize, or enjoy it. After a social event, they typically do need to recharge alone, though.

There is, of course, an upper limit to everything. Introverts do struggle with networking and displaying themselves and their competences that are also of great value as an entrepreneur – and the same competences that extroverts excel in.

All in all, maybe it is time to recognize the huge power of the introverts as entrepreneurs.

And even better: Maybe it is time to recognize the superpower of introverts and extroverts when they team up.

By Jonathan Low Jonathan Low has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Jonathan Løw is one of Denmark’s most well-known entrepreneurs and business authors. He has been nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year and is amongst Denmark’s 100 most promising leaders according to a major Danish business newspaper. In addition to being a serial entrepreneur, Jonathan Løw is the former Head of Marketing at the KaosPilots – named Top 10 most innovative business schools in the world by FastCompany. He is also former Startup-Advisor and Investor at Accelerace – the leading investment fund for startups in Denmark. Jonathan Løw’s latest books, Listen Louder and The Disruption Book, both made it to the top of the bestseller-lists in 2015 in the category “Business and Entrepreneurship”. Additionally Jonathan Løw is the editor of The GuruBook – published in March 2018 by Taylor & Francis. Løw is the co-founder of JumpStory – an AI-based digital content-platform, which has received a large million dollar investment and has offices in Denmark and Silicon Valley. He is also the author of the foreword to leadership-guru Simon Sinek’s latest book – “Find your why”.

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