When I was introduced to people as a child, I’d hide behind my mom and say, “Hi” in a barely-there whisper. Then my mom would say, “Oh, she’s just shy” and give me a mild scolding about how I should speak up. Though I never admitted it out loud, I hated being called “shy.” But…why? Why did it bother me so much? Why did this straight-up offend me as a child? Now that I’m in my mid thirties, I have a much better understanding of it all. Being called “shy” made me feel incapable and, worse, misunderstood.
As someone who is extremely Type A, I couldn’t stand that trying harder didn’t make me a better small-talk-conversationalist. But the thing is, talking and socializing in and of itself was—and is—not difficult for me. I actually love meeting and getting to know my clients because I’m in my element. I’m doing what I do BEST :: creating visuals to communicate a message and tell a story. On the other hand, forced small talk outside of my beloved creative bubble requires a kind of energy that my introverted self stores in very small quantities. (In short, it drains the life out of me!)
Thankfully, I’ve come to embrace my introversion as an asset, rather than a shortcoming. You see, all of the little introverted quirks that make me, ME, are perfectly suited to my job as a creative.
Here’s how being an introvert makes me a better designer:
I understand the importance of building a brand that can speak for you in a crowded space.
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again :: Your brand is the unspoken introduction to your business. It’s your SALESPERSON (and your BFF) when you’re not in the room. Before you even have to open your mouth, it has already shared what you do and how you do it. If your branding is doing its job, it’s also telling people, “Hey! This lady is DAMN good at what she does, so quiet down and listen up.”
It’s not about building a brand that is louder than everyone else’s; it’s about summoning respect…quietly and effectively.
I will guide you, but I will NEVER talk over you.
I am a really good listener. Yes, I will design something that I think will be effective for you, but not without asking you a LOT of questions first. The reason so many clients cry at the end of the creative process is that they can truly see themselves—their story—in the brand. It’s an emotional moment because it’s the [visual] culmination of years and years of their hard work.
I can spend HOURS focused on a single creative task…and love every second of it.
Before I started this design studio, I struggled to stay awake at every single job I had. Friends always made fun of me for needing to sleep so much. Well, it turns out I was just bored! When I get in a groove, hours feel like seconds because I’m so enthralled by the creative process. (Note :: If you’re shopping for a designer, do me a favor and hire someone who is passionate about what they do. They’ll care more and do a better job!)
I prefer a few close relationships over a lot of “less close” acquaintances.
It’s funny how this studio has “introvert” written all over it and I never noticed until NOW. I’ve always said, “Quality over quantity!” but now I know why I prefer it that way. There’s a reason we don’t accept small jobs from anyone and everyone. It’s not about the money; it’s about reserving time to get to know EACH client on a deeper level so we can provide meaningful, lasting work.
I prefer deep, one-on-one conversations over small talk.
Ok, this one is closely related to Number Four, but it’s important nonetheless. You know those conversations you have with friends that last ‘til morning? The kind that start when you’re sitting on the floor of the kitchen, and end on a bench watching the sunrise? I live for those. Or, err, I used to live for those. (Now that I’m a parent AND a business owner, I’m no longer willing to give up sleep.) But seriously… it’s all about quality over quantity!
If you’re a fellow introvert and you HATE sales as much as I do, build a brand that will do the small talk for you. Use it to grab people’s attention, hold it, and make them listen. Hand out a business card so beautiful and so UNIQUE that people will give you the credit and respect you deserve.