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Not a team player, am I doomed? (Do introverts have it harder?)

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Fred Chevry

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Is being "team oriented" a prerequisite to entrepreneurial success? Since kindergarten, I've been forced into team spirit, but I honestly couldn't care less. Looking back, everything great I ever achieved was done;
  1. Solo
  2. Using available resources, including human capital.
Despite the song I hear everywhere concerning the unlikelihood of succeeding at the game of wealth alone, I can't help but notice that so many incredible entrepreneurs such as;
did pretty damn well at the game of wealth while being solo players most of the time.

I'm not looking for a black or white answer; we all understand that oversimplifying something as complex as entrepreneurship wouldn't make any sense. I'd just like to hear your point of view on the matter and discuss it.

@eliquid I'd like to hear from you specifically if possible. Thanks enormously.

Edit : removed the word "introvert" from the post. My choice of word was leading us off topic.
 

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MidwestLandlord

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I'm somewhat introverted and I don't think it's a problem. Being able to "work with" people as needed is probably a prerequisite, but being extroverted is not. (after all, you have customers you have to work with, right?)

It only becomes a problem if you're the type of introvert that avoids people/situations due to social anxiety or shyness or whatever (extroverts can be that way too BTW)

A good friend of mine is very successful (owns real estate in 2 countries), and even though he runs a "human resource" system, he ultimately still made it "alone"

He's surrounded by people, (agents, brokers, appraisers, managers, maintenance workers, etc), but they all work for him, and even though each cog in his human resource wheel is important they are all still replaceable. So really he is "alone" Does that make sense? (and he's VERY introverted)

Being introverted can make certain things more challenging though. I'm very gregarious with people I know, but not with total strangers. So things like cold calling and direct sales might be more difficult for me than someone who is extroverted. But, I just practiced until I got it down. It helps that I believe in my product, have a passion for my product (comes through in my tone of voice and attitude), and am very knowledgeable of my product's specs (brings confidence)

So yeah, shouldn't be a big deal if you don't make it one.
 

Fred Chevry

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Grea
I'm somewhat introverted and I don't think it's a problem. Being able to "work with" people as needed is probably a prerequisite, but being extroverted is not. (after all, you have customers you have to work with, right?)

It only becomes a problem if you're the type of introvert that avoids people/situations due to social anxiety or shyness or whatever (extroverts can be that way too BTW)

A good friend of mine is very successful (owns real estate in 2 countries), and even though he runs a "human resource" system, he ultimately still made it "alone"

He's surrounded by people, (agents, brokers, appraisers, managers, maintenance workers, etc), but they all work for him, and even though each cog in his human resource wheel is important they are all still replaceable. So really he is "alone" Does that make sense? (and he's VERY introverted)

Being introverted can make certain things more challenging though. I'm very gregarious with people I know, but not with total strangers. So things like cold calling and direct sales might be more difficult for me than someone who is extroverted. But, I just practiced until I got it down. It helps that I believe in my product, have a passion for my product (comes through in my tone of voice and attitude), and am very knowledgeable of my product's specs (brings confidence)

So yeah, shouldn't be a big deal if you don't make it one.

Great contribution to this thread. Thank you. I agree with your point of view concerning the fact that you can be on your own and outsource/employ other people for their skills.
 

eliquid

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Most of the things I've done solo, were out of need.

Doing it that way for years, it just got ingrained in me to keep doing it that way when it wasn't a need anymore.

My dad grew up poor and I heard all his stories of how he sold newspapers, moved lawns ( still does ), sold tools out of his VW bug, and then started a flea market business of his own that he ran by himself. He did all this while also trying to hold down a job at a factory.

The family I grew up in was middle class. Maybe even lower middle class. We barely had anything and I knew from a young age that I was going to have to count on myself for things I wanted and needed. No government funding, scholarships, handouts, free jobs, or favors were coming my way. I could barely get money for books at school from my parents. Many times I had to work 2 and 3 jobs and had no time for myself.

So when I got my start online, I had to teach myself HTML because there was no Lynda courses, school programs, or books on the subject. This was 1996 and there really wan't a lot of resources to learn this stuff. Well, resources that were good and understandable. I was lucky enough to have been a teachers aid in a comp sci class my senior year of high school, so I had a tiny jump start on HTML.

Then I needed forms and dynamic stuff on my sites and I had no money to pay someone, so I taught myself Perl and PHP by taking apart other people's scripts and programs. I tinkered with that shit for hours and hours every day until I learned what was going on and how it worked based on just tinkering with code.

I realized what good was all this unless I had visitors coming to the site, so I became a DMOZ editor and learned the ins and outs of Yahoo Directory, SEO with Google, and penny PPC clicks with GoTo when no one was really doing or teaching it back in 1999/2000. I took a lot of notes and waited on changes based on my tweaks to see what worked and what didn't. I spent years on this.

It was all pure need because only I could count on myself.

Later on in life, I realized that in order to prevent the weakest link in my chain from bringing everything down I had built, I needed to own the chain. I needed to cut out middlemen. When I looked around, not only were my suppliers a weak link, but so were people on my team like the contractor and VAs I used. I could never get them to communicate correctly with me, they were always late, the work wasn't up to my high expectations, etc.

So I cut them out and did it myself.

I could have spent time trying to train them more to my standards, or go through hiring circle jerk hell to finally find the right people after years ( only to have them maybe quit or leave after months and repeat the whole process ), but it was just quicker for me to do it on my own... my way.

In the end, if something fails.. I can only blame myself. Not my hosting company, my affiliate network, my programmer or design guy, not my bookkeeper, not my SEO person, etc. I didn't let someone else decide my fate for me today except me.

Many times I would love to hand off something to someone else. But no one can do it like me.

Even if they can do it 80% as good as me, what if it fails because the other 20% wasn't up to standard? Im left thinking someone else decided my fate on that project.

It's not about perfection, it's about I know what I want and I can actually do it 99% of the time without outside help. I get it done my way and to my standards and if it fails, I know why and am not left to second guessing why like if the other person really knew what they were doing.

I'm not setting out to be a Billionaire that runs a company with 5,000 worldwide employees.

I'm setting out to just retire and do what I want, when I want. I achieved just that doing it solo.

.
 
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G-Man

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Should be a featured post.

EDIT: eliquid's reponse should be a featured post.
 

White Wolf

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As long as you can produce value in your own way, I don't think it matters. In fact, being introverted can give you an advantage as long as you can function socially. You would probably do well to focus on what you do best, and for the aspects of your business that require a higher level of extroversion than what you are accustomed to, you can hire or partner with others who are more 'out there' than yourself. I notice that it is quite common in service businesses for the craftspeople (i.e. the architects, physicians, consultants, engineers, accountants, lawyers, etc.) to be the introverts, whereas the promoters (the salespeople, marketers, HR, and often the CEOs), who comprise the face of the business, are the extroverts. Neither of the two factions could exist without the other, so it's important for everyone to play according to their strengths and cover each other's weaknesses.

Most people who know me in person would consider me an extrovert, but I sometimes prefer to work alone because then I have control, and I like control. As the old saying goes, if you want the job done right, do it yourself. Too many times I've found myself working in teams with other people who did not have the drive or the competence to contribute to the project in a satisfactory way. Of course, in large projects, that's not possible.
 

OldFaithful

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I've had this discussion with colleagues a time or two. Our consensus is that extroverts are more highly valued in society for their obvious people skills, and tend to climb the ladder of success more easily than introverts.

That being said, there are areas where introverts do better than extroverts. Such as business owners & entrepreneurs. That's one of the reasons to start your own company...introverts can't climb society's ladder so build your own ladder!
 

Ryan Wolf

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I'm an introvert. I don't think it's a hindrance at all.

Whether you're introverted or extroverted doesn't matter - it's the drive that matters. I know entrepreneurial people from both sides, some of whom are very successful and some of whom are going nowhere.

It's an excuse, too. I've heard "I can't start a business because I'm scared of talking to people." a few times.
 

Greg R

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Take away your judgement that introverts have it harder and you take away the feeling of being burdened by being an introvert.
 

biophase

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This really depends on what you are doing. For me, running an ecommerce store is exactly what an introvert would be good at. There is not much interaction with the customer. But if I were to start a nightclub and I had to be out on the floor every night. I would hate it. But I know some people would LOVE to own a club and be out every night talking to guests.

Someone who wants to stay home by themselves every night would probably be a good candidate to end up with a successful app, development business or online business. This person does not feel that need to go out. The hours of coding at home doesn't feel like a sacrifice.

But what if this person was an extrovert and wanted to go out and meet people all the time? Then the hours spent coding and sitting by himself in a chair would be torture. This person is better off running some type of events business.
 

Jon L

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This really depends on what you are doing. For me, running an ecommerce store is exactly what an introvert would be good at. There is not much interaction with the customer. But if I were to start a nightclub and I had to be out on the floor every night. I would hate it. But I know some people would LOVE to own a club and be out every night talking to guests.

Someone who wants to stay home by themselves every night would probably be a good candidate to end up with a successful app, development business or online business. This person does not feel that need to go out. The hours of coding at home doesn't feel like a sacrifice.

But what if this person was an extrovert and wanted to go out and meet people all the time? Then the hours spent coding and sitting by himself in a chair would be torture. This person is better off running some type of events business.

If I owned a club, there would be no dancing, no loud music, no DJ and coffee and pastries only...no alcohol. We'd discuss current events and might read poetry on occasion.

Actually...my club would be a bookstore.
 

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Mattie

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I think it is hard for Introverts if they don't have the awareness they are an Introvert, and have a good sense of themselves. Introverts are all individuals, like the rest of us. You really can't fit all Introverts in one box, anymore then you can fit all Extroverts in a box. What makes it harder for Introverts is not the opportunity, but let's face it America is like this in 2017.

Drug tests, credit report, background check, finger printing, education, presentation skills, communication skills, technical skills, business skills, and yes the Extrovert is favored. Get in front of video and podcasts. Sell yourself. Most of the business world knows about personality. So for the sake of hiring. They will hire ESTJ/ENTJ first before all the types. INTJ's/INTP's are usually your technical and needed. So those types are in higher demand. And you seen even in the Presidential Race, Hillary supposedly is an ISTJ and Trump and ESTP, and Bernie Was INFJ. So, if you listened to the remarks Trump made about Introverts, you can say this is kind of how it is in every social class.

Not so much about being Introverted, but Human Nature. Dominance Versus Submissive. This goes back through the centuries into slavery, war, and taking over lands. I sometimes don't think it's a mistake the Extrovert is favored, I believe it's like that because if you oppress the Introvert and make him believe in his mind he's powerless, he will not be a catalyst for change, the revolutionist, the guy who builds like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

I think it's harder because the Introvert has to get to that point where they don't allow Extroverts to dominate them, or manipulate there thinking. Once they have shifted their mindset, any Introvert can get to the top, because they're learned how to navigate through the Extroverts and stop giving their personal power away.
 

Andy Black

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I never liked team sports at school. It was funny when myself and another 45 yo recently admitted we didn't like team sports... as if it was a bad thing.

Don't get me wrong, I like people and I love talking to people one on one. Put me up on stage and I'm fine, but put me into a many-to-many situation and I lose energy - there's too many conversations going on.

I love @eliquid's post. I too choose to do certain things because I do them better than trying to outsource them, even if people tell me it's holding my business growth back.

Doing the work allows you to gain insights you wouldn't get if you outsourced. Outsource too early and it can be like throwing out the baby with the bath water.

I firmly believe you can't outsource passion and insight.

You can't outsource persistence too.

What's going to stop you if you have passion, persistence, and insight?

Do I think it's harder building a business being an introvert? Not now-a-days. There's so many ways to add and deliver value that don't require you to work a room.
 

rollerskates

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<-----Charter member of the Introverts Club. I am tongue tied or my mouth gets a case of the stupids when I'm either trying to do a business transaction in person or on a date. This is why I run my own business solo and read a lot. I struggle with promoting my business on social media, but I think that is probably more that up until recently I knew my business wasn't really a winner.
Introvert hell: when I had to "team building" at work. Dante's 10th circle, that was. :arghh:
 

Shades

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Im a introvert for sure. But I can fake it pretty well when I need to interact with people and they would think im outgoing and personable lol.
 

Johnson504

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I agree with what everyone else has said. I don't think you have to be either introverted or extroverted to be successful. In the end the only thing that matters is that you get what you need done and that you can at least guide others. I have found that I spend some time one on one with people instead of in a group as I feel more comfortable that way. You have to do what you are comfortable with.
 

letter9

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Not a team player my self, I can be - just don't feel good about it.

Lots of best business people in history were introverts. One of them is John D. Rockefeller. Recommend you his biography - learnt a tone.

I think your job is to create a system, choose best people and let it work, not necessary be a part of system.

One of the most successful business people I know is introvert, who does not know to much in anything - but has a 1 in a million talent for choosing people (including high level - managers)
 

B V Marlon

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I never liked team sports at school. It was funny when myself and another 45 yo recently admitted we didn't like team sports... as if it was a bad thing.

Don't get me wrong, I like people and I love talking to people one on one. Put me up on stage and I'm fine, but put me into a many-to-many situation and I lose energy - there's too many conversations going on.
I'm exactly like that as well. I do enjoy having conversations with an individual, or a small group of people, but start to find it difficult when the number of people around me increases. I'm not a massive fan of anywhere too crowded either.

I am introverted, for sure, but I'm great with people and can be the life of the party if required (especially after a few beers), but do find it tiring and will need a little alone time to recharge afterwards. I've not minded being by myself for as long as I can remember, but do need a little human interaction at times. Not necessarily in person, though, the internet has been a godsend in that respect!

In the last few months I've learnt a lot about myself and what makes me tick, so I'm taking that into account while planning my next venture.

Doing the work allows you to gain insights you wouldn't get if you outsourced. Outsource too early and it can be like throwing out the baby with the bath water.
I'm a firm believer in doing things yourself initially before outsourcing it. That way you get a fundamental understanding of how it works, which is essential if you're going to manage your service provider effectively. If you know exactly how it works, they can't try to pull the wool over your eyes!
 

Ayanle Farah

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I have always been someone who likes to do things solo, I only ask for help when I really have to.

However, with my goal being to start a company, I'm going to have to put my pride aside and rely on others more.
 

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