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Do you feel like you need to take a break for the afternoon or the rest of the day? Does taking a walk allow you the space to come back refreshed? Knowing yourself and doing things in your business that help support you as an introverted entrepreneur will help you create long-term success. Otherwise, overwhelm, burnout, and even frustration can take hold of you and disrupt the impact you are making. Your business as an introvert may look different from someone else’s, which is okay. It’s essential to do things that work for you, not follow a strategy because it works for someone else on Instagram. When you allow yourself to build a business that supports you based on your needs and strengths as an introverted entrepreneur, you can achieve that sustainable growth you are looking for.
Our guest on the podcast today is Katherine Mackenzie-Smith. She is a business coach and strategist for introverts and highly sensitive souls, an ideas alchemist, energy and soul medicine practitioner, and host of the popular League of Extraordinary Introverts podcast. Through her 1:1 mentoring, Emerge and Expand business membership, speaking, and writing, Katherine supports quiet leaders to create successful, sustainable businesses through their own innate wisdom and strengths, without feeling like they have to change who they are.
Katherine has been named a ‘self-help guru’ by Elle Magazine, featured on the covers of Happiness and Wellbeing magazine and Inspired Coach magazine, as well as being featured in several publications, podcasts, and websites, including Cleo Magazine, Collective Hub, The Introvert Entrepreneur, and Brainz Magazine.
In this episode, Katherine and I dive into:
Katherine says she had a winding road to entrepreneurship, considering herself an accidental entrepreneur. She knew she loved movies and tv growing up, so she started her career working in television. In her early to mid-20s, she moved to Sydney, Australia, where a lot of the film and television industry was based. To share what she was up to with her friends and family, she started a blog around 2008 to 2010, which was the height of blogging. Her first blog was called Through My Looking Glass, and it was a lifestyle blog. This newfound adventure led her to find a group of bloggers online in Sydney, where she lived. She realized that blogging could lead to bigger opportunities for business online, content creation, and coaching. She became so in love with the creative outlet of blogging and writing that her career in television didn’t end up being the creative path that she had first envisioned.
Naturally progressing from blogging to business coaching, Katherine’s friend told her about a woman in Australia who had started her own coaching academy. She had already been to B-School, or business school, so this started to grab her attention to what opportunities were available for her out there. After enrolling in another coaching academy, she became a trainer for this program. A year later, Katherine realized that all of the strategies and skills that she had learned just evolved into helping introverts navigate the online business world using her experiences and from investing in herself along the way. These events led her down a winding path that she would never have ended up on if she hadn’t moved to a new city to pursue a career in TV career, fallen into blogging, and gotten into coaching from there. It just evolved out of this mismatch of experience that she had over the years to create this way of supporting people like her but had no idea where to start.
Each marketing platform, Katherine says, has different benefits, so she has expanded the spaces she has used in the last few years. Podcasting, in her words, is the best platform for introverts to be able to have deeper and more meaningful conversations in a safe one-on-one way. You don’t have to have your makeup or hair done, wear professional clothes, or anything like that to be ready for video. There’s no space to overthink everything you say as you might with written content. It is a great way to talk about the work you do and connect with others who have similar audiences, but in a way that feels very natural without constantly promoting something. You can talk about things you’re passionate about and know that other people out there feel the same way.
She mentions Instagram as another method that will always have her heart because she can’t help but continuously come back to it. It’s a great place to share ideas and build a community in a way that doesn’t feel super draining as long as she doesn’t spend too much time scrolling on there. You have to keep showing up even when no one else is, and eventually, you’ll start to see results. It’s just that it’s an uphill climb.
There are three things you need to be able to survive in your business, not only for growth but sustainable growth.
She says the same things repeatedly to her clients all of the time. There is no one answer and no immediate steps to success. You can pick any platform, any format, and you will see that there are people who have success doing that thing. Then everyone starts teaching that thing that helped them become successful. Still, it takes so much trial and error, tweaking, evolving as you learn new information, and being adaptable whenever the algorithm or platform changes.
You should be playful and curious about it instead of fearing change or hating on the changes. It will take having open-mindedness to know these platforms are doing what they’re doing to serve their purpose. When you grow to love whatever platform you are on, you build a community there and invest the time and energy into adapting and evolving how you are showing up. Then the platform works in the way it was intended. Many people say that if you just do something the way they have done it, you’ll be good to go. That’s not the case, and it hasn’t been Katherine’s experience. Once you try new things, see what works, tweak it, and try it again because you find something when you keep doing that. Then something will probably change again, and you have to do it all again to see what works. That’s how it is when you are in business and marketing said business.
It can be so easy to fixate, focus, and worry about things that haven’t even happened yet. What if you are posting the content you wrote while in a flow state, and it connects with someone in a way that they have never felt before? They may have needed to hear that at that moment, and it could have shifted something in their minds that helped them take another step toward something new.
Every time you post something that allows you to reach people who align with your values, your mission, the things that you can support them with, or they’re looking for those answers. But if you are also worried about all of these things that people could say about your post and it is not getting as many likes, just remember that what matters is if one person gets something valuable out of your post. You have a responsibility to keep showing up and sharing your message. It’s not important to worry about yourself or some terrible situation that you have made up in your head about how it could go wrong. Changing your mindset around this one area to think about how it can help that person is a great way to show up for the work you are passionate about. It is such a powerful thing to show up authentically in a way that feels good to you and your audience.
Everyone has been conditioned into really fixating on that. If you prefer quality over quantity, you want to make sure things connect with your people versus sitting and worrying about whether it’s good enough to post. The quality aspect can freak people out because they think it has to be high quality, but how do you know if it’s high quality? You don’t know until you post it and get feedback from people about how they felt. Even then, based on the algorithm, people might not have even seen the post. You really can’t go off of those vanity metrics anyway because it could just be that the time you posted, it was when nobody was online, and nobody saw it. You can’t know for sure. Letting go of the outcome, creating content when it decides to flow out of you, and then allowing your content to connect with your audience is how you can get yourself out of that overwhelming state and into a more introvert-friendly space.
On a day-to-day or weekly scale of where your energy is, Katherine has lots of different ways of making your business feel more sustainable for you. She grew up being introverted and highly sensitive, where she was treated as being weak. Could she survive a 10-hour workday and not get burnt out? Introverts tend to push past exhaustion. That is when the more significant burnout comes, and taking breaks becomes the only realistic outcome or next step. That has been her experience thus far. The first thing you should do is learn to acknowledge it and work with the natural ebbs and flows of your energy. Don’t believe all of those messages out there that successful people wake up at 4 in the morning to start working. It doesn’t work that way. You learn to understand how your own energy flows. Katherine knows that to be the flowy, intuitive person she is, she also needs to have systems and automations in place to accompany her with being able to do that when she needs to. With this, she has a list of low-energy activities that she can do on days when she isn’t feeling work but knows she still needs to get a few things done. It comes back to understanding yourself and acknowledging your needs for a break if you need it.
Ask yourself these questions. Know that it’s okay for things to look different from how everyone else is doing business and how your business supports your needs because there’s no point in building a business that doesn’t support you, even if it looks successful. You may be exhausted, and you actually hate it. That is Katherine’s number one thing about creating a sustainable business along with your strengths and needs, not anyone else’s.
When Katherine was starting her business, she was scared of being seen but was also scared of not being seen. Her coach at the time lovingly laughed and said that it didn’t make sense. At the time, Katherine agreed with her coach that it was ridiculous, but the more she worked with introverted people, there is a real fear. In Katherine’s eyes, it comes down to the energy you put behind creating something. You put your heart and soul into it because you don’t do anything surface level. As a personal brand, you are serving yourself up on a platter showing who you are, and it seems as though many introverts grew up feeling like they were never enough. When you are putting yourself out there when you haven’t healed from those traumas, it creates visibility issues for you. It’s really important to work through the things that come up because your business is personal. It will require a level of healing and personal development to keep evolving and growing as your business and visibility grow.
The other thing comes back to the idea that if you put posts out into the world, there might be 100 people who disagree with it, but there may be three people. You are not here to please everyone. At the end of the day, sharing content and tiny pieces of yourself and your mission, vision, and values, then similar people who think like you will be there. Share stories and parts of your life that people will agree with. These are the people you want to focus your time on, the people that you know you can support.
Katherine shared so much wisdom about building an introvert-friendly and sustainable business in a way that feels best for you. She spoke on topics such as her background and the winding path that led her to business coaching and strategizing, using marketing platforms that are introvert-friendly, the 3 p’s to surviving in your business, especially as an introvert, making your business introvert-friendly when you are stuck in overwhelm, how to be sustainable with your energy in your business, and how to face your fears about visibility as an introverted entrepreneur head-on.
If you feel called to join her free close-knit, introvert-friendly Facebook group, don’t forget to do so. Katherine is a wealth of information on all things introvert and having your business run sustainably, so check out her Instagram for more tips and her website if you want to work with her one-on-one.
[1:28] The winding path Katherine took to get to business coaching and strategizing
[9:43] The two marketing platforms that Katherine finds are the most introvert-friendly
[13:27] The three P’s to surviving in your business, especially as an introvert
[17:50] Showing up authentically as yourself to make your business more introvert-friendly and leaving the overwhelm behind
[23:33] Being sustainable with your energy in running your business
[34:17] Facing your fears with visibility in your business as an introvert head-on
If you enjoyed this episode, I invite you to take a screenshot and tag me on your Instagram stories @introvertcoach and tell me your biggest takeaway!
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