Thea Orozco is a business coach helping introverted entrepreneurs and teams thrive with authenticity. She is a wonderful advocate for introverts. Thea has certainly had an impact on me and in particular my mindset around visibility. Because of Thea, I have taken steps to be more visible that I would never have thought possible a couple of years ago and have enjoyed doing them.
Thea is also a certified MBTI consultant and has recently written a book The Introvert’s Guide to the Workplace. If you are working while you are getting your own business off the ground, then this guide has actionable advice to help you thrive in that environment.
Why did you decide to start your own business?
Many years ago my parents decided to open up a yarn store. I did most of the marketing – created the website, ran the MySpace page (yes, it was that long ago!), designed the flyers, etc. I eventually moved to another country, and took with me the business lessons I learned from the yarn store. After I moved I got a 9-5 job but started side businesses to make a little extra money, including social media consulting and creating handmade items to sell on Etsy. Later, after I moved back to the U.S., I decided to become a credentialed life coach so I could better help the 10k fans of the introvert-related Facebook page I had built for “fun.” Eventually I took the risk and devoted myself full-time to making the world a better place for introverts. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been worth it.
What is the number one thing you have done in your business so that it works with your introversion rather than against it?
I don’t say Yes to every opportunity or business idea. It’s so easy to have event FOMO (fear of missing out) or product idea FOMO, but I’ve come to realize the power of focus. When it comes to events, I only RSVP to things I actually want to go to, and when I have a clear purpose and outcome in mind. When I feel FOMO about a business or product idea I remember what a life coach once told me – picture a box, and put the idea in the box. Picture yourself placing the box in the garage. The idea is still there, waiting, but now you have the extra brain space for finishing your current projects.
What introvert super power do think has particularly helped you build your business?
I focus on depth of relationships rather than breadth. It has helped me create a network of people who I can ask for favors, and who I’m happy to do favors for.
What has been your biggest challenge being an introvert in business?
Unhustling. There seems to be a lot of peer pressure in business about having to “always be hustling.” Always be hustling doesn’t work for me. It’s been interesting trying to balance ambition and self-care, and reminding myself that my self-worth isn’t tied to creating, that “you are enough.”
What does a normal (or ideal) work week look like and have you been intentional in this set up to support your introversion and need for quiet?
I try to do very little work on the weekends and evenings. Try is a key word here 🙂 Sometimes a scarcity mindset takes over and I end up working, but I am conscious of the fact that you can’t pour from an empty cup, and replenishing your introvert energies is crucial to a good mindset, which is crucial to a thriving business.
When I do feel the need to work in the evenings or weekends I try to do something that will take little energy and can be interrupted, like replying to someone on social media, or posting a quick update.
I don’t have a home office, but I create a separation between my work and my leisure time by working on my business at my desk and not while I’m lounging on the couch.
Are there any systems you have put in place that have been crucial to managing your energy?
A few years ago I had to use a social media blocker on my computer because I found myself procrastinating from doing difficult tasks by constantly checking Facebook. But through a combination of the social media blocker and a social media sabbatical I don’t feel the need to check social media quite so often any more.
One of my most helpful systems is my podcast workflow. When I make a new episode of the Introverts Talking Business podcast I have templates of everything ready to go – images, emails, website pages, etc. There are a lot of steps involved, so having a workflow helps.
Are there any other introvert businesses that inspire you that people should check out?
Other than Quietly Extraordinary? 😉
I’m a fan of Rebecca Tracy from The Uncaged Life, she helps new business owners get their business off the ground. Janice Chaka co-hosted my book launch event, she has a business and podcast called The Career Introvert. Beth L. Buelow hosts a podcast called “How Can I Say This…” about having more courageous conversations. And I’m a fan of Lynn Dutrow, aka “Auntie Anxiety.”
As a business coach for introverts what is the biggest challenge you see clients facing? How do you help clients address this challenge?
One of the biggest challenges I see is the reluctance to be visible. Many introverts have a desire to make money and to help people, and also a desire to minimize overwhelm. Without the proper mindset and processes, social media can be very overwhelming.
On top of that, many Feelers (a Myers-Briggs term that refers to people who, when making decisions, prioritize other people’s feelings over facts), believe that marketing and selling = bothering. This all adds up to a business owner who is constantly fighting against themselves. The desire to get clients is fighting with the desire to not be seen. When I work with clients who are struggling with this I help them to reframe marketing and selling as something that’s empowering instead of scary.
You have recently written a book, The Introvert’s Guide to the Workplace. I suspect quite a few of our fellow introverts dream of writing a book. What surprised you most about the process of writing a book?
I knew writing a book would be hard, but I completely underestimated the amount of time and energy it would take. I probably wrote the equivalent of 10 books, but much of that just didn’t fit in with the rest of the book or wasn’t very interesting. I had to learn to embrace the concept of “crappy first draft” because trying to sit down and write the perfect paragraph on the first try was too paralyzing.
In writing the book and doing your research did you learn anything new about yourself and how you can thrive in your business?
During the writing process most of my time and mental energy was devoted to actually writing the book (I had agreed to a tight deadline) and dealing with depression. I didn’t really have much time for self-reflection. But looking back at that process, I’ve learned that I’m much stronger than I often give myself credit for.
How are you finding the process of promoting the book now that it is published? Particularly with the added complexities of Coronavirus.
My plan pre-Coronavirus was to do an in-person book launch at a bookstore, run in-person workshops, and talk to book groups and meetups. I freaked out after I watched my plans evaporate (I’m an INFJ, and I like my plans!) and after my publishing date got moved back due to printing logistics. I didn’t pivot to virtual events immediately as I wanted to first wrap my head around the new reality, and around what I actually wanted in my life.
I ended up taking a very laid-back approach to my virtual book launch, as the book will always be there to promote, and I figured this was not the time for pressured expectations. For the past month I’ve been taking it easy and focusing on promoting on social media and reaching out to contacts to ask if they might spread the word. But in the next few weeks I have virtual book chats with bookstores and podcast interviews planned. Next month I hope to add being a virtual guest for meetups and book clubs to my promotion activities.
You can find out more about Thea here:
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