Travel is said to be one of the most enriching and life-changing experiences in your life. However, it can also be one of the most challenging especially for those that feel their character traits put them at a disadvantage. Many people think that travel, working abroad and anywhere in fact, is only for the extroverts among us. That exploring new places, meeting new people and potentially not knowing when the next paycheck will arrive is something for only the bold, brave eternally extrovert. But in fact, introverts can benefit exponentially from this experience.
It is often a misconception that this characteristic means you suffer from social anxiety. In truth, it’s all about energy. Extroverts gain energy in social surroundings and through other people. Introverts are the opposite. If you identify with this, you’ll know that having some space from others actually recharges your batteries and clears your head. Plus, when you think about it, being a digital nomad will provide ample moments of time alone and space from others, so you feel motivated and productive while you travel.
If introversion is a part of your life, you may feel one of the biggest hurdles is networking and sourcing new projects. How does an introvert go about promoting themselves to ensure they don’t miss out?
Here are some of the best ways to get a perfect balance and win multiple freelance gigs.
Visit co-working spaces
Ok, so the initial thought of working with tons of people you don’t know might sound daunting. However, just being around others and working in a different environment could open up new possibilities. Numerous co-working spaces around the world cater to different needs. Some are small and offer quiet areas to work while others are abuzz with people and events.
The beauty of this type of work environment is that you can come and go as you please. You don’t have to work all day, and you can participate as much or as little as you feel comfortable with. Many of these hubs will give you the chance to meet new people and network with individuals that have different skillsets. They also often provide invaluable resources and ideas for where to source new projects.
Utilise social media
Social media can be an introvert’s best friend. Not only is it a great place to share your work and passions, but you can also chat with others and form connections without meeting face to face. Twitter is an excellent place to network with other like-minded people and following relevant hashtags could help open up a closer hub of other free-living digital nomads for social and project opportunities.
Instagram is another valuable tool for those taking a free-er approach to work, especially those in the creative sector. Showcasing work and connecting with others is an easy way to open up a conversation in a relaxed way. This platform also builds an audience that likes and follows your journey. It could bring new opportunities and collaborations from simply uploading a picture.
Check out networking websites
Attending networking groups is going to feel challenging for an introvert, especially for those that are particularly shy in social situations. However, to expand your pool, it’s good to meet others and find local get-togethers, whether it’s a social or informal networking group.
There are plenty of groups to choose from, and sites such as Meetup.com are a great way to find both small and large local events. You can search for specific event types or general social soirees, and get chatting to people you already have something in common with.
Sign up to freelance and remote work websites
As a freelancer finding work is essential in order to keep your travel and ‘work wherever’ dreams alive. In remote destinations and far-flung places, networking and co-working spaces may be few and far between, so how do you find work?
Some of the best ways to scout for new projects and showcase your talents is via gig style websites. You can sign up to numerous platforms and create a portfolio to support any applications or bids you submit. However be warned, this type of work is not guaranteed, and there is a lot of competition out there, so try to make your services and experience stand out above the rest.
There’s usually no limit to how many bids you can submit, so the floor is open to connect with potential clients looking for specific services. Sites such as PeoplePerHour, Indeed, Upwork and Guru are all good places to start. But there are hundreds of others too, just search ‘freelance jobs’ or ‘freelance websites’ and check out the different options available.
Practice your pitch
For introverts, selling your story has to be one of the most challenging aspects of finding new work. Getting nervous about it is natural. So what can you do to make it a little easier? In short, practise your pitch first! This might sound a little corny, but it can help to calm your nerves and give you a boost of confidence before you chat to potential clients.
Selling yourself is daunting for many people, not just introverts. So if you feel particularly stressed about it, write it down too. Of course, you don’t have to note every detail, but bullet points are a great start and provide anchors for the flow of conversation. By no means can I promise this method will make pitching more comfortable, but it can help make the process a lot easier if you’re prepared.
Self-promotion and introversion are often at opposite ends of the spectrum. But looking at different ways to tackle this hurdle will build your confidence and prospects to work as you please. However you choose to connect with your clients, it’s worth noting that everyone is different, and as long as you add value to your customers, it often doesn’t matter what method of communication you use.