Name: Kathryn Hall
Business: The Business of Introverts, a coaching and consulting firm for introverted people
Industry: Coaching & Consulting
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Reason for starting: Ultimately starting a business was triggered by my unhappiness as an employee. As someone who is highly introverted, working in a busy full time job where I sat in a big open plan office left me completely and utterly exhausted. I craved more freedom, quiet time, and creative control and after a period of exploration and self-discovery I realised that becoming my own boss and tailoring a business to my specific needs was the perfect solution. The Business of Introverts is my second business and was initially inspired by the amazing TED talk by Susan Cain ‘The Power of Introverts’ (which made me cry the first time I watched it!). I realized that there were so many introverts around the world who were stuck in jobs that just didn’t fulfill or energise them. It was then that I made the decision to share my own personal journey and to help others make the same move that I had.
As part of The Business of Introverts, I am currently working towards a ‘sanctuary’ membership site. This will give introverts access to lots of support and resources to help them create and develop a business that is true to them. It will also include a ‘self-care’ area to encourage members to look after themselves whilst their business grows, and also a community area for introverted business owners to connect with others.
Related: There’s No Harm in Trying
How do you define success? I’m a big believer in success being defined by how you feel day-to-day (as opposed to how much money you make or how many people sign-up to your newsletter). If you constantly wake up every morning with a sinking feeling or a sense of anxiety then clearly something has gone wrong along the way. I believe that all those negative emotions like boredom, frustration and stress should be used as signs that something needs to change. When you wake up each morning feeling content, energised and excited about what the day will bring, that to me is a clear sign of success. At the end of the day we all want to be happy – it’s just a case of working out what actions will allow you to feel that way.
Biggest Success: For me personally, I feel that launching The Business of Introverts has been my biggest success. If you’d told me a few years ago that I’d be writing openly and honestly about the challenges I’d faced, both as an introvert and as someone who was deeply unhappy in her career, I would have laughed and said, “not in a million years!” And yet, here I am, a far more confident woman than I was a few years ago. And the best thing about it? I’m getting a wonderful response. I receive so many amazing emails from people telling me how much my story has inspired and helped them. To me, that is a huge success. I’ve overcome my own challenges and fears to help others, and I feel very proud of that.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? There are so many challenges with running a business, but I’ve also found it to be an amazing education. There is always something to learn or try out – life is certainly not boring when you’re the boss! One of the biggest challenges I’ve had with running my own business is maintaining my energy and ensuring I look after myself. It can be so easy to find yourself working 14 hour days and thinking of nothing else but work – switching off can certainly be a challenge. This year I’ve made a very conscious effort to look after myself better. I’ve set myself boundaries so I don’t work crazy hours, I make sure I get out of the house and go for a walk several times a day, and I’ve also started listening to guided meditations which work well when I need to relax and calm my thoughts. It’s really important to step away from work now and again. You are your most important tool after all.
Who is your most important role model? It’s really hard to pinpoint one single person – there are so many individuals who have inspired and encouraged me over the last few years, particularly women. I would say however that Susan Cain, introverted speaker and author of ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’ has had an amazing influence on my work over the last few years. I find everything that she has done incredibly inspiring.
Edited by The Story Exchange