This month’s WOW Woman is Julia Barnickle – founder of The Quiet Entrepreneur . I first met Julia when she joined my Grow Your Tribe 30 Day Challenge Group and she stood out for me. I found her engagement with others both compassionate and generous with a quirky sense of humour. Once I learnt her story I was inspired by her grace and beautiful voice. Julia shares some sage advice on the challenges of running your own business and how introverts in business can market themselves for success.
Tell me a little about you, your lifestyle and what you are passionate about? I’m an introvert and a “Scanner” – I have lots of interests… I love to travel (as long as there’s a comfy bed, and hot and cold running water!). I love learning languages, writing, singing, taking photographs – and I’ve recently started taking videos too. I’m not a great planner – I prefer to “take life as it comes”, staying open to whatever opportunities might present themselves. Before starting my business, I worked in corporate IT, project managing, developing and implementing business software around the world. The best part of the job was being paid to travel. I live with my husband in a cosy little house just outside London, and dream of the day when my bio reads: “Julia divides her time between London, Florence and the South of France” – or something equally scintillating. In August 2013, after being diagnosed with Breast Cancer for the third time in five years, I helped form the Sing To Beat Breast Cancer Choir. We recorded a charity single, backing classical singers Camilla Kerslake and Blake, to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Campaign, and performed the song live at various prestigious venues, including on daytime TV!
So tell me about your business, who/what is The Quiet Entrepreneur all about? The Quiet Entrepreneur helps introverts to take pride in who they are, instead of being made to feel like failed extroverts, and to build a successful business in a way that plays to their individual strengths and honours their introversion.
What inspired you to make the decision to create your own business? I was inspired by a TED talk that Susan Cain did, about introverts, and by reading her book: “Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking”. Suddenly, I understood why I hated going networking and making cold calls! I started The Quiet Entrepreneur so that other introverts wouldn’t have to put up with people telling them to market themselves like an extrovert.
Has there always been a burning desire inside you to create this, or did your business evolve from your original idea? When I first decided to start a business, I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. I just knew that, after 20 years in a corporate career, I wanted the freedom of working for myself rather than being an employee. It took me nearly two years to commit to any sort of direction, and the business has been evolving ever since. I started off as a life coach and web designer, and pretty soon I realised that I wanted to help small business owners to fulfil their dreams of making a difference in the world. It all fell into place when I decided to support introverts in business, in 2013.
What did/do you find to be the most challenging part of your business? Before I started the Quiet Entrepreneur, I used to find it difficult to promote the business, because I didn’t have a clear message or tribe – so it seemed as though I was promoting myself, which felt a bit self-serving and arrogant. Now I’m on a mission, which makes it easier to promote the message without feeling pushy. There are still times when I get a bit *shy*, when I forget that promoting the business and being successful is not about me – it’s for the benefit of the people I can help.
What have you learned about yourself during the process of setting up your business? I’ve realised that I have more staying power than I ever thought – it’s been a long, hard road to where I am now, and it’s not all plain sailing yet. I’ve learned that the more I’m prepared to talk about the mistakes I’ve made, the more interesting and believable my story becomes, for the people who are following in my footsteps. I’ve also realised that my love of learning has stood me in good stead when it comes to implementing various marketing methods to promote the business.
What advice would you give someone considering starting their own business? Building a business takes time – so, unless you absolutely hate your job, avoid jumping ship to start your business. It’s much easier to attract clients if you have some form of financial security – it means you don’t have to push, or take on less-than-ideal clients, out of desperation. If you do leave your job, perhaps find some part-time work so that you can keep up with your rent or mortgage payments while your business grows. Be prepared for your business to evolve – even if you’re providing more or less the same service as you were in your job. And remember that your business is not about you – it’s about the people you are helping.
What products and services do you provide? I offer individual mentoring, support and advice for introverts in business around mindset and marketing topics, including:
- creating digital products and on-line programmes
- promoting the business authentically through speaking, writing and blogging
- internet marketing and social media marketing
I’m currently working on creating a signature programme which will encompass mindset and marketing support inside a small on-line group.
What is the greatest success story for your business? The Quiet Entrepreneur is really still in its infancy… however, I’ve been invited to speak at the Inner Winner conference in Bratislava, Slovakia, in March 2014, which I’m very excited about. Not only will I have the opportunity to help even more introverts – this could open the door to getting paid to travel in my own business!Connect with Julia FREE GIFT: get instant access to my webinar: How To Overcome The Top 5 Challenges Faced By Introverts In Business: http://thequietentrepreneur.com/webinars/top5/ This will also give you access to The Quiet Entrepreneur private Facebook group.