As a highly sensitive person, your path to creating a business that supports you in every way and feels good probably looks a bit different than someone who’s not an HSP. Ask me how I know 🙌
Trying to do things the traditional way has led me to overwhelm and burnout many times before. These days I choose to prioritize feeling calm, good, and healthy over doing more without sacrificing success.
However, businesses and people are different. What works for me is not always suitable for someone else. This post is meant to get your wheels turning about things you may not want to do in your HSP business.
5 Things I Choose NOT to Do in My HSP Business
I don’t keep an eye on my competitors
I have a tendency that’s brought me a lot of grief in the past. Whenever I’m too far removed from my creative bubble and too influenced by the outside, I veer out of my own lane. Worst case scenario, I crash in a ditch. 😵💫
Overexposure to other people’s opinions is distracting and disorienting for me.
It’s very easy to fall into a rabbit hole of comparison, FOMO, and “OMG, why am I not doing that!?”, start feeling pressured to do certain things, not to mention unconsciously using someone else’s ideas and wording in my own work.
It’s a slippery slope. It’s harmful. It’s exhausting. I don’t like it.
I keep a very tight sphere of influence to ensure my thoughts, inspiration, and creativity are, in fact, my own.
This is what I do to avoid the stifling influence of other people’s opinions, content, and offers.
- I don’t follow my niche mates on social media, keep up with their content or subscribe to their lists.
- I only subscribe to a couple of creators with whom I share values and their content has an uplifting and inspiring effect without taking me out of my own element.
- I curate content feeds on Feedly. As a marketer (quiet or not), it’s important to stay up to date with industry news and developments, but with Feedly, I control if, when, and how I consume it.
- I don’t use Instagram and TikTok period and it’s the best thing ever. My world still turns.
If you feel disconnected from your own thoughts and ideas, start by unfollowing, unsubscribing, and muting. Question the information you absorb and the sources you get information from. Ruthlessly edit it to a point where the line between your ideas and those of others is crystal clear—set time and volume limits for the content you consume.
I don’t do social media
It has been almost three years since I stepped away from Instagram and even longer since I quit Facebook and Twitter.
Jungle Soul Collective’s social media presence is intentionally non-existent.
🙅♀️ But non-existent ≠ I’m invisible.
Before I truly embraced my introversion and found out I’m an HSP (highly sensitive person – that made everything make sense), I struggled a lot with the cycle of enthusiastic posting and then getting overwhelmed and burning myself out. It took me a while to realize that I wasn’t broken—the pace and energy of social media were simply exhausting, leaving less energy for my one-on-one work and a messier headspace overall.
Since acknowledging and accepting it about myself, I’ve also made peace that social media is not something I can healthily sustain in long term and that there are better, more suitable ways for me to market my business.
This is true for many introverted and sensitive business owners.
Fear of invisibility and failing keep up from reducing reliance on social media, but there are other ways to spread your message and work.
Content marketing, email lists, and SEO are some of them.
I focus on being discoverable, not being visible. (Although visibility is a byproduct of being discoverable.)
My marketing strategy is focused on long-form written content. This website is the hub of my content marketing. I track my metrics regularly so I know what brings traffic and where my business is coming from and I focus on nurturing those places: Pinterest, SEO, and referrals.
The bigger problem, I think, is that the discourse around social media needs to change. It’s important we stop using the words “need” and “should” when talking about social media.
So let me get it straight: Social media is optional.
It is just one of the tools we have at our disposal as business owners, service providers, and marketers, and you don’t need social media to connect with your audience, sell your offerings and be successful (whatever that means to you).
Not using social media does not make you any less of a marketer or business owner.
You can stop relying on it if that’s what you must do.
I don’t pressure myself into creating regular content
Another thing I’m so over is creating content on a schedule for the sake of it. This is rampant in social media and even in long-form content marketing.
Weekly, biweekly, monthly, doesn’t matter – these days I don’t publish on a schedule. I write and post when my 💡”light”💡 goes on and I’m in the heat of a moment with something to say.
Even if I don’t have a nice high-ranking keyword for the piece. I write first and then do keyword research (which is the opposite of what I used to do).
My consistency these days is in quality, not frequency.
A very welcome side effect of this approach is that I write from my authentic experience and heart* and that comes through. Data says these posts get better feedback.
*Not that I have specifically written for SEO only, but I know for myself that when I schedule content it comes from a different place with more filtering and SEO optimization (which isn’t bad but can sometimes become a hindrance).
I don’t communicate on all channels and am not available all the time
I think one of the most important boundaries HSPs and introverted business owners should set is how, where, and when people can reach them. I think it’s vital for managing our limited, low, or unpredictable energy.
My only direct line of communication is email and Voxer (clients and Virtual Office Hour only) and I only reply during my office hours. You can also send a message with my contact form and get an email reply.
Direct messages have an autoresponder with my email address and a link to my contact page. It’s not the predictable thing to do but works great for me (especially considering I don’t even use Instagram).
A client recently asked how I feel about losing out on potential clients and opportunities by not directly engaging in DMs. I get it, not everyone is going to bother with email when it’s an extra step for them. I’m sure many business owners who are keen on ditching social media are thinking about this aspect so here is my simple reasoning.
My philosophy is that if the message is important enough and/or the person has a feeling of resonance (as is more often than not the case), they will take the time to switch tabs and send that email. If not, that’s self-selecting and I don’t lose sleep over it.
So far experience tells me that not only does this approach significantly reduce the number of cold emails and sales pitches I have to filter through in my inbox, but it also pre-screens my potential clients in a way. This brings me to the next thing I don’t do…
I don’t book clients without a micro-commitment
There is a barrier to entry for my offerings. You can’t click a link and book straight into my schedule, there’s always an application of sorts.
I use the application to gather essential information about the potential client, gauge their expectations and intentions, and make sure we are on the same page about the investment, communication method, and process*. It’s just enough information to decide whether to continue the conversation.
While maybe slightly more tedious, it’s there to save both me and the client time and energy in the long run.
I expect my right-fit clients to make that micro-commitment first to show their seriousness and commitment.
It does make a big difference, helping weed out people who are not a good match to work with me, expect champagne-level results on a shoestring budget, or are simply looking for free advice.
Sidebar: I also offer Virtual Office Hour as a way to chat first before even applying.
Generally, it’s clear that right-fit clients who truly want to work with me, are happy to go through the process, bring a sense of excitement and we are a better match in the end.
*Businesses that don’t state their pricing (not even a starting price or ballpark figure) are my pet peeve, it’s why I make my pricing very clear. People shouldn’t have to go through an entire sales conversation before finding out it’s out of their budget.