Networking for Introverts: Insights from Bianca Sprague's Community Building Workshop for Birth Workers on Nessle

Bianca Sprague of Bebo Mia Leads a Birth Worker Workshop

I never thought of myself as an introvert until I became a business owner. Maybe it’s because I was raised to be ultra-humble (having “a big head” is the ultimate diss in my family). Or maybe it’s because I’m so uncomfortable asking for others’ time or attention. Whatever the reason, I bristle at all the self-promotion and hustle involved in launching, running, and growing a business. And so my default is to hide behind my computer, cold-emailing and phoning it in on social media, because the thought of really putting myself out there is so draining and intimidating. 

That’s why the workshop our partner Bianca Sprague led yesterday for the birth workers listing services on Nessle was the aha that I needed.

Bianca Sprague is the founder of bebo mia, a top birth worker training organization that offers comprehensive doula, fertility, and parenting education and support services. And she, too, identifies as an introvert, though you’d be unlikely to believe it if you watch her sail through a 60-minute workshop. But Bianca admits that even more than a decade into her journey as an entrepreneur, she still has to draw daily on inner strength to go out networking or conferencing or facing a calendar full of calls–and that she powers through, ever-eager to recharge at home at the end of the day with her family. Oh how I feel that!

Bianca’s workshop focused on the theme of “community building and networking to build your birthworker business,” and it’s available on demand for all experts who have built storefronts on Nessle’s marketplace. (Haven’t built yours yet? Start now!) Over the course of the hour, she shared bite-sized, actionable ways to engage with your community, and to get over the vulnerability of putting yourself out there (while also “holding space” for the fact that it’s uncomfortable–ah I love that acknowledgement!)

Here are my key takeaways from her talk:

1. Networking is scary for most people, even the ultra-extroverted.

But it’s necessary and possible with some bravery. And you’re a brave person, because it’s brave to do anything entrepreneurial! Developing small, actionable to-do’s can help us get over the hump and get to work building community.

2. Social media can be a trap–or it can be a place to find your people and develop collaborations.

Follow 10 accounts a day that are aligned with what you’re building. Curate a feed that resonates with your values, and if something doesn’t feel right, unfollow or mute. Make social media work for you by truly engaging: take the time to type a comment that’s authentic rather than just a “love this!” and the world will start to know who you are, and what you stand for.

3. Think of collaborations as “micro acts of service.”

This reframe makes it more comfortable for folks who are unsettled by “selling” and more at ease with “problem solving.” Reaching out to an adjacent brand to co-write a blog, co-sponsor a giveaway, volunteer at a local event together, or join up for an Instagram live can be a mutually beneficial way to build a relationship. Pitch yourself and your offer in a way that serves them, not you.

4. Expect that 10% uptake is good.

Outreach can feel icky if you’re imagining that each DM you send out goes to someone who is silently judging and hating on what you’re putting out into the world. Guess what: they’re not. Our world is just overstimulated, and we all receive far too many inbounds to tie up every loose thread or follow up on every conversation. So if you reach out to 100 people and hear back from 10, consider this a success. If you reach out to 100 and hear back from ZERO, then it’s time to reassess your messaging, your target audience, or your product itself. Find a way to connect and inspire.

My toplines and next steps (view here on YouTube) simply aren’t enough to do the full workshop justice, so join Nessle today to watch for yourself. You’ll walk away with dozens of ideas to get started on today that grow your business and community in a way that feels authentic, no matter how introverted you might be.

A huge thank-you to Bianca for the work that you do, and for the support you give our community!

Carly B

Carly B

Carly is a postpartum doula and Certified Lactation Consultant (CLC) based in the West End of Richmond, Virginia.