How Emotional Intelligence Can Help you Succeed in Your Business

Did you know that people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70 percent of the time?

Yes, being the “smartest” doesn’t necessarily make you a great leader or a great business person. The reason for that is a little something called emotional intelligence. Traditional smarts are great, but when it comes to working with people, emotional intelligence is far more important.

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is a term used to describe how well we manage behaviour, deal with social complexities, and make personal decisions. Entrepreneurs with a high level of emotional intelligence are more likely to achieve positive results in business. It has to do with how you deal with people, because in business, never forget that people come first!

There are two important parts of emotional intelligence. There’s what you see and there’s how you respond to what you see. The first part has to do with whether or not you’re sensitive enough to notice what’s going on around you. The second part has to do with how you respond to your environment and the people around you.

Personal Competence

Your personal competence is being aware of your own emotions and your ability to function in response to those emotions.  

How well do you manage your behaviour and responses in a variety of situations?

Are you self-aware enough to perceive your own emotions, as they transpire? Do you notice if you’re starting to become angry, stressed, annoyed, or teary?

What about your self-management? Are you able to manage your behaviour and reactions or do you react purely from an emotional place? Are you prone to outbursts? Knee-jerk reactions? Huffs?

Your self-awareness and self-management formulate your personal competence, which contributes to your overall emotional intelligence.

Social Competence

Then there’s your social competence, which is made up of your social awareness and sensitivity. It also has to do with your relationship management skills.

How well do you understand or even notice other people’s moods and reactions? Do you pick up on how other people are feeling? Do you value other people’s feelings and prioritize their needs? Your sensitivity to other people can help you manage relationships and create positive interactions with the people around you.

You can see that emotional intelligence is very different from IQ. Your emotional intelligence actually taps into a core element of human behaviour that’s totally separate from your intellect. Traditional intelligence has to do with your ability to learn and problem solve. Your IQ actually remains the same regardless of your age. There is no link between IQ and emotional intelligence; you can’t predict emotional intelligence based on how smart someone is. However, emotional intelligence is a flexible set of skills that can be learned and improved with practice.

That’s right. The good news is that although some people are naturally more emotionally intelligent than others, you can develop high emotional intelligence even if you aren’t born with it.

How much of an impact does emotional intelligence have on professional success?

The answer is a lot!

In fact, a group that specializes in the study of emotions called TalentSmart tested emotional intelligence along with 33 other important workplace skills and discovered that emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance, explaining a full 58 percent of success in all types of jobs.

Another interesting result was that people with a high degree of emotional intelligence make more money! On average they make $29,000 more per year than people with a low degree of emotional intelligence. Wow!

The connection between emotional intelligence and earnings is actually so direct that every point increase in emotional intelligence adds $1,300 to an annual salary!

Plus, these results held true for people in all industries, at all levels, in every area of the world. That’s bananas!  

Here are 5 ways emotional intelligence help you as a solopreneur:

1. Better Self-Awareness

As a solopreneur, it’s important to know where you stand emotionally. Being able to identify and express your own emotions in a healthy way allows you to keep a cool head in the face of obstacles. It helps you see the bigger picture more clearly and ultimately you’ll be able to make better decisions for your business.

2. Improved Communication

Empathy is a key component of running a successful business. If you can’t emphasize with your clients or your team, it’ll hinder your communication and make it that much more difficult to grow your business. Entrepreneurs with high emotional intelligence can leverage empathy, problem-solving, and social skills to find awesome solutions to any problem! It also helps build long-lasting client relationships, and ultimately, win people over, which of course is the best way to see your business expand and thrive.

3. Enhanced Self-Control

As a solopreneur, I’m sure you know that building a business is no walk in the park. There are so many, roadblocks on the path to success, and as the owner of your own business, you’ll have to deal with everything from angry customers or difficult clients to disappointing launches and tough conversations. You can’t control everything that happens, but if you have high emotional intelligence, you can get better at acknowledging your emotions during those strenuous situations. Bottling it up can lead to a burnout and exploding at an inappropriate time is never optimal. Plus, being in control of your emotions is essential when communicating with investors and other important allies to your business.

4. Identifying Customer Needs

Of course, if you want to be successful you need to cater to your ideal client. But what does your ideal client want? Emotional intelligence helps you answer this question more easily. The best way to identify customer needs is to use a combination of data and direct communication with customers about their experiences. If you’re able to communicate easily and effectively with your customers, you’ll figure out how you can improve your product or service to better suit their needs.

And, you can even use your superpower sensitivity to find new ways to market more effectively to your audience!

5. Being a Better Leader

Even if you love being a solopreneur, it’s possible that your business will grow enough to warrant one or more staff members, either employees or virtual staff. Emotionally intelligent leaders bring out the best in the people around them. It’s actually the foundation for cultivating respect, a unified vision, and good morale, which, then, leads to ultimate productivity. And by the way, leadership isn’t just about leading a team. It’s also about being a stellar networker! Emotionally intelligent people present themselves to leaders and experts in their field and elicit more respect and referrals from their peers.  

Related Article: Doing Business With Heart

How Do I Improve My Emotional Intelligence?

Now that you know just how and why emotional intelligence is so important, you might be asking yourself, “How can I improve my emotional intelligence?” That’s a great question!

One of the best ways to work on building emotional intelligence is to read! Over 90 percent of top performers have above-average emotional intelligence, and many of them have written books about emotional intelligence and leadership. Reading about the success of others can show you what steps you need to take to achieve your business goals.

Another key skill to help build your emotional intelligence is to listen and practice empathy. Try to practice empathy during your daily conversations with colleagues, friends, and family. Really listen to what the person is saying, and take a step back to think about what they might be thinking and feeling. To truly build emotional intelligence it’s best to listen carefully and respond with empathy without trying to steer the conversation at all.

You might also consider speaking with a business or leadership coach. One of the hardest parts of improving your emotional intelligence is practicing on your own. By speaking with a coach or counselor they can help provide benchmarks and assess how you’re doing on an ongoing basis. Just like when it comes to running a successful business sometimes you have to ask for help! So don’t be afraid to ask because having someone on your side makes building emotional intelligence that much easier—and you’ll be more likely to succeed.  

So, what do you do to practice emotional intelligence and keep your business thriving? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below!

Meet your host

Sandra Booker, Founder of Changemaker Inc. (home to Sidekick COO and The VA Studio) and creator of Scale Society and The Advisory Board, is a mentor, Fractional COO  and growth strategist. She specializes in helping overworked, overwhelmed, multi-hatted entrepreneurs become the CEOs of sustainably scalable, and powerfully profitable businesses. 

After helping local businesses thrive, and receiving accolades in her community (like the 40 Under 40 award) Sandra turned her attention to the world of online service providers, and her clients include familiar names like Chanti Zak, Tarzan Kay, and Laura Belgray.

In her (efficiently used) spare time, she teaches others how to build and grow their own 6-figure virtual assistant practices and is on a mission to create a million jobs by helping her clients and students scale their businesses.

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