For introverts, self-employment means more time by yourself and more energy leftover at the end of the day.
If you’re anything like me, you’re perceived as reflective and self-contained. Social gatherings and your daily life as an employee are probably sprinkled with questions like, “Why are you so quiet?” or “You’re a shy one, aren’t you?”As much as you’d like to contradict them, this often leads to a discussion about how you are and, probably, how you should change. So, best case scenario, you do your best to laugh it off in order to not drain yourself of the precious mental energy that keeps you going.
The above scenario is just one of the many reasons many introverts choose self-employment. It can be easier to handle, you have more time by yourself, and at the end of the day, you’re left with some energy and even eagerness to socialize with your loved ones — which is crucial.
If you don’t know your Myers-Briggs personality type, before going any further, take a personality assessment, which will tell you a lot about yourself if you truly reflect upon each answer. (We recommend this free personality test from our partner Personality Hacker.)
As you may already know, there are eight types of introverts classified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The classifications are based on your dominant, auxiliary, tertiary, and inferior personality traits. These measure your intuition, sensing, thinking, and feeling as either introverted or extroverted and place them on a scale from dominant to inferior. In order to be classified as an introvert, your dominant function has to be at least 51 percent introverted.
I know “labeling” might sound weird; after all, combining eight notions to classify all the individuals on the planet in 16 groups seems simplistic and even impersonal. But you might be amazed at how much the characteristics of your type apply to you.
However, keep in mind that each and every one of us is different even when belonging to the same Myers-Briggs type; after all, even though our personality is partly inherited, it’s also largely shaped by our experiences and the people we came in contact with—and there’s beauty in that. So, if you’re trying to choose a career path or a college major, be aware that the following career suggestions are simply possibilities; it’s up to you to make the choice that’s right for you. Likewise, if you’re reading this and you’re, say, an ISFJ lawyer (which is not one of the career/type combinations listed below), more power to you.
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Self-Employed Careers for Introverts
So, which self-employed careers might be a good fit for your personality type? Here are ten ideas:
Yes, I know being an architect involves communicating, but most introverts have no issues with staying on point and discussing facts. It’s the small talk that kills us. A successful architect is a good listener and a patient planner, so an intuitive introvert can perform extremely well (an “intuitive” is indicated by the “N” in the four-letter personality type abbreviation; a “sensor” is indicated by an “S”). The job also involves some creativity and artistic skills, which makes it an adequate self-employed choice for certain artistic introverts, too.
2. Financial Advisor or Accountant
As a freelance financial advisor, you get to minimize the socializing part of the job and focus on problem-solving. You get to use your logic, analytical skills, and people-oriented attitude that define many introverts without actually dealing with people that much. Working independently is a trait that most introverts have, so a self-employed job in finances can be a great career choice both for sensing introverts and for intuitive ones.
A common desire among introverts is spending time in nature, taking in the fresh air, and enjoying the chirping of birds or the sound of wind. For me, hiking is the most refreshing activity I can think of. If you add some creativity and a bit of interest in numbers and machinery, you get a meticulous and dedicated freelance landscaper.
4. Computer Programmer/Coder
Ideal for: INTJ or INTP personalities
Computers are easy to deal with. They’re predictable and rational creations that show no emotions or variation in their reactions. If you make a mistake, a simple pop-up will quietly let you know. An intuitive introvert will perform unexpectedly well if they are left alone with their computer to solve a problem or write a code if they have the right knowledge; and with all the free resources out there, there’s no reason to not try it out!
5. Web Designer
Ideal for: ISTJ or ISTP personalities
If you’re more on the sensing side but do love technology and computers, you should give web design some thought. Creativity is crucial for a web designer, and you have plenty of it. Another important thing is to truly listen and understand what the client wants, which you can also do well since thinking is your thing.
6. Content Writer
Ideal for: INFJ, ISFJ, ISFP, or INFP personalities
Many introverts express themselves best in writing: in school, you performed better on written tests and now, you prefer writing an e-mail instead of calling or talking face to face. If you feel like this applies to you and you have your grammar in order, you can become a writer. For those more on the artistic side, copywriting involves a lot of research and care when expressing an idea. Concepts and ideas should be your thing.
7. Technical writer
Ideal for: INTJ, ISFJ, INFJ, or INTP personalities
If you like to understand how things work, you can choose to become a technical writer. Describing technology and products by deconstructing their concept and explaining how they function can be extremely rewarding.
Ideal for: INFJ, INFP, or ISFP personalities
Being a freelance photographer is not quite what movies make it seem. The most important qualities a photographer needs are artistic sense, patience, and technical skills. Being behind the spotlight is more than comfortable for an introvert, so this could be the job for you.
Ideal for: INTJ or INTP personalities
The career of a freelance lawyer definitely is challenging, but it pays off greatly. The job involves much less socializing than you’d think, and more studying and thinking. It requires continually learning and a certain attraction towards rules, so it fits some introvert profiles perfectly.
Ideal for: INFJ or INFP personalities
Psychology is all about listening, deconstructing, and listening some more. If you are a sensible person and tend to analyze people by their language or gestures, you should seriously think about getting into this discipline.
Of course, these aren’t the only ways to go — and, self-employed or not, there are plenty of jobs that fit introverts. But if you’re an INFP, I think these are some of the best.