Self-employment Ideas for Introverts: How to Work for Yourself

Self-employment Ideas for Introverts: How to Work for Yourself

Self-employment for introverts — can it work? I think we introverts can love and excel at self-employment. I’ll explain. And I’ll give you a list of good self-employment ideas for introverts, and tips too.

(You might also like this additional post with over 50 ideas for careers for introverts.)

Is this you?

  1. You’re thinking maybe you just need to find the right path that fits your introverted style and/or high sensitivity needs.
  2. And you think self-employment might give you the freedom to create work the way you want it. (Yes!)
  3. But, you’re nervous about what self-employment ideas will work for you as an introvert. (“I don’t know what kind of business would work for me.” and “Ack, what about marketing?!”)

Sound familiar? You’re definitely not alone.

Brainstorming self-employment ideas for introverts
I’ve always loved brainstorming self-employment ideas, but I didn’t used to know how to choose, or if it would work for me as an introvert. Now I get it and love sharing about it.

I’ll explain why and how self-employment can work well for introverts, including a few specific business ideas and tips for you. 

In this post:

  • Self-employment worries + excitement.
  • Self-employment is a natural fit for introverts.
  • Best self-employed jobs that work for introverts.
  • How to choose the right path for you.
  • What about all your self-employment worries? (Some calming ideas)
  • “Maybe I’ll just get a job for now.”

Self-employment Worries + Excitement

That self-employment excitement combined with worry is common for introverts. And yet there are plenty of introverts making self-employment work. Without wearing an extrovert mask.

Personally, I love the freedom of self-employment, and it’s working for me in my own introverted way, even during economic ups and downs.

Bridge to Self-employment courseHowever, I was originally very nervous to take the self-employment leap because some part of me thought that was extrovert territory.

Both introverts and extroverts can make self-employment work, if you find your unique path. And if you learn a few things about how to make it easier.

Before or after you’re clear on your idea, it’s helpful to learn about how real-life introverts manage to take the self-employment leap, so that you won’t be as nervous about it.

Self-employment Is a Natural Fit for Introverts

I asked folks in my Facebook group for caring introverts, “What types of careers feel most suited to your introverted nature?” and the overwhelming trend was related to self-employment. Interesting! Same with me. It’s a natural fit for independent thinkers like us!

Here are some insights from those self-employed introverts:

  • “Since I have my business, I loooove working alone and deciding when I meet with people.”
  • “Making my own schedule, creating my own rhythm is huge for me and my well-being as an introvert.”
  • “I’ve been pretty drawn to the ‘solopreneur’ notion. I’m realizing that I really feel flow when I’m in deep focus as opposed to social overstimulation.”

Best Self-employed Jobs for Introverts

Here are some in-demand paths that I’ve heard introverts and highly sensitive people (HSPs) say has been a good fit for their energy and natural flow (and there are many more options than these):

  1. Healing arts professionals (acupuncture, massage, hypnotherapy, etc.)
  2. Tech support/ I.T.
  3. Designers and illustrators (graphic design, illustration, web design, landscape design)
  4. Video production and editing
  5. Anything involving a lot of research or writing (For instance, good grant writing and résumé writing is in demand.)
  6. Social media/ online content manager
  7. Online community manager
  8. Copywriter/ content creator or strategist (See more career ideas for writers)
  9. Life coach/ career coach/ executive coach
  10. Wellness coach/ nutrition coach
  11. Nature-oriented work (ranger, guide, farmer, landscaping)
  12. Dog walking or pet sitting
  13. Training and workshop facilitation (You’d be surprised that when you’re in charge and you feel passionate about the topic, public speaking is much easier.)
  14. Transformational workshop and/or retreat host (sample training on how to do this)
  15. Online course creator (Teach something you already know.)
  16. Accounting or bookkeeping
  17. Virtual assistant or online business manager
  18. Psychology-related fields (see 50+ alternatives to being a therapist)
  19. Creating a tech startup with an extroverted business partner
  20. Join (or form) a worker-owed cooperative with a caring team of co-owners. (Examples: Find worker co-ops in the US, in Latin America, or in Europe.)
  21. Doing the specific parts you enjoyed about previous jobs, but now for your own business and for clients you love.
  22. Combining multiple ideas into one business, such as yoga teacher + retreat leader

Anything sounding up your alley? Are your own ideas coming to mind now? (Find more career and business ideas for HSPs and introverts here.)

How to Choose the Right Business Path for You

Now you have a few ideas that intrigue you perhaps. But how do you choose the right path for you?

If you want to know what will fit for you personally, and we’re all unique, there are ways to uncover your best path. I found that knowing more about my values, my strengths, and more about my personality were critical to choosing well.

Self-employment can be easier than you think, IF you choose something that really fits for you.

I discovered that figuring out my best fit is not easy to do by yourself. As a result, many people end up thinking it’s too hard and they hit a wall and give up.

With a little outside help, and some simple steps to walk through together, the picture of your best fit can come into focus. What a relief.

Taking the time to look closely, before choosing your path, is an investment that saves you so much heartache and expense down the wrong road.

It takes some soul searching… and it takes some research and market testing about what people will pay for. And that can be done, step by step. Don’t give up.

To choose well, you could get support from a career/business coach (for less than the cost of investing in the wrong direction).

There’s also a way to walk through the career clarity steps in a budget-friendly (or no-cost) course.

I’ve created an online course to help walk you through the career clarity steps:
“Simple Steps to Uncover the Best Use of You Now”.

What about all your self-employment worries?

My top words of advice for exploring self-employment ideas:

  1. If you’ve got an idea for your own self-employment, and your heart says Yes, it’s worth some more exploration.
  2. Take one small step at a time. Don’t commit to one specific idea right away. Explore.
  3. Don’t let that “I can’t” voice in your head stop you from even exploring.
  4. If the type of skills needed for your idea come easily to you, that’s a sign to explore that path. Your true work with the best potential will have a sense of downstream swimming for you. Work doesn’t have to be hard, or like swimming upstream, to “count” as work.
  5. Get support. NO ONE does it alone, even introverts.
  6. Learn some basics about self-employment and how it can work for introverts and highly sensitive people (HSPs). Taking a peek behind the curtain can help you know what will work for you:
Real-life Stories of moving into Self-employment
Click for behind-the-scenes stories of self-employment for introverts.

“Maybe I’ll Just Get a Job for Now”

If you’re starting to think maybe a job for now is the right next step, that’s cool too. In fact, I highly recommend having a positive bridge job while trying to get something going which can take a long while.

Once again, be sure to choose what will work for your introverted energy because we can easily be drained by the wrong work environment. I’ve gathered some ideas for that here:
Best Careers for Introverts, HSPs, and Other Sensitive Souls

Want answers sooner than later?

Here’s a few ideas that might help sooner than later:

  1. Leave a comment below about where you’re stuck and I’ll gladly respond!
  2. I’m available for one-time career/business consults, that I call Clarity Sessions, where we can go over your ideas and help to narrow the options and clarify next steps.
  3. You can get a big discount on a Clarity Session when you’re part of my Career Clarity Course or my Self-employment intro course. There’s also lots of ways to get input during the course.
Picture of Val Nelson

Val Nelson

I’ve been a self-employed career/business/purpose coach since 2009. I help introverts and HSPs (like me) who want to make a difference — in a way that fits our practical needs too.
Val Nelson | Coaching | Groups | Courses | Newsletter | LinkedIn

I appreciate feedback, good and bad. You can comment below or email.

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4 thoughts on “Self-employment Ideas for Introverts: How to Work for Yourself”

  1. I like your post, it made me feel included. I’ve been a nurse (sub contracted), owned my own dog grooming shop, hypnotherapist for smokers, sold caskets door to door (YIKES and not recommended). Now I am looking for self employment but I just don’t know where to start! Your ideas helped but I still feel a bit stuck.

    1. I’m so glad you felt included. Way to go on trying many things. That’s giving you good information and courage.
      Of course this post couldn’t solve it all. Wish it could. I’d love to hear what is now stuck.

  2. Awesome post Val! Something I’d add to it is that your first idea for self-employment doesn’t have to be your “forever business” – one of the briliant things with working for yourself is that you get to change the direction of your business when you need to.

    I started off my entrepreneurial life as a copywriter. It made sense – effectively, it’s what I’d been doing as an employee for nearly 5 years, so I didn’t need to learn a lot about the actual skill of copywriting: I could focus on figuring out the whole “how the heck do I run and grow a business????” thing.

    About a year or so in, I started realising that copywriting wasn’t where my heart was, and that, having discovered my own introversion, I was really drawn to helping fellow introverts in the heart-based business space (and WOW there are a lot of us) to grow their businesses without exhausting themselves.

    I’m still in the midst of changing direction right now – my copywriting business is still running, but my intention is to gradually transition out of it and into introvert coaching. It’s awesome to be a position to be able to create that change myself, rather than rely on a whole host of external factors to “allow” me to change it 🙂



  3. Such a great post! I’ve been mulling around a similar idea. Maybe one day I’ll even get around to posting it, lol. Thanks for this!

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