Learning how others made it work with self-employment was a crucial piece of the puzzle for my own self-employment journey. So I feel called to share more real-life stories with you. This story about Renata has a focus on making the transition to self-employment while keeping energy, worries, mission, and money in balance.
This is part of a series of inspiring stories of introverts and/or highly sensitive people (HSP) who are living their purpose, while finding a sense of balance.
Meet Renata McElvany
Renata, an introvert (INFJ specifically) and a highly sensitive person, has been growing her creative solopreneur business on the side. She’s excited about the steady progress as she plans to gradually reduce employment and move into full-time self-employment.
She offers graphic design, illustration, art products, and coaching for other sensitive intuitive women and creative entrepreneurs. Her coaching is especially for sensitive intuitive women of color (BIWOC) who want to explore anything related to creativity, from exploring how to develop a creative habit to growing their own art business.
I love what she’s about, and how she’s going about it. She has so much wisdom and positive energy to share, which you’ll see in her words below.
Renata was born in Mexico City, Mexico, and raised in Los Angeles. She’s currently in sunny Long Beach, California, USA. She is an Indigenous Mexican, formerly undocumented immigrant, and first-generation immigrant. Renata shared with me that her immigration experience has profoundly shaped her perspective, values, and creative pursuits.
My Interview with Renata
I thoroughly enjoyed connecting with Renata for this interview. (We also recorded a more detailed video interview that will be available inside my course, Bridge to Self-employment.)
What has been critical to you in helping you maintain your well-being, or a sense of balance for your energy?
Renata: Gaining clarity of my needs and limits has been essential to my well-being. For instance, I know I need a lot of alone time and unstructured time to daydream and strategize my next business move or creative project. I find that also spending time in community and with a few close friends recharges me and helps me maintain my mental health.
What is something in your background that has strongly influenced you?
Renata: My immigration experience has heavily inspired my life’s work and my personal values.
Also, my experience with Punk Rock music early on in my teenage years was my first introduction to self-empowerment and a big influence in how I live my life and run my business today.
The punk ethos really inspired me to grow my social consciousness, do things my own way, and embrace my individuality.
In addition, being a survivor of narcissistic abuse has informed my understanding of abuse and oppressive systems at a very deep and personal level.
Another big influence has been learning to reject white supremacy (whiteness as dominant) and committing to a journey of decolonizing my mind and dismantling systems of oppression.
What do you wish you knew before you started toward self-employment?
Renata: I wish someone would have told me to focus on cultivating my own self-authority and self-trust. In the beginning of my journey I spent a lot of time trying to build a business/self-employment situation, in the way the big business gurus said or any other person with more perceived authority.
I didn’t realize it was really important for me to build a business based on my personal values, a business where it’s not about gaining by exploiting others, extracting, and perpetuating oppression. This becomes even more critical as a more perceptive, sensitive, empathic, intuitive person who is either energized or drained by others’ energy.
What was a big fear or worry that held you back about self-employment possibilities for you? How did you get past that?
Renata: A huge fear I had when it came to self-employment was thinking I’d end up homeless if I didn’t figure out how to make a living on my own.
The funny thing is that even getting a job requires you to trust yourself to create income for yourself. The only difference is most of us perceive a job to be more secure because we get a regular paycheck. Nothing is guaranteed in this life so why not open ourselves up to try something new.
It also took me a long time to realize that I could use the same skills I used at my day job but in a more independent way. A way that doesn’t require me to commit to a single employer and actually opens the door to making a living from various employers/collaborators.
Finally, I also realized I can slowly transition into self-employment without diving head first into the unknown and without a plan.
It’s okay to keep a day job while building your ideal work situation. That’s what’s working for me.
A day job can look like a part-time or project-based position which can give you peace of mind as you create your ideal business and utilize your best energy for creative projects.
Oh yeah, keep your expenses low, you don’t need all the things, sometimes we create our own hell. Learn to live with the essentials and upgrade as you feel more confident with your profit making skills.
Anything else you want to add?
Renata: When all else fails, take a deep breath, forget about your worries, put on a good movie and pick up your favorite brushes and paints, and just create for yourself. This is a long-term game and it’s important to pace yourself and feed your soul along the way.You can find Renata online at:
Lessons from Renata’s story…
I hear at least 7 great lessons in this story:
- Know your wellness needs and start from there.
- Your values are good guideposts for how to grow your own business.
- Your own life changing experiences are a good place to look for your career mission.
- Take measured risks, one step at a time.
- Keeping the day job provides a source of security while you create something new.
- Self-employment is not necessarily less secure than employment, if you understand what to do or where to go for trusted guidance.
- Breathe and nourish your soul along the way.
I’m enjoying these inspiring stories from introverts and HSPs. I like hearing all the details of how they make it work. More coming soon. You can subscribe below.
Wondering about your own path?
You might like these resources:
- Career Clarity Course for Introverts and HSPs. (A place to get clear on your values, strengths, and how it all fits together.)
- Self-employment needs to be easier.
- Course: Bridge to Self-employment