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My Journey to Self-employment Ease, as a Sensitive Introvert (The Short Story)

My Journey to Self-employment Ease, as a Sensitive Introvert (The Short Story)

Introverts and highly sensitive people (HSPs) can be great at self-employment, and we sure love the freedom part. And then there’s the challenging part. Today I am a self-sustaining, self-employed sensitive introvert, but how did that happen?

Unfortunately a lot of business advice is geared for extroverts and it can make sensitive introverts feel like we are “doing it wrong” or that we have to wear an extrovert mask to be successful. Not true.

As an introvert and HSP myself, I get it. After a winding road, I have learned how joyful work can be, when I do things that fit for my true self.

Here’s a window into my story.

Before Self-employment:

On a good day.

Before I took the self-employment leap, I was burning out at work and knew I had to do something.

I worked in varied environments and cycled through different careers. Sometimes I felt energized and happy (like when I got to run with my creative ideas).

And sometimes I felt drained and miserable in ways I didn’t understand. The miserable parts were too much of the time. So I kept wondering what was next.

Transitioning to Self-employment:

While I had dreamed of self-employment, I didn’t see how it could work for me. My mind said, “That was for other people.”

Then, thanks to some soul searching (with the help of a business coach), some experimenting with self-employment on the side, and rejecting the typical go-go-go, salesy way of doing business…. fast forward… I eventually came to a place of celebration and ease with being true to myself in my personal and professional life.

I even rented a part-time office in those early days. Big gulp.

I learned that taking things in small steps, seeing what happens in reality, and keep going towards the good stuff, really makes all the difference. I learned to trust my way over the prescribed extrovert path.

Letting in guidance, from people who understand me, has been critical. Letting myself ask questions, even when I felt silly asking them, led to a lot of stress relief.

> More about what helped me in the in-between times, including money.


It’s not perfect and it’s always evolving, but it works for me. There are things that can work for you too.

Val Nelson coach for introverts and HSPsI have happily landed with being a self-employed career/ business coach. I work mainly with introverts and highly sensitive women, like myself.

While I originally didn’t think self-employment was meant for introverts, it turns out introverts can like self-employment a lot and make it work, when we do things our way. It’s working for me and lots of other introverts and HSPs I know.

I’m even relaxed about the marketing side of being self-employed. (There are ways to do marketing that are great for introverts!)

I wrote up what I mean by our way of doing business and marketing:
A Hustle-free, Calm Way for Business: “The Black Swan Model for Business”

I learned the hard way and now I enjoy helping others find the easier path, through coaching and my courses.

I believe:

  • Our quiet-loving, big-hearted nature is a valuable gift, not a flaw.
  • It doesn’t have to be that hard. When it feels hard, you’re trying to do too much all alone. (It doesn’t mean you’re weak to let in support.)
  • Work should feel joyful. (And it is possible.)
  • Authenticity is the most effective way to reach your deepest goals.
  • Breathing is essential.
  • Nature can be a source of grounding and guidance. 🌿
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

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