If you’re Highly Sensitive and feel disheartened, overwhelmed or unfulfilled by the world of work, you may have thought about becoming self-employed. But does being a Highly Sensitive Self-Employed Person work?
You may (rightly) have some concerns about it. After all, for most of us, self-employment is not the common family path.
Self-employment is also definitely not for everyone. Yet, your High Sensitivity is definitely not a reason not to go for it.
In fact, when you set up your business in a way that works with your sensitivity (instead of fighting it), you could find that you are more inspired and more productive working for yourself.
Below are 15 reasons why being self-employed as a Highly Sensitive Person works.
1. Being a Highly Sensitive Self-Employed Person lets you Expand Your Horizons
Listen up when you have a LOT of different skills, you’re good at most things you set your mind to and are not sure how to combine it all in a job.
That’s because there aren’t many jobs that will require you to wear all the hats. But, starting your own business will!
Starting your own business will put any and all abilities and talents that you have to good use.
If you’re Highly Sensitive and also a Sensation Seeker (with a deep need to always plunge into something new) you’ll find that having your own business gives you lots of opportunities to learn and try new things. In fact, you have to!
If you have a lot of different skills and interests that don’t “fit” in a regular job, you’ll find that it’s likely possible to use them all in your own business, either visibly or behind the scenes.
In my own case, my business has been a great way to use my writing skills (writing articles + learning copywriting), art & design skills (designing the look of all kinds of material I put out, making drawings for my articles on TheHappySensitive.com), people skills (coaching + customer service), creativity (developing new programmes + content), tech skills (when everything you do lives online, there is no avoiding tech!) and on, and on.
In fact, when you run your own business, there are so many different things that need to get done that you’ll be pulling from all your different talents and abilities to make it all come together.
2. As a Highly Sensitive Person PURPOSE Matters a Lot to You
You want to be ABOUT something that doesn’t exist as a job. You are on a mission and that mission does not exist anywhere yet.
I mean – you feel in your bones that this job should exist. You might start out assuming it does, and be frustrated because you can’t figure out what the job title is called, or what company “has” it.
Sometimes you look around and look around and that dream job just looks nowhere to be found.
Maybe you’re interested in doing something that isn’t mainstream. Or maybe your dream is a mainstream job, but with a big and important twist. When you can’t find the job you’d like to do out there, it may be time to start creating it.
As Highly Sensitive People, we care a lot about the purpose of our life. Work needs to feel meaningful. Sometimes the meaning you dream of making doesn’t come as a ready-made job and you have to create it from scratch. That’s what being self-employed is all about!
3. Being a Highly Sensitive Self-Employed Person Means You Can Act on Your Ideas
You take a lot of responsibility and tend to get frustrated with the “can’t” and “won’t” and “maybe later” at many companies. You’ll happily work overhours but can we please get this thing done????
When you are self-employed, there is very little red tape (apart from that set by your government). In many cases, if you have an idea, you can run with it!
We HSPs tend to process things deeply. For many of us, that depth means that we like to be thorough. It can drive you nuts when you see that how things are done at work just isn’t working! The system is broken, and nobody is interested in fixing it.
When you see your colleagues happy to clock in and clock out, without worrying about the bigger picture, it may be time to create your own picture.
4. Being Self-Employed lets You Lead with Empathy
Being self-employed is the perfect way to put your compassion and heart in charge of how you deal with customers.
If current or past-employers shocked you because clients were being ignored, customer support was abysmal and all kinds of important things were falling through the cracks… being self-employed is your chance to present a different option for people.
When you are a Highly Sensitive Entrepreneur, you have the option of leading with empathy. You can develop practical strategies that are both kind and understanding, as well as practical.
5. When You’re Self-Employed, You Don’t Need Permission
You love learning, but not just in a bookworm way (though you may like that too). No, the world is your playground and you know you learn best by doing. But in a regular job, you need to first show that you already have the right credentials and experience, before you’re allowed to do something.
To get all the official credentials you’d need – to do all the things you want to do – you’d be in school until well into your 60’s! Ouch!
You know you can do it, if only someone gave you a shot!
You know what? Maybe that someone needs to be you. When you’re self-employed, that someone giving you a shot is you.
This is perfect if you’re just itching to have a go at things, and feel held back by “no, let Dave do it because Dave has the official credentials” (even though Dave makes a mess of things).
6. Being Self-Employed is a Quick Way to Develop Your Talents
If you are someone who learns by doing, learns by feeling, learns by experimenting. If you are a creative thinker itching to try new things… then being self-employed will be like a dream come true.
You have to learn on the go. You have to try things out. You need to make adjustments as you go along. There is no fool proof blueprint for being self-employed, so you will have to try out a lot of ideas and see how they pan out.
This means that as a self-employed person, you have all the freedom to start acting on a plan that is merely a hunch, and creatively and intuitively weave your way through the practicalities of it one step at a time.
7. When You’re Self-Employed, You Can Follow Your Soul’s Calling
When you have your own funding (meaning, a day job to start, or enough savings to take the leap), you don’t need a nitty gritty business plan. You don’t need a bunch of people in suits to o.k. your strategy. You just need a core idea that you’re willing to put your effort and willingness behind, and a willingness to learn and tweak as you go along.
This means you can diverge from common best practices, you can do things your own way!
While there is something to be said for tried and true practices, when your soul is calling you to create something new, that tried and true will likely be wrong for you.
After all, you’re not starting a business to create another frustrating job for yourself! You’re starting your own business so that that job is something that feels aligned and right.
8. Being Self-Employed Fans Your Creativity as a Highly Sensitive Person
You think outside of the box and thrive cooking up smart ways to deal with all kinds of limitations.
You don’t need to be fed all the action steps. You see a problem, and you come up with a few different ways to tackle it. You know there is always another way.
When someone says it can’t be done… that’s when your creative juices really start flowing! Sure, sometimes it truly can’t be done (you’re not an idiot!) but often “it can’t be done” just means that standard procedures are insufficient and you need to come up with a new way to do something. Just your cup of tea!
Being Highly Sensitive means that you perceive more subtleties. That means, for any situation that most people would break down into e.g. 10 essentials, you see 25 essentials. This “noticing more” can be a source of overwhelm. Yet, it can also be a source of great creativity!
Seeing more things can translate into seeing more options, seeing more possible combinations of ideas, and coming up with create ideas more easily.
This creativity is a great asset when running your own business!
9. Being HSP and Self-Employed Allows You to Get More Done
You work best without an open office, without a watercooler, and without mandatory coffee breaks. When you are working on something, you are really working on something! Nobody can stop you and you prefer to work in peace.
You’re not trying to just get through the day by chatting with Jill from accounting. You care about the project you’re working on and don’t need someone leering over your shoulder to get it done.
In other words, you’re a self-starter. You hate being micro-managed because you know you’ll do the work! Micro-management just feels like you’re not trusted. You don’t need someone else to approve of and applaud your every single step!
When you’re self-employed you can ditch many of the distractions that come with a modern workplace. You can structure your time so that you have chunks of hours to concentrate.
If there are tasks that are easier to do with some company, there are ways to set that up too.
10. As a Highly Sensitive Self-Employed Person You can Develop a Better Balance Between Thinking and Feeling
As a Highly Sensitive Person, you need a better “thoughts versus emotions” balance.
Much of the modern work environment is rationality first. This means that if you are someone who primarily operates on emotional intelligence, you constantly have to justify and explain and translate your reasoning.
“It doesn’t feel right” is rarely a “valid” reason to take things in a different direction. However, when you work for yourself, “it doesn’t feel right” is a perfectly valid reason to conduct business differently!
As Highly Sensitive People, we tend to be more emotional than non-HSPs. Our emotions are just a bigger, more important part of how we do life. Being able to bring that into your work allows you to build on your natural strengths.
11. Being HSP and Self-Employed Allows You to Design a Focus-Friendly Workplace
You need more control over your time and space.
There is only so much you can get done when colleagues are knocking on your door every 10 minutes. Daily meetings are obligatory (and quite useless), the IM-messages are popping up non-stop and people expect you to be “on” without giving you the means to have some peace and quiet.
Many modern workplaces are hives of constant distraction. They are not optimised for work. They are optimised for interruption.
If you don’t care about your work, this can feel like a reprieve from dull tasks. Yet, if you care about the work you do, this is incredibly frustrating, exhausting and overstimulating.
What’s more, as a Highly Sensitive Person your senses get overstimulated more quickly than for non-HSPs. In practice, this means we need a little VIP treatment at the office, to be truly as efficient as we can be. When there are constant, mandatory interruptions, you’ll be spending a significant chunck of your time, trying to manage the overstimulation!
Being self-employed is not without its workplace challenges but you have a LOT more power over how you structure your days, and who is allowed to interrupt you when. Moreoever, you can actually structure your business so that you naturally stay within your happiness zone, keeping overstimulation at bay.
All in all, this translates to more work satisfaction, and less “wrestling” with your Highly Sensitive traits.
12. Being a Self-Employed HSP Creates Long-Term Stability
Employment contracts are not what they used to be. The days when all you needed to do was get “in” with a big company (and be set for life) are over. Many regular jobs have temporary contracts. Even if you are the company star now, there are often no long-term guarantees.
In a way, regardless of how and where you’re employed, we’re all forced to think about what our strengths are, what we want to put our time and energy into, and how to present that to others. Even when you’re looking for another job, you’re required to sell your new boss on you. And you will likely have to do so again and again.
However, when you are your own boss, you are building something for life. You are employed there (at your own small business) because you are committed to it. As long as you continue to be committed to it your job will be there for you.
Hence, where self-employment used to look like the “insecure” option, today it actually allows you to stay with the same company (your own) your whole career.
Being self-employed allows you to build your skills and assets in a sustainable way. No job hopping and having to start over all the time!
P.S. Will you need to reinvent your business from time to time? Yes! Covid is a sad example. Yet, when you look around at companies who are able to take previous offline offers online, or change previous in-store experiences to “bring to your door” options, you’ll notice that even now, there are entrepreneurs who are thriving, or at the very least, getting by.
13. Being Self-Employed is Freedom to Remove the Drudge Work
Isn’t it the worst when you are required to do a stupid, repetitive, meaningless task, just because it’s procedure?
Many companies have a host of outdated, inefficient policies that need following not because it’s the best way to do something, but because it’s been done that way for a long time.
When you are self-employed, there are many many ways to limit the drudge work.
There are new tech automation options popping up all the time. Tasks that used to require a person, can now often be done automatically. Chances are, if there is a task you hate doing, there is a smarter way to design the process so that that dull steps are cut out, or taken over by automation.
And if there isn’t, but the task is very repetitive, you can probably hire a virtual assistant to do it for you.
Some tasks that are very easy to automate:
- scheduling client appointments (my fav is acuity scheduling)
- creating transcripts from audios and videos (my fav is happyscribe)
- copying data from one system to another (using zapier)
- creating and scheduling social media posts (my current fav is missinglettr)
All in all, when you are your own boss, you can optimise, change and even completely ditch any processes that frustrate you.
14. Self-Employment: You Get to Keep the Fruits of Your Labor
I never thought that being a Highly Sensitive Self-Employed Person would be the way it is for me now. I was so used to stopping and starting in a job: you give it your all, and then you need to start over in a new job.
I really enjoy building things and building my own business has been so validating (compared to when I created teaching materials for the University where I taught – who now own all that I created)
It’s soothing and satisfying to know that materials I created 5 years ago are still mine to use as I see fit now. I am building what I create for me, not for an employer.
Everything I create now, is also an investment into my own future.
15. Being Highly Sensitive Self-Employed Will Challenge You to Really Be Yourself
It’s been challenging being my own boss – oh yes! – but I’ve also learned so much and being a Highly Sensitive Self-Employed Person has allowed me to really be myself.
In fact, any time when I am holding back from being true to myself is when business slows. In that way, my business is my accountability partner. It both forces me to confront myself, and it gives me the space to.
Having my own business keeps me aligned: what do I really want to do? What do I see that’s missing, and that I want to create a solution for?
Having my own business also requires me to do the inner work that it takes to stay on track. You can’t fake it till you make it when your brand is basically you!
If you’re looking to get started setting up your own business and are not sure about what to do exactly, or you already have a business but are wondering how to not let your High Sensitivity “get in the way”, set up a time to talk with me here.