Note: If you don’t know your Myers Briggs Type, click here for a free, quick test to find out.
More than the other temperaments, Idealists are likely to want a career which makes them feel that they are giving back to the world. They also desperately seek meaning in their professional lives, which isn’t always easy to find in the 9-to-5 world of pushy managers, schedules, rules, and number crunching.
This is why so many NFs are drawn to self-employment. They often see it as a means of self-expression and seek to make their careers an extension of who they are. Many artists, entertainers, performers, and writers are NF Idealists, and many more own successful and interesting businesses. Because they are so good with people NFs make wonderful salespeople, though they sometimes lack the necessary “abilty to lie” to really make the big bucks in such a profession.
An NF will struggle in a traditional job unless they see it as meaningful and worthwhile. Often they will get caught up in crusades against “the bad guys” like big corporations, big business and other authority figures. Sometimes this can be carried a bit far, as the NF will lose sight of the facts in exchange for the big-picture ideal of a perfect world. However, this visionary trait will serve them well if they want to start a people-oriented business that will help change the world.
NF Idealists really can make a difference.
Passionate and focused, ENFJs are great “people people.” While some may find their gregarious and helpful nature a bit overbearing, they are wonderful at winning friends and providing for others. If an ENFJ wants to start their own business, they should use their people skills to their advantage. They make great teachers, counselors and advisors. Once an ENFJ finds the right group of people, they can begin their enterprise fairly quickly.
How ENFJ can flee the rat race
First, choose the type of business you would like to run, and use your organizational and networking skills to get your clients interested in your idea. Your powers of persuasion and ability to win people over are almost unmatched, so it will not be hard for you to get new clients! Make sure that you leave room open for new possibilities within your plan – if you think too far ahead and get too caught up in sticking to your original business idea it might make you a bit less flexible to see alternatives.
- Find a business ideas or career path that feels meaningful to you
- Network like crazy
- Make sure that your new network is aware of your availability and mission
- Hire someone else to do the practical end of the business, and who will “wake you up” when you are stuck in a rut
An ENFJ is probably less concerned about running their own show than they are about connecting with helping people. I can’t imagine a worse profession for an ENFJ than sitting in an office all day as a bill collector or helping a big company get a bit more money out of their customers by being sneaky. ENFJs need to put good into the world, or their business will feel empty and meaningless.
Areas of Self-Employment for ENFJ
- Coaching and Business Development
- Social Work
- Freelance Journalism and Reporting
ENFP – The Champion
Champion of the cause, the ENFP is passionate, effervescent and charming. Whatever undertaking they choose, you can be sure they will do it with their whole heart. This becomes a problem when the ENFP changes his or her mind. Again and again. Yes, focus can sometimes be difficult for this type. But if they can master the art of concentration and hold on to a business idea long enough to get it moving and at least bear some fruit, no type will have more business success than the ENFP.
How ENFP can flee the rat race
As a bona fide “idea person”, you need to learn to balance your ideas with practicality. It’s wonderful to have so many passions, but passion is empty without some kind of application. Your idea is no better than a discarded light bulb without action. To escape your 9-to-5 pick an idea that you think really has potential, pick a time period and tell yourself that no matter what, you are going to focus on your idea, and nothing else! You have all the tools necessary. What are you waiting for?
- Make a list of all your great business ideas
- After giving them some careful thought, pick the best one
- Get to work on your idea, working at night if you need to maintain a day job while doing so
- Consider hiring the help of an ISTJ or ISFJ to help you balance your budget and manage the details of your business
- Work with an accountant if you can
- Once the business has taken off and seems to be doing well, outsource where necessary and start another! But learn to focus on your current business until it is doing well first
I have yet to meet an ENFP who is happy in the rat race. This type will be miserable working in a stuffy office. They need to get out, to breathe fresh air, and to work with interesting and other fun-loving people. Fortunately, ENFPs can be among the best at starting their own businesses, as they are full of ideas.
Areas of Self-Employment for ENFP
- Travel and Vacation Packages
- Counseling and Coaching
- Small Business Coaching
- Event Planning
INFJ – The Counselor
An uncommon type, the INFJ is highly attuned to the needs and feelings of others. They are great at watching, observing, and deducing the motivations of everyone around them – but you would never guess that this is the case, as they seem private and quiet people. INFJs are passionate, but this is tempered by a cooler exterior that gives an essence of practicality and realism. They are ideal counselors and teachers, occupations which can be suited to self-employment, especially today. INFJs are not the most likely types to seek out self-employment, as they are more interested in feeling that their careers have meaning rather than freedom.
How INFJ can flee the rat race
There is a wonderful new career out there that has taken hold in recent years. The professional coach has now encroached on the territory once reserved for psychologists and other professionals with fancy-looking titles. Today it is possible to be a coach of almost anything – career, relationship, lifestyle, health, racquetball – you name it. As long as you have expertise in a field and you can build trust in others, you can be a coach. I can’t think of a better self-employed path for an INFJ.
- Ask yourself what type of audience you would like to help
- Work a regular job in this field for awhile, while building some clients of your own on the side
- Begin charging rates for your time (of your clients) that you feel is fair
- Spread the word – network the best you can
- Voila – you are a professional coach!
An INFJ can also succeed in other business endeavors, but like most idealists, they will be happiest in a profession where they are making a difference in the world. It is hard for an INFJ to feel passionate about a career unless they feel really connected with what they are doing, and can be really difficult for INFJs to feel justified in charging people for a service they give to their friends for free. Self-employment may not be right for this type.
Areas of Self-Employment for INFJ
- Coaching and Counseling
- Performance and Visual Art
- Education and Law
INFP – The Dreamer
The INFP definitely has it tough. Sensitive and imaginative, this type isn’t cut out for the 9-to-5 world at all. There can also be real barriers to self-employment for the INFP, including shyness, a general lack of assertiveness and an easygoing personality. However, if these barriers can be overcome, there is probably no type better suited to working for themselves. INFPs will work tirelessly on something they believe in. They are highly creative, intelligent and can see the big picture of a business idea.
How INFP can flee the rat race
An INFP should actually make it a priority to leave the rat race, even though it might not be easy! With plenty of talent and a dearth of ideas, you should have no trouble brainstorming ways to make your escape. But what you need is to focus, follow through, and assert yourself when necessary. Learn to ask clients to pay you what you deserve. Learn to network and reach out to others within your business. Learn to market your skills. If you can develop these essential business tools, you’ll build a great business that will be your own.
- Brainstorm business ideas until you settle on one that both puts you in a role where you are providing for others and is realistic
- Teach yourself the business skills stated above
- Build your business on the side while planning to quit your day job
- Don’t be afraid to work long hours – keep visualizing your ideal life (at the end of the tunnel)
As an idealist, an INFP should choose a business idea or profession where they are helping other people. Surprisingly, they can make some of the most interesting and successful businesses happen if they can overcome some of their perceived limitations. This is a type that should definitely consider self-employment even if it is a challenge. I promise you that it can be done - if I can do it (I am an INFP) so can you.
Areas of Self-Employment for INFP
- Art and Design
- Coaching and Counseling
Next in the series:Self Employment for the Myers Briggs Types: The Rationals (NT)