Discover the Freelance Careers for Your Personality
By Jena Kroeker
Imagine you’re standing, plate in hand, in front of an enormous buffet, a tantalizing array of … freelance careers! You see them all laid out before you, so many interesting choices, and you aren’t sure which one to try out first.
That’s what the freelance industry can feel like sometimes. The number of choices is overwhelming, and the greatest challenge is simply knowing where to start.
Choosing Ideal Freelance Careers
“Finding your niche” is one of the first steps in building a successful freelance or virtual assistant career. Each niche is like a separate dish on that huge buffet. Specifically, a niche is “a specialized service and/or market that is suited to your personality, passions, proficiencies, and professional background,” according to FreeU co-founder and instructor Craig Cannings in “The Fine Art of Niching Down” course.
It may seem tempting to sample everything at once, without narrowing down your choices. However, Craig stresses that the benefits of finding a niche are clear:
• Allowing you to become a trusted, go-to freelancer
• Making it easier to tailor your messaging on your website
• Encouraging collaboration instead of competition
• Allowing you to charge more for your specialized services.
So, how do you find your niche? “The Fine Art of Niching Down” course outlines a “Niche Identification Matrix” that includes four elements: Personality, Passions, Proficiencies, and Profitable Niches.
In this blog post, let’s shine a spotlight on the first element — Personality.
What are the personality traits and qualities that make you unique? This is a key factor in understanding which freelance careers are ideal for you. An accurate understanding of your personality helps your passions, proficiencies, and profitable niches fall smoothly into place.
Discovering Your Freelance Personality
As Craig describes, there are three ways to assess your personality traits:
• What qualities or traits do you possess that influence your work as a freelancer?
Assessment by Others
• How would a close, trusted person in your life describe your qualities and traits?
• What do recognized personality tests say about you and your work preferences as a freelancer?
The first two assessments are an important exercise and provide valuable information. But the third one, personality tests, offers the distinct benefit of an objective assessment. It also opens the door to a broader understanding of yourself and your opportunities.
That’s why we’re excited to offer the “Discover Your Freelance University” quiz, based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). By answering a series of questions, you can determine which of the 16 MBTI types you are, along with the valuable qualities and traits you bring to your freelance or virtual assistant work. And, in addition, you can access a list of profitable niches with corresponding tasks ideally suited to your personality type.
In a previous blog post, “How to Discover Your Ideal Freelance Niche,” we discussed how “the more you do work you don’t enjoy, the more your enthusiasm and energy will wane.”
In this way, discovering your freelance personality is another aspect of enjoying freedom — the freedom to be yourself and blossom in the type of work and lifestyle you’ll thrive in.
Each personality type is equally valued, and each contributes to creating a full and varied freelance industry, with different niches and roles that ultimately complement each other. With your personality type, you play an important part in supporting clients and colleagues in a unique way.
Four Key Discoveries from the Freelance Personality Test
So, let’s return to the buffet analogy. At first you’re standing there, frozen in your tracks. Everything looks so good, but what should you put on your plate first? The personality test is like narrowing down the menu to your personal preferences. For example, if you’re a vegetarian, roast beef is one item you’d avoid. And if that side of the table also included rotisserie chicken, you’d steer clear of it. So, instead of being overwhelmed, you can identify which parts of the buffet are worth spending time on.
In essence, the Freelance Personality test provides four key discoveries that help you choose the main course, side dishes, garnishes, and ideal table setting for your business.
1. The Main Course (Your Core Niche)
As mentioned above, finding your ideal core niche allows you to seek more targeted freelance careers and unlock further income potential. But along with that, it helps you build a business around services you look forward to providing. When your core niche meshes well with your personality, you’ll experience greater fulfillment and enjoyment.
The Myers & Briggs Foundation shares this quote from Isabel Briggs Myers, co-creator of the MBTI: “It is up to each person to recognize his or her true preferences.”
When you complete the Freelance Personality Test, you’ll uncover which profitable niches suit your personality best. Then, you’re free to choose from among them. And if you like doing something not listed with your personality type, feel free to pursue it too. Some people’s personalities are not clear cut and may straddle more than one personality type.
In any case, this core niche serves as the main focus of your business, around which you build your services and target your audience.
2. Side Dishes (Complementary Niches)
In addition to your core niche, the personality test uncovers complementary niches you could add as additional services. These complementary niches coordinate well with your personality and main services.
For instance, Digital Marketing, Social Media, and Design might show up as three ideal niches for your personality. As you explore the variety of tasks involved, you may recognize some that would go well together and allow you to expand your services.
A few examples are email marketing, content marketing, and graphic design. These complementary services, derived from three different niches, combine to create a robust social media business. Although your core niche may be social media, the complementary niches are like tasty side dishes that enhance your main course.
3. Garnishes (Your Unique Qualities or Traits)
Just like a fine garnish increases the quality of a dish, your personality traits can increase the quality of your services. Especially when they’re suited to your particular choice of freelance career. Your individual traits are the special touches you bring to your ideal niche that are a unique selling point for clients.
The personality test helps you understand how your mind operates and explains why you might enjoy some tasks more than others. It can also help you discover other niches that would resonate with you and your personality. If you find that other personality types have similar characteristics to your own, you’ll see an increased number of opportunities to choose from.
Understanding your unique qualities or traits also helps you know how to articulate your value to potential clients. As you assess your personality, you’ll learn how to leverage your strengths and explain how those strengths help clients reach their goals.
4. Table Setting (Your Ideal Work Setting)
Some of us are already familiar with the MBTI or a similar personality test. Maybe you know your personality but have never matched it with particular freelance careers before. Or maybe you’ve never taken a personality test and would benefit from knowing what your unique traits are.
One difference that often impacts freelancers or virtual assistants is their tendency toward introversion or extroversion. In her Ted Talks video, “The Power of Introverts,” Susan Cain describes the difference this way:
“Shyness is about fear of social judgement. Introversion is more about how do you respond to stimulation, including social stimulation. So extroverts really crave large amounts of stimulation, whereas introverts feel at their most alive and their most switched-on and their most capable when they’re in quieter, more low-key environments.”
In an article titled “How Extroverts Can Freelance From Home Without Getting Stir Crazy,” Taylor Gordon describes the importance of discovering she was an extrovert:
“Before freelancing, I made a huge miscalculation about my personality type.
“I’ve always labeled myself as an introvert, so I was jumping for joy when I started working from home.
“But to my surprise, I discovered that being alone is far more draining to me than being around people.”
As she explored personality types, she realized she had some extroverted traits. Therefore, she decided she’d benefit from adding co-working or socializing to her business budget, visiting friends and family, and meeting clients in person.
Likewise, if you discover you’re an introvert, you may find your ideal table setting is a home office with plenty of solitude in between socializing. The key is to find out what works for you. In “An Introvert’s Guide to Networking Like a Rock Star,” we share this encouragement:
“No matter what your personality is, remember you are enough! Introverts and extroverts are equally valuable and equally capable of making good connections. And we are all unique. Not everyone fits into the exact mold of an introvert or extrovert.”
Final Thoughts and Encouragement
The buffet of freelance careers awaits! And discovering your freelance personality is an exciting part of building your business. It opens the door of opportunity by narrowing down the options a bit and providing some direction. You’ll have choices to consider and freedom to explore them without becoming overwhelmed.
Above all, don’t look at personality types as pigeon-holing yourself. The Freelance Personality Quiz is meant to be freeing, not restrictive. Knowing your personality helps you design a niche for your business that is both meaningful and profitable. It allows you to use your gifts and skills in a way that provides maximum benefit and enriches your work experience and your client relationships. And if you’re already in a niche you enjoy, it helps you discover ways to deepen your service offerings.
Now it’s your turn. Take our Freelance Personality Quiz and discover the Freelance Careers most suited to you!