When I started my business, we weren’t asking one another what our personality type was. But now you see it everywhere. At first, I was reluctant to take the Enneagram or Myers Briggs quizzes to find out my type. I thought it was just people categorizing themselves and I didn’t get the appeal.
Fast forward and now I scream from the rooftops that I’m an INFJ and Enneagram 9. What changed? I spoke with friends who were making big moves in their business. So many of them mentioned that understanding who they are as a person, how they react to things, and where their strengths and weaknesses lie helped them build a better business. I was hooked.
Have you taken the Enneagram and Myers Briggs quizzes yet? They are both free and can really open your eyes to who you are as a person. Understanding yourself better can shape your business more than you think. Knowing I’m an INFJ shaped my business and how I run it. Being a type 9 allows me to see when I may be reacting to something in a toxic way. This knowledge has definitely been essential to my success today.
We’ve all been there, stitching our process together like a quilt incorporating bits and pieces we learn from the people we look up to in our industry. I offered systems consulting and built an entire second business around it. That’s because I love building and streamlining processes that much.
The first major change I made to my process was making it longer. I saw other designers promising brands and websites in just a few weeks, sometimes as little as 4. I tried to do the same and always felt so overwhelmed and rushed, making all of my projects last too long and go over time. Being an INFJ, I understand that a lot of my energy, creativity, and motivation comes from how I’m feeling. I have mental illnesses that affect my mood so not giving myself ample breathing room to think and try and create was not serving me or my clients. I also have chronic illnesses and being kinder to my own needs helps my clients also have time in our project if they have person matters come up that they need to give their attention to.
During my project timelines, I used to have four Zoom calls with my clients. While I love my clients and getting to know them, being introverted made this so draining. I’d be on the call, feeling great and having fun then the call ended and I needed a nap. I would get so tired, getting nothing else done for the whole day. I ended up reducing the number of calls to only one, a longer call that really deep dives into the website strategy. It allows me to build a lot of connection quickly and keep momentum through the project. I also switched to filming launch videos rather than having a call for that so they could be shorter (easier to watch) and they had them to refer back to.
I leaned more on my Enneagram type for this but I’ve always known that I am not a spontaneous person. I react poorly when thrown off guard and in the past, my process would change so much from client to client. When I started creating a process I could grow with and especially after I niched down to offering only websites, I created a process with four strict phases so no matter what the website entailed, I always moved through the phases so I’m always delivering my best work. And when things derail a bit? I know exactly where to come back in to get back on track.
Type 9’s can get really overwhelmed and to avoid conflict, disassociate so I knew I needed to be super clear with clients. Before, I’d become so over accommodating, clients would walk all over me and that would strain our relationship. I started trying to be super transparent with people when it came to business. At first I worried it was mean, but I realized I was making sure we didn’t waste each other’s time and I was clear in my expectations and what they could expect from me. It led to a lot more respect not only with clients, but collaborators.
Other ways I made sure I had clear boundaries with clients was to set office hours for when I am definitely available to them, make sure I’m clear that we use Asana exclusively for communicating during their project, not getting too attached to my design work, setting up designated spots on my calendar so I don’t overbook, and to take time off during the year (always for my birthday and a sabbatical at the end of the year for a few weeks).
Much like my boundaries, my systems in other areas of my business are built to eliminate surprise as well. I really benefit from order and plans. Knowing what is expected of me, even if it’s by me, keeps me on track.
One way I have systemized my business is having set steps I take when I batch my content out each month. That way I know I’m not missing any steps and when I brought in a virtual assistant this year, it was so easy to incorporate her in areas I didn’t want to do myself anymore. It was easy to recognize where I spent too much time and how she could help me most.
I talked a bit about the importance of aligning your growth and income goals in your business with meaningful milestones in your life in another post. I keep motivation much better when I am working towards a big change in my life. Once I reach my goal, I feel truly accomplished and this allows me to find a new goal to reach for that aligns with why I started my business. It helps me focus the never ending ideas that are always flowing through my brain.
While I am more introverted, I also get lonely really easily. Having smarter people around me that I look up to helps me expand what I think possible of myself. I’ve invested in some amazing people and resources for my business. Being more intuitive helps me to find some really great educators. Building my team has allowed me more opportunities and amazing business friends and I’m so thankful that I leaned into that when I so easily go inside when I’m stressed.
What is your personality types? Do you see how understanding yourself better can transform your business? When you start enacting change in your business, I assure you there will be people who don’t get it. But you must remain confident that you know best how to build the life and business of your dreams. No one can do what you do the way you do it. Lean into that superpower.