Are you an aspiring INFJ entrepreneur?
Do you have a strong desire to be self-employed or start your own business but find it difficult to get started?
Or are you someone who is already an entrepreneur but find it stressful to make a living out of it?
Two years ago, an INFJ reader wrote to me and said she felt lost in her career. Similar to me, she just left the animation industry and she didn’t know what to do next. So I gave her some advice and in the end, I encouraged her to pick up some entrepreneurial skills. She was like:
“I never thought of becoming an entrepreneur.”
Actually, neither do I. But here I am, a writer and a self-employed tutor. I wouldn’t go as far as labeling myself as a full-fledged entrepreneur. I prefer to call myself a writer with an entrepreneurial mindset.
But entrepreneurship is definitely a skill worth learning for INFJs whether you perceive yourself as an entrepreneur or not. Especially if you want to make a greater impact in the world, entrepreneurship can be a medium for that. It’s a pity that there aren’t that many INFJ entrepreneurs.
Why Most INFJs Don’t Become Entrepreneurs?
Being an entrepreneur can give us INFJs work autonomy and freedom in our life. Our creativity, our ability to think long-term and in terms of the big picture (Ni), together with our sensitivity in seeing other people’s needs (Fe), make us great entrepreneurs.
However, our tendency to be stuck in the analysis (Ti) and our lack of impulsiveness to take action (Se) might cause us to procrastinate on our vision.
Furthermore, the thought of setting up a company, the millions of things we think we have to do and the details involved are enough to stop an INFJ from venturing into his or her own business. That’s why it never even occurs to most INFJs that we can be entrepreneurs too.
We think too much and act too little.
ESTPs have the same top 4 cognitive functions as us but in a different order (Se, Ti, Fe, Ni). They are more likely to become entrepreneurs because they leap before they look, while we look before we leap, and sometimes we don’t even leap after we spent a lot of time looking.
As entrepreneurs, we have to learn through making mistakes and adjusting along the way. We don’t have to be as bold and risk-taking as an ESTP. But we do need to have a little impulsiveness to act on uncertainties and the willingness to fail to help us get started.
Starting a business is not easy but it’s also not as tough as what we INFJs imagine to be. You don’t have to create a company, hire people, manage a team or be the selling your products and services if you don’t want to. More on that later. But first, let’s define what entrepreneurs are in this blog post.
What Does It Mean to Be an Entrepreneur?
Most definitions of entrepreneurship tell you that it’s about setting up a business and taking financial risks. But these definitions don’t tell you much. In fact, they might turn you off from being an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurship is actually about providing value to a market.
If you are employed, you already know how to provide value. Just that you are providing value to one customer, which is your hiring company. The managers and the department heads that you serve do not count because they don’t pay you any money. They also receive their paycheck from the company. So in essence, you only have one customer.
The customer is someone who sees value in what you provide and therefore pays you. Employees get paid by their employer because they fill up a need in the business. The difference in being an entrepreneur is you learn to provide value to more than one customer. Customers who are interested to buy the same product are considered as a market.
Money only gets exchanged when there’s perceived value.
So for example, as a tutor, my market is the parents. Even though the students have some influence over their parents’ decision-making, the parents are the ones paying me. It doesn’t matter that much if the students think that I’m a good tutor or not, ultimately the parents must perceive that I’m valuable and helping them to achieve their desired outcome. If not, I won’t get hired or I’ll be fired.
The keyword here is perception. It depends on what the customer perceives as valuable. Often times, we INFJs might offer advice to others because we think it’s “good for them”. However, if the other party isn’t convinced and what we offer is not what they really wanted or needed, then no money is exchanged.
Once you understand that entrepreneurship is based on value creation and exchange, it will be much easier to start and grow your business.
How to Grow Your Business as an INFJ Entrepreneur
Before I start, I would like to credit my online mentor, Roger Hamilton, for his work. I’ve been learning from him since 2014 and a lot of things that I mentioned below comes from him. He’s the main resource I rely on to grow my business. If you want to learn more, you can check out his YouTube channel.
1. Know your natural path as an entrepreneur.
Each entrepreneur has a natural path of creating their wealth and business. The way Oprah Winfrey creates wealth is different from the way Warren Buffet creates wealth. One uses her brand to promote others while the other analyzes the financial market and buys appreciating assets.
Their strengths and talents are different. So if you want to learn how other people become successful entrepreneurs, you will have to learn from the right people.
You want to model after someone
who has the same wealth profile as you.
Wealth Dynamics, is a profiling system, that I used to help me understand my talent as an entrepreneur or wealth creator. There are eight wealth profiles. I’m a Mechanic (on the top left corner). Mechanics are great at creating systems. Famous entrepreneurs who are also mechanics include Jeff Bezos (Founder of Amazon), Mark Zuckerberg (Founder of Facebook), Ray Kroc (Best known for franchising McDonald), and Sam Walton (Founder of Walmart).
I always thought that I’m creative. But after doing the test in 2014 and studying all the profiles in-depth, I realized my creativity is best used for improving systems and not creating new products (which is what a Creator profile does best). If you look at the famous mechanic entrepreneurs I listed above, you will realize that they hardly create any product. Instead, they have developed a great system to leverage on other people’s products.
This changes the way I look at my business and how I do things. Instead of focusing on writing the perfect book or blog post and later get stuck at the beginning, I focus on building a solid system with detailed, written steps so that I can follow immediately each time I write a book or blog post. When I have a specific structure in place, I can write faster, in greater quantities, and procrastinate less.
Whether you use Wealth Dynamics or other tools, the bottom line is knowing clearly what you are talented at and what keeps you in the flow state will help you grow your business much easier.
You can do the Wealth Dynamics test here. Although if you are self-aware enough and know your talent well, you can just read the different profiles online and figure out your wealth profile yourself.
But please note that MBTI and Wealth Dynamics are not the same. Even though INFJs are introverted and intuitive, it doesn’t mean that you are a Mechanic. All INFJs use their cognitive functions differently and to a different extent.
Furthermore, MBTI focuses on cognitive preferences while Wealth Dynamics focuses on your natural talent. What you value and prefer might not be the same as what you are good at doing. For example, my INFP brother actually ends up as a Star profile, a profile that is supposedly more extroverted. And my ISFP brother ends up as a Mechanic profile, a profile that is supposedly more intuitive.
2. Know where you are and where you want to go.
Depending on where you are, the steps you have to take to grow your business is different. If you are working right now, your next steps will be very different from a person who already has a business or some traction going.
Wealth Spectrum is a tool that tells you where you are in terms of wealth. There are nine different levels, three in each prism. Most of the population are at the Orange Level (Worker), in the Foundation Prism. Since young, we are taught to study hard and find a job so that’s where most of us end up. We don’t advance to the next level, Yellow Level (Player), which is in the Enterprise prism because the schools don’t teach us anything about entrepreneurship and creating wealth.
What I like about Wealth Spectrum is it gives you a map and tells you exactly what you have to do to move up to the next level.
Whether you want to move up to the next level is your choice.
If you don’t wish to lead a team, you don’t have to move up to the Green Level (Performer), which is about creating flow through leveraging a team. You can stay in the Yellow Level (Player), be independent and create your own flow by doing what you love.
But there is a cost of staying for each level. When you stay in the Yellow Level (Player), there is a limit to the growth and impact which you can achieve by yourself and you might feel isolated too. Knowing the cost will help you decide whether to maintain at a level or move up the Wealth Spectrum.
You can do the Wealth Spectrum test here. At the end of the test, you will know where you are on the wealth map and the steps to move out of it. Alternatively, you can read Roger Hamilton’s book, The Millionaire Master Plan, which have all the steps for each spectrum level.
3. Know the steps to advance to the next level.
When you don’t have the right knowledge, network or some traction going, starting a business or being self-employed can be very stressful and confusing. It’s worse than having a job!
At least in a job, you have a fixed income each month. You have one customer. But when you are starting out as a rookie entrepreneur, you have no customer at all. Even if you have a few customers, they might not be paying you as much as your hiring company used to. The constant anxiety and pressure of making money to pay your bill are rather intense and I had experienced it before.
Five years ago, I was passionate and idealistic but not very smart. Leaving my job as an accountant to pursue my passion as an animator, I dropped from Orange Level (Worker) to the Red Level (Survivor) as I had to start all over again in a new role. Then, when I left the animation industry shortly, I dropped even further to the Infrared Level (Victim). Without a job, I was having a negative cash flow each month. Each month, I saw my savings shrinking and this caused me to have a panic attack.
If you are at the Orange Level, don’t leave your job and start a business
until you know how to create a job for yourself.
Studying the Wealth Spectrum had helped me to see clearly that I was going down the levels and I need to get to the positive territory fast no matter what. So I followed the steps given to move to Red Level (Survivor) and started measuring my money again, something I stopped doing after I became an animator.
More importantly, I realized that it was not the time to pursue my passion. When you are in Infrared Level (Victim), you have to be disciplined with your finances. You have to earn your right to pursue your passion. Pursuing passion is only for people for are at the Red Level and above, where they have some stability and security over their finances.
New businesses take time to gain momentum. By quitting my job before I have the momentum in my business, I’m setting myself up for stress and anxiety. So I started giving tuition lessons to make sure that I pay my bills and have positive cash flow each month. Even though I didn’t set out to be a tutor, I know this is what I have to do to give myself the buffer time to develop my entrepreneurial skills and create my job as a full-time writer.
4. Be clear of your unique identity and make it the core of your business.
In his book, The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks says that “Business is ultimately a spiritual path”. I agree. My mentor said something similar, “Entrepreneurship is a rite of passage for spiritual connection.” Many entrepreneurs start with ideas, products, customers, how to make a profit, etc. But as they go deeper into entrepreneurship, what they will find is that their business helps them to discover more of themselves and their calling.
Having a business pushes you to understand yourself deeply in every aspect — your personality, your passion, your talent, and your purpose. You can’t find fulfillment in your business if you are not doing what your soul desires and you can’t find success in your business if you are not leveraging on your talents. What’s more the clearer you are with your unique identity, the easier it is for you to attract customers and partners.
The right people will come to you when they know what you stand for.
The core of your business should represent your values. Not only does this align to your soul’s mission but it also helps you to attract the right people to your mission. For example, if you value peace, harmony, and kindness, and you practice it in all aspects of your business, people who share the same values will naturally be attracted to you.
Those who aren’t attracted to your mission is not your target audience anyway. So having a clear identity helps to sift out who you are going to work with and who you aren’t going to work with.
As an employee, you are told what to do. But as an entrepreneur, you have the freedom to do whatever you want. You have to know yourself very well because the business starts with you.
5. Choose a market that you want to work with and understand it well.
Years ago, when I started blogging, I’m all over the place. Sometimes, I write about my animation assignments. Then, I have another two blogs. One is to help the creative people, another one is more like a personal journal. I have no fixed target audience. I just wrote whatever I felt like writing.
Even if you have a great idea or vision but you are not serving anyone, your business doesn’t work. In my case, I wasn’t focused on a particular market. So when readers come, they read one post and they left. My other posts aren’t relevant to them. I failed as an entrepreneur in the beginning because I failed to make a decision on who I want to serve.
When you are serving everyone, you are serving no one.
When you have a well-defined market, it’s easier to craft your marketing message. For example, the way you address a parent should be somewhat different from the way you address someone who is single. They have different problems, needs, struggles, and priorities. If you don’t talk to them in their perspective, they won’t resonate with you.
If you have a large, undefined market, you waste a lot of time, money and effort trying to craft different marketing messages for different groups of people. Furthermore, it confuses your customers. One moment, your message is relevant to them and the next moment, it seems like you are talking someone else. So you end up speaking to no one.
When you just start your business, start with one market and stick with it. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Don’t keep switching your target audience. Focusing on one market allows you to go in-depth, understand your target audiences better, and cover all the various needs and problems that your market has. The more niche your market is, the better you can serve them and thus, the more valuable you are to them. I had a friend who is a tutor that teaches special needs students. She is able to charge 2.5 times my hourly rate.
6. Know how to monetize your business.
The number one rule of starting a business is it must put cash flow into your pocket. If it doesn’t, it means that you are doing something wrong and you have to figure out what it is. It could be that you are not paying yourself first, your business model is ineffective, your management of expenses is poor, or the customers are not seeing the value that you are providing, etc.
You must be able to monetize your business. Otherwise, it’s not sustainable. A profitiable business is proof that your business idea is feasible and you are creating value. It’s not just an unrealistic idea that you have been dreaming about.
The best way to monetize your business is
to learn from what already exists.
First, you can copy other people’s business models. When I first starting writing books, I knew I had to self-publish my work. It’ll be difficult for me to get published by the traditional publisher when I didn’t have a huge following. So I studied other self-publisher like Steve Scott and Barrie Davenport and learned how they are able to be full-time writers.
Second, tap into platforms and communities that are already well-established. My mentor once shared a cool analogy. He said that you don’t want to dig in a desert where there is no water at all. You want to dig near a river so that the water from the river flows to you. There are platforms who already have customers that you want and they are willing to share their profits with you.
For example, my brother relies on Zazzle to monetize his artwork and illustrations. I rely on Amazon to help me sell my books and Google to bring the readers to me. I don’t do a lot of marketing. These platforms do it for me. Instead of promoting my writings on social media and try to attract readers, I go where the readers already are and learn how to utilize these platforms better.
7. Learn to work with other personality types and wealth profiles.
Another big tip I learn about entrepreneurship is to not do everything by yourself. It will keep you out of your natural flow. It’s okay if you are just starting out. But as you progress and the business gets bigger, it’s more advantageous to work with other people. Even if you don’t wish to hire a team and advance to the Green Level, you can still collaborate with others through partnerships.
It’s important to learn how to work with other personality types too and not just stick with other own personality types. INFJs don’t necessarily work well with each other because we have the same preferences in our cognitive functions and blindspots. Two INFJs with different visions might clash with each other. Two conflict-avoiding INFJs might not address the issue in the business until it’s too late. We might also miss the same details and aspects of the business that require our focus.
Personally, I enjoy working with the NT types such as INTJs because they get my intuitive thinking. Yet, they are very strategic and good at setting boundaries that an INFJ like me might lack.
But we need the sensing and extroverted types too.
Even though it might be a challenge to communicate our vision to the sensing types, they are great with the details and they can support us where we are weak. Also, the extroverts are better at rallying the people, building community, and networking than we do. Having them on the team can free up your time to do things that you are better at.
For example, I have an agent whose wealth profile I believe is a Deal Maker (the corner directly opposite to a Mechanic). She has a network of international publishers and she helps me to sell the rights of my books to them. She handles the negotiation and the contract. Not only does this free up my time for writing but I wouldn’t have the access to those international publishers if it isn’t for her. She takes a cut from my royalties but I’m happy to share my profit with her because with her around, I have a greater reach to a larger audience. Most importantly, I don’t have to do something that I hate which is negotiating!
8. Choose your collaborators and team members carefully.
Work with people with similar values. If you have a business partner who has a different vision as you, there will be a lot of conflicts. Both of you would be better off starting your own business.
When we first start our business, we tend to find people we trust like our partner, friends or family to collaborate. But people we are close with might not be the best person to work with for our business. Like for me, I get along great with my INFP brother but we find it difficult to work with each other because our working style and what we value s not the same.
Plus, boundaries get blurred when you are working with loved ones, especially for an INFJ. Can you separate your relationships with them from your businesses?
It’s also easier to work with people whose wealth spectrum is one level
above, below or the same as you.
First, it’s almost impossible to convince someone at too high a level to work with you because they are of a different wavelength. They are probably better off as your mentors.
Then for those who are at the lowest level, Infrared, you might just get burned or dragged down by them if you try working with them because they are usually fire-fighting and in denial of the state they are in. They might have many years of experience as an entrepreneur but still, struggle financially because they are so blinded by their own optimism and fixated on their ideas that they won’t listen to you.
So you might want to understand the person better, how they run their business, whether they have the right entrepreneurial knowledge, and even go to extent of observing how they treat other aspects of their lives such as their health and relationships before you decide to partner with someone.
If you want to find out more about how to love yourself as an INFJ, be sure to download my free eBook called Self-Acceptance for INFJs.
Featured Photo Credit: Oleg Magni