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INTJ Business Tips, INTJ Business Traps

Wednesday August 3, 2016

INTJ Business Tips

I’ve been a business owner for 15 years, and an INTJ for almost 40 years. Here’s some of what I’ve learned, tips first, traps at the end.

  • Networking is worth your time
    • It’s not hard and painful like an insect mating ritual.
    • It just doesn’t seem important to you because you’re an INTJ
      • INTJs are vulnerable in the area of building relationships and rapport
      • It is our blind spot
      • We don’t even notice others’ feelings most of the time
        • “It was in his eyes the entire time—some vague feeling of pain. Why didn’t I just ask him about that first? Now we’re in a big mess.”
    • Networking doesn’t have to be hard
      • Barebones networking ideas:
        • Just talk to your competitors, you need each other anyway (more below)
        • Just send an email asking a question
        • Just call and ask about the services they offer, see if you can come visit and talk
        • Just drop by and walk in when you’re in the area
        • If you literally can’t say “hi” to people, put yourself in positions where people eventually have to say “hi” to you. Raise your hand and ask questions when the time comes.
        • Take classes, seminars, etc. aimed at NTs, so other NTs will find you. It’s easy to start with NTs.
        • From there, move onto ST things like a hiking club, NF things like a “getting in touch with the universe within you” seminar. These people are different from you. This means they need your help more than NTs do.
        • Push yourself: Accept new ideas, accept new people who are different from you, even try to look past logical fallacies when they are screaming in your face (it’s not really a huge risk most of the time, you’re just biased to think it is)
    • Keep notes on people you meet
      • Their brother likes McDonalds? Write it down!
      • Their business is failing? Write it down!
      • They have a cat? Write it down!
      • You can follow up on all of this later.
      • This stuff will also help you figure out their personality type
    • To remember peoples’ names
      • Ask for a business card
        • This means you should make your own
        • Avoid a common INTJ trap: Spend a minimal amount of time on your business card. To start just use a common template if you have to.
      • Ask for the name of their business
        • This reduces your chances of forgetting their name in a way that you can’t just look up later
      • Ask where their business is located
        • Again, if you know the location, you can look it up on Google Maps later and find out the business name and usually the contact’s name too.
      • Figure out which industry they work in and ask questions about it
      • Tada: It’s now much harder to permanently lose the contact’s name.
  • Get a consultant
    • Know their personality type
      • Try to find an NT consultant. They’ve been where you are.
        • But regardless, just try everything they suggest.
        • Your brain likes to shoot the message down, shoot the messenger, etc. You’ll pick it apart for logical fallacies. You’ll compare it to things that you read somewhere. Stop doing that and just try new things. Allow the consultant to know more than you do about things.
  • Work with people who value your work
    • If you don’t get along, don’t try to fix it by yourself
      • Chances are it’s a waste of time—if a client feels you are trying to fix the relationship single-handedly, they’ll often get really defensive and feel bad
      • Be diplomatic, try to find an alternate solution that genuinely helps them, and get out.
    • If you get along well, you’ll see a single customer turn into thousands of opportunities.
    • I advise studying Socionics to understand more about relationships and the types of relationships from which you can anticipate positive growth
      • Most of the Socionics information is available for free online
      • Crap clients are just crap relationships, and crap relationships call for psychology study. Psychology study calls for quick wins (so you don’t get sucked in deep), and Socionics is a useful, quick model. A broken model, like any other model, but a useful, quick one.
        • Haven’t found any good books on Socionics yet, just the online material (let me know if you do)
  • Take measurements on your business.
    • Always have your exact numbers in front of you
      • Prevents hallucination
        • Either excitement-induced hallucination (positive, overestimation) or stress-induced hallucination (negative, underestimation)
  • Give your business years and years of runway
    • Get free rent if you can (through family, friends, apartment complexes needing managers, etc.)
    • Business is hard at the beginning.
    • Attorneys opening new practices are advised they’ll need 5-7 years to get established
    • You are not the exception—hang in there
  • Try to stay in business until you have good clients.
    • It will happen
    • Pretty soon you will be turning away good clients.
      • Tough but necessary.

INTJ Business Traps

  • Don’t do everything by yourself
    • Especially the creative work
      • INTJs get sucked into doing the creative work themselves (inferior Se). Workaholism recipe. Anxiety recipe. Avoid.
      • Creative work doesn’t mean “graphic design.” It means creating something. Writing out a company rule book. Writing a novel. Writing a software package.
    • You’ll spend the rest of your time learning to delegate, after you’ve completed your therapy sessions.
      • See? This blog post will save you time AND money.
  • Don’t make up excuses
    • You are allowed to say, “sorry, this isn’t working.”
      • I learned this from an ENFJ. If it’s not working, call it out early.
      • Let things happen how they will happen, but be honest with yourself
      • Excuses turn you into a self-blamer. A lot of the time it’s not your fault at all. It’s that you think it is, and you’re pushing yourself harder than a normal person would.
    • “Sorry, this isn’t working. I’m not sure why.” is way better for you and your customers than an INTJ disappearing act, or a lie, or endless excuses.
    • If you are making up excuses, you are probably too involved in the creative work.
      • Get your head back in the clouds. Delegate more of the creative, oversee it, and stay in strategy and systems mode.
  • Communicate early
    • Something inside you likes to get out of touch with reality
      • Spoiler alert: Its your gift of subjective perception. Gift and curse for sure.
    • To counterbalance your built-in subjective filter, take measurements, make a framework
      • Measurement: “I have 25% of my time left. Am I really 75% done with the project?”
        • If no: Now you have a new task—communicate! Stop working on the project and immediately plan your communication
      • Framework: Develop “Rules for Handling Disasters with Clients”
        • This should be your own thing. Don’t look up what others do.
        • Refine it as you get more experience
        • I have lots of these frameworks, and they help a lot.
  • Don’t surprise people
    • “It’s done! You wanted it red, but it’s black because most of the new widgets these days are black, not red.”
      • Practically invites a customer breakdown
      • Screams for more objectivity in the INTJ’s work
        • Develop standards with the client so your work result is predictable on both the customer side and your site.
  • Don’t expect some objectively improbable reward for your efforts
    • After 15 years of self-employment, I just got a bit of “society” recognition for my efforts this year
      • However, it’s still been fun
    • Stop trying to make a billion dollars
      • HUUUUGE INTJ trap.
        • Exchange your time and peace of mind for sensory perqs
        • What is more likely, that you’ll make a billion, or that you’ll get killed in a car accident today? Do the math—seriously. And start driving more safely.
  • Don’t look at your competitors as enemies
    • They’re not
      • You can learn from them
      • You can benefit from them
        • If you are reading this thinking, “but there are anti-trust laws!” stop doing that. You and I both know what you’re doing. It doesn’t apply here, this is not corruption. If you can’t separate this kind of talk from corruption themes, you need help. Find an objective, outside measure of corruption, collusion, etc. You’ll be more educated as a result and more risk-tolerant.
      • You can relate to their problems
        • Feels really good to talk about that stuff with a competitor
      • You can help them
        • Be generous.
    • Competitors will have to send referrals to someone eventually
      • They’ll probably consider you
      • You want them to do that
        • Even if they think the client is crap, unless their psychology is the exact same as yours, that crap client could be very compatible with you!
    • Competitors want to like you
      • They see you as a “better them”
      • Just let them like you. Be the nice one.
        • This kind of thinking will feel good to your introverted feeling attribute (Fi)
    • If you think they might be dangerous to your business
      • What objective measure would help you find out?
        • You are losing X clients every Y days to this competitor. Run the numbers?
          • Absent numbers showing that, you’re probably telling a tale to yourself.
      • What objective plans are called for?
        • Remove all bias toward destroying the client and dominating them. Keep it objective. Don’t let your temper flare.
  • Don’t think you’re better than your competitors
    • You’re just different
      • Chances are, you need each other
    • NEVER talk yourself up around your competitors. Talk them up, find their strengths. If they compliment you, laugh like it’s absurd, ignore it and move on to another subject.
      • This is very hard for some INTJs. Do it anyway (and not just around competitors). Inferior Se can make you come off as a braggart to others, so downplay it for sure.

Well, I’m tired. I might update this later. But that should be enough for now.

Owning a business as an INTJ is rewarding and worth considering. Don’t fear it—explore it, research it.

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