Are you an INTJ? If you are reading this post, there is a good chance that you are (especially since you were probably referred here by Google or another search engine). I am an INTJ, which is nothing more than one of the major personality types out there (and one of the more independent and rare types as well). But I am much more than that. I am also an entrepreneur, husband, Christian, and more.
I have finally decided to sit down and write an in-depth post on INTJ personality and entrepreneurship. I have certainly struggled building a business, and by learning my strengths and weaknesses, it has helped me tremendously. I would like to take the time to share this with other INTJ personalities who also have an interest in starting a business or pursuing entrepreneurship. So let’s get started.
INTJ Entrepreneur: Any Famous INTJ Entrepreneurs?
The short answer is, yes, there are many INTJ entrepreneurs. The unfortunate thing, however, is that most people don’t actually take a personality test. So most are unaware that they are an INTJ. But to name a few: Bill Gates is considered by many to be an INTJ, as is Maria Shriver/Arnold Schwarzenegger, Donald Rumsfeld, George Lucas (Star Wars creator), and more. I have also watched people on youtube who mentioned INTJ and entrepreneurship, and I am an INTJ entrepreneur myself. You get the point–we do exist (although we probably try to stay private if possible—you know the drill).
Is INTJ Best Suited to Be an Entrepreneur?
My philosophy is this: Entrepreneurship is like a game. Any “personality type” can be good or bad at it. It is a matter of understanding the game, and then learning your strengths and weaknesses so you can adapt to beat the game. So in my view, any of the personality types could be successful in entrepreneurship (and indeed, there are many different famous “types” who are successful entrepreneurs).
How to Succeed As an INTJ Entrepreneur
As I mentioned before, you are going to have to learn your strengths and weaknesses in order to succeed. Since you are likely already familiar with what an INTJ means, then you probably already know some of those strengths and weaknesses. Let’s start with some strengths you will likely have (and I am taking this from my own experience).
Strengths as an INTJ Entrepreneur
1. Planning/Strategizing–We are known for our ability to really plan things out in our heads. I am like that so much. I cannot go to the grocery store without making a complete list. If I am going to multiple places, I list all of them in logical order to cut down on gas. When I get an idea, I think of how it may work, and my mind immediately thinks of all of the steps involved.
So this is a great strength. As an entrepreneur, you need to assume the main “strategist” or “business planning” role. That means you create elaborate strategies of how to make your business grow and succeed.
2. Research and Investigation–In addition to planning and formulating strategies, we are also excellent researchers. This is true for me in both my business and personal life. For example, it took me 2-3 weeks to decide on a weight bench recently because I had to review and research it so much. Research can be so natural for us, that we sometimes exhaust ourselves in the process.
But for business, research is great! It can give you a competitive edge by knowing your market, how to survive, etc. So you should also do much of the research in addition to the planning.
3. Being Practical & Pragmatic–I own a home business, so I try to be as cheap and practical as I can. I don’t have fancy business cards, I don’t waste money on unnecessary expenses, and if something doesn’t make logical sense in my mind–I don’t do it. Being practical and asking “does it work,” can be a great way to weed out bad ideas, cut out the middle man, save money on unnecessary expenses, etc.
We INTJs often dislike “social customs,” so forget about joining the local business club or anything else (unless, of course, you find some reason that makes it worth your while). I don’t care about silly clubs, fancy equipment, and I can sniff a sales pitch a mile away. Use that to your advantage.
4. We are Solitary, So Be Solitary–I dislike talking on the phone so much that my family (and my wife’s family) has gotten the idea (finally) that I won’t answer when they call in most cases. I just hate small talk. I can email, write web articles, etc. all day long—but I hate talking via phone (the exception being my wife or if there is something interesting or professional to discuss).
So learn up-front that you will be avoiding these “talky” situations with people. Get a secretary to answer your phone, or screen your own calls–or whatever. The point is, you are solitary and “thinking” by nature, so don’t let people interrupt you.
5. We Are “Ideas” People–Because we are introverted, and forward thinking, we seem to always be thinking. So think! That is a great talent and gift. So many companies we have today were started from nothing more than a simple idea. So keep thinking of opportunities and ways to improve society, businesses, or whatever. Think!
Keep a journal, or write down any good ideas to research them further. This can lead to great business opportunities.
6. Self Confidence–Since we tend to research thing so exhaustively, and then plan each step in extreme detail–we tend to develop a lot of confidence in our ideas. This is great, because in entrepreneurship, you will always be taking calculated risks. Notice I wrote CALCULATED risks. Don’t just get an idea and run with it. Do the research, crunch some numbers, and then when you have exhausted all ideas and potential problems, move forward with blazing confidence. As the saying goes—“fortune favors the bold.”
7. Be Independent–We are the extreme independents of society. This made so much sense to me when I first read about it. Suddenly, all those years of trying to devise a way to create an alternative energy source for my home, buying portable A/C’s so I wouldn’t have to rely on a repair man for a heat pump, saving money so I don’t have to bum money from people, etc—it all clicked. The reason I did all of that was because I have this “inner independence” thirst.
As an entrepreneur, independence can be good. It forces you to rely on you to solve your problems. It forces you to think in terms of improving your company and ideas. This can also be a downside, however, which I will discuss later. There definitely comes a time where you have to learn to delegate and outsource if you want to succeed.
8. Be a Perfectionist–We tend to be perfectionists, and this can pay off big in business. Business is all about being the most efficient, or having the best product, or whatever. We can use our drive to relentlessly pursue making something the VERY BEST on the market. Of course, the business that is most efficient, or offers a better product usually wins the customer. So use your drive to be a perfectionist to create something that will benefit others.
9. Read Books, Blogs, Etc.–You need to read a lot to sharpen your skills as an entrepreneur. This shouldn’t be a problem, since we are introverts who love knowledge. In fact, you probably already read a lot anyway. But you need to read books about entrepreneurship, books on your specific industry, biographies about entrepreneurs, etc. Stay up-to-date, and learn as much as you can about how business works and how successful entrepreneurs actually “think”.
By capitalizing on those strengths I outlined above, you will be better suited to survive in the world of entrepreneurship. But having said, that, you also have many faults to overcome if you truly want to succeed.
By the way, I started a YouTube channel discussing various topics about INTJs. You can check that out below (or view the INTJ Channel):
Problems You Will Face (and How to Overcome Them)
You are lucky–because when I started in entrepreneurship, I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. I didn’t know my strengths and weaknesses, and it took a lot of trial and error to get to a point where I can make things work efficiently. So here are some tips I hope will help you and save you some grief.
1. Don’t Do All The Work–One of my main problems I encountered was that I would try to do EVERYTHING myself. Partly this was because my business wasn’t earning a lot of money at the time, and the other reason is that I am a perfectionist. So what would happen is that I would first do activities that I preferred (such as research, creating elaborate business plans, to-do lists, etc.). But when I was finished, I was EXHAUSTED. I had no motivation whatsoever to execute those plans and ideas. So I would try to force myself to get the energy to move forward, even though I wasn’t passionate about that part.
This is how I learned to overcome that—DELEGATE and HIRE. You need to put together a team (either employees or independent contractors)–and then once you have the plans, hand them off so they can execute your ideas. This is much easier, and I started making much more progress and profits when I started doing this. Of course, I prefer hiring independent contractors or businesses to help me online, because I am not a huge “people person.” But–you need to create some way to get help when you need it.
2. Invest In Your Business–I was so practical and cheap, that it was very hard for me to invest in something like “marketing.” But it works! Whatever you do in business, don’t neglect to spend money in marketing, professional advice, software, or whatever can make you more productive. You may have to use some trial and error to discover the most effective and inexpensive way to do something like marketing–but when you find it—stop being cheap and budget for regular marketing, software, and other expenses. Often times, I find that after I spend the money, I make it back much more quickly, and then I am making more profit than before.
3. Don’t Get Bogged In Details–While thinking and planning is our expertise–it is also our pitfall. What I also noticed is that sometimes I thought so much about something, that I actually over-analyzed it! I would get stuck in this rut with minor details that didn’t matter at all. For example, at one point I was doing all of my business bookkeeping and taxes myself (which is okay because I actually did study to become an accountant before dropping out of college a semester shy of graduation–but I eventually finished my degree).
But I would get so hung up on tax details and trying to understand if one thing was supposed to be taxed at this rate or that rate. It would frustrate me so much, that I would find myself losing all motivation and energy, sometimes going for days without getting a single thing accomplished. I was getting to the point where I was nearly depressed and wanted to give up on my business.
If you find yourself doing this–then you need to hire a person, find a freelancer, or whatever to take care of those details. It will free your mind so you can move on and make progress. Also, when you find yourself focusing too much on details, try to talk to a spouse or friend so they can help you sort out the problem (even if it is online in a forum). My wife (who also works with me in my business pursuits sometimes), is my advisor.
When I am having a problem, I pour my heart out to her. She always says, “Are you dwelling on those silly details again,” and suddenly I realize she was right! I was making a mountain out of some small detail. So watch out for that. I call it the “analysis paralysis.”
4. Be a Visionary, Not a Technician- If you want a job, then go get a job and stay far away from starting a business. But if you want to start a business, then you need to understand what an entrepreneur actually does! Entrepreneurs are the organizers and visionaries–not the technicians. I don’t mean that to imply that it is less honorable to be a worker–of course we are all equal in this life.
But what I am saying is this: An entrepreneur is not the worker, and the worker is not the entrepreneur. So if you have plans to open a coffee shop, you should be thinking of how to make the business work effectively. You shouldn’t be working all day in the business-that’s what employees are for! An entrepreneur should always be working ON the business, not IN the business.
Now, that doesn’t meant that initially you won’t have to work. Right now, I am writing this post when I could have hired someone to write it for me. But I do enjoy writing or doing things from time to time as well. But as an entrepreneur–your ultimate goal should be to create a structure that operates entirely without you being there (aside from perhaps your talents of vision and strategy). That means you need to be the planner, the one who decided what jobs are needed, how many employees will be needed, the most efficient ways to deliver the product, etc. That’s your job.
And if you have to start out doing some of the work yourself–then you should always be working towards the goal of getting yourself out of that job and getting enough money to hire someone to do that job so you can be freed and do what you need to do as an entrepreneur. That is the foundation of entrepreneurship. You don’t want a job, you want to create a situation so that you get yourself OUT of a JOB.
One of the best books I ever read on this subject (of which I got some of the points above) is this book right here: E-myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Fail and What to Do About it. If you read no other book on entrepreneurship–read that one.
This book has nearly 5 stars on Amazon, and has sold millions of copies. Do yourself a favor and at least check it out. Personally, I thought the first few chapters were priceless. The last 2-3 chapters mostly promotes some course or something the author offers, which didn’t appeal to me. But the book is a “must read” for any entrepreneur in my opinion. I bought it on Amazon and simply resold it whenI was done. Also, I do want to disclose that I am an affiliate of Amazon, and by buying the book you’ll also help support this site.
However, there is one notable exception to what I wrote above: some individuals build a business that functions with them as the main brand or product. In that situation, the entrepreneur will inevitabley have to do most of the regular work (ie, a writer will have to write books, a blogger may have to blog, etc.). In that situation, you’ll do the work, and you’ll likely work with companies and others to help you create a great product.
5. Find a “Doer” Personality Type As a Partner–One of the most fascinating things about personality types is that we all truly process information differently, and we all truly get excited and bored by different things.
You are going to need to find a partner to help you in your venture. Think of all the greats: Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Hewlett and Packard, etc. The truth is, you will find a lot of value in finding someone with a completely OPPOSITE personality type as you. You will essentially “complete each other,” and fill in each other’s gaps and downfalls.
Now when I say partner, I don’t necessarily mean “legal partner” as in the legal structure of your business (a partnership). Personally I would never do a partnership structure. How you set them up in your business is irrelevant. You could offer them stocks, simply hire them as a manager or other employee, make them an official partner, a president, or whatever. But the point is that you need to surround yourself with at least 1 person who is the opposite of you (likely an extrovert, etc.).
For me, this person is my wife–and this is how we compliment each other: I will go on and on about all of these elaborate ideas and how they should be implemented. Meanwhile, my wife is getting bored to tears! Why? Because I am a thinker, and she is a “doer.” I like to think and get energized by it, she likes to do things and gets energized by that. When we wake up, I like to read the web, and think about my day and plan it. My wife wakes up and immediately starts doing stuff–making the bed, sweeping, etc.
The point is–we compliment each other nicely. Sometimes I will make a list, and then she takes it and starts to do stuff. She is energized by doing, and I am energized by thinking and planning. So regardless of what business or industry you are in–you need to find your other half. It could be a spouse, a friend, an employee, or whatever. But you need to find that one person who is your opposite, so that they can bring those talents to the table you lack, and your talents will fill the things they lack. This, in my opinion, is true for all personality types in business.
Conclusion: INTJ Personality Types Can Succeed As Entrepreneurs
Yes you can succeed. Yes you can become wealthy if you succeed in a big way. Yes you an be a millionaire or billionaire or whatever. But in my opinion, you are going to HAVE to learn how to leverage your strengths and weaknesses. There are many INTJ people who have succeeded, and you can too.
If you enjoyed this post, then please consider “digging it, facebook liking it, linking to it, or whatever.” Best of luck, and I sincerely hope you got some ideas or learned something new that can help you on your journey.