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I'm in that phase where I need to find some "hold-me-over" work to pay the bills where I'm transitioning between graduating University -> starting a full fledged career (policing in my case). The thought of short term work, likely in a menial company, where everyone seems lifeless and uninspired doesn't sit too well.

Growing up I was able to avoid doing a lot of that outside work by simply being a bit of an entrepreneur. I went from knowing nothing about computers at 12 to building my own websites at 13. This lead to contract webmastering + my own personal website projects which ended up being popular enough to pay for most of my university transition to this date.

I've had various other little projects, but the point is that I noticed that when I, in essence, worked for myself I learned a million times more than I have working under anyone else. I was not only more passionate about the work I was doing, I was proud of the cheques (Canadian way of spelling :D) coming in whether they be $20 or $1000's. Work didn't feel draining, it felt inspiring.

With that in mind, I'm curious about what other people have done or would like to do.

Simple form:
Have you done any business ventures? Either profit or non-profit?
Are you considering any viable businesses for the future? Doesn't have to be fulltime, but could be a side interest.
In an ideal world (ie: no need to worry about money), what type of business would you consider?

Fun question:
If INFPs created a business how would it run? What would its purpose be? How big would it get? Feel free to expand on it~
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I'll post my own thoughts in a bit, but I'm curious what everyone else has on their minds.
 
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I have a mini side-business, I just do tutoring after work in the evenings. It's nice because it's one to one, I can develop my specialisms (eg working on higher level English Lit questions with 18 yr old gifted students, adds a bit of depth to my usual work with 10 yr olds), it fits in with my childcare needs, I can work from home and I can choose how often I want to do it and how much I take on at a time.
 

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Hey Lad,

I myself have also been an entrepreneur preferentially. I worked at a CVS Pharmacy for 4 months before starting my own computer consulting firm, working at both residences and commercial offices. It was enough to put me through most of my college career. After graduating from college, I became employed as a systems administrator. I quite last June, and now am on the search for a meaningful thing to occupy my time. I'm looking for something that is not a career, is not a 9-5 desk job, and is something i can believe in. I really don't want to be handing a resume to anyone, either. So, entrepreneurship it is.

Computer work seems to be a pretty common way to be self employed, especially for Introverted Intuitive types, since this type gravitates towards the solitude and logic of computers. I'm presently in the process of attempting to start my own small software engineering company. I have a few software projects in the pipeline that I hope will make a few dollars, but who knows? Honesty be told, I don't like spending all day coding. It's ironic because I studied computer science, and don't actually like spending all day every day in front of a computer. But then again, i can't really imagine doing anything all day every day and enjoying it.

I think this is a common trait amongst INFPs: we don't like the idea of schedules, routines, careers, being trapped in something. To break from that box, that common pattern that the rest of the world follows, is going to be difficult for you. It's difficult for me. I've always wanted to think in "big terms" - what major thing can I do that will make my work worthwhile? What is the thing that I can do with the biggest positive impact on the world? Invariably, I come to major issues like water shortages, the energy crisis, pollution, etc, and I immediately start dreaming up impossible inventions that would solve those problems. Unfortunately, being an INFP dreamer, i can't summon those dreams into reality - that's for the INTPs, ISTPs, ISTJs. Believe me, I've tried taking the practical steps to do those things; i'm not well suited for the practical approaches. Whenever I try to take a step in a practical direction, I feel so confined and depressed.

Anyway, in an ideal world, humanitarian organizations would be financially viable and supported. In a dream world, companies would exist more for the benefit of the customer, rather than the benefit of itself. It's a paradigm shift that doesn't really negatively affect the profitability of the company. In fact, more often than not, an honorable company with noble motive are more trusted and successful than the ones that are entirely motivated by profit and subtle subterfuge of the client or customer.

In short, anything that I do with my professional life, i want to have a net positive impact on society, a positive affect. I want there to be as little fringe damage as possible, have it be personally sustainable so that I can live and continue to have positive affects, and yet still maintain a freedom and creativity.
 

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I've always had full time jobs but between jobs I've done web design to pull me through until I found another job. Both my wife and I have LLCs. We started an LLCs around our short track speed skating website so we could travel the world. We made enough money selling t-shirts and photos to prove that we were attempting to make money. However, we wrote off a lot traveling to Europe to short track events.

My wife's business makes about a 1/4 of our income. However, she's self-employed which is the completely different that owning a business. When you own a business, you can go on vacation for a month and your business will still be making money without you. When you're self-employed, the moment you stop working, you have no money.

If you get the chance, read Robert Kiyosaki's Cash Flow Quadrant. There's 4 quadrants were you make money. E, S, B or I. Employment, Self-Employment, Business or Investment.

The problem with self-employment is that you're still working. You have marketing and sales which takes up more time than actually providing your service. Also, clients don't just come knocking. There's tons of networking involved. I read Kiyosaki's book at 29 and it's been my guiding principal ever since. The object is to move how you make the bulk of your income currently either the E or S quadrant over to the I quadrant. Say you start earn $100K, your tax bracket is around 35%. Capital gains for investments is around 12%.

Many INFPs are searching to fill their need for Critical Significance when the work. They want to feel like their doing something important. I've never felt like I needed work as something that made me feel important. I work so I don't have to work as quickly as possible.

My wife and I don't buy things. I drive a Honda that I bought on Craigslist for $3000. With the money that we save, we buy a new house when we have enough for a down payment and rent out the old one. The money that we cashflow from rent is money that we're not actively working for.

I don't want to work. If I had the choice, I wouldn't because I have so many other things that I want to be doing like raising my kids full time. So the reason why I work is so I can quit working as soon as possible.

My wife is just about to launch her first product which is a DVD geared dealing with adoption issues for parents. We teamed up with a psychologist to interview parents talking about their issues raising adoptive children. Any money we make will go to buying our next property.
 

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I work freelance for a construction industry magazine and also a natural health magazine. strangely enough, the construction magazine is extremely pro-green, so I get to talk about ESD with all levels of the industry and push the Green Star barrow, kinda nice after those years of forest blockading where people said we were loonies and the environment didn't matter.

it's a nice combination of grown up practicailities and creativity, I work strictly from home by email and internet, manage my own hours around my daughter and my interests, with respect for deadlines which I inevitably end up pushing and often getting extended. I am not making a full time wage because daughter's still too young for me to do full time hours (a gal's gotta sleep sometime) but welfare tops up the difference. I am not worried about being on welfare because as a Mum I think I earn it well and truly, and in my ideal world, no-one should feel ashamed of being paid to raise the next generation well (which is more about putting in time than money)

There's minimal business admin involved which is lucky as that just tires me out and depresses me - just invoices every few weeks, and keep receipts for expenses and turn both into two excell spreadsheets once a year for my ISTJ accountant who works by email and phone too.

I have worked the community sector but never got paid because the cause always seemed to need the money more than me, even when I've got quite large grants for Indigenous projects, I just can't justify taking money for anything more than my fuel and some phone costs. In my ideal world, the community sector woould be well funded and people with real commitment to the issues woould be able to pour their passions into creating a better world. Best I can do is try and make sure I always stick to my ideals in whatever I am being paid for (which made for some interesting times in newspaper journalism!).

Ineffable - I totally hear you about trying to combine ideals and livelihood (and appreciated the message you sent today too but could not work out how to do a reply... technology is not really my thing.)

Ideally for me, true economics would prevail, something more along the lines of Vandana Shiva's ideas - where the good of everyone including the ecosystem is the driving motivation and people are encouraged to do what they are best suited for, and everything gets paid at a similar rate because what matters is we are all doing what we are good at, what we truly need can be afforded (once the high-cost elements of over packaging, endless advertising, long distance transport, the extremely high salaries of upper tiers of chain store management etc are removed) and everything we truly need (as a community) is getting done with nil harm to our habitat. I dispute the need for many high paying roles like speculative share and currency trader (glorified gambling); most of the fashion industry; all the stuff that is founded on greed or the creation of dissatisfaction (like the fashion industry) rather than good. Greed it can be seen has not created either maximum happiness nor maximum social wellbeing, and is also sending us to the wall environmentally at a rate of knots.

Who needs a McMansion? the planet sure doesn't, and the simple life is both environmentally benign and also allows for the creation of far more sustainable enterprises where people are motivated by their actual talents and abilities and are not forced (as many feel they are) to go to ridiculous lengths to buy a lifestyle rather than enjoy a life.

This is all stuff I think about a lot, so excuse the essay :)
:happy:
ALG
 

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I struggle with these kinds of issues a lot currently. I'm employed in a small software development company, but me and my wife have started a company which hopefully I will be able to use to do some software consultancy work and also to sell a few software products I have in mind. What I'd really like to do is game development but I'm not sure how to get started professionally with that (I've done it as a hobby).

I too feel trapped in a 9-5 job, especially working around people who really believe in that paradigm. People who always are there when you arrive at work and are always there when you leave work. I would feel better with myself in a job situation where I get rewarded for the work I actually do than get the same amount on a paycheck every month.

Even if I had a lot of money in the bank I'm not sure I could just quit working. I need the social side of working, I need someone to eat lunch with. I also love programming when I get to code something I believe in, I just can't do it all day. I also find it more meaningful to spend time with my children, when they are not in school, than being at work.

This seems to be an impossible equation: (please let me know if you have any advice)
1. Work perhaps 4-5 hours per day (preferably programming, as that's what I'm best at). I'm not interested in a career and just need to make enough to get by, as my wife works also.
2. Have some colleagues or associates to eat lunch and take breaks with.
3. Not having to lead people, been there and didn't like that.
 

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I've always wanted to own a funky little bookstore and put it next to a particular locally-owned coffee shop, but I don't actually have any money or time or organizational skills to do that, so I'm thinking I should leave it alone.
 
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Although I do have an office job, my wife is self-employed and we are working towards turning that into a small business that could nearly run itself in the future. I'm pretty hopeful that by the beginning of the new year I'll be back at home working full time on our business. Things are really taking off to the point where people already in the industry we work in are approaching us to work on deals, rather than us approaching them as it has been so far.

After that we will just be heavily re-investing into our business, hiring others (my sister-in-law is already employed by us) to help run it, as well as diversifying a bit into real estate or other avenues.

My goal by the time I'm 30 (few years away) is to work about 1-2 hours a day on average, spend the rest of the time practicing drums and doing some projects with that, be around to homeschool/play with/raise my future kids, and handle most household duties, especially cooking. I expect that my wife will probably work more like 4-5 hours a day in exchange for me doing the household chores, mainly because her role with the job deals with other people more, and she also really takes no enjoyment whatsoever from household things like I do.

I think INFPs are well-suited (not ideally, but still well-suited) to be entrepreneurs. I think most INFPs hate structure as far as the typical business office or corporate job goes, and we are pretty good at finding opportunities by thinking about things in a different way.

Of course this is provided we do not do three things. First, we can't let our emotions get the best of us when making financial decisions. Second, can't listen to other people who tell us that we can't do something because it isn't the traditional way of doing it, or let them walk all over us in a business deal. Third, we have to limit procrastinating as well as follow through on projects we start.

In this regard, I'm so glad I married a driven ENFJ because I certainly don't embody #3, although I'm pretty decent at 1 and 2. The business was my wife's from the start and without her there is no way I could ever do it. She is great at networking and cutting deals with people, everyone loves her after they talk to her, and she does a lot of heavy lifting as well when it comes to programming websites and keeping them updated.

Luckily for her, I have great business sense which runs in my family. All of my Dad's side of the family is either managers, ran their own businesses, or something along these lines. Because of this I do a bit of steering the ship as far as the direction the business should take as well as what she should do in different deals or with whatever problems arise. I can also handle almost all of the creative parts of the job, from graphical work to advertising to writing of scripts/magazine articles/press releases/etc., and beyond.

I think once we start working together full time, an easy way to view it would be that the business wouldn't operate without her, and it wouldn't be as successful without me.

To me, it seems that INFPs are polarizing when it comes to being entrepreneurs. Generally speaking, half the stuff we do well like thinking and working outside the box, the other half not at all when it comes to being outgoing, making deals, and staying on top of things. For these reasons I would highly recommend having a partner.
 

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I have no doubt that I want to do something more entrepreneurial. The problem is like said, the practical part. I'm too scattered, and too prone to starting a thousand projects and never getting anywhere on any of them. I have so much unfinished stuff that everyday I wake up feeling chained and that I need to get things finished and resolved so I can finally move forward and do things I want to do.

The things I really want to do, I can't just go and do, because there are prerequisite conditions, things that have to happen first. I can see it all clearly, exactly what needs to happen to get to a particular goal. The problem is actually doing it, and I'm (rightfully, I think) afraid to start something I won't finish. The other part is that the feeling and drive to do what I want is something I really rely on, but I want to do the thing I want to do, not the other stuff leading up to it. So I'm left unmotivated and drained (from constantly trying to do things I don't want to), and I'm not good at forcing things (gives bad results).

I'd be much more comfortable just helping to guide, working with somebody (especially more active) could be great. But I have no idea if anybody would have use for me, or how I would find them or prove myself. So in limbo I remain, just trying to catch myself up and see what happens then.

I admire people who have actual initiative.
 

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I have no doubt that I want to do something more entrepreneurial. The problem is like said, the practical part. I'm too scattered, and too prone to starting a thousand projects and never getting anywhere on any of them. I have so much unfinished stuff that everyday I wake up feeling chained and that I need to get things finished and resolved so I can finally move forward and do things I want to do.

The things I really want to do, I can't just go and do, because there are prerequisite conditions, things that have to happen first. I can see it all clearly, exactly what needs to happen to get to a particular goal. The problem is actually doing it, and I'm (rightfully, I think) afraid to start something I won't finish. The other part is that the feeling and drive to do what I want is something I really rely on, but I want to do the thing I want to do, not the other stuff leading up to it. So I'm left unmotivated and drained (from constantly trying to do things I don't want to), and I'm not good at forcing things (gives bad results).

I'd be much more comfortable just helping to guide, working with somebody (especially more active) could be great. But I have no idea if anybody would have use for me, or how I would find them or prove myself. So in limbo I remain, just trying to catch myself up and see what happens then.

I admire people who have actual initiative.
I think you just mentioned about my life now.
It's always astonishing and a bit of a 'relief' to know that I'm not alone in facing all these issues.
 
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self employment can be heaven or can be hell. to be frank I think it only suits egotists. As much as I knock work most people are FAR better off being an employee than self employed. Too many financial perks. I've also known several people working self employed yet their lives seemed to be continual struggle and worked far more hours than they originally thought. Also i think there is a false belief that 'you are your own boss'...you're always employed by your client/s. In 'normal' work the only person you have to satisfy is whoever can fire you! The client is far less important.
 
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