Business, Intrapreneurship

What is Intrapreneurship?

By Harley Alexander on April, 9 2018
Harley Alexander

Co-Founder of Mayte.

There’s a fairy tale surrounding entrepreneurship that involves leaving your corporate 9-5 job, being your own boss and raising billions of dollars to eventually take over the world (then what?!).

This can be incredibly daunting and not the perfect fit for everyone. What if I told you that you could have all the glory of being an entrepreneur whilst keeping the stability of a regular pay-check? You can achieve this by becoming an intrapreneur. An Intrapreneur is essentially someone that innovates within a company - an internal entrepreneur so to speak.

You may have kids to support or maybe you’re saving up for something big and need the consistent salary. Potentially you even thrive in a corporate environment and are simply looking for something more than your job description, yet in the same industry or company.

The good news is that you can have your cake and eat it too. Being an intrapreneur gives you the freedom to try new things, make meaningful changes in your business and solve real problems. It doesn't induce the sleepless nights and investors breathing down your neck. OK - maybe there will be a few sleepless nights and bosses breathing down your neck, but if you’re reading this article then you’re prepared for the risk/reward ratio that comes with the job.


My job is easy. Why should I make it harder by becoming an intrapreneur?

Being an intrapreneur first and foremost is a way to open new doors for your career without losing the stable pay-check. Undertaking an innovative change at your place of work can be seen as an ‘incubator’ for your personal, soft and hard skills. Don’t tell your bosses this, but your current career is a platform for you to try, test and hone your entrepreneurial skills. You just have to do it tactfully!

Becoming an intrapreneur gives you more freedom at work with the same security.


Get a serious pay rise

A wise man once told me that the only way to get a proper pay rise is to move between companies. This is very true, however, you don’t want to settle for ‘just OK’. If you’re thinking about swapping companies you’re going to engineer a serious financial upgrade - not a sideways one. In order to market yourself to other companies, you need to stand out from your competition.

You can do this by cultivating more skills outside of your job description without ruffling any feathers. Fly under the radar until you’ve knocked some serious achievements under your belt. Get the recognition from your superiors in writing so that you can take it to an interview as a bargaining chip. Make them want you, not the other way around.

The other half of getting a huge pay rise is through negotiation. This is is a skill unto its own. Thankfully, there’s a book for that. Negotiation is a serious skill that intrapreneurs must have.


Unlock a new meaning of (working) life

Whenever I ask someone how they are going, the response is usually along the lines of “Work is killing me", "I’m bored", or "I’m just cruising”. We spend ⅓ of our weekdays working - so it seems blindingly obvious to me that things need to change. It’s not always your fault if you end up in a rut, but you are 100% in control and in charge of getting out of that rut. Nobody else will do it for you and by becoming an intrapreneur, it may just be a way to get excited about work again.

You’ve got to look deep inside yourself to figure out what you really want. What are your motivators, what gets you out of bed in the morning and what makes you excited? Tip: avoid ‘money’. If money is your number one answer - that’s OK. That’s the end goal. How you reach that and what excites you are two very different things.

Recognition is a common motivator. It’s easy to blend into the crowd when working within a large corporation with thousands of employees. When there are so many people doing a similar job you must be innovative and affect the business in a new way so that you stand out. Thankfully innovating from the bottom up is a way to do so.

Promotions are also a huge motivator for people feeling as though they are making progress. What if you moved diagonally upwards instead of just upwards? Not only do you become more senior, but you also move into a unique, exciting role as a company’s innovation guru. Not to mention the humble brags you could pull off at after work drinks!


Bragging to your work mates about being an intrapreneur


You really, really want to make a difference

This is the most important trait of entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs alike - being the change you want to see in the world. These people are driven by frustration alone that world has so many problems and inefficiencies, and they endeavour to resolve these for the better of everyone.

I am frustrated by the number of jobs that are mundane, trivial or repetitive and are still carried out by humans. My goal in work and life is to alleviate these jobs from companies and people. Using emerging technology  - not to take these jobs away - but to give people the opportunity to work on things that really matter. Some people are happy with the status quo and doing these jobs. I call them pay-checkcollectors.

The hard truth is that these people will quickly realise their time is limited. Their jobs are on the line due to human evolution. Human productivity has continued to increase since the dawn of time and has no plans of stopping. The stock market and entire financial world would come crumbling down if productivity began declining. It’s up to these people to put themselves into a position where their skills, insight and talent are put to meaningful use rather than wasted on mindless jobs.

But that’s not you, is it?